Conservatives Should Learn From The Left

Conservatives Should Learn From The Left

Authored by Heather Higgins via,

As the political right struggles to regroup after the horrible events at the U.S. Capitol, it should learn from the masters. The left has a consistent pattern when responding to terrible behavior by activists associated with their cause — from the widespread destruction and violence last summer during protests of police brutality to mobbing Republican senators during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings to the Bernie Sanders acolyte who opened fire at GOP members of Congress in 2017.

The left starts by driving the narrative that their protests or movements were mostly peaceful while amplifying participants’ concerns to give them legitimacy.

They downplay any violence, positioning it as nothing to do with them, a distraction from the cause. Having disassociated themselves from the bad behavior, they never act embarrassed.

Compare this to those on the right:

Everyone has unambiguously condemned the rioters in the Capitol, as they should. But many have fallen into the trap of accepting that they ought to be embarrassed, as though the rioters represented them, or even most Trump supporters, neither of which is the case. Nor have they defended the right to protest and the importance of recognizing and hearing concerns. Failing to do so has allowed the false equivalence between the rioters and the Trump supporters who were protesting to advance their concerns about election fraud, even though the vast majority of those in Washington on Jan. 6 were peaceful people who revere the Constitution.

The left has used those missteps to play a semantic game of expanding definitions and thus tar an ever widening circle. They start with the remarkable premise that there were no election shenanigans whatsoever, and consequently that it’s heresy to question rule changes or unrequested mailed ballots. Why? To label legitimate issues as merely a “fringe” contentions. 

Over the course of a week we’ve watched this metastasizing of definitions — President Trump “should have known” what his statements would lead to became “he deliberately incited” the rioting. And assertions that “everyone should have known” was expanded to “everyone who supported Trump incited the violence,” which led to “those who were silent and didn’t oppose Trump are enablers” and — when you are on a roll, why stop? — that conservatives are nascent Nazis.

With blame comes punishment — not just deserved penalties for the rioters but threatened retaliation, starting with employment prospects, against the peaceful protesters, those who worked for the administration, and now even anyone who supported Trump and his policies.

They are also ratcheting up censorship of conservatives by de-platforming the president and tens of thousands of others, shutting down alternate platforms, and revoking book publishing deals, all by applying standards that magically do not pertain to others. 

Most toxic is the assault on speech through redefinition — it is no longer what was said or intended, it is how it might be interpreted. That subjective non-standard gives an excuse to those on the left to define what constitutes permitted opinion, not just on this matter but a range of issues where disagreement will be labeled as dangerous. 

The implications of that are dire. It will mean the left  can use social pressure against cowering corporations, and foundations, to cut off the oxygen of speech and commerce — not just  access to social media platforms or hosting servers, but also banking services and funding — for individuals and organizations with a different view. 

To prevent this, the right needs to defend the peaceful participants and their right to protest, explain the roots of their deep legitimate concern (years of fake news, social media suppression, and election rule overrides and ballot proliferation), and use this as an opportunity to unite, not divide. 

Some conservative leaders and commentators, especially Never Trumpers, seem to see this as an opportunity to purge the movement of everyone associated with Trump and mistakenly presume that by feeding him and his allies to the alligator, they will be allowed to escape and achieve the left’s promised unity.  

But as the social media putsch shows, this kind of “unity” really means “accept your guilt and be silenced.” With Trump out of the White House, the alligator won’t go away; his menu will simply shift to any others who won’t shut up and “unify.” The penalty: their platforms, social standing, and sources of funding will all be cut off.

Efforts to force the 74 million people who voted for Trump over Joe Biden to feel ashamed and responsible or to publicly punish and silence their advocates, will be devastating not just to the Republican Party but to our country. We must instead regroup around our positive agenda, defend the tremendous policy gains that have been made — and stand strongly for the right of free speech and association, applied with neutral rules to everyone, including conservatives.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 20:30

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Whole Foods CEO Suggests Americans Wouldn’t Need Healthcare If They Ate Better 

Whole Foods CEO Suggests Americans Wouldn’t Need Healthcare If They Ate Better 

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said Americans would not need healthcare if they ate better and lived healthier lives. 

“I mean, honestly, we talk about healthcare. The best solution is not to need health care,” Mackey told Freakonomics Radio on Nov. 4 and was first reported on Monday by CNBC.

“The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and diet,” he said. “There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be healthy and have a longer healthspan. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem.” 

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey

Mackey dropped some pretty alarming health statistics that show Americans make bad health choices. 

“71% of Americans are overweight and 42.5% are obese. Clearly, we’re making bad choices in the way we eat,” he said. “It’s not a sustainable path. And so, I’m calling it out.” 

The numbers also shed light on why the US has had a relatively difficult time containing the virus pandemic because obese Americans are more at risk of contracting the infection. 

To make matters worse, lockdowns and restrictions have led the most obese nation in the world, the US, to become ever more overweight. About a quarter of Americans gained between five and ten pounds since the coronavirus lockdowns.

The reason for the “Quarantine 15” weight gain has been changes in diet, lack of regular exercise and a more sedentary lifestyle.

Mackey has been vocal about adult health for years. In 2009, he argued in a WSJ op-ed that “the last thing our country needs is a massive new healthcare entitlement.”

“This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health,” Mackey wrote. “We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health.”

Suppose Americans listened to Mackey’s advice. Then how would big pharma make their billions of dollars from obese people who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure? 

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 20:00

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Russia Advances In The Field Of Autonomous Combat Robotic Platforms

Russia Advances In The Field Of Autonomous Combat Robotic Platforms

Via South,

Russia has been testing autonomous combat robotic platforms.

The experimental robotic platform “Marker” completed a trek of approximately 30 kilometers, entirely in autonomous mode, the Advanced Research Fund (FPI) reported on December 30th. The tests were carried out in the Chelyabinsk region.

The route of the vehicle was laid through an unprepared territory – a forest-steppe with a snow cover. The autonomous platform motion control system, having received a route assignment with the coordinates of a given point, ensured the platform’s arrival at the finish line in an hour and a half. The vehicle relied on the data of the technical vision system built on new neural network algorithms.

The autonomous control system of the platform movement provides autonomous laying and adjustment of the route of movement in the event of obstacles – trees, rises, ravines, bushes, etc.

The technical characteristics of the platform provide the possibility of autonomous operation for up to 48 hours on paved roads and up to 24 hours on rough terrain. As part of the next tests, the “Marker” platform will have to cover 50, 100 and 200 kilometers.

The “Marker” experimental robotic platform was developed as part of a project by the Advanced Research Foundation, which was launched in 2018. The goal of the project is to create and conduct a full-scale development of technologies and basic elements of ground-based robotics.

The “Marker” in the version on a tracked platform completed movement trials in July 2019, and then moved towards the firing practice. the Marker platform was developed and produced by the NPO Androidnaya Tekhnika as part of the first stage of the FPI project. The “Marker” uses two types of platforms: tracked and wheeled. A total of five robotic complexes will be manufactured to test the technologies.

The robotic platform “Marker” is a joint project of the Foundation for Advanced Study and NPO “Android Technology”. It is assumed that this combat robot will become the basis for working out the joint interaction of ground robots, unmanned aircraft and special forces. The “Marker” is positioned as a constructor for creating models of warfare in the future.

The evolution of modern ground-based robotic systems for military purposes is moving towards increasing the ability to perform tasks in an autonomous mode with a gradual decrease in the involvement of the operator in the process of controlling. To increase the level of autonomy of ground-based robotic systems, the development of a number of key technologies is required, which together determine the appearance of promising robotic system. Therefore, it is relevant to develop robotics technologies and bring them to the level of readiness that allows the technologies being created to be applied on promising autonomous robotic systems in real conditions.

To test the technologies being created, to bring their level of readiness, a mobile demonstrator of robotics technologies was created using the modular design principle, with an open information architecture of construction, which provides the possibility of carrying out a full-scale development of technologies and basic elements of ground-based robotics.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 19:30

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There’s Now A 12 Minute $175 Chopper Ride From Westchester Or Greenwich To Manhattan

There’s Now A 12 Minute $175 Chopper Ride From Westchester Or Greenwich To Manhattan

The irony of New York City getting new helicopter travel options is that the traffic these rides once sought to avoid has thinned out significantly. As a result of both Covid-19 and a general exodus from the city that is taking place as a result of the wonderful job Mayor Bill de Blasio is doing, the once super-crowded streets of Manhattan have been downgraded to simply just crowded.

Regardless, those with the means in NYC may be happy to hear there is a new 12 minute helicopter ride option for those who want to travel between Westchester County Airport and Manhattan. The ride, put into service by Blade Urban Air Mobility, can carry five and will cost $175, according to Bloomberg.

Rob Wiesenthal, the company’s CEO, said: “We believe people will be willing to pay to go once a week by Blade, because we’re saving so much friction. These people are working remotely four days a week, and it can feel comfortable to do this once a week.”

A Blade chopper / Photo: BBG

The program comes after the success of a pilot program in and out of the Hamptons last year. The chopper’s helipad will be in Ross’s terminal in Westchester.

Blade is looking to introduce even more helipads that it calls “vertiports” alongside of electric choppers within four years. The expansion, especially in NYC, could come as more people start meandering back to the office daily for work. 

Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, concluded: “The helicopter and vertical technology are going to surge, because of the savings in time. It’s one of the best investments, because you can be twice as productive when you’re in your Manhattan high rise office: You can do far more in face to face, which makes the helicopter worth it.”

He concluded: “There’s a new hierarchy of how you commute. The helicopter is superseding the limousine and the SUV for hedge-fund executives and high-tech leaders.”

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 19:05

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Stockman: Why Does Sleepy Joe Think We Need Another $850 Billion Of Transfer Payments?

Stockman: Why Does Sleepy Joe Think We Need Another $850 Billion Of Transfer Payments?

Authored by David Stockman via,

In light of Sleepy Joe’s swell new $1.9 trillion package of more free stuff, it’s time to get out our magnifying glasses again. The purpose is to compute the size of the hole in  America’s collective paycheck that purportedly requires such continued, extraordinary beneficence from our not so rich Uncle Sam.  

To repeat: There is no reason in the world why the February (pre-Covid) level of wage and salary disbursements is not a solid and appropriate benchmark for measuring the pocketbook hit from the Covid-Lockdowns that have wreaked havoc on the US economy since March. That is, from the point at which the evil Dr. Fauci convinced the Donald to pull the plug on MAGA and his own tenure in office, too (of course, 80-year old Dr.  Fauci is still there, fixing to bamboozle yet another notionally “elected” president).  

Still, back in February the Donald was boasting to one and all that he had delivered the greatest economy the world had ever seen and Wall Street apparently agreed, pushing stocks high into the nose-bleed section of history.  

As it happened, the February run rate (annualized) of wage and salary disbursements was $9.659 trillion, which computes to about $805 billion per month. So we would suggest that if $805 billion of monthly wages was enough to justify celebration of the  Greatest Economy Ever, then the shortfall from that benchmark is a solid measure of the hit to US worker earnings that has occurred since February.  

Based on the red bars in the chart below and translated to actual monthly numbers, the  Covid-wage and salary loss computes as follows:  

  • March: -$25b;  

  • April: -$76b;  

  • May: -$61b;  

  • June: -$43b;  

  • July: -$31b;  

  • August: -$19b;  

  • September: -$12b;  

  • October: -$6b; 

  • November: -$3b;  

  • December est: $0b;  

  • 10-month total: -$276b 

The total of $276 billion of lost paychecks compares to $8.05 trillion of wages and  salaries which would have been earned during that period at the February rate ($805  billion). So the cumulative shortfall through year-end amounted to just 3.4%. 

More importantly, the $0-$6 billion monthly shortfall since September has been so small as to constitute a rounding error in the scheme of things, as suggested by the fact that American households spend far more—about $8 billion per month—-on pet food and pet care alone.  

Yet Sleepy Joe has now teed up another $850 billion of direct aid to households, which in the aggregate are no longer suffering any material paycheck shortfall. And what is  especially egregious about filling a non-existent income hole in this manner is  that 53% of this amount goes to “stimmy” checks and child tax credits, which are  essentially not even mean-tested except at the tippy-top of the income scale ($200,000  for a married couple):  

Sleepy Joe’s $850 Billion of Direct Handouts to Households: 

  • Stimmy checks and child tax credits: $450b;  

  • Unemployment benefits: $200b;  

  • Health insurance aid: $100b;  

  • Rental assistance: $35b;  

  • Child care aid: $40b  

  • Safety net: $20b  

Still, to paraphrase Walter Mondale’s famous campaign slogan from 1984: Another  $850 billion for income replacement but “Where’s The Hole?” 

Compensation of All US employees, Annualized Run Rate, February 2020- November 2020

Of course, there are other ways to measure the hit to the national economy stemming from the Covid-Lockdown impact, as we will amplify below. But first it would be well to summarize the “solution” that Washington’s fiscally incontinent politicians have heaved at the “problem” during the last 11 months—a “problem” that they have never bothered to quantify.  

With the new Biden package, spending authorized by the five major Covid relief  measures can be summarized as follows (billions):  

  • Families First act: $192b;  

  • CARES act: $2,200b;  

  • Paycheck Protection Program: $733b;  

  • Response and Relief Act: $935b;  

  • Biden Jan. 14th plan: $1,900b;  

  • Five package total: $5,960b. 

That’s right. The Washington pols are fixing to heave nigh onto $6 trillion at a $274  billion hole in the nation’s wage bucket. That’s a solution 22X bigger than the putative problem!  

Of course, we do not mean to dwell lightly on the “putative” part, nor embrace the notion that government owes citizens reparations for the damage its actions have caused.  

