Plutocrat Violence And Election-Night Horror: Marxian Analysis Shows That Antifa Is Fascist

Plutocrat Violence And Election-Night Horror: Marxian Analysis Shows That Antifa Is Fascist

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 23:45

Authored by Joaquin Flores via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

“When fascism comes to America, it will be called antifascism” 

– Huey Long (misattributed)

Antifa’s fascist violence will return on election night. That’s why it’s important to understand their fraudulence and fascism, and reject the politics of plutocrat-contrived violence. Perhaps strangely, Marxian analysis itself is best suited to communicate this point to the radical left.

This is because at the root of Marxian analysis are not self-declarations, nor definitions based in superstructural manifestations, but rather the material relationship between base and superstructure.

In layman’s terms this boils down to two things in practice: follow the money’, and ‘watch what they do and not what they say’.

The real existing financial motives and the socio-economic class behind those motives is what we will find driving the base, even while at the superstructural level we find an ideology which only nominally, only apparently, appears at odds with the real motives at the base. Antifa, at its class and financial base (i.e., its objective and material base) is a plutocrat supported and controlled operation against the republic.

“Unlike the old left, rooted in radically independent organized labor, Antifa’s leadership and activities, to the contrary, are financed through billionaire oligarchs both directly and indirectly, like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg.”

In the simplest possible terms, Antifa is fascist because while they use some of the talking points and imagery of the old left, they actually work towards a plutocratic coup (or counter-revolution) against the republic. This is not to say there is a system-wide fascist threat, for reasons we will explain in an upcoming installment. In short, the coming coup against republican norms will not establish ‘fascism’ as historically understood, but a new kind techno-industrial repressive society within the rubric of post-modernity, which has hitherto not been contemplated rigorously outside of small circles of futurists and science fiction authors.

Antifa and BLM protests have generally disappeared from the simulated reality of the controlled media lens, because these riots did not have the intended effect of delegitimizing the Trump administration, instead working against Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Antifa Explosion – What the Week of November 2nd Will Look Like

Once Trump declares victory at around 11:30 pm on November 3rd, right as social media bans, blocks, and censors Trump’s announcement of victory, we will see the start of mass Antifa violence in key cities in swing states. As the French Marxist Baudrillard would have explained, an entire media simulation will ensnare (within its simulacra) whole portions of the population, which will be encouraged to send in their late ballots, following a last minute strategic ballot harvesting ploy targeted at key locations.

The disastrous ruling of the Supreme Court allowing three-day late ballots to be counted, will encourage a whole post-election drive to harvest ballots precisely in those precincts where the known data is already in from election night. The push to throw the election for Biden post facto will focus largely on those precincts within particular communities, within swing states. The problem for Biden has been the lack of a ground campaign and any sort of excitement.

This means we should expect a very big controlled-media scandal to captivate headlines right after the election. Whether or not this will actually motivate post facto ‘voting’ is beside the point. It most only be a semi-credible narrative that will explain why hundreds of thousands of voters turned out starting November 4th to cast their late ballots organically, even as in fact these will have been the result of targeted ballot harvesting.

Why Antifa’s ‘Communists’ Are Actually Fascists

1. It Doesn’t Matter What You Call Yourself

Many Antifa members, as well as the BLM leadership, call themselves Marxists, and because this self-declaration is also convenient for their conservative opponents, these self-descriptions go unchallenged.

Likewise in terms of its membership, fascist movements a hundred years ago were largely drawn from workers and small business owners who saw themselves as socialists and liberal-progressives. People do not fit into easy categories, and besides socialism and liberal-progressivism were a mix of both enlightenment and romantic ideas relating to both myth and utopia.

What defined them as fascists in Marxian terms was not the self-professed utopian, futurist, religious, socialist, or reactionary beliefs of this or that member of the movement, but by the objective material and financial reality of being backed by the plutocracy against the public, itself. All the while posing as guardians of the public.

Marxian analytic tools demonstrate that the same as true of Antifa in the U.S. today. The conservative right has long enjoyed throwing around the term ‘socialist’ and ‘Marxist’, especially ‘cultural Marxism’, to denounce their opponents within the Democrat Party, and this has the inverse effect of drawing elements of the populist and radical left who have no relation to the ruling plutocracy within the DNC, towards down-ballot DNC politics and Antifa protest-riots.

We cannot characterize a party or movement by the plurality socioeconomic class of its members in a vacuum. Otherwise both the Democrats and Republicans are ‘labor parties’.

2. We Already Proved That Antifa Is Financed by the Plutocracy

Indeed, Antifa in the U.S. has become a plutocrat-financed fascistic movement if we are using any Marxian metric. This seems counter-intuitive, for after all they profess themselves to be antifascist, and the fascists they are opposed to are allegedly the ‘basket of deplorables’ that back Trump. This means we need to set aside the institutionally approved (Eco, Griffin, et al) definitions of fascism, ultimately liberal ones in service of the status quo, to arrive at any meaningful definition of any utility. The academic institutions themselves are compromised with regard to these matters.

This is why in our piece ‘How Can the Deep State’s Antifa Organization Be Stopped?’ we showed the plutocrat financed NGO industrial complex through organizations like Democracy Alliance, was the defining base of Antifa activism – what Marxian analysis has always held, far and above, as defining the objective nature of a movement, and not its self-professions nor characterizations by their opponents.

Marxian analysis requires that we assess a movement by a.) Its material base, meaning which class empowers it and makes it possible (finances it) and b.) In whose class interest they work to empower. The answer for both here is the plutocracy. Because they pose as ‘revolutionary left’ but are in fact plutocratic, means they are fascist.

Marxian analytic tools must be salvaged from today’s ‘Marxists’, as these are as prescient as they are timely. They go farther to explain the 4th Turning, the 4th Industrial Revolution, the declining rate of profit, the internet of things and 3D printing, and the potential for a future economy based on the natural right of liberty and human dignity, both in the world and of the soul. But its vulgar misrepresentation as the ideology of Antifa and BLM serves the purpose, perhaps intentionally, of turning-off tens of millions of Americans who could otherwise see what is useful within the analytic framework of class and economic development through history.

3. Their Tactics Are Taken From Fascism

Of course the fascism of Antifa is visible to many, because of its gang-stalking and arson, the mob intimidation of citizens and small businesses to support this nascent totalitarian movement. To force passersby to raise the fist just as eighty-five years ago, Germans and Italians were identically forced to give the Roman salute, is only a corroborating piece of anecdata, and not the root of the reasoning that Antifa is fascist in nature.

But insofar as the Antifa mob and BLM leadership situates itself ostensibly in Marxism, this is perhaps even more dangerous for the reasons we’ve explained. And yet it is Marxian analysis itself which is best suited to demonstrate that even at a theoretical level, Antifa is fascist.

The owning class weary of radical economic changes and a rising ‘right-wing’ populist movement which itself is fixated on economic issues historically associated with the left, deploys the very same ‘victims of modernity’ (war veterans, permanently unemployed of all ages, workers, vagabonds, indebted students, adventurers, petty thieves and released criminals) to bring its definition of order out of chaos by operationalizing the chaos and the chaotic tendencies of its minions.

Unlike the old left, rooted in radically independent organized labor, Antifa’s leadership and activities, to the contrary, are financed through billionaire oligarchs both directly and indirectly, like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg.

Likewise we cannot characterize something as ‘fascist’ by its explicit beliefs or by views that may be projected onto them, but rather by the class that operationalizes them, and towards what end. Race, nationality, ethnicity, religion – these are but superstructural permutations of the givens of a time and place. Here is, among many other places, where Umberto Eco and Roger Griffin and those in their image are critically errant in understanding fascism. Fascism is a matter of methods, of tactics, and of financing – not of symbols, explicit ideology, or specific positions on culture-war (wedge) issues.

That said, Griffin’s point that fascism no longer has the ability to mobilize a mass movement in the way it did prior to WWII, but that it can carry on as a smaller phenomenon that can inspire terrorism, is agreed. Many of his reasons for stating so are incorrect, even if this conclusion is apt.

4. Antifa Punches Down, the Historic Labor Left Punches Up

Both the traditional radical left and fascist right were proponents of violence towards political goals, even if in self-defense, but the traditional radical left used to focus on ‘punching up’: Attacking capital, the ruling class, the banks, big land owners.

But historic fascism in its late-nascent stage is more similar to Maoism during the Cultural Revolution (there’s a strong New Left orientation to Maoism as well). It organizes and concentrates power by ‘punching down’.

This dangerous fascistic trend among what has come to be known as ‘the left’. At the level of universities, it began in the late 90’s when coastal university classrooms became ‘call-out sessions’. It moved into mass culture through venture-capital funded click-bait websites like Buzzfeed and Jezebel. Of course all of these antics would have been unrecognizably alien to militant rank-and-file labor union members in decades past.

That Antifa punches down and that mainstream media echoes their talking points, and that public service announcements are increasingly indistinguishable from Antifa propaganda, is a clear sign of its fascist essence. Punching down is always from a position of power, and its appropriation by the overt sections of power is a clear sign that their ideas have become what the French Marxist Althousser called the Ideological State Apparatus: That anything and everything outside of nebulous, ever-changing shibboleths (i.e. ‘community standards’) can potentially be called ‘fascist’ as a justification for ‘cancel culture’ and black-listing, is precisely that which the growing ‘illiberal liberalism’ of the plutocrats indeed flourishes on.

Pro-systemic propaganda punches down. Anti-systemic propaganda punches up. It’s an equation as simple as it is true.

5. Like Fascists, Antifa Relies on Support from Local Law Enforcement, Local Business, and an Entrenched Local Political Class to Place Them ‘Above the Law’

Perhaps you’ve seen old film reel of Nazis in the 1920’s in paramilitary uniform, long before they had official power in the governmental sense, seemingly able to physically attack those they wanted at whim, without local authorities intervening. From a position of power, from local friendly police departments, business interests, and politicians who at the very least ‘look the other way’, Antifa – like its fascist counterpart – is able to get away of enforcing its power on a down vertical. Road-blocks, riots, home-burnings, against the general public – all with local official support. Their aim is to coerce from the public a fear-based passivity and conformity to the politics of their program.

It matters very little in this sense, that they call themselves Antifa. While history moves in one direction, and historical parallels are fraught with contradictions, Antifa today in the most simple terms is recruited and built from that disenfranchised and permanently unemployed hodgepodge of people of various socioeconomic backgrounds, along with thrill-seeking youth (in that age-old quest for meaning, purpose, and identity) which formed the bulk of fascist mobs in the teens and twenties a hundred years ago in Europe.

