ZeroHedge News

The Global Water Crisis Could Crush The Energy Industry

The Global Water Crisis Could Crush The Energy Industry

Authored by Felicity Bradstock via OilPrice.com,

For years, the energy sector, and almost every other sector, has taken water for granted, viewing it as an abundant resource. But as we move into a new era of renewable energy, the vast amounts of water required to power green energy operations may not be so easy to find. And it’s not just renewables that are under threat from water scarcity, as it also hinders fossil fuel production and threatens food security. 

In recent months, we have seen extreme droughts across Europe and the U.S., which are finally making people realise the significance of water security. Stefano Venier, CEO of the Italian energy infrastructure company Snam, highlights the huge impact recent droughts have had on both food security and energy production. Labelled as ‘Europe’s worst drought in 500 years’, the low water levels have restricted shipping capabilities, as well as drying up soil and reducing summer crop yields

Venier explains, “For a long time, water was considered [as being] for free, as something that is fully available in any quantity.” He went on to say, “Now, we are discovering that with climate change … water can become scarce.” And so, “we have to regain the perception of importance, and the value [that] … the water has, also, with respect to … energy production… we have discovered that without water, enough water, we cannot produce the energy we need, or we can’t ship the fuels for filling the power plants,” he added.

The drought has already raised concerns for nuclear power plant operators that rely on water from rivers to cool their nuclear reactors. EDF typically uses water from the Rhone and Garonne but rising water temperatures mean that nuclear power output could be reduced during hot periods. The falling water levels have also hindered traditional energy operations such as coal output, according to several European energy firms.

But the issue of water scarcity is perhaps most detrimental to hydropower projects. In the U.S., several hydropower operations are located along rivers with falling water levels, with a higher risk of water scarcity by 2050. Montana, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, California, Arkansas and Oklahoma are the most affected states. A recent study published in the Journal Water found that 61 percent of all global hydropower dams will be in basins with very high or extreme risk for droughts, floods or both. In addition, one in five hydropower dams will be in high flood risk areas, an increase from one in 25 today. 

World Wildlife Fund’s Global Freshwater Lead Scientist Jeff Opperman explains, “Hydropower projects must deal with a range of hydrological risks–ranging from too little water to too much–and these risks are projected to increase in many regions due to climate change.” “Already, we’ve seen regions, such as the southwestern US, southern Africa, and Brazil, where hydropower generation has declined due to falling water levels,” he adds. 

And it’s not just the U.S. that is facing these challenges. In August, Norway threatened to limit its power exports due to low reservoir levels. The country, which relies on hydropower for around 90 percent of its electricity production, increased regulations on power production to prevent hydroelectric reservoir levels from running out of water. This news came just days after the world’s longest under-sea power cable began transferring hydroelectric energy from Norway to the UK. 

Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland explained, “We need a management mechanism or security mechanism that safeguards national security of supply so that we do not run out of water in our reservoirs.” He added, “We are now introducing a system where, when we come to a situation where the magazine capacity is below what is normal for the time of year and down to a critically low level, there will be a restriction on exports.” 

These kinds of restrictions could become commonplace if these severe weather events, and related water scarcity, continue to take place. Europe’s recent heatwave far exceeded the expectations of climate experts, with several countries reaching record highs which led to wildfires in areas that had never previously experienced such events, showing the reality of the effects of climate change. 

As well as the detrimental effect water scarcity has on energy output, it also has a hugely negative impact on food production. With several areas of the world seeing poorer harvests year on year, as temperatures soar and water scarcity becomes a challenge, many countries are worried about their food production levels. And the water-food-energy nexus is raising concerns over the impact of the two other factors on the energy sector. We’re already seeing this nexus work the other way, with increasing gas prices causing fertiliser shortages, which have exacerbated the impact of water shortages on agricultural yields further. 

With rising concerns over water scarcity, mainly due to climate change, there are fears that the big transition to renewable energy will be hindered even further. However, even traditional fossil fuel production cannot escape from the effects of water scarcity, and the water-food-energy nexus may further exacerbate the situation, meaning that plans to mitigate this scarcity must be quickly established to avoid a major energy crisis. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 05:00

Europe Is Facing A Dementia Problem

Europe Is Facing A Dementia Problem

Dementia affects more than 55 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This number is expected to rise to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050, as we experience an aging population.

Dementia-related symptoms are caused by various diseases and traumas that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease or a stroke. It disrupts memory and other cognitive functions, impacting one’s ability to perform daily tasks.

As Statista's Anna Fleck notes, cases of dementia are on the rise worldwide, with figures set to double in many countries over the next 30 years.

Infographic: Europe Is Facing a Dementia Problem | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

The OECD predicts that in Italy we can expect to see 43 cases of dementia per 1,000 inhabitants by 2050, up by 20 cases since 2021.

Spain will similarly see around 41 cases per 1,000, while Germany and France are likely to experience a sharp rise to around 35 people per 1,000.

According to the WHO, the risk of developing dementia can be reduced through regular exercise, avoiding the harmful use of alcohol, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 04:15

Orbán Calls For Sanctions On Russia To Be Lifted By End Of Year

Orbán Calls For Sanctions On Russia To Be Lifted By End Of Year

Authored by John Cody via Remix News,

PM Orbán predicts that lifting sanctions will lead to a significant drop in inflation and a halving of energy prices...

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz) has appealed to the European Union to lift sanctions against Russia by the end of the year at the latest in order to alleviate soaring inflation not just in Europe, but across the globe.

At a parliamentary group meeting in Balatonalmádi on Lake Balaton, Orbán warned that the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv is no longer a matter between the two countries and is escalating into a global economic war expected to last into next year.

Brussels’ bureaucrats promised in the summer that the measures taken against Russia would harm the Kremlin and not EU citizens. In Orbán’s view, however, the opposite is the case. The Fidesz politician noted that he considers the sanctions partly responsible for the energy crisis and inflation.

The costs for natural gas had already doubled because of the discussion of appropriate measures in June, and tripled a month later. According to the Hungarian prime minister, the current price shocks are hitting families particularly hard.

Orbán is not the only one calling for an end to sanctions, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki calling for a repeal of Russian sanctions as well. Other political leaders, such as Matteo Salvini, who leads the conservative League party, says that Europe needs a “rethink” on Russian sanctions due to the harmful economic effects.

Orbán predicts that lifting sanctions will lead to an immediate halving of energy prices and a significant drop in inflation. Thanks to that, the European economy could regain strength and avoid the impending recession.

The conservative Alternative for Germany party has also been pushing for an end to sanctions and an opening of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline due to soaring energy costs in Germany. AfD member of the Bundestag, Mariana Harder-Kühnel, said she agrees with Orbán.

“The EU bureaucracy has turned the screw on the sanctions, and now we are paying the bill,” she said.

“The problems are not only with food supply and medical care but also with waves of business and private bankruptcies,” she added.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 03:30

Europe's First Cold Snap Begins This Week Amid Worsening Energy Crisis

Europe's First Cold Snap Begins This Week Amid Worsening Energy Crisis

Europe is plagued with an energy crisis, and the cold season is coming ahead of schedule. 

The stability of the EU's natural gas reserves now depends on a mild winter. But new weather forecasts for next week indicate that "Arctic chill will blow across western Europe through next week will be the first test of how willing people are to delay switching on the heating in a bid to save energy and ease household budgets," according to Bloomberg

Forecaster Maxar WeatherDesk said temperatures in London would sink 5 degrees Celsius below average, falling as low as 6.5 degrees Celsius overnight on Sept. 27. In Frankfurt, Germany, temperatures will fall 3.5 degrees Celsius below normal levels on the 28th, while France and Spain will see temperatures 3-4 degrees lower than the seasonal norm. 

"It will turn even colder early next week as a plunge of Arctic air surges southwards, and a strong northerly wind will accentuate the chilly feel," according to the UK's Met Office.

Germany, France, and Spain have approved energy conservation measures to decrease demand for NatGas, while the EU as a whole has reached the 80% target (now 86.9%) of filling storage tanks by Oct. 1. 

According to Aurora Energy Research, full NatGas storage could sustain EU countries for at least three months this winter. In Germany, the bloc's largest economy and home to a quarter of EU storage, there are about 80-90 days of fuel in storage. 

But with a squeeze on regional supplies exacerbated by Western sanctions against Russia that have backfired, plus Russian energy giant Gazprom's shuttering of Nord Stream 1 to Europe -- the stability of Europe's NatGas reserves depends on a relatively mild winter because if it gets cold enough, demand will soar and draw on reserves faster, catapulting NatGas prices even higher.  

The blast of cold air next week is troublesome because the EU heating season doesn't begin until the first half of October. 

Continuing to reduce Natgas demand is what European countries need to do because the latest National Grid Plc data show early morning UK fuel demand is already increasing. There needs to be a more significant conservation effort ahead of the colder months or face a very dark and expensive winter. 

One would think Europeans wish for global warming this winter to starve off the rapid drawdown on NatGas reserves as the crippling energy crisis could extend well into 2023. This isn't a one-winter story. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 02:45

Russia Vows 'Full Protection' For Any Annexed Territory As Nuclear Threat Grows

Russia Vows 'Full Protection' For Any Annexed Territory As Nuclear Threat Grows

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that regions of Ukraine where referendums are being held will be under the Kremlin’s “full protection” if they are annexed by Russia, raising the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons.

Residents of four Russian-occupied areas in eastern and southern Ukraine continued voting for four days on whether to join Russia.

“Following those referendums, Russia of course will respect the expression of the will of those people who for many long years have been suffering from the abuses of the neo-Nazi regime,” Lavrov told reporters this weekend after addressing the United Nations General Assembly. He was referring to the Kyiv government.

When asked by a reporter if Russia would possibly use nuclear weapons to defend any annexed regions in Ukraine, Lavrov said that any Russian territory will be “under the full protection of the state.”

“All of the laws, doctrines, concepts, and strategies of the Russian Federation apply to all of its territory,” he said while referring to Russia’s doctrine on using nukes.

Several days ago, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a warning on social media that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons. That came after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech announcing he would mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops, while he also issued a veiled threat about using all weapons in Russia’s arsenal to defend its territorial integrity.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting on Aug. 4, 2022. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

While Putin’s comment was vague, Medvedev’s post on Telegram was more explicit. Medvedev currently serves as the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.

