Visualizing How News Media Is Describing Ihe Incident At The US Capitol

Visualizing How News Media Is Describing Ihe Incident At The US Capitol

Was it a riot? An insurrection? Or was it simply a protest?

The January 6, 2021 incident at the U.S. Capitol was widely covered in news media – however, as Visual Capitalist’s Govind Bhurada notes, the type of language used to describe it varied greatly from publication to publication.

Popular news media has a major impact on how society at large perceives major events. To learn more about the language used in recent coverage, we analyzed over 180 articles from Alexa’s top-ranked news websites in the United States. Here’s what we found.

Most Common Descriptions: The Event

From riot to rampage, descriptions used by news media of the incident at the U.S. Capitol were all over the map:

The most commonly used description was riot, followed by storm. On the other end of the spectrum were the less-frequent terms such as insurrectionassaultrampage, and invasion.

Interestingly, Yahoo News, Business Insider, and BBC used siegeattack, and insurrection more often as compared to Breitbart, Epoch Times, and Fox News. The Epoch Times also described the event as a breach more times than any other outlet.

Most Common Descriptions: The Participants

The participants in the incident were identified in various ways, reflecting the variation seen in describing the incident.

In alignment with the usage of riot, the most common descriptions for participants were mob and rioters, followed by protesters. The frequency of use of Trump supporters comes as no surprise, especially since many of the participants are known to have attended the ‘Stop the Steal’ Trump rally preceding the event.

While most outlets referred to the crowd as protesters in the events leading up to the storming of the Capitol building, not all used that term to describe the people who entered the Capitol building. Fox News, Breitbart, and Epoch Times used protesters more often than any other news media outlet. In fact, these three outlets account for 28 of the 37 news articles in which the term protesters appeared.

On the other hand, the term pro-Trump rioters—which was used by Yahoo News, Business Insider, and CNN—did not appear in any articles by Fox News, Breitbart, or Epoch Times.

Tonal Differences

While some media outlets stuck to relatively neutral descriptors, others used unconventional terms to describe both the incident as well as those involved.

The New York Times and the Washington Post, for example, generally adhered to neutral language. They frequently described the event as a siege and a riot, and those involved as the mob and rioters.

The Epoch Times and Breitbart employed terms like protesters and alleged Trump supporters in discussing the individuals involved.

On the other hand, Yahoo News called it an insurrection carried out by militant supporters of President Trump, and Business Insider talked of a pro-Trump assault on the U.S. Capitol.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) potentially reflects how the event was perceived outside of the United States. Terms like riot and stormed appeared most commonly in BBC coverage of the incident. The participants were evenly identified as riotersTrump supportersprotesters, and more often as the mob.

The Impact of Media Coverage

The influence of news media on how the public perceives events is undeniable. In fact, 88% of surveyed Americans consider the news an essential tool to keep informed about public affairs.

From a riot caused by rioters to an insurrection by President Trump’s militant supporters, the way different media outlets analyze the U.S. Capitol incident impacts what their respective audiences take away from it.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 01/18/2021 – 05:00

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Over 50,000 Restaurants In Italy Declare “I Am Open” Defying Lockdown Measures

Over 50,000 Restaurants In Italy Declare “I Am Open” Defying Lockdown Measures


This weekend, over 50,000 restaurants in Italy began defying the country’s strict ‘anti-Covid’ lockdown measures in a massive act of civil disobedience according to Off-Guardian.

Italian restaurant owners have been spreading their “I Am Open” message through the social media hashtag #IoOpro (“I am opening”) and customers have turned the tables on the government:

The “I Am Open” movement started in Italy has already spread to other countries across the world, including Mexico, Switzerland and Poland.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 01/18/2021 – 04:00

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Moscow Tops Mumbai As World’s Most-Congested City

Moscow Tops Mumbai As World’s Most-Congested City

TomTom has released its 2020 Traffic Index which highlights congestion levels in 416 cities in 57 countries. Continual increases in traffic congestion throughout the last decade were brought to an abrupt halt by the Covid-19 pandemic which has turned working patterns and commuting trends upside down across much of the world. As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, TomTom reported that their findings for 2020 are unlike anything they have seen before.

387 cities experienced a significant decrease (average of 21 percent) in overall congestion, as well as an astonishing 28 percent average decrease in congestion during rush hours. By contrast, only 13 cities saw their traffic jams increase. So where were the global traffic hotspots in 2020 despite Covid-19 paralyzing much of the world? The index shows that Bengalaru in India has now been displaced by Moscow in top spot, and it has fallen back to sixth.

Infographic: The Cities With The Worst Traffic Congestion | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

It is a threeway tie for second place with Mumbai in India, Bogota in Colombia and Manila in the Philippines all seeing congestion levels of 53 percent. The only really positive side of congestion is that it’s an indicator of a strong economy. It does of course come with a terrible environmental impact in addition to costing commuters considerable amounts of time.

The pandemic may provide an opportunity to change that, however, with a cleaner, safer, congestion-free future possible if society embraces a shift in mobility. More remote working possibilities and flexible hours can be key to driving that change while more mindful and eco-friendly traffic choices would help cut emissions and safeguard the environment for future generations.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 01/18/2021 – 03:00

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UK May Ease COVID Lockdown From March, Foreign Secretary Says

UK May Ease COVID Lockdown From March, Foreign Secretary Says

Authored by Alexander Zhang via The Epoch Times,

The UK may begin easing existing CCP virus lockdown measures in March if the vaccine roll-out goes to plan, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday.

Talking to the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show,” Raab said the government plans to vaccinate 15 million—or 88 percent—of those most at risk of dying from the CCP virus by Feb. 15, followed by another 17 million in early spring, which will protect 99 percent of those most at risk.

“I think it’s true to say that when we get to a situation in the early spring, perhaps March, if we’ve succeeded in hitting those targets and we’ve made progress so far, we can start to think about the phased transition out of the national lockdown,” he said.

“I think it’s fair to say it won’t be a ‘Big Bang’ if you like. It will be done phased, possibly, back through the tiered approach that we had before.”

The UK adopted a three-tiered system of COVID-19 restrictions in October. The three tiers—medium, high, and very high—were categorized by the infection rates of the areas.

But soon afterward, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the whole of England under a month-long national lockdown in early November, saying he had “no alternative” because the virus was spreading even faster than the worst-case scenario predicted by the government’s scientific advisers.

When the lockdown ended on Dec. 2, many places in England were put in higher tiers than before the lockdown.

Less than three weeks later, the government created a new ‘“tier four” for London and southeast England, which was equivalent to the November lockdown, after detecting a new variant of the CCP virus which was said to spread faster than the old variant.

The current national lockdown began on Jan. 6, when Johnson said the local tiered system had failed to hold back a surge of the new mutant virus.

The UK has since tightened travel restrictions further, banning travellers from southern African countriesSouth America, and Portugal to prevent new variants first detected in South Africa and Brazil from entering the country.

The prime minster said on Friday that he will close all travel corridors with other countries on Monday “to protect us against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains.”

There were newspaper reports on Sunday that ministers were considering adopting rules already in place in some Asian countries, which require incoming travellers to quarantine in hotels under supervision.

Asked if the government would adopt the measure, Raab said all potential measures are under review but “they’ve got to be workable.”

“I think there is a challenge in its work abilities and deliverability, but we need to look at that very carefully based on the experience of other countries.”

Tyler Durden
Mon, 01/18/2021 – 02:00

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Looking Through An Adversary’s Eyes: A KGB Agent’s Prophecy

Looking Through An Adversary’s Eyes: A KGB Agent’s Prophecy

Authored by ‘Jean Chen’ via The Epoch Times,

Human beings have a weakness: It is easy for us to see others’ problems, but not our own problems. Actually, most of us are nearly blind to our own problems.

However, if we examine how our enemies look at us, some insights may be revealed.

For many people right now, the aftertaste of the 2020 presidential election is bitter. They feel that something is very wrong with our country. But what is it?

For current events, it may be useful to look through the eyes of an adversary that many thought had been vanquished: the USSR in the 20th century

The Prophecy of a KGB Agent

I came across a YouTube video of a 1985 interview of Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB agent who defected to the West in 1970.

The interview is about the Soviet Union’s strategy to subvert the United States. It is eye-opening and I wish to share a quote here first:

“Marxism-Leninism ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism and American patriotism … The demoralization process in the United States is basically completed already … Most of it is done by Americans to Americans thanks to lack of moral standards.

As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures. Even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show him concentration camp he will refuse to believe it until he is going to receive a kick in his fat bottom. When the military boot crashes him, then he will understand, but not before that. That’s the tragic of the situation of demoralization.”

It is scary to watch the video. (More video here and here.)

What Mr. Bezmenov described 35 years ago is unfolding in front of our very eyes. To me, what is most alarming is that the demoralization is mostly “done by Americans to Americans due to lack of moral standards.” Actually, as Bezmenov pointed out, “for the last 25 years, actually it’s over-fulfilled because the demoralization now reaches such areas where previously not even Comrade Andropov [KGB leader during 1967–1982] and all his experts would even dream of such a tremendous success.”

According to Bezmenov, only 10 to 15 percent of the KGB’s personnel and resources were allocated to traditional clandestine espionage in James Bond’s style, with the rest going to “legitimate, overt, and open” ideological subversion. He said that subversion happens in four stages: demoralization, destabilization, crisis, and “normalization.”

The first stage, lasting for about 15 to 20 years, the period of time needed to raise a generation, is to brainwash the public with communist ideology. Manipulation of the media and academia is required for this purpose.

The second stage focuses on throwing society into chaos, and it usually takes 2-5 years. During this stage, the status quo in economy, foreign relations, and defense systems are changed. The establishment promises all kinds of goodies in order to win people’s support for creating a massive government that is intrusive to people’s lives. Media and academia are also essential to make it successful.

The third stage instigates a crisis that leads to a civil war, revolution, or foreign invasion. This stage only took 2-6 months. This is the stage when the leftist idealists, or “useful idiots,” are no longer needed, because they would be disillusioned and become obstacles. They are going to be eliminated, exiled, or imprisoned, like what has happened in Grenada, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and China. “It is the same pattern everywhere,” said Bezmenov.

These three steps culminate in the fourth and final stage of “normalization”—the populace begins to accept and assimilate communism. This final stage can take up to 20 years to complete.

Today, 35 years after the interview, Bezmenov’s chilling prophecy still sounds so relevant. According to annual polls by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, support for socialism and Marxism among young people in the United States increases steadily. Actually, that is happening in all Western countries. Ambitious proposals like the “Great Reset Initiative” are aiming to change the world fundamentally in economy, international relations, and defense systems, and establish global governance, which sounds like Bezmenov’s stage two, destabilization.

The United States is lauded as the beacon of democracy and freedom. But our once-proud institutions based on the Constitution and the separation of powers seems so powerless under the stress test of the 2020 presidential election. The deep frustration and distrust of the system cannot be dissipated by political intimidation, or deliberate ignoring of evidence-based allegations of irregularities. Many people are deeply worried about our country’s future.

“The United States is in a state of war. Undeclared total war against the basic principles and the foundations of this system… The time bomb is ticking. Every second, the disaster is coming closer and closer. Unlike myself, you will have nowhere to defect to unless you want to live in Antarctica with penguins. This is it. This is the last country of freedom and possibility.” (Bezmenov)

How did we get this far almost unknowingly?

The Surreptitious Path of Infiltration

Sen. Ted Cruz once commented about the law school of a prestigious university he attended:

“There were more self-declared communists [in the faculty] than there were Republicans. … If you asked [them] to vote on whether this nation should become a socialist nation, 80 percent of the faculty would vote yes and 10 percent would think that was too conservative.”

The amazing book, “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World,” gives a comprehensive analysis of the non-violent infiltration of communism in the West. In 1884, a year after Karl Marx’s death, the British Fabian Society was founded to bring about communism gradually. It encourages its members to advance socialist aims by joining suitable organizations and ingratiating themselves with important figures, such as cabinet ministers, senior administrative officials, industrialists, university deans, and church leaders. Since then, many American intellectuals began accepting communist ideas or its Fabian socialist variant.

The 1960s counterculture movement produced a large number of young anti-traditional students who were influenced greatly by cultural Marxism and Frankfurt School theory. After graduation, they entered the institutions with the most influence over society and culture, such as universities, news media, government agencies, and non-profits. What guided them at that time was mainly the theory of “the long march through the institutions” proposed by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. This “long march” aimed to alter the most important traditions of western civilization. As a result, generations of young people have been indoctrinated with the communist ideology.

Why are Intellectuals So Prone to Communism?

Intellectuals tend to be fooled by radical ideologies. This phenomenon has drawn the attention of scholars. British historian Paul Johnson found that radical intellectuals share the fatal weaknesses of arrogance and egocentrism.

This arrogance is exhibited in a statement by nineteenth-century French politician and art critic Jules-Antoine Castagnary: “Beside the divine garden from which I have been expelled, I will erect a new Eden … At its entrance, I will set up Progress … and I will give a flaming sword into his hand and he will say to God, ‘Thou shalt not enter here.’”

Rapid scientific progress since the 18th century greatly strengthened humankind’s confidence in its own ability and fueled the intellectual trend of progressivism. People started to worship humanist reason instead of God. Reason is believed to be able to lead people to the path of happiness and morality. People want to create a utopia, a “paradise on earth,” which is the essential idea of communism. As the “pastors” of modern science, intellectuals believe that they are the interpreter of the truth, and their cause is so important that no means are off-limits to serve their ends. This has caused a deluge of blood and misery.

What Can We Do?

Two hundred years of experimenting with human pride and reason has led to the declining of morality and the loss of tens of millions lives due to the ravages of communism.

Founding Father John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Interestingly enough, a ruthless communist dictator, Joseph Stalin, echoed his point from another angle, “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

It is time for us to be humble again, look inward, and follow the true wisdom of righteous spiritual beliefs. This is our only solution.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 23:30

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​​​​​​​Feds Warn Amateur Radio Operators “Not To Commit Criminals Acts” Ahead Of Inauguration

​​​​​​​Feds Warn Amateur Radio Operators “Not To Commit Criminals Acts” Ahead Of Inauguration

As tech giants shift into censorship overdrive – between Parler’s deplatforming, Twitter purges, and Facebook seemingly cracking down on just about any political discussion ahead of the inauguration – and Sunday’s imagery of anti-government anarchists who showed up to several US capitols on Sunday, those who wish to coordinate peaceful protests (and perhaps not-so peaceful protests) may try to use less-monitored methods to coordinate efforts.

As such, the feds have put would-be criminals on notice.

The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission is out with a Sunday warning reminding “licensees and operators in the Personal Radio Services, that the Commission prohibits the use of radios in those services to commit or facilitate criminal acts.

The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities. The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted purposes, including speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to commit or facilitate crimes.

Specifically, the Bureau reminds amateur licensees that they are prohibited from transmitting “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act” or “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.” 1 Likewise, individuals operating radios in the Personal Radio Services, a category that includes Citizens Band radios, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies, and General Mobile Radio Service, are prohibited from using those radios “in connection with any activity which is against Federal, State or local law.” 2 Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution. – the memo read 

The Bureau’s warning comes days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. 

The FBI released a special bulletin last week warning about armed protests at 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington, DC, ahead of the inauguration. Considering Sunday’s footage of armed ‘boogaloo boys’ who actually showed up – and who appear to be largely leftist anti-government anarchists – it stands to reason that they, or others, may try to use radio amateur radio frequencies to coordinate rallies and or attacks.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 23:00

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As Tech Companies Purge Users, Here Are Some Alternatives

As Tech Companies Purge Users, Here Are Some Alternatives

By Simon Black at Sovereign Man

By now you’re probably aware of the various purges taking place across tech platforms and social media. Major companies have used the events of January 6th at the US Capitol as an excuse to delete users and deplatform businesses. But the scope of the purge has gone much further than removing calls for violence.

For example, 147 members of Congress are being blacklisted by banks, insurance providers, and hotel companies because they objected to certifying the results of the election.

The entire social media company Parler was shut down when Amazon banned it from its servers, while Apple and Google dropped the app from their stores.

Twitter executed over 70,000 accounts.

PayPal cut ties with the US President, as well as a Christian website that raised funds to send protesters to DC. Shopify removed accounts “associated” with Trump, and payment processor Stripe joined in the purge as well.

Facebook even suspended Ron Paul’s account for a time, before claiming it was a mistake. Ron Paul, keep in mind, has been an outspoken critic of this administration’s defense and monetary policies.

The message is clear: your access, your data, and potentially your livelihood is not safe in the hands of the biggest tech companies, which we have been conditioned to rely on. Express the wrong opinion, and you may be the next casualty.

What this means:

The good news is there are alternatives, and the purge has been a major driving force for people to move to alternative platforms.

For example, Telegram, a private messaging app which allows you to enable encryption in private chats, attracted 25 million new users in a 72-hour period. The app now has over 500 million active daily users worldwide.

Almost 18 million people downloaded the (arguably better) encrypted messaging app Signal between January 5th and January 12th– a 61x increase.

Meanwhile, Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s downloads were down about 20% week on week.

Facebook and Twitter just voluntarily handed market share to their competitors. From January 5-14, Facebook lost over $70 billion of valuation. Twitter lost over $5 billion during the same period.

Don’t go where you aren’t wanted.

Spy-apps that repeatedly censor and abuse their customers have faced calls for an exodus for some time now. But now a critical mass is actually moving, which makes it more likely that the amount of content and users will keep people engaged in social media alternatives.

In that sense, you could consider the purge a good thing.

What you can do about it:

The following are some popular alternatives to common social media platforms. Keep in mind that we aren’t endorsing or vouching for the safety/ privacy of any particular company listed below. The point is to start exploring alternatives so that all your eggs aren’t in one tech-company basket.

Social Networks Alternatives to Facebook and Twitter

  • – Similar to Twitter, Gab bills itself as a champion of free speech. It owns and operates its own servers, which means it can’t simply be shut down like Parler. But that also means the website is a little stressed at the moment, as so many new users flock to it.

  • – As a Facebook alternative, MeWe’s main draw is that it does not share or sell user data. But it does state in the user agreement that it reserves the right to terminate users who post “hateful, threatening, harmful” content.

  • – This is a blockchain-based social media website which rewards engagement with tokens. Tokens can be used to boost your own content, fund other users, or redeemed for other currency. The website’s code is open source for transparency and accountability, and the content moderation policy is based on the First Amendment.

Private Messaging Alternatives to Whatsapp

  • Signal – This messaging app is end-to-end encrypted so no one can snoop on your communications. And its technology is open source, so anyone who knows the coding language can check that it’s truly secure. Signal does require your phone number to use, but that’s about all the information it collects.

  • Telegram – Plenty of Whatsapp groups are migrating to Telegram for privacy reasons. But it is important to note that only private messages can be encrypted, and even then you have to specifically select the “secret chat” feature.

Video Posting and Viewing Alternatives to YouTube

  • – This is an open source, blockchain-based, decentralized digital content sharing protocol. That means anyone can use it to build apps that allow peer to peer sharing of digital content. But the main selling feature is or which facilitate the video sharing and viewing portions of the platform. Unlike Youtube, you have ultimate control over your own content.

  • – Mike Adams, the creator of Natural News, started this video hosting website as a free speech alternative after he was repeatedly censored on YouTube and other social media.

Then there is Brave Browser to replace Chrome, Protonmail to replace Gmail, and plenty of methods to accept cryptocurrency, instead of using typical payment processors.

Clearly, this list is not exhaustive. And in the future we will be talking about more alternatives, and doing a deeper dive on their privacy and accountability. The point is you don’t have to allow these tech giants to have power over you.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 22:30

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China Reports Stronger Than Expected GDP, Is Only Major Economy To Grow In 2020

China Reports Stronger Than Expected GDP, Is Only Major Economy To Grow In 2020

China, which a little over a year ago unleashed a global pandemic on the world which reshaped economies, global supply chains, capital markets, and societies and was directly responsible for the downfall of a US president, was hell bent on demonstrating that it was the biggest winner from said plague, and early on Monday local time, Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that Gross Domestic Product in 2020 growth beat expectations of 6.2% to reach 6.5% in the fourth quarter of last year, with the economy expanding 2.3% for the full year 2020, making China the only major economy to expand last year on the back of an unprecedented multi-trillion credit expansion.

That China’s sprawling economy managed to calculate all this just two weeks into the new year was perfectly normal as nobody actually believes any “data” out of China; instead all that matters is what Beijing wishes to telegraph to the outside world, and for now that message is “all is well.”

The “data” underlines a rapid turnround in the world’s second-largest economy, which declined in early 2020 for the first time in more than four decades after the country was hit by the pandemic and authorities imposed a harsh lockdown. 

The recovery was aided by record fiscal and monetary stimulus that boosted investment in infrastructure and real estate. Once China had virus cases under control and factories were able to resume production, growth was spurred by strong overseas consumer demand for Chinese exports, especially medical equipment and work-from-home devices.

Despite the stronger than expected GDP, overall December activity data were mixed – industrial production growth was stronger than market expectations, but retail sales and fixed investment growth were below market expectations. In particular, December industrial production came in at +7.3% yoy, above market expectations, and was faster vs. November. Based on IP by major product data, cement production decelerated to 6.3% yoy in December from 7.7% yoy growth in November; steel product production grew 12.8% yoy in December vs. 10.8% yoy in November; electricity production accelerated to 9.1% yoy, from +6.8% in November. Meanwhile, retail sales missed expectations and slowed from November – in December, retail sales growth was 4.6% yoy, vs. +5.0% in November. Automobile sales growth slowed to +6.4% yoy (vs. +11.8% yoy in November). Fixed investment growth also weakened in December. On single month basis FAI growth was +5.1% yoy in December (vs. +9.4% yoy in November), and on a full year year-over-year basis, FAI growth was +2.9%yoy in 2020, below market expectations.

“The quarter really seems to have shown the economy ended the year on a strong note, manufacturing is doing well,” said Cui Li, head of macro research at CCB International Holdings in Hong Kong said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The softer-than-expected retail sales data in December may reflect the cooler weather and the resurgent virus in northern parts of China as some cities enforce new restrictions to control the outbreak.

Separately, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.2% in December, while fixed asset investment added 2.9% over the full year, while real estate investment jumped 7% .

Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said the economy “recovered steadily” last year but added that the “changing epidemic dynamics and external environment pose a multitude of uncertainties”.

China’s activity was boosted by shifts in orders as other countries struggled with virus outbreaks and further lockdowns, which was evident in the continued jump in China’s exports, while factory data had been encouraging during the prior quarter as November Official Manufacturing PMI printed its strongest reading in over 3 years and although it then eased in December, it still registered the 8th consecutive month in expansion territory.

The GDP figures, which beat expectations, came days after China recorded its highest-ever monthly trade surplus in December, stoked by three consecutive months of double-digit exports growth. Exports rose 18% last month compared with the same period in the previous year.

Meanwhile, global demand for Chinese-made goods is expected to remain strong as the pandemic continues to keep large parts of the world’s population locked down. Already the top exporter, the value of China’s goods shipments increased 3.6% in 2020, according to official data. Imports declined 1.1%, resulting in a $535 billion annual trade surplus, the highest since 2015.

Of course, there is nothing organic about China’s resurgent growth and the fiscal and monetary stimulus to support the economy has been accompanied by a record surge in debt, a development that authorities are now seeking to address as the recovery takes hold. At a December meeting to lay out economic goals for 2021, the ruling Communist Party signaled that stimulus would be gradually withdrawn, although it would avoid any “sharp turns” in policy.

In terms of forecasts, economists expect China’s GDP will expand 8.2% this year, continuing to outpace global peers, even as other large economies begin to recover with vaccines being rolled out. Chinese President Xi also recently touted positive growth whereby he expects China’s 2020 GDP to exceed CNY 100tln after around CNY 99tln in 2019. The country’s mandated return to growth last year attracted strong appetite from foreign investors, who injected about 1 trillion yuan ($154bn) into Chinese stocks and bonds  in 2020.

As with anything China related, there is always the question how manipulated this “data” is: in China, where new cases of Covid-19 slowed to a trickle in the middle of 2020, but a recent outbreak in the northern province of Hebei has prompted a renewed wave of social restrictions and lockdowns. Last week, the country reported its first coronavirus death since April.

The ongoing recovery in 2021 will depend on whether China can prevent a large-scale spread of virus infections, and on whether it can pass the baton of spending from local governments and large state companies to smaller businesses and consumers. Household spending and investment by manufacturing companies has lagged overall growth in 2020.

In any case, the onshore yuan strengthened as much as 0.06% to 6.4779 versus the dollar after the release of GDP data, while the ChiNext Index of small caps gained 1.6%. The yield on the most actively traded contract of 10-year government bonds gained 2 basis points to 3.165%, set for the highest in two weeks.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 22:03

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Facebook Temporarily Bans Ads For Combat Gear Following Capitol Riots 

Facebook Temporarily Bans Ads For Combat Gear Following Capitol Riots 

On Saturday morning, Facebook published a short update on their blog titled “Our Preparations Ahead of Inauguration Day,” explaining how the social media company would temporarily prohibit advertisements from defense firms amid the fallout from the Jan. 6 US Capitol riots.

Facebook wrote, “we are banning ads that promote weapon accessories and protective gear in the US at least through Jan. 22, out of an abundance of caution.”

“We already prohibit ads for weapons, ammunition, and weapon enhancements like silencers. But we will now also prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests, and gun holsters in the US,” the social media company continued. 

The ad ban on gun safes, vests, and gun holsters on the platform comes a little more than a week after the Capitol riots. 

What’s concerning is the ban could be permanent if Democrats have it their way. 

Last week, three senators and four attorney generals sent letters to Facebook demanding that the platform permanently ban ads of defense products used in armed combat. 

The senators, all Democrats (Tammy Duckworth, Richard Blumenthal, and Sherrod Brown), said the social media company must take bold action to “hold itself accountable for how domestic enemies of the United States have used the company’s products and platform to further their own illicit aims.”

“Whether through negligence or with full knowledge, Facebook is placing profit ahead of our Nation’s democracy,” they said.

An update on the blog on Friday said the social media company was “implementing a series of additional measures to continue preventing attempts to use our services for violence,” adding that “we are blocking the creation of any new Facebook events happening in close proximity to locations including the White House, the US Capitol building and any of the state capitol buildings through Inauguration Day.”

Under a Biden presidency, a taste of what’s coming could be a major clamp down on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Biden has already said he will “defeat” the now-bankrupted NRA. 

Last week, readers learned that New York could be the first state to ban body armor for civilians if a new bill is passed. If the bill is passed, body armor bans could sweep across blue states. 

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 22:00

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Blue State Economies Will Soon Crumble – But Will They Take Red States With Them?

Blue State Economies Will Soon Crumble – But Will They Take Red States With Them?

Authored by Brandon Smith and originally published at Birch Gold Group,

Over the past six to eight months, the U.S. has seen perhaps one of the largest migrations of people based on economic and ideological concerns in almost a century. Not since the Great Depression has there been so many Americans relocating in search of a better life. Today, however, those who relocate seem to be largely conservatives and moderates. There is a very good, multifaceted, reason for this.

One of the best recent explanations for the conservative migration is visible in the near-180-degree turnaround by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on his draconian lockdown mandates. All of a sudden, Cuomo has announced that New York simply cannot stay closed any longer and that businesses need to reopen quickly.

What could have possibly forced the thick-skulled Cuomo to finally see the light?  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that New York has attempted to distribute millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and they have only been able to give out 30% of them. This means that around 70% of people eligible to get the vaccine in New York are apparently refusing to take it (a smart move in my opinion considering the highly experimental and untested nature of the cocktail). Surprisingly, at least 30% of NY healthcare workers are also refusing to take the vaccine. Cuomo has resorted to threatening hospitals with fines if they do not distribute the vaccines fast enough.

In his latest statement Cuomo is trying to send a message that New Yorkers need to take the vaccine so that a reopening can begin. In other words, “take the vaccine or the economy will collapse”.

I don’t believe Cuomo is mending his totalitarian ways, but at least for now, I think he is realizing what most of us in the alternative economic field have been saying for the past year:  Blue state economies are dying because they are oppressive and this stifles trade and business.

Beyond the business factor and the restrictions on people’s daily movements and activities, the lockdowns and subsequent financial crisis have triggered rising crime levels across the country, but predominantly in blue states and democratic controlled cities.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, New York City alone saw over 300,000 residents pick up everything and leave from March to October. This is an unprecedented spike, an exodus the likes of which New York has not seen in a long time.

On the other side of the country, California is witnessing its own exodus, and it started well before the pandemic struck. In 2019, California saw over 653,000 residents escape the state’s suffocating bureaucracy and high taxes. In 2020, the state has hit its lowest population growth rate in history, even after accounting for babies born. More than 200,000 people left the state than moved in in the past year, and before anyone claims that these people are “liberals” invading red states, even the California media admits they are mostly conservatives seeking to escape the socialist sinkhole.

U-Haul, one of the largest moving companies in the nation, has compiled data on the top states which Americans are moving to during the pandemic. The list is loaded with well-known conservative strongholds and red states, with Tennessee, Texas and Florida at the top.

But what does this mean for leftist states in economic terms?  First, a huge loss of tax revenue, and this is dangerous for blue states in particular. California was projecting a $5.6 billion surplus in January of last year, only to face a $54 billion deficit by August. The state’s net tax revenue fell by 42% from March to May year-over-year, far outpacing losses in the rest of the country. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom begged Congress for $14 billion in federal aid, claiming that the government has a “moral and ethical obligation to help the states”.

And this seems to be exactly how states like California are surviving, by stealing tax dollars from people in other states that have been more responsible in caring for their economies.

We often hear about states like California and New York as having GDPs comparable to entire countries. We hear about all the manufacturing and agricultural production, and a couple of years ago, there were even calls for secession in California on the grounds that “orange man bad” and that the state could fiscally support itself “easily.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. What leftist cheerleaders often refuse to mention is the deep and insidious debt problems and deficits blue states suffer from. Looking at a list of the most indebted states in the U.S. in terms of total assets and liabilities, you will find that the vast majority of them are Democrat controlled.

Furthermore, blue states tend to have the highest levels of unfunded pension liabilities. In other words, their public pension obligations are only partially funded and are suffering a net loss. California, Connecticut and Illinois top the list and the only red state that comes close in terms of percentages is Alaska. Red states top the list in terms of the best funded pensions and the lowest debt per capita.

These debts are caused by irresponsible spending policies and endless socialist welfare measures, and as with most socialist systems, they always end up spending more money than they can bring in. They also end up wasting money more than they effectively spend money. This translates to much higher taxes, as blue states refuse to admit policy errors and fix their mistakes. Instead, they punish the citizenry with increased taxation. A list of the highest personal income taxes across the country is dominated by blue states.

Blue states like Illinois also stack the list of highest property taxes.

One might assume that with such high taxation that social welfare programs would be in place to help the needy and to reduce poverty, but this is not the case. California and New York have the highest population of homeless people by far (151,278 in CA and 92,091 in NY). The next highest homeless population is in a red state, Florida, with only 28,000.

Add to this the fact that blue states have been the most lockdown-happy during the pandemic despite the fact that the lockdowns have done nothing to stop the spread of COVID-19, and now you know why people are leaving these places en masse.

This dynamic has led to red states outperforming blue states across the board in terms of economic recovery. Job recovery in red states far outpaces blue states, along with recovery in GDP. As a result, a call has been rising for a “Blue State Bailout”, and with Biden ostensibly entering the White House they may very well get what they are asking for.

The problem is, the amount of bailout money that would satiate the hunger of blue states would have to be in the multi-trillions. As more and more people and businesses leave these places for more free states, it’s inevitable that tax revenues will dry up. And, as leftists raise taxes to cover the deficit even more people will relocate. It is a vicious cycle that will lead to complete dependency on federal dollars for blue states to survive.

Red states, on the other hand, will not be enforcing strict lockdown mandates. In fact, I suspect that even if Biden tries to institute a Level 4 federal lockdown that many red states will defy him and carry on with business as usual while blue states quickly bow and submit. The only practical option is for blue states to ignore the lockdowns and fully reopen, not just for a couple of months, but permanently. Will they do this?  I doubt it.

It is also important to consider at a fundamental level the types of people that make up the populations of red states versus blue states. Blue states have built a culture of dependency and the majority of leftists have no useful skill sets that would allow them to adapt to an economic crisis. Meanwhile, red state culture encourages independence, self-reliance and productivity.

The most likely reaction among blue states or the federal government under Biden will be to try to “redistribute” the wealth and stability from red states to blue states. This could happen in the form of stimulus measures that unfairly benefit blue states. The resulting dollar devaluation and price inflation might hit red states harder because they would not be receiving bailouts to offset the higher costs. In the worst-case scenario, in which a full spectrum financial collapse occurs, we may even see the federal government attempt to redistribute production and manufacturing from red states to blue states in the name of “national emergency.”

There could also be an attempt to stop people from moving away from blue states entirely. We have already seen a beta test for this in California, where legislators are attempting to pass a bill which would legally require former residents to continue paying taxes to the state for years after they leave.

Of course, this would lead to severe resistance from conservatives, but that is a discussion for another time. The bottom line is this: the economic and pandemic policies of blue states have failed miserably. Their only option is to see the error of their ways, become fiscally responsible and remove totalitarian lockdown measures, or, attempt to leech success from the red states like parasites. Which one do you think they will choose?

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Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 21:30

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden