Los Angeles County Bans TVs At Bars Just In Time For The Super Bowl

Los Angeles County Bans TVs At Bars Just In Time For The Super Bowl

Authored by Rick Moran via PJMedia.com,

Los Angeles County has decided that bars and restaurants can reopen for outdoor dining only starting on Friday. But there are new draconian restrictions that will kill even more businesses in the end.

One of the new restrictions involves TVs. There will be no viewing TVs in the outdoor dining areas. With the Super Bowl coming up on February 7, county health officials are worried that having the ability to watch the game at a bar would lead to a “superspreader” event for the coronavirus.

Super Bowl watch parties are an American tradition and the Super Bowl is one of the biggest days all year for bars and restaurants. Preventing watch parties may be the coup de grace for some small businesses.

Fox News:

According to the health order issued by the county, televisions or other screens that broadcast programming must remain off. The rule comes a week ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday she’s worried that the giant sporting event, which usually drives crowds to bars and restaurants for celebrations and watch-parties, will become a “superspreader” event.

“It will be tragic if the Super Bowl becomes the Super Spreader of coronavirus,” Ferrer said, according to KTLA5. She added that residents should avoid large gatherings and refrain from throwing Super Bowl parties to prevent a situation where the virus can further spread.

I don’t think there are a lot of football fans working at the county health department.

Some restrictions are a part of the micromanagement of people’s lives and others make no sense. There is a limit of 50 percent capacity except if the business has a certificate of occupancy with a specific number of patrons allowed. That number will vary depending on the certificate.

Some of these restrictions make you shake your head in disbelief.


Another big enforcement issue this time around will be the proper use of all personal protective equipment. As before, servers will need to wear both a face mask (can be cloth) and a face shield, and that mandate has now been extended to anyone who interacts with diners, including runners, bussers, and all front of house personnel. Given the more transmissible new strains of coronavirus going around right now, expect this one to receive particular scrutiny from visiting public health officials in the coming weeks.

The county has also said no (again) to any live entertainment (including DJs and bands), and that includes televisions — so no Super Bowl parties. Furthermore: “Restaurants may not host receptions, banquets, or other coordinated, organized or invited events or gatherings.” Oh, and no fun tableside preparations or shows like salad spinning or guacamole making, either.

I guess that means no flaming deserts.

It’s all for our own good, of course, so if you want to watch the game, you’ll have to do it at home.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 18:40

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Treating Lin Wood’s Wild Conspiracy Theories As a Psychiatric Symptom Invites Him to Play Free Speech Martyr


The State Bar of Georgia has asked pro-Trump lawyer L. Lin Wood to undergo a psychiatric examination in response to complaints stemming from his role in promoting bizarre conspiracy theories about the presidential election. Wood is refusing, which may result in the suspension of his license to practice law.

By focusing on Wood’s mental state rather than his conduct, the state bar invites him to portray himself as a First Amendment martyr. A psychiatric evaluation “will violate my First Amendment right to free speech,” Wood told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And if they do that and this harms me, then I will strongly consider suing them, and it will be a significant lawsuit.”

Millions of Americans, including former President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, believe (or at least claim to believe) that the election was stolen through an elaborate scheme involving tricky voting machines and massive paper-ballot fraud. That extraordinary popular delusion can be understood as a political phenomenon driven by familiar human frailties such as tribalism and confirmation bias. But it is not in any meaningful sense a medical issue.

Psychiatry routinely treats weird things people say as evidence of mental illness. But if believing wild claims about election fraud were enough to qualify for a psychiatric label, most Republicans would be diagnosable. That premise is not just condescending and pseudoscientific but morally misleading, since it lets people off the hook for endorsing grave allegations with no basis in fact, whether sincerely or dishonestly.

If Trump’s election fantasy is caused by a mental disorder beyond his control, it would be manifestly unjust to hold him legally accountable for recklessly promoting it, as his impeachment aims to do. Likewise with Giuliani, who last week was hit with a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit for repeatedly making false claims about the involvement of Dominion Voting Systems in the imaginary plot that supposedly denied Trump a second term. Ditto former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, whom Dominion sued on January 8.

