Germany Roiled By “Political Earthquake”: Navy Chief Resigns After Saying “Putin Deserves Respect”, Warning China Is “Not A Nice Country”

Germany Roiled By “Political Earthquake”: Navy Chief Resigns After Saying “Putin Deserves Respect”, Warning China Is “Not A Nice Country”

Just as the covid narrative is slowly disintegrating even as its MSM propaganda powers “cancel” anyone who dares to speak out against the lies  – so the “Russia is about to invade Ukraine” plotline just suffered a major blow after the chief of Germany’s navy, vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach , said on Friday that Crimea “will never come back”, and that what Putin “really wants is respect…and it is easy to give him the respect he really demands – and probably deserves.”

And sure enough, just one day later, on Saturday evening, he resigned from his post for having the temerity to speak out against conventional wisdom.

“I have asked Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to relieve me from my duties with immediate effect,” Schoenbach said in a statement cited by the Reuters news agency.

“The minister has accepted my request,” he added.

Speaking at an event organized by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses on Friday, the vice-admiral redpilled the shocked audience when he dismissed as “nonsense” the notion that Russia was “interested in having a small and tiny strip of Ukraine soil and integrating it into their country.”

“Does Russia really want a small and tiny strip of Ukraine soil to integrate into their country? No, this is nonsense. Putin is probably putting pressure because can do it and he splits EU opinion.”

Schönbach went on to claim that what President Putin really wanted was the West to “respect” Russia, adding “giving some respect is low cost, even no cost. If I was asked, it is easy to give him the respect he really demands and probably also deserves.

Addressing the issue of Crimea, the German Navy commander opined that the “peninsula is gone” and “will never come back — this is a fact.”

On Ukraine’s possible admission into NATO, Schönbach said, “Ukraine of course cannot meet the requirements because it’s occupied in the Donbas region by the Russian Army or by what they call as militias.” In this context, he also said the Crimea peninsula, which was annexed by Russia, is “gone” and is “not coming back”.

Then in an even greater transgression of conventional pro-China etiquette, the German had the temerity to point out the elephant in the room when he slammed China which is “not that nice country we probably thought” and added that that “Russia is an old country, Russia is an important country. Even we India, Germany, need Russia. We need Russia against China…” This, he said, is “easy” and “keeps Russia away from China” because China needs resources of Russia and they [Russia] are willing to give them because the sanctions sometimes do go the “wrong way”.

Describing China as a growing “hegemonic power” which is using its money and power to put pressure on the international order, Schönbach said China has behaved as an enemy to some and has a “hidden agenda” in dealings with countries.

Giving an example of Chinese attempts to steal technology, the German Navy Chief spoke of Kuka robotics, a German company which was taken over by a “private” Chinese company and the “whole technology was gone” and “China is not paying back”.

In the context of this and other developments, he recalled German politicians’ view of China and said they believe that, “China is not that nice a country we probably thought of.”

Schönbach’s comments, which he insists were made in a private capacity, stirred up a diplomatic scandal, with Ukraine’s foreign ministry summoning the German ambassador to the country, Anka Feldhusen, on Saturday. Kiev described his remarks as “unacceptable.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also called on Germany to reject Schönbach’s comments regarding Crimea, saying they undermine the efforts to counter Russian aggression.

“Ukraine is grateful to Germany for the support it has already provided since 2014, as well as for the diplomatic efforts to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict. But Germany’s current statements are disappointing and run counter to that support and effort,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

“The German partners must stop undermining unity with such words and actions and encouraging (Russian President) Vladimir Putin to launch a new attack on Ukraine,” Kuleba added.

Kyiv also highlighted its “deep disappointment” at the German government’s position “on the failure to provide defense weapons to Ukraine.” The lack of weapons support is another point of contention between the two countries. On Friday, reports emerged about Germany blocking Estonia from sending its German-made weapons to Ukraine.

And while it is unclear if the establishment was more shocked by his comments about Putin, Russia and Ukraine or his brutal honesty about China, what followed has been no less than a “political earthquake” with the country’s defense ministry immediately distancing itself from the controversial statements, and its spokesperson saying that characterizing the vice-admiral’s comments as not reflecting “in any way the position” of the ministry, both “in terms of the content and choice of words.”

The local media also went ballistic, and the biggest woke German tabloid Bild, asked Schönbach to step down. “Treten Sie zurück, Herr Vize-Admiral!”, says the paper.

In a bid to diffuse the situation, the (now former) Navy commander took to Twitter earlier on Saturday, saying that he “should not have done it that way,” and describing his remarks as a “clear mistake.”

“My defense policy remarks during a talk session at a think tank in India reflected my personal opinion in that moment. They in no way reflect the official position of the defense ministry,” he wrote.

But several hours later, his name and photo disappeared from the official Navy chief’s Twitter handle and its bio was changed to “currently vacant”.

Moscow, which views any NATO expansion into Ukraine as an existential threat to its national security, has consistently rebutted claims made by Western media and senior officials, according to which Russia is allegedly planning to invade its neighbor any day now. The Kremlin has called the idea “fake news,” while raising issue with the fact that some Western nations are sending weapons to Ukraine. Last month, Russia sent proposals to the US and NATO for treaties with security guarantees, but so far negotiations were unsuccessful in finding terms for an agreement.

Meanwhile, so-called “progressive, liberal” powers in the west are actively pushing for “kinetic” intervention, one which could quickly spiral out of control and escalate into a global war.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 21:18

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Majority Of Millennials, Gen Zers Want Limits On Abortion; New Poll Finds

Majority Of Millennials, Gen Zers Want Limits On Abortion; New Poll Finds

 Authored by Kristan Hawkins via RealClear Politics (emphasis ours),

By the time the midterm elections take place, targeted campaign ads and outreach will have littered the virtual American landscape, as politicians attempt to persuade voters that they have something to offer. In today’s partisan setting, abortion will be one of the issues raised. While the pro-life position once encompassed people of all political persuasions, the two parties today generally stand as polar opposites, making a new poll on the views of almost one-third of the electorate important news for the army of campaign consultants gearing up to make their pitch.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Far from being pro-abortion/straight-ticket voters without nuance, Millennials and Gen Zers share concerns about the extremes of abortion. They also desire to have a voice and a vote on life, and thoroughly reject the reckless and deadly policy pursued by the Biden administration and its corporate abortion allies on chemical abortion pills, according to a poll taken in early January and reported by Students for Life of America’s Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement.

Consider Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that almost 50 years ago stripped abortion policy away from the states, setting up almost limitless abortion and making ordinary political engagement almost impossible. An extraordinary 8 in 10 Millennials and Gen Zers want to vote on abortion policy, up from 66% in 2021, while 3 out of 4 want limits on abortion and 4 in 10 want either no abortion or abortion only for the traditional exceptions – in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger.

On taxpayer-funded abortion, a top policy position of the Democrat-controlled White House, Senate and House, 55% opposed using those resources to pay for abortions worldwide, and 54% support Hyde Amendment protections that limit taxpayer funding of abortion to the exceptions.

Education is key in working with these voters, which is the central mission of SFLA’s in-person, 50-state operation. A 10-percentage point shift in Millennial and Gen Z views on Roe, from positive to negative, took place after respondents learned more about its impact. For example, almost 6 in 10 opposed Roe after learning that it allows for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

All of this means that if Roe becomes a historical footnote and the issue of abortion is returned to the states – possibly through the Dobbs v. Jackson case under consideration now – that’s a positive for most voters. In fact, the poll found that 65% of Millennials and Gen Zers oppose people in power deciding who is fully human and deserving of legal rights.

But the biggest news comes from Millennial and Gen Z’s response to cutting-edge policy being discussed at the state level, from chemical abortion pill limits to “heartbeat” legislation. In fact, more than half of Millennials and Gen Zers would support a limit on abortion after a preborn baby’s heartbeat is detected.

The poll also shows that the real losers in the abortion policy debate of our day are those pushing no-test, online sale of chemical pills, which can lead to injury, infertility and even death for the women taking them, as well as the obvious termination of the baby’s life.

Recently, Biden’s FDA drastically reduced health and safety standards for chemical abortion pills, and the president nominated Dr. Robert Califf to be commissioner of the agency, a role he held during the Obama administration – when he also weakened standards. This appointment will further expose women to the drugs’ risks. Califf joins HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, who took legal action against the FDA during the Trump administration, forcing it to drop health and safety standards for the pills. This is leading to a state-by-state push for health and safety standards.

The new poll examined Millennial and Gen Z views on the separate harms women are now exposed to as a result of this deadly shift in policy. The Biden administration supports none of these protections in its new FDA-approved protocols.

More than 6 in 10 opposed no-test, online distribution of chemical abortion pills, with strong support for each of the screenings and protocols once in place. More than 6 in 10 support screening for a mother’s blood type, as Rh-negative women (15% of the population) can become sterile if not treated properly; 59% supported an ultrasound exam before selling the pills to prevent death from complication from an ectopic or late-term pregnancy; and 62% supported required follow-up exams so women didn’t die from infection.

Concern for women in dangerous situations motivated Millennial and Gen Z voters: 65% supported in-person purchase to prevent abusers or sex traffickers from using the drugs against women without their knowledge and consent, while almost 6 in 10 opposed young girls being left alone with an abortion sales team or coercive sexual partner without adult engagement from a judge, parent or guardian.

And for politicians looking for a winning issue, consider this: Almost 7 in 10 Millennials and Gen Zers said they are more likely to vote for a politician who supports health and safety standards for chemical abortion.

There is common ground to be found on the abortion issue for people of all parties, beginning with putting the opinions and needs of “We the People” over a handful of judges. Once Roe is gone, a long overdue debate will truly begin.