When we understand that their ability to operate ‘above the law’ in many cases, find large groups of philanthropically minded lawyer’s groups (like the National Lawyers’ Guild) to work to have their charges dropped, district attorneys who are lenient, and the media industrial complex including monopoly social media, all work in coordinated fashion to enable the Antifa organization.

6. Their Violence Has Not Once Been in Defense of Labor Strikes and Pickets

Their methods and tactics are entirely uninvolved in labor ‘general strike’ type strategies that would more correctly characterize them as traditionally leftist. As seen above, rather, their methods are taken solely from the rise of fascism. Their material financial base, as well as their methods and tactics are fascist, as we have shown. Legitimate left-wing movements arise from, and are materially (financially) rooted in organized labor at its base. The various superstuctural manifestations along the ideological plane, whether nationalist, fascist, social-democratic, communists, anarchist, etc., are not – in the final analysis – determinative of the class and socio-economic nature of its (conscious or not) ‘leftism’ in terms of its relation to organized labor.

7. Their Cancel-Culture and Voter Disenfranchisement Campaign is Against Democracy

This critical in separating Antifa from historical bourgeois-democratic movements. In Marxian terms, in the transition from feudal modes of production to capitalist modes of production, the plutocracy helped arm and organize workers and peasants, the poor and disenfranchised, to overthrow the feudal nobility and usher in an history period characterized by bourgeois-democratic liberties and freedoms, which have come to characterize the ‘western tradition’ in modernity. Antifa is not a bourgeois-democratic movement because the U.S. is not a feudal, nor semi-feudal country, and also because their actions work against the existing rights to association and speech (cancel-culture), and work against enfranchisement as they have been operationalized towards a ballot harvesting scheme.

Concluding Commentary

The views of Griffin and Eco focus overwhelmingly upon the superstructural manifestations of the fascism of a century ago, so much so that Eco’s attempt to uncover an ‘Ur-fascism’, or generalized theory of identifying fascism, is an utter failure. Rather, Marxian analysis demonstrates that both historical fascism regardless of name as well as contemporary movements of the same essence are defined not by these superstructural manifestations (ideology, aesthetics, etc.) but rather by its driving base in terms of socio-economic class (economic foundation, private property, capital.

Election night and the weeks to follow will be met with a wave of violence larger than seen before. It will be difficult for those remaining on the left to understand that the Antifa foot soldiers are agents of capital, and not of labor. This is largely because of the gradual takeover of the left by new-left identity politics which crept slowly, and then rapidly, with May of 1968 and the Situationist moment being a key signifier.

We know that the FBI’s field offices which historically have infiltrated radical left-groups are also compromised, because we would otherwise see these FBI agents – whose work is often to act as agents provocateurs – to act as de-escalating agents urging calm from within the ranks of these fascistic Antifa outfits. We have not seen this, which is a key sign that the FBI at the very top is wrought with complicit activity, which incidentally is another piece of evidence in 5., above.

Perhaps it is ironic that Marxian analysis itself is best able to demonstrate that Antifa – whose members often describe themselves as Marxists (socialists, communists, etc.) – is in fact fascist.

The defense of the republic, of the bourgeois-democratic revolutionary gains of 1776-89 which were expanded in 1865, today rests upon election integrity, voter enfranchisement, and in a strange twist of fate, the Justice Department under AG Barr.



Source: Zero Hedge, Plutocrat Violence And Election-Night Horror: Marxian Analysis Shows That Antifa Is Fascist

White Castle To Automate Kitchens As Contactless Shift Will Accelerate Job Loss 

White Castle To Automate Kitchens As Contactless Shift Will Accelerate Job Loss 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 23:25

As restaurants across the country adjust for a post-pandemic world, driven mainly by the shift to a contactless environment via the adoption of automation and robotics, fast-food restaurant operator White Castle announced Tuesday morning additional robot deployments were nearing in the pursuit to automate kitchens.

White Castle, who announced a partnership with Miso Robotics’ Flippy, a robotic chef, in July, which we’ve highlighted for years (see here & here), released a statement, announcing ten White Castle locations will soon receive robotic chefs. 

“The move will accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence and robotics in the restaurant industry, critical technologies needed to tackle new pandemic challenges such as social distancing in kitchens, takeout and delivery demand, and higher standards for health and safety via contactless solutions,” the press release read. 

Miso released a new Flippy earlier this month, called Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR), that will speed up the production time of meals and improve quality and taste. 

ROAR Inside White Castle 

“Artificial intelligence and automation have been an area White Castle has wanted to experiment with to optimize our operations and provide a better work environment for our team members,” said Lisa Ingram, the CEO of White Castle, in a statement. “This pilot is putting us on that path – and we couldn’t be more pleased to continue our work with Miso Robotics and pave the way for greater adoption of cutting-edge technology in the fast-food industry.”

The robots have so far been helpful during late-night shifts for the 24-hour restaurant, with job slots difficult to fill. Despite the virus pandemic, the company said customers are coming in. Flippy’s robots prepare upwards of 360 baskets of fried foods per day.

The virus pandemic, forcing companies to limit interaction between customers and employees, has accelerated the trend of robots replacing humans in the workplace, which will lead to more job loss and rising wealth inequality for the poor

“Policymakers need to rethink how to improve the safety net for workers abruptly displaced by the pandemic, who also face an imminent risk of being replaced by technology, as well as how to prepare for the complex workforce transitions ahead,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said in a report released in September. 

Suppose the virus crisis becomes more prolonged, as it appears in late October. In that case, as companies struggle to survive, many could turn to robotics and fire human workers, a move that would make customers feel more comfortable as there is no proven or commercially available vaccine for COVID-19, but ultimately will delay a labor market recovery.



Source: Zero Hedge, White Castle To Automate Kitchens As Contactless Shift Will Accelerate Job Loss 

"This Isn't Human!" – The 'Unseen' Perils Of COVID From "A Faceless Number In Melbourne"

“This Isn’t Human!” – The ‘Unseen’ Perils Of COVID From “A Faceless Number In Melbourne”

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 23:05

Authored by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. via The Mises Institute,

The Seen And Unseen Of COVID-19

[From the 2020 Supporters Summit, presented at the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort on Jekyll Island, Georgia, on October 9, 2020. Read and see the full lecture.] 

This is the intellectual level of the conversation [around covid-19]: You just want people do die.

How do you talk to somebody like that? So, in order to do that, I’m going to appeal to the above midwit-level population and I’m going to remind people of the important lesson in Henry Hazlitt’s great book Economics in One Lesson. This is a book that’s sold millions of copies and Hazlitt’s one lesson, as we all know in this room, is that if you’re going to evaluate an economic policy, it’s not enough to evaluate the short-term consequences for one earmarked group. Any blockhead can do that. If you want to know the long-term consequences or the real consequence of it, you look at the long-term effects on everybody, not the short-term effects on an earmarked group.

For example, suppose the government taxes the public to build a stadium. Well, the midwit will simply point to the stadium and say, “Hey, look at this wonderful thing that the government did. It’s a stadium.” And yes, we can all see with our physical eyes that there’s a stadium there, but they think that’s the entirety of the analysis: a stadium has somehow appeared. There’s no thought of costs, opportunity costs, where the money came from, where it would have gone otherwise—none of that is even considered, because those things can’t be seen with your physical eyes. To understand the fullness of the policy, you have to be able to think and see with your mind’s eye.

Likewise, with rent control people think, You impose rent control and people get lower rents, and that’s the entirety of the analysis as far as they’re concerned. There’s nothing further we need to consider. We just take these fat cats and just force them to lower rents, and then everybody gets lower rent and that’s, as far as the midwit is concerned, that’s the end of the discussion, because that’s what he sees with his physical eyes. But, for people capable of seeing with their mind’s eye, they ask other questions like, How many people are going to start building low-cost rental housing if they know that this ceiling has been imposed? There will obviously be far less housing built, which will make the problem of housing people worse. We also know that at these particular rates, you have a million people and surfeit of demand, so if you’re a landlord, you can be a jerk, you don’t have to fix that leaky pipe, you don’t have to do any maintenance, because if somebody’s upset about it, you got 8 million other people who would be very happy to take that person’s place.

So, in other words, if you see with your mind’s eye, you understand that rent control is a lot more complicated than just Duh, we forced them to lower the rent and it’s low for everybody. And in fact, if, for some reason, you wanted to lower rents through the means of government impositions, you would actually want to do the exact opposite of rent control. You would want to control every single price in the entire economy except rents, because that would make entrepreneurs not want to go into the production of anything other than rental property because everything else would be unprofitable. The one thing they could produce would be rental property, which would lead to a collapse in rental prices, which would be great for everybody. So, literally the opposite of what these people recommend would be the best thing. But the point is, we have to think about all the consequences for everybody.

Well, the same thing goes for public health, because my talk could be called “Public Health in One Lesson.” Because yes, if you simply focus monomaniacally on one virus, you might be able to say, Look at what we did for this one virus. You might be able to say that. I’m not even sure they can say that, but they might be able to say, Look what we’ve done for people with this one virus, and then, being midwits, they leave the discussion right there. They don’t bother to investigate the seventeen other aspects of health that have catastrophically collapsed because of that one thing they did. All they say is, look at what they did in the short run for this targeted group instead of saying, Look at the long-run consequences for everybody. And because they don’t look at that, it’s not even mentioned.

When was the last time Dr. Fauci, who is viewed superstitiously by everybody, even acknowledge that there are collateral damages from lockdowns, even mentioned them? Nothing. And so they’re, therefore, able to turn around and say, You just want people to die. Okay, well, let’s play that game. They want to play it, let’s play it. How about this? We know, for example, coming out of the UK, that there will be more likely to be at least as many, if not more, preventable cancer deaths than covid deaths because of the diversion of resources into covid and the panicking of everybody about it. And so we read Richard Sullivan, professor of cancer and global health at King’s College London, director of its Institute for Cancer Policy, saying “The number of deaths due to the disruption of cancer services is likely to outweigh the number of deaths from the coronavirus itself. The cessation and delay of cancer care will cause considerable avoidable suffering. Cancer screening services have stopped, which means we will miss our chance to catch many cancers when they are treatable and curable, such as cervical, bowel and breast. When we do restart normal service delivery after the lockdown is lifted, the backlog of cases will be a huge challenge to the healthcare system.”

We read on October 6 in the Daily Mail coming out of the UK, that health secretary Matt Hancock says, “Cancer patients may only be guaranteed treatment if COVID-19 stays under control.” How about that? This is the Daily Mail, which is much more honest than the American press. “Almost two and a half million people missed out on cancer screening, referrals or treatment at the height of lockdown—even though the NHS was never overwhelmed.” They had the honesty in the UK to say that. “Experts now fear the number of people dying as a result of delays triggered by the treatment of coronavirus patients could even end up being responsible for as many deaths as the pandemic itself.” Now, we won’t see that kind of effect right away. It’s not like a huge number of cancer patients are going to die immediately in 2020, but it does mean that people who might have lived an extra fifteen to twenty years, may live just another three or four, and we’ll see those numbers in the coming years.

Then we heard a United Nations report in April saying that “economic hardship generated by the radical interruptions of commerce could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020.” UNICEF later increased that number to 1.2 million child deaths, and at Oxford University Professor Sunetra Gupta has reminded us several times, in recent weeks and months, of the UN’s prediction that as many as 130 million people could be at risk of starvation because of the lockdown, because of the possibility of famine in several dozen places around the world. Now who are the ones who don’t care about human life?

But, that’s not all, because in the United States in Oakland, California, we have Benjamin Miller of the Well Being Trust who tells us, as coauthor of a study on deaths of despair—so that’s drug or alcohol abuse or suicide—that an excess—that is to say, above what would normally occur—of 75,000 deaths will occur as a result of all this. Not to mention the CDC itself estimates that in the United States alone, there will be more than 93,000 excess noncovid deaths this year because of what’s been going on, including over 42,000 from cardiovascular conditions, over 10,000 from diabetes, and 3,600 from cancer. A recent UK study just out found that the risk of death was increased because of lockdowns by 53 percent among seniors with dementia and another 123 percent among seniors with severe mental illness. For four decades, India Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Stayarthi rescued thousands of children from slavery and human trafficking and he fears that that’s going to be reversed. He says the biggest threat is that millions of children may fall back into slavery, trafficking, child labor, child marriage. Well, with millions of families being pushed into poverty, they’re being pressured to do something, to put their children to work to make ends meet. So this is being done.

They’re trying these lockdowns even in the developing world, where people live hand to mouth. When you live hand to mouth, it means that every day you earn enough money to feed yourself for that day, and they’re being told to stay home for weeks and months. I think we see where this is going. Now, the people of Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, when they got wind of their government’s lockdown plans, they rose up and said, We’re not abiding by this. There will be no lockdown. And so there wasn’t. We could learn from them.

Even The Atlantic had to admit, “When you ask them to stay home, in many cases, you’re asking them to starve.” In the UK, The Telegraph says, “The absurd demand that developing countries adopt economically disastrous lockdowns is driving untold misery.” How often is that mentioned in the US? Ever? Any of our people ever mention that? No, it’s You want to kill people, because you want to live your life. Or because you don’t want two years of your kids’ lives taken away from them. Because now we’re being told, Maybe you can have your life back in the spring of 2022. Not fifteen days to flatten the curve, probably spring of 2022 you can start getting back all these pleasurable things that make life worth living. Okay. So, it seems to me that the crazies who think that public health should mean a monomaniacal fixation on one virus and then pretending that none of the other stuff is happening should have to answer for this a little bit more.

Now, some of this stuff that I’m talking about now appears in—wait for it—the free e-book I wrote on this subject: Your Facebook Friends Are Wrong about the Lockdown. They’re even wronger than you thought—wrong as wrong can be if you value human life and flourishing. So, in the United States, you can get this free book by just texting the word lockdown to the number 33444, and you’ll like it because it smashes these SOBs completely. Or you can get it at wrongaboutlockdown.com. Yes, I bought that domain, I was so happy to nab that one.

Not to mention that of course over the course of this people’s life savings have been depleted, their livelihoods have been destroyed and things that give their lives meaning and fulfillment abruptly removed. So, we’re supposed to believe that all that matters is just biological existence. And this prompts some interesting philosophical questions. If I could live to be 120 and enjoy robust health for all those years, but the price was we would destroy all the architectural treasures of Europe, we would abolish music altogether, and we would restrict social life to 5 percent of its formal level, would I choose that? Who would? Human happiness is not some optional extra. These things, like close, intimate relationships or so-called large gatherings, like concerts, theater, lectures, church, sporting events, the arts in general—if you think these are merely dispensable adjuncts to human life and flourishing, you have no business being in charge of anything. These are life itself, and as I’ve said in a previous talk, for anybody who performs in front of an audience—and particularly think about your children, dancers, musicians, athletes, magicians, comedians, singers, actors, whatever—they’re basically being told, Maybe you can never have this. Maybe you can never ever do what brings your soul happiness. And yeah, maybe we can’t have these until we have a vaccine, said Dr. Zeke Emanuel. “We may have to give up cherished things for a long time,” he says—things like schooling and income and contact with our friends and extended family for at least eighteen months. Maybe this talk could also be called “Get Bent.”

Well, another terrifying statistic came out recently, showing the grim if entirely predictable effects all this inhuman regimentation has been having on the young, particularly those between 18 and 24. Now, the federal government has a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. And they, among other things, look at percentages of people who have considered suicide within the previous twelve months.

Now typically, before all these lockdowns occurred, in the 18–25 group, it fluctuates between just under 7 percent and 11 percent of those people have contemplated suicide in the previous 12 months. What we now know is that just in June—not twelve months, just one month—it’s now over 25 percent of them have contemplated suicide in just one month.

Now why is that?

We’ve taken away everything they love, deprived them of the opportunity to socialize and to experience those irreplaceable moments of youth and demanded they accept this dystopia as the new normal and tell them there’s something wrong with them if they long for normal human life, the kind that is lived by humans. Yeah, that’s selfish, that right there. That’s selfish.

One of my friends has a friend in Melbourne, Australia, which is under a severe lockdown. Here’s what this friend wrote:

It’s been three months since I saw another human face besides [my partner’s].

Seven months since [my partner] and I had a little break together in the form of going and having a coffee down the street.

Over a year since I last sat out in nature. Sitting staring at the wall for two hours, again, unable to move.

Despair

Horrible negative emotions virtually all day.

Awake and tired nights, distress.

I can’t think of anything to look forward to because I don’t know when we will be allowed to do anything.

Just go for a drive, go to the forest.

Just go somewhere together, far from all this.

We are not allowed.

The police could enter our homes at any point and arrest us if we say the “wrong” thing online. That has happened.

This doesn’t feel human.

I don’t smile.

I don’t laugh.

I worked out the other day and I felt nothing, no pain.

Nothing would register as pain.

I couldn’t feel anything.

I feel far away from myself.

Sometimes I forget how long the day has been going for.

Does it matter?

You’re not allowed to leave, even if family members are terminally ill. They could die before we are let out of Melbourne. We got told it isn’t a good enough reason to be let out.

You aren’t allowed more than five kilometers from your house.

You aren’t allowed to buy a takeaway coffee and sit under a tree or on the ground anywhere that isn’t your house.

This isn’t human.

This isn’t human.

This isn’t human.

This isn’t human.

There is no empathy here.

No price is too high.

Suicide is not too great a price to pay.

Self-harm is not too great a price to pay.

Structural brain changes in large portions of the population is not too high a price to pay.

Do you know what prolonged social isolation does to the brain?

We are made to feel it does not matter because all we are, are numbers.

We are not people; we are the masses without a say

Without a time period to look forward to when we can hug again

I am sharing my experience because you should know the truth.

Sincerely,

A faceless number in Melbourne.



Source: Zero Hedge, “This Isn’t Human!” – The ‘Unseen’ Perils Of COVID From “A Faceless Number In Melbourne”

China's Central Bank Poised To Legalize Digital Yuan As Part Of Sovereign Fiat Currency

China’s Central Bank Poised To Legalize Digital Yuan As Part Of Sovereign Fiat Currency

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 22:45

China is poised to give legal backing to the launch of its own sovereign digital currency, cementing its trailblazer status in virtual currencies far ahead of other countries, after already recently experimenting with large-scale trials of actual payments by consumers, which was met with mixed results

The South China Morning Post reported Tuesday that “The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) published a draft law on Friday that would give legal status to the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) system, and for the first time the digital yuan has been included and defined as part of the country’s sovereign fiat currency.”

Up until very recently, the whole project has been kept very secretive even during the latest closed, limited tests among select parts of the population. Previous reports described it acting akin to well-known stablecoins in the cryptocurrency world.

The design framework for the digital yuan was released one year ago on the heels of Facebook’s ambitious but disastrous Libra token rollout after founding corporate partners split for lack of confidence in the project and on fears US federal regulators would seek to block it just as they did encrypted-messaging company Telegram’s Gram cryptocurrency.

“The draft law would also forbid any party from making or issuing yuan-backed digital tokens to replace the renminbi in the market,” SCMP continues.

Amid reports early this week that Beijing is fast moving on the digital yuan’s legal status, Bitcoin’s price hit a new 2020 high at $13,670 on Tuesday.

Within the past months the government conducted multiple trials in the cities Suzhou, Chengdu, Xiongan and Shenzhen – in the latter city conducting the largest test so far by issuing a total ten million yuan (US$1.5 million) in digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected people to use. “It was as quick as when I use Alipay,” one Shenzhen resident said in reference to one of China’s two largest mobile payment apps. 

But regional media have also featured consistent negative reactions. China’s government has sought to downplay that the DCEP is a competitor to Alipay and WeChat, which was a consistent issue during the latest major trials among shoppers, as Asia Times relates:

“Alipay and WeChat Pay have been out for a long time,” said a shopper who gave only her surname, Zhong. “The new digital currency is similar to those so it’s quite late to just start the trial,” said Zhong, an accountant.

One bombshell section of the SCMP report lays out eyebrow raising ambitious goals as follows:

The central government has made it clear that the goals of the DCEP include replacing cash, maintaining government control over the currency and creating as many small retail application scenarios as possible. China is also looking to internationalize the yuan by enhancing its use in international settlements.

As expected, counterfeit wallets of digital yuan are already popping up, hence the rationale for China’s central bank draft law seeking to define it as officially regulated.

For the above goals to be realized the DCEP would have to prove itself just as efficient as using paper yuan, which obviously raises the issue of personal electronic devices going offline. The payment system is said to incorporate dual offline technology to compensate for this potential major issue in cases of weak signals. All of this would be crucial in getting the average consumer to adopt the technology, especially when it comes to small retail exchanges – which remains common to the majority of the Chinese population. 



Source: Zero Hedge, China’s Central Bank Poised To Legalize Digital Yuan As Part Of Sovereign Fiat Currency

Smith: A Biden Presidency Will Mean A Faster US Collapse

Smith: A Biden Presidency Will Mean A Faster US Collapse

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 22:25

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us,

The election of 2020 is perhaps the most bizarre affair in modern American history; not since the post Civil War turmoil of reconstruction and the election of 1876 have we seen the nation divided so completely along ideological lines. Questions of states rights vs. federal power were at the forefront at that time, and the presence of federal troops in the American south was a primary voting concern. The Democrats were the party of the Confederacy, the Republicans were the party of the Union. Though they had lost the war, southerners were finding ways to strike back during the elections.

With the Republican party suffering from corruption allegations and public sentiment shifting against the federal occupation, the Democrats were gaining massive ground and a Democratic sweep was thought to be imminent. However, there were reports of ballot box fraud on BOTH sides of the aisle; in many voting districts the counted number of votes exceeded the number of people (often on the side of Republicans). Republicans sought to challenge poll results in closely contested states to stop the Democrats and former confederates from taking political power, a situation they considered to be a “potential national disaster”.

The election became a stalemate of legal battles and fraud investigations. Ultimately a deal was struck – The Republicans would take the White House and in exchange federal troops would be removed from the South (the Republicans knew that voting fraud on their side would be exposed and that another civil war could erupt in response). Ultimately, the votes did not matter in the case of a contested election; what mattered was which outcome was the most convenient for the stability of the day and the election result was maneuvered to that end.

(Special Note: If you try to learn more about the 1876 election, I recommend searching for articles and books that are more than 5-10 years old. Anything written in the past few years on the subject is rife with spin and disinformation. Just check out this article from Time Magazine and try to swim through the propaganda! The part where they attempt to explain why democrats used to be the party of the confederacy is especially hilarious – basically, the democrats of the past were more like the “racist republicans” of today. The communist penchant for rewriting history is on full display.)

Today, we have a different dynamic and a different priority for the establishment: Which outcome will lead to the biggest disaster, and who will take the blame? In contrast to 1876, I believe that in 2020 the elites are seeking to INCREASE the level of instability, not calm the waters. The mainstream media has launched a massive fear campaign hinting at a contested election and both sides of the aisle are accusing the other of encouraging ballot fraud. I have no doubt that whichever way the election goes, millions of Americans will refuse to accept the results.

To be clear, I don’t really view modern elections from the perspective of “winning” and “losing”. It’s hard for me to say exactly what was going on behind the curtain in 1876, but today I think it is foolish to engage in election analysis without first accepting the reality that the game is rigged. Biden is a full blown globalist and is proud of it; Trump is surrounded by globalists and banking elites in his own cabinet. Regardless of who loses the election, the elites win. The only question I am here to ask is, which candidate serves the globalist agenda most effectively right now?

My original prediction for the 2020 election this past summer was that the White House would go to Donald Trump, but under sharply contested conditions. I predicted Trump’s win in 2016 based on the premise that the establishment needed a conservative scapegoat for the impending collapse of the US economy as we know it along with the civil unrest and calamity this event would inspire. I stated unequivocally on numerous occasions that Trump would preside over America’s rapid decline and that conservative ideals and principles would be blamed by extension.

And behold, in 2020 this is exactly what is happening, with a pandemic and the implosion of the “Everything Bubble” now in full swing and the media placing it all in the lap of Trump and conservatives.

Now, whether or not people believe this tripe is another matter. As it stands, the worst hit states economically are states controlled by leftist politicians that are enforcing draconian lockdown restrictions on the public. States populated predominantly by conservatives are fairing much better overall.

The bottom line is, which outcome serves the establishment narrative? Do the elites need Trump in office longer in order to crash the system completely on his watch? I believe this is the case. Like Clinton, Biden represents one of the worst possible candidates that could have been chosen as a believable opponent for Trump if the intent is to remove Trump from the Oval Office. His odd mental breaks, embarrassing gaffs, his habit of being creepily over-familiar with women and young girls and his exposure to corruption through foreign ties make him a poor contender.

To be sure, democrats and leftists will vote for him anyway out of spite, but I have a hard time seeing him rallying a wide cross section of Americans that would give him an edge. If the establishment wanted to be rid off Trump, they could have chosen better.

But what if I’m wrong and a Biden presidency is forthcoming? What if ballots are rigged to one side, as they were in 1876? What if a contested election leads to an “agreement” in which Trump steps down? What would it mean to have Biden in the White House?

Well, the US system as we know it is going to fall either way, at least in terms of the economy. This is a process that was initiated many years ago, with the impetus of financial bubbles hitting disaster proportions in 2008. Nothing has improved since then; in fact, the central bank bailouts and stimulus measures only INCREASED the likelihood of a collapse event by inflating corporate and national debt levels while simultaneously diminishing the buying power of the dollar. The only difference between Trump and Biden in this regard is how fast the collapse will happen.

With Trump, the crash will most likely happen slower and more methodically as the establishment takes its time building the narrative that conservative ideals, nationalism, sovereignty movements, etc. “caused” the calamity.

They need time to condition the masses to the idea that such philosophies are “inherently selfish” and destructive. Meaning, at least with Trump, we have a little more time to prepare for the inevitable.

With Biden in office the time frame changes completely and the crash must move faster. Why? Because the globalists cannot allow a Biden Administration (and by extension the globalists themselves) to be labeled as the culprits behind the crash. They would have to expedite the downturn in the early months of Biden’s first term so that the media can claim the crisis is an aftereffect of Trump’s presidency.

If Biden does enter the White House in 2021, expect a hard plunge in economic fundamentals almost immediately.

Another factor of a Biden presidency would be the near certainty of federally enforced pandemic lockdowns similar to those now being implemented in countries like France and Germany. Forget about the current state-by-state lockdown orders and nuances; Biden WILL attempt a national lockdown mandate because he is not held back by a need to appeal to a conservative and liberty minded constituency like Trump is. Biden will go for broke, and the economy will take another massive hit as more businesses go into bankruptcy at breakneck speed. And again, this would have to be implemented quickly so that Trump and conservatives can be blamed. They will claim harsh lockdowns “have to be pursued” because conservatives refused to accept them during the early stages of the pandemic.

In light of a Trump “win”, it is obvious that a second term would be used as an invitation for mass demonstrations and riots by extreme leftists, but, this threat doesn’t go away with Biden in office. Actually, the riots may become worse under Biden. The social justice cult will see Biden as a “malleable” and easily controlled political figure who will do anything to appease them. Biden will placate the hard left; not because he fears them, but because he has a role to play in this great Kabuki theater and it serves the interests of the globalist agenda at the moment.

Finally, if the establishment puts Biden in the White House it means they want national gun restrictions or outright confiscation within the first couple years of his term. Biden’s anti-2nd Amendment views are hardly ambiguous. With Trump, the chances of a gun grab are much slimmer (though he has voiced support for Red Flag laws in the past). Under Biden, the gun grab attempt will be swift. This threat along with Level 4 lockdowns on a national level would elicit the only logical response for conservatives – armed rebellion.

I do not think this is what the globalists want at this point in time. I do not think they have the capacity to handle it, and I do not think they would be able to get a majority of law enforcement and the military to go along with such policies. This is why I continue to believe they prefer Trump in office and that they will use economic decline and the “failure” of conservative policies as a false rationale for the “global reset” the elites seem to be so excited about.

Be warned, however, that if Biden ends up in office, this should be treated as a sign that a high speed collapse is on the way.

*  *  *

If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE.



Source: Zero Hedge, Smith: A Biden Presidency Will Mean A Faster US Collapse

Apartment Prices Are Crashing In Major Cities Worldwide

Apartment Prices Are Crashing In Major Cities Worldwide

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 22:05

Covid’s effect on cities is starting to hit the price of rentals – and it’s not just in the United States. 

Apartment prices in some of the richest cities in the world are starting to show the effects of an exodus out of crowded city areas in order to move to more spacious suburbs. A slowing ebb and flow of international students, combined with a younger generation growing disinterested in paying city-price premiums, are both helping the demand side of the rental equation dry up. 

Tim Lawless, Asia Pacific head of research for data provider CoreLogic Inc., told Bloomberg: “You’re daft if you aren’t negotiating lower rent right now. Supply is high and occupancy has fallen off a cliff.”’

Renters across the country and renegotiating with their landlords. For example, Christine Chung just negotiated a 9% reduction in rent for the house she lives in in Sydney, Australia

She told Bloomberg: “I’ll push for another rent reduction at the end of the lease. The market has changed.”

In New York, Manhattan apartments are the “cheapest they’ve been since 2013”.

The number of listings in the city have tripled from a year ago and the city’s median rent has fallen 11%. Studio rents have plunged even further, disproportionately. 

In San Francisco, the median monthly rent for a studio fell 31% in September from a year prior, to $2,285. This far outpaced the national average of a 0.5% drop. 

Rents have also plunged in Toronto, down 14.5% in Q3 compared to the year prior. Properties are staying on the market longer, as well. The average time for a property to stay on the market has risen to 26 days in August versus 14 days a year prior. 

Toronto also has a significant amount of new property supply hitting the market, as Airbnb operators move to longer term leases and new apartment projects are completed. 

Some sellers are “dumping units below market value” in anticipation of prices falling further, Bloomberg notes. An economist at Canada’s national housing agency said: “The overall housing system seems to be dividing in two. This is where risks start to appear.”

London is a city feeling the brunt of slowing international students and executives traveling. Rents in the city’s priciest areas are down 8.1% year-to-date through September. 

7 out of 10 respondents to a recent survey in London say they expect prices to continue to fall over the next three months. London West End appraiser Mark Wilson said: “Applicants are noticeably fewer. Rents are still a one-way bet in our view, and it’s south.”

Singapore has also seen a drop in rental volumes as a result of a drop in expats in Asia. Rental volumes of private units were down 8% from a year prior and rents are 17% below their 2013 peak. Despite the country being in the midst of a recession, home sales (indicating a desire to move out of the city) are at the highest level in more than 2 years. 

As mentioned above, Sydney is experiencing record high vacancy rates, which spiked to 16% in May. These rates have stabilized to about 13% now, as compared to the 5% pre-pandemic. Sydney also suffers from a lack of international student travel. 

Despite the dip now, experts predict cities will eventually once again become hot spots. Christian A. Nygaard, a researcher in social economics at Swinburne University of Technology, concluded: “History tells us cities can be remarkably resilient. Covid doesn’t evaporate all the investment that has gone into the central parts of our cities.”



Source: Zero Hedge, Apartment Prices Are Crashing In Major Cities Worldwide

Welcome To COVID-World

Welcome To COVID-World

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 21:45

Authored by Ian James Kidd and Matthew Ratcliffe via TheCritic.co.uk,

On 8 September, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of a deadly condition that is likely to kill around 11 million people worldwide every year.

This includes 2.9 million deaths among children, most of which are preventable. Given these awful projections, it is surely clear that urgent action is needed: social distancing; facemasks; lockdowns; unprecedented investment in vaccine development.

But that wouldn’t address the problem, because we’re talking about sepsis, something that affects 49 million people annually and also leaves many survivors with long-term health problems.