Yes, the overwhelming share of the actual economic harm since March is due to the misguided (and unconstitutional) lockdown policies of the government and the vastly disproportionate and unwarranted public hysteria fanned by Dr. Fauci and the Virus  Patrol, not the disease itself. But if the state gets into the business of fully indemnifying the public for the endless harm wrought by its policies, insolvency would be thereafter guaranteed, and in short order, too.  

Besides, why does Washington have the right to burden future taxpayers with permanent debt service payments in order to make-whole a $276 billion loss of income and 3.4% inconvenience among taxpayers today?  

And don’t stiff us with the humanitarian relief bit. The simple fact is that the overwhelming share of this $276 billion of wage losses has been visited upon low-wage and part-time workers in the social-congregation sectors of the economy (bars,  restaurants, gyms, hotels, movies, ball parks etc.) that the Virus Patrol in its wisdom has shutdown. The right solution is to send the Virus Patrol packing and let these unfairly penalized employees go back to work.  

Moreover, even if you want to plug that “hole” beyond what the in-place safety net is already providing (see below), well, then, tax the more affluent section of today’s citizenry to pay for it, not unknowing, unborn and voiceless future taxpayers.  

Then again, the bipartisan duopoly is not about to give that fiscally honest approach the  time of day; they specialize in the joint gang-mugging of voiceless future taxpayers.  

Even if you think that the total wage and salary loss computed above understates the  economic damage caused by the lockdowns, the massive fiscal overkill owing to the  Everything Bailouts cannot be gainsaid.  

For instance, GDP is the most comprehensive measure of economic activity that we have  (despite its manifest flaws), but the loss of GDP after February has also been only about  3.6%. In fact, based on the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecast, we project that nominal  GDP during Q4 will post at about $21.650 trillion, a figure only 0.46% below the  Greatest Economy Ever level of Q4 2019.  

So, again, if we assume that Q4 2019 is a reasonable pre-Covid benchmark for the level  of total economic activity in the USA, we get the following shortfall, including an  estimate for Q4 based on the Atlanta Fed’s latest outlook.  

Quarterly GDP Change From Q42019 Benchmark: 

  • Q1 2020: -$47b;  

  • Q2 2020: -$559b;  

  • Q3 2020: -$144b;  

  • Q4 2020E: -$25b;  

  • 4-quarter total: -$775b

So even if you want to count everything including losses from the $2.5 trillion of  imputed activity in the GDP, the pending $6 trillion of Everything Bailouts is 7.7X the  size of the problem!

Quarterly GDP At Annual Rates

Of course, the real point of the bailouts is to compensate the private sector for the economic harm done by the government in its exertions in furtherance of the public health. But when you look at the impact of the Covid-Lockdowns on value-added of the non-financial business sector, the hit compared to pre-Covid levels is also quite small.  

Again, using Q4 2019 as the pre-Covid benchmark and actual results through Q3 2020  and the Atlanta Fed estimates for Q4, the loss in business output relative to Q4 2019 is  just $594 billion or 2.7% of total GDP. So by this measure of the “problem”, the  impending Everything Bailouts would amount to 10X the size of the hole in the bucket.  

Likewise, our Atlanta Fed-based estimate of Q4 nonfinancial business value added of  $10.251 stands at fully 99.1% of the Q1 2019 level. That’s hardly a setback that warrants  burying future taxpayers in $6 trillion of new debt, and most especially not the $1.9  trillion part recommended by our day-late-and-dollar short incoming POTUS, who has  just emerged from his Delaware bunker.  

Quarterly Change In Business Value-Added Versus Q4 2019 Benchmark: 

  • Q1 2020: -$23b;  

  • Q2 2020: -$347b;  

  • Q3 2020: -$142b;  

  • Q4 2020E: -$82b; 

  • 4-Quarter total: -$594b

Quarterly Nonfinancial Business Sector Gross Value Added (Annualized):

By contrast, it is well worth looking at the other side of the coin: Namely, the surge in transfer payments since last February stemming from a combination of the built-in safety net (principally unemployment insurance, foods stamps and Medicaid) and disbursements of stimmy checks, enhanced Federal UI benefits and the rest authorized by the Everything Bailouts.  

At the pre-Covid level in February, total government transfer payments (including state  and local) were running at a $3.165 trillion annual rate or about $265 billion per  month. As shown in the chart below, however, that monthly figure skyrocketed by 107%  to $546 billion in the month of April alone.  

And, no, that latter figures is not the annualized rate: In their infinite generosity,  government programs pumped more than one-half trillion dollars into the household  sector during April alone. That’s $18.2 billion per day! 

Thereafter, the tsunami of transfer payments began to abate, but were still running at a  $400 billion monthly level in July and $306 billion level in November. Overall, the 10- month total of incremental transfer payments above the February level totaled $1.05  trillion.

You can’t make this up. Transfer payments to households during the past 10 months have exceeded the loss of household wages and salaries ($276 billion) by nearly four times.  

So the question recurs: Why does Sleepy Joe think we need another $850 billion of transfer payments to households on top of the immense generosity already dispensed per the chart below?  

The answer is simple: He’s doing it because he can—because the nation-wreckers in the  Eccles Building have determined to purchase $120 billion of government debt and  GSE securities per month for the indefinite future. As JayPo rattled on at his presser this week, they are not even thinking about thinking about tapering this tsunami of fake money plucked from thin air by the Fed’s digital printing presses.  

Accordingly, under this crooked regime of massive debt monetization, there is no here  and now economic sting to rampant Federal borrowing; no “crowding-out” as in times  of yore before the Fed went off the deep-end with Keynesian money-pumping; and no  

surging interest rates to rouse Wall Street and the business community from their happy  slumber in the lap of ultra-cheap borrowing costs.  

Stated differently, when it comes to the rampant fiscal incontinence in the Imperial City  enabled by the Fed, did the election outcome make any difference?  

It did not. Sleepy Joe is about to give the once and former King of Debt a run for his money when it comes to the annals of fiscal infamy in America.

Total Government Transfer Payments, Annualized

Even if you set-aside things like increased Medicaid and food stamp spending embedded in the above figures for total government transfer payments and focus just on the change in Federal-state unemployment insurance disbursements since February, the sheer fiscal madness at loose on Capitol Hill is baldly evident.  

To wit, prior to the Covid-Lockdown battering of the US economy, which has so far caused the filing of an incredible 70 million in new unemployment benefit claims, the  Federal-state unemployment systems was pumping out benefit payments at a $27.8  billion annual rate in February or about $2.3 billion per month. 

Here is the subsequent increase in UI payments from both existing state programs and the Federal pandemic assistance benefits and $600 per month topper payments. They total $518 billion or nearly two-times the $276 billion cumulative loss of wages and salaries during the same 10-month period.  

Moreover, the alacrity with which the system poured money into the ranks of unemployment claimants is a wonder to behold. By April the February payment level of  $2.3 billion had soared to $41 billion, per month and by July the figure came in at an astounding $117 billion per month.  

That’s right. At the June peak rate of $117 billion per month ($1.4 trillion annualized per  the chart below), the monthly payment rate was 51X higher than it had been in  February, and exceeded the full year UI payout rate during the depths of the Great  Recession.

Monthly UI Payments Annualized

But consider this: If the Federal-State unemployment system was already overcompensating for actual lost wages and salaries by 2X, why did we need to send helicopter checks, or what Washington now fondly calls “stimmy checks”, to 155 million households on top of that, when most of these households had not lost their jobs or paychecks?  

Nevertheless, here is the “stimmy check” and related non-means tested money in the  five Everything Bailouts including Sleepy Joe’s new edition to the Fiscal Demolition  Derby:  

Non-Means-Tested Stimmy Funding: 

  • Families First act: $105b;  

  • CARES act: $315b;  

  • Response & Relief Act: $191b;  

  • Biden Jan. 14th plan: $625b;  

  • Total non-means tested stimmy: $1.235 trillion.

In short, the wage loss hole in the bucket was already filled two-times over by the  increase in UI benefit payments since February, but this massive drop of cash on the  American public will have filled it again by another 4.5X. 

As we said, free lunches for one and all……except, except the debt is never going away  and future generations will surely rue the day. 

* * *

The above originally appeared at David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 18:40

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Parler Back From The Dead As CEO Posts New Message

Parler Back From The Dead As CEO Posts New Message

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours)

Parler’s website suddenly appeared online Sunday with a message from its CEO, John Matze, who said, “Hello world, is this thing on?”

The message suggests Parler was able to find another hosting service, coming about a week after Amazon Web Services booted the social media website from its services, taking the site down. It came as Parler—billed as a “free speech” platform—was seeing an unprecedented surge in users as prominent conservatives, among others, were being banned from Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.

Matze also issued a temporary status update.

Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform,” Matze. “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media. Our aim has always been to provide a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise their rights to both. We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!

A screenshot of on Jan. 16, 2020. (Screenshot/Parler)


Amazon Web Services’ rationale behind jettisoning Parler was due to a lack of moderation and came in the backdrop of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots. Parler, in a court filing, citing text messages between Matze and an Amazon representative, claimed Amazon was primarily concerned with whether President Donald Trump would migrate to Parler after his Twitter account was banned last week.

The same filing asserted that Amazon didn’t appear to care much about alleged violent threats that were made by Parler users.

Last week, Parler asked a federal court in Washington state to block Amazon’s decision, while maintaining that Amazon engaged in monopolistic practices by booting the platform. Twitter is also a major client of Amazon Web Services.

This illustration picture shows the social media website from Parler displayed on a computer screen in Arlington, Va., on July 2, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a WHOIS search, Parler appears to be hosted by Epik, which also hosts social media website Gab.

While it did not confirm Parler was seeking its services, Epik in a statement last week blasted Big Tech companies’ “kneejerk reaction” of “simply deplatforming and terminating any relationship that on the surface looks problematic or controversial.” The statement noted that Epik is “not quick to abandon our administrative positions,” as it attempted to contrast it and Amazon.

Other than Amazon’s decision, Google and Apple removed Parler from its respective app stores.

Earlier on Sunday, Matze said there was no indication Amazon, Google, and Apple would pull their services.

In the days up to the suspension, “Amazon, as usual, [was] basically saying, ‘Oh, I never saw any material problems. There’s no issues.’ You know, they played it off very nonchalantly. And so we had still even, you know, on the 8th and the 9th, you know, we had no real indication that this was, you know, deadly serious,” Matze told Fox News.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 18:34

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Fox News Ratings Plummet After Abandoning MAGA Viewers

Fox News Ratings Plummet After Abandoning MAGA Viewers

Before the 2020 election, Fox News was dominating its cable rivals – in large part due to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, whose pro-Trump messaging and coverage of the Russiagate and Biden scandals helped lead the network to its #1 ratings spot for several years.

Then, after host Chris Wallace ‘moderated’ the first Presidential debate by overtly protecting Joe Biden while attacking Trump, the network’s establishment bias upstaged even their ratings darlings. Disgusted MAGA viewers began turning to alternatives such as One America News and Newsmax for pro-Trump coverage after Fox made clear where they stand.

According to the Daily Beast, Fox News’ ratings have plummetedas the network finished third to both CNN and MSNBC in the ratings on Friday for the third straight day, their poorest showing since September 2000.

On Wednesday, CNN averaged 5.941 million total viewers and 2.074 million in the key 25-54 demographic for the entire day, compared to MSNBC’s 4.543 million viewers overall and 1.106 million demo audience and Fox News’ total audience of 3.464 million and 852,000 in the demo.

The disparity increased on Thursday, with CNN drawing 3.854 million total viewers, MSNBC averaging 3.321 million, and Fox pulling in 1.935 million for the day. CNN also led in the demo, nabbing 1.193 million with MSNBC finishing second at 653,000 and Fox bringing in the rear at 384,000.

The streak continued on Friday as CNN finished first once again with 3.121 million total viewers, followed by MSNBC’s 2.816 million and FNC’s 1.702 million. In the total day demo, CNN drew 878,000 viewers, compared to MSNBC’s 512,000 and Fox News’ 320,000. MSNBC, meanwhile, experienced its highest-rated week ever, averaging a total of 3.1 million viewers. –Daily Beast

Fox is trying to salvage their ratings disaster. Last Monday they announced a massive overhaul of its daytime and early primetime weekday lineup – shifting Martha MacCallum from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m., and moving anchors Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer out of their early afternoon broadcasts for a co-anchored segment from 9-11 a.m. with a rebooted America’s Newsroom.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 18:15

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The Trial Of Citizen Trump Would Raise Serious Constitutional Questions

The Trial Of Citizen Trump Would Raise Serious Constitutional Questions

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Below is my column in USA Today on the upcoming Senate trial of President Donald Trump. The Hill recently ran my second column on why the best defense of Trump could be no defense — to skip the Senate trial and force a threshold vote on the constitutionality of the trial of an ex-president. Here is my column:

With the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, the Congress is set for one of the most bizarre moments in constitutional history: the removal of someone who has already left office. The retroactive removal would be a testament to the timeliness of rage. While it is not without precedent, it is without logic.

The planned impeachment trial of Donald Trump after he leaves office would be our own version of the Cadaver Synod.  In 897, Pope Stephen VI and his supporters continued to seethe over the action of Pope Formosus, who not only died in 896 but was followed by another pope, Boniface VI.  After the brief rule of Boniface VI, Pope Stephen set about to even some scores. He pulled Formosus out of his tomb, propped him up in court, and convicted him of variety of violations of canon law. Formosus was then taken out, three fingers cut off, and eventually thrown in the Tiber River.

While some may be looking longingly at the Potomac for their own Cadaver Synod, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have stated that their primary interest is in the possible disqualification of Trump from holding future federal office. Disqualification however is an optional penalty that follows a conviction and removal. It may be added to the primary purpose of removal referenced in the Constitution. The Trump trial would convert this supplemental punishment into the primary purpose of the trial.

This did happen before but that precedent is only slightly better than the Cadaver Synod. That case involved William Belknap who served as Secretary of War to President Ulysses S. Grant. Belknap resigned after allegations of corruption — just shortly before a House vote of impeachment. The Senate held a trial but acquitted him. Twenty nine of 66 voting senators disagreed in a threshold motion that Belknap was  “amenable to trial by impeachment . . . notwithstanding his resignation.”

In fairness to the Democrats, I have long rejected the argument that there comes a point when it is too late to impeach a president while he is in office. As I said in both the Clinton and Trump impeachment hearings, the House is under a duty to impeach if it believes that a president has committed a high crime and misdemeanor. If that occurred on the last day of a term, it would still be warranted.

My objection to this second impeachment was that it proceeded without any deliberation of the traditional impeachment process. It was a snap impeachment, which is to the Constitution what Snapchat is to conversations. It reduces the process to a raw, brief and partisan vote. This could have been avoided. A hearing could have been held in a day to allow the language of the article to be amended and the implications of the impeachment considered. It would also have allowed for a formal demand for a response from the president.

Instead, the impeachment was pushed through on a partisan muscle vote with only ten Republicans supporting the single article. It was an ironic moment. In the last Trump impeachment, I chastised the Democrats for pushing through an impeachment on the slimmest record and the shortest time frame of any presidential impeachment. They insisted that there was no time for witnesses before the House Judiciary hearing, but later waited weeks to submit the articles to the Senate. Now they have outdone that record with an impeachment with no traditional record in a matter of a couple of days. The Senate will not sit until January 19th and any trial would likely occur after January 20th.

I have long wrestled with the notion of a retroactive impeachment trial. I can see the value of establishing that a president was not just accused but convicted of unconstitutional acts. There is also the value of disqualification of such an individual from future office. However, what was an intriguing academic puzzle is now a pressing constitutional concern.

The impeachment trial of a private citizen raises a host of constitutional and practical problems. For example, a president can rely on publicly-funded lawyers like the White House Counsel and can assert presidential privileges. After leaving office, an ex-president would not only pay for his own defense, but he will lose the ability to make privilege determinations. Indeed, many such assertions would be subject to the review of his successor, Joe Biden. It would be like Pope Stephen making determinations on critical evidence of Pope Formosus after pulling him out of the crypt.

The main issue however would be whether this is really an impeachment trial, as opposed to some curious constitutional post-mortem on a passed presidency. That question could face Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts if he has summoned for this role. A chief justice does not simply show up at anything deemed an impeachment trial. He must make an independent judgment over his carrying out a constitutional function.  Even if he rules that this is a valid trial, that ruling could be rejected by the Senate in a motion to dismiss the article. In the Clinton impeachment, Democrats demanded such a threshold vote before a trial. Of course, since there is no president to try for impeachment, the Senate may not even ask Roberts to preside — a telling departure that only undermines the trial as a whole.

This impeachment should end with the Trump administration. I do not fault those who view the president’s conduct as impeachable. The speech was reckless and wrong. My primary objection was to the use of a snap impeachment and the language of the article of impeachment. That is now part of Trump’s presidential legacy. The question is now what will be the troubling constitutional legacy left by the Senate in the trial of an ex-president.

In my view, a retroactive removal vote would combine with the use of a snap impeachment to fundamentally altering the role of impeachment in the United States. It would take a rush to judgment and turn it into a parade of constitutional horribles. Any party could retroactively impeach or remove a former president for the purpose of disqualifying him from office. Thus, if a party feared a one-term president’s possible run, they could hold use impeachment to eliminate the political threat. With the snap impeachment, it would be worse than creating a type of “no confidence vote” under our Constitution. After a non confidence vote in the United Kingdom, a former prime minister can still run again for office.

A conviction would also not bring the closure as many may hope. Such disqualification would be one of the few impeachment issues that could be challenged in court. Trump would have standing to sue for his right to run again and he could well win. He would then be more popular than ever with many citizens eager to defy the Washington establishment. There is another path. The Senate could end the trial with a threshold vote and let history and the voters be the final judge of Donald J. Trump.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 17:50

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Incoming $1400 “Stimmy” Checks Could Push The S&P Over 4,000

Incoming $1400 “Stimmy” Checks Could Push The S&P Over 4,000

There’s no doubt that the $600 stimulus checks that went out earlier this month put a charge into the market. Will the coming $1,400 checks push the market even higher? We think so.

We believe that another round of stimulus – at more than 2x the amount of the previous round – is an obvious catalyst that will move the market higher once again. We noted as such on January 13 when we posted to Twitter that the top 3 banks were “probably right” in suggesting calendar spreads because stimulus would pave the path for the S&P to breach 4,000.

This question was also explored by Bloomberg on Sunday morning, who arrived at a similar conclusion. Noting that the recent $600 checks caused option trading to explode and penny stock volume to skyrocket, the report points out that people “can’t help notice how tiny traders with money to spend keep turning up in the vicinity of almost every market spectacle these days”.

Then, the obvious question becomes: where does that extra money come from? 


Peter Cecchini, founder and chief strategist of AlphaOmega Advisors LLC, commented: “If the additional $1,400 goes to the same income levels it did before, we are highly likely to see additional speculation in stocks, which could continue to inflate an already-existing bubble. If it goes to people with below-average incomes, speculation will be less likely.”

Data suggests that people who got a stimulus check, across all income groups, traded 30% more in the first 10 days of January than at the start of December. Those who earn less than $75,000 per year saw a 53% jump in their trading, Bloomberg wrote.

And the coming $1,400 will hit bank accounts during a “full-blow market mania”. Speculation is rampant not just in risky asset classes like cryptocurrencies, but in penny stocks, dubious startup companies and cash burning entities across all exchanges in the U.S. – we are at peak euphoria. In fact, the options market saw its second busiest day ever for bullish equity calls this week and penny stock volume is up 6x from last year.

Retail stocks, as we have noted many times on Zero Hedge, are blowing away hedge fund favorites and the S&P 500 index:

And while people certainly need the stimulus to help offset rising costs and job losses, many will instead divert their checks to the market. 

23-year-old Ava Frankel of Boston, who works in the financial services sector, said: “I told my friends, if you’re going to spend your stimulus check on shoes, you might as well just put it in Robinhood instead. The $600 check was just something extra I didn’t need so I just threw it in the stock market.”

Frankel put her entire $600 check in to a SPAC that is reportedly in talks with Lucid Motors and says she would consider doing the same with the next check she gets. “I would love to see a pullback in the tech sector because I would like to add to my positions in the tech names,” she also said. 

Chris O’Keefe of Logan Capital Management concluded: “If there is a bubble being created within the financial markets, to some degree, those checks do add to it because I think they’re going to chase performance. It used to be you added money to the economy and people went out and bought things — cars and furniture — now it seems to amplify what’s going on in the financial markets.”

Or, in other words:


Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 17:25

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Ice Cream From China Contaminated With COVID: Officials

Ice Cream From China Contaminated With COVID: Officials

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

Officials in a Chinese municipality said that three samples of ice cream tested positive for the CCP virus, and thousands of boxes were confiscated, according to state-run media.

Storage of the ice cream, produced by Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Co., was sealed after samples sent by the firm to a local disease control center last week tested positive for the virus.

Officials said that the company’s more than 1,662 workers were placed under quarantine due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus—also known as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Authorities in Tianjin said the company produced more than 4,836 boxes of COVID-contaminated ice cream, according to state media. Hundreds of boxes of ice cream entered the market.

The Tianjin Municipality is located in northeastern China and borders Hebei Province and Beijing.

According to reports in October 2020, CCP authorities had detected and isolated the virus on the outer packaging of frozen cod during efforts to trace the virus in an outbreak in Qingdao.

Officials’ claims about the virus being found in frozen food could be a tactic to blame other countries for COVID-19 cases in the country. In November, regime authorities said that allegedly COVID-contaminated food was imported from other countries in what some experts said was an attempt to blame those countries for the outbreak.

State media reports over the weekend said the raw material used to produce the ice cream came from Ukraine and New Zealand.

The ice cream development comes as CCP authorities relocated about 20,000 people in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei Province, to other areas for quarantine several days ago. The outbreak, according to officials, also spread to Qiqihar—one of the largest cities in northern China in Heilongjiang Province.

The new wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in Shijiazhuang was concentrated in Zengcun township of Gaocheng district, and has spread to other parts of China.

The Epoch Times learned on Jan. 11 that after many residents in Zengcun were sent to quarantine sites, nearly 20,000 people who had remained were urgently notified by local authorities to be transferred to quarantine centers in remote areas.

And leaked government documents obtained by The Epoch Times showed that officials in Hebei are anticipating a surge in CCP virus cases and are making preparations to curb its spread.

Chinese officials in Heilongjiang Province on Jan. 14 told all 38 million residents to self-quarantine at home, although they didn’t say for how long.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 17:00

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden