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Movie of the Week: November 30, 2020 – The Man Who Invented Christmas



A charming movie about Charles Dickens’ writing of The Christmas Carol. As the central bankers throw the world into the global financial invention room, it’s a good time to dream up the warming of Scrooge’s heart.

Related reading:

The Man Who Invented Christmas on Wikipedia

Dan Stevens on Wikipedia

Christopher Plummer on Wikipedia

Jonathan Pryce on Wikipedia

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Online Shopping Wins Black Friday

Online Shopping Wins Black Friday

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:10

Submitted by MarketCrumbs,

It’s not surprising that online shopping stole the spotlight on Black Friday as Covid-19 continues to limit the amount of time people want to spend in public.

Online spending on Black Friday jumped by 21.6% to a record $9 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, which analyzed transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers. The total makes this year’s Black Friday the second-largest single day for online shopping in U.S. history behind last year’s Cyber Monday, when shoppers spent $9.4 billion.

The total breaks down to $6.3 million spent per minute online, according to Adobe. Consumers increasingly shopped from the palm of their hands as spending from smartphones jumped by more than 25% to $3.6 billion, accounting for 40% of the day’s total online spending.

“New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store,” Adobe Digital Insights director Taylor Schreiner said.

Online spending on Thanksgiving also hit a record this year as consumers spent $5.1 billion, according to Adobe. Despite jumping more than 21% compared to last Thanksgiving, the total fell shy of Adobe’s estimate of $6 billion.

“While yesterday was a record-breaking Thanksgiving Day with over $5 billion spent online, it didn’t come with the kind of aggressive growth rate we’ve seen with the start of the pandemic,” Schreiner said. “Heavy discounts and aggressive promotions starting in early November succeeded at getting consumers to open their wallets earlier.”

As for today’s Cyber Monday, Adobe expects it to break last year’s record with sales totaling between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, which would be an increase of 15% to 35% from last year.

With Americans largely at home shopping online, foot traffic at stores fell by more than 52% compared to last year’s Black Friday, according to Sensormatic Solutions. Traffic on Thanksgiving fell by 94.9% as retailers such as Walmart and Target closed their stores this year.

“We knew Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down,” Sensormatic Solutions senior director of global retail consulting Brian Field said. “Black Friday this year, from a traffic impact perspective, looked a lot like a typical Saturday after a Black Friday.”

With Covid-19 giving e-commerce a boost, it will be interesting to see if the days of people trampling over each other to get into stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday will ever make a comeback.

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Dominion systems Dominion voting systems corporation Georgia Georgia election Georgia recount Intelwars

Dominion voting machine server crash causes delay in Georgia recount

The third count of presidential votes in Georgia hit a snag Sunday when a server maintained by Dominion voting machines — which have become a point of controversy — crashed in Fulton County after about 88% of the votes had been recounted. Officials in Georgia say that the count will resume on Monday morning and expect the recount to be completed by the deadline of Dec. 2.

Everything that happens with Dominion voting machines has become the subject of intense scrutiny after glitches in Michigan appeared to reverse the totals in initial reporting between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Many conservatives on social media — including the president and his legal team — have cast doubt on the security of the machines.

According to Fox News, election officials notified the outlet of the unspecified problem with a newly deployed mobile server on Sunday night and indicated that technicians had been dispatched to resolve the issue.

The current tally in Georgia shows President Trump trailing Biden by about 13,000 votes, but the Trump legal team has challenged the results and has sharply criticized Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for failing to do enough to challenge the results of the election, which Raffensperger in particular has strongly stood behind. The Trump campaign has additionally requested (and obtained) multiple recounts of the results in Georgia. The campaign claims that the previous recount’s failure to include signature matching (which the state says is now impossible since envelopes have been discarded per usual procedure when ballots are opened) renders the results of these recounts suspect.

Dominion has aggressively denied that its machines either were or have been tampered with in Georgia or any other state. The company has also encouraged workers to work from home and to hide their social media profiles because they claim that their workers have been subjected to “persistent harassment and threats against personal safety” due to the scrutiny of the election results.

Last week, a spokesman for Dominion stated that it was “physically impossible” to alter votes in the Dominion system and noted that whenever someone casts a vote on a Dominion machine, it produces a paper receipt that is kept by the county. “If any electronic interference had taken place, the tally reported electronically would not match the printed ballots, and in every case where we’ve looked at — in Georgia, all across the country — the printed ballot, the gold standard in election security, has matched the electronic tally,” the spokesman said.

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Deadly floods in Andhra Pradesh, India after rain from Cyclone Nivar – at least 8 killed

The state government of Andhra Pradesh, India, report severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall following the passage of Cyclone Nivar. Cyclone Nivar made landfall to the north of Puducherry on 26 November 2020, causing severe wind damage and some flooding in low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai. Nivar also brought heavy rainfall to parts of Andhra Pradesh, where flooding has affected Chittoor, Nellore and Kadapa districts. Six flood-related fatalities were reported in Chittoor district and 2 in Kadapa.

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Deadly floods in Andhra Pradesh, India after heavy rain from Cyclone Nivar – at least 8 killed -100,000 hectares of crops damaged

The state government of Andhra Pradesh, India, report severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall following the passage of Cyclone Nivar. Cyclone Nivar made landfall to the north of Puducherry on 26 November 2020, causing severe wind damage and some flooding in low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai. Nivar also brought heavy rainfall to parts of Andhra Pradesh, where flooding has affected Chittoor, Nellore and Kadapa districts. Six flood-related fatalities were reported in Chittoor district and 2 in Kadapa.

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Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Slide In October, High Prices Blamed

Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Slide In October, High Prices Blamed

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:04

Today’s pending home sales data  (expected to rise modestly MoM) is October’s tie-breaker after new home sales dipped and existing home sales ripped. After unexpectedly dropping in September, pending homes also unexpectedly fell in October (down 1.1% MoM vs +1.0% MoM exp).

Source: Bloomberg

This is the second monthly decline in a row.

“The housing market is still hot, but we may be starting to see rising home prices hurting affordability,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR, said in a statement.

The combination of low rates, lean inventory and “very strong demand has pushed home prices to levels that are making it difficult to save for a down payment, particularly among first-time buyers.”

On a YoY basis, sales remained impressive (up 19.5%) but that also slowed.

Source: Bloomberg

By region, pending home sales declined in two of four major U.S. regions, including a 5.9% decrease in the Northeast and a 0.7% drop in the Midwest. The gauge of contract signings in the South crept up 0.1%, while the index was unchanged for the West.

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Intelwars Thailand

The Truth about Thailand’s 2014 Military Coup

November 30, 2020 (Brian Berletic – LD) – The Western media and the US-backed protesters in Thailand have claimed the current Thai government is a “dictatorship” and that Thailand’s military constantly seeks to overthrow democracy through “coups.” 

I explain how this is untrue, how the abuses before the 2014 coup by the Yingluck Shinawatra government left the military no choice, and explain why the Western media covers this up and lied about it then – and still lies about it today.

References: 

NYT (2013) – In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype:
https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/world/asia/thaksin-shinawatra-of-thailand-wields-influence-from-afar.html

DW (2011) – ‘Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts’: 

https://www.dw.com/en/thaksin-thinks-pheu-thai-acts/a-6561741

HRW (2004) – Not Enough Graves: 

https://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/thailand0704/thailand0704.pdf

Reuters (2014) – Unpaid Thai rice farmers may protest, adding to PM’s woes: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/thailand-rice-protest/unpaid-thai-rice-farmers-may-protest-adding-to-pms-woes-idUSL3N0JQ0VL20131211

Guardian (2014) – Protesters killed in Bangkok: 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/15/two-protesters-killed-in-bangkok

LD YouTube (2014) – “Pro-Democracy” Red Shirt Leader Celebrates Attack/Death of Child: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvgrKadccEg

Bangkok Post (2014) – Red-shirt celebration of fatal attack on protesters in Trat repugnant:

https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/396721/red-shirt-celebration-of-fatal-attack-on-protesters-in-trat-repugnant-says-veera-prateepchaikul

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France Sees COVID Cases Fall To 7-Week Low; Global Deaths Near 1.5 Million: Live Updates

France Sees COVID Cases Fall To 7-Week Low; Global Deaths Near 1.5 Million: Live Updates

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:55

Summary:

  • Moderna sends in emergency application
  • Hong Kong orders civil servants to work from home
  • Italy approves fourth stimulus package
  • California tops 15k cases
  • France sees fewest new cases in nearly 2 months
  • Germany’s Merkel says Germany can’t continue compensating companies for lost sales
  • Hong Kong imposes new restrictions
  • Canada expands travel ban
  • UK’s Johnson says tiered system will have ‘sunset’ date of Feb. 3

* * *

As we joked earlier, yet another Q4 Monday has been dominated by news about COVID-19 vaccines as Moderna is moving  to submit its emergency use application to the FDA for approval. Meanwhile, a new update to Moderna’s research shows that out of 196 cases of the virus, researchers determined that the vaccine was 94.1% effective, in line with preliminary findings released earlier this month. None of the participants in the trial who’d received the vaccine developed severe Covid-19.

