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Elon Musk"s real beef with Twitter revealed

New details emerge as Elon Musk and Twitter battle it out in court over the billionaire's desire to scrap his $44 billion purchase of the social media giant. Elon Musk accused Twitter of fraud in a countersuit over his aborted $44 billion deal for the social media company, which he claimed held back necessary information and misled his team about the true size of its user base. The countersuit by the billionaire and Tesla CEO alleges that Twitter committed fraud, breach of contract and violation of a securities law in Texas, where Musk lives. Musk's counterclaims were filed confidentially last week and unsealed in a filing late Thursday at the Delaware Chancery Court. Musk offered to buy Twitter earlier this year, then tried to back out of the deal by claiming the social platform was infested with a larger numbers of "spam bots" and fake accounts than Twitter had disclosed. Twitter sued to force him to complete the acquisition. Musk responded by filing his countersuit. WSJ STANDS BY ELON MUSK, GOOGLE CO-FOUNDER'S WIFE AFFAIR STORY Musk's attorneys argue in the countersuit that Twitter "misrepresentations or omissions" distorted the company’s value and caused Musk to agree in April to buy it at an inflated price. They said Twitter’s own disclosures revealed that it has 65 million fewer "monetizable daily active users," who can be shown digital ads, than the 238 million that Twitter claims. The filing also said most of Twitter's ads are shown only to a sliver of the company's user base. Musk's team also accused Twitter of making too many major changes in recent months without consulting Musk, including personnel decisions and allegedly disobeying social media restrictions imposed by the government of India, which is Twitter's third largest market. Musk had pledged to make Twitter a haven for free speech but has also said it must comply with the local laws where it operates. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS In an unexpected twist, Twitter filed its response denying Musk's accusations before Musk’s own counterclaims surfaced. Twitter called Musk’s reasoning "a story, imagined in an effort to escape a merger agreement that Musk no longer found attractive." The company, in particular, took issue with Musk's estimate of fake accounts, saying the analysis relied on a "generic web tool" that designated Musk's own Twitter account as a likely bot. "The result is a distortion that Musk is hoping will nonetheless make waves," Twitter's response said. The case is scheduled to go to trial on October 17. The Delaware court handles many high-profile disputes between businesses, such as Twitter, that are incorporated there. GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE .....»»

Category: marketSource: foxnewsAug 5th, 2022

Elon Musk"s real beef with Twitter revealed

New details emerge as Elon Musk and Twitter battle it out in court over the billionaire's desire to scrap his $44 billion purchase of the social media giant. Elon Musk accused Twitter of fraud in a countersuit over his aborted $44 billion deal for the social media company, which he claimed held back necessary information and misled his team about the true size of its user base. The countersuit by the billionaire and Tesla CEO alleges that Twitter committed fraud, breach of contract and violation of a securities law in Texas, where Musk lives. Musk's counterclaims were filed confidentially last week and unsealed in a filing late Thursday at the Delaware Chancery Court. Musk offered to buy Twitter earlier this year, then tried to back out of the deal by claiming the social platform was infested with a larger numbers of "spam bots" and fake accounts than Twitter had disclosed. Twitter sued to force him to complete the acquisition. Musk responded by filing his countersuit. WSJ STANDS BY ELON MUSK, GOOGLE CO-FOUNDER'S WIFE AFFAIR STORY Musk's attorneys argue in the countersuit that Twitter "misrepresentations or omissions" distorted the company’s value and caused Musk to agree in April to buy it at an inflated price. They said Twitter’s own disclosures revealed that it has 65 million fewer "monetizable daily active users," who can be shown digital ads, than the 238 million that Twitter claims. The filing also said most of Twitter's ads are shown only to a sliver of the company's user base. Musk's team also accused Twitter of making too many major changes in recent months without consulting Musk, including personnel decisions and allegedly disobeying social media restrictions imposed by the government of India, which is Twitter's third largest market. Musk had pledged to make Twitter a haven for free speech but has also said it must comply with the local laws where it operates. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS In an unexpected twist, Twitter filed its response denying Musk's accusations before Musk’s own counterclaims surfaced. Twitter called Musk’s reasoning "a story, imagined in an effort to escape a merger agreement that Musk no longer found attractive." The company, in particular, took issue with Musk's estimate of fake accounts, saying the analysis relied on a "generic web tool" that designated Musk's own Twitter account as a likely bot. "The result is a distortion that Musk is hoping will nonetheless make waves," Twitter's response said. The case is scheduled to go to trial on October 17. The Delaware court handles many high-profile disputes between businesses, such as Twitter, that are incorporated there. GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE .....»»

Category: marketSource: foxnewsAug 5th, 2022

Elon Musk Rebuffs Bill Gates" Philanthropy Request, Compares Photo Of Gates To "Pregnant Man" Emoji

Elon Musk Rebuffs Bill Gates' Philanthropy Request, Compares Photo Of Gates To "Pregnant Man" Emoji The beef between Bill Gates and Elon Musk appears to be very real. Over the last 24 hours, text messages between Musk and Gates leaked on Twitter, wherein Musk declines to speak to Gates about philanthropic opportunities because Gates supposedly still has a "half billion dollar short position against Tesla". The leaked messages were posted by @WholeMarsBlog, a source that is known to be close to Tesla and Musk. "So apparently Bill Gates hit up @elonmusk to discuss “philanthropy on climate change” but Elon asked if he still had a half billion dollar short position on $TSLA," the tweet reads. "Bill said he hasn’t closed it out, so Elon told him to get lost," it continues. Included in the Tweet are screenshots of the texts. “Do you still have a half billion dollar short position against Tesla?” Musk asks. “Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out. I would like to discuss philanthropy possibilities,” Gates replied. To which Musk wrote: “Sorry, I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change.” So apparently Bill Gates hit up @elonmusk to discuss “philanthropy on climate change” but Elon asked if he still had a half billion dollar short position on $TSLA. Bill said he hasn’t closed it out, so Elon told him to get lost. No idea if this is true lol pic.twitter.com/iuHkDG3bAd — Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) April 22, 2022 Musk confirmed in a Tweet that the conversation was real and said that he didn't leak it to the New York Times. "I heard from multiple people at TED that Gates still had half billion short against Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it’s not exactly top secret," Musk wrote.  But Musk wasn't done there. In the later hours of Friday night, Musk Tweeted out a photo of Bill Gates, comparing him to the new Apple "pregnant man" emoji (yes, this is a thing and we wrote about it here), with the caption: "in case u need to lose a boner fast".  in case u need to lose a boner fast pic.twitter.com/fcHiaXKCJi — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022 Musk then took a jab at Twitter, posting a photo of cloaked shadowy figures with the caption: "shadow ban council reviewing tweet …" shadow ban council reviewing tweet … pic.twitter.com/cawjtwc7CW — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022 “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh [to be honest]," Musk wrote about Gates back in 2020, when the two first started feuding.  “It’s important to say that what Elon did with Tesla is one of the greatest contributions to climate change anyone’s ever made. And you know, underestimating Elon is not a good idea," Gates told Kara Swisher last year.  According to CNBC, when Gates was asked back in 2020 about possibly shorting Tesla stock, he responded: “I don’t talk about my investments but I think he should be very proud of what he’s done.” Tyler Durden Sat, 04/23/2022 - 12:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 23rd, 2022