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America, with more than 1,225 chapters on college and high school  campuses in all 50 states. Follow her @KristanHawkins or subscribe to her podcast, “Explicitly Pro-Life.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 21:00

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‘Smart’ Gun Mocked After Demonstration Fail

‘Smart’ Gun Mocked After Demonstration Fail

Smart guns are being pushed in mainstream media to prevent unauthorized people from firing guns in the hopes of preventing mass shootings. 

Biometric recognition technology using fingerprints and or RFID technology is used to activate the high-tech pistols. 

However, as outlined by the pro-gun website Bearing Arms, smart guns aren’t so smart after a possible demonstration failure.

Smart guns could be prone to reliability issues in life in death situations. 

* * * 

Submitted by Bearing Arms

Over the last week or so, so-called smart guns have been everywhere in the mainstream media. In the Second Amendment community, there’s been a ton of talk about them as well. Especially since we all know it’s just a matter of time before lawmakers try to mandate smart guns as the only guns.

However, there are problems with these kinds of firearms. We all know it. I’ve talked about a few of them.

One of the big ones is reliability. The more whizzbangs you put in a device, the higher the likelihood of failure becomes.

Firearms are a technology that has more than a century of development. While there are tweaks here and there, the core of a semi-automatic firearm hasn’t changed all that much. As a result, it’s reliable.

Smart guns don’t have that. What makes them “smart” is a technology that exists elsewhere, but also has problems just about everywhere.

And, as John Boch over at The Truth About Guns notes, it seems they can’t even handle the “gun” part that well, either.

Last week, we lambasted reports of a new “smart gun” that Reuters raved about in a glowing “exclusive.” Reuters reporter Daniel Trotta wrote that the third-generation prototype fired “without issue” during a live-fire demonstration for investors and the media.

Now though, additional footage of the event has since surfaced that shows the LodeStar Works gun couldn’t manage to fire two rounds without an issue during one of the exercises.


Here’s another recording that is embeddable from a local TV reporter. It shows the LodeStar not-so-smart gun can’t even fire two rounds back-to-back.

We can clearly see the shooter state he’s going to fire two rounds. He fires one, then pulls the trigger several more times, only the weapon does fire.

Yeah, that’s the reliability thing we were talking about.

The truth of the matter is that smart guns aren’t ready for prime time. Not by a mile. But, companies working on them know they can gin up publicity–and likely some degree of investment–by sending out a few press releases and telling the media about how awesome their new firearms are.

Yet I have yet to see one of these smart gun folks who is actually a gun person. They seem to generally be technology people who decide to build a smart gun, rather than a gun person who wants to build one.

Of course, gun folks know that there’s not really much of a market for these kinds of guns. We’ve heard about them for years. They’re always just around the corner, and yet absolutely no one seems the least bit interested in them. I have yet to find a gun person who is excited by the concept, though some such as myself are ambivalent about the technology itself. Others, however, are downright hostile to it, mostly because they figure someone will try to mandate them for everyone.

Luckily for those folks, smart guns look like they’re at least another decade out at a minimum.

If these companies think they’ve got something, they need to stop turning to the anti-gun mainstream media and start looking at the gun media instead. Let us test and evaluate the weapons. We’ll tell you if they’re ready or not.

I’m not holding my breath on that, though.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 20:40

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Don’t Believe The Democrats’ “Medical Bankruptcy” Narrative

Don’t Believe The Democrats’ “Medical Bankruptcy” Narrative

Authored by Sally C. Pipes via RealClear Health (emphasis ours),

Americans collectively have about $140 billion in outstanding medical debts, according to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alyssa Keown/Battle Creek Enquirer via AP

Those hefty bills are driving many people into bankruptcy – at least according to prominent progressives. Left-wing leaders have long stoked fears of “medical bankruptcy” to boost support for government-run, single-payer healthcare.

During his last run for president, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., declared that enormous medical bills force a staggering 500,000 people to declare bankruptcy each year – a fact that, if true, would justify drastic reforms to the healthcare system.

But the dystopian portrait painted by Sanders and his allies doesn’t reflect reality. Medical bills can certainly be onerous to many families. But they’re rarely the sole, or even the main, cause of personal bankruptcies.

Sanders based his numbers on a 2019 editorial published by the American Journal of Public Health. The authors conducted a study in which about two-thirds of the 700,000 debtors surveyed said medical expenses contributed “somewhat” or “very much” to their bankruptcy.

That’s not exactly a direct, causal relationship. A more accurate conclusion would be that medical expenses played a role in families’ deteriorating finances.

Often, the main cause of bankruptcy isn’t a surge in debt – it’s a precipitous drop in income. Someone diagnosed with cancer may certainly face burdensome medical bills. But the far bigger threat to one’s finances comes from no longer being able to work full-time – or at all – during a treatment regimen.

Other research confirms that healthcare bills alone rarely drive people into bankruptcy. A 2018 study in the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the percentage of people with medical bills who went bankrupt, rather than how many bankruptcy filings included some level of medical debt. The study concluded that medical bankruptcies, specifically those caused by hospitalization, make up just 4% of all bankruptcies.

Facts like these haven’t slowed the push for single payer. Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, seized upon the JAMA study’s $140 billion statistic soon after it was published, tweeting that the solution was Medicare for All.

The thinking goes that enrolling most Americans in a fully government-run healthcare system funded by tax dollars – rather than the current mix of public and private money – will prevent people from going bankrupt.

But once again, the math doesn’t check out. Government-sponsored, single-payer healthcare isn’t “free.” It’s funded by enormous, broad-based taxes on businesses and workers alike. Those taxes constrain economic growth and, by definition, leave people with less cash on hand to meet their other financial obligations.

Consider Canada, which has a single-payer system revered by American progressives. A family making the average income of 75,300 Canadian dollars – about US$59,700 – pays $6,500 in taxes just to cover its share of the national health insurance tab, according to a September 2021 report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank. An average family of four pays an estimated $15,039 in healthcare taxes. Those figures are on top of all the other taxes Canadians pay to support everything from education to national defense.

Canadians pay a higher share of their total compensation to the government than Americans, according to OECD data.

That explains, in part, why Canadians declare bankruptcy at higher rates than their U.S. counterparts. In 2019 – the year before the pandemic and its ensuing flood of stimulus programs caused a marked decrease in bankruptcies in both countries – about 137,000 Canadians sought protection from insolvency, out of a total population of almost 38 million, a rate of 3.6 bankruptcies per 1,000 residents.

That same year, slightly more than 770,000 Americans declared bankruptcy, out of a total population of 329 million at the time – a rate of 2.3 bankruptcies per 1,000 residents.

Medical bills don’t cause nearly as many bankruptcies as progressive lawmakers want people to believe. And single payer certainly wouldn’t prevent people from going insolvent.

Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Healthcare Policy at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All (Encounter 2020). Follow her on Twitter @sallypipes.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 20:20

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10 Travel Destinations For Post-Pandemic Life

10 Travel Destinations For Post-Pandemic Life

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The resulting travel bans decimated the tourism industry, and international air travel initially fell by as much as 98%.

Almost two years later, travel is finally back on the table, though there are many restrictions to consider. Regardless, a survey conducted in September 2021 found that, as things revert to normalcy, 82% of Americans are looking forward to international travel more than anything else.

To give inspiration for your next vacation (whenever that may be), Visual Capitalist’s Marcus Lu created this infographic listing the 10 most visited countries in 2019, as well as three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.

Bon Voyage

Here were the 10 most popular travel destinations in 2019, measured by their number of international arrivals.

*Estimate | Source: World Bank

France was the most popular travel destination by a significant margin, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most renowned sights, including the Arc de Triomphe and Louvre Museum.

The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s, and honors those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the monument after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognized by its giant glass pyramid. The museum houses over 480,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Art isn’t the only thing that France has to offer. The country has a reputation for culinary excellence, and is home to 632 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most out of any country. Japan comes in at second, with 413.

While You’re There…

After seeing the sights in Paris, you may want to consider a visit to Spain. The country is the southern neighbor of France and is known for its beautiful villages and beaches.

One of its most impressive sights is the Sagrada Familia, a massive 440,000 square feet church which began construction in 1882, and is still being worked on today (139 years in the making). The video below shows the structure’s striking evolution.

At a height of 172 meters, the Sagrada Familia is approximately 52 stories tall.

Another popular spot is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain that is famous for its robust nightlife scene. The island is frequently mentioned in pop culture—Netflix released an adventure/romance movie titled Ibiza in 2018, and the remix of Mike Posner’s song I Took a Pill in Ibiza has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

Beaches Galore

If you’re looking for something outside of Europe, consider Mexico or Thailand, which are the 7th and 8th most popular travel destinations. Both offer hot weather and an abundance of white sand beaches.

If you need even more convincing, check out these links:

Expect Turbulence

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year by international tourists. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), this spending accounted for an impressive 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.

Travel restrictions introduced in 2020 dealt a serious blow to the industry, reducing its share of global GDP to 5.5%, and wiping out an estimated 62 million jobs. While the WTCC believes these jobs could return by 2022, the emerging Omicron variant has already prompted many countries to tighten restrictions once again.

To avoid headaches in the future, make sure you fully understand the rules and restrictions of where you’re heading.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 20:00

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“Unseemly”: NPR Refuses To Correct Story After Supreme Court Deems It False

“Unseemly”: NPR Refuses To Correct Story After Supreme Court Deems It False

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

National Public Radio (NPR) is refusing to correct a story that was challenged by a trio of Supreme Court justices, triggering a flood of criticism.

Citing anonymous sources, reporter Nina Totenberg said Chief Justice John Roberts “asked the other justices to mask up,” or wear masks, because Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed concerns for her safety amid the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Totenberg said that because Justice Neil Gorsuch refused the request—Gorsuch has not worn a mask on the bench recently—Sotomayor began attending oral arguments from her chambers.

In rare public statements a day later, all three justices responded to the report.

Sotomayor and Gorsuch said Sotomayor did not ask Gorsuch to wear a mask, adding that “while we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends.”

Even worse for NPR, which is partially funded by taxpayer money, Roberts said separately that “I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench.”

Despite the direct challenges to the story, though, NPR has not issued a correction.

“The chief justice issued a statement saying he ‘did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other justice to wear a mask on the bench’. The NPR report said the chief justice’s ask to the justices had come ‘in some form.’ NPR stands by its reporting,” Totenberg wrote in a follow-up story.

Ask and requests are synonyms that mean essentially the same thing.

The only change to the initial piece was hyperlinking to the new one.

An NPR spokesman told The Epoch Times via email that the outlet “continues to stand by Nina Totenberg’s reporting.”

Jeffrey McCall, a communications professor at DePauw University, said that the decision not to correct the story means NPR is calling the justices liars, “which, frankly, comes off as unseemly.”

“The justices have made a public statement and, if NPR wants to dispute it, they need to do more to provide context and even identify their source. The general public knows NPR is a largely agenda-driven news outlet, and they will lose in a credibility contest with Supreme Court justices,” he added.

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images)

The NPR spokesman and Totenberg declined to answer or did not respond to several sets of questions, including whether any other NPR employees verified the sources cited by Totenberg, who was fired from the National Observer for plagiarism.

While Totenberg said Roberts “asked” other justices to wear masks in her story, during an appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” prior to the justices’ statements, she said Roberts “suggested” that the other justices don face coverings.

NPR’s public editor, Kelly McBride, said that the different descriptions mean the story “merits a clarification, but not a correction.”

“After talking to Totenberg and reading all justices’ statements, I believe her reporting was solid, but her word choice was misleading,” she wrote.

The reporter told McBride that she did not know how Roberts allegedly conveyed what she claimed he did.

“In the absence of a clarification, NPR risks losing credibility with audience members who see the plainly worded statement from Roberts and are forced to go back to NPR’s story and reconcile the nuances of the verb ‘asked’ when in fact, it’s not a nuanced word,” McBride said.

Readers and listeners have apparently contacted the outlet expressing concern over what happened.

“In order for the story to be true as NPR first reported, Roberts would’ve had to have asked ‘in some form,’ but he said he didn’t, full stop,” one said.

Joe Concha, a media critic at The Hill, wrote on Twitter that “NPR couldn’t have handled this any worse,” linking to McBride’s piece.

The Society of Professional Journalists says ethical journalism should be “accurate and fair” and recommends reporters largely stick to sources that are clearly identified. Reporters should also “respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity, and fairness,” the group said, adding that mistakes should be acknowledged and corrected promptly and corrections and clarifications should be explained, “carefully and clearly.”

Totenberg later spoke to the Daily Beast, criticizing McBride for the column.

“She can write any [expletive] thing she wants, whether or not I think it’s true. She’s not clarifying anything!” the reporter said

“I haven’t even looked at it, and I don’t care to look at it because I report to the news division, she does not report to the news division.”

Responding to Justice Roberts’ direct challenge to her reporting, she claimed that “I did not say that he requested that people do anything, but ‘in some form’ did.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 19:30

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Americans Are Forming Tenant Unions In Backlash Against Corporate Landlords

Americans Are Forming Tenant Unions In Backlash Against Corporate Landlords

The resurgent American labor movement is coming for America’s landlords.

Perhaps taking a cue from the warehouse workers, digital-media employees and Starbucks baristas who have waged high-profile unionization drives over the past year or so, it appears tenants across the nation are forming “tenant unions” to gain leverage over their landlords, with many rebelling against corporate landlords in particular, according to a report from WSJ.

That’s a problem for Blackstone and the other private equity giants that found an opportunity in the pandemic-inspired housing market frenzy. While tenant unions have existed in some form for over a century, WSJ says that – particularly in high-cost cities like NYC and San Francisco – the organizations are seeing a resurgence.

Hundreds of new tenant unions have been formed during the pandemic, estimated Katie Goldstein, director of housing campaigns for the Center for Popular Democracy. The progressive organization with 50 affiliate groups across the country is one of a handful of activist networks advising tenant unions.

WSJ’s reporter even confirmed that the increase was indeed happening with landlord trade organizations, which responded that many of the new organizations only have a few members.

But before mom-and-pop landlords start to panic, these tenant ‘associations’ actually have little legal power or standing. Unfortunately (for landlords), some progressive lawmakers are talking about maybe trying to change that.

Some lawmakers in San Francisco, responding in part to tenant complaints, said they plan to consider this year a proposal to force city landlords to meet with tenant unions. The proposal would impose temporary rent reductions on landlords that fail to do so.

Then again, some people who spoke with WSJ shared stories about how tenants unions did help them avoid an eviction when a new corporate landlord took over.

Alicia Roberts spent years living at the Paradise Apartments in St. Petersburg, Fla. When Paradise sold to a new landlord in April, she expected a new stove. Instead, she missed a rent payment and got an eviction notice.

Not long after she was told to leave, she joined the St. Petersburg Tenants Union…


If it wasn’t for the union, Ms. Roberts said, “I’d probably be gone.”

If nothing else, the trend is a symptom of a hard fact of life. Because the reality is, even before the latest inflationary wave, many American workers have been struggling with the consequences of stagnant wages and rising rents, health-care costs and tuition inflation, much of which amazingly escaped the notice of the CPI numbers for years.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 19:00

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Wife Stands Off With Hospital To Keep Her Husband Alive, And Wins

Wife Stands Off With Hospital To Keep Her Husband Alive, And Wins

Authored by Matt McGregor via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Sentiments expressed in random phone calls for Anne Quiner as her husband Scott lay in a hospital bed breathing through a ventilator ranged from “I hope your husband dies a vegetable” followed by a litter of profanity, to “he should have taken the vaccine; I hope he dies,” before hanging up.

Anne and Scott Quiner at Gooseberry Falls State Park in 2018. (Courtesy of Anne Quiner)

While not the traditional Hallmark expressions for one to get well soon, Quiner said it was a feeling shared among some of the doctors at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, where Scott had been hospitalized for COVID-19 complications in November.

In one recorded phone call with Dr. Linda Soucie in which Quiner was fighting to keep Scott on the ventilator, Soucie told Quiner, “Unfortunately, if we could turn back time and he had gotten the vaccine, then he wouldn’t be here,” just after Soucie had told Quiner, “After three years, I think we’ve gotten pretty good at determining who’s going to make it and who’s not, and unfortunately Scott’s in that range of the group that is not going to make it.”

In a recorded conference call, doctors told Quiner that they would be taking Scott off the ventilator on Jan. 13 because he would not recover due to what they said were his “destroyed lungs from COVID pneumonia,” and that their attempts at decreasing sedation only caused him pain.

Quiner told The Epoch Times that her petitions for alternative treatments, as well as to keep Scott on the ventilator, had been met with contempt.

With doctors determined to take Scott off the ventilator, Quiner sought legal counsel.

Making It Out Alive

Marjorie Holsten, Quiner’s attorney, told The Epoch Times that she filed a motion for a temporary restraining order that prevented the hospital from taking Scott off the ventilator.

Mercy Hospital then hired its own law firm that objected to the temporary restraining order on the basis that Holsten and Quiner’s position isn’t “supported by medical science.”

Because of this, the hospital requested that the court issue an order authorizing the hospital to take Scott off the ventilator.

The judge sided with Holsten, issuing the order based on the standard that irreparable harm would result if not issued, which Holsten said was easy to establish because if Scott had been taken off, he would have died.

On Jan. 15, Scott was transferred out of Mercy Hospital and taken to an undisclosed hospital in Texas, where Holsten said the doctors have reported Scott to be malnourished, having lost 30 pounds underweight, and dehydrated.

Both Holsten and Quiner said doctors in Texas were “horrified” by Scott’s condition when he arrived.

“One doctor said he didn’t know how Scott made it out of that hospital alive,” Quiner said. “He looked at his chart and said, ‘I can’t believe the heavy, sedating drugs they put him on.’”

The hospital was following a rigid late-treatment COVID protocol that has “very likely killed many people,” Holsten said.

Mercy Hospital is a part of the Allina Health hospital system.

When reached for comment on Scott’s treatment, a spokesperson for Allina Health told The Epoch Times that Allina Health “has great confidence in the exceptional care provided to our patients, which is administered according to evidence-based practices by our talented and compassionate medical teams. Due to patient privacy, we cannot comment on care provided to specific patients,” and that the hospital system wished “the patient and his family well.”

Currently, Holsten said Scott is “making tremendous progress.”

“Yesterday, Scott started following the doctor’s hands with his eyes, and now he’s blinking in response to questions,” Holsten said. “He was able to nod his head and move his legs for the nurse.”

The ordeal became a manifestation of Quiner’s biggest fear in taking Scott to the hospital after his symptoms worsened, Quiner said.

Since the beginning of COVID-19, rumors of neglectful treatment of COVID patients in hospitals fueled by financial incentives have circulated.

‘It’s a Bounty on People’s Lives’

Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist and immunologist who has contributed to mRNA vaccine technology, said in a December 2021 interview on The Joe Rogan Experience said that the financial incentives aren’t rumors.

“The numbers are quite large,” Malone told Rogan. “There’s something like a $3,000 basically death benefit to a hospital if it can be claimed to be COVID. There’s a financial incentive to call somebody COVID positive.

The hospitals receive a bonus, Malone added, from the government if someone is hospitalized and able to be declared COVID positive.

“They also receive a bonus—I think the total is something like $30,000 in incentive—if somebody gets put on the vent,” Malone said. “Then they get a bonus, if somebody is declared dead with COVID.”

It was Stew Peters, a podcaster on The Stew Peters Show, that broke Quiner’s story and garnered audience support that facilitated Scott’s release.