“Sidney Powell is a crazy person,” the New York Post declared in a December 27 editorial urging Trump to “stop the insanity.” The Post was speaking figuratively. But if its description of Powell is taken literally, meaning that her conspiracy mongering is a product of mental illness, shouldn’t her behavior elicit sympathy and “treatment” rather than anger and lawsuits?

Maybe Wood is a special case. Even in the company of florid fabulists such as Trump, Giuliani, and Powell, he stands out as a purveyor of outlandish allegations. While Trump called Chief Justice John Roberts (along with the rest of the Supreme Court) cowardly and incompetent for turning away lawsuits challenging the election results in battleground states, he did not join Wood in trying to implicate Roberts in murder and pedophilia. And while Trump castigated Vice President Mike Pence for failing to block congressional affirmation of the election results (a power the vice president does not actually have), Wood suggested that Pence should be executed for treason. “Get the firing squads ready,” Wood said in a January 7 Parler post. “Pence goes FIRST.”

Around the same time, Wood was permanently banned from Twitter. His online comments recently prompted one of his best-known clients, Nicholas Sandmann, to terminate their relationship. A Delaware judge this month barred Wood from representing former Trump adviser Carter Page. “The conduct of Mr. Wood, albeit not in my jurisdiction, exhibited a toxic stew of mendacity, prevarication, and surprising incompetence,” Judge Craig Karsnitz wrote. He called an election lawsuit that Wood filed in Georgia “textbook frivolous litigation” and said a complaint that Wood filed in Michigan “would not survive a law school civil procedure class.”

Karsnitz also noted Wood’s threat against Pence and his claims about Roberts, which the judge called “too disgusting and outrageous to repeat.” More generally, he said Wood’s promotion of baseless election-fraud claims had helped incite the Capitol riot—the same charge that Trump will face when the Senate takes up his impeachment this week.

Such behavior could be cause for disciplinary action, including disbarment. Among other things, the Georgia state bar’s rules prohibit “professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” But it’s not clear why a  psychiatrist’s opinion is relevant in determining whether Wood violated the bar’s code of professional conduct. Paula Frederick, the state bar’s general counsel, says the demand that Wood be evaluated by a psychiatrist is based on the concern that he “may be impaired or incapacitated.” That concern, in turn, is based on the odd, inflammatory stuff Wood has said.

Wood described his comments about Pence as “rhetorical hyperbole.” But like Trump’s incendiary pre-riot speech, which did not legally qualify as incitement but nevertheless led to his impeachment, Wood’s talk of executing Pence was, at best, grossly irresponsible given the political context. And his defamatory charges against Roberts, which he claimed were based on “information from [a] reliable source,” clearly did not qualify as mere rhetoric. Crazy tweets aside, Wood’s conduct in post-election litigation is obviously relevant in evaluating his professional behavior to the extent that it involved “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

By making an issue of Wood’s mental health, the state bar allows him to complain that it is using psychiatry to punish dissent. “I have done nothing wrong,” he said in a Telegram post last week. “I have only exercised my right of free speech. I will not allow the State Bar to persecute me for doing so and thereby violate my Constitutional rights.”

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Ray Dalio: Recent Market “Rebellion” Shows Growing “Anger” And “Intolerance” In U.S.

Ray Dalio: Recent Market “Rebellion” Shows Growing “Anger” And “Intolerance” In U.S.

The GameStop controversy has undoubtedly been the “effect” of a much bigger “cause”. 

And while some of our contributors have offered their take on what, exactly, is behind the revolt, it wouldn’t be commentary about the “economic machine” without Ray Dalio chiming in.

Dalio weighed in on the recent events involving GameStop and Reddit, which he called a “rebellion”, claiming that last week’s chaos was “another sign of the growing intolerance among those with opposing views”, according to Bloomberg.

“What concerns me more is the general anger — and almost hate — and the view of bringing people down that now is pervasive in almost all aspects of the country,” Dalio said. “That general desire to hurt one another,” Dalio pointed out.

He said recent events show that the everyday trader is “beginning to understand the mechanics of the markets”. 

And what would an interview with Ray Dalio be without him eventually turning the conversation back unto himself. “They remind me a lot of me at that age. I started investing at an early age and I was rebellious and wanted to do it my way and bring it down,” he concluded. 

And while that’s a lovely anecdote, the truth of the matter is that Dalio may not have any idea of what kind of revolt could actually be on its way.

He is right, of course, that people are angry. But if those people are also part of a group of hundreds of thousands of brokerage clients who all of a sudden find their “winnings” trapped in a bankrupt broker, the current “anger” may wind up looking like a walk in the park. 

And as we pointed out days ago, Robinhood’s balance sheet looks all but rock solid, given the circumstances.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 18:15

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Why Hasn’t The House Held Hearings To Establish “Incitement To Insurrection”?

Why Hasn’t The House Held Hearings To Establish “Incitement To Insurrection”?

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

We recently discussed how the Senate will have to decide whether to call witnesses in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. The use of a snap impeachment raises a basis for some senators to oppose such witnesses on institutional or prudential grounds. Democrats opposed any witnesses in the Clinton impeachment and there were no witnesses in the first Trump impeachment trial. Not surprisingly, the House is demanding witnesses. The initial vote in the trial shows that it is substantially short of the number of senators needed to convict and Trump could be acquitted on a virtual 50-50 vote. So here is my question: why has the House not used the last few weeks to call these witnesses and build the needed case to show intent to incite an insurrection? Weeks have gone by with key witnesses speaking to the press but not to the House.  Why?

I raised this possibility weeks ago since such House hearings could influence the Senate trial. Even if the transcripts were barred by the Senate, senators would be aware of the evidence and testimony. There has been limited testimony on the response to the riot but most key witnesses have not been called to public hearings on evidence related to Trump’s conduct or intent. Many are clearly willing to testify since they are speaking openly with the media.

I have no idea if such evidence exists but I, like most Americans, would like to know if it does. I was critical of Trump’s speech while he was giving it. I also opposed the challenge to the electoral votes and criticized the President’s false statements about the authority of Vice President Mike Pence to “send back” these votes. However, I have also said that, without evidence of intent, this case of incitement would fail in the Senate. Indeed, while many legal experts have claimed that this is a strong case for criminal incitement, I believe it would ultimately collapse in the federal courts on free speech grounds.

The House can show intent directly and circumstantial from evidence of the President’s conduct and statements before and after the speech.  The National Guard deployment is clearly a place to start.  Did Trump delay or obstruct deployment?  We still do not know despite this being one of the easier questions to answer.  Those questions will not be answered by calling the “Shaman” on whether he felt that Trump wanted him to riot or engage in insurrection. Such testimony will show how Trump’s words were received (which is relevant) but not what he intended.

There is a tendency in Congress to follow the litigation rule not to ask witnesses questions that you do not know the answer to in advance.  However, the absence of hearings on Trump’s role is glaring as the House managers claim that many in the Senate do not want to hear the truth.  There are two houses of Congress and the Democrats are in total control of the House.

There has clearly been inquiries and limited testimony but very little information has been made publicly, including information that is clearly in the possession or available to the House. Instead reports indicate that the House is building what was described as an “emotionally charged” case before the Senate with cellphone calls and witness testimony rather than evidence focusing on the intent element. I admit that I have the bias of a criminal defense attorney but that is not a case for conviction. It is a case of public appeal.

This question is even more striking given the public statements of key witnesses like former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and his two closest aides, Kashyap “Kash” Patel and Ezra Cohen. Miller says that Trump told him the day before the riot that “You’re going to need 10,000 people.” Miller added  “No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” He said Trump responded “You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do. You’re going to need 10,000.’”

That account shows Trump knew that there might be problems with the rally the next day. Many voiced the same concern. However, it also shows Trump warning that troops would be needed.  The question is whether he did anything to prepare for such a deployment or interfere or delay with deployment. Witnesses like Miller would know. Yet, they are giving interviews but not public testimony under oath.

The House has held hearings on the riot but those hearings seem weirdly tailored to avoid core issues related to the trial. For example, U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda D. Pittman testified but did so in a closed session.  She reportedly apologized to Congress “and the American people” for the obvious securing failures on Jan. 6th. She also said that they were aware of the danger of a riot in advance but failed to take adequate steps” “Let me be clear: the Department should have been more prepared for this attack.”

Maj. Gen. William Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, has also given interviews and said that deployment of his troops were delayed by over an hour because he needed approval from the Pentagon. He said that he usually has authority to deploy without approval. If that is true, why was he not called for testimony in the House to explain the timeline and whether the authority was removed specifically for that day?

There is a great deal of information in the hands of Congress on the requests for deployment and interaction with the Trump Administration. There are records and other non-witness sources of evidence that could also be used to create a record. Yet, the House has been comparatively passive in calling those witnesses that it wants to hear from in the Senate. Again, why?

This is the same pattern with the first Trump impeachment when the House waited weeks demanding witnesses that it could have called or subpoenaed before the House Judiciary Committee.  It did nothing and then denounced the lack of testimony on key issues. Both trials turned on intent and the House could not expect to prevail without such evidence.

It was like a case of planned obsolescence in building a case to collapse.

There are by my count at least ten key witnesses who have already spoken publicly or would be easily attainable including Miller, Walker, Pittman, Patel, Cohen and others.  Yet, there is nothing but crickets from the House.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 17:50

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Glitches Sabotage Vaccine Rollout Across US; EU Plays ‘Hardball’ As Battle For Doses Heats Up

Glitches Sabotage Vaccine Rollout Across US; EU Plays ‘Hardball’ As Battle For Doses Heats Up

Across the US., a vaccination campaign that was meant to reverse the tide of the pandemic and spur the nation’s economic recovery is getting bogged down by technical glitches and software woes. Cash-strapped public health departments are trying to keep their websites from crashing while booking millions of appointments, tracking unpredictable inventory, and logging how many shots they give.

States are ignoring an IT system set up by the federal government at a cost of $44MM, and instead they’re working with a hodge-podge of local systems that are constantly malfunctioning, causing massive delays in vaccinations. In Mississippi, an online vaccine registration system failed during a sudden onslaught of traffic. Officials at a local health department in Georgia had to resort to counting every vaccine dose by hand before scheduling appointments.

And as if that weren’t enough, logistical issues from Pfizer, Moderna and McKesson have led to batches of doses being recalled for either being kept too cold, or too hot, while shipping.

Even in California, workers forgetting to click a “submit” button at the end of the day led to a major glitch in the undercounting of vaccines. Similar incidents unfurled in Idaho and North Dakota.

Furthermore, gaps in the data could be distorting the national picture of how efficiently vaccines are being used, though this will become more clear as the bugs in the system get worked out.

For the past few weeks, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been using his bully pulpit in Geneva, where he delivers his press briefings about the global COVID-19 crisis, to slam the West for its tremendous moral failing surrounding its failure to share vaccines with the developing world.

So far, the only two developed countries who have seen strong vaccination programs are the UK and Israel. In Israeli, the top Israeli fast-moving vaccination program, which has already reached a third of the population, is built on a bargain. The vaccine maker agreed to keep up the quick-time delivery of doses in the country in exchange for partial access to the vast database of information maintained by the country’s national health-care system.
 Already, researchers here and in other countries are getting their first look in Europe.

Douglas Dowell, a pro-Europe commentator, highlighted the EU’s claim that it was acting “to avert serious societal difficulties due to a lack of supply threatening to disturb the orderly implementation of vaccination campaigns in the member state.”

But others saw that the EU high command, which had spent years insisting there could be no hard border on the island of Ireland, was effectively threatening to reestablish the border with the stroke of a pen if Brussels didn’t manage to keep enough vaccines.

In short, the insatiable demand for vaccines is showing the world that for all the humanistic rhetoric emanating from the West, when the chips are down and the vaccine supplies are limited, the whole thing devolves into a knife fight.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 17:25

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Former SAC Trader Shares A Short Squeeze Story

Former SAC Trader Shares A Short Squeeze Story

Authored by Nicholas Colas via DataTrekResearch.com,

When I first got to SAC Capital in 1999, I sat back-to-back with another cyclicals trader. A tall and muscular man, he was one of the room’s best traders and most charismatic personalities. After a few weeks, however, I began to notice a disturbing pattern in his behavior.

About 2pm on most days he would start cursing at some imaginary personal in a low voice, just loud enough for me to hear. This wasn’t garden variety stuff either. It was language more appropriate to, well, the sort of private club that has a dungeon in the basement.

It took me a few weeks – I was new, after all – to ask him,

“hey… what’s with the rough talk every day after lunch?”

His answer:

“Oh, I get bored a lot of afternoons, so I’ll pick a few names I know other hedge funds are short and buy a few blocks of 10 or 20 (thousand shares) just to see if they’ll panic and cover… Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…”

A few weeks after that exchange I noticed that it had been several days since the last such episode so I asked him, “everything OK? You haven’t been doing the short squeeze thing…”

His reply, which came with a heavy sigh, was “I think I’ve lost my joie de vivre…” Remembering that phrase come out of this rough and tumble trader’s mouth makes me laugh to this day.

Fast forward to January 2021 and the short squeeze game is wildly different, as we’re seeing with GameStop, AMC and other names. It’s no longer about a single bored trader. The narrative has shifted to a social media-organized group of small-money retail investors. And given what’s been happening, they definitely are not at risk of losing their joie de vivre.

The way I see it, there’s a lot of disruptive innovation in what’s going on just now and that paradigm can tell us something about what might happen next in capital markets. This is the Clayton Christensen model we talk about frequently, and the basics are as follows:

  • Disruptive companies start at the low end of a market, focusing on customers underserved by established players. Incumbents ignore this new competition because the customers they’re losing aren’t especially profitable.
  • Over time the disruptor climbs the value chain, offering better products and services. They still leverage their original competitive advantage but use it in new ways.
  • Eventually the incumbents either fail or adopt the disruptor’s business model, and the whole cycle starts over again.
  • Examples: Japanese cars in US/Europe markets from 1960 – 2000, Amazon from the 1990s to the present, exchange traded funds from the 2000s to now. Even the old Sears mail order catalog of the 1910s and 1920 was a classic disruptor of small-town general stores.

Viewed through this lens, retail stock investing is following a pretty classic disruption model and we have to assume it will have further influence on capital markets. The underserved market – retail investors, often younger – now have free stock trading and social media that binds them together. They aren’t usually risking huge sums – stimulus checks have pride of place in terms of explanations for where their capital stock originated – but there’s a lot of them in the system now. As a cohort, they seem well versed in both gambling and gaming. They know how to call a bluff, think about statistical probabilities, and act quickly when they have to. Individually, these factors don’t mean much. Collectively, they multiply on themselves.

The big lesson about disruption we’ve all learned in the last 10 years is that when the ball gets going, it rarely stops. Opining on whether that’s good or bad isn’t especially useful. We see the same trends in many other places, politics being first among equals on this count.

I’ll close out today’s story with three ideas for how to navigate the unusual market we find ourselves in on the assumption it will last for a while.

#1: There’s every possibility that we’ll see more hedge fund de-risking days like yesterday, so remember our 5 percent rule. If the S&P 500 closes down 5 pct or more, history says that is a good entry point. There may be more than just 1 – as many as 5 to 12 if things go really pear shaped – so don’t go all-in on the first big flush. But do buy some…

#2: Be very wary of shorting any name a retail investor likely knows. There’s a certain irony that GameStop, where plenty of the current crop of retail investors likely shopped in their youth, is the eye of the current storm. If I were running a market neutral book, I would pair longs with industry/sector ETF shorts and look for relative outperformance. Single stock shorts can blow out portfolio risk very quickly in the current market.

#3: Stay focused on the big picture. GameStop and its ilk are attention magnets, but all the really important issues to equity values remain. Vaccine rollouts. Earnings leverage. Inflation and interest rates.

Keep your focus on those and try not to lose your joie de vivre.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 17:00

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Lincoln Project Denounces Co-Founder After Allegations Of Pedophilia, Sexually Provocative Messages To 21 Young Men

Lincoln Project Denounces Co-Founder After Allegations Of Pedophilia, Sexually Provocative Messages To 21 Young Men

The Lincoln Project – a group of anti-Trumpers founded by an accused pedophile, a guy with a confederate flag cooler, and possibly the worst husband in the world – denounced the alleged pedophile on Sunday following a New York Times report detailing allegations by 21 young men.

“John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level,” wrote the Lincoln Project in a Sunday statement. “He is a predator, a liar, and an abuser. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who were targeted by his deplorable and predatory behavior.”

In early January, Weaver apologized after Axios reported that he’d sent multiple “inappropriate” messages to young men. He also came out as gay, which may or may not have come as a surprise to his wife and children, and that he’d be leaving the Lincoln Project.

“While I am taking full responsibility for the inappropriate messages and conversations, I want to state clearly that the other smears being leveled at me … are categorically false and outrageous,” he said.

According to the NYT, “His solicitations included sending messages to a 14-year-old, asking questions about his body while he was still in high school and then more pointed ones after he turned 18.

Mr. Weaver sent overt sexual solicitations to at least 10 of the men and, in the most explicit messages, offered professional and personal assistance in exchange for sex. He told one man he would “spoil you when we see each other,” according to a message reviewed by The New York Times. “Help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me … sensually.”

Cole Trickle Miele was 14 when he followed Mr. Weaver on Twitter in 2015 and quickly received a direct message from him. At first, he did not think anything was amiss.

I remember being a 14-year-old kid interested in politics and being semi-starstruck by John Weaver engaging in a conversation with me,” said Mr. Trickle Miele, now 19. At the time, he supported the Republican Party and was a fan of Mr. Kasich, the Ohio governor whom Mr. Weaver was helping prepare to join the presidential race.

But as the messages kept coming, he became uncomfortable.

In June 2018, Mr. Weaver asked, “Are you in HS still?” — referring to high school — and Mr. Trickle Miele said that he was, and that he would be 18 the next spring. “You look older,” Mr. Weaver replied. “You’ve gotten taller.”

In March 2020, when Mr. Trickle Miele was 18, Mr. Weaver wrote, “I want to come to Vegas and take you to dinner and drinks and spoil you!!,” and in a follow-up message used a term that in sexual banter refers to one’s body: “Hey my boy! resend me your stats! or I can guess! if that is easier or more fun!New York Times

On Jan. 9, conservative writer Ryan Girdusky – a critic of the Lincoln Project, claimed that multiple young men had sent him screenshots of Weaver’s predatory texts, which he detailed in The American Conservative.

Weaver hasn’t been accused of unlawful conduct by any of the men, and his flurry of text messages only led to one sexual encounter, which was consensual, according to the Times – however the men described feeling like they’d been preyed upon by the Project Lincoln co-founder.

“I am so disheartened and sad that I may have brought discomfort to anyone in what I thought at the time were mutually consensual discussions,” Weaver told the Times, adding “In living a deeply closeted life, I allowed my pain to cause pain for others. For that I am truly sorry to these men and everyone and for letting so many people down.”

Meanwhile, some, such as journalist Jack Posobiec, have been questioning who knew what, and when, and whether the media colluded to keep Weaver’s attempted sexual coercion ‘in the closet’ until after the 2020 election.

Others have begun digging into the Lincoln Project’s donors

Can you imagine of Trump still had his Twitter account to opine on his enemies?

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 16:35

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Why Does The Times Want You Consumed By Fear, Isolation, And Misery?

Why Does The Times Want You Consumed By Fear, Isolation, And Misery?

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The American Institute for Economic Research,

There are probably multiple reasons why coronavirus cases in the US are down nearly 50% in the US in the last month. 

Could be seasonal. Could be the vaccine. Could be herd immunity from natural infection. 

Could be the post-holiday default to endemicity. Could be a change in the cycle threshold of PCR that generates fewer positive cases. Could be data tweaks in light of political changes.  

Anyone who says he knows for sure which is dominant is pretending to know the unknowable. 

The New York Times, which obliquely reports the case decline, is still certain that you should still live in isolation, fear, and disease panic.

They offer every county in America a tool in which you can discover what you should do to protect yourself from the pathogen, as if the only way to deal with a respiratory virus is to hide. Their tool is extremely manipulative. 

For example, they have this category called “very high risk level.” Red is in the text. Scary! But what is it? It means 11 or more people per 100,000 have generated a positive PCR test for the coronavirus. 

Not deaths. Not hospitalizations. Not even symptomatically sick. (Yes, I know the term “sick” is old fashioned.) 

We are talking about 11 positive PCR tests. This is an infection rate of 0.01%. Consider too that the NYT reports that these tests in the past have generated up to 90% false positives. In addition, the infection fatality ratio for those under 70 could be as low as 0.03%. 

Once you add all that up, you end up with a very long string of zeros followed by some number (I’ll let someone else do the math; in any case, all these data are mostly based on illusion). In any case, we are talking about a vanishingly tiny chance of severe outcomes for the population at large, depending almost entirely on demographics. 

Still, the Times says you may not live a normal life. True, people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, South Dakota, and many others states are living happy normal lives. But they are all doing it wrong, according to the New York Times

Let’s look at their life advice for anyone living in a “very high risk” area. 

No haircuts, no manicures, no gatherings, no travel, no friends, no bars, no restaurants, and no singing!


To me, all of this sounds like insanity defined. And look at how they tip their ruling-class hand. People should not go to the store but rather have their groceries delivered. Delivered by whom? Apparently not readers of the New York Times

To the Times, there is only us and them: the clean people vs. the dirty people who get to travel to deliver to “us” our groceries and essential services. Our job is to sit in a perpetual state of disease avoidance while they operate as sandbags to create the herd immunity from which we will benefit. It’s the new feudalism. 

Now look what we must do for “extremely high risk” which pertains for as low as 20 PCR positives per 100,000 people. 

Notice any difference between “serious” and “extreme” risk? That’s right. There is none. They are identical. And if you look at the map above you can see that right now most of the country is in extreme risk, according to the Times. According to this preposterous map, there are only two counties in the US at low risk. 

Let’s look at Prairie County, Montana. It’s one of the two places you can live without the terrifying prospect of dropping dead from disease. There are 1,300 people living there. If one person tests positive, that immediately shifts the entire county into extreme risk. So the trajectory since November 1 looks utterly hilarious, toggling between low and extreme risk with a total of 70 cases in three months with most daily cases at exactly 0. 

So what according to the Times should the good people of Prairie County do? They should be grateful to be relatively safe but try to their best to stay put! Do not go anywhere near the scary places elsewhere! They should stay in their bubble! 

Look, at some point, the media is going to have to admit complicity in the creation of this extremely unscientific, pathological, unwarranted, and deeply destructive disease panic. They created it, starting with the now-discredited Donald McNeil’s February 27, 2020, recommendation that we “go medieval” with the coronavirus. 

This whole paradigm amounts to a rejection of public health, which is always not just about one pathogen but all threats to human health and not just for the short term but the long term. The defining mark of 20th century public health as distinguished from the Middle Ages is that we recognized that pathogens are all around us and need to be managed rationally. Oh also the paradigm rejects human rights and freedom. 

We do not need to destroy society, lock people in their homes, tear down businesses, close schools, traumatize kids, drive people to alcoholism and drug abuse, divide society between the clean ruling class and the dirty working class, ban travel, close churches, abolish choirs, close the arts, and whip up the population into a frenzied psychological meltdown in order to deal with a new strain of a respiratory virus. But tell that to the New York Times

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 16:10

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Melvin’s Gabe Plotkin Was Expanding His $44 Million Miami Beachfront Mansion When His Hedge Fund Blew Up

Melvin’s Gabe Plotkin Was Expanding His $44 Million Miami Beachfront Mansion When His Hedge Fund Blew Up

In what may be the biggest ever winner in the “bad timing” awards, The Real Deal reports that Gabe Plotkin was last seen proposing to knock down one of the Miami Beach homes he purchased last year and expand his waterfront mansion.

According to the RealDeal, “Plotkin paid $44 million for the two adjacent homes at 6342 and 6360 North Bay Road in November,” The Real Deal revealed last year.

Now, he’s planning to knock down the 1935 house that he bought for $12 million and replace it with a lighted tennis court.”

There’s just one problem: Plotkin’s $13 billion Melvin Capital, or rather Melvin Half Capital, just lost $7 billion to a bunch of teenagers. And despite a $2.75 billion rescue financing from Citadel and Point72 (which is supposedly already underwater), the fund is now facing a deluge of redemption requests which will almost certainly end Plotkin’s career.

So does he really want to be spending millions on a “tennis court expansion” for his Miami beachfront mansion just as he is facing with a historic collapse and perhaps expensive legal action?

We’ll find out soon: Plotkin’s attorney is expected to go before the Miami Beach Design Review Board next week. Plans filed with the city show that Plotkin plans to keep the mansion at 6360 North Bay Road and replace the waterfront house next door with amenity courts, a new 1,316-square-foot cabana, a children’s playground and open space, according to TRD.

Plotkin is also seeking variance requests related to the light poles for the tennis court, side setbacks and the construction of a storage area.

One thing is certain: if Plotkin hopes to endear himself to the common man and pass off as “just one of the ordinary people”, he will have a very tough time: Plotkin’s new neighbors include billionaire hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, and Karlie Kloss and Josh Kushner.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/31/2021 – 15:45

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The Constitutional Case Against Retroactive Impeachment

From my Newsweek op-ed Friday:

The second impeachment of Donald Trump raises an important constitutional question that no court has yet addressed—whether the Constitution’s impeachment provisions apply not just to sitting officials, but to former ones.

The Constitution provides that the impeachment process shall apply to “all civil Officers of the United States,” suggesting that those subject to it must actually hold office. But the possible trial of Trump has generated a swirl of arguments to the contrary. Last week, more than 150 law professors signed a letter arguing that even private citizens who had once held office may be impeached and then tried by the Senate. Perhaps influenced by such academic authority, this week the Senate rejected by a 55-45 margin a resolution concluding that such a trial would be unconstitutional. The arguments in favor of impeaching former officials are weak—and those to the contrary is at least compelling enough to not deprive a private citizen of his right to a jury trial.

Supporters of after-office impeachment have attempted to point to historical precedents—but there are no such precedents. In the 230-year history of the U.S. Constitution, there have been zero impeachments or trials of former presidents, and only one of any former “civil officer”—145 years ago.

Historical practice can be a guide to understanding the Constitution, but the Supreme Court has held that it takes a lot more than an isolated historical episode to show that something is constitutionally acceptable. Moreover, there is no reason to ignore the glaring lack of impeachments of the countless former office holders who may have deserved it. Indeed, since government officials spend more time out of office than in it, if subsequent impeachment were constitutional, one would expect to see it more often than impeachment of sitting officials.

The primary argument in favor of using the impeachment process against former office holders is policy-based. Because the sanction of being barred from office can only be applied after a Senate conviction, an official could “undermine” the impeachment mechanism “simply by resigning one minute before the Senate’s final conviction vote.” Yet a last-minute resignation is far from an avoidance of accountability. Resignation removes the official, and does so more surely than a Senate trial. As can be seen in the case of Richard Nixon, it does little or nothing to remove the public stain of impeachment proceedings, which the Framers recognized was perhaps their greatest effect. Moreover, in the case of presidents, leaving office immediately opens them up to criminal prosecution.

While barring someone from office is one of the punishments available in impeachment, nothing suggests it is so essential, or the strategic resignation scenario so likely, that being able to pursue people when out of office is essential to the impeachment power. It would be like prosecuting dead people for crimes, and punishing their estates with fines, because otherwise people could “escape accountability” by committing suicide.

Conjuring up the exceedingly speculative case of an office holder who resigns from office “one minute” before a conviction only highlights how far-fetched the broader argument is. Even if concern about strategic resignation were valid, it would not mean that the Senate should be able to try people who did not resign to avoid responsibility. Trump left office not through any gamesmanship, but at the natural end of his term. It was the Senate, not Trump, that strategically choose to delay the start of the process until he left office.

Read more.

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