Election Watchdog Finds 137,500 Ballots Unlawfully Trafficked In Wisconsin

Election Watchdog Finds 137,500 Ballots Unlawfully Trafficked In Wisconsin Authored by Steven Kovac via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), At least 137,500 absentee ballots were cast through unlawful vote trafficking throughout several of Wisconsin’s largest cities in the 2020 election, according to research presented last week to the state Assembly’s Committee on Campaigns and Elections by the public interest organization True the Vote (TTV). Residents place mail-in ballots in a ballot box outside of the Tippecanoe branch library in Milwaukee, on Oct. 20, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) Ballot trafficking is an activity in which absentee ballots and votes are solicited, sometimes in exchange for money or other valuables. They are then collected through a process called “harvesting” and delivered to drop boxes by intermediaries (someone other than the voter), who are often paid a per-ballot fee by partisan actors. “An organized crime against Americans” is how TTV cyber expert Gregg Phillips described to the committee what happened in Wisconsin and elsewhere during the 2020 election. Supporters of President Donald Trump protest outside State Farm Arena as ballots continue to be counted inside in Atlanta, on Nov. 5, 2020. (Megan Varner/Getty Images) Based on his 15-month study of election practices in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Michigan, Phillips estimates that at least 4.8 million votes were trafficked nationally. 4.8 MILLION ballots trafficked in the 2020 Election 7% of mail-in ballots were trafficked in every Swing State True the Vote has looked in "It’s an organized crime that was perpetrated on Americans” pic.twitter.com/cseftCWhB7 — Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) March 31, 2022 According to the True the Vote report, 242 intermediaries in metro Atlanta made 5,668 stops at drop boxes during elections in late 2020. In its report, TTV said it obtained 4 million minutes of drop box video surveillance tape that helped to document its Georgia findings. “Many of the traffickers we spoke with do not recognize what they are doing as being a problem,” TTV spokesperson Catherine Engelbrecht said. The study found that in Arizona, 202 intermediaries made 4,282 separate visits to ballot boxes in Maricopa County. Several Arizonans have since been indicted for election law violations, with at least one conviction, according to Phillips. Poll workers count ballots inside the Maricopa County Election Department in Phoenix, on Nov. 5, 2020. (Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images) Phillips told the committee that, in the states studied, TTV purchased from commercial brokers 10 trillion unique cell phone identity signals called “pings.” Human rights organization First Freedoms funded the time-consuming and costly project. Using a technique called geospatial mobile device signal analysis, Phillips said researchers are able to reconstruct a four-dimensional “pattern of life” of cell phone holders. “From these pings, it can be determined where you work, where you sleep, and even what floor you are on within inches,” he said. The Wisconsin study focused primarily on the Milwaukee County area, with some partial initial data coming from Racine and Green Bay, where the study will soon be further expanded, Phillips said. In those three areas, TTV’s cell phone ping research found that in the two weeks from Oct. 20 through Nov. 3, 2020, 138 individuals each visited the location of a nongovernmental organization at least five times and made a combined total of 3,588 trips to absentee ballot drop boxes. “That’s an average of 26 trips per person to drop boxes in the Milwaukee area,” Phillips said. “Is this evidence of fraud?” committee member Lisa Subeck, a Democrat, asked. “Vote trafficking is being done through the process. It is illegal,” replied Engelbrecht, who stated that every vote cast illegally cancels the vote of a legitimate voter. Wisconsin Statute 6.87 (4)(b)1 provides that an absentee ballot envelope, in which the cast absentee ballot is placed, must be “mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.” The Circuit Court in Waukesha County in Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, has agreed, holding that use of drop boxes for absentee voting violates Wisconsin law. Drop boxes, if unattended by a municipal clerk or in an unauthorized location, are illegal under Wisconsin law. The law is currently being challenged in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In her testimony, Engelbrecht stressed that the TTV report was focused on the process and wasn’t attempting to prove the 137,551 votes were illegal votes. State Rep. Dave Murphy, a Republican member of the committee, stated: “If you vote in an illegal way, it is an illegal vote. If the process is illegal, the vote is illegal.” Earlier in March, the report of special counsel Michael Gabelman on voter fraud revealed that some personnel of nongovernmental organizations are suspected of coordinating the 2020 ballot harvesting operations in Wisconsin’s five largest heavily Democrat-run cities—Milwaukee, Kenosha, Green Bay, Madison, and Racine. When asked by Rep. Donna Rozar, a Republican, to name the NGOs in the study that were repeatedly visited by intermediaries, Phillips declined. A spokesperson for Micah Inc., a leading Milwaukee nonprofit philanthropic organization, told The Epoch Times that Micah does conduct “voter engagement efforts,” but declined to say more. Phillips and Engelbrecht testified that enormous nonprofits, such as National Vote at Home, are promoting voting from home and favor doing away with in-person voting on Election Day entirely. “Most countries around the world vote in person on election day, including Ukraine,” Phillips said. Engelbrecht argued that some countries have perfected secure blockchain electronic voting and said she thinks U.S. technology is advanced enough to at least ensure accurate election data. She said that some U.S. election jurisdictions view inaccurate voting rolls as a “feature rather than a bug.” “Our rolls are abysmal. Bad records are the gateway to fraud,” Engelbrecht said. “If you can’t verify identity, you can’t do anything else,” Phillips said. Rep. Ron Tusler, a Republican, asked if TTV could identify the 138 alleged ballot harvesters (also known as “mules”). “We know the names but are not disclosing them,” Phillips said. “Anyone can buy them commercially. However, law enforcement would need a warrant.” In the other states studied, government-made video surveillance tapes of ballot drop boxes obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests were used as part of the process of estimating how many ballots were trafficked, along with personal interviews with intermediaries and other tipsters and cell phone ping data. Engelbrecht told the committee that in Wisconsin, in September of 2020, her organization set up a hotline to receive tips from informants. Unlike other states where video surveillance footage of the drop boxes was made available to TTV investigators, Engelbrecht said that only one of the 17 Wisconsin localities studied provided TTV with video. Engelbrecht stated that in the summer of 2020, the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) announced it approved of video surveillance of the state’s drop boxes, as recommended by the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “WEC did not follow through,” she said. Neither did WEC provide to localities written guidelines based on CISA’s recommendations for the locations where the drop boxes were to be placed, according to Engelbrecht. She testified that across the country, the majority of the ballot drops surveilled typically happened between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, in January 2020. (Masooma Haq/The Epoch Times) She told the committee that the removal of 234,000 problem names from Wisconsin’s registered voter rolls, as recommended by the Electronic Registration Information Center, was stopped by a lawsuit. Forty-nine-year veteran elections attorney James Bopp Jr. came before the committee to provide a legal perspective to the facts presented in the TTV report. Bopp has litigated 200 election lawsuits and is currently legal counsel to TTV. He is also representing special counsel Gabelman in several lawsuits against him stemming from his investigation. Bopp testified that filing an avalanche of lawsuits was part of a years-long effort by Democrats “to make the whole system more susceptible to fraud and abuse.” He said 425 lawsuits were filed across America by Democratic Party operatives or front organizations in the runup to the 2020 election. Bopp asserted the suits were designed to ensure ineligible people were maintained on voting rolls; to expand voting to every voter on the rolls, whether active or inactive; and “to tear down every other anti-fraud protection, such as prohibiting signature verification and striking down witness requirements for absentee voting.” Turning to Wisconsin, Bopp pointed the committee to what he called “the corrupt and illegal activity and administration of election laws for partisan ends engaged in by your Wisconsin state government and municipalities designed to maximize the number of Democrat votes.” Addressing the alleged embedding of partisan get-out-the-vote efforts within local governments in Wisconsin’s largest cities, Bopp said the practice evades federal and state campaign contribution limits of just a few thousand dollars, and gives real-time, hour-by-hour, cost-free access to voter rolls to partisan actors. Bopp said the practice disguises its partisan nature, disguises the identity of out-of-state billionaire donors contributing millions, thereby violating the principle of transparency and exceeding contribution limits. “Despite clear and unequivocal state law, drop boxes created the infrastructure to accomplish all of this,” he said. “Drop boxes left unstaffed and located anywhere clearly violated state statutes.” He criticized what he said was the “grossly partisan, corruptly political, and blatantly illegal” actions of the people administering Wisconsin election laws. Bopp asserted that the actions in Wisconsin gave significant partisan political advantage to Democrats, exactly the people the plan was designed to help. “Ruthlessly exploited by large-scale organized and illegal ballot harvesting operations, involving not-for-profits and the people working with them, (the scheme) could very well have influenced the outcome of the 2020 election,” he said. “What has been disclosed—and, in my view, proven—is that there were sufficient irregularities in the 2020 election that a court, at the time, could have reached the conclusion that the true result cannot be determined. But that time has passed. “It’s not about overturning the 2020 election. It’s about the future. The situation is crying for reform.” Rozar reminded the audience that numerous election reforms passed by the legislature have been vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat. Neither Evers nor state Attorney General Josh Kaul, also a Democrat, responded by press time to requests for comment. *  *  * [ZH: and for more on this from Liz Harrington] In Milwaukee on one day 4 ballot traffickers went to 20 drop boxes pic.twitter.com/gOBCjvYRIT — Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) March 31, 2022 Organized ballot trafficking caught in San Luis, AZ Ballots collected from elderly, gathered in one location to be paid, one trafficker drops off stacks and stacks of ballots pic.twitter.com/4vqnogPYQv — Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) March 31, 2022 Remember TIME Magazine let that cat out of the bag pic.twitter.com/rBUTBl3D30 — Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) March 31, 2022 “It was not the most secure election ever. It was, quite possibly, one of the least... “It was planned.” pic.twitter.com/t4c00vBCCj — Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) March 31, 2022 Widespread. pic.twitter.com/dTiEp7FrWK — Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) March 31, 2022 “My Democrat colleagues started their testimony talking about situations in which votes were cast illegally...[and] tried to [say] if a vote came from a voter that was registered...somehow that makes it all right. "If a vote is cast in an illegal process, it’s an illegal vote!” pic.twitter.com/SdttteWZQQ — Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) March 31, 2022 Tyler Durden Fri, 04/01/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 1st, 2022

Trump Sues Hillary Clinton, Says She "Maliciously Conspired" To Weave Collusion Conspiracy Theory

Trump Sues Hillary Clinton, Says She 'Maliciously Conspired' To Weave Collusion Conspiracy Theory Former US President Donald Trump sued Hillary Clinton and several other Democrats on Thursday, alleging they attempted to rig the 2016 US presidential election by fabricating a conspiracy theory tying his campaign to Russia. "Acting in concert, the Defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty," reads the lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Florida. Remember this? Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016 Meanwhile, a flashback: Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com, A Hillary Clinton campaign operation to plant a false rumor about Donald Trump setting up a “secret hotline” to Moscow through a Russian bank was much broader than known and involved multiple U.S. agencies, according to declassified documents and sources briefed on an ongoing criminal investigation of the scheme. In addition to the FBI, the 2016 Clinton campaign tried to convince the Obama administration’s State Department, Justice Department and Central Intelligence Agency to look into the hoax, and continued pressing the issue even after Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.The goal was to trigger federal investigative activity targeting her Republican rival and leak the damaging information to the media. “The Clinton machine flooded the FBI with pressure from a number of angles until investigations of Trump were opened and reopened,” said one of the briefed sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive law enforcement matter. "The deception was wide-ranging." Michael Sussmann: The indicted former Clinton campaign attorney wasn't the only one feeding the bogus Alfa Bank story to the feds. perkinscoie.com Special Counsel John Durham outlined the FBI part of the scheme in a felony indictment of Michael Sussmann. The former Clinton campaign lawyer was charged last month with making a false statement to the former general counsel of the FBI when he claimed he was not working “for any client” in bringing to the FBI’s attention allegations of a secret channel of communication between computer servers in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia. According to the indictment, Sussmann was in fact acting on behalf of clients including the Clinton campaign, and an unnamed tech executive who RCI has previously reported is Rodney L. Joffe, a regular adviser to the Biden White House on cybersecurity and infrastructure policies. Internal emails reveal the Clinton operatives knew the links they made between Trump and Russia were “weak,” even describing them as a “red herring,” but fed them to investigators anyway. The Sussmann indictment revealed the doubts of those developing the Alfa Bank story. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia After Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI in September 2016, the Clinton campaign approached the State Department the following month with the same lead, this time using paid Clinton campaign subcontractor Christopher Steele to feed the rumors. A former British intelligence officer, Steele was offered as a reliable source to help corroborate the rumors. On Oct. 11, 2016, Steele gave his contact at Foggy Bottom documents alleging that a supposed hidden server at Trump Tower was pinging Moscow. Christopher Steele: Author of the debunked dossier passed the Alfa Bank story to the State Department, which passed it along to FBI agent Peter Strzok. (Aaron Chown/PA FILE via AP) Two days later, a State official who previously worked under former secretary Clinton funneled the information to the FBI’s then-top Eurasia/Russia counterintelligence official, Stephen Laycock, according to recently declassified notes and testimony. Laycock, in turn, forwarded the information to Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who led the investigation of Trump and his campaign and had just weeks earlier texted a bureau lawyer, “We’ll stop [Trump from being elected].” "I informed Peter Strzok and another supervisor,” Laycock testified last year in a closed-door Senate hearing. Telephone: After Steele fed the Alfa Bank story to State, it was passed to the FBI’s then-top Eurasia/Russia counterintelligence official, Stephen Laycock (left), who in turn passed it on to lead FBI agent on Trump-Russia, Peter Strzok (right). Facebook/Twitter Steele, who later confessed he was “desperate” to defeat Trump, was the author of the debunked dossier claiming Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election. He even misspelled the name of the Russian bank as “Alpha.” Still, the FBI took his rumors seriously enough to interview tech vendors working for the Trump Organization and obtain warrants to search Trump Tower servers. Within days of receiving the State Department tip, Strzok also used Steele’s dossier to secure a wiretap on Trump adviser Carter Page. Clinton foreign policy adviser and current National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would put out a written statement trumpeting the Trump-Alfa Bank story, which was shared by then-candidate Clinton on Oct. 31, 2016, after Slate reported on it. Fusion GPS, the Washington opposition-research group that worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent, and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI, reportedly pressed Slate to publish the story by the account of its author, journalist Franklin Foer. The Clinton campaign played up the Trump-Alfa Bank story on the eve of the 2016 election. Twitter/@HillaryClinton “This was a highly sophisticated operation using enablers in both the media and federal agencies,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told RealClearInvestigations. The Clinton campaign did not let up even after Trump won the election. In mid-November 2016, it enlisted top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr – whose wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS – to add credibility to the Alfa rumors. That month, Ohr advised the FBI that Steele had told him that the Alfa Bank server was a link to the Trump campaign. Then in early December, Ohr met with the FBI case supervisor who worked for Strzok at least twice. Declassified notes and other records show that during those meetings, Ohr provided him with thumb drives he had received from paid Clinton opposition researcher and Fusion GPS co-founder, Glenn Simpson, and Ohr’s wife and Simpson’s colleague, Nellie. Quoting his Clinton sources, Ohr insisted the alleged backdoor computer channel between Trump and Alfa was real. Bruce Ohr: The Justice Department official -- linked to Clinton opposition research firm Fusion GPS through his wife Nellie, a Fusion employee -- brought the firm's arguments and materials to the FBI. The Global Initiative The FBI spent months investigating the claim, eventually dismissing it as baseless. After the FBI closed the case, Sussmann turned to the nation’s top intelligence agency for assistance, as RCI first reported. In December 2016, Sussmann called then-CIA Director John Brennan’s general counsel – Caroline Krass – to set up a meeting to brief her about the same Alfa Bank rumors. Krass expressed interest in the tip. Then in early February 2017, officials from her office formally sat down with Sussmann for more than an hour to discuss the Trump-Russian bank rumors. Sussmann provided them updated versions of the materials he had handed off to the FBI. Caroline Krass: General counsel to then-CIA Director John Brennan welcomed Sussmann's pitch of the Alfa Bank story, which reportedly passed from the CIA to FBI. CIA/Wikipedia The CIA, in turn, referred the rumors to an FBI liaison for further investigation, according to the sources briefed on his case. Strzok was the lead FBI liaison to the CIA at the time. Among the documents Durham has obtained is a CIA memo memorializing the meeting with Sussmann, according to the sources. In his grand jury indictment, Durham accused Sussmann of also misleading the CIA, which he referred to only as “Agency-2.” The special counsel alleges that Sussmann, as he did when meeting with an FBI official, had also failed to inform contacts at Langley that he was representing a client – in the latter case specifically Joffe – tied to the Clinton campaign operation and who had been promised a high-level job in a Clinton administration. Billing the Democrat’s campaign for his work on the “confidential project," Sussmann recruited Joffe and a team of federal computer contractors to mine proprietary databases containing vast quantities of sensitive, nonpublic Internet data for possible dirt on Trump and his advisers. In a new court document filed last week, Durham revealed his team has obtained more than 80,000 pages of documents in response to grand jury subpoenas issued to more than 15 targets and witnesses, including the computer contractors. Among others receiving subpoenas: political organizations, private firms, tech companies and other entities, including a major university — Georgia Tech — which allegedly participated in the Clinton conspiracy as a Pentagon contractor. Some witnesses have been granted immunity and are cooperating with prosecutors, the sources close to the probe said. Jonathan Turley: "One would expect a CIA official to express reluctance in an investigation that would have a largely domestic focus," says the law professor. CNN “While Sussmann may have hidden his work for the Clinton campaign, this was obviously a useful attack on Trump,” Turley said. “One would expect a CIA official to express reluctance in an investigation that would have a largely domestic focus. But as with the FBI, the Clinton campaign found eager officials to move on any such allegation.” The CIA is largely barred from collecting information inside the United States or on American citizens.“The CIA has no business involving itself in a domestic political issue,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told RCI. “The evidence suggests the primary purpose of the meeting was political." Fitton said his watchdog group has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA demanding all records generated from the contacts Sussmann had with the agency in December 2016 and February 2017. The CIA did not return requests for comment.For good measure, old Clinton hands tried another pressure point. In early February 2017, Clinton's foreign policy adviser Sullivan huddled with Fusion GPS's Simpson and Daniel Jones, an FBI analyst-turned-Democrat-operative, to reboot the same smear campaign against Trump. (As RCI previously reported, Sullivan, who spearheaded the campaign's effort to promote the narrative of a disturbing Trump-Russia relationship via the Alfa Bank story, is under scrutiny for possibly lying to Congress about his role in the operation.) Jones, in turn, reached out to his former colleagues at the FBI, who reopened the investigation into the old allegations of a cyber-link between Trump and Alfa Bank. Jake Sullivan played a pivotal role in the Alfa Bank story as 2016 Clinton foreign policy adviser. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File The next month, acting on Jones’ recycled tip, FBI agents visited the offices of the Pennsylvania company that housed the Trump server, which was actually administered by a third-party hotel promotions firm – Cendyn, based in Florida. But their second investigation proved to be another dead end. The sinister communications Jones claimed were flowing between an alleged Trump server and Alfa Bank were found to be innocuous marketing emails. In other words, spam. Sources say it is odd that FBI headquarters continued to pursue the allegations, because internal FBI communications reveal that the bureau’s own cyber sleuths had pooh-poohed them within days of Sussmann’s briefing, RCI has learned. Strzok himself had been briefed on that assessment of the materials Sussman dropped off at headquarters on Sept. 19, 2016. In fact, in a Sept. 23, 2016, internal message to Strzok, an FBI official relayed his preliminary findings following an interview with Cendyn, the Florida marketing firm that managed the alleged Trump server.“Followed up this morning with Central Dynamics [Cendyn] who confirmed that the mail1.trump-email.com domain is an old domain that was set up in approximately 2009 when they were doing business with the Trump Organization that was never used,” according to the message. Reacting to the Durham indictment, Strzok recently tried to distance himself from the Alfa scandal, insisting in a Lawfare blog: “I had a minor role in the events in question, insofar as I transferred the material Sussman gave to Jim Baker, the FBI’s general counsel at the time, to the personnel who ultimately supervised and looked into the allegations.” Echoing other critics, Strzok complained that Durham – who originally was tapped to investigate the origins of the Russia “collusion” investigation by Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr – is conducting a partisan witch hunt on behalf of Trump. Strzok's claims notwithstanding, Barr's successor, the President Biden-nominated Attorney General Merrick Garland, testified last week that he has renewed funding and staffing for Durham’s far-reaching investigation for the next fiscal year. “[Y]ou can readily assume his budget has been approved,” Garland assured Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.   Tyler Durden Thu, 03/24/2022 - 14:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMar 24th, 2022

The NYT Now Admits The Biden Laptop - Falsely Called "Russian Disinformation" - Is Authentic

The NYT Now Admits The Biden Laptop - Falsely Called "Russian Disinformation" - Is Authentic Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, One of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern American electoral history occurred in the weeks prior to the 2020 presidential election. On October 14, 2020 — less than three weeks before Americans were set to vote — the nation's oldest newspaper, The New York Post, began publishing a series of reports about the business dealings of the Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in countries in which Biden, as Vice President, wielded considerable influence (including Ukraine and China) and would again if elected president. President Joe Biden embraces his son Hunter Biden (L) on stage after delivering remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) The backlash against this reporting was immediate and intense, leading to suppression of the story by U.S. corporate media outlets and censorship of the story by leading Silicon Valley monopolies. The disinformation campaign against this reporting was led by the CIA's all-but-official spokesperson Natasha Bertrand (then of Politico, now with CNN), whose article on October 19 appeared under this headline: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” These "former intel officials" did not actually say that the “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo." Indeed, they stressed in their letter the opposite: namely, that they had no evidence to suggest the emails were falsified or that Russia had anything to do them, but, instead, they had merely intuited this "suspicion" based on their experience: We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement -- just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case. But a media that was overwhelmingly desperate to ensure Trump's defeat had no time for facts or annoying details such as what these former officials actually said or whether it was in fact true. They had an election to manipulate. As a result, that these emails were "Russian disinformation” — meaning that they were fake and that Russia manufactured them — became an article of faith among the U.S.'s validly despised class of media employees. [ZH:] FLASHBACK: Adam Schiff on Hunter’s Laptop “This whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.”pic.twitter.com/goJWjyAcmZ — Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 22, 2021 Very few even included the crucial caveat that the intelligence officials themselves stressed: namely, that they had no evidence at all to corroborate this claim. Instead, as I noted last September, “virtually every media outlet — CNN, NBC News, PBS, Huffington Post, The Intercept, and too many others to count — began completely ignoring the substance of the reporting and instead spread the lie over and over that these documents were the by-product of Russian disinformation.” The Huffington Post even published a must-be-seen-to-be-believed campaign ad for Joe Biden, masquerading as “reporting,” that spread this lie that the emails were "Russian disinformation.” This disinformation campaign about the Biden emails was then used by Big Tech to justify brute censorship of any reporting on or discussion of this story: easily the most severe case of pre-election censorship in modern American political history. Twitter locked The New York Post's Twitter account for close to two weeks due to its refusal to obey Twitter's orders to delete any reference to its reporting. The social media site also blocked any and all references to the reporting by all users; Twitter users were barred even from linking to the story in private chats with one another. Facebook, through its spokesman, the life-long DNC operative Andy Stone, announced that they would algorithmically suppress discussion of the reporting to ensure it did not spread, pending a “fact check[] by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners” which, needless to say, never came — precisely because the archive was indisputably authentic. The archive's authenticity, as I documented in a video report from September, was clear from the start. Indeed, as I described in that report, I staked my career on its authenticity when I demanded that The Intercept publish my analysis of these revelations, and then resigned when its vehemently anti-Trump editors censored any discussion of those emails precisely because it was indisputable that the archive was authentic (The Intercept's former New York Times reporter James Risen was given the green light by these same editors to spread and endorse the CIA's lie, as he insisted that laptop should be ignored because “a group of former intelligence officials issued a letter saying that the Giuliani laptop story has the classic trademarks of Russian disinformation.") I knew the archive was real because all the relevant journalistic metrics that one evaluates to verify large archives of this type — including the Snowden archive and the Brazil archive which I used to report a series of investigative exposés — left no doubt that it was genuine (that includes documented verification from third parties who were included in the email chains and who showed that the emails they had in their possession matched the ones in the archive word-for-word). Any residual doubts that the Biden archive was genuine — and there should have been none — were shattered when a reporter from Politico, Ben Schreckinger, published a book last September, entitled "The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power," in which his new reporting proved that the key emails on which The New York Post relied were entirely authentic. Among other things, Schreckinger interviewed several people included in the email chains who provided confirmation that the emails in their possession matched the ones in the Post's archive word for word. He also obtained documents from the Swedish government that were identical to key documents in the archive. His own outlet, Politico, was one of the few to even acknowledge his book. While ignoring the fact that they were the first to spread the lie that the emails were "Russian disinformation,” Politico editors — under the headline “Double Trouble for Biden”— admitted that the book “finds evidence that some of the purported Hunter Biden laptop material is genuine, including two emails at the center of last October’s controversy.” The vital revelations in Schreckinger's book were almost completely ignored by the very same corporate media outlets that published the CIA's now-debunked lies. They just pretended it never happened. Grappling with it would have forced them to acknowledge a fact quite devastating to whatever remaining credibility they have: namely, that they all ratified and spread a coordinated disinformation campaign in order to elect Joe Biden and defeat Donald Trump. With strength in numbers, and knowing that they speak only to and for liberals who are happy if they lie to help Democrats, they all joined hands in an implicit vow of silence and simply ignored the new proof in Schreckinger's book that, in the days leading up to the 2020 election, they all endorsed a disinformation campaign. It will now be much harder to avoid confronting the reality of what they did, though it is highly likely that they will continue to do so. This morning, The New York Times published an article about the broad, ongoing FBI criminal investigation into Hunter Biden's international business and tax activities. Prior to the election, the Times, to their credit, was one of the few to apply skepticism to the CIA's pre-election lie, noting on October 22 that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation.” Because the activities of Hunter Biden now under FBI investigation directly pertain to the emails first revealed by The Post, the reporters needed to rely upon the laptop's archive to amplify and inform their reporting. That, in turn, required The New York Times to verify the authenticity of this laptop and its origins — exactly what, according to their reporters, they successfully did: People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation. That this cache of emails was authentic was clear from the start. Any doubts were obliterated by publication of Schreckinger's book six months ago. Now the Paper of Record itself explicitly states not only that the emails “were authenticated” but also that the original story from The Post about how they obtained these materials — they “come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop” — “appears” to be true. What this means is that, in the crucial days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, most of the corporate media spread an absolute lie about The New York Post's reporting in order to mislead and manipulate the American electorate. It means that Big Tech monopolies, along with Twitter, censored this story based on a lie from “the intelligence community.” It means that Facebook's promise from its DNC operative that it would suppress discussion of the reporting in order to conduct a "fact-check” of these documents was a fraud because, if one had been conducted, that no fact-check was even published because, if an honest one had been conducted, it would have proven that Facebook’s censorship decree was based on a lie. It means that millions of Americans were denied the ability to hear about reporting on the candidate leading all polls to become the next president, and instead were subjected to a barrage of lies about the provenance (Russia did it) and authenticity (disinformation!) of these documents. The objections to noting all of this today are drearily predictable. Reporting on Hunter Biden is irrelevant since he was not himself a candidate (what made the reporting relevant was what it revealed about the involvement of Joe Biden in these deals). Given the war in Ukraine, now is not the time to discuss all of this (despite the fact that they are usually ignored, there are always horrific wars being waged even if the victims are not as sympathetic as European Ukrainians and the perpetrators are the film's Good Guys and not the Bad Guys). The real reason most liberals and their media allies do not want to hear about any of this is because they believe that the means they used (deliberately lying to the public with CIA disinformation) are justified by their noble ends (defeating Trump). Whatever else is true, both the CIA/media disinformation campaign in the weeks before the 2020 election and the resulting regime of brute censorship imposed by Big Tech are of historic significance. Democrats and their new allies in the establishment wing of the Republican Party may be more excited by war in Ukraine than the subversion of their own election by the unholy trinity of the intelligence community, the corporate press, and Big Tech. But today's admission by The New York Times that this archive and the emails in them were real all along proves that a gigantic fraud was perpetrated by the country's most powerful institutions. What matters far more than the interest level of various partisan factions is the core truths about U.S. democracy revealed by this tawdry spectacle. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Thu, 03/17/2022 - 11:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 17th, 2022

Google Manipulates Results As "Mass Formation Psychosis" Searches Explode Due To Collapsing COVID Narrative

Google Manipulates Results As "Mass Formation Psychosis' Searches Explode Due To Collapsing COVID Narrative Authored by Matt Agorist via TheFreeThoughtProject.com, Those paying attention to the current situation regarding the establishment’s control on the narrative around Covid-19, have watched as anyone — including esteemed experts in the field — are censored into oblivion for attempting to put forth information that challenges the status quo. For the first time in recent American history, merely talking about alternative treatments for a disease is met with mass censorship by big tech. This is diametrically opposed to actual “science” and the opposite direction in which a free society should be moving. One of the people who has been censored the most is Robert W Malone MD, MS who is one of the inventors of mRNA & DNA vaccines. Dr. Malone has been outspoken about the way the establishment system is handling, or rather mishandling, the covid crisis. His Twitter account had grown to over a half million followers last week before the platform decided that his alternative views on the pandemic were a danger to the narrative. So they banned him. Instead of standing up for the free exchange of ideas by experts — which is how science works  — the left cheered for Malone’s censorship, calling him a kook while celebrating the tools of tyrants. Before Donald Trump came into office and caused mass hysteria over Russia, the left used to stand for freedom of speech. However, the flamboyant tyrant in the White House quickly eroded their respect for rights. Then, in 2020, Covid-19 arrived and the censorship campaign switched into overdrive. The left — armed with their militant “fact checkers” whose opinions are wielded like swords against anyone who challenges the official narrative — became the regime of authoritarian information controllers. After all, if you challenge their messiahs like Dr. Fauci, you challenge science itself — facts be damned. So what happened? Why did the left go from championing free speech for years — even supporting the speech of neo-nazis — to rabidly demanding the silencing of those who attempt to challenge team doom? Dr. Malone and others have a theory, and it’s called mass formation psychosis. “When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense, we can’t understand it, and then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point just like hypnosis, they literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere,” explained Malone on a recent interview with Joe Rogan. Malone then described how “leaders” can exploit this situation: “And one of the aspects of that phenomenon is that the people that they identify as their leaders, the ones typically that come in and say you have this pain and I can solve it for you. I and I alone. Then they will follow that person. It doesn’t matter whether they lied to them or whatever. The data is irrelevant.” On Joe Rogan, Dr Robert Malone suggests we are living through a mass formation psychosis. He explains how and why this could happen, and its effects. He draws analogy to 1920s/30s Germany “they had a highly intelligent, highly educated population, and they went barking mad” pic.twitter.com/wZpfMsyEZZ — Mythinformed MKE (@MythinformedMKE) January 1, 2022 After Dr. Malone explained this concept of mass formation, developed by Dr. Mattias Desmet, professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium, internet searches for “mass formation psychosis” began to exponentially increase. It appeared that Google, at one point, even attempted to skew the returned results, and it appears it is still happening. Dr Malone broke the algorithm and now Google is struggling to manually edit the results when you search for mass formation psychosis. Try it. Never seen this before. pic.twitter.com/kBKBGjM8bB — Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) January 1, 2022 Now, when you search for the phrase on Google, it returns articles by mainstream media outlets, like Forbes who took to making fun of Malone for even daring to suggest that this was the case. Apparently, large swaths of people calling for the unvaccinated to be put into camps, denied healthcare, and even killed, is not psychosis. It’s normal. It’s normal to completely dismiss the massive amounts of data in front of us, and instead opt for a fear-driven narrative that has caused suffering of epic proportions in populations whose risk of complications from covid are almost non-existent. If you search for the term on DuckDuckGo, however, Dr. Malone’s article from last month comes up. Bing, unlike Google, did not manipulate Malone’s article out of the search results either.  Though Google is hiding it and Forbes is downplaying it, mass formation psychosis is a plausible explanation for what is going on right now in Western society. According to Desmet, there are four basic conditions which need to be met for a society to be vulnerable to mass hypnosis. And we are meeting all of them. The first condition is a lack of social bonding. Over the last five years, Americans have been torn in half by the Trump phenomenon and when covid arrived it pushed people into isolation that much further. As fearful individuals pine away in their homes with no social interaction, their lack of community has fallen to a depressing level. The second condition for mass psychosis is a lack of meaning or purpose in one’s life. Desmet cites a Gallup poll done with people in 142 countries in which 63% of respondents admitted to being so disengaged at work that they were sleepwalking through their day, putting time but not passion into their work. What’s more, a recent poll of young people in the UK revealed that 89 percent of those aged 16-29, “believe that their lives have no meaning or purpose.” Free floating anxiety is the third condition for mass psychosis and one need only look at the millions of prescriptions for anti-anxiety/depression medications in the country to realize that it is rife throughout the west. As Desmet points out, if people feel socially isolated and that their life has no meaning, their anxiety isn’t connected to a mental representation. This free-floating anxiety then creates deep psychological discontent. Finally, the fourth condition needed for mass psychosis is prevalent levels of frustration and aggression. A quick stroll down Twitter lane and the amount of overt societal aggression becomes exceedingly clear. It has even manifested countless times in real life as pro-maskers attack anti-maskers and vice versa. The term “covid Karen” exists for a reason. One can reasonably argue that all four of these condition are easily met currently, which is fomenting a mob psychology. And as Desmet reminds us, this psychological phenomenon explains why so many have bought into a clearly illogical and unscientific narrative, and why they are willing to participate in the prescribed strategy like quadruple masking — “even if it’s utterly absurd,” Desmet says. “The reason they buy into the narrative is because it leads to this new social bond,” he explains. “Science, logic and correctness have nothing to do with it.” Sound familiar? How many times have people continued to cite the “experts” whose narratives have been proven false over and over again. How many times have wee seen people blindly follow these known liars simply because these liars offer them solidarity in their mutual psychosis. Even the FDA has fallen into this formation as they push vaccinations for 5-11 year old children despite no clear emergency for children. In spite of the lack of emergency, because these new community bonds have formed and team doom is under mass hypnosis, millions of parents eagerly await to inject their children with a vaccine that hasn’t even been approved for them. What, besides mass psychosis could explain the mainstream media scoffing at the 400,000 adverse reaction events from the covid vaccine reported to VAERS in the last year? How is it that these reported events, including 20,000 deaths posted to the system are written off as immediately unreliable — despite all previous data showing that it is likely a vast undercount? How is it that mainstream media and their supporters in team doom can justify myocarditis in children as some preservation of the greater good, without falling victim to mass psychosis? Without mass psychosis, why are people so willing to surrender their freedoms, submit to vaccine passports, and welcome a totalitarian police state with open arms? This behavior is not “normal.” Those under mass psychosis have simply formed a bond so strong that actual facts no longer matter — for they are now the virtuous ones. Anyone who doesn’t constantly virtue signal to the collective is an enemy. Through fact checkers, social media, and big tech control, this collective focusses their rage and hatred on those who have not fallen victim to the spell. Those not under the spell are evil, need to be locked up, arrested, and are deemed domestic terrorists by the collective. Critical thought, logic, and reason rest in their graves as mass psychosis maintains its grip on millions of fearful, anxious, and aggressive loners who have found their place in the virtuous and caring aggregate horde. While this outlook may seem bleak, the good news is that we can fight this mass psychosis by continuing to counter the narrative which is driving it, thereby shaking others out of their hypnosis by repeatedly exposing them to actual reality. What’s more, it means these horrific things that many people are saying online, like the unvaccinated should be excluded from society or locked up, isn’t necessarily coming from a place of evil, but it’s more of a psychological process their minds are doing to help them survive their false reality. *  *  * Click here to join The Free Thought Project resistance Tyler Durden Tue, 01/04/2022 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 4th, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

A Puzzled Wall Street Reacts To Powell, And The Market"s Furious Melt Up

A Puzzled Wall Street Reacts To Powell, And The Market's Furious Melt Up Heading into today's FOMC, consensus was clear: anything more than 2 rates hikes in 2022, a year-end core PCE above 2.5%, and an upward shift in the 2024 dot (from 1.75%) would be viewed as clearly hawkish and would spark concern in the markets that the Fed is tightening too fast. And yet, despite the Fed clearly hawkish pivot which among other things, also saw the retirement of the word "transitory", stocks initially sank only to soar, before closing at session highs, just above 4,700 and not too far from all time highs. Time having second thoughts pic.twitter.com/suRlUpSzJC — ForexLive (@ForexLive) December 15, 2021 Of course, for those who have seen enough Fed days in their time, nothing that happened today was unexpected, because with sentiment heading into the 2pm announcement at rock bottom, there was only one that the market could respond: up. Everyone expecting stocks to tumble after the FOMC. You know what that means — zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 15, 2021 And more to the point, while the market reaction was clearly downbeat after the hawkish statement, it was Powell's dovish press conference that was the real trigger... ... just as we expected it would be. The usual good cop/bad cop combo - hawkish statement, means now Powell will be dovish during the presser — zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 15, 2021 There are of course other explanations: one is that having hedged aggressively into the FOMC, with bearish sentiment soaring, the only possible trade was to unwind hedges, triggering a massive gamma squeeze higher, just as Nomura's Charlie McElligott predicted earlier today. “It seemed like there was some hedging demand into the event, perhaps relief that the event has happened, regardless of outcome,” said Danny Kirsch, head of options at Cornerstone Macro LLC. “The event is gone, sell your hedge and move on.” Yet others, those who goalseek narratives for a living, such as former NY Fed BIll Dudley, saw a hidden message in Powell's remarks: “What I took away from the press conference was Powell is pretty upbeat about the economy,” Dudley said on Bloomberg TV. What Dudley did not say is how it is possible that the Fed sees stronger GDP, a higher inflation and lower unemployment when predicting 3 hikes today, compared to September when every economic parameter was weaker yet when the Fed forecast just one rate hike. Does the Fed even know what "tightening" means? (If not, it very soon will...) And while in retrospect, trading the Fed today was especially easy if one ignores all fundamental and analytical insight and just focuses on positioning, flows and historical precedent, many financial professionals were confused as their kneejerk commentary following the Fed revealed. Below we present some of the more notable hot takes from around Wall Street. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Advisor to Allianz: "A notable shift in #Fed policy that’s slightly more hawkish than consensus expectations (though somewhat less than what I think is needed). The doubling of the taper comes with an increase in the #inflation forecast and more aggressive signaling of rate hikes. Press conference key" Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research: “The assumption is that this outcome was largely built into equity expectations. Because the FOMC was not more hawkish, equities are breathing a sigh of relief and reversing course -- at least for now.” Brian Coulton, chief economist at Fitch Ratings: “This is a major pivot from the Fed, prompted by clearer evidence that inflation is broadening. ... Most significantly, inflation is described as having already exceeded 2 per cent ‘for some time’, so it looks like the Fed feels enough progress has now been made in compensating for earlier shortfalls in inflation.” Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance: “Although the stock market moved higher during the press-conference, the sectors leading the market higher (e.g. Utilities and Healthcare) are both very defensive sectors and indicate some concern about the future path of the economy.” Matt Maley of Miller Tabak & Co. says this about the positive market reaction: “It seems like people are playing ‘buy the news,’ but when the Fed gets more hawkish at a time when the stock market is as expensive as it is today, investors are playing with fire. I’d also say that some investors are taking the comment that the Fed can adjust policy further if it is warranted as saying they can become more dovish if the economy slows too quickly.” Chris Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo: “We believe the initial positive equity market reaction is due to investors gaining confidence in the Fed’s willingness and ability to fight inflation. As a result they are decreasing the odds of stagflation and policy error.” Bill Northey, U.S. Bank Wealth Management: “It’s not uncommon following a monetary policy announcement to have some volatility. In fact, the initial direction following the announcement oftentimes is not the direction that we conclude the day with. " Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs: “It gives me more confidence to buy on these dips off of 52 week highs. We shouldn’t forget that the economy is actually expanding, and less stimulus is needed. None of this is bad news for the market.” Cheryl Smith, economist and portfolio manager at Trillium Asset Management “There is still a significant difference between the unemployment rates for White and Black Americans at all levels of education and age. Further, participation rates are still well below the pre-pandemic level.” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics: “The upshot of these new forecasts is that the Fed has moved into line with market thinking. The key question now is the timing of the first hike. If it weren’t for Omicron, we’d expect it in March, but experience elsewhere signals that the U.S. is about to see a massive, unprecedented surge in Covid cases, with unknowable -- but likely temporary -- consequences for the economy. We think this will delay the first hike until May, with the next moves in September and December.” Here’s Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride: “The Fed retired the word ‘transitory’ from their statement and gave strong indications that they’re poised to hike interest rates once they deem the labor  market to be at full employment. Definitely a more hawkish tone, and the most we have seen in some time -- similar to inflation.” Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs "The FOMC revised the statement to acknowledge that inflation has “exceeded 2% for some time” and removed language in the previous statement that said that “with inflation having run persistently below” 2%, it would aim to achieve inflation “moderately above 2 percent for some time” and expected to maintain an accommodative stance until that goal is achieved." At the end of the day, the simplest explanation is probably the right one, and it is the one we showed two weeks ago, namely that the forward yield curve has already inverted (rates in 2025 are seen as lower than 2023)... ... suggesting that the market is delighted by the Fed's aggressive tightening plans because they will crash and burn and force Powell to end tightening in the near future and then immediately start the next easing cycle. In other words, the Fed's tightening cycle is over before it has even begun, and yes that means the time to frontrun the next mega bubble has arrived. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/15/2021 - 17:23.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 15th, 2021

Taibbi: Will Twitter Become An Ocean Of Suck?

Taibbi: Will Twitter Become An Ocean Of Suck? Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News, Jack Dorsey, the extend-o-bearded CEO who co-founded Twitter and whose fame grew with that of his increasingly powerful platform during the Trump years, resigned yesterday. His departure is the latest plot point in a long-developing Internet tragicomedy, which has seen what was supposed to be a historically democratizing technological tool transformed into a dystopian force for censorship and control. The departure of Dorsey, the rare CEO who not only has a conscience but appears to consult it more than once every few years, is bad news for those who already had complaints about the company, which during his tenure came to occupy a central role in what’s left of American intellectual culture. not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter pic.twitter.com/G5tUkSSxkl — jack⚡️ (@jack) November 29, 2021 Twitter under Dorsey suffered from working too well. Specifically, society responded to Donald Trump’s Tweet-driven 2016 presidential campaign as if it revealed a defect in the platform that needed fixing when actually Trump’s election was proof that Twitter was working much as intended. Our political establishment just wasn’t looking for that sort of functionality. The original concept of Twitter was egalitarian, flattening, and iconoclastic: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas, instantly, without barriers.” That mantra fit with then-CEO Dick Costolo’s 2010 claim that “We’re the free speech wing of the free speech party.” Prior to 2016, elite mouthpieces bragged about acting as gatekeepers to political power. Someone like then-ABC writer Mark Halperin could write boastful pieces about how a “Gang of 500” in Washington really decided the presidency. These were “campaign consultants, strategists, pollsters, pundits, and journalists who make up the modern-day political establishment,” as the New Yorker put it. When political debates were held, a handful of analysts on television told you who won. We, reporters, told you who was “electable” and who wasn’t, and people mostly listened, even if “electability” was a crock that mostly measured levels of corporate donor approval. Then came 2016. Trump didn’t get the big Republican donor money (it went to Jeb Bush), he didn’t get the support of his party’s bureaucracy (which at various times pulled out stops to try to “derail” his candidacy for the nomination), and even conservative media locked arms against him early in the race (the National Review published an unprecedented “Conservatives Against Trump” mega-piece featuring a slew of famed mouthpieces, who aimed to forestall the “crisis for conservatism” Trump’s presence threatened). Trump throughout his political career benefited from free corporate media coverage, but by the time of his first nomination, he had universally negative editorial treatment in mainstream media and even serious detractors on stations like Fox. Once, that would have been fatal to a politician, which is why Nate Cohn could write with confidence in the New York Times that Trump had “just about no chance” to win the Republican nomination in 2016 — because, he said without embarrassment, it is “the party elites who traditionally decide nomination contests.” Such commentators didn’t figure on the power of the Internet, and especially Twitter. Trump didn’t need the news media to amplify his message. He was expressing himself in a way that defied contextualization, on a Twitter account that essentially became the country’s most-followed media network. Between January 2015 and January 2016, Trump’s number of followers doubled, but beyond that, the average number of retweets went from 79 to 2,201, which as Politico noted, meant that his power of dissemination increased by a factor of 28 in that single year. Twitter’s unique ability to exponentially increase the messaging force of a single individual had never been dealt with by institutional America before. One of the first things I wrote about Trump was about his unique knack for the platform: Trump will someday be in the Twitter Hall of Fame. His fortune-cookie mind – restless, confrontational, completely lacking the shame/fact filter, monosyllabic, and rarely asleep when it should be – is perfectly engineered for the medium. Whether he was being dumb or smart, petty or cutting, incoherent or inscrutable, Trump had a way of expressing himself that automatically gave his tweets superior reach to news stories about his tweets. This put him permanently ahead of the news cycle. Even just misspelling a basketball star’s name while stepping over a few racial decorum lines created fractal-like ripples of unpredictable headlines: With this power, a politician was now able to communicate directly with voters, and even the collective displeasure of the entire self-described political establishment could not stuff that genie back in the bottle. Moreover, Twitter itself now decided things like who won debates. Pundits were often reduced to reporting the platform’s mood, in place of the previous practice of telling populations how to feel. People will focus on the fact that it was bad bad Donald Trump who got elected that year, but that was really incidental. The real problem Trump represented for elite America had less to do with his political beliefs than the unapproved manner of his rise. Twitter, seen as a co-conspirator in this evil, became a target of establishment reprisal after Trump’s win. To read the rest of the report, click here and subscribe. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 09:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Syria"s My Lai? US Massacred 70 Civilians And Covered It Up

Syria's My Lai? US Massacred 70 Civilians And Covered It Up Authored by Aaron Maté via Substack, The New York Times has exposed one of the US military's worst massacres and cover-up scandals since My Lai in Vietnam. On March 18, 2019, amid a battle with Islamic State fighters, the US Air Force bombed a crowd of civilians taking shelter near the town of Baghuz, Syria, killing a reported 70 people. The attacks occurred within a 5-minute span: an initial strike, and then another with heavier bombs as survivors fled. The Times' Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt report: Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet… dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors. Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. US military officials watched the Baghuz massacre here via drone footage in real time. (US Air Force) US military personnel in Qatar watched the attack in real time via a surveillance drone at the scene. The high-definition footage showed that only two or three armed men were near the crowd, and were not engaging in any kind of combat activity that would have justified a defensive military strike. “Who dropped that?” a confused analyst typed on a secure chat system being used by those monitoring the drone, two people who reviewed the chat log recalled. Another responded, “We just dropped on 50 women and children.” An initial battle damage assessment quickly found that the number of dead was actually about 70. Instead of accountability, "at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike," Philipps and Schmitt write. The site of the bombing was bulldozed; the unit that conducted the strike vindicated itself; key evidence was buried; military logs were altered; and investigations were stalled and subverted. Although the Pentagon's independent inspector general managed to launch a probe, "the report containing its findings was stalled and stripped of any mention of the strike." The bombing was called in by a classified special operations unit, Task Force 9, which led US ground operations in Syria. Two months after the March 2019 massacre, the task force completed a civilian casualty report on the strike that claimed that only four civilians were killed. It also determined that the strike was lawfully conducted in self-defense. The Baghuz killings likely only came to light because of whistleblowers who challenged the cover-up from within. Lt. Col. Dean W. Korsak, an Air Force lawyer present at the Qatar air base when the massacre was observed, immediately ordered officials to preserve evidence, including video, and urged superiors to open a war crimes investigation. When they refused, Korsak alerted the Pentagon's independent inspector general.  Earlier this year, after two years of inaction, Korsak shared details about the cover-up with the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I’m putting myself at great risk of military retaliation for sending this," he wrote. "Senior ranking U.S. military officials intentionally and systematically circumvented the deliberate strike process." …[Korsak] wrote that a unit had intentionally entered false strike log entries, “clearly seeking to cover up the incidents.” Calling the classified death toll “shockingly high,” he said the military did not follow its own requirements to report and investigate the strike. There was a good chance, he wrote, that “the highest levels of government remained unaware of what was happening on the ground.” When Korsak alerted the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, an Air Force major replied that the office would likely only probe the massacre if there was a "potential for high media attention, concern with outcry from local community/government, concern sensitive images may get out." The Senate Armed Committee reached out to Korsack after being approached by another whistleblower, Gene Tate, an investigator at the Pentagon's Inspector General office. Tate told the Times that he witnessed similar stonewalling and censorship. "Leadership just seemed so set on burying this. No one wanted anything to do with it," Tate said. "It makes you lose faith in the system when people are trying to do what’s right but no one in positions of leadership wants to hear it." After raising concerns at multiple levels, Tate says that in October 2020 "he was forced out of his position and escorted from the building by security." In response to the New York Times, Central Command acknowledged the Baghuz massacre for the first time. But it continues to deny the civilian toll, insisting that just four civilians were killed. According to the Times, a US military statement claimed that 60 of the dead may have not have been civilians, "in part because women and children in the Islamic State sometimes took up arms." The Times uncovered additional evidence that the cover-up is part of a broader pattern of US forces ignoring safeguards against attacking civilians in Syria, and hiding the death toll.  According to the Times, some officials believed that Task Force 9, the unit behind the strike, "was systematically circumventing the safeguards created to limit civilian deaths… by late 2018, about 80 percent of all airstrikes it was calling in claimed self-defense."  Previous mass casualty causing military operations in Syria have also evaded scrutiny. As a New Yorker report observed in 2020, US bombings in Syria have "reduced parts of the country to wasteland." In Raqqa, US adopted "a strategy of physical annihilation applied against a city that still harbored a significant civilian population", causing an "utter decimation" that "might be unique in this century." According to the Times' exposé  on Baghuz, US officials assessing civilian deaths in places like Raqqa "did not investigate on the ground and often based their findings on how many dead civilians they could definitively identify from aerial footage of the rubble." Baghuz Cliff, Syria. (J. Steffen @ WikiMapia) Parallels to My Lai massacre in Vietnam News of the Baghuz massacre comes just days after the US military exonerated itself for the killing of 10 civilians, including seven children, in its August drone strike in Kabul. The US military's cover-up of the Baghuz massacre also parallels the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. A reported 504 Vietnamese civilians, including 182 women and 173 children, were slaughtered by US forces in My Lai and neighboring My Khe 4 on March 16, 1968. Just like in Baghuz, the US military unit involved in the My Lai massacre – the 11th Infantry Brigade -- carried out an investigation and exonerated itself. The atrocity was revealed in November 1969 by journalist Seymour Hersh, who interviewed two of the key perpetrators. Hersh's report, published by the small anti-war outlet the Dispatch News Service, helped turn US public opinion against the Vietnam war.  The Baghuz massacre was kept hidden from the public for a year longer than My Lai was. Hersh's story came out 18 months after the My Lai massacre; the Baghuz slaughter occurred on March 18, 2019, and was revealed by the New York Times on November 13, 2021 — more than two years later. Coincidentally, the Times’ story was published one day after the 52nd anniversary of Hersh's report on My Lai: November 12, 1969. US massacre in Baghuz follows decade-long dirty war in Syria with little oversight The lack of accountability for US bombings that kill civilians is only one element of a years-long US warfare campaign in Syria given a blank check by Congress and kept largely from public view. Against the will of the Syrian government -- and with no authorization from the United Nations Security Council or the US Congress -- the US military continues to occupy a large swath of northeast Syria with hundreds of troops. As I reported in September, the Biden administration has deceived the public about both the nature of the US mission in Syria and its motives. Although the US claims that its "sole purpose" in Syria is fighting ISIS, the US military has in fact barely done any fighting over the last two years. In 2019, now-senior Biden official Dana Stroul admitted that the US military occupation in Syria in "not only about completing the anti-ISIS fight." In reality, Stroul explained, occupying the "resource-rich", "economic powerhouse" region in Syria's northeast -- which contains the country's "hydrocarbons" and is its "agricultural powerhouse" -- gives the U.S. government "broader leverage" to influence "a political outcome in Syria" in line with US dictates. At a US gov-funded think tank, this official who oversaw Congress' Syria Study Group outlines the continued regime-change strategy. She says the US military "owned" 1/3rd of Syrian territory, including its oil/wheat-rich region. And the US is trying to block reconstruction funds pic.twitter.com/NIEJ9elxhs — Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 5, 2019 Underscoring the bipartisan mission, Stroul's rationale was expressed more crudely by President Trump in January 2020, when he told Fox News that he had backed off a withdrawal from Syria in order to "to take the oil. I took the oil." The US Congress is so committed to deploying US troops to steal Syrian resources that it refuses to even debate it. In September, a proposed amendment from Rep. Jamal Bowman (D-NY) that would require Congressional authorization for the U.S. military force in Syria was defeated 141-286. Although the U.S. military launched operations in Syria in 2014, this vote marked the first time that either chamber of Congress has taken a recorded floor vote on whether to authorize the deployment of hundreds of troops there.  The Congressional endorsement of continued military occupation in Syria pleased the Biden administration, which "doesn't want a cap on military operations in Syria," Politico reported. "The United States is in Syria for the sole purpose of enabling the campaign against ISIS, which is not yet over," a National Security Council spokesperson claimed, omitting the hegemonic motives previously admitted by Stroul and Trump. The Congressional abrogation of its oversight and war authority powers in Syria follows its decade-long rubber stamp on arguably the most catastrophic and deadly US operation of them all: Timber Sycamore, the multi-billion dollar CIA program that armed and trained insurgents seeking to overthrow Syria's government. Just like the cover-up over the Baghuz massacre, US officials concealed the costs and consequences of the massive covert CIA operation. Timber Sycamore proved to be "one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the C.I.A", the New York Times reported in 2017, after Trump ordered its cancellation. With "a budget approaching $1 billion a year," or "about $1 of every $15 in the CIA’s overall budget," the CIA armed and trained nearly 10,000 insurgents, spending "roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel who has gone through the program," the Washington Post revealed in 2015. Citing a "knowledgeable US official," the Post's David Ignatius reported in 2017, the "many dozens of militia groups" given "many hundreds of millions of dollars" by the CIA "may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years." As David McCloskey, a former CIA analyst who worked on Syria during the program's early years, told me in a recent interview for The Grayzone, the US continued this program despite the internal understanding that "al-Qaeda affiliated groups and Salafi jihadist groups were the primary engine of the insurgency." The US government's tacit alliance with Al Qaeda, McCloskey said, was "a tremendously problematic aspect of the conflict." Read the rest and subscribe at Substack Tyler Durden Mon, 11/15/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 15th, 2021

I tried McDonald"s new McPlant vegan burger. Here"s how it stacks up against the Quarter Pounder.

McPlant vs Quarter Pounder: "The cheese on the McPlant didn't melt, but overall the burger tasted nicer than the Quarter Pounder." I tried McDonald's new plant-based burger. Grace Dean/Insider McDonald's has rolled out a new vegan burger with a Beyond Meat patty. I compared it with the chain's Quarter Pounder with cheese, which is the same price. The cheese on the McPlant didn't melt, but overall the burger tasted nicer. McDonald's has been working on its meat-free range from years. In November 2020, the fast-food chain finally revealed the McPlant. Rui Vieira/PA Images/Getty Images Source: Insider McDonald's started trialing the burger at eight restaurants in the US earlier this month, but it's rolled out sales more widely in other countries, including the UK and Australia. McDonald's is testing the McPlant in the US. McDonald's Source: Insider, Insider I decided to try it at one of the 250 UK restaurants selling the McPlant and see how it stacks up compared with the chain's Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Insider's Bethany Dawson praised the McPlant in a review, but I wanted to put it head-to-head with one of McDonald's meat-based burgers. Grace Dean/Insider Source: Insider The McPlant consists of a plant-based patty, which McDonald's co-developed with Beyond Meat, as well as vegan sandwich sauce and a vegan cheese alternative. The burger also comes with ketchup, mustard, onion, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. Grace Dean/Insider Of everything on McDonald's menu, I thought that the Quarter Pounder with Cheese was the most similar. Both were the same price at the McDonald's I went to in Newcastle, at £3.79 ($5.08) on their own or £5.29 ($7.08) as part of a medium meal with a drink and fries. The McPlant comes in at 429 calories, while the Quarter Pounder with Cheese has 518 calories. The McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese. McDonald's The burgers looked quite similar at first glance. Grace Dean/Insider Both burgers came with slightly different toppings. Neither looked very attractive when I opened them up. Grace Dean/Insider The patties themselves looked quite different. The beef one in the Quarter Pounder was slightly bigger and had fairly rough edges. The McPlant patty had much smoother edges, which made it look more artificial. Grace Dean/Insider The vegan cheese slice on the McPlant hadn't melted at all ... I tried McDonald's new plant-based burger. Grace Dean/Insider ... while the cheese slices in the Quarter Pounder, which were both underneath and on top of the patty, had completely melted. Grace Dean/Insider As for the taste, I much preferred the McPlant. It had a rich, meaty flavor and could have fooled me that it was real meat. Grace Dean/Insider I don't go to McDonald's much, but I'd order the McPlant again if I did. Grace Dean/Insider Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 13th, 2021

Burry Unloads At Musk: Your Success Is Only Thanks To Taxpayer Subsidies

Burry Unloads At Musk: Your Success Is Only Thanks To Taxpayer Subsidies Update (1132ET): The Big Short's Michael Burry is back tweeting this morning after an overnight rant criticizing the Fed and SEC policies for creating speculative bubbles and inflation. He took aim at the Rivian IPO, reflecting on the fact that it's now worth more than GM and Ford (without selling a single product).  Around 1024 ET, Burry quoted a Musk tweet about how his company is the first "American carmaker to reach high volume production & positive cash flow in past 100 years." The CEO of Scion Asset Management said: "No, @elonmusk , the true test is achieving that without massive government and electricity subsidies on the backs of taxpayers who don't own your cars."  Burry has since deleted the tweet.  Earlier this week, Business Insider quoted Burry as saying Musk may want to sell stocks to cover his debts. Not too long ago, Burry revealed that he was no longer betting against Tesla. He unveiled the short earlier this year but has likely been hammered after multiple gamma squeezes.  The contrarian investor is ramping up his tweets against Musk and Tesla as possible a Twitter battle between the two may shortly ensue.  * * * Having taken aim at Elon Musk earlier in the week, Famous short-seller Michael Burry of The Big Short game emerged once again from his latest self-imposed Twitter exile to lambast The Fed (and The SEC) for fiddling while Rome burns. In one tweet, reflecting on the fact that Rivian - the newest entrant into the electric vehicle market - is now worth over $100 billion and larger than GM and Ford: Burry summarizes the madness perfectly: More speculation than the 1920s. More overvaluation than the 1990s.  More geopolitical and economic strife than the 1970s. And who is to blame as this shitshow continues: "Players grabbing the barrel of Kyle Rittenhouse's rifle while The SEC and Federal Reserve nod approvingly." The infamous housing bubble spotter was not done yet, taking aim at the bubbly nature of everything Wall Street, while Main Street suffers under the 'tax' of inflation: "American real wages - adjusted for inflation - are down 2.2% since Jan 1. Seems the ONLY truly meaningful thing that’s down this manic, manic year. Inflation is a massively regressive tax. Never forget it." American real wages - adjusted for inflation - are down 2.2% since Jan 1. Seems the ONLY truly meaningful thing that’s down this manic, manic year. Inflation is a massively regressive tax. Never forget it. pic.twitter.com/tsHRoRuh1Z — Cassandra (@michaeljburry) November 12, 2021 Burry has been vocal about warning about our current stock market bubble. "People say I didn't warn last time. I did, but no one listened. So I warn this time. And still, no one listens. But I will have proof I warned," he Tweeted about markets about a year ago.  He also commented on Tesla golden child Cathie Wood, earlier in the year, Tweeting: "It is too early, she is too hot, and, today, short sellers are timid, but Wall Street will be ruthless in the end." Burry, recall, revealed a huge Tesla short earlier in 2021 but as of one month ago he was no longer betting against Tesla and said that his position was just a trade. Burry has also been vocal warning against a bitcoin bubble. Of course, if he was also short the crypto space in addition to TSLA, his losses in 2021 could be Jess Livermore-sized.... Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 11:32.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

Michael Burry Blasts Fed, SEC Over Most Speculative, Overvalued, Geopolitically-Challenged Market In Decades

Michael Burry Blasts Fed, SEC Over Most Speculative, Overvalued, Geopolitically-Challenged Market In Decades Having taken aim at Elon Musk earlier in the week, Famous short seller Michael Burry of The Big Short game emerged once again from his latest self-imposed twitter exile to lambast The Fed (and The SEC) for fiddling while Rome burns. In one tweet, reflecting on the fact that Rivian - the newest entrant into the electric vehicle market - is now worth over $100 billion and larger than GM and Ford: Burry summarizes the madness perfectly: More speculation than the 1920s. More overvaluation than the 1990s.  More geopolitical and economic strife than the 1970s. And who is to blame as this shitshow continues: "Players grabbing the barrel of Kyle Rittenhouse's rifle while The SEC and Federal Reserve nod approvingly." The infamous housing bubble spotter was not done yet, taking aim at the bubbly nature of everything Wall Street, while Main Street suffers under the 'tax' of inflation: "American real wages - adjusted for inflation - are down 2.2% since Jan 1. Seems the ONLY truly meaningful thing that’s down this manic, manic year. Inflation is a massively regressive tax. Never forget it." American real wages - adjusted for inflation - are down 2.2% since Jan 1. Seems the ONLY truly meaningful thing that’s down this manic, manic year. Inflation is a massively regressive tax. Never forget it. pic.twitter.com/tsHRoRuh1Z — Cassandra (@michaeljburry) November 12, 2021 Burry has been vocal about warning about our current stock market bubble. "People say I didn't warn last time. I did, but no one listened. So I warn this time. And still, no one listens. But I will have proof I warned," he Tweeted about markets about a year ago.  He also commented on Tesla golden child Cathie Wood, earlier in the year, Tweeting: "It is too early, she is too hot, and, today, short sellers are timid, but Wall Street will be ruthless in the end." Burry, recall, revealed a huge Tesla short earlier in 2021 but as of one month ago he was no longer betting against Tesla and said that his position was just a trade. Burry has also been vocal warning against a bitcoin bubble. Of course, if he was also short the crypto space in addition to TSLA, his losses in 2021 could be Jess Livermore-sized.... Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 08:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

Subway again denies its tuna is altered as it faces another lawsuit with accusations it"s not really fish

Plaintiffs say that tests revealed pork, beef, and chicken in the tuna samples, but no traces of actual tuna DNA. Subway tuna sandwich. Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Image Subway is facing another lawsuit about the contents of its tuna. Plaintiffs say tests revealed pork, beef, and chicken in the tuna samples. Subway says the new charge is "reckless and improper." Subway is once again facing a legal fight over its tuna as the plaintiffs in the earlier lawsuit brought back their case. In the newest iteration of the lawsuit, plaintiffs say not only did 19 of the 20 tuna samples that they tested contain no identifiable tuna DNA, but they all also contained other meats including pork, beef, or chicken, The Washington Post reported. Samples were tested at UCLA's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.The lawsuit alleged Subway fraudulently tricks customers "into buying premium-priced food dishes based on the representation that the tuna products contained only tuna and no other fish species, animal products, or miscellaneous ingredients," the lawsuit alleges.Subway denies any claims that its tuna contains any other proteins."Subway tuna is high-quality, wild-caught, 100% tuna. The plaintiffs have filed three meritless complaints, changing their story each time. This third, most recent amended claim, was filed only after their prior complaint was rightfully dismissed by a federal judge," a Subway spokesperson told Insider."Our legal team is in the process of evaluating the plaintiffs' amended claim, and will once again file a new motion to dismiss this reckless and improper lawsuit. The fact remains that Subway tuna is real and strictly regulated by the FDA in the US, and other government entities around the world."A January lawsuit from the same plaintiffs alleged that Subway mislabeled tuna, and it did not contain actual tuna fish. Then, The New York Times published a report after testing tuna from three different Subway locations and found that "no amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample," which Subway immediately denied.In July, Subway did a major menu overhaul, but made no changes to the tuna, which it maintains is one of its most popular sandwiches.In October, a California judge dismissed the earlier lawsuit and said that the plaintiffs did not meet the legal standards to sue the chain.Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 11th, 2021

Michael Burry Claims Musk Selling Tesla Shares To Cover Personal Debts

Michael Burry Claims Musk Selling Tesla Shares To Cover Personal Debts Famous short seller Michael Burry of The Big Short game briefly emerged from a his latest self-imposed twitter exile to offer his thoughts on why Elon Musk might now all of a sudden be in the mood to start selling stock. Shortly thereafter, on Tuesday, Tesla shares plunged 10% in just minutes, leading many to speculate as to whether or not Elon Musk had started selling his personal stock.  Burry jabbed at Musk this week, suggesting that the Tesla CEO may need to sell his shares because he had 88 million of them pledged as loan collateral.  "Regarding what @elonmusk NEEDS to sell because of the proposed unrealized gains tax, or to #solveworldhunger, or ... well, there is the matter of the tax-free cash he took out in the form of personal loans backed by 88.3 million of his shares at June 30th," Burry wrote in a now deleted Tweet that was captured by the Business Insider tabloid.  Burry also suggested that Musk's narratives about "solving world hunger" or "unrealized tax gains" are diversions from the real reason the Tesla CEO is selling stock. Instead, the iconic investor insinuated that Musk needs to service the loans he took out against his shares. Musk had 41% of his shares pledged as collateral as of December 2020 and 48% as of June 2020, Insider reported. As he usually does, Burry also drew comparisons between today's market and the Dutch Tulip bubble. He has made his Twitter header a Brueghel painting called "Satire of the Tulip Mania," which shows tulip "investors" as monkeys, speculating, taking on debt, and fighting - all over the "mania" in tulips that took place.  Burry has been vocal about warning about our current stock market bubble. "People say I didn't warn last time. I did, but no one listened. So I warn this time. And still, no one listens. But I will have proof I warned," he Tweeted about markets about a year ago.  He also commented on Tesla golden child Cathie Wood, earlier in the year, Tweeting: "It is too early, she is too hot, and, today, short sellers are timid, but Wall Street will be ruthless in the end." Burry, recall, revealed a huge Tesla short earlier in 2021 but as of one month ago he was no longer betting against Tesla and said that his position was just a trade. Burry has also been vocal warning against a bitcoin bubble. Of course, if he was also short the crypto space in addition to TSLA, his losses in 2021 could be Jess Livermore-sized....   Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 11:03.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

"Health Should Not Be Political": Packers" Aaron Rodgers Deflects Hysteria About Being Unvaccinated In Lengthy Interview

"Health Should Not Be Political": Packers' Aaron Rodgers Deflects Hysteria About Being Unvaccinated In Lengthy Interview The Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers tested positive for Covid and revealed to the world he was unvaccinated this week, despite previously leading on that he had been immunized.  Rodgers, who appeared on the Pat McAfee show to talk about his decision to not get vaccinated, said he was already feeling better and that he was following the same path for treatment that got Joe Rogan better within days: monoclonal antibodies, vitamins and ivermectin.  "I realize I'm in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now so before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I'd like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies out there," he says at the onset of defending himself. Rodgers started the interview by saying that right off the bat, after speaking to experts, he knew two vaccines were going to be off the table for him since he's allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines. "Much like the study I put into hosting Jeopardy, I met with a lot of people to get the most information about all the vaccines," Rodgers told Pat McAfee.  From there he goes on to explain that the JNJ vaccine wound up in the news for clotting issues around the time he would have needed to make the decision to get vaccinated, so he didn't take it. He also notes that he followed protocol for unvaccinated players and tested every single day. In the interview, Rodgers says he now "feels great" after testing positive for Covid.  He also brought up some great common sense points, like asking: "If the vaccine is so great, why are so many vaccinated people getting sick?" and "If it is so safe, why to the manufacturers need legal immunity?" Rodgers points to the study out of Israel saying he'll have more robust immunity than he would with a vaccine and makes the point that when Trump was pushing the vaccine, the same hysterical left was all saying they'd never take it.  "Everyone on the squad knew I was not vaccinated. Everyone in the organization knew I was not vaccinated," he said. "I was trying to minimize this conversation going on and on. There were some people in the media who found out about it and sat on it, so I knew I would have to discuss it." "The problem with this is that it's so political," Rodgers continues. "Health should not be political." Speaking about the NFL and the woke mob trying to ensure everyone was vaccinated, Rodgers said: "It was such a witch hunt. They wanted to out and shame every single person that didn't get vaccinated." He also then brought up the rarely-broached-by-the-left topic of why the virus is easier to handle for those in better shape: "Has anyone actually talked about real health? Exercise? Drinking water, eating real food? No. I'm making a decision based on what's best for me and my own health - and for me, it's a no brainer".  "You have a moral obligation to object to unjust rule," Rodgers concludes, quoting Martin Luther King.   Spot on from Aaron Rodgers.. “The right is gonna champion me and the left is gonna cancel me. I don't give a sh*t about either of them. Politics is a total sham. I'm not going on Fox News just like I'm not going to go on CNN.” - Aaron Rodgers pic.twitter.com/lXwG6KxEkm — NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) November 6, 2021 Tyler Durden Sat, 11/06/2021 - 08:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 6th, 2021

Prince Andrew Accuses Virginia Giuffre Of Procuring "Slutty Underage Girls" For Epstein

Prince Andrew Accuses Virginia Giuffre Of Procuring 'Slutty Underage Girls' For Epstein Alleged Royal pedophile Prince Andrew is looking to turn the tables on his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, who he says was involved in the "wilful recruitment and trafficking of young girls for sexual abuse," according to the Sunday Times, citing a late Friday court filing. In a controversial attempt to prove his innocence, lawyers for the Duke of York have painted Virginia Giuffre as an alleged criminal who worked to procure underage “slutty girls” for Jeffrey Epstein, the paedophile billionaire. They also indicate that by making false allegations against the prince and using up court time, Giuffre is allowing real predators to get away with their crimes. -Sunday Times The Prince's new legal strategy is quite the shift from claiming ignorance to his good friend Jeffrey Epstein's pedophile lifestyle, and risks "victim-blaming" by supporters of Giuffre - who has accused him in a civil lawsuit in New York of "rape in the first degree" and three instances of sexual assault when she was 17. Giuffre, 38, claims the attacks took place in 2001 in London, New York, and on Pedo Island (Little St. James), owned by Epstein at the time. She seeks "punitive damages" that could end up being millions of pounds. The late Friday filing by the 61-year-old royal includes a section titled "Giuffre's role in Epstein's criminal enterprise," and alleges that she was involved in procuring minors for Epstein - who was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking underage girls. Andrew's filing quotes the sister of one of Giuffre's ex-boyfriends, who claims Giuffre (then Virginia Roberts) asked her for help to recruit minors. "She [Giuffre] would say to me, ‘Do you know any girls who are kind of slutty?’" she claims. How it started. How it's going pic.twitter.com/j2EVHQj0jf — Ben Rometsch (@benjarom3) October 30, 2021 "It is a striking feature of this case that while lurid allegations are made against Prince Andrew by Giuffre, the only party to this claim whose conduct has involved the wilful recruitment and trafficking of young girls for sexual abuse is Giuffre herself, including while she was an adult," the filing continues. The prince’s US-based lawyer, Andrew Brettler, also points out that Giuffre has profited from her allegations involving Epstein over a number of years and is now set on gaining “another payday” at the prince’s expense. Brettler suggests that Giuffre’s modus operandi may allow genuine paedophiles to escape justice. -Sunday Times "Giuffre’s pattern of filing a series of lawsuits against numerous high-profile individuals should no longer be tolerated, as it continues to irreparably harm many innocent people and diverts already limited judicial resources from the adjudication of meritorious claims asserted against those who have actually perpetrated sexual offences against minors," reads the filing. Giuffre's lawyer hits back In a Saturday statement, Giuffre's lawyer, Sigrid McCawley said "If Virginia Giuffre had stood silent in the face of outrageous statements like those Prince Andrew routinely churns out — his motion to dismiss the litigation being no exception — the decades-long sex-trafficking ring his friend Jeffrey Epstein operated and he participated in would have never been exposed. "On the subject of money, let’s be clear: the only party to this litigation using money to his benefit is Prince Andrew." McCawley also told Telegraph Magazine that Andrew's infamous interview with BBC's "Newsnight" in 2019 "was very helpful for us." The prince argued at the time that Giuffre’s claims that she was forced to sleep with him at the Belgravia home of Ghislaine Maxwell in March 2001 could not be true because he had been collecting his daughter, Princess Beatrice, from a children’s party at a branch of Pizza Express in Woking. McCawley revealed that Beatrice and Sarah, Duchess of York, Andrew’s ex-wife, could be forced to give evidence about the alibi if Giuffre’s lawsuit goes to trial next year. The Prince's legal team has argued that a private 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Epstein protects him from liability. On Wednesday, the a pre-trial hearing will take place before a New York judge in what is expected to be several months of litigation. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/30/2021 - 20:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 30th, 2021

"It"s Just Not True" - Zuckerberg Responds To Claims Facebook Puts "Profits Over People"

"It's Just Not True" - Zuckerberg Responds To Claims Facebook Puts 'Profits Over People' Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who revealed herself as 'the Facebook whistleblower' in an interview with '60 Minutes' that ran Sunday night before appearing before Sen. Dick Blumenthal's powerful Commerce subcommittee, has managed to catalyze the biggest scandal in Facebook's brief history - even bigger than the whole data privacy/Cambridge Analytica that led to a series of Congressional hearings back in 2018. The information Haugen leaked to WSJ clearly show Facebook was fully aware of the drawbacks and risks related to its various platforms. So, as clips of her performance play on repeat across America's cable news channels, Facebook CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg is speaking up to respond. In a note sent to Facebook employees before being posted publicly, Zuckerberg insisted that Haugen's main criticism - that Facebook routinely puts profits ahead of socially-responsible behavior - is a "false narrative" and "just not true." "It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted," Zuck said in the note. "At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true." In the statement, Zuck said he was particularly bothered by the implication that Facebook disregards the safety of children, particularly teen girls. "When it comes to young people’s health or well-being, every negative experience matters,” the CEO wrote. “We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.” Zuck concluded by thanking Facebook employees for their hard work and expressing his gratitude during this difficult time. Hopefully - for Zuck's sake - employees won't be motivated to leak more embarrassing internal research to the press. During yesterday's testimony, Sen. Blumenthal accused Facebook of being "morally bankrupt", and demanded that Zuckerberg return to the Hill once again to testify in person, something Zuckerberg is loathed to do (which is probably why the company already sent its 'head of safety'' Antigone Davis to rebut the allegations and answer questions from lawmakers during a hearing last week). Ironically, Facebook suffered one of its longest and biggest outages yet yesterday, with its services cut off to the world for a large chunk of the day. As for Zuck's statement, Edward Snowden tweeted early Wednesday that Zuck's 1,300-word post was "on brand, really" as the CEO once again tried to frame his company as the real victim here. Zuckerberg responds to a global outage and national scandal by claiming @Facebook is the real victim here, and modestly proposing Congress consider: A) legally restricting teen use of internet services B) identify verification mandates C) limiting teen privacy On-brand, really. pic.twitter.com/0hMRf5HpKf — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 6, 2021 Readers can find Zuck's complete note below: * * * I wanted to share a note I wrote to everyone at our company. Hey everyone: it's been quite a week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you. First, the SEV that took down all our services yesterday was the worst outage we've had in years. We've spent the past 24 hours debriefing how we can strengthen our systems against this kind of failure. This was also a reminder of how much our work matters to people. The deeper concern with an outage like this isn't how many people switch to competitive services or how much money we lose, but what it means for the people who rely on our services to communicate with loved ones, run their businesses, or support their communities. Second, now that today's testimony is over, I wanted to reflect on the public debate we're in. I'm sure many of you have found the recent coverage hard to read because it just doesn't reflect the company we know. We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It's difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don't recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted. Many of the claims don't make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? If we didn't care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space -- even ones larger than us? If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we're doing? And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the US while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true. For example, one move that has been called into question is when we introduced the Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed. This change showed fewer viral videos and more content from friends and family -- which we did knowing it would mean people spent less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing for people's well-being. Is that something a company focused on profits over people would do? The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don't know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction. But of everything published, I'm particularly focused on the questions raised about our work with kids. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the kinds of experiences I want my kids and others to have online, and it's very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids. The reality is that young people use technology. Think about how many school-age kids have phones. Rather than ignoring this, technology companies should build experiences that meet their needs while also keeping them safe. We're deeply committed to doing industry-leading work in this area. A good example of this work is Messenger Kids, which is widely recognized as better and safer than alternatives. We've also worked on bringing this kind of age-appropriate experience with parental controls for Instagram too. But given all the questions about whether this would actually be better for kids, we've paused that project to take more time to engage with experts and make sure anything we do would be helpful. Like many of you, I found it difficult to read the mischaracterization of the research into how Instagram affects young people. As we wrote in our Newsroom post explaining this: "The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal -- including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues -- more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse." But when it comes to young people's health or well-being, every negative experience matters. It is incredibly sad to think of a young person in a moment of distress who, instead of being comforted, has their experience made worse. We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I'm proud of the work we've done. We constantly use our research to improve this work further. Similar to balancing other social issues, I don't believe private companies should make all of the decisions on their own. That's why we have advocated for updated internet regulations for several years now. I have testified in Congress multiple times and asked them to update these regulations. I've written op-eds outlining the areas of regulation we think are most important related to elections, harmful content, privacy, and competition. We're committed to doing the best work we can, but at some level the right body to assess tradeoffs between social equities is our democratically elected Congress. For example, what is the right age for teens to be able to use internet services? How should internet services verify people's ages? And how should companies balance teens' privacy while giving parents visibility into their activity? If we're going to have an informed conversation about the effects of social media on young people, it's important to start with a full picture. We're committed to doing more research ourselves and making more research publicly available. That said, I'm worried about the incentives that are being set here. We have an industry-leading research program so that we can identify important issues and work on them. It's disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don't care. If we attack organizations making an effort to study their impact on the world, we're effectively sending the message that it's safer not to look at all, in case you find something that could be held against you. That's the conclusion other companies seem to have reached, and I think that leads to a place that would be far worse for society. Even though it might be easier for us to follow that path, we're going to keep doing research because it's the right thing to do. I know it's frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterized, especially for those of you who are making important contributions across safety, integrity, research and product. But I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what's right and delivering experiences that improve people's lives, it will be better for our community and our business. I've asked leaders across the company to do deep dives on our work across many areas over the next few days so you can see everything that we're doing to get there. When I reflect on our work, I think about the real impact we have on the world -- the people who can now stay in touch with their loved ones, create opportunities to support themselves, and find community. This is why billions of people love our products. I'm proud of everything we do to keep building the best social products in the world and grateful to all of you for the work you do here every day. * * * Source: Facebook Tyler Durden Wed, 10/06/2021 - 08:27.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 6th, 2021

Elon Musk Unloads Shares Of Tesla In Case He Is Forced To Buy Twitter

Elon Musk has sold almost $7 billion worth of his shares in Tesla, saying that he would need the money if he loses the court battle with Twitter. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has sold almost $7 billion worth of his shares in the electric vehicle maker, saying that he would need the money if he loses the court battle with Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). The social network is trying to force Musk to make good on the $44 billion offer he made to buy it after he tried to walk away from the deal. Elon Musk Unloads Tesla Shares Several financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission night revealed that Musk had sold 7.92 million shares of Tesla for about $6.88 billion. Those transactions, which were revealed Tuesday night, occurred between Aug. 5 and 9 after the automaker’s annual shareholder meeting on Aug. 4. Late on Tuesday, Musk tweeted, “In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock.” He didn’t say which equity partners might not come through on the deal. However, those lined up to participate in the deal included Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, crypto exchange Binance, and venture capital firms Sequoia, Vy Capital, and the DFJ Growth Fund. When a Twitter user asked Musk whether he was done selling Tesla shares, he responded with a “yes.” Musk also said he would buy shares of the automaker again if he triumphs over Twitter and avoids having to buy the social network. Earlier this year, Musk told Twitter users that he wasn’t planning to sell any more shares of Tesla after Apr. 28. CNBC called attention to SEC filings from that week, which revealed that the Tesla chief had sold a block of shares worth around $8.4 billion. The Latest On Musk’s Battle With Twitter Musk is dealing with a legal batter with Twitter, which he agreed to pay $54.20 per share or $44 billion to acquire in April. Shares of the social network and Tesla have fallen since that agreement, and then Musk announced that he would walk away from the deal in early July. The Tesla chief accused the social network of not sharing all the data it had on fake or spam accounts and those operated by bots. Musk claimed Twitter was dramatically understating the number of bots, fake and spam accounts on its platform. However, Twitter sued him to try to force the transaction to go through at the agreed price. If Musk isn’t forced to buy Twitter, he may think about setting up his own social network called X.com. Shares of Twitter were up more than 3% at midday, while Tesla shares had climbed more than 2%. This article originally appeared on ValueWalk Sponsored: Tips for Investing A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallst9 hr. 41 min. ago

July CPI Inflation Report Reveals Better-Than-Expected Readings As Inflation Eased

The July CPI inflation report is out, and investors are pleased, sending Dow Jones futures higher as a result. The consumer price index for July revealed an 8.5% increase in prices compared to June 2021, compared to last month’s 9.1% year-over-year increase that marked a 40-year high. On a month-over-month basis, prices were unchanged after […] The July CPI inflation report is out, and investors are pleased, sending Dow Jones futures higher as a result. The consumer price index for July revealed an 8.5% increase in prices compared to June 2021, compared to last month’s 9.1% year-over-year increase that marked a 40-year high. On a month-over-month basis, prices were unchanged after rising 1.3% month over month in June. The consensus among economists reporting to Dow Jones suggested a July CPI inflation report of 8.7% year over year and a monthly increase of 0.2%. The July CPI Inflation Report Is In According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the July CPI inflation report revealed that gas prices declined, but food prices and rent continued to climb. Core inflation for July, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.3% in July after an increase of 0.7% in June. The July core inflation reading kept the annual increase at 5.9% following three consecutive monthly declines. While gas prices had led this year’s skyrocketing inflation, they are finally falling amid concerns that a global recession will slash demand. Gas prices are down 7.7% month over month but remain 44% higher on an annual basis. The price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas stood at an average of $4.03 on Tuesday, declining from $4.70 last month at this time. However, grocer prices increased 1.1% month over month, pushing their increase over the last 12 months to 10.9%. The prices of key commodities like corn, wheat and other commodities have been falling due to the widespread recession worries. However, it might take a while before consumers start to see those falling prices on their grocery bills. Futures Pop In Early Trading Following the release of the July CPI inflation report, Dow futures surged 400 points as investors reacted to the better-than-expected numbers. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3%, which amounted to 411 points, while futures for the S&P 500 increased 1.7%. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 surged 2.4%. The Federal Reserve’s next meeting won’t happen until September, and it will consider the July CPI inflation report and other critical economic data before that meeting. The central bank is expected to raise interest rates again. Nancy Davis of Quadratic Capital Management told CNBC that if the monthly inflation reports start to show a steady decline, the Fed could slow its pace of monetary tightening. This morning’s increases in futures cam after the Nasdaq Composite recorded a third consecutive day of declines. The index led the declines in all the major U.S. indices, with the S&P 500 down 0.42% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.18%. This article originally appeared on ValueWalk Sponsored: Tips for Investing A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallst9 hr. 41 min. ago