After sending the two recordings Quiner made of her conversations with her doctors to her patient advocate and Minnesota State Rep. Shane Mekeland, they both then contacted Peters who Quiner said called her “right away.”

“He told me, ‘If you don’t get social media involved and get this viral, they will kill your husband and you won’t have any say in it at all,’”
Quiner said. “That’s when Stew got me on his show and within moments the hospital got like 300,000 phone calls. They had to shut their phone lines down.”

Quiner said it was Peters and his audience that were responsible “for helping me save my husband’s life.”

“Without their taking action, Scott would have died,” Quiner said.

At one point, there were so many phone calls that Quiner said the hospital began denying that Scott was a patient there.

“Our audience flooded the hospital and Frederickson & Byron Law Firm (the firm that represents Mercy Hospital) with calls, making them all
aware that the world was watching,” Peters told The Epoch Times.

The Stew Peters Show put a team together that included Attorney Thomas Renz and coordinated with a doctor to take Scott’s case and the hospital
where Scott was transferred.

On the Stew Peters Show, Dr. Lee Vliet, president and chief executive officer for the physician-founded Truth for Health, a nonprofit that has promoted early COVID treatment to keep people out of hospitals, said the CARES Act has documented hospital incentive payments.

Hospital administrators know that they will be extra for doing the PCR tests and positive test results,” Vliet said. “A COVID diagnosis means admission to the hospital. On admission, there is an incentive payment. Use of remdesivir provides a 20 percent bonus payment from our government to the hospital on the entire hospital bill for that COVID patient.

The use of remdesivir gives the hospital a 20 percent bonus payment from Medicare instead of other medicines, such as ivermectin, Vliet said.

“It’s a bounty on people’s lives, basically, to use remdesivir and prevent access to other medications such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin,” Vliet said.

She echoed Malone’s statement on hospital incentives for putting a patient on a ventilator and declaring a patient deceased from COVID.

In addition, she said the coroner gets a financial incentive for a COVID diagnosis.

She added that medical practices are paid more under Medicare and Medicaid services based on a higher percentage of their patients being vaccinated.

On average, she said, it has been calculated that hospitals receive a bonus of $100,000 minimum for every COVID patient who has the elements of COVID diagnosis with remdesivir and ventilator treatment before a COVID cause of death.

Vliet cites her research in an editorial in the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons titled, “Biden’s Bounty on Your Life: Hospitals’ Incentive Payments for COVID-19.”

‘She Just Wants to Keep Her Husband Alive’

Married 35 years with three children, Quiner and Scott have been through much together, she said, and in these last few months, Quiner has faced some of the hardest parts without him.

After 14 years, amid fighting to keep her husband alive, Quiner had to put their dog Toby down earlier in January because he could no longer walk.

“One morning I got up and he could not get up at all,” Quiner said.

Quiner has been verbally attacked not just through phone calls but through news and social media, platforms her children warned she avoid.

“My family told me not to even go on to Twitter because I didn’t want to read what they were writing about me,” Quiner said.

Still, Holsten said Quiner continues to fight.

“She’s a trooper, and she hasn’t sought any of this,” Holsten said. “She just wants to keep her husband alive.”

On his transfer to Texas, Quiner said she’s relieved.

“That’s the first thing I felt,” Quiner said, “relief that he’s out of that hospital and in safe care.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 18:30

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Seeing Red: Is The Heydey Of Pandemic Stocks Over?

Seeing Red: Is The Heydey Of Pandemic Stocks Over?

The stock market, and the stocks that flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, are off to a rough start in 2022. As Visual Capitalist’s Jenna Ross points out, if you’ve been watching your investment accounts, chances are you’ve been seeing a lot of red. Shaken by the uncertainty of a pandemic recovery and future interest rate hikes, investors have been selling off their stocks.

This market selloff—which occurs when investors sell a large volume of securities in a short period of time, leading to a rapid decline in price—has investors concerned. In fact, search interest for the term “selloff” recently reached peak interest of 100.

Which stocks were the hardest hit, and how much are their prices down so far this year?

The Lackluster Returns of Pandemic Stocks

Pandemic stocks and tech-centric companies have suffered the most. Here’s a closer look at the year-to-date price returns for select stocks.

Netflix fueled the selloff after it reported disappointing subscriber growth. The company added 8.28 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, which is less than the 8.5 million it added in the fourth quarter of 2020. It also projects to have slower year-over-year subscriber growth in the near term, citing competition from other streaming companies.

Meanwhile, Coinbase stock lost nearly a quarter of its value so far this year. As the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have plummeted, investors worry Coinbase will see lower trading volume and therefore lower fees.

The contagion also spread to other pandemic stocks, such as Zoom and DocuSign, as investors began to doubt the staying power of stay-at-home stocks.

Following the Herd

While investor exuberance drove many of these stocks up last year, 2022 is beginning to paint a different picture.

Investors are worried that rising rates will negatively impact high-growth stocks, because it means it’s more expensive to borrow money. Not only that, but they also may see Netflix’s growth as harbinger of things to come for other pandemic stocks.

The psychology of the market cycle also plays a role—amid these fears, investors have adopted a herd mentality and begun selling their shares in droves.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 18:00

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Unmask America

Unmask America

Authored by Jeff Deist via The Mises Institute,

Enough is enough. It is time to stop wearing masks, or at the very least to eliminate mask mandates in all settings. 

This is especially urgent for children in schools and universities, who suffer the effects of masks for long hours each day despite being at exceedingly low risk for death or serious illness from covid.

We have a responsibility, once and for all, to reject the ludicrous, ever-shifting narratives underpinning masks as effective impediments to the spread of covid infections.

Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus

– former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams in February 2020. 

The story changed from “masks don’t work,” to “masks may work,” to “masks work and you must wear one.” Now the narrative switches yet again: “cloth masks don’t work, so you should wear a surgical or ‘well-fitted’ mask,” or even wear two!

Note that even as covid evolves into a less dangerous omicron variant, we are supposed to increase the hysteria level by wearing masks intended for surgeons maintaining a sterile environment over open wounds. We are told this by the same political, medical, and media figures who have been “frequently wrong but never in doubt” about all things covid over the past two long years. And they spoke with just as much bogus certainty then as they do now.

Perversely, the Biden administration recently ordered 400 million surgical N95 masks for distribution across the country. Since N95 masks are considered disposable, and meant to be worn at most perhaps 40 hours, it is unclear what happens in a week or two when 330 million Americans run out of their “free” personal protective equipment.

The UK has sensibly ended its mask mandates, both in public places (offices and other workplaces, bars, restaurants, sporting events, theaters) and thankfully schools. One young university student broke down in tears at the news, lamenting the inhumanity of her experience over the past two years. As British Health secretary Savid Javid stated, “We must learn to live with covid in the same way we live with flu.”


The arguments against masks are straightforward.

  • Masks don’t work. Or at least cloth masks don’t.

Even the CDC now admits what Dr. Anthony Fauci told the world in February 2020: cloth masks don’t work and there is no reason to wear one: 

“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you.”

I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location.

CNN’s dubious medical expert Dr. Lena Wen, previously an uber-masker, now tells us cloth masks are “little more than facial decorations. And heroic skeptic Dr. Jay Bhattacharya cites both a Danish study and a Bangladeshi study which found cloth masks show little efficacy in preventing covid. 

Are we seriously prepared to wear tight and uncomfortable surgical masks all day to evade omicron?

  • Masks are filthy.

Humans lungs and our respiratory system are designed to inhale nitrogen and oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is literally a waste product, removed from the blood via our lungs. Masks may not trap injurious levels of carbon dioxide against our nose and mouth, but they certainly get filthy very quickly unless changed constantly. They also encourage mouth breathing, which can cause “mask mouth” symptoms including acne, bad breath, tender gums, and lip irritation.

Why would we ever interfere with natural breathing unless we felt sick, displayed symptoms, and were worried about infecting others? And in that case, why not just stay home?

  • Masks are dehumanizing.

Humans communicate verbally and nonverbally, and masks impede both forms. Masks muffle and distort our words. Our facial expressions are important cues to everyone around us; without those cues communication and understanding suffer. Infants and toddlers may be most affected, as a lack of facial engagement with parents and loved ones impedes the human connections and attachments formed during childhood.

Perhaps most disturbing, however, are the symbolic effects when millions of Americans dutifully wear masks based on flimsy evidence provided by deeply unimpressive people. Facelessness–the lack of individual identity, personality, and looks– is inherently dehumanizing and dystopian. Like prison or military uniforms, masks reduce our personal characteristics. Mask are muzzles, symbols of rote acquiescence to an ugly new normal nobody asked for or voted for.

  • Risk is inevitable.

Risk is omnipresent, and heavily subjective (e.g., covid risk varies enormously with age and comorbidities). Nobody has a right to force interventions like masks onto others, just as nobody has a right to a hypothetical germ-free landscape. Exhalation is not aggression, short of purposefully attempting to sicken others. People wearing masks arguably shed slightly fewer covid virus particles than those not, but this does not justify banning the latter from public life. As always, the overwhelming burden of justification for any intervention—including mask mandates—must rest on those proposing it, not those opposing it. 

In sum, Americans are not children. Tradeoffs are part of every policy, whether government officials admit this or not. We know how to coexist with flu, just as we live with countless bacteria and viruses in our environment. We will similarly coexist with covid. The goal is not to eliminate germs, and zero covid is an absurdity. A healthy immune system, built up through diet, exercise, and sunlight will always be the best frontline defense against communicable disease. But diet, exercise, and sunlight cannot be outsourced to health officials or mandated by politicians.

Whatever slight benefits masks may provide are a matter for individuals to decide for themselves. People who feel sick with symptoms should stay home. We can all wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. Otherwise it is time for Americans to assert themselves against the dubious claims and non-existent legality of government covid measures. 

It is time to get back to normal life, and that starts with visible human faces.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 17:30

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden