A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field during the early hours of May 12th, sparking the strongest geomagnetic storm of young Solar Cycle 25. “Very bright and active waves of aurora danced with morning twilight,” reports John David McKinnon of Alberta, Canada, who photographed the display from Sandhill Crane Marsh. The G3-class disturbance lasted 6 full hours. Only one thing stopped sky watchers in Europe and many US states from seeing the auroras: The sun came up. Daylight blotted out an otherwise memorable display. The storm is subsiding now. Minor G1-class storms are possible on May 13th as Earth exits the CME’s wake.
France Aims To Shut British Firms Out Of EU Financial System As Fisheries Dispute Drags On
As the spat between the UK and France over access to British fishing waters – a contentious issue that nearly scuppered the post-Brexit trade deal – worsens, France has apparently decided to go for the jugular.
Last week, French officials threatened to cut off electricity to the UK-dominated island of Jersey while a “protest” staged by French fishermen nearly prompted a confrontation between British and French naval ships. Now, France is threatening to do everything in its power to scupper a EU deal that would broaden access to European markets for British financial firms.
In keeping with threats made by a French diplomat last week, Bloomberg reports that French diplomats are working to stall an agreement that would help restore some of the access British financial firms once enjoyed to European markets, which was lost when Brexit officially came into effect following the end of the transition and the start of 2021.
Though it wouldn’t have much practical effect in the near term, reaching a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the EU about plans to re-integrate their financial systems is seen by the UK as a critical first step to restoring the level of access they once enjoyed. Negotiations in Brussels later this month will bring EU leaders together to further the discuss a potential deal on market access. To be sure, the EU has said that it’s in no rush to restore the reciprocity rules that would restore trading rights for British financial firms.
Here’s more from BBG:
At the end of March, Britain and the EU had agreed on a forum regarding cross-border financial market access. While granting so-called equivalences that would allow U.K. financial firms to do business in Europe remains a separate and unilateral process, the MoU would help speed up the process.
Since Brexit took effect at the beginning of 2021, London-based financial firms have been largely unable to operate in the bloc, forcing banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to move billions of dollars in assets and thousands of staff to the continent.
All 27 EU states must sign off on an MoU before it can be implemented. BBG says talks could begin in the coming days. But if the British are still refusing to hand out fishing licenses for the waters around the island of Jersey by then, well, they can expect the French to do everything within their power to stall talks on the MoU.
As a reminder, here’s how close British and French Navy vessels came to a confrontation earlier this month (courtesy of Bloomberg).
France has accused the British government of reneging on some of its promises from the Brexit deal by refusing to hand out licenses for French fishermen in certain British-controlled fishing waters, primarily those off the island of Jersey, which lies close to the French coast.
Thu, 05/13/2021 – 02:45
Escobar: Pictures Of A Ukrainian Dream
Picture yourself about to meet a girl with kaleidoscope eyes… No. Sorry. Actually picture merry lines of code in the R programming language – wallowing in a happy valley of game theory models which would not preclude Goth or New Romantic Walkyrie dancin’ to the 12-inch version of Bauhaus’s Bela Lugosi is Dead.
Imagine this reverie coming about because of a “pin!” in your inbox. After all you have just been presented with an astonishing piece of intel. You scramble to the exit, actually the entrance of the Magic Theater, where you ask, Keats-style, Was it a dream? Do I wake or sleep?
So what was the dream about? Oh, something so prosaic, so down to the nitty gritty geopolitics: what really happened during the visit of US Secretary of State Tony Blinken to Ukraine.
The great Andrei Martyanov has remarked that Blinken “told Kiev behind the scenes to ‘dial it down’, amidst the fluffy tropes about US concern for Ukraine’s ‘sovereignty’ and ‘security’”.
Well, looks like there was way more than fluffy tropes.
Leaked info on the closed-door meeting between Blinken and Comedian-in-Charge Zelensky is no less than incandescent.
Blinken seemed to have read a no-holds-barred riot act.
Here are the guidelines.
All Ukrainian state corporations must be controlled by the proverbial “foreign interests”. So board majorities must be either foreign or 5th columnists. The entire anti-corruption vertical drive must also be foreign-controlled. Same for the judicial system.
Andriy Kobolyev – an American asset – must be reinstated as head of Naftogaz. Zelensky moved mountains to get rid of Kobolyev.
Blinken demanded a massive push against every Ukrainian oligarch, so that huge chunks of Ukrainian economy are transferred to – who else – foreigners. Same for land privatization.
Somewhat hilariously, Blinken warned that Russian troops might invade Ukraine. In this case, Zelensky can count only on huge political assistance, not military. So Zelensky in fact was ordered to stop asking to join NATO and cease provoking Russia, as President Putin, who already drew red lines, could make a “drastic decision”.
Blinken demanded that American assets should be untouchable by Ukrainian law, and named honored figures of civil society. Maidan cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, also in the room, drew up a list of The Untouchables, and Blinken met with them separately.
Finally, the giant ghost hanging over the whole trip to Kiev had to make itself known. In practice, Zelensky was invited to turn in everyone in Ukraine who helped bring information about Hunter Biden to the media via Rudolph Giuliani.
According to the source who had access to the leak, Zelensky was left beyond speechless. That’s not exactly what he was expecting. Especially when it comes to transferring valuable assets controlled by Ukrainian oligarchs to “foreign interests”. Someone will inevitably whack him.
No one is touching this leak – as if it was radioactive poison. No one will confirm it. Its plausibility though cannot be denied.
Contradicting these powerful, left unnamed “foreign interests” is simply out of the question. They now seem to be guided by a “take the money and run” logic, as in taking over the looting of Ukraine lock, stock and barrel before the whole thing – actually a failed state – blows up.
Pity those oligarchs who thought they were going to loot the land through privatization. Instead the money is on a one way out journey. Follow the money. Follow the dream.
Thu, 05/13/2021 – 02:00
America Is Playing With Fire…
On May 8, 1945, men and women rushed to the streets of New York, London and Moscow to hug, kiss and dance. Germany had just surrendered. The war against Nazi Germany was over. The killing had stopped. A great evil had ended. Yet many had mixed feelings of joy and grief. More than 100,000 US soldiers had given their lives and almost another 450,000 had been wounded. In all, 15 to 20 million Europeans had been killed. May 8 is still celebrated in our times as Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day.
In 1930, my father moved as a young boy from Holland to Germany with his parents and brothers. My grandfather hoped to earn some money there during the Great Depression. He said that nobody had foreseen what would develop in the next fifteen years. Until 1930, there were only a few hundred Nazi Stormtroopers (SA), or “Brownshirts,” in German streets intimidating voters, opponents and Jews. Many of the stormtroopers wanted socialism. In the following years, their number escalated quickly to thousands, and even hundreds of thousands. In 1933, when Hitler took power, there were two-to-three million SA Stormtroopers in Germany. It went amazingly fast, my grandfather always said.
The Nazis were obsessed with race. They suppressed dissent, controlled the dissemination of news and controlled culture. In 1933, the German Student Union started to burn books in an effort to align German arts and culture with Nazi ideas. Books of authors such as Hemingway, Helen Keller and Jack London were considered dangerous and had to be canceled. The students did not see themselves as suppressing culture; they saw themselves as advancing a just culture.
The intimidations by the Brownshirts peaked on Kristallnacht (“The Night of Broken Glass”). It was a night of looting, arson and public humiliation — solely on the basis of ethnicity. More than 90 Jews were murdered. Then the Blackshirts (SS entities) ‘finished it off’. That night, they brought tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps.
Nazi officials disguised the organized nature of the pogrom. They described the actions as spontaneous and justifiable responses of the German population to the assassination by a Jew of a German diplomatic official, Ernst vom Rath, in Paris.
The government confiscated all insurance payouts to Jews whose businesses and homes had been looted or destroyed during Kristallnacht and blamed the Jews for the destruction. Soon, more Jewish property was confiscated and Jews got canceled from employment in the public sector and from most professions.
In an interview with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Iranian professor and author Azar Nafisi, whose book Reading Lolita in Tehran was canceled in Iran, describes what took place:
“The first thing every totalitarian regime does, along with confiscation and mutilation of reality, is confiscation of history and confiscation of culture. I think they all happen almost simultaneously.”
What used to be unimaginable is now taking place in America. We see certain aspects of Nazi-like totalitarianism in the United States. The obsession with race, declaring an ethnic group collectively guilty, shaming, humiliations based on ethnicity, lootings, arson, racist violence, intimidation of opponents, cancel culture, controlled dissemination of news, and indoctrination of children in schools. We see fake news, conspiracy theories, an overhaul of history, a new language imposed, and unprosecuted theft. All in the name of a more just culture.
On May 8, we remembered that America had a leading role in liberating Europe from the totalitarian Nazi regime. But who will liberate America if it becomes totalitarian state? America is playing with fire.
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 23:40
Antimony: A Mineral With A Critical Role In The Green Future
If someone asked you to name the first mineral that came to mind, odds are, it wouldn’t be antimony.
Yet, despite its lack of fanfare, Visual Capitalist explains below just how significant a role it plays in our day-to-day lives.
This graphic from Perpetua Resources provides an overview of antimony’s key uses, and the critical role it plays in the movement towards clean energy, among other uses.
What even is Antimony?
Antimony is an element found in the earth’s crust. Rarely found in its native metallic form, it is primarily extracted from the sulfide mineral stibnite.
It has a variety of uses and is found in everything from household items to military-grade equipment. Because it conducts heat poorly, it’s used as a flame retardant in industrial uniforms, equipment, and even children’s clothing.
Its second most common use, according to USGS, is in transportation and batteries. Traditionally, antimony has been combined with lead to create a strong, corrosion-resistant metal alloy, which is particularly useful in lead-acid batteries.
However, recent innovation has found a new use for antimony—it now plays an essential role in large-scale renewable energy storage, which is critical to the clean energy movement.
Antimony’s Role in Clean Energy
Large-scale renewable energy storage has been a massive hurdle for the clean energy transition because it’s hard to consistently generate renewable power. For instance, wind and solar farms might have a surplus of energy on windy or sunny days, but can fall short when the weather isn’t sunny, or when the wind stops.
Because of this, mass storage of renewable energy is key, in order to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Recent research points to liquid metal batteries as a potential storage solution—and these batteries heavily rely on antimony.
But there’s a finite supply, and with China currently dominating antimony production and processing, the U.S. could be at the mercy of its economic rival.
In 2020, there was no domestically mined production of antimony in America—meaning the U.S. relied on other countries, primarily China, for its antimony supply.
In the past, China has imposed restrictions on the exports of antimony-based products to the U.S., which reduced availability and increased prices. Because of this, antimony was identified as one of the 35 minerals that are critical to U.S. national security.
Tapping into Domestic Supply
To decrease foreign dependence, the U.S. could tap into domestic resources of antimony and build up its local supply chain.
The only major antimony deposit in North America is located in the Stibnite-Yellow Pine Mining District of central Idaho. This site is the largest reserve in the nation and is expected to supply roughly 35% of U.S. antimony demand on average for the first six years of production.
Domestic production would not only allow the U.S. to reduce its import reliance, but it would also create jobs, providing economic support for the local community.
In the near future, antimony demand could soar as a result of its critical role in clean energy storage—and domestic production via the Stibnite-Yellow Pine Mining district could play a key role in meeting this rising demand.
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 23:20
Divided We Stand: Why We Must Resist Political ‘Unity’
We hear a lot about “unity” these days. The Biden administration promises and even demands it. Meanwhile, Republicans (and some Democrats) charge the administration with hypocrisy because its radical programs can’t garner a legislative majority — let alone the consensus support the word “unity” implies. But the charge of hypocrisy misses the point: The demand for unity is dangerous because it aims to undermine the genuine diversity that is essential to a free people.
To call for unity is, in effect, to call for obedience. But free people are not obedient. Free people should obey the law, of course, but they do so only because they have consented to the law. And before consent comes debate: Free people air differing opinions that reflect their differing backgrounds and experiences, rather than bowing to those who claim they know what’s best. Free and open debate — and the diversity of viewpoint such debate implies — is therefore essential to lawmaking in a democratic republic.
This is our constitutional inheritance. Our lawmaking process is structured by mechanisms — such as the separation of powers, checks and balances, and lesser rules like the Senate filibuster — that ensure the views of the minority are not simply brushed aside by a fleeting political majority. Of course, from time to time, Americans do come together as one nation, for instance in the face of great tragedies or crises. Yet, unfortunately, such crises can easily be exploited or manipulated to stifle dissent and centralize political power.
To fight this homogenizing tendency, we must reassert who we are as Americans: free citizens belonging to a wide variety of communities and associations, who can and should be heard in the public square.
Whatever the ideologues of identity politics may claim, America was not founded by “white people.” It was settled by English Puritans and Quakers, German pietists, Swedish and Irish peasants, and Scottish adventurers, to name a few, who found themselves enmeshed in the conflicts of Algonquians, Iroquois, and other native peoples. These settlers formed insular religious communities as well as polyglot commercial towns. Some bought slaves taken by force from what are now Ghana, Nigeria, and other nations of Africa. All of these peoples made America.
One of slavery’s many evils was its presumption that black skin made one an indistinguishable part of a monolithic group, without full human personality and agency. But slavery could not erase humanity. Enslaved people continued to forge diverse relationships, often rooted in common ties going back to specific regions in Africa. And slavery could not take away people’s natural drive to protect their own families and communities. As soon as emancipation came, freed slaves by the hundreds of thousands took to the roads to find lost family and community members, seeking to strengthen ties not even slavery could break.
To reduce the variety of communities that shaped — and continue to shape — Americans of all races is to deny our full humanity.
Communities are where we live, attend school and church, work and play, come together to protect our neighborhoods, and organize everything from charity drives to Easter Egg Hunts. They are where we suffer from nature’s fury, from outbreaks of disease to natural disasters, and grapple with socioeconomic changes, from drug abuse to crime to factory closings to demographic shifts. Simply put, communities are where we work to maintain, adapt, and rebuild our ways of life in the face of various challenges. Different circumstances, from geography and climate to economic realities and religious and ethnic heritage, shape communities in different ways. All of these communities — and the people belonging to them — are American, but they have different wants, needs, and points of view.
Traditionally, Americans dealt with diversity through local self-government, leaving the state or federal government to decide only on general issues of national concern. This allowed Americans to keep the peace within and among our communities. As with all peoples, there have been tragedies and injustices in our history, most notably slavery. But the freedom implied by self-government has not only allowed Americans to organize their own lives in their own ways. It has also provided Americans with a developed moral sense — one that propelled the movement for emancipation from slavery.
The Framers of our Constitution understood that self-government is freedom and that the concentration of power into one set of hands is tyranny. They understood that presidents must execute laws passed by Congress, not issue executive decrees with the force of law. They understood that courts must protect the laws, especially the higher law of the Constitution, rather than rewrite them. They understood that our nation is a community of communities — that policy and law must grow from the locality up to the nation, not the other way around.
This federal understanding of self-government is reflected in constitutional mechanisms that are peculiar to American politics but universal in their purpose. Thus, for example, we choose senators by state rather than any national ideological platform. And we choose presidents, not by a national popular vote — which would hand power to a few highly urbanized states — but through the Electoral College, which represents the interests of urban, rural, industrial, agricultural, and commercial regions alike. This is not the politics of “unity,” but of shifting coalitions of diverse communities, designed to check the power of a centralized, national government.
Our Constitution contains no national religion or ideology beyond commitment to ordered liberty. It recognizes people’s need to cultivate the habits of a free people by acting within their own localities. Only in local communities, with their own churches, local governments, and voluntary associations can people become good citizens, good men, women, fathers, mothers, and neighbors.
Recent events in cities like Portland and Minneapolis may make it hard to believe that decent, local government is still possible. But the violence in these cities — like the conflicts in our country as a whole — may be partly explained by the erosion of community. When we nationalize our politics, we simplify the challenges we face and ignore the differences among us. Politics becomes a matter of grand, ideological schemes and mechanisms of control, rather than protecting communities and seeking common goods through our local associations and attachments.
Today, rather than yield to demands for “unity,” we must fight to restore a politics of community. The federal government should protect, not replace, the fundamental associations of a free people. Their politics are based in hard-won compromises, which respect the fundamental character of our nation and link together — without eliminating — the diverse associations that together comprise this community of communities.
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 23:00
Fake Lobster Meat Grown In Labs Could One Day End Up In Supermarkets
A Wisconsin-based startup is developing lobster and other seafood meat in a lab for a more sustainable approach for future food.
A quick overview of how the startup creates lab-grown lobster meat is called “cell-culture meat.” Researchers pick the best lobsters from the coast of Maine, select a small tissue from these lobsters at its Madison facility, isolate individual lobster cells from the tissue then grow the meat in a controlled environment with a nutrient-rich solution called media. Once the meat is grown, it’s ready to harvest.
“You’re really only consuming the meat portion of (lobsters) that only represents about 30% or so of the animal,” co-founder and CEO John Pattison said. “We want to just make the portion that is high value.”
The company belongs to the expanding list of cell-cultured meat startups looking to offer animal-free alternatives to traditional farming and fishing.
A company in California called Eat Just Inc. recently won regulatory approval in Singapore to sell its lab-grown chicken meat.
Back to Cultured Decadence, who said their meat products could be commercially available in just a few years.
No lab-grown meat products have been approved in the US, but there’s been a big push for plant-based products in recent years.
Pattison believes the quick adoption of plant-based meat, like Beyond Meat products, could make lab-grown meat even more popular.
“The trend that we’ve seen on the plant-based side is really encouraging for the cell-culture industry because it shows the conscious decision-making around the environmental impact and nutritional considerations” of meat consumption, Pattison said.
Pattison said lab-grown seafood would alleviate overfishing problems worldwide and the adverse effects fish farms can have on the environment.
Lab-grown meat and plant-based meat are arriving at a time when billionaire elites and central bankers are resetting the global economy with green initiatives to lessen the world’s carbon footprint.
Thanks, but no thanks. Regular meat is fine.
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 22:40
Despite strong resident protests, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Florida agencies have approved controversial release of millions of genetically-modified or “gene edited” killer mosquitoes into the Florida Keyes. At the same time the controversial Presidential Science Adviser nominee of Biden is involved in development of the CRISPR technology being used to genetically modify everything from the mosquitoes to the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus mRNA “vaccines” to gene-edited salmon. How Bill Gates, the Pentagon and the eugenics lobby come together now is alarming to put it mildly. On April 30 the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and the Oxitec biotechnology company announced they will begin release of what will ultimately be some 750 million genetically manipulated or gene-edited Aedes Aegypti mosquitos using CRSPR gene editing technology. The Aedes Aegypti makes up only about 4% of the mosquito population in the Keys. The release is bitterly opposed by residents…
The other day, I wrote that “woke” was the new conformism. It is, of course, but I undersold it. It’s much more than that and more dangerous. As Tal Bachman notes at Steynonline, it’s now our state religion, a state religion in a country that – constitutionally and for good reason – isn’t supposed to have one. But “Wokism” is yet more than that, too. It’s a mass psychosis similar to many that have arisen throughout history when the masses followed leaders who, in their zeal or self-interest, took them to disastrous ends. A good example was when the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola – in a 1497 version of “cancel culture” – swept up everything secular in Florence from some of the most extraordinary paintings and sculpture of all time to the works of Boccaccio and burned them in the so-called Bonfire of the Vanities.
Comment: See the following story (and note its numerous knock-on effects) to get a sense of why ‘cyber attack’ has so much coverage at the moment: Cyberattack forces shutdown of largest gasoline pipeline in United States – UPDATES The ransomware group linked to the extortion attempt that has snared fuel deliveries across the U.S. East Coast may be new, but that doesn’t mean its hackers are amateurs. Who precisely is behind the disruptive intrusion into Colonial Pipeline hasn’t been made officially known and digital attribution can be tricky, especially early on in an investigation. A former U.S. official and two industry sources have told Reuters that the group DarkSide is among the suspects. Cybersecurity experts who have tracked DarkSide said it appears to be composed of veteran cybercriminals who are focused on squeezing out as much money as they can from their targets. “They’re very new but they’re very organized,” Lior Div, the chief executive of Boston-based security firm…
Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress best known for portraying “Wonder Woman” on the big screen, issued a statement calling for peace and pro-Palestinians critics melted down in response.
Gadot posted a short statement to her Twitter account on Wednesday after several days of lethal violence in her home country.
My heart breaks,” wrote Gadot.
“My country is at war. I worry for my family, my friends. I worry for my people. This is a vicious cycle that has been going on for far too long. Israel deserves to lives as a free and safe nation, our neighbors deserve the same,” she added.
“I pray for the victims and their families, I pray for this unimaginable hostility to end, I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we could live side by side in peace,” Gadot continued.
“I pray for better days,” she concluded.
‘Gal gadot is an ugly zionist…’
Some supporters of the Palestinian cause replied with vicious vitriol to Gadot’s call for peace.
“Gal gadot is an ugly zionist who can’t act and is beyond pathetic. time and time again she shows yall that she sides with the ethnic cleansing of palestinians and yall act brand new everytime. f*** that woman,” responded one Twitter user.
“I’m glad Gal Gadot said what she said. People should see how Israelis have been laundering the genocide of Palestinians under a disingenuous call for the end of a conflict that has never existed, it’s always been an extermination campaign,” claimed activist Asheya Siddiqi.
“Just another reminder that Gal Gadot is a Zionist and has long supported the ethnic cleansing and violence towards Palestinians,” said another critic.
“Gal Gadot is wrong. Israel is not at ‘war’ with Palestine. Israel is butchering Palestine. Again,” responded UK musician James Kennedy.
“I wish gal gadot a very shut the f*** up,” read another tweet.
Other,s like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), praised Gadot.
Here’s more about Gal Gadot’s statement:
Gal Gadot Worries for Family and Friends Amid Israeli Crisis | E! News
Why Is the Government Hiding January 6 Video Footage?
Authored by Julie Kelly via American Greatness (emphasis ours),
Joe Biden calls it the worst attack since the Civil War. Attorney General Merrick Garland compares it to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The FBI is breaking down the doors of Iraq War veterans and small business owners who have no criminal records, and some are hauled off to rot in solitary confinement in a fetid D.C. jail, for their involvement in the alleged travesty.
The event, of course, is the roughly four-hour-long disturbance at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. As mostly nonviolent Americans dared to protest Congress’ certification of a clearly fraudulent presidential election in a place that once was considered “The People’s House,” lawmakers scurried for cover as reporters and photographers captured part of the ruckus on video and still shots to wield as political ammunition against Donald Trump and his supporters.
But have we seen a full and fair depiction of exactly what happened that day? The answer, as evidenced by an ongoing coverup by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Justice Department, clearly is no.
Almost all the January 6 video seen by the public isn’t from official government sources but by social media users and journalists on the scene. For example, the widely viewed footage of protestors occupying the Senate chamber was recorded by a New Yorker journalist.
But thousands of hours of real-time footage is in the hands of the Capitol Police—and that agency, along with government lawyers and federal judges, is using every legal trick possible to keep the trove hidden from the public even as clips are presented in court as evidence against hundreds of January 6 defendants.
According to an affidavit filed in March by Thomas DiBiase, the Capitol Police department’s general counsel, the building is monitored 24/7 by an “extensive system of cameras” positioned both inside and outside the building as well as near other congressional offices on the grounds.
The system captured more than 14,000 hours of footage between noon and 8 p.m. on January 6; the archive was made available to two Democratic-controlled congressional committees, the FBI, and the D.C. Metropolitan Police department. (After a request by Congress, the agency reportedly handed over footage from the entire 24-hour period.)
Capitol Police also produced selective clips for Democratic House impeachment managers to use in the trial against Donald Trump.
But Capitol Police argue that making all the tapes available to defense attorneys?—let alone to the American public—could provoke future violence. “The Department has significant concerns with the release of any of its footage to defendants in the Capitol attack cases unless there are safeguards in place to prevent its copying and dissemination,” DiBiase wrote March 17. “Our concern is that providing unfettered access to hours of extremely sensitive information to defendants who already have shown a desire to interfere with the democratic process will . . . [be] passed on to those who might wish to attack the Capitol again.”
The Justice Department, in numerous cases, is seeking protective orders to rigorously limit how surveillance video is handled by defense attorneys. Recordings have been deemed “highly sensitive” government material subject to onerous rules; the accused only have access to the evidence in a supervised setting. Clips cannot be copied, downloaded, shared, or reproduced in any fashion.
“Defense counsel may not provide a copy of Highly Sensitive materials to Defendant or permit Defendant to view such materials unsupervised by defense counsel or an attorney, investigator, paralegal, or support staff person employed by defense counsel,” Judge Amit Mehta wrote in a protective order related to the conspiracy case against members of the Oath Keepers. “The parties agree that defense counsel or an attorney, investigator, paralegal, or support staff person employed by defense counsel, may supervise Defendant by allowing access to Highly Sensitive materials through a cloud-based delivery system that permits Defendant to view the materials but does not permit Defendant the ability to download.”
Fighting Back Against the Blackout
But defense attorneys and the media now are fighting the video blackout. During a detention hearing last month for the two men accused of spraying officer Brian Sicknick—both have been behind bars and denied bail since their arrests in March—defense lawyers objected to the government’s use of “cherry-picked” video they couldn’t see in its full context which, if examined, might contain exculpatory evidence.
Under pressure from a group of media outlets, the government finally released what it claims is the incriminating video showing the chemical spray “attack” against Sicknick. (It didn’t.) The choppy video included recordings from several surveillance cameras, a few D.C. police officers, and a bystander.
Journalists continue to be frustrated by the Justice Department’s suppression tactics. In a plea last week to Beryl Howell, chief judge of the D.C. District Court handling all the January 6 cases, 14 news organizations asked for better access to video evidence presented in court. (Virtual court proceedings further help prosecutors keep the clips under wraps.)
“[T]he press and public have not been able to access these videos on the Court’s electronic dockets,” lawyers representing CNN, ABC News, the Wall Street Journal and others wrote in a May 3 letter. “Delayed access to these historic records shuts the public out of an important part of the administration of justice.” The government, the lawyers told Howell, refuses to give a “substantive answer” as to why the video evidence isn’t publicly available and listed several cases where surveillance footage was played in court but not otherwise accessible.
The secret video archive of January 6 isn’t the only recording under scrutiny. It’s also unclear whether Capitol Police kept the footage from January 5. DiBiase said surveillance video is routinely deleted after 30 days; only a “very limited” number of clips from January 5 were given to the U.S. Attorney in D.C., the office handling the massive investigation.
It would be very convenient for the Capitol Police—no objective party in this saga since it launched the lie about Sicknick’s death—to purge footage from January 5 so defense attorneys and the public cannot see what sort of activity took place the day before the “insurrection.”
So what, exactly, is the government trying to hide? How can activity inside and outside a public building be considered “highly sensitive?” In response to a Freedom of Information Act filing by Judicial Watch, Capitol Police told the group the recordings are not “public records.” But of course they are. A security system controlled by a federal agency in a public building paid for by taxpayers to conduct the public business of public officials is most certainly a public record.
Even if legal loopholes allow for such an exemption, the greater public interest should supersede any technicalities. Major parts of the original narrative already have fallen apart, including the story that officer Sicknick was murdered by Trump supporters and the myth it was an “armed insurrection”; the full account of what prompted the killing of Ashli Babbitt by an unidentified Capitol cop is still unknown.
Further, the Biden regime is weaponizing January 6 to hunt down and destroy the lives of people—many of whom committed no violent crimes—anywhere near the building that day. The Justice Department is promising to build sedition cases; Biden’s intelligence chiefs are operating outside their authorization in their effort to portray regular Americans as domestic terrorists.
A president was impeached for his alleged role. Republican lawmakers continue to face threats for objecting to the election results in swing states. And millions of Trump voters, by extension, are considered conspiracy theorists and wannabe “insurrectionists.”
There’s only one reason why the Justice Department wants to keep the footage under seal: it contradicts most if not all of the claims advanced by Democrats and the media over the past four months.
Republicans, to the extent they can or will, and the media should demand the release of all the footage. Ditto for families of the defendants. The American public still doesn’t know exactly what happened on January 6—and it’s clear the government will use any means necessary to keep it that way.
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 22:20
More than 120 retired generals and admirals have signed a letter saying that the U.S. is in “deep peril” under the leadership of President Joe Biden, specifically warning that the mental condition of the nation’s oldest commander in chief “cannot be ignored.”
What are the details?
It begins, “Our Nation is in deep peril. We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776. The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty.”
The retired military leaders went on to say that “without fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the ‘will of the people’ our Constitutional Republic is lost,” saying that “aside from the election, the Current Administration has launched a full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner, bypassing the Congress, with more than 50 Executive Orders quickly signed.”
At the end of a long list of bullet points citing “additional national security issues and actions,” Flag Officers 4 America wrote:
“The mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief cannot be ignored. He must be able to quickly make accurate national security decisions involving life and limb anywhere, day or night. Recent Democrat leadership’s inquiries about nuclear code procedures sends a dangerous national security signal to nuclear armed adversaries, raising the question about who is in charge. We must always have an unquestionable chain of command.”
The officials ended the letter with a call for action, urging “all citizens to get involved now at the local, state and/or national level to elect political representatives who will act to Save America, our Constitutional Republic, and hold those currently in office accountable,” concluding, “The ‘will of the people’ must be heard and followed.”
Biden, 78, is the oldest American president to ever be elected, and he faced questions from opponents during both the Democratic primary and the general election over his mental fitness for office.
A White House spokesperson told People magazine on Wednesday that Biden “is planning to have a checkup later this year, and the results will be made public.”
The outlet noted that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that the administration “will be transparent” to reporters about the results of Biden’s first physical when it happens.
People further reported that “Biden similarly promised during the 2020 campaign to be ‘totally transparent in terms of my health.'”
Meituan’s CEO Sees Billions Wiped Out Over An Innocuous Thousand-Year Old Chinese Poem
A seemingly innocuous post on an obscure social media platform by a Chinese billionaire CEO has sent shockwaves through the country’s tech industry, and cost food delivery giant Meituan many billions in a mere few days in what seems a repeat of last year’s Jack Ma “disappearance” saga.
Meituan CEO Wang Xing dabbles in literary classics, and wrote on social media a short poem comprised of just 28 Chinese characters from a 1,100-year old text about China’s first emperor and his ill-conceived efforts to stamp out dissent, which included attempts to stifle intellectual debate and any criticisms of himself by burning books. Apparently this was too much for China’s censors – as CNBC observes there were immediate and colossal repercussions: “Meituan has seen around $38.96 billion wiped off its value in the past two weeks as Beijing turns its regulatory scrutiny on the Chinese food delivery giant.”
The poem which was posted to the social media platform Fanfou (akin to the more popular Weibo) was seen as a veiled criticism of Xi Jinping, causing Wang to later delete the post on May 9th while attempting to clarify that the posting of the poem was just intended to playfully highlight rivalries in business. He sought to assure there was no intended criticism of the government, and of course it was too late.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) had already launched an investigation into “suspected monopolistic practices” and the crackdown began – notably being SAMR’s merely second investigation into a domestic tech firm, with the first being Alibaba.
On top of Meituan seeing its shares plunge some 16% over the past two weeks, finding itself center of an ongoing global tech rout caused in large part by signs of China’s growing regulatory crackdown, it’s now facing immense fines for alleged malpractice related to monopolistic practices. Recall that Alibaba was fined 18.23 billion yuan ($2.8 billion).
Scrutiny is now coming from other regulatory corners as well, notably the Shanghai Consumer Council, which is said to be examining unfair practices related to merchant fees.
The US tech scene could use more controversy over 8th century poetry. https://t.co/qymXCc2Qp1
— Zach Seward (@zseward) May 10, 2021
As for the social media post which unintentionally kicked off Meituan being the next to find itself in the crosshairs, perhaps the sting in it felt from Beijing involved the fact that the story ends with the emperor being overthrown by a pair of uneducated citizens.
One analyst, the Global CIO Office (in Singapore) Gary Dugan, articulated to Bloomberg just how on edge the Chinese tech market is at this moment: “Any investor in single stock names in China at present would hope that they do less social media philosophizing about the future and just focus on managing their businesses.”
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 22:00
Ira Sohn Conference Highlights: Einhorn’s “New Oil”, ESG Mania And More
The Sohn Investment Conference has gained public scrutiny over the past couple of decades as the marquee event in the hedge fund universe, where top managers gather to announce their latest long or shorts – either just after they’ve put them on or just before they unwind them – hoping to generate breathless media coverage and (with some fading luck) some follow-through in the market. But in the age of COVID-19, virtual conferences just don’t carry the weight they once did – which is understandable since part of the conference’s appeal was its head-to-head nature and its setting at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center.
But it’s not just the dismal performance of the hedge fund community in the past decade, coupled with its inability to generate any alpha ever since the government cracked down on SAC’s use of “expert networks” in 2010, that interest in hedge funds has collapsed (don’t tell the producers of Billions). With the market enduring its bumpiest ride since February, and Bill Ackman stealing the spotlight by announcing his Dominos play from a completely different conference, there was a lot of other news vying for attention from the financial press on Wednesday, and investors could be forgiven for forgetting that Sohn even happened. But just in case you’re curious about what was said, here’s a quick recap.
Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn was the main even on Wednesday, and he didn’t disappoint. In his extremely topical commodity-focused pitch, Einhorn declared copper “the new oil” and pitched Teck Resources, while also discussing the potential of Freeport-McMoran as a “pure play” trade on the price of copper.
Finkle is Einhorn
After Greenlight badly underperformed the market during Q1, Einhorn penned a letter bashing “broken” markets, the Fed, Chamath and Elon and blaming them all for his firm’s underperformance.
On Wednesday, he pointed out that while Teck has done well this year, it has underperformed Freeport. But setting aside the performance of individual firms, Einhorn argued that copper is facing a number of bullish supply-oriented trends. First, the pipeline of potential new capacity for copper – once praised as “Dr. Copper” by market enthusiasts for its perceived status as a harbinger of economic trends – is small because it takes a long time to create new mines. Because of this, supply is expected to be outpaced by demand by 2024, according to Einhorn.
Teck briefly spiked on Einhorn’s endorsement, while Freeport finished more than 4% lower.
Einhorn tied it all together by highlighting copper’s importance to the green energy trend. He devoted some of his time to discussing the upcoming rush for electric vehicles, which ties into his copper theme since copper is used in batteries and electric car motors, as well as wind and solar installations.
Popular tech and stay-at-home names were also featured. Octahedron Capital’s Ram Parameswaran pitched Peloton, whose shares are hurting from a recent recall, saying its stock could rise 4x from its current level. Meanwhile, Glenernie Capital’s Andrew Nunneley pitched Hello Fresh, calling it it the “Tesla of meal kits.”
D1 Capital’s Dan Sundheim talked about Netflix, while discuss his “really bullish” view on used car sales online.
SPACs featured in at least one pitch, as Glenview Capital’s Larry Robbins pitched Fortress Value Acquisition, Thomas Bravo and Fast Acquisition, all of which rose in typical kneejerk fashion as the newswire headlines hit. Robbins also shared five “management stories” that he said were undervalued: DXC Technology, Myriad Genetics, Brookdale Senior Living, McKesson and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Trendy ESG stories also made an appearance with Impactive Capital’s Lauren Taylor Wolfe (one of the few female investors to ever pitch on stage at the conference) pitched KBR as a solid bet for investors looking to capitalize on the transition to a green economy.
Just in case you couldn’t tell from the name, Wolfe’s firm is ESG-focused, and Wolfe said the transition to green energy is one she has been focusing on. While a lot of the companies in the space are venture-backed and pre-revenue “story stocks”, Wolfe said Impactive Capital instead went in search of companies that are already profitable, yet are poised to see accelerated growth tailwinds thanks to the energy transition.
Lauren Taylor Wolfe
Another female on the schedule, Perceptive Advisors’ Ellen Hukkelhoven, pitched a long position on BridgeBio Pharma.
To sum up, the big stories at this year’s Sohn conference were chiefly focused on tech and ESG, two themes that will likely continue to dominate markets as humanity moves past the coronavirus pandemic into the post-COVID world.
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 21:40
The far Left has intensified its push toward Marxism for months now, but it’s more than clever catchphrases or slogans. Their radical rhetoric and policies have violent consequences.
Calls to defund the police have led to officers being ambushed and killed. Crime is spiking in record amounts all over the country. Critical race theory has the government, corporations, and now schools brainwashing Americans to believe the entire system is systemically racist. And it’s paved the way for actual violence in the streets from groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa.
On his BlazeTV exclusive show, Glenn Beck exposes their endgame: tearing the entire system down. Marxists did this in the Soviet Union and China, among other places. Millions died, and the first to feel the brunt were always the landowners and farmers. The most recent example of this is happening in South Africa, where Glenn reveals terrifying on-the-ground interviews.
As American farmers now also face unprecedented racial discrimination by our federal government, award-winning South African journalist Lara Logan warns of what could happen if the seeds of Marxism aren’t uprooted now.
NOTE: Due to the graphic nature of this episode, we are only putting a portion of the show below. Watch the full, uncensored show on BlazeTV.com.
Want more from Glenn Beck?
To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.
A mom of two grade school boys in Oklahoma is crying foul after they were punished for wearing shirts to school that supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
Jordan Herbert angrily denounced Charles Evans Elementary and their principal in a Facebook post from April.
“So my 8 yr old who attends Charles Evans elementary wore his Black Lives Matter shirt on friday. He was told to turn his shirt inside out by (Mrs. Brunk) the principal of the school. I asked the woman this morning to show me in the school hand book where the dress code says he’s not aloud to wear it,” read the post.
Herbert says that she was told politics weren’t allowed at the school.
“My son is 8 he has no idea about politics and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirts has NOTHIN to do with politics. He’s simply sayin his life matters. Oh yea he’s the 2nd kid at Charles evans to get made to turn his shirt inside out. Y’all will hear my mouth until something is done about this here BS,” she added.
True to her word, she and a handful of protesters demonstrated outside the school in Ardmore.
In a later post on Thursday, she claimed that her younger son wore the same shirt to school without incident.
“They were called out on their bulls*** and now it’s ok for him to wear it! His shirt bothered them. It was never a distraction until they made it one,” Herbert claimed.
Ardmore Superintendent Kim Holland explained the school policy to KXII-TV.
“I understand what she is saying, but school is not the place to have all that, y’know political back and forth and upheaval. We’re trying to teach kids things like reading and writing.” said Holland.
“We’re trying to be more neutral in the school and be advocates for all of our children in what they need,” she added.
Holland also told USA Today that the same policy would have applied if a student wore a “Make America Great Again” hat to school or a pro-Trump shirt.
Reckless Backseat Tesla Owner Arrested On California Highway
Tesla’s “Autopilot” feature has been a major discussion following a fatal crash in Texas last month. “Autopilot” in itself implies full autonomous driving capabilities, though Tesla officials told regulators last week that it may not achieve full self-driving technology by the end of this year. Nevertheless, a number of Tesla owners have abused Autopilot.
On Tuesday, California Highway Patrol (CHP) arrested a 25yo man for reckless driving of a Tesla while sitting in the back seat headed toward Oakland from San Francisco.
Param Sharma was arrested without incident on Interstate-80 and booked into the Santa Rita Jail on two counts of reckless driving.
Before the arrest, CHP said members of the public recorded someone who resembled Sharma sitting in the backseat of a Model 3 without a driver.
Local news KTVU’s Henry Lee provided a video of Sharma “in back of this @Tesla ?with his foot on the wheel on the Bay Bridge, I-80 & across the region.”
This guy’s been seen riding in back of this ?@Tesla? with his foot on wheel on the Bay Bridge, I-80 & across region. ?@CHP_GoldenGate? investigating. No evidence of ?@MagicofRahat? or Knight Rider hiding-in-seat trickery. ?@instagram? ?: @paressadalycity pic.twitter.com/y30gBGOaN1
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) May 11, 2021
Fresh out of jail, Lee interviewed Sharma on Wednesday morning, who said he’s going to keep doing that because “I just pioneered all this…I don’t drive, and I don’t fill up gas.”
UPDATE: Fresh out of jail after being busted by @CHPoakland for driving – or riding – @Tesla Model 3 from backseat, Param Sharma tells @JesseKTVU in exclusive interview he’s going to keep doing that because “I just pioneered all this…I don’t drive, and I don’t fill up gas.” pic.twitter.com/9fqYXWc7rG
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) May 12, 2021
Lee asked Sharma if his Tesla crashes and hurts someone, what would you say to that family? Sharma responded: “They’re not going to get hurt – the car doesn’t make mistakes.”
According to Tesla Deaths, there’s been a number of crashes that Autopilot was on.
Multiple videos show a gray Model 3 with California license plate number “BJ09C06” with someone resembling Sharma in the backseat. There was no confirmation if this is Sharma and these videos are from weeks ago.
CHP released a statement on Sharma’s arrest late Tuesday.
“The safety of all who share our roadways is the primary concern of the CHP. The Department thanks the public for providing valuable information that aided in this investigation and arrest,” the CHP wrote on Facebook.
The CHP had asked that anyone who sees “an unusual incident such as this one” immediately call 911 with as many details as possible because it’s illegal in California for autonomous vehicles to operate without humans behind the wheel.
Some have said it’s impossible to operate a Tesla in full self-driving mode without someone in the driver’s seat. But Consumer Reports recently noted that its testers got a Tesla Y to drive without someone behind the wheel.
Ford Motor Company’s CEO recently said Tesla’s driverless tech is using customers as guinea pigs on public roads.
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 21:20
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