“Russia has announced that not only mobilization capabilities but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used for such protection,” he wrote, according to a translation.

The referendums in four eastern Ukrainian regions, aimed at annexing territory Russia has taken by force since its invasion in February, were being staged for a third day on Sunday and the Russian parliament could move to formalize the annexation within days.

By incorporating the four areas of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia into Russia, Moscow could portray attacks to retake them as an attack on Russia itself, a warning to Kyiv and its Western allies.

Ukraine and its allies have dismissed the referendums as a sham designed to justify an escalation of the war and a mobilization drive by Moscow after recent battlefield losses.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday his country would regain all the territory Russia had taken. “We will definitely liberate our entire country—from Kherson to the Luhansk region, from Crimea to the Donetsk region,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.

Nuclear Threat

It comes as Navy Admiral Charles A. Richard, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, acknowledged Russia’s recent warnings about using nuclear weapons.

“We have not had to do that in over 30 years. The implications of that are profound,” he said during a panel discussion last week. “They’re profound for homeland defense. They’re profound for strategic deterrence as well as us achieving national objectives. And this is no longer theoretical,” he added.

Richard added that it’s now possible that for the first time in decades, it’s possible the United States will have a “possible direct armed conflict with a nuclear-capable peer.”

“Russia and China can escalate to any level of violence that they choose in any domain with any instrument of power worldwide,” Richard added.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 02:00

We Might Be Spared Nuclear War For Now But The Threat Of Home-Grown Tyranny Remains

We Might Be Spared Nuclear War For Now But The Threat Of Home-Grown Tyranny Remains

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

As readers know, I am convinced that Putin’s toleration of insults and provocations has had the effect of encouraging more and worse provocations and not, as he intended, to downplay conflict.  As you also know, I am convinced that his “limited military operation” in Donbass designed to protect the Donbass Russians, formerly a part of Russia, from horrible abuse by Ukrainian forces and the neo-Nazi militias, was a mistake.  It is a mistake because the West characterized a limited operation as an “invasion of Ukraine,” and used its slow progress as evidence of Russian failure.  It is a mistake because the go-slow nature of the Russian offensive in order to minimize the impact on civilian lives and infrastructure gave the West plenty of time to convince itself to get more and more involved with diplomatic support, money, armaments and ammunition, training, and now with satellite  information for targeting the Russian forces.

As I see it, Putin has been behaving as British Prime Minister Chamberlain is alleged to have behaved, thus encouraging more aggressive actions.  Wanting peace at all costs brings war.

As it is no longer possible for the Kremlin to speak of  “our Western partners” or to deny that the West is at war with Russia, the Kremlin, trying to avoid a war that it knows would be nuclear, has reached my conclusion of eight years ago that if the areas in today’s artificial borders of Ukraine that require Russian protection were reincorporated into Russia, the conflict would have to cease or become direct Western military aggression against Russia.  As Biden says he has no stomach for a war with Russia and will not permit one, and as NATO is incapable of such war, the referendums that begin today in the liberated areas of Ukraine, which without question will succeed, promise to reduce the threat of Armageddon.  Although in my opinion the leadership everywhere in the Western world is Satanic and insane, I do not think the Western governing elites are ready to commit suicide by attacking Russian territory. The West can say it doesn’t recognize the rights of people to self-determination, but if Russia says it is Russian territory, it is.

So that you understand, the referendums are Putin’s way of ending the conflict before it widens into nuclear war.  Putin’s rescue of the world from nuclear war will not be acknowledged by the Western presstitutes, Washington’s puppet EU and UK governments, or by the puppet who serves as NATO secretary general.  

But what they think does not matter. Putin, belatedly, is doing his best to save us all from nuclear war.  Pray that he succeeds.

Putin’s success in forestalling nuclear war does not mean peace for Russia. The breakup of the Soviet Union by Washington that turned Soviet provinces or republics into independent states, together with the freedom the West has had for 30 years in funding NGOs and building subversive networks in the former Soviet provinces, gives Washington the opportunity to foment wars on the Russian Federation’s borders, as is now brewing between two former Central Asian Soviet Republics, Kyrgystan and Tajikistan and  to foment coups such as the one in the recent attempt in Kazakhstan. The empire served a security purpose to which Russia will eventually have to return if the West continues to operate against Russia.

We do not have Putin’s help with the other threats to Western Civilization that confronts us.  Internally the West is faced with an attack on itself by its own elites.  The West is everywhere discredited–in the universities, the public schools, the museums, the media, movies, the Democrat Party, the 1619 Project, Identity politics, Critical Race Theory taught in public schools to children, gender theory which teaches  that self-declaration, not biological fact, determines gender. Teaching children to be confused about their gender is an evil thing.

This illustrates that in the Western World lies takes precedence over facts.  Facts are whatever the elites and their  minions say.  They have no basis in reality.  Those who emphasize reality are “domestic terrorists” because they dissent from the official narratives that cannot be supported by factual evidence.  Multiculturalism has turned the American nation into a tower of babel, and Identity Politics has destroyed unity. The Democrat Party has been radicalized and is firmly arraigned against white  Americans who are undergoing a process of deracination and dispossession.

In my lifetime the US has been transformed from a nation into a tower of babel and from a relatively free society into a police state.  The transformation into a tower of babel was an intentional policy designed to drain power from the white population.  The police state has rapidly developed in the 21st century as a response to 9/11 which was orchestrated partly for that purpose.  With half or more of the white population’s legitimacy challenged by the White House, with Constitutional protections eroded, and with the criminal justice system weaponized against Trump and his supporters, the United States is being primed for civil war.

In former times the US government acted to protect the people from monopolies with progressive measures, such as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, today a dead letter law.  Beginning with the Clinton regime, monopolization, already present from the destruction of independent businesses by big box store chains, has grown dramatically.  Clinton signed off on the concentration of the media in a few hands. The large banks were given enormous power by the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.  The unregulated digital revolution has produced a monopoly over digital communication which is used to censor and suppress free speech.  Big Pharma and the medical insurance companies are in the process of completing their control over medicine by forcing independent medical practices into large health care organizations where doctors are employees subject to Big Pharma protocols.  They achieved this by having medical insurance and Medicare pay a larger percentage of amounts billed to the large bureaucratic entities than to private practitioners. The financial difference forced doctors to sell or merge their practices into the larger entities and means the end of the Hippocratic Oath as we saw with Covid when doctors who are employees of hospitals and HMOs were prohibited from treating patients with HCQ and Ivermectin.

Big Pharma’s power over medicine and legislators was demonstrated last month when the California legislature passed Big Pharma’s bill to punish doctors who saved lives by using HCQ and Ivermectin.  The bill defines “scientific consensus” as whatever Big Pharma influenced/controlled NIH, CDC, and FDA say it is.  Under the bill, doctors are guilty of “unprofessional conduct” and can lose their licenses for disseminating “misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, including false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.”  https://www.globalresearch.ca/all-eyes-gov-newsom-california-looks-pass-nations-first-law-punish-doctors-covid-misinformation/5793420  In other words, doctors and medical scientists who disagreed with Big Pharma shill Fauci and saved lives are to be kicked out of medical practice.

Big Pharma, with its grants to medical schools, its funding of medical research that serves its profits, its influence over medical journals and public health agencies and regulators such as NIH, CDC, and FDA, and its lobbying power with legislatures, has gained control over the practice of medicine.  

Wherever you look in the Western world autonomy is disappearing.  People have less and less control over their lives and their children.  If they express thoughts contrary to official narratives they risk their jobs and financial security.  Today’s intrusions into the family were unthinkable a few decades ago. Digital money, which is in the works, will terminate all human autonomy.  If you annoy the government you will be cut off from your funds.  What you can spend money on will be controlled in the interest of profits for the favored and whatever cause or ideology is prevailing, such as health, a green world.  Digital money is not cash. You can’t keep a supply of purchasing power at home.  Governments can prevent the use of digital money from purchasing disfavored products.

Once the media becomes a propaganda ministry, as the Western media is, it is easy to steal the people’s freedom.  An excuse can always be found or orchestrated–national security (9/11), medical emergency (Covid pandemic), Insurrection by MAGA Republicans.  By the time a trusting and gullible public catches on to a former deception they are in the middle of a new one.  As the erosion of freedom is gradual nothing is done about it.  As the young only know what they are born into, the growing restraints on freedom are normality to them.  The young don’t miss what they never experienced, and they do not know what has been lost.

If Putin succeeds in stopping the march into nuclear war, we still face the challenge that we are being transitioned into a police state.  Putin is not going to come liberate us, so what is to be done?  How can we claim the high ground when we have been marginalized as racists and insurrectionists?  How can we organize when the FBI will descend upon us declaring us to be domestic extremists who are a threat to America?

In Canada liberty is in its death throes.  In Germany and other parts of Europe historians cannot report  facts that expose the falsity of official narratives.  The outcome of the November congressional and 2024 presidential elections could leave us with a one-party state, which is the Democrats’ intent.  Knowing that they will be protected by the presstitutes, the Democrats can again steal the election or Biden can declare that a MAGA election plot has been uncovered and federalize the election.

Russia, China, India, Iran, and other countries outside the Western world are moving forward with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that is creating a new center of power, while the West declines politically, economically, morally, and culturally as the confidence of people who formerly comprised nations continues to be destroyed by anti-white propaganda.

If you want to comprehend the collapse of the West, compare, for example, Liz Truss and her UK government with the British government around the middle of the 19th century. James Grant in his biography of Walter Bagehot reports, for example, that Prime Minister Gladstone translated Horace and Homer, published substantial works on religion and Neapolitan politics, and addressed the Ionian assembly in classical Greek. Parliamentarian Robert Lowe was fluent in Sanskrit. Sir George Lewis was the author of Survey of the Astronomy of the Ancients. The House of Lords had its own learned members. Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon, was a Fellow of the Royal Society, Britain’s National Academy of Sciences.  Today we have presidents and prime ministers who can’t speak English.

In the US merit has been redefined as racist, and educational standards have been so lowered that the large grocery store chains do not trust their checkout clerks to give change.  

The Western world has sunk so deeply into depravity that today depravity is celebrated. Young school children are subjected to performances by drag queens paid for by property taxes.  Depravity now has its own flag and proud marchers.  Do we really want to go where we are being led?

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 23:30

NASA's DART Spacecraft To Crash Into Asteroid, Testing Earth's Planetary Defenses

NASA's DART Spacecraft To Crash Into Asteroid, Testing Earth's Planetary Defenses

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will intentionally crash into an asteroid about double the height of the Empire State Building and 525 feet wide. It will be the world's first kinetic impact technique using a spacecraft, testing planetary defenses against an asteroid. 

On Monday, the 19-meter spacecraft will crash into Dimorphos to observe if a kinetic impact could alter the course of the asteroid. Impact with Dimorphs is expected around 1914 ET. 

"After the final maneuver on Sept. 25, approximately 24 hours before impact, the navigation team will know the position of the target Dimorphos within 2 kilometers [1.2 miles] ... DART will then autonomously guide itself to its collision with the asteroid moonlet," NASA officials wrote in a statement. 

Elena Adams, DART's lead mission systems engineer at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, told Space.Com there's a high probability DART will hit the asteroid, and the spacecraft's cameras (called LICIACube), ejected a few weeks ago, will capture the impact.  

At 1730 ET, NASA will start broadcasting a Live stream of the event. 

"In the hours before impact, the screen will appear mostly black, with a single point of light. That point is the binary asteroid system Didymos, which is made up of a larger asteroid named Didymos and a smaller asteroid that orbits around it called Dimorphos," NASA wrote in a video description. 

Here's the live stream of the historic test:

NASA appears to be strengthening planetary defenses. China as well, who recently said they could save the planet from a potential asteroid strike with its Long March 5 rockets. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 23:00

Biden Repeats False Claims About AR-15 Velocity In Support Of A Ban

Biden Repeats False Claims About AR-15 Velocity In Support Of A Ban

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

We have previously discussed dubious constitutional and historical claims by President Joe Biden on gun bans. However, on Friday, he returned to a curious claim that he has made repeatedly: that “the bullet out of an AR-15 travels five times as rapidly as a bullet shot out of any other gun.” Conservative and gun rights publications have repeatedly shot down that claim but it does not seem to have any impact. 

As with Biden’s false claim that certain weapons were banned from private ownership at the ratification of the Second Amendment, the President continues to make the same false claim on velocity speed.

A June 30 Field & Stream column on the “Five Fastest Rifle Cartridges”  listed the feet per second (fps) the five fastest rifle cartridges:

  1. .220 Swift — A 40-Grain .220 Swift round moves approximately 4,300 fps.

  2. .257 Weatherby Magnum — An 87-Grain .257 Weatherby Magnum round moves approximately 3,700+ fps.

  3. .30/378 Weatherby — An 165-Grain .30/378 Weatherby round moves approximately 3,400+ fps.

  4. .224 Clark — An 80-Grain .224 Clark round moves approximately 3,500+ fps.

  5. .22 Eargesplitten Loudenboomer — A 50-Grain .22 Eargesplitten Loudenboomer round moves approximately 4,600 fps.

AR-15 rounds move at approximately 2,700 – 3,100 fps. Even handgun bullets can reportedly reach around 2,000 fps (though that is rare).

Even the Washington Post has called Biden’s repeated velocity claim “bungled” and factually incorrect. An AR-15 round, at 100 yards, is only slightly faster than most hunting rifles.  However, when measured at the point of the departure from the barrel (as is commonly used on velocity), it is about twice the speed of a common hand gun. It is not the fastest (let alone five times faster) than other guns.

Those false statements can be dismissed as just another gaffe or “Corn Pop” story, but they refer to the factual foundation for gun control under the Second Amendment. Since President Biden is suggesting that such facts are material to a ban, there is a need for accuracy in such details.

The White House is ramping up the President’s call to ban “assault weapons” before the midterm elections.  The position remains unclear, including additional references to 9mm handguns are possibly next on the list for prohibitions.

In support of the ban on AR-15s, Vice President Kamala Harris declared: “Do you know what an assault weapon is? It was designed for a specific purpose, to kill a lot of human beings quickly. An assault weapon is a weapon of war, with no place, no place in a civil society.”

Courts likely would press the Biden administration on why it is seeking to ban this model when other higher-caliber weapons are sold. AR-15s can handle a variety of calibers. However, they are no more powerful than other semi-automatic rifles of the same caliber and actually have a lower caliber than some commonly sold weapons which use .30-06, .308 and .300 ammunition; many of these guns fire at the same — or near the same rate — as the AR-15. None of these weapons are classified as actual military “assault weapons,” and most civilians cannot own an automatic weapon.

President Biden showed the same disconnect as Harris between the factual and the rhetorical basis for some gun-control measures. He condemned “high-caliber weapons” like 9mm handguns and said “a .22-caliber bullet will lodge in the lung, and we can probably get it out — may be able to get it and save the life. A 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body.”

Moreover, while other politicians like Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke have called for bans, there are obvious practical problems. With an estimated 393 million guns in the United States and an estimated 72 million gun owners; three out of ten Americans say they have guns. Indeed, gun ownership rose during the pandemic, particularly among minority households.

These weapons are worth hundreds of dollars. Owners would not only challenge such a law but might demand compensation for their seized weapons. There are also over 15 million such weapons in the United States. The ATF is a relatively small agency to carry out such a massive confiscation program. Even in Texas, a state confiscation plan would require an unprecedented law enforcement effort.

There are good-faith arguments for gun control, including arguments that the Second Amendment does not create an individual right to bear arms. We should continue to have that worthy debate but we should follow the rule of the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 22:30

Most Americans Believe Migrants Should Be Transported To Sanctuary Cities: Poll

Most Americans Believe Migrants Should Be Transported To Sanctuary Cities: Poll

A new Rasmussen / RMG Research poll has found that a majority of Americans believe illegal immigrants should be sent to sanctuary cities instead of forcing border states to shoulder the burden. The poll comes as a record 2 million migrants have been arrested in just 11 months.

Last week, the governors of Texas and Florida sparked national outrage from the left after they transported illegal immigrants to Texas and Washington DC - both virtue-signaling 'sanctuary cities' that panicked over the influx of people they couldn't actually take care of.

According to the new poll, however, most Americans are supportive of sending migrants to such cities in the future - with 51% of registered voters saying 'yes' - while 29% said 'no' and 21% were unsure. Another 48% 'strongly or somewhat approve of border state governors sending some illegal immigrants to places like New York, Chicago and Martha's Vineyard,' according to the Daily Caller, which noted that 38% 'strongly or somewhat' disapproved of the plan.

Most respondents thought places like Martha’s Vineyard were being inconsistent: 63% said it was hypocritical for sanctuary cities to complain about migrants being sent there. The majority of likely voters (61%) thought it was fair to say that cartels had more control over the southern border than the U.S. government, and 60% thought the government’s failure to control the southern border was a bigger problem than border states sending migrants to places like Martha’s Vineyard. -Daily Caller

CNN apparently believes that sending illegal migrants up to Martha's Vineyard has the "same themes" as the Holocaust. pic.twitter.com/Q9PawzS85U

— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 15, 2022

"This polling confirms what all Americans know to be true: the open-borders policies of the Biden Administration are wildly unpopular," said America First Legal vice president and general counsel Gene Hamilton in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. " It also confirms that the American people desire immigration enforcement at our border that is at least as effective as what the elites in Martha’s Vineyard have — where illegal aliens are promptly deported within 24 hours of their arrival."

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 22:00

Culture War Erupts In Texas Town Over Drag Bingo Event Hosted By Christian Church

Culture War Erupts In Texas Town Over Drag Bingo Event Hosted By Christian Church

Authored by Darlene McCormack Sanchez via The Epoch Times,

Outside a drag bingo event hosted by a pro-LGBT church in Texas, a microcosm of America’s culture war played out with liberals and conservatives screaming at each other across a boulevard on Saturday.

About 300 Texas conservatives lined an entire block to protest the First Christian Church in Katy, which sponsored a sold-out family drag bingo event to raise money to benefit its “Transparent Closet.”

The clothing boutique was for “trans and exploring teens, youth and young adults,” according to the church’s website. Its parking lot was full of cars as the family drag bingo event started around 5 p.m. The adults-only portion of the drag show was scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

The conservative crowd dwarfed some 100 liberals who showed up to champion the church, which openly supports LGBT people. Protesters and counter-protesters alike were armed.

Extremist groups from both sides of the political spectrum showed up, including far-left Antifa members dressed in black from head to toe carrying umbrellas, few members of neo-Nazi groups, and the Proud Boys, a pro-Western fraternal organization who were wearing Buc-ee’s masks.

The Antifa and Proud Boys groups taunted each other as sheriff’s deputies donning helmets and riot gear straddled the boulevard to separate them.

At one point, the factions clashed with an Antifa member hitting a Proud Boy over the head with a flag pole. Other Proud Boys ran to confront the Antifa members, launching a pepper spray attack.

Proud Boys and Antifa face off at a drag bingo fundraiser at First Christian Church in Katy, Texas, on Sept. 24, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez/The Epoch Times)

Several Catholics praying the rosary downwind fled the area coughing.

Christian songs played over loudspeakers as cars and trucks with American flags cruised the boulevard honking their support. People knelt in the grass to pray.

On the liberal side of the road, the new Little Mermaid song blared in the background.

Overhead, a helicopter circled the spectacle.

Loriann Belin, from the Houston area County Citizens Defending Freedom group, showed up to fight the sexualization of children.

“We need to stand for the protection of the most vulnerable among us—our children,” she said.

“We don’t hate those people on the other side. God loves them. They’re just lost and need Jesus,” Belin added.

Fabiana Pimentel, an immigrant mother with children enrolled in the Katy Independent School District, said she left Brazil 14 years ago and can’t believe what is happening in America.

During the pandemic, she grew concerned about what her children were learning in the classroom and reading in school libraries.

“I realized things are worse than I thought,” she said. “I’m against the sexualization of kids.”

Richard Harmier of New Caney protested in hopes the Texas Legislature would take note and pass laws protecting minors from gender transitioning.

“My granddaughter is 13 years old, and she wants to be a boy now,” Harmier said, adding she cut off all her hair and avoids her father because he isn’t on board with her desire to transition.

