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Mon, 13 Jul 2020
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The delusion of a seamless reopening is about to be obliterated

pandemic mask
During the first wave of pandemic lockdowns, America became a rather surreal place. The initial shock that I witnessed in average people in my area was disturbing. Half the businesses in the region closed and a third of the grocery store shelves were empty. The look in people's faces was one of bewilderment and fear; their eyes were like saucers, no one was staring into their cell phones as they usually do, and people huddled over their shopping carts like wild dogs protecting a carcass.

Luckily, this tension has subsided, but only because the majority of Americans have been assuming for the past couple months that the pandemic was going to fade away in the summer and that the "reopening" was permanent. Sadly, this is a delusion that is going to bite people in the ass in the next month or two.

In "The Economic Reopening Is A Fake-Out", published at the end of May, I stated:
The restrictions will continue in major US population centers while rural areas have mostly opened with much fanfare. The end result of this will be a flood of city dwellers into rural towns looking for relief from more strict lockdown conditions. In about a month, we should expect new viral clusters in places where there was limited transmission. I suggest that before the 4th of July holiday, state governments and the Federal government will be talking about new lockdowns, using the predictable infection spike as an excuse.

Comment: For a more accurate account of the virus' inception, don't miss: Compelling Evidence That SARS-CoV-2 Was Man-Made

Mr. Potato

Liberals act like crazy idiots who pretend to be for truth & morals - then worship John McCain & push Russia hoax

Chris Hayes
Whenever John McCain is trending on Twitter I like to try and float a reminder of what a disgusting warmonger he was on top of the trend to disrupt the worshipful hagiography within the mainstream liberal echo chamber.

It's a provocation. I freely admit this. But it's a provocation with a fuse that should not exist (nobody should object to someone speaking ill of a killer with a body count like McCain's), and the charge it sets off is just fascinatingly disproportionate to what's being said.

I mean check out the hundreds of responses to my latest act of blasphemy where I said that McCain was a bloodthirsty warmongering psychopath and the world is better off without him. There are liberals on there saying I deserve to die for saying this, that there's a special place in hell for people who say such things, that my parents should have aborted me, that karma is going to get me for this.

Comment: See also: Letter to my Liberal American Friends on the True Nature of the U.S. Empire


Group seeking truth behind Dyatlov Pass incident reject official probe that blamed avalanche

© dyatlovjournal / Instagram
A group dedicated to solving the mysterious deaths of nine hikers in 1959 blasted the results of a new investigation into the case, which concluded they were crushed by an avalanche or had succumbed to the blistering cold.

The demise of nine fit young university students in the Urals has puzzled many for more than six decades. Their empty tent was found to have been cut open from the inside with a sharp object, and their bodies - some naked, others shoeless or half-dressed - were scattered nearby, several with skull fractures, facial damage, and massive internal injuries, on a slope that locals would later dub "the Mountain of the Dead."

The Soviet investigation failed to determine how the group perished and the mystery eventually spawned more than 70 different theories, including the intervention of a UFO.

Comment: For more, see: The Dyatlov Pass incident: Investigators claim they've found the true cause behind the mysterious deaths in 1959 - did they?

Bad Guys

Thousands of protesters enraged over Bibi's handling of Covid-19 crisis gather in Tel Aviv: 'No more games!'

protest coronavirus Tel Avive
© Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv
Thousands protest economic situation amid coronavirus crisis in Tel Aviv, July 11, 2020
Politicians were told not to come as thousands gathered in Tel Aviv, to warn government not to let them down during COVID-19 financial crisis.

Some 80,000 protesters gathered in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday to voice their anger at the failed policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz, who promised to help the nation's economy during the COVID-19 crisis.

"No more games!" one of the protest organizers, Ronen Mili of the Association of Restaurant and Bar Owners, told N12. "We waited for four months and haven't seen a dime!"

Some protesters carried signs mock-asking the public for charity via the popular Bank HaPoalim money transfer app, Bit.

Mili was one of the people invited to meet with Netanyahu and Katz on Friday as part of a larger delegation that presented the concerns of students, artists and restaurant owners to the prime minister. Netanyahu urged the delegation to call off the protest and assured them they will hold weekly Friday meetings from now on. Yet most activists, already fed up with promises, declined.


Conversion of Hagia Sophia into mosque infuriates Russian Orthodox Church: 'A slap in the face of all Christianity worldwide'

Hagia Sophia
© Reuters/Murad Sezer
Hagia Sophia
The Russian Orthodox Church has criticized Turkey's leaders for revoking the museum status of "one of the greatest Christian shrines," Istanbul's famous Hagia Sophia, accusing Ankara of playing politics.

Founded by the Christian emperor Justinian, the Hagia Sofia was consecrated in the year 537, as a Byzantine cathedral. For almost a thousand years, it operated as a church - sometimes Orthodox, sometimes Catholic - before being converted into a mosque in 1453, following the Byzantine Empire's fall.

Nowadays, the Hagia Sophia is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Turkey. On Friday, the Turkish Council of State annulled a 1934 decision to turn the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a museum. Immediately afterwards, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree returning the iconic site to its former status as a mosque.

Comment: Greece has warned Turkey that its move on the cathedral is not a just a matter between the two countries, but a concern of the whole world.
"There, [at the EU meeting] Greece will ask the European Union to draw up a list of the stringiest possible measures against Turkey in case it violates the sovereign rights of Greece", Dendias said in the interview.

The top diplomat went on to say that Greece's mediation in the debate was not enough and that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the UN must show initiative.

"The danger is that we reflect on the issue of Hagia Sophia from the angle of the Greek-Turkish relationship, while it is a global one. It is the issue of neglecting the rules and disrespecting the world community", Dendias stated.

The minister noted that Ankara's decision on Hagia Sophia was another provocative action against Greece and other countries in the region, and the fact that Turkey did not show any spirit of cooperation to comply with international law should not be ignored.
Pope Francis has also expressed "concern and sadness" over the proposed conversion
"My thoughts go to Istanbul. I'm thinking about Hagia Sophia. I am very distressed," the pontiff said, in the Vatican's first reaction to the decision taken by the Turkish authorities. The brief remark made during a Sunday prayer marking the International Day of the Sea saw the Pope add his voice to the growing chorus from other Christian churches worldwide that have expressed concern over the move.

Earlier, the World Council of Churches, a Geneva-based organization comprising numerous Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican institutions, expressed "grief and dismay" over the development, adding that Hagia Sophia had, until now, been "a place of openness, encounter and inspiration for people from all nations."
Megalomaniac Erdogan sees the co-option of the Hagia Sophia as one more step in his delusional march to recreate the Ottoman Empire.
"We made a decision to change the status of the Hagia Sophia, based on the opinion of our people and not those who say things about us", Erdogan stated during an appearance on Turkey's NTV broadcaster.

During his television appearance, Erdogan added that the country will continue to "take the right path, in order to build a mighty and strong Turkey".
Turkey has tried to allay fears of alteration or damage to the historic building, which began life as a Christian church. Given the Islamic prohibition of images, there is real apprehension over the fate of the many mosaics and other artworks contained in the building
Speaking to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, he stressed that "opening up Hagia Sophia to worship doesn't keep local or foreign tourists from visiting the site", and that Turkey would preserve the unique Christian icons and mosaic images of Jesus Christ in the building.

Kalin, however, did not elaborate on the matter, further, fuelling concerns about the future of these Christian shrines following the Turkish president's decree earlier on Friday to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

This was preceded by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk from the Russian Orthodox Church warning last week that the temple's "miraculously spared" mosaics will most likely be damaged if Ankara makes the conversion decision.

In an interview with Russia's Rossiya 24 news outlet, he said that he would like to know about "the fate of these mosaics" and "how this building will function if it is turned into a mosque again".

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said that Athens "categorically condemns Turkey's decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque" and that "this decision, taken 85 years after Hagia Sophia was declared a museum, is an affront to its ecumenical character".

Eye 2

Wayfair Company reported to FBI for operating online human trafficking front

Wayfair reported to FBI
© Fort Russ
What is being termed a 'conspiracy theory' by access media emerged on Friday, touting that the Wayfair online store was using the sale of storage cabinets, pillows, and children's related items, as a cover for child trafficking.

When asked for comment, a representative of Wayfair - a home decor company - immediately denounced as false.

However, a post on the social media website Reddit and others on Instagram, noted the irreconcilably high cost of the furniture — along with the fact that each item was identified by a female name.

But these weren't just any female names, but the names of women who have been abducted in the past year. The cabinets were the same exact cabinet, but with different prices accompanying the different women's names.

Comment: See also: Pizzagate 2.0? Wayfair denies its insanely priced cabinets and pillows are a front for child trafficking


Hysteria alert: 'KKK/white power' symbol spotted by Portland protester turns out to be black basketball player poster

basketball poster
© Twitter / @USAO_OR
A sharp-eyed protester in Portland claimed she spotted a white supremacist hate symbol taunting her from a window of the BLM-besieged federal court. Further investigation, though, showed it was actually a basketball fan's poster.

The picture showing a hand gesturing "OK" was spotted inside the Hatfield Courthouse by one of the people protesting against racism and police brutality in downtown Portland, Oregon. It may seem innocent enough, but the gesture stands for "White Power," according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The rows of the digit "3" are also significant, the theory goes. They stand for "33/6," which klansmen use to refer to their organization.


Anti-lockdown dissent: Fifth night of anti-government protests in Belgrade remain peaceful

Protests in Belgrade
© Zoran Glavonjic
Protesters gathered outside the parliament building in Belgrade on the evening of July 11.
Several thousand people gathered in front of the Serbian parliament building in Belgrade on July 11 for a fifth consecutive night of anti-government protests that started over the government's plans to reintroduce a coronavirus lockdown.

Protesters, most of whom wore masks, walked in front of the parliament building, occasionally calling for President Aleksandar Vucic to step down.

Unlike protests the night before, it remained peaceful, with protesters saying they want authorities to inform the public about everything that has happened in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

Similar peaceful protests were held in other Serbian cities, including Novi Sad, where demonstrators on July 10 temporarily blocked a highway leading to Belgrade.


Mentally ill Florida man crashes into church, sets it on fire with parishioners inside, sheriff says

The Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala sustained major damage to its foyer.
Ocala church burning culprit Steven Anthony Shields
© Marion County Sheriff's Office
Steven Anthony Shields, 24, allegedly crashed his vehicle through the front doors of the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala and then set a fire in the building's foyer area, according to the sheriff's office.
A Florida man is facing attempted murder charges after being apprehended by police.

A Florida man was arrested Saturday after plowing his vehicle into a Catholic church and then setting the building on fire as parishioners were inside preparing for Mass, according to officials.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said Steven Anthony Shields, 24, crashed his van through the front doors of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala around 7:30 a.m. He got out, poured gasoline in the foyer area and set it on fire, authorities said.

Light Sabers

Indian Government seeks stricter checks on Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Korea, ASEAN imports to prevent rerouted Chinese products

The ministry has requested the finance ministry to introduce stringent provisions related to rules of origin, to empower customs officers for checking the abuse of FTAs.
Chinese Imports to India Scrutiny
The commerce and industry ministry has sought stricter scrutiny of goods coming from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Korea and the Asean bloc, amid fears of Chinese imports increasingly being routed through these countries. It has pushed for fast tracking amendments to the customs law to tighten the rules to claim concessional benefits under India's free trade pacts, in line with the changes proposed in the budget this year.

The ministry has requested the finance ministry to introduce stringent provisions related to rules of origin, to empower customs officers for checking the abuse of FTAs.

Comment: The trade balance between India and China sits at $48.7 Billion in favor of China. India's attempt to reduce the trade balance over last few years only produced modest results.
India China trade and deficits
Despite the dangers of going out all out measures and it is easier said than done, Modi Govt. seems to be planning to use the current crisis to reduce dependency on Chinese products which contribute for 30% of the India's trade deficit. Acuite rating agency estimates that India may reduce its trade deficit by $8.4 Billion trade deficit during FY22.
The rating agency analysed the current import portfolio from China and found 40 sub-sectors that have the potential to lower their import dependency on China.

These sectors contribute to $33.6 billion worth of imports from China and about 25% of these imports can be substituted by local manufacturing without any significant additional investments, Acuite said.

"This would have a positive cascading effect on the economy as equivalent quantum of revenues would not only be added to the turnover of domestic enterprises including MSMEs but is also likely to translate to benefits through forward and backward linkages, better economies of scale along with cost competitiveness and importantly, enhancing the scope of employment generation," Acuite said.
In order to substitute the Chinese products, India has eased customs checks for US and South Korean companies. Chinese investments in India is $163 million in 2019 and Union minister Nitin Gadhkari even unwelcomed Chinese investment.
Chinese FDI in India
India's exports of spice to China slowed down after its confrontation with Beijing in June. Even though both countries de-escalated the confrontation, it is likely that they will be watching each other.