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Sun, 29 Mar 2020
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'Russian troll firm' says it has a $50bn grudge to settle with US after indictment dropped by DoJ

© REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
A Russian firm that the DoJ failed to prosecute for "sowing discord" during the 2016 election aims to take its pound of flesh - or at least a hefty compensation for its tarnished reputation.

The February 2018 indictment of Concord Management & Consulting LLC, one of several issued by the team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was praised by the Russiagate crowds as a crucial step in uncovering the holy grail of Trump-Russia collusion. The case was dropped just weeks before going to trial, with prosecutors claiming that the firm's defense strategy - demanding evidence that the company had waged 'information warfare' against America - posed a threat to US national security.

Comment: Please. They dropped the case because they had no evidence to back up their claims. There's never been any evidence provided to prove Russian collusion, just empty, baseless claims.

Concord had been "eager and aggressive in using the judicial system to gather information about how the United States detects and prevents foreign election interference," the motion to dismiss said.


Weed & maple syrup: What people are panic buying in different countries amid growing Covid-19 crisis

empty shelves
© GlobalLookPress/dpa/Bodo Marks
As more governments advised people to curtail their movements in an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19, it prompted panic buying sprees - with people showing distinct regional differences in their 'must have' items.

Fears of being unable to get hold of the bare essentials if forced to hole up at home for weeks on end as the deadly virus sweeps the globe saw thousands rush to the supermarkets and clear whole shelves of groceries in record time. Despite widely issued guidelines on minimum 'social distancing', some were prepared to queue for long hours to make sure they got that one essential thing before heading home and closing the gate.

The trend seemed to kick off in Australia, with scenes of panic-purchases of toilet paper descending into heated arguments and fistfights. Concern over toilet paper - which, on the whole, seems not to be of particular use in defending against (or treating) Covid-19 - then spread worldwide.


No epidemic has ever been overcome by quarantines, but only by hygienic measures

Macron Covid quaranteen

President Macron justifies the measures he has taken by the advice he has received from scientists. If he had changed experts, he would have had different advice. Covid-19 is now the subject of study, not knowledge.

You're not an expert on Covid-19, but nobody is. Scientists don't know everything. In this case, they're just beginning their research. In the absence of hard data, we have to take theories as mere hypotheses. History teaches us that to date no disease has been overcome by quarantine measures. Quarantine measures can save time, not defeat the foe.

The Covid-19 outbreak awakens ancestral anxieties. Some of us suddenly perceive our neighbors, friends and families as threats. There is a real risk of violence in the near future.

In the face of any danger, we must first remain reasonable, not rational. These are two very different ways of thinking. We cannot think logically on the basis of incomplete data.

Covid-19 is a hitherto unknown disease which seems to be able to kill up to 1% of the world's population, but which so far has killed only a few thousand people. Researchers are just beginning to study it scientifically. We know that it is caused by a virus that is transmitted through the mucous membranes of the face. No one knows how to prevent its spread, but everyone has their own preconceived ideas about it.

Depending on their culture, scientists have advised the authorities in their countries differently:

Comment: There are effective precautionary measures that individuals can take, yet the mainstream media (unsurprisingly) is choosing to denigrate those in favor of pharmaceutical options.

Eye 1

The release of Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning
Chelsea Manning's release last Thursday by order of Virginia District Court judge Anthony Trenga had an air of oddness to it. "The court finds Ms. Manning's appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose." Her detention had never served any coercive purpose as such - she remained unwilling to testify before an institution she questions as dangerous, secretive and oppressive. She steadfastly refused to answer any questions relating to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. What her detention has done is disturb her health and constitute an act of State harassment that ranks high in the annals of abuses of power.

In March 2019, the former military analyst was summoned to appear and give testimony to the Grand Jury convened in the Eastern District of Virginia. As the New York Times put it at the time, "there were multiple reasons to believe that the subpoena [forcing Manning to testify] is related to the investigation of Mr Assange." She challenged the legitimacy of the subpoena, though lost and was held for contempt. Having already been court martialled and sentenced, Manning saw little need having to go through another round of ear bashing interrogations. "Chelsea," submitted her support committee in a statement, "gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury."

In May that year, Manning was granted one week of freedom until the next grand jury was convened. Again, she was found to be in civil contempt and remanded "to the custody of the Attorney General until such time as she purges herself of contempt or for the life of the Grand Jury". Her refusal to purge herself of contempt after 30 days duly incurred a fine of $500 per day, an amount that was increased to $1,000 after 60 days.

As Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment noted at the time, such limitations on Manning's liberty did "not constitute a circumscribed sanction for a specific offence, but an open-ended, progressively severe measure of coercion fulfilling all the constitutive elements of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment." The mental degradation inflicted by the process did almost achieve its worst. On March 11, Manning attempted to take her own life.

Comment: See also: Chelsea Manning showed 'moral strength' by choosing imprisonment over collaboration with US govt - Snowden

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For the 3rd time this month, we just witnessed the largest single day point crash in stock market history

market plunge
We are literally witnessing history in the making. For the third time in the last six trading sessions, we have witnessed the largest single day point crash in stock market history. Let that sink in for a moment. On March 9th, the Dow set a new record by falling 2,013 points. Then on March 12th, the Dow set a new record again by falling 2,352 points. Of course what happened on Monday was the biggest whopper of them all. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2,997 points, and words like "carnage" and "devastation" don't seem to be strong enough to convey that horror that took place. To put all of this into perspective, the largest single day point crash during the last financial crisis was just 777 points. That means that the crash that we witnessed on Monday was nearly four times as large as the worst single day point crash in 2008.

Of course all of this volatility is being driven by fear of the coronavirus. Even though less than 100 Americans have died so far, investors are completely freaking out.

Comment: But only partially. What we're seeing was bound to happen: Markets plunge in worst fall since 2008 crisis - and the reasons why

So what will happen if thousands or even millions of us start dying?

On a percentage basis, the nightmare that we watched unfold on Monday was the worst day for stocks since "Black Monday" in 1987...

Comment: For some additional perspective on what's happenning in the financial world, and its implications, watch:


Ukraine looking for oligarch finance to help with Covid, Iran's leader bans unnecessary travel, New York announces new cases

© Reuters
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on the nation's wealthiest businessmen to donate funds and equipment to help fight the coronavirus inside the country.

Zelenskiy met with the top business owners at his office in Kyiv on March 16 as the country registered its fifth case of the COVID-19 infection. The president said he told the tycoons that the country needed 500 ambulances and as much as 13 billion hryvnya ($490 million) for medicine.

"Business should be socially responsible during difficult times for the government. Ukrainians should feel protected when they go to state hospitals. And I insist that you help now," Zelenskiy told the businessmen.

Ukraine is one of Europe's poorest countries with an outdated and underfunded health-care system that could be quickly overwhelmed if coronavirus cases spike inside the country.

The attendees included among others Rinat Akhmetov, the nation's wealthiest man, and Ihor Kolomoyskiy, a billionaire who has business ties with Zelenskiy and was seen by many as being one of his main backers during his presidential campaign last year.

Comment: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious fatwa prohibiting "unnecessary travel" in Iran, where they have also temporarily sent home around 85,000 inmates to prevent prison outbreaks (and breakouts?). New York announced 432 new cases and 12 total deaths. One of Germany's top health "experts" warned that the pandemic could last for 2 years (depending on how long it takes to develop a vaccine...). Friedrich Merz, Merkel's probable successor, has tested positive.

See also:

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New York unemployment site goes down after "tens of thousands" lose their jobs

NY unemployment
In many ways the US economy is currently in the eye of the coronavirus storm: cities and states are under quarantine lockdown, the CDC has prohibited any groupings of more than 50 people; stores, clubs, restaurants, bars and hotels are voluntarily shuttering indefinitely as the economy grinds to a halt and yet besides a tapestry of ghost cities across the nation, the immediate impact of the devastating viral storm on the service economy has yet to manifest itself.

But the hurricane is about to hit front and center, and the service-industry mecca of New York City is leading the way.

As the Daily News reports, New York's unemployment website was overwhelmed Monday as the coronavirus pandemic put tens of thousands of people across the state out of work.

The flood of suddenly jobless workers hitting the Department of Labor website with applications for unemployment benefits was unleashed by a drastic move by Gov. Cuomo, who announced all of the state's restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and casinos would close by 8 p.m. Monday to contain the corona outbreak.

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The push to ban evictions from Erie to Ulster now includes coronavirus in its list of reasons

NY State map
© Unknown
New York state eviction moratoriums
At least half a dozen localities across New York are pushing for — or have already enacted — an eviction ban. More are sure to follow, political insiders say.

The patchwork effort across New York to halt evictions is coming from community groups and local elected officials in Albany, Erie County, Syracuse, Tompkins County, Ulster County and Nassau County. Eviction moratorium bills have now been introduced by both the state senate and assembly, and state Sen. Brad Hoylman sent a letter signed by two dozen of his colleagues asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve the measure.

A New York state judge, late Friday afternoon, placed a one-week moratorium on executing evictions in New York City — although cases will proceed in housing court, according to a court spokesperson. Just hours later, the Real Estate Board of New York announced its members — including some of the largest landlords in the city — would not carry out evictions for three months.

Cuomo has not said whether he supports a moratorium on evictions.

Eye 1

Sanctions Shmanctions: Only 1 in 10 Russians say they personally feel effects of Western embargoes

© Sputnik / Maksim Blinov
Visitors at the Import Substitution International Specialized Exhibition at the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Center in Krasnogorsk.
Anyone reading the news in 2014 may remember all those US/UK media articles predicting economic punishments handed out by the West would soon break Russia. Six years later, most Russians are rather blasé about their impact.

The vast majority now believe that the sanctions on Russia didn't create problems for them and their families, according to independent pollster Levada. Moscow daily Vedomosti reported on Tuesday that only 10 percent of respondents spoke of serious effects from the penalties, but a whopping 87 percent felt they hadn't caused severe harm.

General concern about the measures is also decreasing - now only 31 percent of Russians are worried about the embargoes, whereas 67 percent of respondents are not concerned. Nevertheless, 79 percent of those surveyed believe Russia ought to normalize relations with the US and other Western partners.

When the sanctions were introduced, they primarily affected the most educated and well-off sections of the population - mainly residents of large cities who used a lot of imported goods, Levada Center Director Lev Gudkov explained.

Black Magic

Fear is The Mind Killer: Truthstream Media on The Coronavirus Hysteria

twilight zone maple street

Still from episode 22 of The Twilight Zone, 'Maple Street'
The following is an excellent video post from Aaron and Melissa Dykes over at Truthstream Media.

For those who don't know their work, they're a very bright young married couple in Austin, Texas, and they have been regularly posting superb videos for years, mostly about mind control and technocracy - and when they are right, they share some fantastically well-researched material.

Melissa in particular is also a very good observer and commentator on behavior and its relationship to mass programming/culture. I really enjoy her - she's a got a natural video voice full of sense and apoplectic shock at what she is living through year in year out...)

The first 20 mins of this video is a video diary of what happened in her city/county over the past few days where there is not a single confirmed case of this Coronavirus. A perfect distillation of collective madness...