“Peacetime Is Over”: Financial Times Pens Puff Piece On Silicon Valley Defense Tech Startups After NDAA Passage 

“Peacetime Is Over”: Financial Times Pens Puff Piece On Silicon Valley Defense Tech Startups After NDAA Passage 

We have pointed out that AI competition between the US and China is heating up. In 2019, we wrote a note titled As Tech War Unfolds, AI Arms-Race Erupts, China Could Overtake US By Next Decade and penned this in April, Winner Takes All: The US-China Race To AI Mastery

In yet another sign the arms race could intensify, a new Financial Times article titled How Silicon Valley is Assisting the Pentagon in the AI Arms Race appears to be a promotional piece that reads as if a lobbying group wrote it to convince folks that after the passage of the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, more taxpayers dollars should flow to Silicon Valley defense startups rather than the five prime contractors, which include Lockheed Martin and Boeing. 

But getting the defence department to reallocate some of its mammoth $886bn budget from its five incumbent prime contractors, which include Lockheed Martin and Boeing, to the thousands of entrepreneurs producing cutting-edge systems remains an obstacle. Tech entrepreneurs and investors have accused military leaders of engaging in “innovation theatre” — paying lip service to the benefits of disruptive technology while holding back lucrative contracts. -FT

Steve Blank, a tech veteran and founding member of the Gordian Knot Center at Stanford, said, “For the first time ever, the US military is dependent on commercial tech to win a war, but they’re not organized to deal with commercial tech.” 

“China operates like Silicon Valley,” Blank added, in reference to the tech sector’s speed of innovation and agility — noting: “On a good day, the DoD operates like Detroit,” the metro area that has yet to recover from a plunge in auto-making. “It’s not a fair fight.”

FT pointed out, “Ukraine’s deployment of dual-use technology — capabilities that have both commercial and defense applications — such as satellite imagery and autonomous drones is among the biggest catalysts for the US to bridge the chasm between Washington and California.”  

“What’s happened in Ukraine has been a game-changer. More commercial technology is being used than during any other disagreement,” said Mike Brown, a venture capitalist at Shield Capital and the former director of the Defence Innovation Unit.

Brown said, “That has got the wheels turning for the US military, which is saying, ‘We need to adopt far more of this.'”

Again, the article reads that the “groundbreaking” commercial tech used in the war in Ukraine is grounds to divert military monies to California defense tech startups, which will better prepare the military for an even more significant issue: an AI arms race with China. 

For some fear porn, the author declares, “Peacetime is over,” outlining a list of Silicon Valley defense startups that would add value to military capabilities on the modern battlefield if they received a larger chunk of the new Pentagon budget for 2024. 

Furthermore, the promotional article about Silicon Valley’s defense startups failed to address potential dystopian outcomes, such as the dire implications of AI killing humans (there was already an incident of one rogue AI drone). 

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 19:20

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“Too Big To Hide” – Ed Dowd Slams COVID Vax Injuries “Cover-Up… It’s A Crime”

“Too Big To Hide” – Ed Dowd Slams COVID Vax Injuries “Cover-Up… It’s A Crime”

Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com,

Former Wall Street money manager Ed Dowd is still a skillful number cruncher.  Dowd made billions of dollars in profits by being right on the data. He’s right on the data again in his recent wildly popular book Cause Unknown” The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 and 2022. 

Dowd’s book documents the extreme deaths and horrible injuries that are now skyrocketing in number.  The huge problems being caused by the CV19 bioweapon/vax are increasing, unstoppable and no longer need to be proven.  Dowd says,

I was not in the room, but at this point, it is a crime because it’s a coverup. 

I said this in my book in December of 2022.  They see the same data that I see, and the data has only gotten worse since then.  So, it’s a crime, and it’s a coverup.  That’s all you need to know...

Forget about the who and the why.  It was a bioweapon.  It was a mistake.  I don’t care at this point.  This is a joke.  They are killing people. 

They continue to mandate these jabs at some universities.  Some employers still mandate them.  The UK is requiring all school children who enter school in the fall to take these shots. 

This is a joke.  This is a crime.  This is a coverup, and it’s murder at this point.”

In 2022 alone, Dowd figured 30% of the workforce had been killed, disabled and cannot work or is working chronically ill.  Dowd says the death and disability trend for 2023 is way up.  Thousands everyday are reporting they are getting sick, and Dowd says the CV19 bioweapon injections are to blame.  Supply chains and society are going to grind to a crawl, and Dowd predicts,

Everything is slowly breaking down. 

You won’t see this on the news, but you will see this when you need something done, and you will experience this. 

You are going to be gaslit and told everything is fine. 

There is not problem here.  Don’t look over here. 

We are going to see glacial Mad Max.  

Things are going to get harder to do.  Businesses and services you take for granted are going to become scarce. 

I think we are going to see a deflation in financial assets that will start soon enough.  We will have inflation in things you need like food, medical care and much other stuff.”

Dowd also points out,

“The Justice Department is protecting the looting operation that’s been going on for 40 plus years. 

