Today’s News: October 01, 2019

World News

Indonesia MPs sworn-in after mass protests, arrests

Al Jazeera – Indonesians have demonstrated nationwide for the past week against proposed laws that they say would curtail freedoms and cripple efforts to stop corruption.

Hong Kong protester shot in the chest by police during clashes

Al Jazeera – It is the first such injury from a live round in months-long protests against pro-Beijing city administration.

Chinese Troops Massing in Hong Kong For Potential “Total Breakdown in Order”

Infowars – China has doubled the number of its troops stationed in Hong Kong as one expert warns that the soldiers could be preparing for a “total breakdown in order.”

According to Reuters, Chinese military personnel in Hong Kong doubled last month to 12,000, with many of the reinforcements arriving in late August.

The troop movements were initially claimed to be a routine “rotation,” but were in fact the arrival of thousands of extra soldiers and anti-riot forces (as we reported at the time).

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Trump Pressed Australian Leader to Help Barr Investigate Mueller Inquiry’s Origins

MSN – President Trump pushed the Australian prime minister during a recent telephone call to help Attorney General William P. Barr gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two American officials with knowledge of the call.

The White House curbed access to a transcript of the call — which the president made at Mr. Barr’s request — to a small group of aides, one of the officials said. The restriction was unusual and similar to the handling of a July call with the Ukrainian president that is at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Vice: President Trump Is Using Impeachment to Avoid Gun Control

Breitbart – Vice suggested on Monday that President Trump is using impeachment to avoid instituting more gun control.

Vice reports that Republicans indicated Trump is torpedoing gun control, but the only Republican to whom the media outlet directly attributes a quote is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). And Graham does not allege Trump is avoiding gun control. Rather, he says, “I think we’re really close on compromise on a grant program for protective orders, and we’re still working on background check. I’m still hopeful we can get there.”

The rest of the quotes in the Vice column come from Democrat Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ (D-AZ) colleague Robin Lloyd, and other gun control proponents.

On September 24, 2019, Breitbart News reported Trump suggesting the Democrats traded their gun control pursuit for a chance to hurt him and the Republicans at large. The next day an unnamed Senate staffer indicated that gun control was dead, as the impeachment inquiry continued to play out.

FBI Busts Massive Fentanyl Ring Running Out of Dept of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in D.C.

Activist Post – Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided a government agency last week to execute a search warrant looking for evidence of a fentanyl drug ring. During the raid on the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, FBI agents found the fentanyl they were looking for and discovered a massive heroin and fentanyl ring being run out of the government building just a few feet from an elementary school.

According to investigators, undercover agents caught Darrell Marcellus Pope operating the massive drug ring in which thousands of dollars of fentanyl and heroin were being sold. The FBI reported that the drug ring stretched over multiple states from Woodbridge, Virginia, to D.C. to Pope’s Clinton, Maryland, home.

According to court documents, “Pope was observed outside his office building on foot and walking up to meet” the undercover officer. On multiple occasions Pope sold the detective varying amounts of fentanyl or heroin and fentanyl—some transactions were for as little as two grams, and one was for as much as 30 grams, the affidavit says.

Economy & Business

Something Is Wrong: The Fed Is Offering $100 Billion A Day In Loans To Unnamed Banks

SHFTPlan – The Federal Reserve is once again secretly shelling out trillions of dollars in the dark, while Congress willingly looks the other way.  In other words, the central bank has initiated a replay of the 2007-2010 financial crisis.

You can call it QE4 if you want, or don’t call it QE4.  What it’s labeled isn’t as important as what it’s doing. Arguing semantics is not going to change the outcome.  The central bank is injecting $100 billion per day into the financial markets. Any label on that cannot hide the fact that if this economy was doing well or was “robust” than there wouldn’t be a need for any of this.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York first initiated its emergency overnight loans to Wall Street this year on Tuesday, September 17, starting off at the rate of $75 billion daily. It then increased its loans by adding, in addition to the $75 billion daily, 14-day term loans in the amount of $30 billion to be offered three times this past week. But after the demand for the first 14-day loan was more than double the $30 billion offered, the New York Fed boosted the next term loans to $60 billion and increased its overnight loans to $100 billion. –Wall Street on Parade

This mirrors the Great Recession of a decade ago.  When the Fed is secretly handing out money to banks at low rates to bail them out, you’ve got a repeat of the previous crisis. It’s hard to say, however, if this crisis will be worse than the last one. And simple math tells you that something is very wrong.

“As of June 30 of this year, the four largest banks on Wall Street (which are allowed to own Federally insured commercial banks as well as stock, bond and derivative gambling casinos known as investment banks) held more than $5.45 trillion in deposits. The breakdown is as follows: JPMorgan Chase holds $1.6 trillion; Bank of America has $1.44 trillion; Wells Fargo has $1.35 trillion; and Citibank is home to just over $1 trillion.”-Wall Street on Parade

The total GDP (gross domestic product) of the entire U.S. is about $20.5 trillion.  That means that the four aforementioned banks hold 27% of the entire U.S. GDP. How is it possible that they don’t have $100 billion per day? Something is wrong here, folks.

Additionally, the New York Fed is only allowed to engage in these repo transactions with its 24 primary dealers. That list of these 24 primary dealers includes the securities units of big U.S. banks like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, but it also includes the U.S. based securities units of troubled foreign banks like Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and Societe Generale (SocGen). According to Wall Steet on Parade, because the New York Fed is not announcing which banks are drawing down the bulk of its loans, neither Congress nor the American people know if the money is flowing to U.S. banks or foreign bank subsidiaries in the U.S. Propping up troubled foreign banks is not what most Americans want their central bank to be doing.

Lebanon central bank to secure US dollars

Al Jazeera – Lebanon‘s central bank says it will secure US dollars at a fixed rate to pay for imported goods, in a bid to ease food and fuel shortages, as well as demand on the dollar.

But many now fear a drop in the value of the local currency will worsen an already dire economic situation.

Most US States Drowning in Red Ink

Schiff – The federal government continues to pile up debt at a staggering rate. In August alone, the US government added $450 billion to the national debt. But Uncle Sam isn’t the only one who doesn’t have enough money to pay his bills. Forty state governments are also drowning in red ink.

Total state government debt now stands at $1.49 trillion with 40 states lacking sufficient funds to pay their bills according to Truth in Accounting’s (TIA) Financial State of the States report.

At the end of the fiscal year (FY) 2018, 40 states did not have enough money to pay all of their bills. This means that to balance the budget – as is supposedly required by law in 49 states – elected officials have not included the true costs of the government in their budget calculations and have pushed costs onto future taxpayers.”

Unfunded pension liabilities are the primary factor driving the pileup of state debt. According to the report, “One of the ways states make their budgets look balanced is by shortchanging public pension and OPEB (other post-employment benefit) funds. This practice has resulted in an $824 billion shortfall in pension funds and a $664.6 billion shortfall in OPEB funds.”

TIA Founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg said for many states, there is no easy way out of their fiscal mess.

Many of these state governments have no hope of achieving a budget recovery barring significant program cuts or tax hikes.”

In simple terms, if you’re depending on a fat government pension to fund your retirement dreams, your golden years could turn into a nightmare. As we’ve reported, you should probably shouldn’t assume any government pension will ever be paid.

The report ranks the states based on surplus/debt per taxpayer. The numbers represent “each taxpayer’s share of state bills after available assets have been tapped. ”

U.S. factory activity sinks to 10-year low in September

Reuters – U.S. manufacturing activity tumbled to a more than 10-year low in September as lingering trade tensions weighed on exports, further heightening financial market concerns of a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the third quarter.

Energy & Environment

Greece oil drilling could offset debt, threaten oceans

Al Jazeera – Greece has traditionally been an energy-poor country. But that is set to change when exploratory oil drilling starts next year in the Gulf of Patras

It would help the country pay of its billions of dollars in debt if oil reserves are discovered.

But that would be a threat to its rich marine life and lucrative tourism industry.

Science & Technology

Facial Recognition Smart Streetlights Raise Concerns   

Activist Post – What began as a way to increase public safety has turned into a civil rights concern.

Some residents of San Diego, California are demanding the removal of some 4,000 ‘Smart Streetlights’ which they claim are an invasion of privacy.

The devices use sensor nodes to gather a range of information, such as weather and parking counts, but also uses facial recognition technology to count pedestrians.

The San Diego City Council approved the installation of the Smart StreetLights in December 2016 – and now approximately 4,200 are in place.

According to the council’s website, the smart devices ‘will help optimize traffic and parking, plus enhance public safety, environmental awareness and overall livability for San Diego residents’.

However, some residents are not sold on the benefits of the Smart StreetLights.

‘For every 1,000th person in San Diego, there are almost two and a half cameras watching,’ Geneviéve Jones-Wright said in an interview with Fox 5.

‘What is very concerning and troubling is that these cameras were installed and are being used all over this city without any oversight.’

Although it is noted that the data collected is anonymous, Jones-Wright has voiced concerns about the technology.

‘With these cameras having facial recognition capabilities and audio, we don’t expect that our conversations are going to be recorded walking down a public street,’ she said.

Even though there has been some backlash, other residents are hopeful about the opportunities the Smart StreetLights could bring to the city.

A little creepy? Russian company starts mass production of humanoid robots that can look like you

RT – A Russian startup has launched serial production of unique life-like robots that not only look the way you want and mimic facial expressions, but are also able to work for you.

Based in the Russian city of Perm, Promobot says its humanoid bots, called Android Robo-C, can replace humans in the office and even at home. The android can answer people’s questions in shopping centers and museums, be an administrator or an office employee, and greet visitors and communicate with them, according to the maker. However, it won’t be working much longer than a human – its battery only lasts eight hours before it needs to be re-charged.

“This is the first humanoid android in the world that not only mimics the human appearance, but is also able to integrate into business processes. We have already created one prototype, and now we will release a series,” co-founder and development director of the robot-making firm, Oleg Kivokurtsev, told TASS.

Startup eyes launch of electric helicopter taxis

Reuters – German startup Volocopter said Singapore is emerging as one of the most likely destinations for the commercial launch of its electric helicopters, where it hopes to offer short-hop flights for the price of a limousine ride.

The co-founder of the company, which is working with Singapore regulators to conduct a public test flight in coming months, said the city-state, Dubai and Germany were the markets most open to its air taxis.

A number of firms are trying to bring so-called air taxis to mass market but a lack of regulation and infrastructure, and safety concerns have proved barriers.


California’s New Vaccine Law Against Medical Exemptions Puts Vulnerable Children in Danger

Edward Griffin – A new law in California bans medical exemptions for vaccines, putting thousands of vulnerable children in harms way. The law prevents doctors from exempting children who are at risk of life-threatening reactions to vaccines. California is one of three states, including West Virginia and Mississippi, that reject exemptions for religious and philosophical reasons. Three women are seeking to place a referendum to repeal the new law on the next ballot. They need 623,000 signatures on a petition within 90 days of the bill being enacted to have their repeal put on the 2020 ballot

Flu Shot Fails to Protect Seniors and May Increase Miscarriages

Mercola – Secondary infections such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, as well as sepsis, are included in “influenza death” statistics, and account for a majority of deaths attributed to influenza every year.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data have repeatedly demonstrated that the flu vaccine does not work for seniors. The 2018/2019 flu vaccines against influenza A and B viruses had an adjusted effectiveness rating of just 12% for those over age 50.

Studies have also demonstrated that influenza vaccination has little or no impact on mortality among the elderly.

The flu vaccine is routinely recommended for all pregnant women during any trimester, yet some scientific evidence suggests it could place their pregnancy at risk. Research funded by the CDC found an association between flu vaccination during pregnancy and an eightfold risk of miscarriage.

Injury following influenza vaccination is now the most compensated claim in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2017, a total of 3,575 injury claims for flu vaccine were filed

Why There Is Chlorine on Your Chicken

Mercola – In the U.S., most poultry that comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is washed in a strong chlorine or other antimicrobial solution as a way to kill pathogens.

The EU has banned U.S. chicken imports since 1997 due to the practice of chlorine washing.

The U.K.’s plan to exit from the EU has opened the issue for debate, as the countries will have the option to reconsider their current laws, including whether or not to accept “chlorine chicken” from the U.S.

The U.S. government offered to pay up to $93,257 (£75,000) for an organization to gather up prominent British journalists and take them on tours of U.S. chicken farms.

Chlorine washing may not remove bacteria as expected, but simply renders it unable to be detected by standard testing