Today’s News: June 23, 2020

World News

Whistleblower Claims Chinese Communists Pay Vatican $2 Billion in Bribes

Breitbart – Exiled Chinese dissident Guo Wengui alleged this weekend the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “allocates $2 billion a year” to pay off the Vatican for its silence concerning Chinese atrocities.

In a June 20th interview on The War Room, Mr. Guo said the CCP earmarks massive sums each year to win the allegiance of foreign countries including the Vatican, Italy, and Australia. Among them, the Vatican receives up to 2 billion dollars from the Chinese Communist Party every year, he said.

“The Chinese Communist Party allocates 2 billion US dollars each year” to gain influence over the Vatican’s internal policy making and to pay for its silence on the CCP’s repression of religious freedom, said the controversial billionaire whistleblower.

Guo has previously stated that China has drafted a complete strategy for world domination known by the initials “BGY,” which stands for Blue (control the Internet), Gold (buy influence with money), and Yellow (seduce key people with sex).

Since 2014, the CCP has formulated internal policies to invest a certain percentage of trade with foreign countries in the BGY program to erode the local state system, Guo said Saturday, and the current BGY quota for the United States is 5%.

According to data from the U.S. Trade Office, the total trade volume between China and the U.S. in 2018 was $7.37 trillion. If calculated according to 5%, the amount used for BGY in the United States would then be about $36.8 billion, Guo said.

Guo also offered a similar calculation for Australia.

“The trade volume between the CCP and Australia is about US $200 billion,” he said. “Previously, 1 percent was used for BGY, but it rose to 5 percent. That is, $10 billion was used for BGY.”

According to Guo, these huge amounts of BGY funds are employed for a variety of uses, including bribing local officials, regulating media messaging, and controlling local resources.

A 2019 report released by the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute revealed hundreds of Twitter accounts linked to the state-backed effort to denigrate pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong had formerly been used to target critics of the Chinese government, principally Guo Wengui.

The accounts were part of a coordinated information campaign operating for more than two years to target Mr. Guo as well as jailed publisher Gui Minhai.

“Those early efforts are an attempt to shape sentiment and the international narrative around these prominent critics of the Chinese government and to shape them in such a way as to influence the Chinese diaspora’s perception of these individuals,” said Jake Wallis, one of the report’s chief authors.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Trump calls for arrests, prison time for vandals targeting monuments: ‘There will be no exceptions!’

Fox – President Trump declared Tuesday morning that anyone caught vandalizing monuments or any other federal property can be subject to arrest and face up to 10 years in prison.

The president’s latest statement follows an attempt to take down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square near the White House Monday night, a second incident targeting the nearby St. John’s Church, and prior vandalism of the Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial.

“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” Trump tweeted. “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the church attack “a chilling message that faith and freedom are enemies in the eyes of the anarchists on the street,” adding that those responsible “must be prosecuted.”

Historic monuments and statues have become the targets of anger and vandalism during protests in the wake of George Floyd‘s police custody death at the end of May.

The initial statues under fire were those of Confederate soldiers and generals largely in the South, but the anger has spread to monuments well beyond that historical period.

Trump announces he’ll issue executive order to ‘make the cities guard their monuments’

Fox – Trump announces forthcoming executive order to ‘make the cities guard their monuments’

President Trump said Monday that he will soon issue an executive order meant to protect public statues and monuments from being damaged or destroyed by far-left and anarchist protesters.

“We are going to do an executive order and make the cities guard their monuments,” Trump told Eternal Word Television Network’s Raymond Arroyo. “This is a disgrace.”

Arroyo, who is also a Fox News contributor, played a clip of the interview on Monday’s edition of “The Ingraham Angle.”

“It’s a disgrace,” Trump repeated. “Remember, some of this is great artwork. This is magnificent artwork, as good as there is anywhere in the world, as good as you see in France, as good as you see anywhere.”

“Most of these people don’t even know what they’re taking down,” the president added.

Trump vows no ‘Autonomous Zone’ in DC, after protesters cleared

Fox – President Trump vowed Tuesday that what happened in Seattle will not take place in the nation’s capital, and that no such “autonomous” zone” will be established in D.C. after protesters who attempted to set up such a space were cleared out the night before.

Trump: ‘With smaller testing we would show fewer cases’

The Hill – President Trump asserted Tuesday that the United States would record fewer cases of the novel coronavirus with less testing after stirring controversy by saying over the weekend he asked aides to slow down testing.

“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

Trump has been scrutinized for saying at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday that testing was a “double-edged sword” and that he told his staff to “slow the testing down, please.” The White House has said the comment was meant as a joke.

“It was a comment that he made in jest,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Monday. “It’s a comment that he made in passing, specifically with regard to the media coverage and pointing out the fact that the media never acknowledges that we have more cases because when you test more people, you find more cases.”

Trump denied telling his administration to scale back testing in an interview on Monday with CBN News but said he believed widespread testing put the U.S. at a “disadvantage.” Trump said his remark at the rally was “semi-tongue-in-cheek.”

“Instead of 25 million tests, let’s say we did 10 million tests. We’d look like we were doing much better because we’d have far fewer cases. You understand that,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t do that, but I will say this: We do so much more than other countries it makes us, in a way, look bad but actually we’re doing the right thing.”

The U.S. currently leads the globe in coronavirus cases with more than 2.3 million positive tests. Over 120,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. 

Trump’s remarks on testing come as several states are experiencing spikes in cases after relaxing restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus so businesses can reopen. Cases began to rise nationally over the weekend after plateauing, with states like Arizona, Texas and Florida experiencing severe upticks in cases.

The White House has sought to minimize concerns about the new spikes, attributing them in part to an expansion of testing, though health experts say that the rises in cases cannot be accounted for by increased testing alone.

University of Michigan withdrawing as presidential debate host

The Hill – The University of Michigan is cancelling its commitment to host one of three scheduled presidential debates between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, citing health concerns.

“Given the scale and complexity of the work we are undertaking to help assure a safe and healthy fall for our students, faculty and staff and limited visitors — and in consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned,” the university’s president, Mark Schlissel, said in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The Detroit Free Press first reported the school’s decision. The newspaper noted that while the university is tentatively planning to resume in-person learning for the fall semester, officials have said numerous classes will be partially or fully online, and Schlissel has said it would be a “public health informed” semester.

Officials decided that, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the amount of media, campaign officials and supporters flocking to campus would pose too much of an infection threat, according to the Free Press.

The university was set to host the penultimate debate of the general election on Oct. 15. It would have been the first general election debate in Michigan since 1992, when President George H.W. Bush, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and businessman Ross Perot debated at Michigan State University.

The development comes as Trump’s reelection campaign has pushed for a fourth debate in addition to the already-planned three presidential debates. A single debate between Vice President Pence and Biden’s to-be-determined running mate is also planned. 

Trump Admin Shuts Down Radio Station Run by Chinese Propaganda Outlet

Washington Free Beacon – A radio station controlled by the Chinese Communist Party propaganda outlet Phoenix TV has been ordered by the Trump administration to cease its broadcasts within 48 hours.

The Federal Communications Commission ruled on Monday that a Mexico-based radio station owned in part by Phoenix TV—one of the Communist regime’s leading propaganda organs—must end its broadcasts due to its failure to disclose its ties to China.

Prior to the FCC’s ruling, the station was exploiting a loophole that allows content produced in the United States to be broadcast from foreign radio towers, such as those in Mexico. Phoenix TV, which is headquartered in California, produced its content domestically and then used the more powerful Mexican station to broadcast across the U.S. border.

The FCC denied a license for that radio station, XEWW-AM, because it “failed to include in their application a key participant, Phoenix Radio, which produces the Mandarin programming in its studio,” the agency disclosed. Phoenix Radio, Phoenix TV’s radio affiliate, was using the station to broadcast Chinese propaganda across Southern California, in violation of FCC statutes.

Phoenix TV first found itself in Congress’s crosshairs earlier this year, after one of its reporters confronted President Donald Trump during a White House briefing about the coronavirus pandemic and Chinese government efforts to cover up the illness. The station’s presence at the White House generated concerns about the proliferation of Chinese state-controlled press organs in the United States.

Barr subpoena coming

Axios – House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is preparing to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr for his testimony on July 2, a committee spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The expected subpoena comes after the firing of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who had been investigating President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

  • The committee’s ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) made reference to the subpoena plans in a letter obtained by Axios.
  • Daniel Schwarz, a spokesman for Nadler, confirmed to Axios that the committee is seeking Barr’s testimony and intends to subpoena him if he does not agree to testify next week.
  • “There’s certain procedural steps that need to be taken if you were going to send a subpoena, but one of them is consulting the minority,” Schwarz said.

The backdrop: Nadler, who has launched an investigation into Berman’s removal, has asked Berman to testify before the committee, though it’s unclear if and when he will appear.

Brett Favre Likens Kaepernick to Pat Tillman, Who Died Serving the Flag Kaep Kneeled For

Western Journal – I understand that at no point during or after his NFL career was Brett Favre considered an intellect. Were I a presidential candidate and the former Green Bay Packers quarterback came to me and asked me how he could help, provided I didn’t have to win Wisconsin, I’d tell him to start campaigning with the other guy — and giving long, long speeches.

Likewise, I hold no personal animus against Colin Kaepernick. I don’t agree with his take on America, I don’t support kneeling during the national anthem and, even despite the fact there are plenty of Americans who disagree, I don’t think that’s why he’s not in the NFL right now.

“I can only think of right off the top of my head, Pat Tillman is another guy that did something similar,” Favre said during an interview last week with TMZ Sports, when asked about comparisons between Kaepernick and Jackie Robinson or Muhammad Ali.

“And, we regard him as a hero. So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”

“It’s not easy for a guy his age — black or white, Hispanic, whatever — to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, and put it on hold, maybe forever, for something that you believe in,” Favre said.

Earlier in the interview, Favre also said he believes Kaepernick deserves another chance.


Economy & Business

US New Home Sales Plunge To 10 Year Low As Exodus From Cities Accelerates

ZeroHedge – Despite record low mortgage rates, soaring mortgage applications, and a modest rebound in new home sales, existing home sales were expected to tumble further in May.

April’s collapse was the largest since July 2010’s expiration of the first-time homebuyers credit, and May saw the plunge continue, falling 9.7% MoM (against expectations of a 5.6% MoM decline)

The median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $284,600, up 2.3% from May 2019 ($278,200), as prices increased in every region. May’s national price increase marks 99 straight months of year-over-year gains. But sales of $1mm-plus home crashed

China Must Prepare To Be Cut Off From Dollar-Based Financial System, Official Warns

ZeroHedge – Beijing has expressed intense displeasure over President Trump’s decision to sign into law a bill targeting senior CCP figures involved with China’s network of concentration camps, even though the White House ultimately held off on putting the sanctions into practice. Which is why it’s hardly surprising that senior financial regulators in Beijing are again echoing criticisms first formulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin amid growing fears that, next time, the sanctions won’t be just a “warning shot”.

But as President Trump threatens to leverage even more sanctions against the Chinese government as well as senior officials over transgressions like corporate espionage and illegal IP theft, one senior official has warned that it’s now ‘inevitable’ that the US will soon apply sweeping Russia-style sanctions to China.

Such brazen punitive sanctions would likely prove unpopular among Washington’s closest allies, especially at such a precarious time for the global economy. But they would certainly serve to accelerate the economic decoupling that White House China hawks like Peter Navarro and Matt Pottinger have hoped for. Which is perhaps why Fang Xinghai, a vice-chairman at the China Securities Regulatory Commission, warned on Monday that China’s reliance on the international dollar-based financial system makes it vulnerable.

Energy & Environment

Mysterious space signal going for 500 days

The Next Web – A source of repeating radio waves seen from one point in the sky presents astronomers with numerous mysteries. The source of this signal, where radiation builds and ebbs over a period of 16 days, remains a question. The longevity of these cycles — now seen continuing for over 500 days — could either present another mystery, or perhaps a clue to what is going on at the center of these displays.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are one form of highly-energetic explosion in deep space. Thought to be caused by small, massive objects, although the exact nature of these objects is still in question. The energy released by eruptions of these objects can outshine the entire galaxies in which they reside, but these events fade in a small fraction of a second.

The 180916.J0158+65 FRB has now been repeating for 500 days. The apparent source for this display is a region of active star formation just outside a massive spiral galaxy, 500 million light years from Earth (well outside our Milky Way galaxy). It is the most active FRB yet detected, and one of the nearest to Earth.

Science & Technology

Google employees demand the company end police contracts

The Verge – Over 1,650 Google employees have signed an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai demanding the company stop selling its technology to police forces across the US. The letter comes as protests against police brutality, spurred by the killing of George Floyd, continue to spread for the fifth straight week.

“The past weeks have shown us that addressing racism is not merely an issue of words, but of actions taken to dismantle the actual structures that perpetuate it,” the letter, written by the employee group Googlers Against Racism, reads. “While we as individuals hold difficult but necessary conversations with our family, friends and peers, we are also incredibly disappointed by our company’s response.”

Employees are specifically calling out Google’s ongoing Cloud contract with the Clarkstown Police Department in New York, which was sued for allegedly conducting illegal surveillance on Black Lives Matter protestors in 2015. They’re also highlighting the company’s indirect support of a sheriff’s department in Arizona tracking people who cross the US-Mexico border.


Study: Not Enough Sleep Does Affect Moods

Newsmax – Not getting enough sleep can kill your mood the morning after, Norwegian researchers report.

“Not in the sense that we have more negative feelings, like being down or depressed,” said lead author Ingvild Saksvik-Lehouillier of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. “But participants in our study experienced a flattening of emotions when they slept less than normal. They felt less joy, enthusiasm, attention and fulfillment.”

For the study, 59 volunteers spent seven nights in their own beds and slept as long as they usually do. Next, they slept two hours less than normal for three nights.

On several mornings, participants were shown more than 300 pictures on a computer screen over 14 minutes. They were asked to tap the space bar whenever an image did not contain an “X” — a test of accuracy and responsiveness.

The reaction time was faster after the participants had been sleep deprived, “but the error rate went up,” said Saksvik-Lehouillier, an associate professor of psychology. “It seems that we react more quickly to compensate for lower concentration. Then there’ll be more mistakes.”

The takeaway: It may be smart to avoid activities that require a high level of accuracy after a night of short sleep.

Other research has found that sleep deprivation may have the same effect on driving, for instance, as alcohol does.

Participants did better and better each day they took the test after sleeping normally but scored worse each day after less sleep, the study found.

Warp Speed COVID-19 Vaccine Makes Big Pharma Crooks Rich

Mercola – Two Moderna executives cashed in $25 million when stock prices rose immediately following the announcement that its COVID-19 phase 1 trial showed promising results.

Stock dropped within days, as critics pointed out the results were likely misrepresented and actually quite alarming.

Twenty percent of Moderna’s phase 1 volunteers suffered severe systemic side effects. With a reaction rate of 20%, vaccinating the global population would gravely injure at least 1.5 billion individuals, and likely more, since only exceptionally healthy volunteers were included.

The most hazardous hurdle for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine lies ahead. Past attempts at creating coronavirus vaccines have failed, as both animal and human subjects would develop robust antibody responses but then become gravely ill when exposed to the wild virus. In some animal studies, all the animals died upon exposure to the wild virus.

Coronaviruses have been shown to produce two different types of antibodies: neutralizing antibodies that fight the infection, and binding antibodies that cannot prevent viral infection. Binding antibodies can instead trigger “paradoxical immune enhancement,” causing severe illness and/or death when exposed to the wild virus

5 Top Anxiety-Relieving Foods

Dr. Leonard Coldwell – Is anxiety affecting your life negatively? Don’t fret — you can soothe your spirit and hunger with these five anxiety-relieving foods that are good for your body and your mood.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, nearly two-thirds of U.S. residents surveyed in 2017 were “extremely or somewhat anxious” about the health and safety of themselves and their families, with more than a third feeling “more anxious overall” than they did in 2016.[i] With more recent data indicating that feelings of anxiety are on the rise,[ii] and have since skyrocketed due to COVID-19 and related shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, it’s important to know what to do to keep your central nervous system calm and supported during times of increased stress.

While allopathic doctors generally advocate pills to treat anxiety, there is mounting evidence showing that these medications can have many negative side effects including addiction, depression, suicide, seizures, sexual dysfunction, headaches and more.[iii]

Practitioners of natural health know that food is the best medicine, and some foods are better than others when it comes to soothing body and mind. Here are five of the top foods to eat to stimulate feelings of calm and well-being from the inside-out.

  1. Fish

Cold-water fishes like salmon, cod, mackerel and sardines are under-consumed in the U.S., which culturally favors protein from sources like beef and chicken. This is a dietary misstep if you want to quell anxious energy. Rich in the essential amino acids L-lysine and L-arginine as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids, increasing your intake of clean fish may help relieve anxiety by promoting a healthy brain and enhanced mood.

Studies have shown that individuals with L-lysine deficiency are at higher risk of anxiety,[iv] while L-lysine supplementation lowers anxiety and reduces the impact of stress.[v] In clinical trials, supplementation with L-arginine reduced synthesis of cortisol, a major stress hormone, in healthy human subjects.

  1. Nuts

Many essential proteins and fats are available from nuts like Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts, plus vitamins D and E and the mineral selenium, all proven to reduce anxious feelings.

Vitamin D has been studied for its positive effects on mood, possibly due to its action as a steroid hormone with many important functions in the brain. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to multiple behavioral disorders, including anxiety and depression in patients with fibromyalgia.[xi] A study on mice showed that specimens with fewer vitamin D receptors in the brain demonstrated increased anxiety-like behaviors, suggesting that adequate vitamin D intake can be an important factor for healthy emotional behavior.

  1. Yogurt

Fermented foods like yogurt have long been acknowledged as beneficial for gut health due to the presence of friendly bacteria known as probiotics, which help protect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract against harmful pathogens and potentially dangerous microbes. As the understanding of the gut-brain connection develops, science is further acknowledging the benefits of fermented foods on brain health and even mood regulation.

A 2014 study on the effects of daily intake of yogurt enriched with probiotics by adults with high-trait anxiety disorder found that individuals who consumed enriched yogurt had healthier stress responses than those who consumed non-enriched yogurt, suggesting that eating probiotic-enriched yogurt aids in coping with chronic stress.

  1. Green Tea for Theanine

Having a daily tea ritual is a great way to weave a moment of calm into your days. Besides the benefits of taking a break from daily concerns to boil water, select a cup and let it steep, drinking tea is a great way to boost your brain’s ability to ward off stress. There are more than 400 reasons to drink green tea, and for most adults today, feeling less stressed is at the top of the list.

A Singapore study on 60 healthy seniors showed that those with a regular tea habit had brain scans showing improved brain organization brought about by tea’s ability to prevent disruption of interregional connections. In other words, the different brain regions had more and healthier interconnections; they were more organized with better hemispheric symmetry.

  1. Dark Chocolate

While you engage in afternoon tea, why not break off a square (or two) of fine dark chocolate? Don’t worry about the jitters one might associate with chocolate; dark chocolate is clinically shown to improve anxiety and deliver a potent feel-good boost of serotonin.[xxvii]

Cocoa contains more active phenolic antioxidants than most foods, a factor that can benefit brain function.[xxviii] One could argue that dark chocolate tastes better than most foods too, a factor that has been clinically shown to impart a soothing effect to individuals who are prone to mood disorders