Everybody in Washington D.C. is literally stealing your taxpayer dollars…

The Deep State protects the looting operation, and they are all in on it.”

Ivermectin is being used by doctors like Pierre Kory as a base drug for treating CV19 vaxed injured patients and unvaxed patients harmed by so-called “shedding.”  Yet, it is still being withheld from a public that desperately needs it.  Why is Ivermectin being restricted?  Dowd says,

For them to start pushing Ivermectin would expose them.  They are the ones who said what do you mean and called it horse paste.  Criminals and people in coverup mode continue as if everything is fine until they are caught. 

That’s what happened at Enron.  Enron was fraud, and the stock was down 50% from the highs… I was skeptical, and I protected my firm from it and got out of it…

This is the same thing.  Criminals are going to act as if everything is fine, and they are not going to ever admit that Ivermectin is worth anything to anybody because to do so would unravel their whole thread of lies.  I take Ivermectin and I have never been vaccinated, and I take a little dose of Ivermectin a couple times a week.

In closing, Dowd says,

“This is going to become too big to hide.  Congress needs to act.  These people in the GOP are forming committees on J6 and other things.  That’s great and good on you.  How about the Covid vaccine committee?  Call me up, I’ll share my numbers.”

Dowd also talks about the importance of holding cash, the dollar’s near term and longer term future, gold as a core investment and the wild card of world war.

There is much more in the 49-minute interview.

Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One with money manager and investment expert Ed Dowd, author of the book called “Cause Unknown” The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 and 2022

*  *  *

To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here

You can order Dowd’s book called “Cause Unknown” by clicking here.

If you want to go to Dowd’s website called PhinanceTechnologies.com, click here.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 19:00

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Exxon About To Become ‘Lithium Kingpin’? Talks Begin With Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, Reports Say

Exxon About To Become ‘Lithium Kingpin’? Talks Begin With Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, Reports Say

Exxon Mobil Corp. is planning to enter the minerals game by becoming a supplier of lithium to Tesla Inc., Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, and other automakers, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. 

The sources said discussions are in the “early stages and also include battery giants Samsung and SK On Co.” If the report is correct, Exxon appears to be searching for buyers as it positions itself to capitalize on the electric-vehicle boom amid pressure by ESG funds and the Biden administration to shrink its core oil production and refining businesses. 

The people also said Exxon is in talks with lithium producer Albemarle Corp. The company told Bloomberg, “Given Albemarle’s leadership role in the market, people routinely want to speak with us — especially when looking at potential resources.”

In a conference call with investors last Friday, Exxon’s CEO Darren Woods broke the silence about the interest in lithium brine mining. He said Exxon wants to extract lithium from underground saltwater, a cheaper and more environmentally friendly method than traditional mining on the surface. 

“We can bring it on at a much lower cost, and I think, importantly, with much less environmental impact versus open mining that they’re doing in other parts of the world,” Woods said. 

He continued, “The processing of the brine and extracting the lithium is very consistent with a lot of the things that we do in our refineries and chemical plants and, in fact, in some of our upstream operations.” 

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Exxon plans “to build one of the world’s largest lithium processing facilities” in Arkansas. 

Exxon might be an emerging player in the lithium field as the US rushes to secure critical mineral supply chains amid souring relations with China

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 18:40

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The Jokes Write Themselves

The Jokes Write Themselves

By Benjamin Picton of Rabobank

It’s important to maintain a sense of humor in the markets. Here at Rabobank we occasionally get accused of being perma-bears but I think that’s a little unfair because, like any team, we have a diversity of views and some of us are actually quite upbeat! Nevertheless, we have been fairly negative on the global outlook for a while. I prefer to think of this as cheerful pessimism, which Charlie Munger assures us is the best way to be, and he ought to know.

Indeed, there is much cause for mirth because funny things happen in the markets all the time. A case in point is the news over the weekend that the Bank of England will be leaning on the expertise of Ben “sub-prime is contained” Bernanke to lead a review into the Bank’s forecasting performance. We’re not suggesting that a bit of navel-gazing wouldn’t be justified for the Bank given its recent forecasting performance, but if you’re going to take advice on a subject wouldn’t it make sense to ask somebody with more of a track record of success?

Another famous Bernanke clanger was his assurances to Congress that the United States would not enter recession in 2008. I don’t want to jinx it, but that sounds eerily similar to the prognostications of another former Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, who has also been telling us pretty much the same thing recently. Yellen isn’t alone in her view. Following the decision to increase the Fed Funds rate last week Jerome Powell told us that Fed staff no longer expect a recession in 2023. That probably invalidates my working theory that Yellen’s no recession call might just have been the magic mushrooms talking, but it still might be worth checking what was on the menu at the Bank of England when the Bernanke decision was made.

Regular readers will know that our resident Fed expert, Philip Marey, has been cheerfully pessimistic for quite some time about the prospects for US growth later in the year. That is still the case, but the dataflow recently has been pretty good. Second quarter GDP last week beat the consensus forecast by miles, the core PCE deflator showed moderation, durable goods orders were strong and new jobless claims continue to outperform. Talk of a soft landing, or even “no landing” is creeping back into markets, but risks are legion! Commercial real estate jitters, deep losses on bank ‘hold to maturity’ portfolios, sky-high PE ratios and oodles of debt are all known-knowns (that we are ignoring for the time being), but what about the unknowns?

For this, I turn to my colleague Michael Every:

Saudi Arabia is to hold a peace summit over Ukraine, without Russia(!), and is potentially interested in a peace deal with Israel, with strings attached for the far-right Israeli government and the White House, which would have to offer a mutual defence treaty, against Iran, and backing for a Saudi civilian nuclear program – those who know the Middle East can see the upsides *and* the downsides of that potential dynamic. But ‘Peace now’, then, to match the ‘rate cuts soon’ vibe? Hardly! Consider: Kyiv may (or may not) have been behind new drone attacks on Moscow; Ukraine’s counter-offensive may finally be working; Russia’s Medvedev has stated Ukrainian success would require a Russian nuclear response; and, as the Financial Times (and others) warn, ‘Putin is looking for a bigger war, not an off-ramp, in Ukraine’, the Polish PM and senate suggest the Wagner group may soon stage a provocation at the Suwalki gap between Belarus and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to test NATO unity. In short, far fatter tail risks than another 25bp hike from the Fed or ECB remain present. Even assuming we don’t get a bigger war, NATO defence spending needs to surge to keep pace with rising global threats just as some economists are talking about fiscal prudence again. Japan, which just tightened monetary policy, will see its military spending leap from $122.5bn to $310bn over the next five years. Meanwhile, the New York Times warns Chinese hackers placed malware in key US infrastructure, which logically may need to be replaced, alongside ongoing onshoring. In short, markets may like doves but there is no guarantee of either ‘peace now’ or ‘rate cuts soon’.

It’s hard not to see some black humor in staging peace talks that don’t include the main belligerent. Signs of further Russian aggression are particularly concerning given the position of relative weakness that Europe is starting from. The German manufacturing PMI released last week looks absolutely diabolical, as do the preliminary growth figures for the second quarter. The situation is sufficiently serious for Economy Minister Habeck to caution last week that the economy faces five difficult years of green industrial transition.

Greeks and Italians who have been subject to more than a little finger-wagging from Berlin over the years may be enjoying the Schadenfreude for the time being, but a weak Germany in a time of geopolitical tensions is not in the broader interests of the EU. That is no laughing matter.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 18:20

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The Indoctrination Of America’s Boys Is Not Working…

The Indoctrination Of America’s Boys Is Not Working…

Major media outlets, including The Washington Post and numerous left-slanted ones, have published articles to persuade the public that the up-and-coming generation holds more socially and politically progressive attitudes. However, a new respected federal survey of American youth shows otherwise. 

The Hill cites a new survey from Monitoring the Future that shows an explosion of high school seniors that identify as male and say they’re “conservative” or “very conservative.” Data from the survey extends back more than a half-century to the mid-1970s. The eruption happened during President Trump’s first term. Meanwhile, male respondents who identified as “liberals” plunged to 13%. 

As for female seniors during Trump’s first term, there was a surge in ones who identified as “liberals” while identifying as a “conservative’ was unchanged. 

Although this is just one study, outlets such as WaPo and Axios reference other studies indicating a leftward shift among America’s youth.

Even with progressives implanting their agendas in public schools, such as ‘woke’ math, this study shows that perhaps the indoctrination of the young generation into aligning with the Democratic party might be faltering.

Can this be attributed to Trump?

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 18:00

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Amicus Brief Defending Legality of Immigration Parole Program for Migrants Fleeing Socialism, Oppression, and Violence in Four Latin American Nations

Venezuelans Fleeing Socialism 2
Venezuelans fleeing the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro.


Earlier today, I submitted an amicus brief to the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Texas v. Department of Homeland Security, a case challenging the legality of the CNVH immigration parole program. I wrote the brief on behalf of the Cato Institute, MedGlobal (a humanitarian organization that provides medical assistance to refugees and victims of natural disaster), and myself. Here is an excerpt from the summary of the brief posted on the Cato website:

In January, the Biden Administration adapted the approach used by the successful Uniting for Ukraine private migrant sponsorship program to include a combined total of up to 30,000 migrants per month from four Latin American countries: Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Haiti (the CNVH countries). Under these programs, migrants fleeing war, oppression, poverty, and violence in these countries can quickly gain legal entry into the United States and the right to live and work here for up to two years, if they have a private sponsor in the US who commits to supporting them.

Twenty GOP‐​controlled states filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the program for the four Latin American nations (though not Uniting for Ukraine). They claim the program lacks proper congressional authorization. Ironically, the flaws in the lawsuit are highlighted by the plaintiff state governors’ own statements about the evils of socialism and the urgent need to address the crisis at the southern border….

The CNVH program is authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act which states that “[t]he Attorney General may, except as provided in subparagraph (B) or in section 1184(f) of this title, in his discretion parole into the United States temporarily under such conditions as he may prescribe only on a case‐​by‐​case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit any alien applying for admission to the United States.” 8 U.S.C. § 1182(d)(5)(A).

Part I of the brief demonstrated that migrants from the CNVH countries indeed have “urgent humanitarian reasons” to seek refuge in the United States. They are fleeing a combination of rampant violence, brutal oppression by authoritarian socialist regimes, and severe economic crises. So great is the humanitarian need here, that even the leaders of some of the plaintiff states have recognized and denounced the horrific conditions in these countries.

In Part II, we show that paroling CNVH migrants also creates a major “public benefit.” That benefit is reducing pressure and disorder on America’s southern border. Here, too, some of the Plaintiff states have themselves recognized the importance of this benefit, and indeed have loudly called for measures to achieve it. The CNVH program has already massively reduced cross‐​border undocumented migration by citizens of the four nations it covers.

Part III explains why the parole program is consistent with the statutory requirement that parole be conducted on a “case by case basis.” 8 U.S.C. § 1182(d)(5)(A). The Plaintiffs’ position on this point is inconsistent with statutory text, Supreme Court precedent, and basic principles of statutory interpretation. It would also lead to absurd results.

Finally, Part IV shows that, while the Plaintiffs have limited their lawsuit to challenging the CNVH program, if the court accepts their position it would also imperil Uniting for Ukraine. The latter relies on the same legal authority as the former.

In sum, this ill‐​conceived lawsuit deserves to fail for reasons well‐​articulated by leaders of some of the very same states that filed it.

The CNVH program has already helped many thousands of migrants fleeing violence and socialist oppression, and has also had a big impact alleviating pressure on the southern border. A court decision shutting it down would be both legally unjustifiable, and likely to cause great harm.

The post Amicus Brief Defending Legality of Immigration Parole Program for Migrants Fleeing Socialism, Oppression, and Violence in Four Latin American Nations appeared first on Reason.com.

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Giuliani Admits His Oft-Told Tale of Georgia Election Fraud Was Not True

Rudy Giuliani now admits that his oft-told tale of massive election fraud in Fulton County, Georgia, was false.

Late Friday night, a federal judge in Florida tossed a lawsuit in which former President Donald Trump argued that CNN had defamed him by labeling his stolen-election fantasy “the Big Lie.” A few days earlier in a different defamation case, Rudy Giuliani, who as Trump’s lawyer helped propagate the claim that systematic fraud delivered the White House to Joe Biden, belatedly admitted that he had falsely and repeatedly accused two Georgia election workers of participating in that imaginary conspiracy.

Whatever you think of the notion that people have a right to protect their reputations in court, the conjunction of those two developments starkly illustrates the difference between use and abuse of defamation law as it currently stands. Trump has a long, astonishingly petty history of filing (or threatening to file) frivolous defamation claims against critics who irk him, and his CNN lawsuit was dismissed for an entirely predictable reason: He failed to allege that the channel had published verifiably false statements of fact about him. In the lawsuit against Giuliani, by contrast, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea Moss (who are mother and daughter) plausibly allege that he defamed them by publicly claiming they had deliberately introduced and processed thousands of phony Biden ballots.

Trump’s lawsuit, which he filed last October, cited four CNN articles and one broadcast.

In a January 25, 2021, essay under the headline “Trump’s big lie wouldn’t have worked without his thousands of little lies,” CNN Opinion contributor Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Trump “a leader of authoritarian intentions and tendencies,” likening him to “China’s Xi Jinping” and “Hungary’s Viktor Orbán.” She said “Trump’s ‘Big Lie'” about the election was “a brazen falsehood with momentous consequences.”

In a July 5, 2021, piece, CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza explicitly invoked Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Cillizza began by quoting something Trump had said at a rally in Sarasota, Florida, two days before: “If you say it enough and keep saying it, they’ll start to believe you.”

Although Trump was talking about deceptive claims by Democrats, Cillizza suggested that observation described what Trump himself was trying to do by claiming the election had been stolen: “One can only hope that Trump was unaware that his quote was a near-replication of this infamous line from Nazi Joseph Goebbels: ‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.'” In another CNN essay two months later, Cillizza said Trump “continued to push the Big Lie that the election was somehow stolen despite there being zero actual evidence to back up that belief.”

On CNN’s State of the Union in January 2022, Jake Tapper said Trump was “continuing to push his big lie,” a phrase he used several times. The following month, CNN published another Cillizza piece complaining that “Trump’s election lie is on the march.” Citing a “new poll” indicating that “Trump[‘s] 2020 election lie is working,” Cillizza bemoaned “the insidiousness of Trump’s big lie,” saying “his false claims are wheedling their way into the consciousness of the public.”

The gravamen of Trump’s complaint, as summarized by U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal (a Trump appointee), was that “the use of the phrase ‘the Big Lie’ constitutes defamation per se because it ‘create[s] a false and incendiary association between the Plaintiff and Hitler.'” Trump claimed that phrase is defamatory because it “has incited readers and viewers to hate, contempt, distrust, ridicule, and even fear,” thereby “causing injury to the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff’s reputation, and the Plaintiff’s political career.”

Based on CNN’s use of that phrase, Trump claimed, “viewers and readers ‘understood that Plaintiff would be Hitler-like in any future political role.'” Trump said the resulting damages exceeded $75,000, and he sought punitive damages of $475 million—reminiscent of his half-billion-dollar claim against a financial journalist who dared to suggest that Trump’s fortune was smaller than he asserted.

“This case involves political speech of the highest order,” Singhal notes. “The First Amendment ‘has its fullest and most urgent application precisely to the conduct of campaigns for public office,'” and the speech that provoked Trump’s lawsuit “involves reporting and commentary on Trump’s challenges to the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.”

The fatal problem with Trump’s complaint, Singhal says in dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice, is that it “alleges no false statements of fact.” The comments that offended him “are opinion, not factually false statements, and therefore are not actionable.”

While “Trump argues that CNN’s motivation for describing his election challenges as ‘the Big Lie’ was to undermine Trump’s political standing,” Singhal adds, “political motivation does not establish falsity.” And although “the Court finds Nazi references in the political discourse (made by whichever ‘side’) to be odious and repugnant,” he writes, “bad rhetoric is not defamation when it does not include false statements of fact.”

The accusations that Giuliani lodged against Freeman and Moss, by contrast, were false statements of fact, as he now concedes. In the December 2021 lawsuit that the two women filed against Giuliani and One America News Network (OAN) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, they noted that Giuliani had repeatedly claimed surveillance video from Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, where Fulton County absentee ballots were tallied, showed that election workers, including two individuals eventually identified as Freeman and Moss, intentionally counted a massive number of phony ballots.

On December 3, 2020, Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team testified before the Georgia Senate about alleged election irregularities. A Trump campaign representative said the purported fraud at State Farm Center involved 18,000 ballots. She referred to “suitcases of ballots [stored] under a table, under a tablecloth”; identified the election workers as “the lady in purple,” “two women in yellow,” and “the lady with the blond braids also, who told everyone to leave”; and stated that “one of them had the name Ruby across her shirt somewhere.”

Giuliani amplified those claims on Twitter that day. He retweeted a post in which fellow Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis averred that “thousands of ballots” were “pulled from under a table in suitcases and scanned.” And he claimed the evidence of that crime was irrefutable: “The video tape doesn’t lie. Fulton County Democrats stole the election. It’s now beyond doubt.”

The next day, Giuliani sent three tweets in the same vein. He asserted that “the Georgia middle of the night theft of thousands of votes changes everything.” He said questioning that conclusion was “like disputing a bank robbery when you have 4 cameras showing the robbery.” And he promoted a podcast in which he said he would “examine the VIDEO EVIDENCE.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (a Republican who supported Trump’s reelection) and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looked into these claims and found no evidence to support them. In a December 4, 2020, tweet, Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting implementation manager, said “the 90 second video of election workers” that supposedly proved outcome-altering fraud actually “shows normal ballot processing.” He elaborated on that conclusion in a lengthy Newsmax interview that evening.

In his tweet, Sterling cited a debunking by Lead Stories. Georgia Public Broadcasting and PolitiFact weighed in with their own refutations. At a December 7 press conference, Raffensperger and Sterling reiterated the conclusion that Giuliani’s allegations were without merit.

Undeterred, Giuliani identified Freeman by name during a December 23, 2020, podcast, describing her as someone with “a history of voter fraud participation.” Not only were there fake ballots, he said, but they were counted multiple times. “It’s quite clear, no matter who they’re doing it for, they’re cheating,” he added. “It looks like a bank heist.”

On another podcast two days later, Giuliani said “Ruby Freeman and her crew” got “everybody out of the center” with a “false story” about a “water main break,” and then “all of a sudden the crooks sprang into action.” He repeated the story during a December 30, 2020, podcast and an OAN interview the same day. “For a hundred years,” he said on OAN, “this film will show” that “there was an attempt to steal” the 2020 election.

Trump brought up the debunked claim yet again during the notorious January 2, 2021, telephone conversation in which he urged Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia. Based on “the tape that’s been shown all over the world,” Trump referred to “the phony ballots of Ruby Freeman,” which he said totaled “18,000.” He called her “a professional vote scammer and hustler,” saying that “reputation” was “known all over the internet.”

Raffensberger patiently rebutted that claim once again: “You’re talking about the State Farm video. And I think it’s extremely unfortunate that Rudy Giuliani or his people…sliced and diced that video and took it out of context.” The “full run of the tape,” he explained, showed that nothing untoward had happened. When Trump asserted that Georgia election workers “put the votes in three times,” Raffensperger replied that no such thing had happened: “We did an audit of that, and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times.”

Two days later, Sterling held another press conference to rebut the allegations that Trump had made during the phone call. Although Trump’s lawyers “had the
entire tape,” he complained, they “intentionally misled the State Senate, the
voters and the people of the United States about this.”

Giuliani continued the deception in OAN interviews the same month, that June, that July, and that December, less than two weeks before Freeman and Moss filed their lawsuit. OAN—which had repeatedly accused Freeman by name, including segments in which Giuliani did not appear—reached a settlement with her and her daughter in May 2022. That left Giuliani as the sole remaining defendant in the case.

Last Tuesday, Giuliani filed a “nolo contendre stipulation” saying he was “desirous to avoid unnecessary expenses in litigating what he believes to be unnecessary disputes.” Although he “believes that he has legal defenses to this Complaint,” it says, he “does not contest” that he “made the statements of and concerning the Plaintiffs” and “does not dispute for purposes of this litigation” that “the statements carry meaning that is defamatory per se.” The stipulation adds that “to the extent the statements were statements of fact and other wise actionable, such actionable factual statements were false.”

Giuliani’s nevertheless says his stipulation “does not affect” his “argument that his statements are constitutionally protected statements or opinions.” But he does not contest “the factual elements of liability” for “intentional infliction of emotional distress and other related tort claims,” although he is not conceding that his actions “caused Plaintiffs any damages” or agreeing on “the amount of any damages.”

What were the consequences of being “known all over the internet,” as Trump put it, for engaging in a massive election fraud that never happened? “As Defendants’ false accusations began to spread across the internet,” the original complaint says, “Ms. Freeman received at least 420 emails and 75 text messages, including one that read, ‘We know where you live, we coming to get you.'” A local police officer “answered more than 20 harassing calls on Ms. Freeman’s cell phone,” and she was “ultimately forced to change her phone number and email address.” Strangers “camped out at Ms. Freeman’s home and/or knocked on her door.” She received pizza deliveries she never ordered and abusive Christmas cards.

On January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol riot by Trump supporters, the complaint says, “a crowd surrounded Ms. Freeman’s house, some on foot, some in vehicles, others equipped with a bullhorn. Fortunately, Ms. Freeman had followed the FBI’s
advice and had temporarily relocated from her home. She was not able to return for two months.” She later installed “eleven cameras and three motion sensors in an effort to safeguard her own home.” She “has lost friendships” and was “forced to deactivate the social media pages for herself and her business, Lady Ruby’s Unique Treasures, a pop-up clothing boutique.”

When “people recognize her in public and call out her name, Ms. Freeman is fearful,” the complaint says. “Her experiences over the months since Defendants’ defamation campaign began have taught Ms. Freeman to be distrustful of strangers and concerned for her safety. To this day, Ms. Freeman continues to receive threatening communications.” The fallout for her daughter has been similar.

It took nearly three years for Giuliani to admit that the video he claimed would go down in history as evidence of a stolen election did not show what he repeatedly insisted it did. Meanwhile, the stolen-election narrative that he and Trump promoted had real consequences for real people, as illustrated by this case, the jaw-dropping $788 million settlement that Fox News agreed to pay for amplifying their claims, and ongoing litigation involving companies and individuals they falsely accused of participating in a vast criminal conspiracy.

That’s leaving aside the distrust, acrimony, and violence that Giuliani et al. fostered by stubbornly insisting, against all evidence to the contrary, that Trump actually won reelection. But the real outrage, according to Trump, is that critics dared to call him out for his wild allegations.

The post Giuliani Admits His Oft-Told Tale of Georgia Election Fraud Was Not True appeared first on Reason.com.

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A Tale Of Two Plea Deals

A Tale Of Two Plea Deals

Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary (emphasis ours),

As discussed here and elsewhere, the Hunter Biden plea deal (and its accompanying exhibits and diversion agreement) is a curious document: it reduces the power of federal prosecutors to convict Hunter Biden for more serious charges; it eliminates the potential for Hunter Biden to be a cooperating witness; it keeps the DOJ from Congressional oversight; its ambiguous terms could have foreclosed future prosecution of Hunter Biden for Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) charges; and it left Judge Maryellen Noreika rejecting it, for the time being, citing concerns with its potential unconstitutionality and its unprecedented structure.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration that the plea agreement was made after the statute of limitations on some of Hunter Biden’s crimes had passed, after charging recommendations of the DOJ Tax Division were ignored, after the scope of the broader investigation was improperly limited, and after search warrants were rejected and witness interviews were sabotaged.

But we want to get to something else that has been all but ignored until now – how two prosecutors assigned to the Hunter Biden case, Leo Wise and Derek Hines, treated less serious tax cases as compared to the Hunter Biden case.

Before we get to that, it’s important to understand who we’re dealing with. Leo Wise is a trial attorney in the DOJ Criminal Division – Public Integrity Section. He has held that position since June of 2023; prior to that, he was the Chief of the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland’s Fraud and Public corruption unit (a position from which he was demoted after disagreements with supervisors over staffing). He has been with the DOJ since at least 2004.

By all accounts, Wise is an aggressive prosecutor. It’s in his DNA. He was part of the Enron Task Force, assisted in the racketeering trial against big tobacco (US v. Philip Morris), and prosecuted significant high-profile cases against corrupt leadership in Baltimore, including the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force, former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh, and former Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Wise also “brought the biggest racketeering case in Maryland history.”

Assisting Wise on the Hunter Biden case is Derek Hines, an equally aggressive prosecutor whose current role is Assistant US Attorney at the DOJ Criminal Division. Hines, for example, was part of Wise’s prosecution team in the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force, which “won indictments against 11 men – eight Baltimore cops, two civilians, and one Philadelphia office” who robbed drug dealers, sold drugs, and ran interference for drug dealers.

Wise and Hines have been described in one Baltimore Sun article as relentless prosecutors who “are like the terminator.” They are hardliners who “pursue stern sentences and prosecute even small-time crooks.”

2018: Derek Hines (L) and Leo Wise

The Hunter Biden case isn’t the first time Wise and Hines have prosecuted a tax case. Back in 2018, they prosecuted Darryl De Sousa, a former Baltimore Police Commissioner for three counts of failing to file individual tax returns. The case of De Sousa is particularly instructive, as it demonstrates the uncharacteristically soft prosecution of Hunter Biden by Wise and Hines. Allow us to explain.

De Sousa was charged with failing to file an income tax return for the years 2013-2015, in violation of 26 USC § 7203. Not only had he failed to file income tax returns for those years, but De Sousa had also owed the IRS taxes for other years (2008-2012) and had “falsely claimed deductions that he was not entitled to.”

The De Sousa case was relatively small, though it did concern misconduct by a public official. He only owed approximately $60,000; the tax loss calculated by the IRS was between $40,000 and $100,000. De Sousa pleaded guilty to failing to file an income tax for the years 2013-2015. DOJ prosecutors Wise and Hines (who, by the way, both served under currently Special Counsel Robert K. Hur when he was US Attorney for the District of Maryland) saw to it that the stipulation of facts included in the November 20, 2018 plea agreement itemized (1) the false deductions claimed by De Sousa, such as vehicle expenses and travel expenses and charitable donations; (2) the specific times De Sousa was put on notice that he owed taxes; and (3) the specific amounts owed by De Sousa in each of the applicable years.

Wise and Hines, true to their reputations, demanded De Sousa go to prison: 12 months incarceration was necessary to send a message to all other tax cheats. There was no promise to recommend probation. The judge would end up sentencing De Sousa to 10 months.

Let’s compare De Sousa’s treatment to the Hunter Biden case.

  • Both cases involve violations of 26 USC § 7203 (willful failure to pay tax).

  • The tax loss in the De Sousa case was between $40,000 and $100,000; Wise and Hines recommended he serve a year in prison. The tax loss in the Hunter Biden case is between $1,199,524 and $1,593,329. Wise and Hines, in apparent agreement with DOJ supervisors, recommend Hunter get probation.  

  • Where Wise and Hines made sure the Court was aware of the numerous false deductions in the De Sousa Case, Wise and Hines agree that Hunter Biden’s more significant deductions for sex clubs and prostitutes was because Hunter “miscategorized certain personal expenses as legitimate business expenses.” In doing so, these prosecutors have allowed felony fraud to be excused as a mis-categorization.

  • In fact, Wise and Hines omitted a discussion of the facts underlying many of the charges recommended by the IRS Tax Division, including those involving fraud (26 USC § 7206). De Sousa never received that benefit – likely because De Sousa, unlike Biden, wasn’t allowed to write his own stipulation.

  • Wise and Hines agreed to the claim that Hunter Biden received $1,000,000 from Patrick Ho (a Chinese national convicted for bribery) “as a payment for legal fees” – without even thinking to question whether that payment was a bribe masked as legal fees.

  • Wise and Hines failed to inform the Court of whether Hunter Biden owed California income taxes. In the De Sousa case, that defendant’s outstanding Maryland tax obligations were listed for a number of years and he was required to pay restitution to Maryland.

  • De Sousa’s plea deal was standard and readily accepted by that court. The Hunter Biden plea/diversion was “unprecedented” and abnormal and without “authority”, contained ambiguous paragraphs that could have allowed Hunter to avoid any type of FARA prosecution, and the diversion itself is probably unconstitutional.

If we can briefly summarize – in the De Sousa case, DOJ prosecutors Wise and Hines wanted to send a message that you get a harsh sentence if you try to avoid your taxes. The DOJ, assisted by Wise and Hines, now sends a different message in the Hunter Biden case: the son of the President gets preferential treatment. More egregious tax crimes are no longer subject to imprisonment.

Barring shocking revelations, DOJ “terminators” Leo Wise and Derek Hines, the prosecutors who in the past pursued “stern sentences”, the two men who made their names in the Department by taking down notorious targets, are now doing all they can – from misrepresenting Hunter’s conduct to the Court to omitting key details of Hunter’s tax fraud – to make sure the President’s son doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist.

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Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 17:40

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Air Travel Bubble Might Be In A Stall

Air Travel Bubble Might Be In A Stall

There are early indications that the air travel boom post-Covid might be in the early stages of a stall following a slowdown in consumer credit and debit card transactions of airline ticket purchases in the second quarter, according to tech firm Bloomberg Second Measure. This would mark the first drop in two years since government-enforced lockdowns led carriers to reduce flights nationwide. 

Once the skies reopened after lockdowns were lifted, consumers began to travel, and some called it ‘revenge travel’ to make up for time and experiences lost during the pandemic. But after a two-year boom and soaring airfare inflation, consumers are reducing travel, like other discretionary purchases, including electronics, apparel, and restaurants. 

Bloomberg Second Measure data for the second quarter shows anonymous credit and debit card transactions made with airline carriers, such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue. 

According to the transaction data, Alaska, American, and Delta experienced the most significant quarterly declines. This data aligns with Alaska’s earnings report last week, warning about a slowdown in demand

Southwest reported earnings last week that topped Wall Street’s expectations but was concerned about how demand will hold up in the second half of the year. 

The good news is the latest CPI report showed ticket inflation has finally plummeted. 

But that might not stoke demand as consumers are already pulling back on overall card spending as retailer sales disappointed in June. Many consumers have been battered by two years of negative real wage growth that forced them to drain personal savings and rack up insurmountable credit card debt in a high-rate environment. 

The new data that shows consumers are pulling back on air travel is an ominous one despite the White House touting ‘Bidenomics’ has sparked an economic ‘renaissance.’ 

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 17:20

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Former San Francisco Supervisor Warns California Reparations Plans Would Bankrupt State

Former San Francisco Supervisor Warns California Reparations Plans Would Bankrupt State

Authored by Travis Gillmore and Siyamak Khorrami via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

California reparations plans are moving forward, with separate proposals under consideration by the state Legislature and the city of San Francisco, but critics including a former San Francisco supervisor are raising alarms that the recommendations exceed budgetary limitations.

Established in May 2021 with the passage of Assembly Bill 3121, the California Reparations Task Force submitted its final recommendations to the Legislature on June 29, in the form of a 1,100-page report issuing guidance for apologies and calculations for determining cash payments.

Also, San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee issued their final report (pdf) July 7 with a lengthy list of recommendations including a $5 million lump sum payment to each eligible person and additional $97,000—adjusted to median income—each per year for the next 250 years; home, renters, and commercial insurance paid by the city; selling condominiums for $1 to eligible residents; and tax abatement on sales tax for the next 250 years.

Tony Hall served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2000 to 2004, and he recently sat down with host Siyamak Khorrami on EpochTV’s California Insider to discuss the plans and what could happen fiscally if the proposals are approved and the potential for backlash if they are denied.

(L-R) State Sen. Steven Bradford, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, task force member Lisa Holder, and Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer hold up a final report of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans during a hearing in Sacramento, Calif., on June 29, 2023. (Haven Daley/AP Photo)

“I have never seen a more insidious, inane, exploitative, and cruel plan put forth to the American public,” Mr. Hall said. “In San Francisco, you’re asking non-slave owners to pay $5 million to people that were never slaves. The average household is going to have to pay about $600,000.”

The number only grows once factoring in the additional economic empowerment recommendations presented by the city’s advisory committee, he said.

“That’s not counting the $97,000 every year for the rest of their lives. That’s not counting the free education. That’s not counting the forgiveness of all debts. That’s not counting the right for them to buy a house in San Francisco for a dollar,” Mr. Hall said during the 30-minute-long interview. “It’s a joke.”

It is estimated that the recommendations would cost the city approximately $175 billion in the first year, and with an annual budget of nearly $14 billion, critics say the plan is indisputably unaffordable.

This is a lot of unrealistic, pie in the sky promises,” Mr. Hall said. “It’s stuff that could never happen, and these people on the task committees know this.”

The state’s reparations committee outlined 115 recommendations across 13 categories in the weighty report it presented to lawmakers, but no specific dollar amounts were given for expected costs.

Experts say payments could equal up to $1.4 million for each qualifying applicant and costs to taxpayers could exceed $800 billion, while the state’s budget for the next fiscal year totals $312 billion.

“We’re looking at something that’s potentially twice as big of the budget. What happens if we’re forced to pay that out?” Mr. Hall said. “In the first year we’d do away with California, and you’re doing away with the goose that lays the golden egg. There will be no money left to pay for services, roads, policing, nothing.”

Critics of the plans say the fiscal impossibility of the proposals suggests they will not be approved.

There’s no way you could pay the reparations they’re asking for and keep the country intact,” Mr. Hall told California Insider. “It’s a dream. It’s not going to happen.”

Therein lies a dilemma that could lead to social unrest, as millions of people are under the impression that they will receive some kind of handout, according to experts.

“You cannot promise something you can’t deliver. That’s wrong. That’s lying to people,” Mr. Hall said. “A lot of the poor black people are being misled; they’re being misguided. They’re going to revolt. They’re going to be upset.”

The legality of the proposals is also in question, with legal experts saying the laws would face intense judicial scrutiny at state and federal levels that could delay or prevent any payments from occurring.

Opponents argue the plans enable discrimination and should be subject to the same review as all other proposed laws.

Something as stupid as color of skin has people arguing,” Mr. Hall said. “Nobody should be given preferential treatment because of the color of their skin. That’s discrimination. That’s exploitation.”

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 17:00

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