Europe: Rape Victims Accused Of Racism
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-14:00]

Europe: Rape Victims Accused Of Racism Tyler Durden Mon, 07/13/2020 - 02:00

Authored by Raymond Ibrahim via The Gatestone Institute,

An increasingly popular idea is that whenever races clash, only minorities can be victims. The notion is hardly limited to the recent riots in America. Elements of such thinking often appear in other contexts.

British women, for instance, including rape victims who drew attention to "Asian" (Pakistani and South Asian) sex grooming gangs, are also being attacked by the "woke" establishment.

Earlier this month in the UK, Sarah Champion, a Labor politician and MP for Rotherham (the epicenter of sex grooming), was accused of "fanning the flames of racial hatred" and "acting like a neo-fascist murderer."

Her crime? She had dared to assert that "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls."

The same elements accusing Champion of being a "murderer" also characterized the UK's anti-extremism program, Prevent, as being "built upon a foundation of Islamophobia and racism."

A few weeks earlier, an article titled, "I was raped by Rotherham grooming gang—now I still face racist abuse online," appeared. In it, a British woman (alias, "Ella") revealed that her Muslim rapists called her "a white whore, a white b***h," during the more than 100 times she was raped in her youth by the Pakistani grooming gang.

"We need to understand racially and religiously aggravated crime if we are going to prevent it and protect people from it and if we are going to prosecute correctly for it," Champion said in a recent interview.

"Prevention, protection and prosecution—all of them are being hindered because we are neglecting to properly address the religious and racist aspects of grooming gang crimes.... It's telling them that it's OK to hate white people."

Ella's attempts to highlight the "religious and racist aspects" of her and many other girls' similar abuse led only to "a lot of abuse from far-left extremists, and radical feminist academics," she said. Such groups "go online and they try to resist anyone they consider to be a Nazi, racist, fascist or white supremacist".

"They don't care about anti-white racism, because they appear to believe that it doesn't exist. They have tried to floor me and criticise me continually and this has been going on for a couple of months. They tried to shut me down, shut me up ... I've never experienced such hate online in my life. They accuse me of 'advocating for white paedophiles' and being a 'sinister demonic entity.'"

Placing the blame -- or at least responsibility -- on the victim is not limited to the UK. According to an August 9, 2019 report, "in the Swedish city of Uppsala ... four women were raped in as many days." Although police failed to issue descriptions of the rapists -- usually a sure sign of their origins -- they did issue warnings for women to "think how they behave," to "think ahead," and not "go out alone."

Advice against alcohol, drugs, and reckless behavior would be more compelling if it were not made under duress.

After mobs of Muslim migrants sexually assaulted as many as a thousand women on New Year's Eve 2016 in Cologne, Germany, the city's mayor, Henriette Reker, called on women to "be better prepared, especially with the Cologne carnival coming up. For this, we will publish online guidelines that these young women can read through to prepare themselves."

In Austria, after a 20-year-old woman waiting at a bus stop in Vienna was attacked, beaten and robbed by four Muslim men -- including one who "started [by] putting his hands through my hair and made it clear that in his cultural background there were hardly any blonde women" -- police responded by telling the victim to dye her hair.

"At first I was scared, but now I'm more angry than anything. After the attack they told me that women shouldn't be alone on the streets after 8pm. And they also gave me other advice, telling me I should dye my hair dark and also not dress in such a provocative way. Indirectly that means I was partly to blame for what happened to me. That is a massive insult."

In Norway, Unni Wikan, a female professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, insists that "Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes," because Muslim men found their manner of dress provocative. So much for the feminist claim that women are free to dress as seductively as they want -- and woe to the man who misinterprets this, unless he is from a racial or religious minority group.

Professor Wikan's conclusion was not that Muslim men living in the West need to adjust to Western norms, but the exact opposite: "Norwegian women must realize that we live in a Multicultural society and adapt themselves to it."

Even when it comes to rape, then, if the victim is white and the rapist is not, she is no victim at all; worse, she is a "racist" and "hater" who, if anything, apparently deserves what she got and more. "Blame the victim" is back with a vengeance and gaining ground throughout the West.

Credit Suisse mulling job cuts to hit profit targets: report
  [Source: MarketWatch.com - MarketPulse 2020/07/13-13:32]

Credit Suisse could cut "hundreds" of jobs to reach profit targets as part of a new savings program, the Swiss weekly newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported on Monday. Among the measures being considered, 120 branches could be trimmed down, and risk and compliance units could be merged, and the investment bank could split into two units, global markets and investment banking and capital markets. SonntagsZeitung said no decision had been made yet. A spokesman for the bank could not immediately be reached for comment.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Japan Announces New Stealth Fighter As US Clears Massive F-35 Sale 
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-13:00]

Japan Announces New Stealth Fighter As US Clears Massive F-35 Sale  Tyler Durden Mon, 07/13/2020 - 01:00

Japan announced this week it plans to produce a domestic fifth-generation fighter jet over the next decade. It also unveiled the purchase of more than 100 stealth fighters from the US, reported Forbes

The Ministry of Defense on Wednesday announced the official timeline of the supersonic F-3 fighter's first prototype should be ready in 2024. Series production will be handled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's factory in 2030. The first F-3s are expected to enter service by 2035.

Mitsubishi F-3 prototype 

The F-3 is expected to be one of the world's most sophisticated stealth jet fighters. The stealth fighter was designed to counter China's ambitious expansion across the South China Sea and other regions in the Pacific. 

According to CNN, citing Japan's Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Agency (ALTA), the F-3 could feature these technologies: 

  • an ability to sync missile targeting between multiple aircraft, known as integrated fire control or network shooting;
  • internal weapons bays, like those seen on American F-22 stealth jets;
  • the use of thrust-vectoring nozzles, devices that use the engine's thrust to turn more sharply.

News of Japan's first stealth fighter come as the US State Department cleared it to purchase 105 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth jets, worth an estimated $23.11 billion. 

The deal is one of the most massive foreign military sales approved by Washington. The goal here is to install an "F-35 friends circle" in the Asia-Pacific region to counter China. 

U.S. stock futures rise amid troubling coronavirus numbers
  [Source: MarketWatch.com - MarketPulse 2020/07/13-12:05]

U.S. stock index futures gained late Sunday, amid a record surge in coronavirus cases. As of midnight Eastern, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up around 150 points, or 0.6%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures were up around 0.4%. On Sunday, Florida reported a record 15,300 new cases in a day, as Disney World reopened in Orlando. Meanwhile in Houston, city leaders called on a return to a shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 as its hospitals neared capacity. Wall Street, though, has largely shaken off coronavirus worries, with two consecutive weeks of gains. Last week, the Dow finished 1% higher, the S&P 500 booked a gain of 1.8%, and the Nasdaq advanced 4%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Constitutional Republic Versus Pure Democracy: How The US Election Process Has Changed
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-12:00]

Constitutional Republic Versus Pure Democracy: How The US Election Process Has Changed Tyler Durden Mon, 07/13/2020 - 00:00

Authored by Sam Jacobs via Ammo.com,

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

- Pledge of Allegiance, with a revision made in 1923

Conservatives are generally quick to point out that America is a republic, not a democracy. But what really is the difference, and are they even right?

Voting in America has changed considerably since the days of our founding. Back then, the government didn’t even print official ballots. Instead, you got ballots from the candidate who wanted your support. Sometimes voting took place in public, so everyone knew who you voted for. And, of course, the franchise was largely restricted to white, male property owners.

Now, anyone who turns 18 can vote. And the Democratic Party wants to increase ballot access by automatically registering anyone who gets a driver's license. Democrats even pushed for mail-in ballots for the 2020 election to make voting even easier – and more open to voter fraud. But is any of this a good thing?

Indeed, it is worth considering the transformation of the United States from a Constitutional Republic, ruled by law with the input of the people, to a total democracy, where the will of the people dominates all other discussion.

A Brief History of the Franchise in America

Open up your pocket Constitution and find the part where it says who can vote and who can’t. You’ll come up short. That’s because the Constitution delegates this right to the states. And while there are some amendments that, for example, say states can’t restrict the franchise on the basis of race, gender or being over the age of 18, otherwise there is broad leeway given in terms of who can vote and who can’t.

Before the United States existed, people were still voting and there were oftentimes even more restrictions in place. Property qualifications were most common, but there was often also a religious test involved. For example, Plymouth Colony required that voters be “orthodox in the fundamentals of religion,” which would have likely excluded even Catholics from voting. Indeed, Catholics, Quakers and Baptists were frequently forbidden from voting in early colonial elections. (Jews were forbidden from state office in Maryland until 1828, because of a state law requiring affirmation of belief in an afterlife.)

One of the first laws drafted by the new nation was a process for people to become citizens and thus be able to vote in places where citizenship was a requirement to do so – and indeed, citizenship was not a requirement in many states or colonies in the early days of America. While only “natural born” citizens can become president, naturalized citizens enjoy the full benefits of the franchise. There is still much debate as to what qualifies as a “natural born” citizen, and it’s worth noting that several recent major party presidential candidates were not born in the United States – most recently Tulsi Gabbard (who was born in American Samoa) and Ted Cruz (who was born in Canada). The Republican nominee in 2008, John McCain, was born in the Panama Canal Zone. The last of these was the most problematic, as Downes v. Bidwell ruled that unincorporated territories were explicitly not the United States.

While it is easy to ascribe this to petty religious bigotry, the reason is actually somewhat more profound: The colonists and the colonial governments that they formed considered it important to only allow the franchise to people who shared their values. Thus, those with heterodox religious beliefs were not allowed to vote on the grounds that doing so would undermine both the values and the liberty of the colony.

Similarly, property holders were meant to be the main voters for the simple reason of having skin in the game. The early colonists did not want, for example, the merchant class to have an outsized say in politics because they were not tied to the land and thus not as subject to bad decisions. A shopkeeper or importer can simply sell their stock and move on to the next colony. A freeholder, working the land with his family, has far less flexibility and, the theory goes anyway, would be making more long-term decisions about what is best for the polity.

What this meant, also, is that, in places like New Jersey, women were allowed to vote until 1807, provided that they could meet the property requirement. What changed in the early 19th century, under the expansion of the franchise under Jacksonian Democracy, was that race and gender were prized more than property rights. But free blacks still had the right to vote in some Northern states until 1838.

This too was not an arbitrary distinction. Men who had been veterans of the War of 1812, or at the very least, defended their community against Indian raids, believed that they were entitled to the franchise on the basis of that service. By 1856, free white men were allowed to vote without meeting any property requirements, but five of the states still kept tax requirements (frequently a poll tax) in place. Again, this makes sense: The force of government is largely about the spending of taxes and the use of the military.

By 1856, all property requirements had been lifted, but tax requirements remained in place in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, until the 20th century. Rhode Island had what was basically a brief, low-level civil war over the question of property requirements known as the Dorr War. Indeed, anytime that post-Civil War disenfranchisement is discussed, it must include a discussion of the disenfranchisement of poor whites as well. The Battle of Athens is a fascinating tale of World War II veterans returning from battle and refusing to be shafted at the ballot box anymore.

Of the 15 Constitutional Amendments passed since the Civil War, four involve the franchise. The 15th Amendment bars states from restricting the franchise on the basis of race, the 19th from restrictions on the basis of gender, the 24th bars any tax requirements, and the 26th bars any age restrictions against those over the age of 18. Another Amendment, the 17th, allows for the direct election of senators, rather than having them elected by the respective state legislature – another expansion of pure democracy in America, though not an expansion of suffrage per se.

The previous method of electing senators, having them appointed by the respective state legislatures, was not an oversight on the part of the Founders. Rather, this was to give a voice to the state governments in the federal government. This was seen as an important safeguard against the overreach of federal power. Among other things, the Senate was a check on a power-hungry federal government seeking to put its tentacles into anything it could. It was a form of distributed power that was yet another attempt by the Founders to prevent consolidation and centralization of government.

It’s worth noting that Western states, starting with Wyoming in 1869, were granting women the right to vote, largely as an enticement to get them to move to the region, which was seriously devoid of women.

The concept of “one man, one vote” is the cornerstone of a more pure democracy. There were three decisions of the Earl Warren Supreme Court that definitively transformed the landscape of America into a democracy:

  • Baker v. Carr found that federal courts had jurisdiction over state redistricting efforts.

  • Wesberry v. Sanders found that U.S. House of Representatives districts – whose borders are determined by state governments – must be roughly equal in population.

  • Reynolds v. Sims found that state legislature districts must be roughly equal in population, regardless of chamber. This effectively means that states are not allowed to have institutions like the Senate – for example, a state government cannot give each county two seats in the state legislature if the counties do not have roughly the same population size.

Residency requirements are mostly illegal in the United States, with one-year requirements struck down in Dunn v. BlumsteinThe longest residency requirement that states are allowed to have now is 50 days.

What’s So Wrong With Democracy?

All of this raises the question of what is wrong with democracy, as opposed to a Constitutional Republic? It’s a cliche that democracy is the right of 51 percent of the population to take away the toothbrushes of the other 49. The Constitution provides protections against the tyranny of the majority and one of those protections is against pure democracy.

Indeed, the Senate and Electoral College, two of the last vestiges of the anti-democratic mood that penetrated the country during Revolutionary times, provide protections to rural states to this day. Without either of these, or with a Senate converted into a proportional representation body, as some have suggested, rural states are effectively political serfs for the larger urban centers.

The counter argument presented to this is that “land doesn’t vote,” which is fair enough, but again: America was not conceived as a pure democracy where everyone had an equal say in everything. There are many layers to the onion, many tiers that prevent one group of the population from having too much say over the others. The Electoral College and the Senate allow rural states to have a voice in how the country is run, rather than being totally ruled over by people in urban centers who don’t own guns, can’t grow food, and have never met their neighbors.

It’s not a coincidence that Electoral College abolition is a particular ax ground by the left. The abolition of the Electoral College would allow for sweeping changes in American public policy championed by those currently on the leftward edge of the political spectrum. Do you want to live in a country where, for example, the voters of smaller states like Nevada, New Hampshire and Montana are drowned out by a handful of cities on the coasts? What of medium-sized states with a number of post-industrial cities with their own concerns, just as valid as those of rural America, but entirely separate from the centers of financial, cultural and academic power?

There’s also the small matter of the role that the media plays in shaping public opinion, as well as the role that public works projects and other government spending play in essentially buying votes. Ostensibly “undemocratic” institutions act as brakes on the manipulation of public opinion. Indeed, the Senate was specifically designed as a deliberative body that would “cool the passions” of the masses represented in the lower house, the House of Representatives.

The Primary System as a Laboratory of Democracy

The primary process for nominating presidential candidates represents an excellent example of how pure democracy has produced poorer results than a more managed and directed one.

Most Americans, particularly younger ones, don’t know that prior to the 1970s, the primary contests didn’t mean much. Rather, it was the state party conventions which held greater weight and these were largely managed by party bosses rather than directly influenced by voters. It’s not that this system of backroom wheeling and dealing never produced a total dud or stifled genuine needs for reform – of course it did. However, looking at the roster of candidates produced by this process (i.e., two Roosevelts, a Coolidge, an Eisenhower and a Kennedy), it’s hard to argue with the results.

What was entirely lacking was the current primary process that we have in the United States, which still boasts a very low overall turnout and lasts from approximately the fourth quarter of the year before the election sometimes all the way up until the convention. All told, the Democratic Primary cycle of 2020 had 12 debates planned, with 11 completed and the 12th not happening simply because Joe Biden said he wasn’t going to show up.

The primaries are dominated by highly motivated and often highly ideological voters. This means that a number of highly polarizing figures have made it through the modern primary process, including Barry Goldwater (1964, so a little early) and George McGovern, but also a ton of people who the party in question loved but Americans just plain didn’t like (examples of this being Walter MondaleMichael Dukakis and Mitt Romney). This is because party bosses were much more concerned about someone who could win – and all the patronage that flowed from that – rather than someone who shared their ideological picadillos.

President Eisenhower is perhaps the gold standard of a president annointed by party bosses. Senator Robert Taft, the leading light of the ideologically conservative faction of the party, lost to the choice of the party bosses, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. While historical counterfactuals are hard to tease out, there’s little reason to believe that Senator Taft could have won a general election against President Truman or eventual nominee Senator Adlai Stevenson. This is because, while there was a big thirst to roll back the whole of the New Deal among the hardcore Republican base, there was virtually no taste for it in the American mainstream, which either liked the programs or had learned to live with them. Indeed, it is largely believed that the delegates themselves might have preferred Taft to Eisenhower – but they preferred Eisenhower to losing.

It’s worth noting that in the last two Democratic primaries, party bosses have leaned heavily on the scale against insurgent candidate Bernie Sanders in favor of, respectively, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. In contrast, Donald Trump was able to coast to the nomination in 2016 without any significant organized chicanery on the part of the party bosses.

But it’s not just political parties who lose when American presidential candidates are the result of a process catering to a very small niche of the electorate. America loses also, because we are incapable of having substantive, issue-driven debates that address real problems of the American people. Instead, we end up focusing much more on the personalities and cultural differences that divide the two parties – to the detriment of the entire nation.

Election Fraud in the United States

There is dispute as to whether or not there is widespread election fraud in the United States. However, there are three presidential elections that merit a brief discussion in our exploration of the franchise in America.

The 1876 Election

The election of 1876 was so controversial and potentially fraud-ridden that it was the subject of a Congressional Electoral Commission in response to a major Constitutional crisis. There were 20 electoral votes outstanding, with the Democratic candidate one shy of winning, with the 20 outstanding electoral votes all coming from states with potentially massive voter fraud. The Commission was convened by the Democratic House and the Republican Senate, with five members from each body and five from the Supreme Court of the United States.

One of the tricks in question is actually an exploit of pure democracy: In those days, there were no official ballots. Ballots or “tickets” were generally printed up by political parties or their partisans and distributed to the voters. Southern Democrats used ballots with Abraham Lincoln on them in an attempt to fool illiterate voters into voting for their slate.

"Tilden or Blood!" was a slogan at the time and Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden’s supporters declared that they had 100,000 men ready to march on the capital and install him as president if need be. A party-line vote of the Electoral Commission gave all the votes to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, making him president. However, as a concession, the South got the end of Reconstruction and the withdrawal of all remaining federal troops.

Democrats remained unsatisfied, with the House of Representatives going as far to pass a non-binding resolution declaring Tilden the winner. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 made the state legislature the definitive arbiter of who counted as an elector, which was the subject of Bush v. Gore, another controversial election over 100 years later.

The 1960 Election

The 1960 election was disputed as well, but not formally and officially like in 1876. The claim is this: That the Democratic Party used friendly city machines in Dallas and Illinois to win states for John F. Kennedy that he otherwise would not have won – and that would have delivered the presidency to Republican Richard Nixon.

This is not a marginal theory. Senators such as Everett Dirksen and Barry Goldwater have stated that they believe there was fraud in the election. All told, Republicans in 11 states sought to have the vote overturned, including in Illinois and Texas. A special prosecutor charged 650 people with voter fraud, but there were no convictions.

It is unknown to what degree Nixon felt he had been cheated, but he never seriously pursued it, believing it would divide the nation and tarnish the office of the presidency.

The 2000 Election

Finally, there is the 2000 election, where chicanery is alleged to have taken place not at the ballot box, but at the Supreme Court. It was the Supreme Court who stopped the recount under the Equal Protection Clause because they did not approve of how the recount was being carried out. Further, a new standard could not be agreed upon because of the time frame – electors had to be selected by December 12.

This allowed a previous vote count certified by Secretary of State Katherine Harris (a Republican and Bush family ally) to stand.

Here the question was not about whether or not someone was ballot-box stuffing. No one has seriously or credibly proposed this. What was in question is how the votes were counted. This calls to mind an apocryphal quote often attributed to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin:

“The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

Several have written that if a statewide recount were done, rather than a county-based one, that it was Vice President Al Gore who would have won. But the question here is what was the best way to count the votes. And unsurprisingly, partisans of both parties prefer the method resulting in their candidate winning.

Beyond the Theory: Why Pure Democracy Is Bad In Its Execution

Once the notion of a universal franchise enters the public vernacular, there is then no limit on who should be included. Andrew Yang became the first major party presidential candidate to endorse lowering the voting age to 16, but others have endorsed removing age requirements for voting entirely. Indeed, there is an entire current of thought that says that citizenship shouldn’t be a requirement (it isn’t in some municipal elections) or even that the entire world should be allowed a say in who becomes the President of the United States.

While these might all sound like ridiculous proposals – and we agree that they are – they are the thin edge of the wedge, the tip of the spear that will eventually introduce this kind of discourse into the political mainstream and perhaps much sooner than anyone thinks. If the only criteria for who gets to vote is that you are “affected by government policy” or some such and thus entitled to a say, why not let the entire populations of France and Bangladesh and China have a vote? There is a logic to universal suffrage that does not end with America’s adult population or even at its borders.

Consider the fight against voter ID laws in the United States. When one accepts that voting is a universal right, it makes perfect sense that having or not having an ID shouldn’t be an impediment to exercising that right. A lack of voter ID laws has been tied to voter fraud. But perhaps more disturbing is the growing practice of ballot harvesting.

Ballot Harvesting

The Democratic Party likes ballot harvesting so much that they tried to insert it into the stimulus and relief bill targeted at people suffering from the effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak of 2020. Put simply, this is when paper ballots are collected by intermediaries between the state and the voter, then delivered en masse. If this sounds like it’s a ripe place for voter fraud to happen, that’s because it is. Ballot harvesting played a role in the do-over of the 2019 North Carolina election, where Democrats were, perhaps for the first time ever, deeply concerned with the specter of voter fraud.

Orange County, California, was home to a whopping quarter million ballots delivered on Election Day alone. In practice, ballot harvesters go around collecting ballots for people who vote for the candidate they want to win. In the case of North Carolina, there were allegations that ballots had been discarded because people voted for the “wrong” candidate.

In the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, there has been a push – mostly from Democrats – to offer mail-in ballots. These are different from absentee ballots, which are sent out to specific voters on a by-request basis. Compare this with the push for mass mail-in voting: This is just printing up a ton of ballots, sending them out and letting everyone mail them in. There are few, if any, protections in place for preventing people from voting twice, preventing non-registered voters from voting, or preventing illegal aliens from voting. For every person who votes that shouldn’t, a legal voter has their vote cancelled out or nullified.

There’s not much of a way to verify and track this process to ensure that everyone who votes is having their vote counted. But again, it is very much in keeping with the logic of “one man, one vote.” Those who espouse the ideology of a pure democracy are always looking for ways to make it easier for people to vote.

Perhaps, not coincidentally, making it easier for people to vote also opens up the door to electoral fraud.

And this is really the crux of the matter when it comes down to pure democracy: The transition to a purer democracy has coincided with greater influence among unofficial kingmakers who control the process while also consolidating greater power in Washington, D.C. In practice, this has meant favoring a bureaucratic elite who effectively act as unelected legislators. Most of the regulations put in place by the alphabet soup of federal agencies aren’t there by statute, but are in fact part of powers delegated to them by the legislature who have abdicated their legislative authority.

What’s more, these unofficial kingmakers are often shadowy figures whose names (to say nothing of their intentions) are mostly unknown. These are not the traditional party bosses who were, in a sense, beholden to their people in the form of having to provide patronage and pork and other tangible results. Rather the new kingmakers of our pure democracy are the mass media, party activists and others with no skin in the game and little in the way of public accountability. Their angle is one entirely of self-interest and not to the broader body politic, to say nothing of future generations.

China Vehicles Sales Expected To Plunge 10-20% This Year
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-11:30]

China Vehicles Sales Expected To Plunge 10-20% This Year Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 23:30

Even the good news for the world's auto market seems to be bad news right now. 

Day ago, when detailing China's passenger auto sales plunge for the month of June, we noted that the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers has been predicting for the last few months that auto sales would fall between 15% and 25% for the year.

Those predictions have now been adjusted slightly upward, to a drop of 10% to 20%, despite the fact that China's auto market still appears to be leading the global market into several more years of deep recession. Recall, the auto market was already facing headwinds and China's market specifically was already contracting for several years before the pandemic. 

And while passenger vehicles fell 6.5% in June, as we noted, total vehicle sales rose 11.6% for the month to 2.3 million units, likely helping lead to the revised predictions for the year. The driving force behind total vehicles rising was a 63% surge in commercial vehicles, which also saw a 8.6% rise in the first half of 2020, likely due to vehicles being used to manage the spread of the virus in the country. 

Recall, days ago Beijing announced that the country had sold 1.68 million passenger vehicle units in JuneThis marks a 6.5% year over year drop despite May's dead cat bounce, where numbers rose 1.9% from the year prior, mostly due to easy comps. The association called the number proof of a "continuing recovery" in the passenger car market, according to Reuters

As was the case in May, luxury automakers outpaced the market while sales of NEV vehicles reached 85,600. Tesla accounted for 23% of the pure battery EV sector in the month and CPCA Secretary-General Cui Dongshu said he expects EV sales to outperform in the second half of 2020. 

 

These numbers won't come as too big of a surprise for Zero Hedge readers. We noted days ago that sales numbers coming out of June looked as though it would be another slumping month for China. Just days ago, the CPCA said that retail car sales were down 37% YOY for the 4th week of June.

Average daily sales were down to 51,627 during June 22-27, which marked a 6% sequential fall from the same week in May, indicating little respite or improvement from the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry. PCA blamed "seasonal factors" for the drop, which is a funny way to say "Chinese-borne virus ravaging the entire planet". 

We said days ago:

"This also paints an ugly picture for June's new car sales number, since we reported about 3 weeks ago that the first week in June was also off to an ugly start. In that article, we noted that retail car sales fell 10% year over year - but more importantly 20% from the same period in May - in the first week of June."

This news comes despite better than expected results in May, where sales showed a 12% increase year over year. 

According to The Detroit Bureau, premium and luxury passenger car retail sales led the charge in May, rising 28% last month compared with year-ago results. Luxury vehicles maintained their strength in June.

The Chinese government continues to try to spur demand with new policies aimed at enticing buyers.... but as we showed yesterday, it's not working.

Recall, we have recently noted that U.S. auto manufacturers are also teeing up sizeable incentives to get buyers back into showrooms. Europe is following suit, with Volkswagen starting a sales initiative to revive demand, including improved leasing and financing terms. 

Harper's "Bizarre" Letter & The Woke Revolution
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-11:00]

Harper's "Bizarre" Letter & The Woke Revolution Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 23:00

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

150 prominent intellectuals and Ivy League academics of leftish persuasion have signed a letter in Harper’s protesting the breakdown in civilized debate and imposition of ideological conformity.

The signatories made the obligatory bow to denouncing Trump as “a real threat to democracy” and called for “greater equality and inclusion across our society.”

But this wasn’t enough to save them from denunciation for stating these truthful facts:

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.

More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.

Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.”

The signatories to the letter do not understand that time has passed them by. Free speech is no longer a value. Free speach is an ally of oppression because it permits charges against Western civilization and the white racist oppressors to be answered, and facts are not welcome. The purpose of the woke revolution is to overthrow a liberal society and impose conformity with wokeness in its place. Whiteness has been declared evil. There is nothing to debate.

The signatories do not understand that today there is only one side. In place of debate there is denunciation, the purpose of which is to impose ideological conformity. It is pointless to search for truth when truth has been revealed: Western civilization and all its works are a white racist construct and must be destroyed. There is nothing to debate.

To make clear that in these revolutionary times not even prominent people of accomplishment such as Noam Chomsky are entitled to a voice different from woke-imposed conformity, the letter was answered by a condescending statement signed by a long list of woke journalists of no distinction or achievement, people no one has ever heard of.

The 150 prominent defenders of free speech were simply dismissed as no longer relevant.

Noam Chomsky and the other prominent signatories were dismissed as irrelevant just as the prominent historians were who took exception to the New York Times 1619 project, a packet of lies and anti-white propaganda. The famous historians found that they weren’t relevant. The New York Times has an agenda that is independent of the facts.

The message is clear: shutup “white, wealthy” people and you also Thomas Chatterton Williams, a black person with a white name. Your voices of oppression have been cancelled.

The “oppressed” and “marginalized” voices of woke revolutionaries, who have imposed tyranny in universities, the work place, and via social media, are the ones that now control explanations. No one is permitted to disagree with them.

Lining up on the woke side are CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Slate, and other presstitute organizations desperately trying to remain relevant. Everyone of these institutions quickly took the side of the woke revolution against facts and free speech.

The revolution is over unless the guillotine is next. Academic freedom no longer exists. Free speech no longer exists. The media is a propaganda ministry. Without free speech there can be no answer to denunciation. White people are guilty. Period.

Graham Asks Mueller To Testify Before Senate After WaPo Editorial Slamming Stone Commutation
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-10:30]

Graham Asks Mueller To Testify Before Senate After WaPo Editorial Slamming Stone Commutation Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 22:30

From the minute President Trump handed down his commutation of Roger Stone's sentence Friday just days before the longtime Trump ally was set to go to prison, it was only a matter of time before the now-retired Robert Mueller, the infamously reticent former special prosecutor, weighed in to assure the world that Trump is once again 'abusing' the powers of his office, and thereby threatening the democratic controls and values at the very core of our system. Prosecutors who worked on Mueller's team have been popping up in the press more frequently. One even testified to Congress about DoJ interference and alleged political pressure in the Stone case.

The former FBI chief broke his silence last night, when the Washington Post published a Mueller-penned op-ed hitting all the expected notes. Reminding the public - well, more like implying - that Stone knows all the secrets of the Russia-Wikileaks-Trump connection. The DNC hack, Hillary's missing emails, all those twitter bots - all of these victories surely helped sway voters in Trump's favor, Mueller argues.

And without Russia's tacit support, Mueller argues, they would never have happened. But was Stone really so integral to these operations? His reputation as a fabricator and an exaggerator were well covered during the case.

We now have a detailed picture of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The special counsel’s office identified two principal operations directed at our election: hacking and dumping Clinton campaign emails, and an online social media campaign to disparage the Democratic candidate. We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel — Stone among them. We did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its activities. The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. It also established that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.

Uncovering and tracing Russian outreach and interference activities was a complex task. The investigation to understand these activities took two years and substantial effort. Based on our work, eight individuals pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, and more than two dozen Russian individuals and entities, including senior Russian intelligence officers, were charged with federal crimes.

Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.

Stone was found guilty by a jury back in November of all seven charges that he faced. He was charged with lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. At the time, the press reported that Stone could face up to 50 years in prison. He was eventually sentenced to between 3 and four years after being convicted on all 7 counts he faced, including the witness tampering charge, which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years, while the maximum for each of the other six charges is five years. Stones convictions will stand, and he will remain a felon.

Mueller also insisted he made every decision based "solely on the facts", though we wonder how tipping off CNN to the military-style raid that brought Stone into federal custody relates to Mueller's "by the book" credo.

Russian efforts to interfere in our political system, and the essential question of whether those efforts involved the Trump campaign, required investigation. In that investigation, it was critical for us (and, before us, the FBI) to obtain full and accurate information. Likewise, it was critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from its witnesses. When a subject lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s efforts to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. It may ultimately impede those efforts.

We made every decision in Stone’s case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law. The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false.

Unsurprisingly, Mueller's latest communique (expect the WaPo op-ed, like the Mueller report before it, to be transformed into its own book - then who knows? Maybe a maybe motion picture based on the limited communications of Robert Swan Mueller III?) triggered a wave of hand-wringing in Washington, including among some Republicans, who have groused about Trump's decision to intercede on behalf of his one-time advisor (and, reportedly, friend). Despite being a firm Trump backer and friend, Graham has made noises about joining with Democrats and granting permission to bring Mueller in to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee (nearly a year ago, Mueller participated in a marathon series of hearings before the House Intelligence Committee and House Judiciary).

Most Republicans have generally opposed another round of Mueller testimony, But Graham is facing a competitive election bid, and grandstanding on this topic allows him to both feign bipartisan cooperation while upping the pressure for a Congressional investigation into the origins of the 'Witch Hunt' which would presumably target Mueller, Comey and the rest of the FBI/DoJ leadership who were caught up in it.

Graham delivered the statement in a series of tweets.

Of course, most observers agree that they would be shocked if Mueller accepted. Though, perhaps with Mueller's input, Graham will finally be able to cobble together those 'witch hunt' subpoenas he's been promising.'

Or maybe not - but either way, we suspect the issue will stay 'open' until at least Nov. 4.

American Collusion: Weaponizing Media, Big-Tech, & Government
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-10:00]

American Collusion: Weaponizing Media, Big-Tech, & Government Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 22:00

Authored by James Grundvig via WND.com,

The planners quickly deployed the "insurance policy" after Donald J. Trump won the presidential election in 2016. Like an annuity, the payments to the policyholders would be small and steady at first, then lead, they hoped, to a much bigger payoff: the removal of President Trump from office.

At least that was the plan. Three and a half years later, the big day never arrived.

From the unsubstantiated Steele dossier, the discredited Russiagate investigation, to the FISA court abuses, the potholed-strewn road to impeachment circled back to the Mueller Report, which was supposed to clinch the deal. Without a smoking gun on the president, the Mueller team reached and then overreached, picking off a few Trump confidants, in an attempt to tighten the noose. The results were half-baked. That's usually what the FBI perjury trap produces. Plea deals; no evidence of collusion.

Sure, Robert Mueller collected a few big scalps in Gen. Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. But now that Flynn's indictment unraveled, the insurance claim has turned into a liability for the policyholders. Trump is still president. And now the investigation into collusion has moved in the other direction focusing on the planners of the insurance policy.

Going largely unnoticed, the Trump campaign turned social media into a clear advantage in 2016. Twitter emerged as the platform of choice, empowering Trump to communicate directly to the American people without filter, media biased, or interpretation, and with greater reach than all the network news outlets combined.

In late October 2016, Jason Sullivan – then chief Twitter strategist for Roger Stone, used a data-mining tool he created, Power10, to peer into the public sentiment of the election. Outgunning the antiquated polling surveys that got it so wrong, Sullivan witnessed candidate Hilary Clinton catch up to Trump two weeks before the election in real time. He then saw, a few days later, how FBI Director James Comey gave Clinton a temporary boost that helped her overtake Trump when he announced the bureau would reopen the investigation into her email scandal.

Since that time, Jason Sullivan hasn't told his story about what happened behind the scenes leading to the biggest presidential upset election in more than a century. He wasn't able to. That's because the FBI swept Sullivan up in a dawn raid in early 2018, after intimidating other members of his family. The FBI hauled him off to testify under oath of perjury before the Mueller team.

Surviving the FBI interrogation, Jason Sullivan retreated from the social media spotlight. That was until this June when he saw the establishment's coordinated effort to tilt the 2020 election against President Trump, again.

The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns gave blue states cover for an all mail-in paper election. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa protests, looting and riots further shut down cities across the United States. Some posed the theory that funds donated to BLM flow through ActBlue, another political front company, and into the DNC.

The biggest lever in tilting the election this year, however, emerges with the collusion between the mainstream media and the tech giants as de facto gatekeepers of information. They wield tremendous power to determine what can and cannot be said, seen, shared and posted. They include Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube, among others.

All this boils down to one objective: Censorship.

Surviving the Mueller interrogation, Sullivan developed a strong opinion on both censorship and what transpired during the last presidential election.

"On November 8th, 2016, all the laws of gravity were completely defied, and the legitimacy of every last one of the traditional political polls were utterly destroyed and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be completely inaccurate in what went down as the single biggest political upset in modern-day history," Sullivan said.

"The DNC, Hilary Clinton, the Obama administration, all the Democrats, all the leading newspapers and publications, the establishment Republicans and the RINOs were ALL completely caught flat-footed! If any one of the traditional polls were remotely accurate, candidate Trump did not stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning the presidential election."

Sullivan concluded his first salvo, stating, "There is no one today who will argue that Donald Trump won the presidency because of social media … not even President Trump. But social media is what allowed candidate Donald Trump to completely circumvent the mainstream media and get his message out directly to the people."

On Twitter shadow-banning, Sullivan observed the "systemized censorship that if Twitter staff members didn't like a user's tweet, they would zap the user's account, for a period of time. Meaning, everything the user would post would not show up on any of his followers news feeds. It's like getting hit with a digital stun gun."

Another deceptive tool Twitter deploys includes "removing the user's Twitter handle from its search function," Sullivan explained. "The search wouldn't show up or populate in the results of the Twitter search bar. In short, the Twitter handle would not be found by anyone attempting to visit the account."

Today, Twitter has been warning (President Trump twice), suspending (Candace Owens) and deleting accounts at a pace that's picking up speed. Maybe this is due to Twitter's fluid policies on "hate speech" and other rules that provide gray area to surgically remove some content, while allow other more insidious content to remain.

At the Sept. 5, 2018, U.S. congressional testimony, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claimed, in his opening statement: "Twitter is used as a global town square, where people from around the world come together in an open and free exchange of ideas."

Nice digital utopian vision. What if the "town square" is closed off to some, with groups of other voices silenced? Then Twitter no longer is a forum for the "free exchange of ideas," but a gatekeeper with clear editorial controls.

What's interesting is Sullivan knows that Jack Dorsey and Twitter are censoring more people today than ever before. And he can prove it.

Stifling Free Speech

What worries Sullivan are the other candidates in this election cycle. "Think about it," he said. "Twitter is and has been systematically shadow-banning federal level senatorial and congressional candidates across the country? Twitter could prevent them from campaigning effectively by muting their voices from reaching potential voters."

Jason Sullivan isn't alone in his concern or his quest to expose the censorship being carried out by social media platforms. Bill Binney, the former NSA technical director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, has joined Sullivan in setting out to reestablish a level playing field for all candidates.

Twice, Binney submitted sworn affidavits to the court where the Mueller team tried Gen. Flynn and Roger Stone. In both cases, "The judge wouldn't allow my testimony in court," Binney wrote in an email.

On Russiagate, Binney stated the three things that bother him about the "insurance policy":

A. "The lack of IC agencies (like NSA, CIA, FBI) looking at forensics of WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 data, or even stating what they had or did not have in their collection."

Advertisement - story continues below

B. "Mueller, Rosenstein, the House and Senate committees' failure to listen to our VIPS testimony."

C. "The refusal of judges in the Flynn and Stone cases to allow our Russiagate testimony in court."

Binney added that the reason why mainstream media and their proxies continue to push Russiagate in July 2020, despite it being exposed, "would require them to admit that they have been pushing an outright fraud for three years. That's too big a crow for them to eat."

The insurance policy started as "a diversion to make it look like the Russians interfered and to set the basis to justify the Democratic effort to impeach President Trump," Binney added. "This effort and follow-on ones have failed as they too were obvious manufactured frauds."

Binney explained the CIA's software tool HammerDrill. "My understanding is that it uses NSA and other collection equipment to capture data plus some hacking tools to exfiltrate data." In the case of domestic spying, "HammerDrill was used to keep the rest of government not knowing what the CIA and John Brennan were doing. If they used the NSA data, they would have been recorded; same for FBI."

Jason Sullivan recalled, "President Trump has been wise to the censorship since it began. We know, because we have personally been feeding evidence to the people instrumental to the Trump administration ever since he won the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July 2016."

On what Twitter is currently doing, Sullivan won't discuss the more advanced shadow-banning practices and methodologies, "because there is an ongoing investigation by this administration, by We the People, by reporters and investigators at-large, and by an army digital soldiers," he said. "But I will say, we are hot onto social media's misdeeds and nefarious practices, for which the president is keen. POTUS has recently set the stage by his latest executive order on 'Preventing Online Censorship.'"

Bill Binney has summed up the past three years in a fractious America, stating, "Sad to say, but this is the most serious attack on our Republic since the Civil War."

Jason Sullivan agrees with Binney. Together they make a formidable team to challenge Twitter and the other digital gatekeepers in the free flow of ideas.

'People Are Going To Be Shocked': Bannon Claims Wuhan Lab Employees Have Defected, Are Working With FBI
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2020/07/13-09:30]

'People Are Going To Be Shocked': Bannon Claims Wuhan Lab Employees Have Defected, Are Working With FBI Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 21:30

One day after a report that a respected Chinese virologist fled Hong Kong to accuse Beijing of a COVID cover-up, former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told the Daily Mail that scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other labs have defected to the West and are "turning over evidence" against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for their role in the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed over 560,000 lives worldwide since last December.

"People are going to be shocked," Bannon told the  Mail ("from a yacht off the East coast of America," the Mail would like us to know).

The 66-year-old then said that defectors are cooperating with intelligence agencies in America, Europe and the UK, which have been assembling evidence to challenge the CCP claim that the pandemic originated in a wet market - not in a lab home to scientists who have come under fire for manipulating bat coronavirus to be more transmissible to humans.

"I think that they [spy agencies] have electronic intelligence, and that they have done a full inventory of who has provided access to that lab. I think they have very compelling evidence. And there have also been defectors," he said. "People around these labs have been leaving China and Hong Kong since mid-February. [US intelligence] along with MI5 and MI6 are trying to build a very thorough legal case, which may take a long time. It’s not like James Bond."

Mr Bannon even suggested that the French government, which helped to build the institute, had left behind monitoring systems after Beijing shut them out of the project before it opened in 2017. -Daily Mail

"The thing was built with French help, so don’t think that there aren’t some monitoring devices in there. I think what you are going to find out is that these guys were doing experiments which they weren’t fully authorized [for] or knew what they were doing and that somehow, either through an inadvertent mistake, or on a lab technician, one of these things got out," Bannon continued. "It’s not that hard for these viruses to get out. That is why these labs are so dangerous."

"You essentially had a biological Chernobyl in Wuhan, but the center of gravity, the Ground Zero, was around the Wuhan lab, in terms of the casualty rates. And like Chernobyl, you also had the cover-up – the state apparatus reports to itself and just protects itself."

Mr Bannon, who has close links to Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese billionaire, told this newspaper: ‘Regardless of whether it came out of the market or the Wuhan lab, the Chinese Communist party’s subsequent decisions hold them guilty of pre-meditated murder.

‘We know this because Taiwan formally informed the WHO on December 31 that there was some sort of epidemic coming out of Hubei province [where Wuhan is]. The CDC in Beijing was informed on January 2 or 3, and they decided to withhold that information and then sign a trade deal [with the US on January 15].

If they had been straightforward and truthful in the last week of December, 95 per cent of the lives lost and the economic carnage would have been contained. -Daily Mail

Bannon continues:

"That is the tragedy here. They used the time to scoop up all the world’s personal protective equipment. This is a murderous dictatorship. The blood is [also] on the hands of the world’s corporations – the investment banks, the hedge funds and the pension funds – and it is time to start calling it out before it leads to the destruction of the West," Bannon elaborated. "We are in the most extraordinary crisis in modern American history, more than Vietnam, the Cold War, even the Second World War. A global pandemic and an economic inferno. I have no faith in the WHO, the leadership should face criminal charges and be shut down."

One has to wonder if China will respond with whistleblowers from Ft. Detrick to support their narrative?