While its press release about sepsis received little media attention, the WHO’s subsequent warning that Covid-19’s global death toll could reach 2 million, even if a vaccine is found, was awarded a prominent position on the BBC News website and elsewhere.

So which should we be more worried about and where should our efforts be invested so as to minimise suffering, long-term illness and deaths?

The emphasis has been placed firmly on prevention of Covid-19 deaths, most of which involve elderly people with significant comorbidities. Forget about sepsis. Forget about numerous other serious and preventable diseases.

And while we’re at it, let’s also set aside the enormous and wide-ranging collateral damage caused by lockdowns and other measures: deaths due to other diseases that were left undiagnosed or untreated; widespread mental health problems; the health and well-being costs of unemployment and poverty; massive disruption of education; countless precious life-moments lost that can never be recovered; traumatic birth experiences; increased domestic abuse; and many people living out the last few months of their lives in isolation and misery, after which friends and relatives feel unable to grieve properly due to social distancing measures. And that’s without even looking beyond the UK.

Perhaps, when the costs of responding to Covid-19 by doing nothing or doing less are considered carefully, it will become clear that the emphasis is appropriate and the costs justified. Nevertheless, there is surely room for public disagreement and debate. How great a risk does the disease pose, compared to other risks that are routinely accepted? Is locking down entire populations a proportionate or morally justifiable response? These are some of the questions important to a robust public debate.

Academic philosophers, such as us, like to question assumptions, consider alternative perspectives and find holes in arguments. However, in questioning the orthodox Covid-19 narrative (according to which there is an unprecedented threat, best dealt with via extreme social restrictions), we are rarely met with careful consideration and counterarguments. More often, we get awkward looks, expressions of discomfort or disapproval, and a steadfast refusal to even contemplate the possibility of certain claims being mistaken or certain actions misguided.

Sometimes, there is the feeling of being estranged from it all, watching — with detached curiosity — the dedicated social-distancing and confident virtue-signalling of those evidently immune from doubt. They know what is happening; they know what is right; they know what to do. How easy it would be to set aside any remaining doubts, immerse oneself fully in these performances, and — with time — recover a sense of solidarity and certainty.

That said, there must be a place for honest, high-quality, critical debate, especially at a time like this, involving considerable uncertainty and extremely high stakes. So, rather than falling in line, we instead want to offer a diagnosis of others’ confidence. Why do so many people appear reluctant to even consider the possibility that lockdowns might be ineffective or inappropriate responses to the situation, that the widespread imposition of non-medical facemasks is based on inadequate evidence, and that the costs of certain measures, in terms of lives lost or blighted, may turn out to be higher than the gains?

We could point to an assortment of reasoning biases at work here, some of which play an especially prominent role in situations of uncertainty and threat. Think of the availability bias, for instance: the prospect of being attacked by a shark while swimming may be considerably more worrying than that of being run over while crossing the road to the beach, although the latter is more likely.

However, there is also an overarching shortcoming that unites various biases, one that we see time and time again: a failure to consider things in their wider context. Granted, the virus is a serious problem, but how does it compare to other threats we face? Perhaps we do need to lock down our societies to slow the rate of transmission, but are such radical steps consistent with how various other kinds of risks are appraised? It is clear that non-medical facemasks reduce the spread of large droplets, but simple interventions can have complex effects in the context of actual social environments. Is it really so obvious that the various behavioural changes they elicit will collectively serve to reduce transmission?

it is difficult to address such questions when Covid deaths are reported without any reference to all-cause mortality, when mask-wearing is presented as obviously right, and when calls for cost-benefit analyses are met with quiet disapproval or blunt charges of callousness, as though this were a straightforward matter of deciding to save lives or instead to protect the economy.

Sometimes, it can feel as though one’s interlocutors live in another world, a place where different rules and standards apply, where different things seem obvious, and where certain facts are not up for debate at all. They operate with different sets of certainties, in ways that lock out the possibility of critical discussion. We think this may actually be what is happening: there really is a way in which many people have come to inhabit a different world. Let’s explore the idea further.

Back in 1889, the philosopher and psychologist William James suggested that, during the course of our lives, we slide between different “worlds” or “sub-universes”, including the worlds of “sense”, “science”, “the supernatural”, “individual opinion”, and “sheer madness”. These worlds are connected to varying degrees, although immersion in one can lead one to lose sight of others. According to James, all of us place the flag of truth in one or another of these worlds, taking it to be our “world of ultimate realities”. It is not something we seek evidence for or subject to critical scrutiny. Rather, it is a context we take as given when thinking through matters and weighing up evidence.

Consider how, during the course of daily life, some things appear more salient than others — they light up for us, stand out, grab our attention. These things also matter to us in different ways: maybe they excite us, threaten us, comfort us, draw us in, or repel us. Whether and how we find various things salient or significant depends on our projects, commitments, and values, which become engrained over many years and operate as a lens through which we see and think about everything. But there is more to having a world than having such a lens, and recognising this takes us closer to understanding certain reactions to the pandemic.

For James, what is most fundamental is an underlying, inarticulate feeling of how things are. This includes a deeply-felt sense of the essential character of the world, whether it is fundamentally good or bad, what is up for debate and what is to be accepted without question. Also included is a sense of the kinds of people we should take seriously in our personal efforts to understand things. For instance, writing a few years earlier, James describes his philosophical opponent, the rationalist, as inhabiting a world that is too crisp, clean, simplified, and abstract — “too buttoned-up … and clean-shaven” to capture “the vast slow-breathing unconscious Kosmos”.

We suspect that many people have slipped into a sort of “Covidworld” and moved the flag of truth to that world, via a process that resembles religious conversion more than it does the adoption of new beliefs that remain open to critical scrutiny. As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once put it, some people get converted to a very different “picture of the world”, complete with its own certainties, practices and ways of speaking.

To understand how this could have happened, consider the swift and profound effects that the March lockdown had on our practically meaningful worlds. Intricate webs of well-established projects and pastimes were suddenly suspended or lost. Work stopped or changed radically. Over the ensuing months, our everyday habits of life were replaced with something new and unfamiliar.

More usually, our efforts to cope with profound life-disruptions and negotiate instability involve turning to other people for advice, guidance, and support. When this works, our interrupted sense of what is compelling or reasonable is renewed and our sense of stability returns. Lockdown reduced this kind of support, as we were all affected by it and cut off from many of our usual social interactions. Constantly subjected to the mantra, “stay at home; protect the NHS; save lives”, the variety and spontaneity of our collective social life was replaced by the clapping, the rainbows, the daily government briefings, the charts of new cases and deaths, the burgeoning signage telling us all to keep our distance, the arrows on the pavements, and the social media bombardment. Then came facemasks, the threat of Long Covid, socially distanced classrooms, ominous predictions of a “second wave”, an increasingly elaborate set of new restrictions, a tier system, and calls for circuit-breakers.

Along with all of this, there has been a subtler and more pervasive alteration in many people’s sense of how things are with the world. It is no longer homely in the way it once was. Everything is shrouded in danger and distrust. A world that was once a theatre of possibilities is now suffused with an air of dread. People we might once have passed on the street with a smile or a nod are now experienced as potential disease carriers, to be met with suspicion or avoided.

In the context of this altered way of finding ourselves in the world, a new system of rules, projects, practices and pastimes has taken hold. Fear of the virus is the single fulcrum around which everything now turns, shaping our attention, concerns, conversations, and activities. For many, the world feels altogether different, like the inevitable onset of a winter that must be endured with grim resignation.

Over time, Covidworld tightens its grip, eclipsing all other concerns. It reminds us of Wittgenstein’s example of a culture dominated by belief in a Last Judgment, a conviction expressed “not by reasoning or by appeal to ordinary grounds for belief”, but through its role in “regulating” all aspects of life. Similarly, Covidworld offers a simple, internally coherent substitute for the messier and more complicated reality we once inhabited.

A reluctance on the part of many people to engage in serious debate can be understood in terms of the transition into this different world, a place complete with its own foundational beliefs and performances. Lockdowns work; masks lessen transmission; the second wave is an unacceptable threat and must be suppressed.

Since all of this is beyond doubt, questions about the adequacy of evidence are often reinterpreted in moral terms and dismissed as irresponsible acts of “covidiocy”. Many of those who would more usually insist on examining alternative possibilities or challenge the party line now fall strangely silent. Lack of critical reflection is further fuelled by a distrust of those who do not belong to Covidworld.

Granted, there are conspiracy-mongers who fail to grasp that 5G masts cannot spread viruses, but there are also those who ask questions that really ought to be seen as sensible, like whether a range of social restrictions are proportionate, in view of their human, social, and economic costs. For those firmly embedded in Covidworld, however, such questions may seem no less far-fetched than that of someone who seriously wonders whether the world is just a dream. The flag of truth now flies in Covidworld; it is not a place to be questioned, but the place within which questioning takes place.

Could something like this really be happening? We think so. It would certainly explain a curious detachment of the standards applied to Covid-19 from standards normally applied elsewhere, especially concerning attitudes towards risk. The world has always been a tough place to live in. Our sense of safety and security could be shattered at any time by accident, serious illness, loss of abilities, bereavement, mistreatment at the hands of others, unemployment, failure, or humiliation. And, whatever else happens, death will catch up with us eventually.

Ordinarily, most of us don’t pay much attention to the risks we face, instead sleepwalking past them until they strike. Yet we still know, in a sort of detached way, that more than 10,000 people die most weeks in the UK, that many of those deaths are preventable, that influenza kills thousands of people every winter, and that many human lives are constantly marred by disease, poverty, neglect and cruelty. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the death and suffering caused by the virus, but at the same time eclipsed other concerns. Yes, this is really horrible, but things have always been horrible. Shine the light more widely and you will find much more of the same.

Even allowing that Covid-19 is a significantly greater risk to many people than, say, influenza, there remains a curious disconnection between attitudes towards risk in the two cases. Winter flu deaths have been an accepted part of life for many years, while Covid-19 takes centre-stage. What seems different now is that the rules, standards, practices, values, and attitudes internal to Covidworld have become cut off, to varying degrees, from the wider context of human life.

One might respond that we should have been more concerned about influenza all along and that we should have taken more care with easily implementable hygiene measures long ago. That is right and there are lessons to be learned. Similarly, there are good grounds for suggesting that more should be done to tackle sepsis.

But what would happen if we eliminated all of the inconsistency by taking the standards applied to Covid-19 and applying them to every other form of risk?

The social world would come to present itself as an all-enveloping threat, a harsh realm within which life would be intolerable.

Human life is replete with risks, but we manage them by making judgments shaped by a sense of salience and proportionality, rooted in the wider context of our social world. That is why it is important to understand and challenge the widespread decontextualisation that attends Covid-19. However, the extent of this challenge should not be underestimated. When the gulf seems somehow too vast for critical debate to get off the ground, when you are struck by the uncanny feeling of encountering a perspective that is quite alien, maybe that’s because they really are from another world.



Source: Zero Hedge, Welcome To COVID-World

WeWork CEO Says Company Will Give IPO Another Shot After Anticipated Return To Profitability In 2021

WeWork CEO Says Company Will Give IPO Another Shot After Anticipated Return To Profitability In 2021

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 21:25

Earlier today, the FT reported on new discovery evidence showing that SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son essentially ordered WeWork’s CEO to postpone a $3 billion tender offer for shares held by WeWork founder Adam Neumann and a group of early WeWork investors. For months now, WeWork related news has consisted mostly of back-and-forth related to the lawsuit, and musings about how the coronavirus couldn’t have arrived at a worse time for the company.

A week ago, Fitch projected that even though WeWork’s cash burn rate had been cut by nearly 40% between 2019 and 2020 under the new management team, the ratings agency still downgraded the company, arguing that the virus and its aftermath could threaten the company’s ability to continue making debt payments for bonds that are due to be paid back in 2025.

While those bonds have repriced substantially lower over the past year, there’s been whispers about SoftBank planning a SPAC, possibly with the intention of giving WeWork another go at it.

Well, in the most telling sign yet that SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son might be coming back to give WeWork another shot, the Telegraph is reporting that WeWork is considering making a second attempt at an IPO in the not-too-distant future as it projects to finally become “profitable” in 2021.

Sandeep Mathrani, who joined the office space rental business in February, told Bloomberg that the business is on track to become profitable next year after it laid off around a third of employees.

“I’m a big believer in one step at a time so let’s hit profitable growth first, and we’ll then revisit the IPO plan,” he said.

Mr Mathrani said the company does not have any plans to lay off more staff, saying that WeWork is “100pc done with rightsizing.

The business saw occupancy rates of 66pc in the first three months of 2020, according to its chief executive. “With the cost cuts that would be where we see cash coming in,” he said. “We will get to that level by next year.”

To be sure, the Telegraph didn’t specify if this “profitability” metric would be net profit, or some kind of “community adjusted” profitability that aims to project how profitable WeWork would have been if it the virus had never hit – or something like that (for more on this topic, see this interview with Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger from earlier this year).

Mathrani also said he’s still in contact with his predecessor, despite the ongoing and increasingly acrimonious lawsuit mentioned above. “We chitchat twice a month and the conversation is about the business,” Mathrani said. “He wants to know how I’m doing”.

Of course, if Neumann loses his lawsuit and gets stuck with his WeWork shares, a miraculous turnaround would be the only way for him to ever that third comma back to his net worth. As of now, the company’s executive chairman, Marcelo Claure, is insisting that the business won’t go bankrupt.

We must admit, the notion of a WeWork comeback sounds pretty unlikely considering the shellacking the company took in the business press. But as the last few years have taught us, anything is possible in this wacky world. Especially if the Fed’s money taps are still running when the dust has settled.



Source: Zero Hedge, WeWork CEO Says Company Will Give IPO Another Shot After Anticipated Return To Profitability In 2021

Here's The 'Censored' Biden Story That Forced Glenn Greenwald To Quit The Firm He Founded

Here’s The ‘Censored’ Biden Story That Forced Glenn Greenwald To Quit The Firm He Founded

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 21:12

Via Glenn Greenwald’s substack,

I am posting here the most recent draft of my article about Joe and Hunter Biden – the last one seen by Intercept editors before telling me that they refuse to publish it absent major structural changes involving the removal of all sections critical of Joe Biden, leaving only a narrow article critiquing media outlets. I will also, in a separate post, publish all communications I had with Intercept editors surrounding this article so you can see the censorship in action and, given the Intercept’s denials, decide for yourselves (this is the kind of transparency responsible journalists provide, and which the Intercept refuses to this day to provide regarding their conduct in the Reality Winner story). This draft obviously would have gone through one more round of proof-reading and editing by me – to shorten it, fix typos, etc – but it’s important for the integrity of the claims to publish the draft in unchanged form that Intercept editors last saw, and announced that they would not “edit” but completely gut as a condition to publication:

An attempt to assess the importance of the known evidence, and a critique of media lies to protect their favored candidate, could not be published at The Intercept

THE REAL SCANDAL: U.S. MEDIA USES FALSEHOODS TO DEFEND JOE BIDEN FROM HUNTER’S EMAILS

Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden’s work in Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the Biden family’s pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these stories.

One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions — the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election — journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.

After the Post’s first article, both that newspaper and other news outlets have published numerous other emails and texts purportedly written to and from Hunter reflecting his efforts to induce his father to take actions as Vice President beneficial to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, on whose board of directors Hunter sat for a monthly payment of $50,000, as well as proposals for lucrative business deals in China that traded on his influence with his father.

Individuals included in some of the email chains have confirmed the contents’ authenticity. One of Hunter’s former business partners, Tony Bubolinski, has stepped forward on the record to confirm the authenticity of many of the emails and to insist that Hunter along with Joe Biden’s brother Jim were planning on including the former Vice President in at least one deal in China. And GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who appeared in one of the published email chains, appeared to confirm the authenticity as well, though he refused to answer follow-up questions about it.

Thus far, no proof has been offered by Bubolinski that Biden ever consummated his participation in any of those discussed deals. The Wall Street Journal says that it found no corporate records reflecting that a deal was finalized and that “text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture.”

But nobody claimed that any such deals had been consummated — so the conclusion that one had not been does not negate the story. Moreover, some texts and emails whose authenticity has not been disputed state that Hunter was adamant that any discussions about the involvement of the Vice President be held only verbally and never put in writing.

Beyond that, the Journal’s columnist Kimberly Strassel reviewed a stash of documents and “found correspondence corroborates and expands on emails recently published by the New York Post,” including ones where Hunter was insisting that it was his connection to his father that was the greatest asset sought by the Chinese conglomerate with whom they were negotiating. The New York Times on Sunday reached a similar conclusion: while no documents prove that such a deal was consummated, “records produced by Mr. Bobulinski show that in 2017, Hunter Biden and James Biden were involved in negotiations about a joint venture with a Chinese energy and finance company called CEFC China Energy,” and “make clear that Hunter Biden saw the family name as a valuable asset, angrily citing his ‘family’s brand’ as a reason he is valuable to the proposed venture.”

These documents also demonstrate, reported the Times, “that the countries that Hunter Biden, James Biden and their associates planned to target for deals overlapped with nations where Joe Biden had previously been involved as vice president.” Strassel noted that “a May 2017 ‘expectations’ document shows Hunter receiving 20% of the equity in the venture and holding another 10% for ‘the big guy’—who Mr. Bobulinski attests is Joe Biden.” And the independent journalist Matt Taibbi published an article on Sunday with ample documentation suggesting that Biden’s attempt to replace a Ukranian prosecutor in 2015 benefited Burisma.

All of these new materials, the authenticity of which has never been disputed by Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign, raise important questions about whether the former Vice President and current front-running presidential candidate was aware of efforts by his son to peddle influence with the Vice President for profit, and also whether the Vice President ever took actions in his official capacity with the intention, at least in part, of benefitting his son’s business associates. But in the two weeks since the Post published its initial story, a union of the nation’s most powerful entities, including its news media, have taken extraordinary steps to obscure and bury these questions rather than try to provide answers to them.

The initial documents, claimed the New York Post, were obtained when the laptops containing them were left at a Delaware repair shop with water damage and never picked up, allowing the owner to access its contents and then turn them over to both the FBI and a lawyer for Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani. The repair store owner confirmed this narrative in interviews with news outlets and then (under penalty of prosecution) to a Senate Committee; he also provided the receipt purportedly signed by Hunter. Neither Hunter nor the Biden campaign has denied these claims.

Publication of that initial New York Post story provoked a highly unusual censorship campaign by Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, through a long-time former Democratic Party operative, vowed to suppress the story pending its “fact-check,” one that has as of yet produced no public conclusions. And while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for Twitter’s handling of the censorship and reversed the policy that led to the blocking of all links the story, the New York Post, the nation’s fourth-largest newspaper, continues to be locked out of its Twitter account, unable to post as the election approaches, for almost two weeks.

After that initial censorship burst from Silicon Valley, whose workforce and oligarchs have donated almost entirely to the Biden campaign, it was the nation’s media outlets and former CIA and other intelligence officials who took the lead in constructing reasons why the story should be dismissed, or at least treated with scorn. As usual for the Trump era, the theme that took center stage to accomplish this goal was an unsubstantiated claim about the Kremlin responsibility for the story.

Numerous news outlets, including the Intercept, quickly cited a public letter signed by former CIA officials and other agents of the security state claiming that the documents have the “classic trademarks” of a “Russian disinformation” plot. But, as media outlets and even intelligence agencies are now slowly admitting, no evidence has ever been presented to corroborate this assertion. On Friday, the New York Times reported that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation” and the paper said even the FBI has “acknowledged that it had not found any Russian disinformation on the laptop.”

The Washington Post on Sunday published an op-ed — by Thomas Rid, one of those centrists establishmentarian professors whom media outlets routinely use to provide the facade of expert approval for deranged conspiracy theories — that contained this extraordinary proclamation: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.”

Even the letter from the former intelligence officials cited by The Intercept and other outlets to insinuate that this was all part of some “Russian disinformation” scheme explicitly admitted that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” though many media outlets omitted that crucial acknowledgement when citing the letter in order to disparage the story as a Kremlin plot:

Despite this complete lack of evidence, the Biden campaign adopted this phrase used by intelligence officials and media outlets as its mantra for why the materials should not be discussed and why they would not answer basic questions about them. “I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation,” said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield about the possibility that Trump would raise the Biden emails at Thursday night’s debate. Biden’s senior advisor Symone Sanders similarly warned on MSNBC: “if the president decides to amplify these latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that is Russian disinformation.”

The few mainstream journalists who tried merely to discuss these materials have been vilified. For the crime of simply noting it on Twitter that first day, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had her name trend all morning along with the derogatory nickname “MAGA Haberman.” CBS News’ Bo Erickson was widely attacked even by his some in the media simply for asking Biden what his response to the story was. And Biden himself refused to answer, accusing Erickson of spreading a “smear.”

That it is irresponsible and even unethical to mention these documents became a pervasive view in mainstream journalism. The NPR Public Editor, in an anazing statement representative of much of the prevailing media mentality, explicitly justified NPR’s refusal to cover the story on the ground that “we do not want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories . . . [or] waste the readers’ and listeners’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

To justify her own show’s failure to cover the story, 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl resorted to an entirely different justification. “It can’t be verified,” the CBS reporter claimed when confronted by President Trump in an interview about her program’s failure to cover the Hunter Biden documents. When Trump insisted there were multiple ways to verify the materials on the laptop, Stahl simply repeated the same phrase: “it can’t be verified.”

After the final presidential debate on Thursday night, a CNN panel mocked the story as too complex and obscure for anyone to follow — a self-fulfilling prophecy given that, as the network’s media reporter Brian Stelter noted with pride, the story has barely been mentioned either on CNN or MSNBC. As the New York Times noted on Friday: “most viewers of CNN and MSNBC would not have heard much about the unconfirmed Hunter Biden emails…. CNN’s mentions of “Hunter” peaked at 20 seconds and MSNBC’s at 24 seconds one day last week.”

On Sunday, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour barely pretended to be interested in any journalism surrounding the story, scoffing during an interview at requests from the RNC’s Elizabeth Harrington to cover the story and verify the documents by telling her: “We’re not going to do your work for you.” Watch how the U.S.’s most mainstream journalists are openly announcing their refusal to even consider what these documents might reflect about the Democratic front-runner:

These journalists are desperate not to know. As Taibbi wrote on Sunday about this tawdry press spectacle: ” The least curious people in the country right now appear to be the credentialed news media, a situation normally unique to tinpot authoritarian societies.”

All of those excuses and pretexts — emanating largely from a national media that is all but explicit in their eagerness for Biden to win — served for the first week or more after the Post story to create a cone of silence around this story and, to this very day, a protective shield for Biden. As a result, the front-running presidential candidate knows that he does not have to answer even the most basic questions about these documents because most of the national press has already signaled that they will not press him to do so; to the contrary, they will concoct defenses on his behalf to avoid discussing it.

The relevant questions for Biden raised by this new reporting are as glaring as they are important. Yet Biden has had to answer very few of them yet because he has not been asked and, when he has, media outlets have justified his refusal to answer rather than demand that he do so. We submitted nine questions to his campaign about these documents that the public has the absolute right to know, including:

  • whether he claims any the emails or texts are fabricated (and, if so, which specific ones);

  • whether he knows if Hunter did indeed drop off laptops at the Delaware repair store;

  • whether Hunter ever asked him to meet with Burisma executives or whether he in fact did so;

  • whether Biden ever knew about business proposals in Ukraine or China being pursued by his son and brother in which Biden was a proposed participant and,

  • how Biden could justify expending so much energy as Vice President demanding that the Ukrainian General Prosecutor be fired, and why the replacement — Yuriy Lutsenko, someone who had no experience in law; was a crony of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko; and himself had a history of corruption allegations — was acceptable if Biden’s goal really was to fight corruption in Ukraine rather than benefit Burisma or control Ukrainian internal affairs for some other objective.

Though the Biden campaign indicated that they would respond to the Intercept’s questions, they have not done so. A statement they released to other outlets contains no answers to any of these questions except to claim that Biden “has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any business overseas.” To date, even as the Biden campaign echoes the baseless claims of media outlets that anyone discussing this story is “amplifying Russian disinformation,” neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign have even said whether they claim the emails and other documents — which they and the press continue to label “Russian disinformation” — are forgeries or whether they are authentic.

The Biden campaign clearly believes it has no need to answer any of these questions by virtue of a panoply of media excuses offered on its behalf that collapse upon the most minimal scrutiny:

First, the claim that the material is of suspect authenticity or cannot be verified — the excuse used on behalf of Biden by Leslie Stahl and Christiane Amanpour, among others — is blatantly false for numerous reasons. As someone who has reported similar large archives in partnership with numerous media outlets around the world (including the Snowden archive in 2014 and the Intercept’s Brazil Archive over the last year showing corruption by high-level Bolsonaro officials), and who also covered the reporting of similar archives by other outlets (the Panama Papers, the WikiLeaks war logs of 2010 and DNC/Podesta emails of 2016), it is clear to me that the trove of documents from Hunter Biden’s emails has been verified in ways quite similar to those.

With an archive of this size, one can never independently authenticate every word in every last document unless the subject of the reporting voluntarily confirms it in advance, which they rarely do. What has been done with similar archives is journalists obtain enough verification to create high levels of journalistic confidence in the materials. Some of the materials provided by the source can be independently confirmed, proving genuine access by the source to a hard drive, a telephone, or a database. Other parties in email chains can confirm the authenticity of the email or text conversations in which they participated. One investigates non-public facts contained in the documents to determine that they conform to what the documents reflect. Technology specialists can examine the materials to ensure no signs of forgeries are detected.

This is the process that enabled the largest and most established media outlets around the world to report similar large archives obtained without authorization. In those other cases, no media outlet was able to verify every word of every document prior to publication. There was no way to prove the negative that the source or someone else had not altered or forged some of the material. That level of verification is both unattainable and unnecessary. What is needed is substantial evidence to create high confidence in the authentication process.

The Hunter Biden documents have at least as much verification as those other archives that were widely reported. There are sources in the email chains who have verified that the published emails are accurate. The archive contains private photos and videos of Hunter whose authenticity is not in doubt. A former business partner of Hunter has stated, unequivocally and on the record, that not only are the emails authentic but they describe events accurately, including proposed participation by the former Vice President in at least one deal Hunter and Jim Biden were pursuing in China. And, most importantly of all, neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign has even suggested, let alone claimed, that a single email or text is fake.

Why is the failure of the Bidens to claim that these emails are forged so significant? Because when journalists report on a massive archive, they know that the most important event in the reporting’s authentication process comes when the subjects of the reporting have an opportunity to deny that the materials are genuine. Of course that is what someone would do if major media outlets were preparing to publish, or in fact were publishing, fabricated or forged materials in their names; they would say so in order to sow doubt about the materials if not kill the credibility of the reporting.

The silence of the Bidens may not be dispositive on the question of the material’s authenticity, but when added to the mountain of other authentication evidence, it is quite convincing: at least equal to the authentication evidence in other reporting on similarly large archives.

Second, the oft-repeated claim from news outlets and CIA operatives that the published emails and texts were “Russian disinformation” was, from the start, obviously baseless and reckless. No evidence — literally none — has been presented to suggest involvement by any Russians in the dissemination of these materials, let alone that it was part of some official plot by Moscow. As always, anything is possible — when one does not know for certain what the provenance of materials is, nothing can be ruled out — but in journalism, evidence is required before news outlets can validly start blaming some foreign government for the release of information. And none has ever been presented. Yet the claim that this was “Russian disinformation” was published in countless news outlets, television broadcasts, and the social media accounts of journalists, typically by pointing to the evidence-free claims of ex-CIA officials.

Worse is the “disinformation” part of the media’s equation. How can these materials constitute “disinformation” if they are authentic emails and texts actually sent to and from Hunter Biden? The ease with which news outlets that are supposed to be skeptical of evidence-free pronouncements by the intelligence community instead printed their assertions about “Russian disinformation” is alarming in the extreme. But they did it because they instinctively wanted to find a reason to justify ignoring the contents of these emails, so claiming that Russia was behind it, and that the materials were “disinformation,” became their placeholder until they could figure out what else they should say to justify ignoring these documents.

Third, the media rush to exonerate Biden on the question of whether he engaged in corruption vis-a-vis Ukraine and Burisma rested on what are, at best, factually dubious defenses of the former Vice President. Much of this controversy centers on Biden’s aggressive efforts while Vice President in late 2015 to force the Ukrainian government to fire its Chief Prosecutor, Viktor Shokhin, and replace him with someone acceptable to the U.S., which turned out to be Yuriy Lutsenko. These events are undisputed by virtue of a video of Biden boasting in front of an audience of how he flew to Kiev and forced the Ukrainians to fire Shokhin, upon pain of losing $1 billion in aid.

But two towering questions have long been prompted by these events, and the recently published emails make them more urgent than ever: 1) was the firing of the Ukrainian General Prosecutor such a high priority for Biden as Vice President of the U.S. because of his son’s highly lucrative role on the board of Burisma, and 2) if that was not the motive, why was it so important for Biden to dictate who the chief prosecutor of Ukraine was?

The standard answer to the question about Biden’s motive — offered both by Biden and his media defenders — is that he, along with the IMF and EU, wanted Shokhin fired because the U.S. and its allies were eager to clean up Ukraine, and they viewed Shokhin as insufficiently vigilant in fighting corruption.

“Biden’s brief was to sweet-talk and jawbone Poroshenko into making reforms that Ukraine’s Western benefactors wanted to see as,” wrote the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler in what the Post calls a “fact-check.” Kessler also endorsed the key defense of Biden: that the firing of Shokhin was bad for Burima, not good for it. “The United States viewed [Shokhin] as ineffective and beholden to Poroshenko and Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchs. In particular, Shokin had failed to pursue an investigation of the founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky,” Kessler claims.

But that claim does not even pass the laugh test. The U.S. and its European allies are not opposed to corruption by their puppet regimes. They are allies with the most corrupt regimes on the planet, from Riyadh to Cairo, and always have been. Since when does the U.S. devote itself to ensuring good government in the nations it is trying to control? If anything, allowing corruption to flourish has been a key tool in enabling the U.S. to exert power in other countries and to open up their markets to U.S. companies.

Beyond that, if increasing prosecutorial independence and strengthening anti-corruption vigilance were really Biden’s goal in working to demand the firing of the Ukrainian chief prosecutor, why would the successor to Shokhin, Yuriy Lutsenko, possibly be acceptable? Lutsenko, after all, had “no legal background as general prosecutor,” was principally known only as a lackey of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was forced in 2009 to “resign as interior minister after being detained by police at Frankfurt airport for being drunk and disorderly,” and “was subsequently jailed for embezzlement and abuse of office, though his defenders said the sentence was politically motivated.”

Is it remotely convincing to you that Biden would have accepted someone like Lutsenko if his motive really were to fortify anti-corruption prosecutions in Ukraine? Yet that’s exactly what Biden did: he personally told Poroshenko that Lutsenko was an acceptable alternative and promptly released the $1 billion after his appointment was announced. Whatever Biden’s motive was in using his power as U.S. Vice President to change the prosecutor in Ukraine, his acceptance of someone like Lutsenko strongly suggests that combatting Ukrainian corruption was not it.

As for the other claim on which Biden and his media allies have heavily relied — that firing Shokhin was not a favor for Burisma because Shokhin was not pursuing any investigations against Burisma — the evidence does not justify that assertion.

It is true that no evidence, including these new emails, constitute proof that Biden’s motive in demanding Shokhin’s termination was to benefit Burisma. But nothing demonstrates that Shokhin was impeding investigations into Burisma. Indeed, the New York Times in 2019 published one of the most comprehensive investigations to date of the claims made in defense of Biden when it comes to Ukraine and the firing of this prosecutor, and, while noting that “no evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal,” this is what its reporters concluded about Shokhin and Burisma:

[Biden’s] pressure campaign eventually worked. The prosecutor general, long a target of criticism from other Western nations and international lenders, was voted out months later by the Ukrainian Parliament.

Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr. Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.

The Times added: “Mr. Shokhin’s office had oversight of investigations into [Burisma’s billionaire founder] Zlochevsky and his businesses, including Burisma.” By contrast, they said, Lutsenko, the replacement approved by Vice President Biden, “initially continued investigating Mr. Zlochevsky and Burisma, but cleared him of all charges within 10 months of taking office.”

So whether or not it was Biden’s intention to confer benefits on Burisma by demanding Shokhin’s firing, it ended up quite favorable for Burisma given that the utterly inexperienced Lutesenko “cleared [Burisma’s founder] of all charges within 10 months of taking office.”

The new comprehensive report from journalist Taibbi on Sunday also strongly supports the view that there were clear antagonisms between Shokhin and Burisma, such that firing the Ukrainian prosecutor would have been beneficial for Burisma. Taibbi, who reported for many years while based in Russia and remains very well-sourced in the region, detailed:

For all the negative press about Shokhin, there’s no doubt that there were multiple active cases involving Zlochevsky/Burisma during his short tenure. This was even once admitted by American reporters, before it became taboo to describe such cases untethered to words like “dormant.” Here’s how Ken Vogel at the New York Times put it in May of 2019:

“When Mr. Shokhin became prosecutor general in February 2015, he inherited several investigations into the company and Mr. Zlochevsky, including for suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering. Mr. Shokin also opened an investigation into the granting of lucrative gas licenses to companies owned by Mr. Zlochevsky when he was the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.”

Ukrainian officials I reached this week confirmed that multiple cases were active during that time.

“There were different numbers, but from 7 to 14,” says Serhii Horbatiuk, former head of the special investigations department for the Prosecutor General’s Office, when asked how many Burisma cases there were.

“There may have been two to three episodes combined, and some have already been closed, so I don’t know the exact amount.” But, Horbatiuk insists, there were many cases, most of them technically started under Yarema, but at least active under Shokin.

The numbers quoted by Horbatiuk gibe with those offered by more recent General Prosecutor Rulsan Ryaboshapka, who last year said there were at one time or another “13 or 14” cases in existence involving Burisma or Zlochevsky.

Taibbi reviews real-time reporting in both Ukraine and the U.S. to document several other pending investigations against Burisma and Zlochevsky that was overseen by the prosecutor whose firing Biden demanded. He notes that Shokhin himself has repeatedly said he was pursuing several investigations against Zlochevsky at the time Biden demanded his firing. In sum, Taibbi concludes, “one can’t say there’s no evidence of active Burisma cases even during the last days of Shokin, who says that it was the February, 2016 seizure order [against Zlochevsky’s assets] that got him fired.”

And, Taibbi notes, “the story looks even odder when one wonders why the United States would exercise so much foreign policy muscle to get Shokin fired, only to allow in a replacement — Yuri Lutsenko — who by all accounts was a spectacularly bigger failure in the battle against corruption in general, and Zlochevsky in particular.” In sum: “it’s unquestionable that the cases against Burisma were all closed by Shokin’s successor, chosen in consultation with Joe Biden, whose son remained on the board of said company for three more years, earning upwards of $50,000 per month.”

The publicly known facts, augmented by the recent emails, texts and on-the-record accounts, suggest serious sleaze by Joe Biden’s son Hunter in trying to peddle his influence with the Vice President for profit. But they also raise real questions about whether Joe Biden knew about and even himself engaged in a form of legalized corruption. Specifically, these newly revealed information suggest Biden was using his power to benefit his son’s business Ukrainian associates, and allowing his name to be traded on while Vice President for his son and brother to pursue business opportunities in China. These are questions which a minimally healthy press would want answered, not buried — regardless of how many similar or worse scandals the Trump family has.

But the real scandal that has been proven is not the former Vice President’s misconduct but that of his supporters and allies in the U.S. media. As Taibbi’s headline put it: “With the Hunter Biden Exposé, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than the Actual Story.”

The reality is the U.S. press has been planning for this moment for four years — cooking up justifications for refusing to report on newsworthy material that might help Donald Trump get re-elected. One major factor is the undeniable truth that journalists with national outlets based in New York, Washington and West Coast cities overwhelmingly not just favor Joe Biden but are desperate to see Donald Trump defeated.

It takes an enormous amount of gullibility to believe that any humans are capable of separating such an intense partisan preference from their journalistic judgment. Many barely even bother to pretend: critiques of Joe Biden are often attacked first not by Biden campaign operatives but by political reporters at national news outlets who make little secret of their eagerness to help Biden win.

But much of this has to do with the fallout from the 2016 election. During that campaign, news outlets, including The Intercept, did their jobs as journalists by reporting on the contents of newsworthy, authentic documents: namely, the emails published by WikiLeaks from the John Podesta and DNC inboxes which, among other things, revealed corruption so severe that it forced the resignation of the top five officials of the DNC. That the materials were hacked, and that intelligence agencies were suggesting Russia was responsible, not negate the newsworthiness of the documents, which is why media outlets across the country repeatedly reported on their contents.

Nonetheless, journalists have spent four years being attacked as Trump enablers in their overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal cultural circles: the cities in which they live are overwhelmingly Democratic, and their demographic — large-city, college-educated professionals — has vanishingly little Trump support. A New York Times survey of campaign data from Monday tells just a part of this story of cultural insularity and homogeniety:

Joe Biden has outraised President Trump on the strength of some of the wealthiest and most educated ZIP codes in the United States, running up the fund-raising score in cities and suburbs so resoundingly that he collected more money than Mr. Trump on all but two days in the last two months….It is not just that much of Mr. Biden’s strongest support comes overwhelmingly from the two coasts, which it does…. [U]nder Mr. Trump, Republicans have hemorrhaged support from white voters with college degrees. In ZIP codes with a median household income of at least $100,000, Mr. Biden smashed Mr. Trump in fund-raising, $486 million to only $167 million — accounting for almost his entire financial edge….One Upper West Side ZIP code — 10024 — accounted for more than $8 million for Mr. Biden, and New York City in total delivered $85.6 million for him — more than he raised in every state other than California….

The median household in the United States was $68,703 in 2019. In ZIP codes above that level, Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump by $389.1 million. Below that level, Mr. Trump was actually ahead by $53.4 million.

Wanting to avoid a repeat of feeling scorn and shunning in their own extremely pro-Democratic, anti-Trump circles, national media outlets have spent four years inventing standards for election-year reporting on hacked materials that never previously existed and that are utterly anathema to the core journalistic function. The Washington Post’s Executive Editor Marty Baron, for instance, issued a memo full of cautions about how Post reporters should, or should not, discuss hacked materials even if their authenticity is not in doubt.

That a media outlet should even consider refraining from reporting on materials they know to be authentic and in the public interest because of questions about their provenance is the opposite of how journalism has been practiced. In the days before the 2016 election, for instance, the New York Times received by mail one year of Donald Trump’s tax returns and — despite having no idea who sent it to them or how that person obtained it: was is stolen or hacked by a foreign power? — the Times reported on its contents.

When asked by NPR why they would report on documents when they do not know the source let alone the source’s motives in providing them, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow compellingly explained what had always been the core principle of journalism: namely, a journalist only cares about two questions — (1) are documents authentic and (2) are they in the public interest? — but does not care about what motives a source has in providing the documents or how they were obtained when deciding whether to reporting them:

The U.S. media often laments that people have lost faith in its pronouncements, that they are increasingly viewed as untrustworthy and that many people view Fake News sites are more reliable than established news outlets. They are good at complaining about this, but very bad at asking whether any of their own conduct is responsible for it.

A media outlet that renounces its core function — pursuing answers to relevant questions about powerful people — is one that deserves to lose the public’s faith and confidence. And that is exactly what the U.S. media, with some exceptions, attempted to do with this story: they took the lead not in investigating these documents but in concocting excuses for why they should be ignored.

As my colleague Lee Fang put it on Sunday: “The partisan double standards in the media are mind boggling this year, and much of the supposedly left independent media is just as cowardly and conformist as the mainstream corporate media. Everyone is reading the room and acting out of fear.” Discussing his story from Sunday, Taibbi summed up the most important point this way: “The whole point is that the press loses its way when it cares more about who benefits from information than whether it’s true.”



Source: Zero Hedge, Here’s The ‘Censored’ Biden Story That Forced Glenn Greenwald To Quit The Firm He Founded

"A Long Slog" – NYC Recovery Lags Rest Of Country As Downturn Could Last Years

“A Long Slog” – NYC Recovery Lags Rest Of Country As Downturn Could Last Years

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/29/2020 – 20:45

While the virus pandemic depression is over, the conventional recession could be nearing as economic growth falters. The fiscal cliff will soon enter the third month; high unemployment is rampant and small and mid-sized businesses remain in financial distress as daily virus caseloads hit new record highs.

For some economic realities, one that is far from President Trump’s “V-shaped” recovery narrative, Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, told NYT the US economy “is going to be a long slog” from here, with estimates of a downturn lasting until 2023. 

A multi-year downturn comes as no surprise following one of the steepest economic contractions in history. Zandi also examined NYC, the largest municipal and regional economy in the US, only to discover a recovery might not be seen until 2025:

“This is an event that struck right at the heart of New York’s comparative advantages,” Zandi said. “Being globally oriented, being stacked up in skyscrapers and packed together in stadiums: the very thing that made New York the pandemic undermined New York, was upended by it.” 

Zandi said NYC’s recovery could take two years longer than the rest of the country as the virus-induced downturn has severely damaged five key industries – restaurants, hotels, the arts, transportation, and building services – most of which heavily rely on travel and tourism. 

For more color on the recovery, high-frequency data from Opportunity Insights shows the percentage change in all consumer spending on a national level is still below March levels, even though the federal government helicopter dropped stimulus checks to tens of millions of Americans. 

Percent change in small business revenue on a national level shows a muted recovery. 

The national employment picture is not a good one, as well.

Employment claims could be ready to turn up as a double-dip recession could be nearing. 

What’s happening now is the awesome recovery narrative touted by President Trump and Wall Street are quickly fading as stimulus hopes collapse. 



Source: Zero Hedge, “A Long Slog” – NYC Recovery Lags Rest Of Country As Downturn Could Last Years