What’s more, all 30 severe cases observed in the study occurred in participants who received placebo shots.

In other news from earlier in the day, Hong Kong has ordered civil servants to return to a ‘work from home’ arrangement, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam urges private sector employers to implement a similar order. Restaurants must now limit diners to two per table, down from the current rule of four. Gyms and sports venues will be allowed to stay open for now, while this round of restrictions will start on Wednesday and last for two weeks, Lam said. The city reported 76 cases on Monday, most of them local including nine of unknown origins. Hong Kong’s  COVID cases have surged by double digits for 11 straight days.

California reported 15,614 new cases, pushing the 14-day average to a record. The total number of infections in the state now stands at almost 1.2 million. Another 32 new deaths were reported, with fatalities at 19,121.

In California, the COVID-19 positivity rate reached 6.1%, the highest since the end of August, while the state’s two most prominent cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, imposed new curbs in the past two days as case numbers surged. The rate of positive tests fell to 11.1%, just over half, roughly half its level from December. The number of patients in intensive care continued to decline from a peak almost two weeks ago. Deaths linked to the virus increased by 198 to 52,325, the smallest daily increase in a month.

Back in Europe, Italy’s government has approved a fourth stimulus package to support businesses hit by the latest restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The package is worth 8 billion euros ($9.6 billion), according to a Monday statement. It delays tax deadlines for companies and expands cash handouts for workers

France added 9,784 cases, with the seven-day average falling to 11,1182, the lowest since Oct. 2. The rate of positive tests fell to 11.1%.

Finally, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the company can’t continue compensating businesses for lost sales beyond next month. Instead, more targeted measures will be needed.

Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases exceed 62.7 million, while deaths topped 1.45 million.

Here’s some more news from overnight and Monday morning:

US COVID-19 total cases rose to around 13.14mln from a previous of around 13.00mln and total death rose to around 265.2k from around 264.0k. (Newswires)

New York City Mayor De Blasio announced that the city’s public schools will begin to resume in-person classes from December 7th. (Newswires)

Canada extended its travel restriction for arrivals from US until at least December 21st, while it will extend mandatory isolation order and temporary travel restrictions from other countries aside from US to January 21st. (Newswires)

UK COVID-19 cases +12,155 (prev. +15,871) and deaths +215 (prev. +479), while Italy cases +20,648 (prev. +26,323) and deaths +541 (prev. +686). (Newswires)

UK PM Johnson said the tiered virus system would have a sunset of February 3rd in which he promised to give parliament another chance to vote on the system in early February to avoid a mass Tory rebellion. It was separately reported that UK PM Johnson appointed Junior Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi as the minister in charge of vaccine distribution (Newswires/Telegraph/Sky News).

UK is set to become the first western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine in which the regulator could grant approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine within days, while reports added that deliveries would start within hours of the approval and first injections could begin from December 7th. (FT) European Medicines Agency is set to consider approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next month and will also consider Moderna’s vaccine (FT).

Moderna (MRNA) announced amendment of current supply agreement with the UK government for an additional 2mln doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in which the UK government has now secured 7mln doses of MRNA-1273 (Newswires).

German Economy Minister Altmaier stated that the partial shutdown could be extended until early spring 2021. There were separate reports that Italy was reported to loosen COVID restrictions in Lombardy, Piedmont, Calabria, Milan, Turin from Sunday, while Ireland PM Martin unveiled a plan to lift the lockdown and stated that they are encouraged by falling virus numbers (Newswires).

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Bette Midler Conservatives HYPOCRISY Intelwars Left-wing hollywood Mitch McConnell rich wealthy Yachts

Far-left actress Bette Midler rips conservatives, wealthy people ‘sailing by us in their yachts.’ Then she’s reminded of her bank account.

Far-left actress Bette Midler and longtime member of the Hollywood elite is taking it on the chin for a tone-deaf tweet in which she ripped conservatives and wealthy people “sailing by us in their yachts.”

What did she tweet?

Midler on Sunday hopped on Twitter and made her case:

“How will Americans make any progress with #MoscowMitch as #SenateMajorityLeader?” she asked. “He’ll block every piece of legislation created to move us forward, because that’s the definition of conservatism. We’ll be treading water for years, except the rich, sailing by us in their yachts.”

What was the reaction?

Some folks who read Midler’s tweet were more than a little bit taken aback by her hypocrisy:

  • “I agree Bette & I’m a huge fan, but if I’m not mistaken, you’re pretty rich,” one commenter wrote back. “So while I agree that Mitch needs to go, you probably shouldn’t call out rich ppl when you are one of them. Maybe call out rich ppl and get them to support the cause and help out. Just a suggestion.”
  • “You Are ‘the rich.’ Lol,” another observer said. “McConnell isn’t the most conservative, but he’s wise for blocking anything you call ‘moving forward.’ You wouldn’t know the definition of conservatism even if someone explained it to you in 3rd grade-level terms in crayon.”
  • “What is your net worth, Bette baby?” another commenter asked. “Why haven’t you put your money where your loud mouth is and given it away voluntarily to help those worse off than you? Why do you still live as a rich person? Could it be because you’re just another hypocrite piece of s**t. Why yes, yes it is.”

A few other commenters offered visual aids along with their words:


Image source: Twitter


Image source: Twitter


Image source: Twitter

Anything else?

This was far from the first time Midler let loose with an outrageous social media statement:

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Biden Appointee Neera Tanden Spread the Conspiracy That Russian Hackers Changed Hillary’s 2016 Votes To Trump: Greenwald

Biden Appointee Neera Tanden Spread the Conspiracy That Russian Hackers Changed Hillary’s 2016 Votes To Trump: Greenwald

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:45

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com (emphasis ours)

The announcement that Joe Biden intends to nominate Neera Tanden as his Director of the Office of Management and Budget — a critical position overseeing U.S. economic and regulatory policy — triggered a wide range of mockery, indignation and disgust from both the left and the right. That should not be surprising: though a thoroughly mediocre and ordinary D.C. swamp creature from the perspective of both ideology and competence, Tanden’s uniquely unhinged, venomous, corrupt and pathologically dishonest conduct as a Clinton Family and DNC apparatchik and President of the corporatist-and-despot-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) has earned her a list of enemies far longer and more impressive than her accomplishments.

Neera Tanden participates in a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

When news of her appointment broke, many of the journalists and activists she has spent years abusing, slandering, and lying about instantly stepped forward to compile just some of her worst political and behavioral lowlights. And some preliminary signs emerged that she might encounter difficulty in obtaining the Senate confirmation needed for her to assume this position. The Communications Director for GOP Senator John Cornyn of Texas announced that “Tanden stands zero chance of being confirmed” by the Senate.

Former Sanders campaign aide David Sirota hypothesized that “it is not a coincidence that they are putting Neera Tanden — the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States of America — specifically at OMB while Sanders is Senate Budget Committee ranking/chair.” Sirota’s statement suggests Biden’s nomination of Tanden was intended as yet more humiliation doled out to the Democratic-loyal Sanders left by cucking the Vermont Senator even further by forcing him to shepherd the confirmation of one of his most vicious and amoral attackers (who Sanders himself in 2019 vehemently denounced). But Sirota’s point also raises the prospect that Tanden’s nomination could even encounter trouble from that side of the aisle as well (given Sanders’ compliant and disciplined conduct over the last six months, it’s more likely we will see him roll out a literal red carpet for Tanden to walk on, gently toss red roses on it before she passes, and then serve her a glass of Chardonnay rather than meaningfully obstruct her confirmation).

The list of sociopathic and even monstrous acts from Tanden is too long to list comprehensively. She punched one of her own employees, a reporter for CAP’s now-abolished blog ThinkProgress, after he had the temerity to ask Hillary Clinton in 2008 about her support for the Iraq War (Tanden claimed she “merely” had “pushed,” not punched, her undeferential reporter). In 2011, as the Obama administration was participating in the NATO bombing of Libya, Tanden suggested in internal CAP discussions that the U.S. steal Libya’s oil as a way of reducing the U.S. deficit (a story I was able to report only because Tanden had abused and alienated so many of her employees that they worked together to leak her incriminating emails to me).

During her tenure as CAP’s President, Tanden accepted millions of dollars  from the regime of the United Arab Emirates, which built Dubai and Abu Dhabi using slave labor, along with massive donations from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, the Walton Family and Michael Bloomberg, while hiding the identity of some of her think tank’s largest donors. A huge chapter on the NYPD’s abusive policies toward Muslims under Mayor Michael Bloomberg was removed from a CAP report after Boomberg donated more than $1 million to Tanden’s organization, and he continued to donate even more after that courteous gesture.

She ordered the supposedly independent journalists of the ThinkProgress blog, including Muslim writers, to stop writing critically about Israel after key CAP donors, including Barney Frank’s sister Ann Lewis and long-time Clinton advisor Howard Wolfson, complained. She and Wolfson plotted in 2016 how to weaponize female journalists and people of color against Hillary’s critics as well to use their identity to stigmatize and thus stop undesirable coverage from The New York Times. In 2018, she outed a CAP employee at a staff-wide meeting who had filed an anonymous complaint of sexual harassment and retaliation against one of Tanden’s male allies. Secure with her UAE-and-corporate-funded large salary, she has long urged cuts to Social Security. The list goes on and on.

One can reasonably view Biden’s choice of Tanden as a positive. She is no different in character or ideology than any of the faceless, more obscure DNC operatives who would occupy this position if she did not. But because of how well-known her sociopathy, militarism and corporatism are to many on the liberal-left, her face serves as an undeniable and unavoidable reminder of what the Biden administration and the Democratic Party really are. She illuminates the truth about their real aims.

But beyond things like wanting to steal Libya’s oil after bombing it into oblivion, outing sexual harassment complainants, and physically assaulting and censoring her own employees, there is one uniquely abominable feature of Neera Tanden. She is one of the most deranged conspiracy theorists in the United States, and has done more than almost any other Washington functionary to contaminate Democrats’ mental health, capacity to reason, and faith in the legitimacy of U.S. elections.


Tanden owes her entire career to the patronage of Hillary Clinton, and her devotion to Hillary approaches restraining-order levels of creepiness (here you can watch Tanden beam with adoration as then-Senator Hillary Clinton, on the Senate floor in 2004, explains her steadfast opposition to marriage equality for same-sex couples on the ground that “marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman” and “exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history” for the primary purpose of raising children — just a few short years before Democrats changed views on this, after which it instantly became the hallmark of an unreconstructed hateful bigot to say this).

Few people took Hillary’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump as hard as Tanden, or handled it as poorly. Indeed, she refused to believe it really happened, and encouraged others to similarly refuse to accept its reality.

In the weeks after Trump’s victory, Tanden joined numerous Democrats in encouraging electors of the Electoral College to ignore their states’ votes and refuse to elect Trump as President (many rationale were invoked for this: Tanden’s was a CAP article promoting #Resistance fanatic Richard Painter’s argument that Trump’s violations of the Emolument Clause precluded an Electoral College win). She insisted that Hillary lost because of Russia, claiming the “Russians did enough damage to affect more than 70k votes in 3 states.” And she was not only one of the first to push the Steele Dossier’s claim that Russia held blackmail power over Trump but also one of the last to do so — insisting in 2018 that “the dossier been mostly proven to be true” and claiming as late as 2019 that nothing in this discredited junk report had been disproven.

But what really distinguished Tanden when it came to unhinged and toxic behavior was her repeated (and obviously baseless) claims that Hillary only lost because Russian hackers invaded the U.S. voting system and clandestinely changed Hillary’s votes to Trump’s, costing the real winner — Hillary — her rightful place on the throne, behind the Resolute Desk.

Four days after the 2016 election, Tanden began strongly implying, if not outright stating, that Russian hackers changed the vote totals, and that this is why “Trump was as surprised as everyone else” by his victory. When I highlighted her conspiratorial claims, she did not deny their obvious meaning, but rationalized them by insisting that her conspiracies were not as bad as Trump’s refusal, in advance of the election, to acknowledge the legitimacy of an election that had not yet taken place:

Tanden’s insistence that Russia changed the voting results through hacking did not once her traumatic shock in the weeks after Hillary’s loss dissipated (if it ever did). After The Intercept  published an anonymous, evidence-free document in June, 2017, allegedly sent by NSA employee Reality Winner, which led that site to claim that “Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials,” Tanden returned to pushing this bizarre conspiracy theory, demanding that I “retract” my post-election criticism of her for peddling this Russia-changed-the-votes madness — as if this NSA document published by The Intercept proved vote-changing hacking by Russia.

This conspiracy-mongering led by Tanden and other prominent liberal activists had a corrosive effect on the ability of Democrats to perceive basic reality, to put that mildly. A 2018 poll from Economist/YouGov — conducted more than a year after Trump’s inauguration — found that a large majority of Democrats (66%) believe that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”

Thereafter, Hillary herself took to calling Trump an “illegitimate” president, further fueling the destruction of confidence and faith among Democrats in the legitimacy of the vote totals and specifically the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Democratic leaders and their media allies love to patronizingly warn that conservative media outlets and their audiences are prone to spread and believe crazy conspiracy theories. They purport particular worry when such conspiracies are designed to undermine faith and trust in the U.S. electoral system itself.

Yet few have done more to destroy such confidence and faith than Neera Tanden, achieved by disseminating over the course of several years some of the most unhinged, evidence-free and deranged conspiracy theories in which she deliberately deceived Democratic partisans into believing that Moscow’s dastardly hackers invaded the sanctity of the U.S. voting system to change Hillary’s votes to Trump’s. And it worked: at least as of 2018, large majorities of Democrats believe that this utterly unproven but dangerous assertion is true.

If Joe Biden succeeds in empowering someone like Neera Tanden without extreme opposition from supposedly adversarial journalists, not only Democrats but also these media outlets will lose whatever lingering credibility they have to denounce conspiracy theories and to defend the legitimacy of U.S. elections. And they will deserve that fate. You can’t run around expecting people will take you seriously when you warn of the dangers of toxic, moronic conspiracy theories when you yourself embrace, elevate and promote the most prolific and reckless purveyors of them.

*  *  *

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Biden Confirms Janet Yellen As Treasury Secretary Pick

Biden Confirms Janet Yellen As Treasury Secretary Pick

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:42

Confirming the leaked rumors and strawmen (sorry, straw-people) from last week, Joe Biden, who has placed a premium on diversity in his selection of Cabinet nominees and key advisers, is looking to notch at least a few firsts with his economic team selections.

Here is today’s new entrants to a potential Biden admin…

Janet Yellen is nominated to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its 231-year history, and the first person to have served as Treasury Secretary, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Chair of the Federal Reserve. She has previously been confirmed by the Senate on four separate occasions.

Neera Tandem, whose career has focused on pursuing policies designed to support working families, foster broad-based economic growth, and curb rampant inequality, is nominated to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.

Wally Adeyemo, a veteran of the Executive Branch and expert on macro-economic policy and consumer protection with deep national security experience, is nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, having previously served as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Deputy National Security Advisor, and the first Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first African American Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Cecilia Rouse, a leading labor economist and the Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, is nominated to serve as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, having previously been confirmed by the Senate as a member of the CEA in eooq. If confirmed, she will become the first African American and just the fourth woman to lead the CEA in the 74 years of its existence.

Jared Bernstein, who previously served as Chief Economist to President-elect Biden in the first years of the Obama-Biden Administration, will serve as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Heather Boushey, a distinguished economist focused on economic inequality and the President, CEO, and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will serve as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

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Key Events In The Coming Busy Week: Jobs, PMIs, And Central Banks

Key Events In The Coming Busy Week: Jobs, PMIs, And Central Banks

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:39

With just a handful of trading days left until the end of what has been an absolutely insane 2020, it’s shaping up to be a fairly busy week for data but as DB’s Jim Reid writes, “how much markets will care is a moot point as everyone knows we’re on a short-term path to a double dip but that the short to medium term is a path covered in potential golden vaccine petals.”

Data releases include the US jobs report (Friday) and the November PMIs (tomorrow and Thursday), while Fed Chair Powell and ECB President Lagarde will both be speaking through the week. Otherwise, attention will remain on the Brexit negotiations, with just a month remaining until the year-end deadline and less time given any deal has to be ratified across the continent.

A full breakdown of key events is shown below:

Looking into more detail, the US jobs report for October on Friday sees consensus at +500k and a fall in the unemployment rate to 6.8% from 6.9%. Though this would be further progress from the situation in the spring, it would still be the slowest monthly jobs growth since the massive contractions in March and April, and leave the total nonfarm payrolls number over 9.5m beneath its pre-Covid peak back in February. Of some concern is the recent weekly initial jobless claims trend which have risen more than expected for the last couple of weeks. So it feels like a difficult month or so ahead for the US economy.

Meanwhile on the PMIs, the flash readings we’ve already had showed a noticeable deterioration in Europe as much of the continent headed into renewed lockdowns. It’ll be interesting to gauge what’s happening in the countries where there aren’t flash readings however, including a number of emerging markets. Also in focus will be the Euro Area’s flash CPI estimate for November tomorrow as for the previous 3 months it’s been in deflationary territory.

Elsewhere on Brexit, face to face talks are back with we are running low on days to ratify a deal. In terms of the current state of play, it has been reported that the last big remaining obstacle in the talks is fishing rights with the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking the EU to recognize that regaining control over British waters is a question of sovereignty for the UK. Meanwhile, on other key obstacles of competition rules and state aid, Raab said that he could see “a landing zone”. If fishing is truly now the only stumbling block this is very good news as the numbers here are minuscule compared to the cost of no deal. Sterling is up +0.21% to 1.3339 overnight.

Finally, there are a number of important central bank speakers this week, with Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin appearing before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Meanwhile ECB President Lagarde will be speaking today at the European Policy Center Forum, before she appears at an Atlantic Council event tomorrow. The Fed will also be releasing their Beige Book on Wednesday.

Below, courtesy of Deutsche Bank, here is a day-by-day calendar of events

Monday November 30

  • Data: China November composite, manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs, Japan October housing starts, UK October mortgage approvals, Italy preliminary November CPI, Germany preliminary November CPI, Canada October building permits, US November MNI Chicago PMI, Dallas Fed manufacturing index, October pending home sales, Japan October jobless rate (23:30UK time)
  • Central Banks: ECB President Lagarde and BoE’s Tenreyro speaks

Tuesday December 1

  • Data: November Manufacturing PMIs from Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, Euro Area, UK, Brazil, Canada, US and Mexico, Japan November vehicle sales, Germany November unemployment change, Euro Area November flash CPI estimate, Canada September GDP, US November ISM manufacturing
  • Central Banks: Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and the Fed’s Brainard, Daly and Evans speak, Reserve Bank of Australia monetary policy decision
  • Other: OECD publishes Economic Outlook

Wednesday December 2

  • Data: Euro Area October unemployment rate, US weekly MBA mortgage applications, November ADP employment change
  • Central Banks: Federal Reserve releases Beige Book, Fed Chair Powell and Fed’s Williams speak

Thursday December 3

  • Data: November services and composite PMIs from Japan, China, India, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Euro Area, UK, Brazil and the US, Euro Area October retail sales, US weekly initial jobless claims, November ISM services index
  • Central Banks: Fed’s Bowman and BoE’s Tenreyro speak

Friday December 4

  • Data: Germany October factory orders, November construction PMI, Italy October retail sales, UK November construction PMI, Canada November net change in employment, US November nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, average hourly earnings, October trade balance, factory orders, final October durable goods orders, nondefence capital goods orders ex air
  • Central Banks: Reserve Bank of India monetary policy decision

Finally, looking at the US alone, the key economic data releases this week are the ISM manufacturing report on Tuesday, ISM non-manufacturing report and jobless claims on Thursday, and the employment report on Friday. There are several speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including Chair Powell on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is Goldman’s take on what to expect:

Monday, November 30

 

  • 09:45 AM Chicago PMI, November (GS 60.1, consensus 59.1, last 61.1); We estimate that the Chicago PMI edged down by 1.0pt to 60.1 in November. Our forecast reflects resilience in the manufacturing sector.
  • 10:00 AM Pending home sales, October (GS -1.5%, consensus +1.0%, last -2.2%): We estimate that pending home sales declined by 1.5% in November, reflecting a further deceleration in regional home sales data.

Tuesday, December 1

  • 09:45 AM Markit Flash US manufacturing PMI, November final (consensus 56.7, last 56.7)
  • 10:00 AM ISM manufacturing index, November (GS 58.3, consensus 57.8, last 59.3): We expect the ISM manufacturing index to edge down by 1.0pt to 58.3 in the November report, reflecting resilience in the manufacturing sector. Our GS Manufacturing Tracker stands at 57.2 in November, compared to 58.2 in October.
  • 10:00 AM Construction spending, October (GS +1.0%, consensus +0.8%, last +0.3%): We estimate a 1.0% increase in construction spending in October, with scope for increases in private residential and public construction.
  • 10:00 AM Fed Chair Powell (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Chair Powell will appear before the Senate Banking Committee to discuss the CARES Act. Prepared text is expected.
  • 12:00 PM Fed Governor Brainard (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Governor Brainard will take part in an online discussion of the modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act. Prepared text and moderated Q&A are expected.
  • 01:15 PM San Francisco Fed President Daly (FOMC non-voter) speaks: San Francisco Fed President Daly will speak at a virtual economic forecast luncheon hosted by Arizona State University. Prepared text and Q&A with audience and media are expected.
  • 03:00 PM Chicago Fed President Evans (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Evans will make opening remarks at a community forum on Milwaukee’s future hosted by the Chicago Fed.

Wednesday, December 2

  • 08:15 AM ADP employment report, November (GS 525k, consensus 440k, last 365k); We expect a 525k gain in ADP payroll employment, reflecting a decline in jobless claims and firmness in private payrolls in November.
  • 10:00 AM Fed Chair Powell (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Chair Powell will appear before the House Financial Services Committee to discuss the CARES Act. Prepared text is expected.
  • 01:00 PM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President Williams will brief the press on the economic impact of Covid-19. Prepared text is not expected.

Thursday, December 3

  • 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended November 28 (GS 760k, consensus 765k, last 778k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended November 21 (consensus 5,811k, last 6,071k):We estimate initial jobless claim decreased to 760k in the week ended November 28. Our forecast assumes that the worse virus situation continues to put upward pressure on initial claims, but that the DOL’s seasonal adjustment understates the decline in filings due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • 09:45 AM Markit Flash US services PMI, November final (consensus 57.6, last 57.7)
  • 10:00 AM ISM non-manufacturing index, November (GS 55.5, consensus 56.1, last 56.6): We estimate the ISM non-manufacturing index declined by 0.6pt to 55.5 in November, reflecting a likely pullback in leisure, food services, and other services. Our GS Non-Manufacturing Tracker stands at 55.2, compared to 56.1 in October.

Friday, December 4

  • 08:30 AM Nonfarm payroll employment, November (GS +450k, consensus +500k, last +638k); Private payroll employment, November (GS +525k, consensus +608k, last +906k); Average hourly earnings (mom), November (GS +0.1%, consensus +0.1%, last +0.1%); Average hourly earnings (yoy), November (GS +4.2%, consensus +4.2%, last +4.5%); Unemployment rate, November (GS 6.8%, consensus 6.8%, last 6.9%): We estimate nonfarm payrolls rose 450k in November after +638k in October. The broad-based resurgence of the coronavirus and related business restrictions are consistent with a deceleration in job growth, and Big Data employment signals were softer on net. While continuing claims declined during the payroll month, much of the drop reflected the expiration of program eligibility (as opposed to reemployment), and initial claims have started rising again. We also expect a 90k drop in Census jobs in Friday’s report. On the positive side, we estimate strong growth in the construction industry and in trucking, courier, and delivery categories, reflecting favorable weather and the accelerating shift to ecommerce this holiday season, respectively.
  • We estimate the unemployment rate declined a tenth to 6.8%, reflecting an increase in household employment and a pause in the labor force participation rebound (itself related to the third wave of the virus). We estimate average hourly earnings rose 0.1% month-over-month, lowering the year-on-year rate by three tenths to 4.2%. This forecast reflects negative calendar effects and a continuing unwind of the composition shift from lower-paid workers to higher-paid workers.
  • 08:30 AM Trade balance, October (GS -$65.0bn, consensus -$64.8bn, last -$63.9bn): We estimate the trade deficit increased by $1.1bn in October, reflecting an increase in the goods trade deficit. Goods imports have returned to their pre-pandemic level, but monthly goods exports are still about $15bn below their pre-pandemic level. Both imports and exports of services have recovered only slightly from their Q2 troughs.
  • 10:00 AM Factory orders, October (GS +0.7%, consensus +0.8%, last +1.1%); Durable goods orders, October final (last +0.5%); Durable goods orders ex-transportation, October final (last +0.3%); Core capital goods orders, October final (last +0.7%); Core capital goods shipments, October final (last +2.3%): We estimate factory orders increased by 0.7% in October following a 1.1% increase in September. Durable goods orders rose by 1.3% in the October advance report, and core capital goods orders rose by 0.7%.
  • 10:00 AM Fed Governor Bowman (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Governor Bowman will discuss community banking and fintech in an online event hosted by the Independent Community Bankers of America. Prepared text and moderated Q&A are expected.

Source: Deutsche Bank, BofA, Goldman

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Moderna to submit coronavirus vaccine to FDA for approval today, expects decision in December

According to multiple reports, pharmaceutical company Moderna plans to submit its COVID-19 vaccine to the FDA for emergency approval Monday after fulfilling the required set of clinical trials and has announced that it has been told that the agency is meeting to discuss approval for the vaccine on Dec. 17, setting up the possibility that another form of the vaccine could be distributed before the end of 2020.

Moderna will become the second company to submit a vaccine to U.S. regulators for approval after Pfizer and BioNTech submitted their vaccine to the FDA for emergency approval on Nov. 20. According to Moderna, its vaccine has a 94% overall effectiveness rate, which is similar to the effectiveness rate for Pfizer’s vaccine, according to clinical trials.

However, the makers of Moderna claim that their vaccine is 100% effective at preventing “severe” forms of the coronavirus. Moderna also claims that their vaccine is significantly easier to store than Pfizer’s, which might make mass distribution of the vaccine easier.

If the FDA approves Moderna’s application, it will be the first vaccine brought to market by the pharmaceutical company.

The company claims that no serious safety concerns were identified during the clinical trials and that side effects were mild and limited to “injection site pain, headaches and fatigue.”

Moderna’s vaccine will require two doses to be effective, and the company says that it has plans for 20 million doses — enough to inoculate 10 million people — by the end of 2020. The company’s goal is to manufacture between 500 million and one billion doses in 2021.

Pfizer, meanwhile, has promised that it will have doses for up to 25 million people ready to ship by the end of the year, meaning that 35 million people in America could potentially receive the vaccine this year. It does seem clear, however, that the pharmaceutical companies will likely struggle to ramp up production in 2021 to an extent large enough to ensure that the global population is adequately served in 2021.

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Reports Of Libor’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated: Fed Extends Libor Life From End-2021 To June 2023

Reports Of Libor’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated: Fed Extends Libor Life From End-2021 To June 2023

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:21

In recent years we have repeatedly predicted that plans to phase out Libor by the end of 2021 will never play out because the banking world is simply unprepared to transition to Libor’s replacement rate – the SOFR – which suffered catastrophic volatility and outsizied moves during the March crash, which would have crushed most entities that have exposure to SOFR, and confirming that it is nowhere near ready to serve as a benchmark rate for hundreds of trillions of floating rate securities.

Moments ago the Fed confirmed as much when it announced that the administrator of dollar libor, the ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), is set to extend the key tenors on the “discredited” interest-rate benchmark until the end of June 2023, and could extend three-month dollar Libor one-and-a-half years beyond its previously anticipated retirement date, which had been expected at the end of 2021. Six-month and 12-month dollar Libor could also be extended.

IBA said it would consult on its intention to cease the publication of the one week and two month USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on December 31, 2021, and the remaining USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on June 30, 2023. This follows IBA’s plan to consult on its intention to cease the publication of all GBP, EUR, CHF and JPY LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on December 31, 2021. IBA expects to close the consultation for feedback by the end of January 2021

Nonetheless, in a statement, the Fed said that “the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today issued a statement encouraging banks to cease entering into new contracts that use USD LIBOR as a reference rate as soon as practicable and in any event by December 31, 2021, in order to facilitate an orderly—and safe and sound— LIBOR transition.”

Alas, since SOFR is structurally flawed by its very definition – a definition which makes it responsible to market forces without the possibility for human overrides, manipulative or otherwise – means that this extension will not be the last.

In recent years, regulators have been seeking to phase out Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, which is one of the bedrocks of the global financial system and underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars in financial assets, following countless manipulation scandals and the drying up of trading data used to inform the rate, but those efforts have been waylaid during the coronavirus pandemic. The IBA will consult on plans to cease publishing one-week and two-month Libor on time, according to the statement.

“Extending the publication of certain USD Libor tenors until June 30, 2023 would allow most legacy USD Libor contracts to mature before Libor experiences disruptions,” they said.

A senior Federal Reserve official said the path being set out calls for banks to stop writing new U.S. dollar Libor contracts by the end of 2021, but allows most legacy contracts that were written before that to mature before Libor stops.

The full statement from the Fed is below:

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Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available for Those Affected by Tropical Storm Isaías

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available for Those Affected by Tropical Storm Isaías

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that employees or self-employed individuals who live in Aguada, Hormigueros, Mayagüez or Rincón and became unemployed as a direct consequence of Tropical Storm Isaías may be eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

Survivors that live in the four affected municipalities can file a claim until Dec. 30, 2020. To be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, the applicant must:

  • File a regular unemployment insurance claim and be determined ineligible for benefits;
  • Be unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the disaster;
  • Be able and available for work, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster;
  • File an application for DUA within 30 days of the date of this announcement; and
  • Have not refused an offer of employment in a suitable position.

Survivors can find the DUA application at trabajo.pr.gov. Applications can be can placed in the mail box located at the nearest Puerto Rico Department of Labor office, from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or uploaded at trabajo.pr.gov/DocUploader

To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted to the Puerto Rico Department of Labor within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed. Required documentation may include Social Security number, a copy of the most recent federal income tax return, check stubs or documentation to support that applicants were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred.

To verify eligibility and additional information on DUA, survivors must visit their local unemployment office or visit trabajo.pr.gov. DUA is managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and funded by FEMA. Survivors may also search for employment and training opportunities through the American Job Center or by visiting CareerOneStop.org/LocalHelp.  

For more information on Puerto Rico’s recovery from Tropical Storm Isaías, visit fema.gov/disaster/4560. Follow us at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico.

 

frances.acevedo-pico
Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:18

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Biden suffers multiple foot fractures while playing with dog, will ‘require a walking boot,’ doc says

Former Vice President Joe Biden twisted his ankle over the weekend while playing with his dog, Major, and he sustained several hairline fractures in his foot.

What are the details?

According to Biden’s longtime doctor, Kevin O’Connor, initial X-rays did not show obvious injuries. However, a follow-up examination revealed the fractures.

“Initial X-rays are reassuring that there is no obvious fracture and he will be getting an additional CT for more detailed imaging,” O’Connor said in a statement. “Follow-up CT scan confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the mid-foot.”

“It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks,” O’Connor added.

Earlier in the day, Biden’s team said he would be seen by an orthopedist “out of an abundance of caution.” After leaving the doctor’s office, Biden was “visibly limping,” the Associated Press reported.

Major is one of two German Shepherd dogs that will live with the Bidens in the White House. The couple adopted the dog in 2018, according to the AP. Their other dog is Champ. The Bidens have also stated they plan to have a cat during their tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

How is Biden’s health?

The former vice president, who turned 78 years old earlier this month, will be the oldest president in American history when he is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Last December, O’Connor released a three-page report detailing Biden’s health.

From CNN:

Biden is being treated for non-valvular atrial fibrillation, or AFib — an irregular heartbeat that O’Connor said Biden experiences no symptoms of. He takes Crestor to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as Eliquis to prevent blood clots, Nexium for acid reflux, and Allegra and a nasal spray for seasonal allergies.

The most significant medical event in Biden’s history, his doctor wrote, came in 1988, when he suffered a brain aneurysm. During surgery, doctors found a second aneurysm that had not bled, which they also treated.”He has never had any recurrences of any aneurysms,” O’Connor wrote.

In sum, O’Connor said Biden’s health is sufficient to carry out the duties of president.

“Vice President Biden is a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State, and Commander in Chief,” O’Connor wrote.

What did President Trump say?

President Donald Trump reacted to the news about Biden’s foot injury by wishing his successor well.

“Get well soon!” Trump tweeted.

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China Trolls Australia With “Repugnant” Doctored Image, Refuses To Apologize

China Trolls Australia With “Repugnant” Doctored Image, Refuses To Apologize

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:00

The developing China-Australia trade row which initially sprang out of Australia’s joining other countries in criticizing Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has just taken a bizarre and sinister turn.

It started early Monday when China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a disturbing image to Twitter depicting an Aussie soldier about to slit the throat of a child in Afghanistan. The grinning soldier held a bloody knife to the distressed child, who is seen holding a lamb, which is a symbol of innocence. 

Australian leaders and media were quick to point out it is a doctored or “fake” image and demanded that Lijian remove it immediately, and that Twitter take action over the account. 

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. “The Chinese government should be utterly ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes.”

Morrison and others demanded a formal apology out of China over the “repugnant” image and tweet. But China’s foreign ministry refused calls to apologize, instead doubling down on its charge that Australia appears less ashamed over its egregious war crimes in Afghanistan and more concerned over public embarrassment based on a tweet.

It comes after earlier this month Australia was rocked by scandal when a detailed investigation known as the Brereton War Crimes report revealed that Aussie special forces were implicated in up to 39 or more “unlawful killings” of Afghan civilians and prisoners. At least 13 Australian soldiers are facing criminal charges after horrific details emerged that they were killing random civilians essentially for sport, in something they called “blooding” – or initiating a special forces new join into war by orchestrating their first kill and then covering it up.

Here’s how China responded to the demands for an apology:

“It is the Australian government who should feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians,” said Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, when asked about Morrison’s comments.

The image posted by her colleague shows people’s “indignation,” said Hua, speaking at a regular news conference in Beijing on Monday. Whether it will be taken down is a matter between Twitter and the Australian government, she said.

It is indeed clear that the tweet was meant to highlight the shocking history of well-documented war crimes by Australia in central Asia, and is the latest in Canberra being forced to play on the defensive with China, after major commodities exports earlier this month were blocked and/or were hit with huge tariffs by China.

Zhao had written on Twitter alongside the image: “Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.”

As of late in the day Monday (local time), the tweet is still up and has not been blocked or taken down by Twitter.

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Jon Voight makes dire prediction of what’s to come if Joe Biden takes office in January

Actor Jon Voight — an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump — says that the country is headed into a dangerous situation if former Vice President Joe Biden is inaugurated as president in January 2021.

What are the details?

In a now-viral video, Voight, 81, can be seen making the remarks while sitting in front of an American flag backdrop. He warns that the country is in a “great danger if we fall under a Biden administration.”

“We’re heading down a street that has no name now. We must not allow our nation to crumble,” he explains.

“Let me warn you all that we are in great danger if we fall under a Biden administration.”

The award-winning actor explains that Democrats and leftists are responsible for “burning and destroying our cities.”

“I ask all to fight this battle now to get them all out,” he says. “I have been attacked by my fellow peers saying I am preaching violence, when the truth is they all are. The left are burning and destroying our cities.”

“We are willing to fight for freedom, not freedom to burn down our flag, but to raise her up with the glory of this land of the free,” he adds.

“Let the truth show itself that President Trump is the only man that can save this nation,” he says.

Voight, who lives in California, also took aim at Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) during the video.

“Our state, California, is being ruled by a leftist mob,” he says. “Governor Newsom is taking away our freedom, your freedom. He is a disgrace to mankind — he and his relative, Nancy Pelosi, who has tried to bring President Trump down. … He is a lie like all the left that are trying to destroy the U.S.A. I ask all to fight this battle now to get them all out.”

Voight urged his fans and social media followers to join him in praying “in the name of Jesus, Moses, and all saints for their hands of safety to be on us now.”

Voight captioned the video “America” and tagged President Donald Trump in the post.

At the time of this reporting, the video has received more than 64,000 likes and has been retweeted more than 21,000 times.

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Bitcoin Tops $19k, Bounces Back From Black Friday FUD Fall

Bitcoin Tops $19k, Bounces Back From Black Friday FUD Fall

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:41

Bitcoin’s recent tumble cleared some speculative “froth” but further declines remain possible, according to JPMorgan, and that appears to have been confirmed as Bitcoin roars back to $19,000 this morning…

Momentum traders such as commodity trading advisors and other quantitative funds likely played a big role in the slide by unwinding long Bitcoin futures positions, strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a Nov. 27 note.

“The previous froth in momentum traders’ positioning has been cleared to a large extent,” they wrote, while adding momentum signals will continue to deteriorate unless Bitcoin recovers quickly.

Amid last week’s Black-Friday special slump in Bitcoin prices, cryptocurrency traders seemed beset on all sides by fear, uncertainty, and doubt. However, as CoinTelegraph’s Andrew Thurman reports, Dermot McGrath, head of research at blockchain investment firm Sino Global Capital, said the firm prefers taking a long term view. 

Shortly after a Thanksgiving Bitcoin dip to $16,200, news broke that the Chinese government had seized $4.2 billion in cryptocurrencies as part of the Plustoken Ponzi scheme court proceedings. Rumors swirled that those tokens were poised to be dumped on the open market, crashing prices further.

However, Sino Global CEO Matthew Graham wrote on Twitter that he believed the majority of the Plustoken Bitcoin had been sold:

Additionally, whether the tokens have been sold or not, in an interview with Cointelegraph McGrath recommended that traders learn to look beyond immediate headlines. 

“In the crypto and blockchain ecosystems it is important to be able to ‘cut through the noise,’” he said. “We are long term bullish on Bitcoin and we continue to see the industry professionalize and mature as an asset class.”

McGrath also weighed in on a common boogeyman for Western crypto traders — Chinese cryptocurrency miners. Many have speculated that Chinese miners could conduct a 51% attack on the network, and they’ve long been derided by some for controlling vast swaths of the BTC supply:

McGrath, however, rejects both notions.

“Some of the reason that “Chinese miners” have been a “boogeyman” to western traders is simply a lack of understanding,” he said. “In theory, of course we know that 51% attacks can occur, but the level of centralization/coordination and incentives simply does not exist among the Chinese miner community for top cryptos.”

“As far as dumping of mined coins, etc. It is possible that Chinese miners are impacted by external factors that would cause them to manage mined coins differently. This is to be expected across different geographies,” he added.

When asked about price targets, McGrath declined to make moonshot calls. He did, however, shed some light on Sino’s investment philosophy.

“Pick projects and teams in which you share a vision and have conviction. Invest for the long-term and don’t get caught up in day to day market fluctuations,” he said. “We invest in teams and projects where we share a vision and have conviction. If we can find, support, and incubate these projects – we’ve done our job.”

As cryptoasset prices resume their uptrend and we continue on into a new bull market, perhaps McGrath’s wisdom is worth considering.

*  *  *

Despite last week’s drop, the gold-to-bitcoin rotation appears to be continuing…

…and as the following table shows, Bitcoin has a long way to go to equilibrate to Gold’s ‘market cap’…

As Bloomberg’s Eddie van der Walt noted this morning, what doesn’t kill Bitcoin, appears to make it stronger.

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DAGGER TO THE HEART: R.I.P. GOLD!

This article was contributed by The Wealth Research Group. 

Today’s letter is divided into two sections: the first is the update on the bloody mess that precious metals are undergoing and the second is a summary of the hearing that Rudy Giuliani and the list of witnesses reported that gave verbal accounts of their testimony about Pennsylvania’s voter irregularities.

GOLD: IS THE BULL MARKET DEAD?

In short, the answer is NO. There are several instances since December 2015 where we’ve seen similar moments to this. These are instances in which the volatility index plummets, many events conspire to bring hope, and there’s the assumption that central banks might tighten and that there’s no catalyst for precious metals. These instances come and go since you can’t get rid of the underlying issue: more currency is created by the second.

As you can see, gold fights these moments off and rallies:

Courtesy: Zerohedge

If this one follows in the footsteps of the ones we saw in June 2019 and March 2020, watch out, bears!

As you can see, in August, the price of gold distanced from its 200-DMA so much that this sell-off was due to arrive. Taking profits in August was very smart.

Right now, our thesis is that the best course of action is a slow accumulation. The value proposition is certainly the best it’s been since March, and in terms of the mining industry itself, the validity of the sector is well intact. The trend is clear — gold is heading down.

The median all-in sustaining cost is still $975/ounce, so mining companies are still able to report strong earnings, which is the key to understanding the reason we’re about to pull the trigger on the most compelling buy-the-dip setups, in our opinion.

This is gold’s worst month in four years!

Courtesy: U.S. Global Investors

Like we wrote two weeks ago, when gold’s price was much higher, we could see gold falling all the way to $1,750. These shakeouts are the best buying opportunities in hindsight. Traders surrender and it feels bad; there’s a sense of desperation about the future’s price action. We think we’re going to see that frustration fairly soon.

TRUMP’S LAWSUITS – PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania had multiple alleged “irregularities” in the state’s vote count:

* At least 21,000 dead people on Pennsylvania’s voter rolls

* Duplicate ballots were mailed out to thousands of registered voters (Pittsburgh officials have admitted that this happened)

* A lawsuit filed against the state of Pennsylvania for having more than 800,000 inactive voters on its voter rolls

* Pennsylvania’s attorney general told Ted Cruz to “stay the hell out of” the state’s disputed tabulation of presidential election votes

* Dominion Voting Systems’ corrupt election software system was reportedly used in Pennsylvania

Along with that, Giuliani cited another set of numbers that don’t add up. Pennsylvania received approximately 1.4 million absentee or mail-in ballots. However, in the count for president, they counted 2,589,242 absentee or mail-in ballots. How will they account for the discrepancy?

“I know crooks really well. You give them an inch, and they take a mile. And you give them a smile, and they take your whole country.” These were Giuliani’s ending remarks for his opening speech.

Could all of these witnesses possibly be lying in a public hearing, making up the very specific details of what they saw and heard? The mountain of firsthand evidence can only lead informed citizens to one conclusion.

Here’s what President Trump is saying about all of this:

“The whole world is watching us. The whole world is watching the United States of America, and we can’t let them get away with it… This election was rigged, and we can’t let that happen. We can’t let it happen for our country.” – Donald J. Trump.

The zero hour cometh; we shall see if these hold up in the Supreme Court or if Biden will be inaugurated on January 21st, 2021.

The post DAGGER TO THE HEART: R.I.P. GOLD! first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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OPEC Meeting Begins: Full Preview Of What To Expect

OPEC Meeting Begins: Full Preview Of What To Expect

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:24

Submitted by NewsSquawk

  • OPEC and OPEC+ producers will meet November 30th and December 1st respectively, with Monday’s meeting scheduled at 13:00GMT/08:00EST
  • Over the weekend, OPEC+ failed to agree on a delay to output hikes, with UAE and Kazakhstan reportedly opposing extensions
  • Market expectations are still leaning towards current cuts being extended following Sunday’s meeting
  • Some sources suggested a 2-3 month extension, others three and the most recent 3-4 months, with some officials not on board with the full “plan”
  • OPEC+ failure to extend could trigger an oil price decline, whilst “buy the rumour, sell the fact” play cannot be dismissed

OVERVIEW:

OPEC and OPEC+ producers are meeting November 30th and December 1st respectively, to discuss and draft a potential tweak to the current Declaration of Cooperation (DoC), rolled out in light of the pandemic to recalibrate the demand /supply imbalance. Monday’s meeting is slated for 13:00GMT, subject to delays. The current DoC is split into three phases:

  1. 9.7mln BPD total output reduction between May and July 2020.
  2. 7.7mln BPD total output reduction between July and December 2020.
  3. 5.7mln BPD total output reduction between January 2021 and April 2022 (subject to review in December 2021).

Market expectations are still leaning towards the second tranche (7.7mln BPD cuts) being extended through Q1 2021, a view which was also backed by Goldman Sachs, ING and UBS, despite positive vaccine developments and amid rising production in Libya. Recent sources also noted OPEC+ is still leaning towards a rollover of the current tranche notwithstanding the recent oil price rally, albeit with some sources suggesting by 2-3 months and some through Q1 whilst the most recent sources suggested 3-4 months- with Russia also likely to agree to the full quarter if necessary. However, enthusiasm for cuts is not universal – with some OPEC+ officials cited by EnergyIntel not on board with the full “plan” on Sunday. Russia is also said to insists on gradual monthly increases in output from January, sources stated.

SUNDAY JMMC MEETING

The informal consultation between the Russia, Saudi and JMMC heads was moved to Sunday ahead of the decision-making meeting. The panel of OPEC+ ministers could not reach an agreement on the extension of current cuts, with most participants reportedly supporting a delay of hikes through Q1 2021, but UAE and Kazakhstan opposing. Tass citing sources said the Russia and Saudi have reached consensus on extending the current level of cuts through the first months of next years, but the two producers still had to “coordinate ‘certain details and the mechanism’ of the extension”. Meanwhile, sources cited via Argus Media on Sunday said “A rollover would most likely be for one quarter… This would avoid flooding the market in January-March – a period of typically slower demand.”

NOVEMBER JMMC FALLOUT

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) statement on November 17th gave no detail on its recommendations but said it will be provided on December 1st. The Committee reiterated the “critical importance of adhering to full conformity and compensating the overproduced volumes, in order to achieve the objective of market rebalancing and to avoid undue delay in the process.” There was also chatter that OPEC+ is mulling deeper production cuts, though this was dismissed by delegates on Sunday who suggested no talk of collective deeper cuts.

COMPLIANCE COMPLICATIONS

Compliance among producers remain an issue as the latest October figures from the JMMC suggest sub-par conformity, namely from UAE, Nigeria, Iraq, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Azerbaijan for a total group cumulative overproduction of 2.346mln BPD (see Figure 1).

Some sources suggested that OPEC+ compliance could still be an issue, however, EnergyIntel’s Bakr noted that “The expectation among delegates is that the “‘catch up cuts’ plan will be extended into 2021 to allow a number of states to reach their quotas”

Desks did not expect these compliance difficulties to be a near-term risk given the “vigilant and proactive” stance signalled by OPEC+ in recent meetings, with the group likely to reaffirm its stance on full compliance and specifics likely to be ironed out in the coming months with further compensation quotas.

DEMAND AND OIL PRICE DEVELOPMENTS

The positively received vaccine updates from Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE /BNTX), Moderna (MRNA), AstraZeneca (AZN/Oxford) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) have provided a rosier (or less dire) demand outlook for the complex due to the prospect of a recovery in activity and jet fuel demand. Still, re-emerging COVID-19 cases and uncertain timeframes for mass rollouts of approved vaccines continue to cloud near-term outlook. Analysts at Goldman Sachs indicate that this solidifies the argument for an extension of current cuts. Further, IEA’s November OMR also suggested “it is far too early to know how and when vaccines will allow normal life to resume. For now, our forecasts do not anticipate a significant impact in the first half of 2021.” Nonetheless, the vaccine fanfare this month has provided the crude market with a boost, resulting in the Brent curve edging back into backwardation (theoretically a near-term bullish signal) – Figure 2 below indicates the shallowing contango following the releases of each of the three major vaccine updates.

However, ING is sceptical about the recent Brent backwardation into early 2022 given the soft near-term demand outlook and fragile balance sheet over Q1 2021, whilst the WTI curve makes more sense, with timespreads in contango in the near term (reflecting weaker fundamentals) but with backwardation commencing from the May 2021 contract.

  • PRICE RALLY: The recent rally has prompted some to question the eagerness of some members to get onboard with extended cuts. “Clearly, if the market continues to strengthen between now and then, there is the risk that a growing number of members of the deal will become increasingly reluctant to rollover cuts”, ING says, “the group would likely be more open to rolling over cuts if prices were trading around the US$40/bbl level, however with Brent quickly approaching US$50/bbl, there might be some opposition within the group to delay an easing in cuts.” Hence, the bank sees risk skewed to the downside – “it is unlikely that OPEC+ surprise with a six-month rollover given the latest move in prices, while the three-month rollover is already largely priced in. So anything less than a three-month extension will likely be seen as bearish.”

SUPPLY SITUATION

The oil producers will have to factor in supply side developments since the rollout of the DoC, events that were not foreseen nor assumed at the time:

  • LIBYA: Libyan crude output has been on a steep upswing in the past couple of months following the lifting on blockades which saw exports from five key oil terminals halted in January, translating to an output slump to ~70k BPD vs ~1.1mln BPD pre-blockade, the latest Libyan production printed at ~1.2mln BPD. Libya is currently exempt from OPEC quotas, and the NOC head stated it will join the allocations once production reaches 1.7mln BPD. OPEC previously stated it will be keeping an eye on sustained production from Libya. On that note, an armed group attempted to break into the headquarters of Libya’s NOC on November 23rd, in turn reigniting fears of the country’s fragile output.
  • UAE: Some desks are also eyeing potential complications by UAE to raise its baseline quota, thus translating to higher output from the nation. However, this risk is unlikely to materialise as the country’s energy minister recently noted “that all Opec-plus members should achieve full compliance with the existing agreement before the current level of cuts can be extended into next year”, according to EnergyIntel, whilst Goldman Sachs also warns unilateral production hikes will likely trigger a price war.
  • IRAN: A Biden administration has raised the likelihood of Iranian oil returning to the market as expectations are titled towards the Democrat unwinding some restrictions put in place by the Trump admin. That being said, this return is unlikely to take place until end-2021/22, ING believes, “by that stage, oil demand should have recovered enough for the market to be able to absorb additional supply”, contingent on COVID-19 and vaccine developments.
  • NIGERIA: Desks note that Nigeria has been complicating matters as it has advocated the exclusion of output from its Agbami oil field from its quota on grounds that its output should be clasified as condensate as opposed to crude oil.

FORECASTS:

Analysts at GS forecast Brent to average USD 47/bbl in Q1 2021 assuming a three-month extension of current cuts, whilst an adherence to the current DoC (i.e. a 2mln BPD production increase) would warrant USD 42/bbl in the period. “This illustrates once again how short-term revenue maximization always comes through production cuts, as a 2 mb/d production increase but $5/bbl negative price impact would end up reducing core-OPEC and Russia’s 1Q21 fiscal revenues by more than $5 bn”, GS says. Meanwhile, UBS sees a Brent average of USD 45/bbl in Q1 next year (see Figure 3 below), with the assumption of a vaccine rollout in 2021. “A 3-month extension protects price downside as policy struggles to mitigate winter virus waves. 2021 is a year of price recovery and normalization”, the bank states. 

The Newsquawk real-time social media OPEC monitoring tool is available here

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Coronavirus COVID-19 Dr. anthony fauci Fauci closing bars Fauci closing schools Intelwars school closures

Anthony Fauci: Open up all schools — but close the bars

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the United States should open up — and keep open — all schools, but should close bars amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What are the details?

In a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week,” the infectious diseases expert spoke with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, who asked Fauci if a Biden administration could work on a plan to reopen schools.

Fauci said, “Martha, that’s a good question. We get asked it all the time. We say it, not being facetiously as a sound bite or anything, but you know, close the bars and keep the schools open, is what we really say.”

He continued, “Obviously, you don’t have one size fits all, but as I said in the past, and as you accurately quoted me, the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school.”

He also pointed out that mitigating community spread will help keep children in school.

“If you mitigate the things that you know are causing spread in a very, very profound way, in a robust way, if you bring that down, you will then indirectly and ultimately protect the children in the school because the community level is determined how things go across the board,” Fauci explained.

He then went on to insist that schools largely have not been behind large swaths of community spread.

“So my feeling would be the same thing. If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected,” he reasoned.

Fauci concluded, “Let’s try to get the kids back, but let’s try to mitigate the things that maintain and just push the kind of community spread that we’re trying to avoid.”

(H/T: The Daily Caller)

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Intelwars

Nikola Shares Soar On GM MOU

Nikola Shares Soar On GM MOU

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:10

Nikola signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with General Motors for a global supply agreement related to the integration of GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell system into Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks.

Notably, the MOU does not include the previously contemplated GM equity stake in Nikola or development of the Nikola Badger.

Full Nikola Press Release:

Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA) today announced the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with General Motors for a global supply agreement related to the integration of GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell system into Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks. This supersedes and replaces the transaction announced on September 8, 2020.

Under the terms of the MOU, Nikola and GM will work together to integrate GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell technology into Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 zero-emission semi-trucks for the medium- and long-haul trucking sectors. As previously announced, Nikola expects to begin testing production-engineered prototypes of its hydrogen fuel-cell powered trucks by the end of 2021, with testing for the beta prototypes expected to begin in the first half of 2022. In addition, Nikola and GM will discuss the potential for the utilization of GM’s versatile Ultium battery system in Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 vehicles.

“We are excited to take this important step with GM, which provides an opportunity to leverage the resources, strengths and talent of both companies,” said Mark Russell, Chief Executive Officer of Nikola. “Heavy trucks remain our core business and we are 100% focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market. We believe fuel-cells will become increasingly important to the semi-truck market, as they are more efficient than gas or diesel and are lightweight compared to batteries for long hauls. By working with GM, we are reinforcing our companies’ shared commitment to a zero-emission future.”

The agreement between Nikola and GM is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to both parties. The MOU does not include the previously contemplated GM equity stake in Nikola or development of the Nikola Badger. As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership. Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger.

The stock’s immediate reaction was impressive (up over 40%) but has quickly faded to just around 9%…

Finally, we note that today is lock-up expiration (Milton can sell 92 million shares) – interesting timing for a short-squeeze-enabling press release – given the huge short interest…

There’s no such thing as coincidence.

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Trump Expands China Crackdown, Adds China’s Top Chipmaker And Oil Producer To Defense Blacklist

Trump Expands China Crackdown, Adds China’s Top Chipmaker And Oil Producer To Defense Blacklist

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:10

In hopes of making a renormalization in relations with Beijing next to impossible for Joe Biden, the Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, Reuters reported citing a document and sources, curbing their access to U.S. investors and escalating tensions with Beijing.

The latest crackdown comes after a report from Reuters earlier this month that the Department of Defense (DOD) was planning to designate four more Chinese companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military, bringing the number of Chinese companies affected to 35. A recent executive order issued by President Donald Trump would prevent U.S. investors from buying securities of the listed firms starting late next year.

It was not immediately clear when the new tranche, would be published in the Federal Register. But the list comprises China Construction Technology Co Ltd and China International Engineering Consulting Corp, in addition to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Reuters reported.

SMIC said it continued “to engage constructively and openly with the U.S. government” and that its products and services were solely for civilian and commercial use. “The Company has no relationship with the Chinese military and does not manufacture for any military end-users or end-uses.” Shares in SMIC closed 2.7% lower on Monday.

CNOOC’s listed unit CNOOC Ltd, whose shares fell by almost 14% after the Reuters report, said in a stock market statement that it had inquired with its parent and learnt that it had not received any formal notice from relevant U.S. authorities.

Later on Monday, Bernstein Research downgraded CNOOC Ltd’s stock to ‘market perform’ by applying a 30% discount to share price targets, citing sanction risks that range from a ban on U.S. funds owning CNOOC stock to prohibiting US companies from doing business with CNOOC.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, in response to a question about Washington’s planned move, that China hoped the United States would not erect barriers and obstacles to cooperation and discriminate against Chinese companies.

The upcoming move is seen as seeking to cement Donald Trump’s tough-on-China legacy and to box incoming Democrat Biden into hardline positions on Beijing amid bipartisan anti-China sentiment in Congress. The list is also part of a broader effort by Washington to target what it sees as Beijing’s efforts to enlist corporations to harness emerging civilian technologies for military purposes.

Reuters reported last week that the Trump administration is close to declaring that 89 Chinese aerospace and other companies have military ties, restricting them from buying a range of U.S. goods and technology.

The list of “Communist Chinese Military Companies” was mandated by a 1999 law requiring the Pentagon to compile a catalog of companies “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army, but DOD only complied in 2020. Giants like Hikvision, China Telecom and China Mobile were added earlier this year.

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