“We’ve got to stop this,” he said. “You shouldn’t be free to indoctrinate children.”

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper stands in the middle of a boulevard to keep drag bingo protestors separated A man holding a rifle stood guard over LGBT supporters on Sept. 24, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez/The Epoch Times)

Across the boulevard, liberals dressed in rainbow T-shirts were just as passionate, chanting, “Fascists, go home!”

A Katy woman on the liberal side said it was a shame people were protesting drag queens, so she came out to support the church.

“To make sure the people attending tonight are safe,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

Another woman wearing a multicolored shirt watched the crowd from the liberal side. She was with a veteran group that was “for everybody’s rights,” including the LGTB community.

Further down, a man with graying hair dressed in black said he was an anti-fascist who came to counter Kelly Neidert, pointing a finger toward a group of conservatives across the boulevard.

Members of Antifa taunt protestors across the street Sept. 24, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez/The Epoch Times)

Neidert, wearing a red Trump hat, said Antifa follows her around Texas, harassing her because she hosted conservative events at the University of North Texas as a student.

She is the founder of Protect Texas Kids and wanted to attend the protest also to draw attention to the sexualization of children.

On Twitter, a post by the Screwston Anti-Fascist Committee labeled all the parent groups attending as “fascists” who intended to disrupt a drag bingo event. “Nazi groups such as the Aryan Freedom Network plan to attend,” the post said.

The post included a flier targeting Kelly Neidert, urging members to “mask up and bring a buddy.”

“Join us in the streets to defend the queer community against this threat!” the flier said.

The drag bingo event at First Christian Church, part of the Disciples of Christ denomination, drew more controversy after the church quietly dropped one drag performer, Jaysen Kettl, who was once involved in a school shooting plot.

Kettl goes by the stage name of Tisha Flowers and portrays himself as a Goth drag queen.

In 2004, Kettl, 17 at the time, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit capital murder for his role in plotting a school shooting at Vidor High School. The plot was foiled before anything occurred.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 21:30

Pound Flash Crashes 500 pips To Record Low Amid Global FX Carnage As Things Start Breaking

Pound Flash Crashes 500 pips To Record Low Amid Global FX Carnage As Things Start Breaking

Just as last week ended, with a relentless meltup in the exponentially rising US dollar, coupled with a collapse in cable, the yen, yuan, euro and so on, not to mention stocks and bonds, so the new week begins only this time the moves are even faster, even more brutal and even more acute, as we approach the breaking point.

Case in point, after starting modestly higher, the meltup in the dollar accelerated, as the Bloomberg dollar index exploded to new all time highs...

... facilitated by a yen whose plunge made a mockery of Thursday's multi-billion BOJ intervention...

... and is forcing Kuroda to sell even more tens of billions of US Treasurys, to cash into USDs which he will then sell for yen, in the process pushing up 10Y yields even higher, creating a toxic feedback loop of higher yields and an even higher dollar, sending yields higher and the dollar even higher.

But the imminent conclusion of Japan's MMT experiment notwithstanding, the real highlight of the session so far has been the total collapse in sterling, whose implosion after Friday's mini budget has accelerated and moments ago cable flash crashed to a new all time low of 1.0350, below the previous record low set in early 1985, and just millimeters away from parity as every single stop was taking out to the downside. .

And since there is nothing at all to contain the now exponential move in the USD, now that the entire world is facing one massive, $20 trillion short squeeze in USD-denominated debt...

Every foreign company or state that has issued USD debt right now pic.twitter.com/ALE3X1nsez

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 26, 2022

... expect an emergency central bank meeting this week where panicking officials do everything they can to contain the dollar and to undo the tremendous damage the Powell Fed has unleashed on the world. Because in the end, it's always the same.

It's always the same pic.twitter.com/I6cp1FgSWl

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 26, 2022
Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 21:24

Woman Has Epic Meltdown At Walmart - Uses 'Rape' As Excuse To Cut In Line

Woman Has Epic Meltdown At Walmart - Uses 'Rape' As Excuse To Cut In Line

If you needed any more confirmation that the political left is normalizing insanity within our society, just take a look at this recent epic meltdown by a woman who cut in line at a Walmart and was called out by the guy behind her.  Screaming like a mental patient is justified because she claims to have been "raped" (and of course, she is wearing a mask). Note that the Walmart employees try to placate her instead of doing what they should have done, which is kick her out of the building.  The constant hand-holding of mentally unstable and emotionally stunted people is slowly but surely bringing America down.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 21:00

FBI Whistleblower Comes Forward, Alleges Many Agents "Don't Agree" With Bureau's Direction

FBI Whistleblower Comes Forward, Alleges Many Agents "Don't Agree" With Bureau's Direction

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times

An FBI whistleblower recently came forward and issued warnings about alleged politicization at the FBI, saying that the bureau is spying on law-abiding Americans and that many of its domestic counterterrorism cases are tantamount to “entrapment.”

Kyle Seraphin, who has spent six years in the FBI, was suspended without pay and cannot seek another job without quitting or asking for permission. It’s not clear when he was suspended, but he said that he had run-ins with his managers about his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine although he was granted a religious exemption.

“The number of guys who say, ‘I don’t agree with what’s going on here, but I’ve got three years to retire,’ it’s heartbreaking,” he told podcast host Dan Bongino.

In one instance, Seraphin said he was forced to blow the whistle last year when Attorney General Merrick Garland told lawmakers that the Department of Justice was not targeting parents. He gave to a member of Congress an email that was circulated in the FBI, which said that Garland ordered the usage of the controversial PATRIOT Act to target parents with a tag, “EDUOFFICIALS.”

At the time, in May 2022, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Johnson (R-Ind.) alleged that the investigations involved parents who were “upset about mask mandates and state elected officials who publicly voiced opposition to vaccine mandates,” accusing Garland of making false statements to Congress.

“That’s when you become part of political hatchet jobs, and I didn’t sign up for that, and nobody I know signed up for that either,” Seraphin told Bongino. “That’s not what people want to get involved in.”

In an interview with the Washington Times last week, he said the bureau’s investigations into domestic violent extremism, white nationalists, and right-wing extremists are mostly entrapment operations with questionable moral and ethical underpinnings.

“My team was deployed to 20 or 25 different high profile, national terrorism organization or terrorism investigations between 2018 and 2021. And what I saw, as the most obvious statement, is that there are three things about counterterrorism investigations,” he said.

Seraphin stated: “Number one, the demand for white supremacy vastly outstrips the supply of white supremacy.”

“Number two,” he added, “the FBI‘s playbook when it comes to counterterrorism investigations is always and unequivocally morally equivalent to entrapment, even if there’s a legal definition that allows them to skirt that.”

‘Inaccurate’

As for No. 3, Seraphin added to the Washington Times that the FBI doesn’t have an objective metric on how they prioritize cases.

“There’s an entirely ridiculous internal process for determining every single national priority,” the whistleblower said.

The Epoch Times has contacted the FBI for comment. A bureau spokesperson told the paper that his claims about entrapment lacked merit.

“This comment is inaccurate and represents a clear misunderstanding of the policy and practice in FBI investigations,” the FBI said in a statement to the outlet.

Attorney General Merrick Garland (L) and FBI Director Christopher Wray hold a press conference in Washington on Nov. 8, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the Bongino interview, Seraphin suggested that more FBI employees will come forward in the future, according to him, due to the bureau’s now-partisan nature.

At least 14 FBI whistleblowers have come forward in recent months to provide information about recent actions inside the bureau, said Jordan, on the FBI’s investigations into the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, parents at school board meetings, and Hunter Biden’s laptop.

At one point during the interview, Seraphin also touched on the Aug. 8 raid targeting former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Trump has often said that the search was political in nature and meant to harm his 2024 chances.

“You ask me to go raid President Obama’s house, you ask me to raid President Bush’s house, it’s not happening,” he continued. “It’s not happening. I’m sorry, it’s not happening. I’m not doing that. I’m going to be, probably pretty vocal. That’s probably going to be my last day.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:30

Macro Pulse Early Warning: Need A Bigger Boat

Macro Pulse Early Warning: Need A Bigger Boat

By Marcel Kasumovich, head of research at One River Asset Management

Macro Pulse Early Warning – Need a Bigger Boat

Macro matters. For decades, financial markets were defined by long, passive trends. Brief periods of macro relevance punctuated by active policy intervention and a resumption of long-lived passive trends. In today’s unprecedented economic change, positive innovation cannot simply be managed with a long horizon and a portfolio dotted with tail risk hedges. Cycles are running shorter and hotter, raising the importance of calibrating risk to the macro cycle.  

Digital asset markets don’t need a reminder. Prices have been joined at the hip with interest rate expectations. The correlation between the price of bitcoin and the peak expectation for US policy rates, captured by the June 2023 future, is a whopping 85% in the past year. It wasn’t “just the Fed.” The more aggressive normalization of policy – rate expectations are up more than 400 basis points in the past year – exposed speculative excesses across the digital ecosystem.  

The current environment is begging for a macro tool to help with active macro risk management. So, we built the Macro Pulse. The Macro Pulse turns ISM survey of manufacturing business conditions into states of the economic cycle, ranging from growth boom to bust, built initially as proof-of-concept. Survey data is the right avenue for identifying these cycles – they are not revised and not beholden to past cycles, unlike official figures. Here, we illustrate portfolio analytics where asset allocation is conditioned on the state of the macro cycle.  

We start by defining innocuous asset allocation in different macro states. The average asset allocation over the cycle is roughly 25% equities, 45% bonds, 20% commodities, and 10% foreign exchange, dating back to 1977. This is the weighted average of allocations that vary by macro state for a benchmark active portfolio, slanted towards equity and commodity assets in an economic boom and overallocated to bonds when growth is declining. Digital assets are added over a shorter period since 2011, with a constant 2.5% allocation to bitcoin at the expense of bonds. The portfolio simulations follow.  

The performance of a 60-40, equity-bond passive portfolio and the portfolio based on active macro states are similar, on average. The average annualized return on a 60-40 portfolio is 9.1% compared to 9.3% on the active macro portfolio. But risk management is materially different. The volatility of the macro portfolio is substantially less at 7.8%, versus 9.7% (Figure 1). That’s where it gets interesting.

View image here: Source: Bloomberg. One River Digital Calculations. Annualized monthly returns and volatility from Dec 1976 to Aug 2022. The 60%-40% equity-bond portfolio is based on monthly returns for S&P 500 Total Return and the US Aggregate Government Bond Total Return. The Macro Portfolio is based on S&P 500 Total Return, Bond Total Return, Bloomberg Total Return Commodity Index, and the DXY for the US dollar. There are four macro states and different asset allocations across those four states with maximum exposure of 100% across assets.  

Isolating periods of negative portfolio events illustrates the risk management value of conditioning asset allocation to the states of macro cycles. We turn the portfolios through four well-known high-risk periods: 2020 (Feb-Mar); 2008 (Jun-Nov); 2000-01 (Sep-Mar); and 1987 (Oct). The average drawdown for the 60-40 portfolio in those periods is 14.9%, with all four down by double-digits. The active macro portfolio averaged a 2.4% decline, with only 1987 a material loss of 10.4% (Figure 2). 

View image here; Source: Bloomberg. One River Digital Calculations.

 But that’s not all! We can calibrate expected future shifts in the state of macro cycles. This improves risk management even further. When in an economic boom, we estimate a 57% chance of staying in that state for three months’ time, a 37% chance of moving to slower growth, and 6% odds of recession. Probabilities are calculated across all states and applied to the asset allocation. It makes a big difference. The most pessimistic asset allocation scores -27 on a +/-100 scale, much less than the -100 scored in recession (Figure 3). The probability approach shifts weight to growth assets in a recession as the odds of transitioning to an expansion increase. On the growth side, there is little distinction between a boom and a softer growth cycle – the odds of a continued expansion are equally high. 

View image here; Source: Bloomberg. One River Digital Calculations. The strongest growth score is +100 and the weakest growth score is –100. The score for each state is the probability-weighted average based on the odds of transitioning into a state in the next three months.  

Periods of declining equity markets demonstrate the most striking risk management enhancement using Macro Pulse probability weights. The 60-40 portfolio has an annualized return of -23.9% in months with negative equity performance, an improvement from the 41.9% fall in equity portfolios. The active macro ​​​​​state-based portfolio shows a similar decline to the 60-40 portfolio. However, using transition probabilities to capture rising odds of different economic outcomes, the Macro Pulse portfolio yields a positive return. The message can be an early warning or an early opportunity signal. Either way, forward-looking probabilities matter. 

Digital assets are additive to the process. To keep things simple, we include bitcoin with a fixed 2.5% monthly weight across all macro states, replacing bonds in the asset allocation. There is a strong belief that bitcoin just replicates equity beta in a portfolio. We evaluate this by examining periods when equity returns are negative. There is no doubt that drawdowns in digital assets are severe. But timing matters – they are also brief and decouple from traditional markets. Digital assets have been additive, leading to stronger returns, but with a higher volatility trade-off that calls for active management (Figure 4). 

View image here; Source: Bloomberg. 

Economic activity is weak. Deflation in commodities, financial assets, and housing markets strongly suggests activity will weaken further. And it is when growth is falling from weak levels that the Macro Pulse calls for the most defensive portfolio positions. Once the recession hits, asset markets transition more quickly to growth opportunities. Active strategies are the best umbrella for the current macro climate – a feature shared by digital and traditional asset markets.  

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:00

As Few As Ten Congressional Districts May Decide The 2022 Midterm Elections

As Few As Ten Congressional Districts May Decide The 2022 Midterm Elections

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

If Democrats manage to hold the House and pick up a single Senate seat, they will unleash a wave of very inflationary Progressive legislation.

538 poll synopsis updated September 23, 2022

Like Nate Silver or not, the above 538 House Forecast is a reasonable starting point for discussion. 

Silver has the Republicans a slight favorite (68-32) favorite to win the House. That margin seems more than "slight" but use your own definition.

Majority Math

Republicans have a bit of a cushion in this. For example, AZ-2 and VA-2 could easily easily flip Red negating CA-27 and PA-7. 

Election What If?

That latter scenario, or a similar outcome is unlikely, but it's possible. One in four or five is not a major upset.

10-12 Seats Are Crucial

No one trusts these polls, but 10-12 tossup seats could easily determine this crucial midterm election. 

Very few seats are actually in play in most elections. Only when there is a blowout do major shifts occur. Then midterm results return to the status quo sooner or later, and mostly sooner. 

This setup is a result of extreme gerrymandering by both parties in the states they control. 

And as a direct consequence, extreme candidates win nominations. 

What Will Determine the Outcome?

The vote will come down to turnout, policies, and mostly on winning over independents.

Republicans need focus on issues the independents care about if they wish to improve their odds in the midterm elections.

Here are those issues: Inflation, education, school boards, woke policies, massive tax hikes, and potential blue state pension bailouts. 

Results in very a very red-state Kansas show abortion is mostly a losing message for Republicans. By a 59-41 percent margin Kansas voters rejected a constitutional amendment Tuesday that would have said there was no right to an abortion in the state.

Democrats have picked up on this. 

Republicans let Democrats turn the campaign into a focus on Trump and abortion not on inflation. Trump himself is not displeased with this.

There is a lot riding on the outcome economically. I expect an inflationary inferno if Democrats hold the House because the most likely outcome is they pick up a Senate seat. 

Progressives would be in full control, no longer needing Senator Joe Manchin's vote.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 19:30

Mob Of People Spontaneously Ransack Wawa Convenience Store In Philadelphia

Mob Of People Spontaneously Ransack Wawa Convenience Store In Philadelphia

A mob of people entered a Wawa convenience store on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia and broke out into a riot, seemingly without warning or reason.  There's no comment yet from Philadelphia police on the cause of the rampage.  As the economic situation in the US continues to decline and prices continue to rise on most goods, expect to see more scenes like this one on a regular basis.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 18:00

Meloni's Right-Wing Alliance Wins Clear Majority In Italian Elections

Meloni's Right-Wing Alliance Wins Clear Majority In Italian Elections

First Sweden, now Italy.

Europe's unelected authoritarian ruler, Ursula von der Leyen, is not going to be happy: according to early exit polls out of Italy's national election, the right-wing bloc of Giorgia Meloni - which the ultra-left wing press just can't stop comparing to Mussolini - is set for a historic, if largely expected, victory and a clear majority (if, however, not a super-majority) which will propel Meloni to the top of the Italian government as the country's next prime minister, ushering in a historic right-wing shift for a country that - like Sweden until two weeks ago - has traditionally been very left-wing.

Meloni's Brothers of Italy party, which won just 4% of the vote during the last national election in 2018, won the biggest share of the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary elections with around 22.5%-26.5% of the vote according to an exit poll released by Italian national broadcaster Rai. She is now set to become prime minister but would require approval from junior partners in her coalition to assume the role.

Italy election exit poll: right-wing block (Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia + Lega + Forza Italia) on track for clear majority in both upper and lower houses of Italian parliament. https://t.co/3ha7oz6tgX

— Jeremy Cliffe (@JeremyCliffe) September 25, 2022

According to an exit poll from Rai, Meloni's alliance which includes Salvini's League and Berlusconi's Forza Italia will win around 43% of the vote. The Center-Left alliance will have just 25.5%-29.5% of the vote, while the 5 Star movement has 13.5%-17.5% of the final vote.

Italy’s electoral system, which strongly favors parties that run as part of a coalition, is expected to help the right to an ample majority in both houses of Parliament: with 228 votes in the Lower House and 115 seats in the Senate (according to SkyTG24), Meloni will have a majority as just 104 votes are required.

As the WSJ notes, the Italian election is "the first big test of the European Union’s political cohesion as it confronts Russia’s attempt to redraw the continent’s post-Cold War order. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s restriction of natural-gas deliveries has sparked an energy-price crunch that, combined with other inflationary pressures, is expected to push much of Europe into a recession this winter."

Meloni replaces former Goldman Sachs partner and ECB technocrat and globalist, Mario Draghi, and will be the country’s first female prime minister.

The likely right-wing government will face difficult decisions over how to protect Italian households and businesses from sky-high prices for natural gas and electricity. While Italy’s parlous public finances allow limited scope for fiscal largess, if the UK is any example - and it is - Italy will engage in a similar strategy of targeted and debt-funded fiscal stimulus which will lead to a blowout in Italian debt, a further plunge in the euro and much chaos everywhere.

Italy's massive debt of roughly 150% of GDP, combined with Italy’s weak long-term growth record, makes the country vulnerable to bond-market selloffs if investors lose confidence in the soundness of Rome’s fiscal policies, and dependent on the European Central Bank to keep its bond yields stable. ECB support has typically been conditional on Rome following cautious budget policies and enacting economic overhauls aimed at improving growth. In other words, the Berlusconi example of 2011 is still vivid - if Meloni's policies displease the ECB, Christine Lagarde will simply refuse (or forget) to buy Italian bonds, sparking Europe's next sovereign debt crisis at the worst possible moment.

During the election campaign, Meloni tried to reassure voters and investors that she will keep Italy’s mammoth debt under control and won’t question the country’s foreign alliances or support for Ukraine. Expect all of that to change tomorrow.

History is written! Despite Ursula von der Leyen's unworthy and dirty threats, Italians vote en masse for the far right. Giorgia Meloni first female premier in the history of Italy. pic.twitter.com/azjKug2xVm

— RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) September 25, 2022

Looking ahead, Europe's crumbling and unelected oligarchy will be terribly vexed by the result...

If the exit poll is right and Meloni becomes PM in Italy, what 'tools' will the awful @vonderleyen use?

Thank god we have left. https://t.co/OEPeMLyAhA

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 25, 2022

... as for markets, the spin will be that the lack of a super-majority is actually bullish for for the EUR and BTPs, while focus will quickly turn to coalition stability and who Italy's next finmin will be.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 17:20

Nancy Pelosi Booed At NYC Festival: 'Doesn't Bode Well For Dems Ahead Of Mid-Terms'

Nancy Pelosi Booed At NYC Festival: 'Doesn't Bode Well For Dems Ahead Of Mid-Terms'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a surprise appearance at a Saturday night music festival in New York City, called the "Global Citizen music festival". She was introduced on stage by Priyanka Chopra Jonas, wife of American singer and actor Nick Jonas, to speak about climate change and carbon pollution.

But instead of the climactic "surprise" celebratory moment that organizers were hoping for, Pelosi's presence triggered loud boos from the sizeable audience, as multiple videos from the event show...

Pelosi got Booed at The Global Citizen Festival in NYC 😂

pic.twitter.com/KfpwyO305b

— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 25, 2022

"As speaker of the house, I am here to thank you for your dazzling advocacy, entrepreneurial thinking, and determination as global citizens," she told the crowd, as quoted in NY Post.

While some occasional cheers could be heard, by and large she was booed and heckled so fiercely throughout the remarks that at times she struggled to speak over the noise. The reaction of the likely largely young Democrat crowd doesn't look good for Dems ahead of the mid-term elections in November: "Crowd's reaction to Pelosi at music festival doesn't bode well for Dems," Fox observed on its homepage. 

The Daily Mail has speculated the negative reaction likely stems from recognition of of the spectacle of yet another celebrity politician seen backstage with A-listers and who flies around in private jets lecturing young people about saving the planet:

Nancy Pelosi, 82, is savagely booed during appearance at NYC's Global Citizen music festival in Central Park - after schmoozing backstage with A-listers and drunk-driver husband Paul.

Even NYC can’t stand her ! pic.twitter.com/a4Kxl4cOAk

— MJ (@michaeljonny66) September 25, 2022

"It’s thanks to your help that the United States recently enacted historic climate legislation, which will be a game changer," Pelosi said while being drowned out at time by chants and boos heard from different sectors of the venue. "It will slash carbon pollution by 40% by 2030, it will give a historic, an historic $370 billion to fight the climate crisis."

Footage which featured a broader view of the audience showed here struggling to speak for the noise...

Here's a clip of Nancy Pelosi being booed as she tries to push a climate change narrative at a music festival pic.twitter.com/619HSPQFYC

— A Man Of Memes (@RickyDoggin) September 25, 2022

One person filming is heard questioning, "Why is everyone booing?"

Surprise! Here's Nancy...

Getty Images

The Daily Mail notes further of the timing of her appearance, "Prior to her appearance on stage, many eyes were on the House Speaker as she met with celebrities in one of her first major public outings following Paul's drunk driving conviction."

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 17:00

GOP Leader McCarthy Unveils 'Commitment To America' Plan

GOP Leader McCarthy Unveils 'Commitment To America' Plan

Authored by Joseph Lord via The Epoch Times,

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sept. 23 unveiled Republicans’ “Commitment to America” plan, which includes a litany of policy promises on various issues.

While the race for the Senate is generally considered slightly favorable for Democrats, in the House it’s widely expected that Republicans will be in control next year.

If they do take the lower chamber, McCarthy is on track to become speaker of the House.

‘A Plan for a New Direction’

McCarthy on Sept. 23 sat down with “Capitol Report” on NTD to discuss the plan, which he called “a plan for a new direction.”

He said that the plan is about “the American public, not about the politicians in Washington."

“For last year and a half, we’ve gone across the nation listening to Americans,” he continued. “And they’re fearful. They wonder whether they can afford it—can they afford to fill up their gas, can they go to the grocery store again which now costs more?”

Adding to these worries, McCarthy noted, is rapidly-rising inflation, which over the past year has broken record after record.

“Now [Americans’] take-home pay is less,” he said. “They only get 11 months, they lost one month of their wages, because the Democrats have caused inflation. And so what we think you should do is actually have a plan for a new direction.”

“That’s what the commitment to America is—a plan for a new direction where we’ll have an economy that’s strong, we take away this runaway spending [by] Democrats, we make America energy independent, so your price of gas goes lower, more money in your pocket, inflation gets slowed down.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), speaks during the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony to honor the merchant mariners of World War II in Washington May 18, 2022. (Oliver Contreras/Getty Images)

Stop ‘Runaway Spending,’ Address Inflation

The key pillars of the plan re-articulate oft-repeated GOP criticisms of the current regime.

One such position is a promise to stop Democrats’ “runaway spending.” Since they thinly took the majority of both chambers, Democrats have spent a staggering amount of money, and the cost of consumer essentials has risen by over eight percent on average.

In March 2021, the party used the partisan reconciliation process to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill dubbed the American Rescue Plan with no GOP support or input. Later, the majority party was joined by a handful of Republicans in each chamber to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

At the same time, the party pushed for an even more expensive reconciliation, the Build Back Better Act. In its first draft, the 2,000-page bill would have cost $3.5 trillion. Later, in an effort to win the crucial support of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), that figure was dropped to $1.75 trillion, but this bill also failed when Manchin announced that he would not support the package at all.

Most recently, the party again turned to the reconciliation process to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that carried over some key elements of Build Back Better and which will cost taxpayers over $700 billion.

President Joe Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act as Democrat lawmakers look on at the White House in Washington, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In total, these three bills alone come out to well over $3.8 trillion spent by the majority party over the course of only a few short years.

Republicans have been highly critical of this pattern of spending, which they argue is the largest factor behind soaring inflation that has reduced the spending power of the dollar by almost 10 percent. McCarthy made just this point.

“If you watch, how did inflation start, it wasn’t just Republicans warning the Democrats because remember, only Democrats voted for the American Rescue Plan,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy also noted that the GOP position was influential among even many Democrat economists.

“Larry Summers, a Democrat, [and] former Secretary of the Treasury warned them not to do it, you cause inflation,” McCarthy said. “Steve Rattner, an economic adviser to [President Barack Obama] calls it ‘the original sin of inflation.'”

“We’ve got to stop that runaway spending,” the California Republican added.

Restore US Energy Independence

Republicans will also seek to restore American energy independence if they take the House, McCarthy said.

Under President Donald Trump, the United States became energy independent for the first time in decades. But when he took office, President Joe Biden, citing the so-called “climate crisis,” significantly cut U.S. energy capacity by shuttering the long-debated Keystone XL Pipeline and by declaring a moratorium on new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands.

At the time, critics warned that these policies would substantially raise gas prices. When the predicted price spikes came about, Biden pulled millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve rather than reversing his energy policies. Republicans joined by Joe Manchin unanimously opposed the move, calling on Biden to reverse his policies rather than pulling from U.S. reserves, which were intended to be used in case of global or financial crises.

If they take the House, McCarthy said that Republicans will work to restore America’s energy sector.

A person uses the keypad on a pump at a gas station in Arlington, Va., on July 29, 2022. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Beyond Democrats’ spending, McCarthy noted that the rising costs of energy have had a substantial impact in worsening inflation.

“Another cause of inflation is the rise of energy costs,” he said. “So we’re going to make America energy independent, create more American jobs, but lower the price. The energy cost goes in every product and good.

“We’re going to make a sound economy with sound money policies,” he added. “That’s a start to get us under control.”

‘A Nation That’s Safe’

McCarthy also said that Republicans will work to reduce crime rates.

Over the past two years, cities across the U.S. have begun to see higher and higher rates of violent crime, with many cities breaking past records for homicide rates.

Republicans have blamed the situation in part on the “soft-on-crime” attitude of Democrats and liberals in the criminal justice system.

Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, anti-police sentiments spiked among liberals, and in several major cities prosecutors and district attorneys have refused to enforce several laws.

Speaking on this issue, McCarthy said, “We believe in a nation that’s safe.”

“We watch the Democrats defund the police and crime rises—from Portland to Philadelphia, it’s the highest it’s been in 20 years,” he continued. “So we … will make sure we don’t defund the police. We’ll actually bring 200,000 more police officers, we put the accountability to these prosecutors and [district attorneys] to uphold the law fairly and equally.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks with U.S. Capitol Police Officers after arriving on a bicycle to an event at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial as part of the “Back The Blue” bike ride in Washington, on May 12, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

After largely evading the issue during most of the 117th Congress, Democrats on Sept. 22 finally tried to address rising crime rates with a series of policing bills that passed through the House along broadly party lines. The move, coming as it does only weeks out from a midterm election, raised eyebrows among observers after two years of largely anti-police sentiments among many Democrats.

‘A Future That’s Built on Freedom’

McCarthy also vowed that Republicans will address ongoing controversies in public schools about parents’ rights.

Schools in several major cities have faced scrutiny for the content being taught to children, which has included controversial topics like homosexuality, critical race theory, and graphic representations of nudity or sexual intercourse sometimes shown to children as young as primary school age. In turn, many parents in school districts across the United States have turned up to school board meetings to challenge the material being taught to their children.

If Republicans take the House, McCarthy promised a long-touted “parents bill of rights,” which McCarthy said would ensure that “parents have a say in their children’s education.”

The issue has increasingly become a rallying cry for Republicans.

Republican Glenn Youngkin made the issue the central pillar of his 2021 gubernatorial race in Virginia, which he later won by margins far wider than observers had predicted.

A local mother at a rally outside the Loudoun County Public Schools administration building in Ashburn, Va., on Sept. 13, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also put focus on the issue, lobbying and successfully passing a bill that forbids schools from teaching young children about issues like sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Though critics dubbed the legislation the “don’t say gay” bill, polls on it have generally shown that most Americans support the move.

The role of parents in determining what schools teach their children has largely become a mainstream issue only in the past year or two, and it remains to be seen whether the issue can rally new voters to the GOP’s banner in November.

Investigations to ‘Hold the Government Accountable’

McCarthy also vowed that Republicans would look into a series of controversial issues and decisions by the current administration through new probes and investigative panels.

The current rules of the lower chamber give the speaker of the House substantially broad authority over the creation of new committees and probes, meaning that Republicans have largely been unable to use the full force of Congress to investigate things they find potentially concerning.

Under Republicans, McCarthy said, the government is “going to be held accountable.”

“We’re … going to look from the aspects of holding government accountable, as well as the DOJ going after parents,” McCarthy added, referencing a controversial decision from the Department of Justice to pursue parents attending school board meetings to protest their children’s curriculum.

McCarthy also promised accountability from China through a probe into the origins of the COVID-19 virus, which is now widely recognized to have likely leaked from a biological research facility in Wuhan, China.

“Why don’t we find out where the origin of COVID started,” he said.

McCarthy said that he’d also create a select committee on China that would look at ways to have U.S. industries, that were shipped there, return to America.

Workers inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, capital of China’s Hubei Province, on Feb. 23, 2017. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

Republicans have also suggested probes into Dr. Anthony Fauci’s ties to the Wuhan facility, the role of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in leaving the Capitol building unprepared on Jan. 6, and the recent raid by the FBI of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Undoing Democrats’ IRS Expansion

McCarthy said that if they take the House, Republicans will also work to undo Democrats’ recent expansion of the IRS.

Specifically, the expansion was included as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which sextupled the IRS’ current budget overnight.

The IRS provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act were among its most controversial.

The $80 billion allocated to the agency by the bill sextuples its budget, and Republican critics have warned that the bulked-up IRS could hire as many as 87,000 new agents. These agents, in turn, critics have said, will be let loose against middle-class Americans and small businesses, despite Democrats’ claims about the expansion that nobody making less than $400,000 per year will see their tax bill increase.

Proponents of the bill suggest that, in addition to the new tax code changes, a bulkier IRS will bring in an additional $124 billion annually through enforcement efforts.

The funding for the IRS will go toward “necessary expenses for tax enforcement activities … to determine and collect owed taxes, to provide legal and litigation support, to conduct criminal investigations (including investigative technology), to provide digital asset monitoring and compliance activities, to enforce criminal statutes related to violations of internal revenue laws and other financial crimes … and to provide other services.”

The Internal Revenue Service headquarters building in Washington is seen in a file photo. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Preston Brashers, a senior tax policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times that contrary to Democrat claims, the IRS expansion will almost certainly mean more audits, and in turn more taxes, for middle-class families and small businesses.

“On the very first day, [we’re going to] repeal 87,000 IRS agents,” McCarthy said.

However, this promise may be impossible for McCarthy to keep, particularly if Democrats retain the Senate. Because the Inflation Reduction Act was passed using the filibuster-immune reconciliation process, Republicans theoretically could repeal the expansion of the IRS if they take both chambers of Congress. But even in this case, the measure would need the signature of President Biden, who’s likely to oppose any such move.

Limitations

Despite the broad range of promises and proposals discussed by McCarthy, Republicans will likely face many limitations on how much they can do, particularly if they only take the House.

Currently, Republicans seem to be on track to reenter the House majority after four years in the minority, but the Senate is less certain. Though Senate races in several states remain nail-bitingly tight, observers currently peg the fight for the Senate as leaning heavily in Democrats’ favor.

Right now, FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans a 71 in 100 chance of retaking the House after four years in the minority. But FiveThirtyEight also gives Republicans only a 29 in 100 chance of reclaiming the upper chamber.

If these projections pan out, Senate Democrats would find their scope heavily limited by the Republican House, while the Republican House would find its scope severely limited by the Senate. If the race does end in a divided government, it is likely that McCarthy will face substantial hurdles to rolling out the policy proposals in the Commitment to America plan.

On the other hand, House Republicans would have the benefit of Manchin’s swing vote, which could help them get some budget reconciliation legislation over the finish line in the Senate.

Nevertheless, even in the best case for Republicans—control of both chambers of Congress—the White House will still be occupied by a Democrat, meaning that a fully Republican Congress’s most ambitious goals would be difficult or impossible to carry out.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 16:30

Tehran Summons Western Ambassadors For "Meddling" As Protest Death Toll Climbs To Over 40

Tehran Summons Western Ambassadors For "Meddling" As Protest Death Toll Climbs To Over 40

Iran’s foreign ministry has blamed Western "meddling" for the outbreak and growth of raging protests inside the country, which have now reached a full week, and have left at least 35 dead, according to the government's official death toll. From Friday to Saturday this figure had more than doubled, with Tehran officials initially citing 17 dead, and then revising it upwards. This includes five security officers, according to state media, which has painted the "anti-hijab" demonstrations as violent. By Saturday evening, state media counted 41 among the deceased.

On Sunday Iran summoned the ambassadors of the UK and Norway to condemn their governments for allegedly fueling the unrest, as reported in The Hill

The director-general of Western Europe within Iran’s foreign ministry called out Norway’s Parliament speaker for allegedly "prejudicing and unrealistic comments" about recent protests in Iran, according to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA.  

The U.K. ambassador, meanwhile, was chastised for a London-based, Persian-language "hosting of the media" that Iran believes has produced "put provocation and invitation to turbulence and expansion of riots in Iran on top of their agenda," according to a second report from IRNA. 

AP image

The protests across dozens of cities began following the death in policy custody of 22-year old Mahsa Amini. She had been reportedly detained for improper attire, or failing to properly wear an Islamic head-covering, after which she turned up dead.

Her supporters say she was beaten to death, while Iranian authorities have said she collapsed from a heart-related incident. The US has since sanctioned Iran's notorious 'morality police' and the heads of multiple security agences.

The UN has meanwhile condemned the harsh police crackdown, which a statement has said includes sending paramilitary forces and at times live ammunition interspersed with riot control measures. But it's clear that in many instances the demonstrators are "fighting back"...

نیروهاشون رو با اتوبوس میفرستن، بعد به دروغ میگن مردم به مسافر حمله کردن...
دست ماشین پروپاگاندا رژیم و حامیانش خیلی وقته که رو شده حاجی، امید نبند به این نیرنگ ها! pic.twitter.com/YX4uQKoZgd

— ⚔️👑 Prince of Persia 👑⚔️ (@Leo_Javaheri) September 25, 2022

International observers are now calling the protests unprecedented in size and ferocity, which began immediately following Amini's funeral in her Iranian Kurdistan province hometown of Saqqez on Saturday.

Since then countless women have publicly removed their headscarves in defiance, with many rallies becoming anti-regime demonstrations where chants calling for the removal of the Ayatollah and the hardline morality police are heard. 

According to a Time magazine description of the images that sparked the mass protests:

Hours after her detention, Amini was admitted to hospital "without any vital signs and brain-dead," officials there reported. She was pronounced dead on Sept. 16. In the days between, the Iranian public saw a photo of a young girl in the prime of life attached to tubes—blood stains visible on her ear, which a doctor viewing the images called a possible sign of severe head trauma.

Tonight in Valiasr Street, Tehran, women wave their hijbas as people chant "woman, life, liberty" on the ninth night of protests in Iran over the death of #MahsaAmini in morality police custody amid a near total internet shutdown by the state.#مهسا_امینیpic.twitter.com/xDV6Uf0VdE

— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) September 25, 2022

Iranian authorities have moved to curtail the spread of protests by restricting internet services across much of the country, as well as blocking various social media platforms.

Washington is meanwhile encouraging the protests while condemning the crackdown, and has even moved to help Iranian demonstrators access the internet and external platforms. The US Treasury Department on Friday announced the easing of restrictions on tech companies' access to Iran, in the hopes they could provide work-arounds to Tehran cutting communications and internet.

WATCH: Innocent female bystander violently smashed to the ground by Iranian police.@elonmusk hookup #Starlink to #Iran. Keep citizen journalism alive where it’s needed the most.#IranProtests #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/UgDSHVwYmE

— Saman Arbabi (@SamanArbabi) September 20, 2022

According to the latest developments, "SpaceX chief Elon Musk said he was activating his company’s Starlink internet service in Iran, which cut off web access to its more than 80 million citizens this week, after the U.S. Treasury Department eased sanctions to help support the free flow of information in the country."

The New York Times over the weekend is reporting that protests have now spread to some 80 cities.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 16:00

Washington Post Columnist Calls For The End Of Impartiality And Balance In Journalism

Washington Post Columnist Calls For The End Of Impartiality And Balance In Journalism

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

In an age of rage, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin has long been a standout in her attacks on Republicans and conservatives: “We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.” However, her recent column shows that she has made a clean break not only from Republicans but from reason. The writer (long cited by the Post as their “Republican columnist” for balance) has called for the media to abandon balance and impartiality. Rubin is demanding that the media just become overt advocates in refusing to report both sides in the myriad of political issues in this election.

In her column, Rubin rejects the “need for false balance” because the coverage can suggest that Republicans are “rational.”

“The Kabuki dance in which Trump, his defenders and his supporters are treated as rational (clever even!) is what comes from a media establishment that refuses to discard its need for false balance that it has developed over the course of decades.”

That balance was once called “journalism” but Rubin now calls it facilitating “disinformation.” Balanced reporting is now dangerous and makes the media “a megaphone for disinformation, upholding the pretense that there are two political parties with equally valid takes on reality.”

What is striking is how Rubin objects to the current coverage when many already object to a heavy bias in such reporting. Yet, Rubin believes the media must go further.

Rubin’s attack on disinformation is ironic given her own past controversies in misrepresenting news, cases, and events. For full disclosure, I clashed with Rubin over her personally attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write. I also challenged her on an equally bizarre column where she wrote about my impeachment testimony and later column misrepresenting the holding in an appellate case involving Trump. That false account was never corrected by the Washington Post. It appears that misrepresenting the holding of a major case is not being a “a megaphone for disinformation.”

Rubin, however, is not alone in this call to abandon the foundational principle of impartiality in journalism.

We have been discussing the rise of advocacy journalism and the rejection of objectivity in journalism schools. Writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy.

Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll decried how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

Lauren Wolfe, the fired freelance editor for the New York Times, has not only gone public to defend her pro-Biden tweet but published a piece titled I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.” 

Former New York Times writer (and now Howard University Journalism Professor) Nikole Hannah-Jones is a leading voice for advocacy journalism.

Indeed, Hannah-Jones has declared “all journalism is activism.” Her 1619 Project has been challenged as deeply flawed and she has a long record as a journalist of intolerance, controversial positions on rioting, and fostering conspiracy theories. Hannah-Jones would later help lead the effort at the Times to get rid of an editor and apologize for publishing a column from Sen. Tom Cotten as inaccurate and inflammatory.

These figures are killing journalism. Polls show trust in the media at an all-time low with less than 20 percent of citizens trusting television or print media. Yet, reporters and academics continue to destroy the core principles that sustain journalism and ultimately the role of a free press in our society. The result is to turn newspapers like the Post into echo chambers for the values of its reporters and a core of liberal readers.

For the rest of the country (including roughly half that voted for Trump), figures like Rubin are saying that they should go elsewhere.  They are. Media outlets like CNN have faced sharp declines in viewership and are trying to break away from this advocacy model to restore ratings. (The move has been denounced by some in the media as potentially helping Republicans by fairly reporting their side of these controversies).  The movement toward advocacy journalism is likely to build in the coming years to remake the media in the image of figures like Hannah-Jones and Rubin.

Viewers clearly tune in to Fox News and MSNBC for their strong editorial opinion and commentators. However, there has long been a line between reporters and commentators in how stories are presented. If journalists want to be advocates, they can shift to the side of commentary. That is clearly not sufficient for some like Rubin who do not want readers to be able to receive both sides of these controversies. Readers are to be shaped in their opinions like impressionable children. That was the message from the conference on disinformation led by media and Democratic figures like the recently fired CNN media host Brian Stelter.

Even as a columnist, I prefer the approach of Theodore White that “when a reporter sits down at the typewriter, he’s nobody’s friend.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 15:30

Pfizer CEO Has COVID For Second Time In Two Months

Pfizer CEO Has COVID For Second Time In Two Months

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time in two months.

The 60-year-old contracted the disease in August, for which he took the company's antiviral treatment, Paxlovid. He's also received four doses of his company's vaccine, which was developed with German partner BioNTech - but claims he hasn't gotten the new Omicron-tweaked bivalent booster due to his August infection.

"I've not had the new bivalent booster yet, as I was following CDC guidelines to wait three months since my previous COVID case which was back in mid-August," he said, while claiming to be "symptom free."

I have tested positive for COVID. I’m feeling well & symptom free. I’ve not had the new bivalent booster yet, as I was following CDC guidelines to wait 3 months since my previous COVID case which was back in mid-August. While we’ve made great progress, the virus is still with us.

— Albert Bourla (@AlbertBourla) September 24, 2022

The new, so-called bivalent shot - which wasn't tested on humans before its release -  is supposed to target the BA.5 and BA.4 Omicron subvariants, which make up roughly 86% of currently circulating variants in the United States.

The FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna's updated booster shots in August, of which more than 25 million doses have been shipped.

Bourla's second infection in two months raised more than a few eyebrows.

Any update to the mRNA shots being 100% effective as you said in April 2021? https://t.co/7zZ2VMlN31

— BBG, Esq. (@bmetz131) September 25, 2022

You’ve had Covid more times than many unvaccinated people. Is it possible that maybe… *just maybe* the boosters are weakening your immune system? I am no doctor or anything - I’m just a lawyer with half a brain.

— Viva Frei (@thevivafrei) September 24, 2022

Again? We already know it's not safe and thanks for once again confirming it's not effective. https://t.co/MWEyXxjHHa

— Matt - #TrudeauMustGo (@KetoMattMan) September 24, 2022

Others, such as journalist Jordan Schachtel, suggested Bourla is bluffing to sell doses of the new booster.

Expanded on this take here. Compliance is very low with the new booster shots, causing panic in Pfizer World. Bourla's statement is a desperate ploy to move product https://t.co/2TR5EqRykT

— Jordan Schachtel @ dossier.substack.com (@JordanSchachtel) September 25, 2022

pic.twitter.com/l2iOOoQdEx

— Russ James (@Russ2001James) September 24, 2022
Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 15:00

West Point Turns Over 40+ Pages Of Mostly Blacked Out CRT Emails

West Point Turns Over 40+ Pages Of Mostly Blacked Out CRT Emails

Authored by Matt Lamb via The College Fix,

A year after request, West Point turns over mostly illegible documents

The College Fix recently received more than 50 pages of emails from the United States Military Academy at West Point –15 months after a student reporter filed a public records request.

Many of the pages were blacked out with the exception of several articles included in the communications or the initial greeting or ending. The redactions on the initial request were done by The Fix to protect the mailing address of former student reporter and current Fox News employee Ashley Carnahan, who filed it.

The June 21, 2021 request asked for six months worth of emails to and from West Point Superintendent Darryl Williams for messages that contained the words “critical race,” “critical race theory,” “systemic racism” or “CRT.”

Even the redacted emails reveal requests for assistance in June 2021 with processing what apparently was an overwhelming number of Freedom of Information Act requests for information on CRT at the U.S. Army officer school.

West Point staff mobilized to respond to criticism from Congressman

In April, May and June of that year, Congressman Mike Waltz raised concerns publicly about the use of CRT at West Point. He filed a request for information in April 2021, according to his office.

An April 13, 2021 email had the subject line “Rep Waltz Talking Points_CSA.” CRT discussions continued to occur between Superintendent Williams and Army staff.

“Sir, I hope you are having a great weekend! I apologize for emailing you on a Saturday and I want to state up front no need to respond,” a May 8, 2021 email stated. “I just thought you would appreciate some follow on to our discussion yesterday concerning Critical Race Theory. In particular [redacted] , and I have been talking at length on this topic and out of those conversations are a few worthy nuggets.”

“USMA is requesting assistance with answering RFIs on Critical Race Theory. Request assistance [from] your SMEs to help formulate a nested response,” Lieutenant General Walter Piatt wrote in a June 16, 2021 email.

“RFIs” presumably means “requests for information” while “SMEs” probably means “subject matter experts.”

“Darryl: Let’s discuss soonest on the approach to answering the RFIs. This is important for our Academy to get this right. Mark,” an email about three hours later from someone named Mark Lewis stated.

A number of the received emails were duplicative – sometimes public records requests will include an email on a thread each time it is fulfilled, meaning that an initial email could be included multiple times any time a subsequent response is added to the response.

A separate public records request sent by Judicial Watch yielded over 600 pages of documents which showed the military academy pushed CRT in its trainings.

West Point CRT FOIA respons... by The College Fix

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 14:30

North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Ahead Of VP Kamala Harris' Visit To South

North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Ahead Of VP Kamala Harris' Visit To South

Early Sunday morning North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the governments of South Korea and Japan say, which the south's military called a "clear violation" of the UN Security Council’s resolution, demanding that the test firings "immediately stop".

CNN cites this fresh missile launch as the 19th this year, with the last coming on August 17, following promises from Kim Jong Un that he'll remain undeterred in expanding his country's "tactical capabilities". He's also of late teased even the possibility of a future nuclear test.

Via AFP: People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on Sunday.

"The missile had a flight distance of about 600 kilometers (370 miles), altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles) and speed of about Mach 5, according to the JCS," CNN reports, in reference to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. "The intelligence agencies of South Korea and the US are analyzing further details."

Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada issued a particularly blistering response, "If you include launches of cruise missiles this is the nineteenth launch, which is an unprecedented pace," he said, adding: "North Korea’s action represent a threat to the peace and security of our country, the region and the international community and to do this as the Ukraine invasion unfolds is unforgivable."

The launch seems timed as an intentional warning against a number of developments. "It's North Korea's way of showing defiance of the [US] alliance," AFP cited an analyst at the Rand Corporation, Soo Kim, as saying.

First, within the past days, the nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in South Korea in preparation for joint drills. These will be the first such joint drills with South Korean forces involving a US aircraft carrier since 2017.

South Korea's navy said upon its arrival at the port of Busan on Friday that they will demonstrate "the firm resolve by the Korea-U.S. alliance for the sake of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

WATCH: USS Ronald Reagan, a U.S. aircraft carrier will visit #SouthKorea on Friday for joint drills for the first time in about four years, officials of both countries said on Monday, as the allies seek to deploy U.S. nuclear-capable "strategic assets" to deter North Korea. pic.twitter.com/vTGybiKJY0

— BNN Newsroom (@BNNBreaking) September 19, 2022

Additionally, Vice President Kamala Harris is days away from touching down in Seoul for an official visit. As the AP previewed last week, "The North Korean threat is also expected to be a key agenda when U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visits South Korea next week after attending the state funeral in Tokyo of slain former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe."

She's expected to arrive in Japan on Monday, with the whole of the regional trip running through September 29.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 14:00

White House Sent Multiple Nuclear Warnings To Kremlin Via Backchannels

White House Sent Multiple Nuclear Warnings To Kremlin Via Backchannels

Authored by by Kyle Anzalone via AntiWar.com,

The Joe Biden administration has sent several warnings to Russia via backchannels regarding the possible use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the Washington Post reports. The White House’s messages to Russia have been intentionally nondescript to foster uncertainty in Moscow about what the US would do if Russia deployed its ultimate weapon.

The White House has sent the message several times since the war in Ukraine started, according to the US officials who spoke with the Post. The White House’s communications with the Kremlin have been intentionally vague.

"The United States for several months has been sending private communications to Moscow warning Russia’s leadership of the grave consequences that would follow the use of a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. officials, who said the messages underscore what President Biden and his aides have articulated publicly," The Post wrote.

EPA via Shutterstock

The Biden administration believes these nonspecific threats will deter Russia through "strategic ambiguity." "Strategic ambiguity" is an intentionally unclear policy that causes the enemy not to act out of fear it could cross a red line without knowing it.

For nearly 50 years, the US maintained a policy of "strategic ambiguity" toward Taiwan. By refusing to commit to defending the island, Washington has deterred Taipei from declaring independence. At the same time, suggesting it could defend Taiwan has deterred China from acting more aggressively against the island.

However, Biden has taken steps towards abandoning "strategic ambiguity" towards Taiwan. Since taking office, Biden has said he would go to war for Taipei four times.

President Vladimir Putin warned last week that he could order a nuclear strike to defend Russian territory. Putin’s threat was Moscow’s most direct warning it could deploy nukes. "If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff," Putin said.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appeared to expand this nuclear umbrella to Ukrainian territories Moscow plans to annex. The Kremlin planned a series of referendums in areas of Ukraine under its control. If the vote goes as expected, those regions will request entrance into Russia, which Moscow will accept.

They said NATO expansion wouldn't be escalatory. It was.

They said giving Ukraine long-range weapons wouldn't be escalatory. It was.

Now they promise Putin is bluffing. Do you trust them? pic.twitter.com/GITpU5FQnJ

— Clint Ehrlich (@ClintEhrlich) September 21, 2022

The Post says it is unclear if the White House reissued the threat after Putin’s statement this week. In January, Moscow and Washington reaffirmed the statement, "nuclear war can never be won, and must never be fought."

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 13:30

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