Today’s News: October 21, 2019

World News

Lebanon’s Cabinet Approves Sweeping Economic Reforms Following Nationwide Protests

Haaretz – Lebanon’s cabinet approved sweeping reforms on Monday, hoping to appease the thousands of protesters that have taken to the streets for the last five days to demand the government step down.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri described the measures as a “financial coup,” saying no government in Lebanon‘s history has taken such steps before.

As Hariri’s speech was aired live on all local TV stations, thousands of protesters who had gathered in central Beirut chanted: “The people want to bring down the regime.”

Hundreds of thousands participated in marches Sunday in Beirut and other cities nationwide. The massive protests have turned into a widening revolt against the country’s sectarian status quo and the entire political elite. The outrage over the government’s mismanagement of a deepening economic crisis and proposed new taxes has unified Lebanon’s often fractious society.

Boris Prepares to Put Brexit Deal to Vote After Foiled First Try

WSJ – U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to bring his Brexit deal back to Parliament this week for a critical vote after lawmakers forced him to ask the European Union for another delay to Britain’s withdrawal.

Mr. Johnson will try as soon as Monday to secure the votes he needs to win approval, potentially paving the way for the U.K. to leave the EU after more than three years of negotiation and fierce debate. Downing Street would hope to use a win to attempt to race through the final stages of legislative scrutiny in time…

China state media: NBA’s Silver will face ‘retribution’ for saying Beijing wanted Rockets GM fired

CNBC – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will face “retribution sooner or later” for saying that Beijing wanted him to fire the general manager of the Houston Rockets, state broadcaster CCTV said in a commentary published late Friday.

The government-controlled broadcaster said Silver “crossed the bottom line” by continuing to defend Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey. “To cater to the taste of certain American politicians,” CCTV claims, Silver “fabricated lies out of thin air” and portrayed China as unforgiving.

Silver claimed that Beijing asked the NBA to fire Morey for the GM’s now-deleted Oct. 4 tweet, in which he showed support for anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange fails in bid to delay extradition battle with US

Fox – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange came up short Monday in a bid to delay his extradition to the United States to face espionage charges.

Assange, who appeared with his legal team at the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, failed to convince District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that a delay in the already slow-moving case was justified, The Associated Press reported.

Assange, who hasn’t been seen in public for several months since his dramatic arrest inside Britain’s Ecuadorian embassy, appeared with his silvery-gray hair slicked back and wore a blue sweater and blue sport coat for the hearing. At one point, he defiantly raised a fist to acknowledge supporters who jammed the public gallery in the courtroom.

The U.S. is seeking to bring Assange overseas to face espionage charges. The full hearing to decide his extradition is still set for a five-day period in late February, with brief interim hearings in November and December.

Chinese military official slams US’s foreign policy, says ‘no one and no force’ will get in Beijing’s way

Fox – China’s defense minister took a fresh swipe at U.S.’s foreign policy Monday by vowing “no one and no force” will get in the way of his country’s annexation of Taiwan – and any nation that tries is “doomed to failure.”

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Esper discusses keeping small US force in northeast Syria

AP – Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he is discussing an option that would keep a small residual U.S. military force in northeast Syria to secure oil fields and continue the fight against Islamic State militants.

Pelosi and congressional delegation make unannounced trip to Afghanistan in outreach to allies following Trump’s decision on Syria

Washington Post – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a surprise congressional visit to Jordan over the this weekend, highlighting her sharp disagreement with President Trump over policy in a Middle East roiled by Trump’s abrupt removal of US troops from northern Syria and Turkey’s subsequent attacks on Kurdish enclaves.

“With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation engaged in vital discussions about the impact on regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia, ”Pelosi said after meeting with King Abdullah II and senior Jordanian officials Saturday night.

Neither country released details of the talks before the delegation departed for the United States on Sunday morning. The trip came as a hastily brokered five-day cease-fire in Syria was struggling to take hold on its third day.

Pelosi had previously called the cease-fire deal “a sham” that gave a pass to Turkey’s offensive at the expense of the Kurds, a key ally in the recent fight against the Islamic State in Syria. Coverage of Pelosi’s “middle of the night” meetings in the Jordanian press focused largely on concerns that Turkey’s assault will result in the release of thousands of Islamic State fighters, many of them from Jordan, from Syrian prisons.

at a crucial time of threats to stability in the region and the control of Isis, “said the daily Al Ghad.

Drug distributors, opioid maker reach deal with governments in historic lawsuit

USA Today – A key drug maker and multiple distributors facing a historic opioid lawsuit reached a landmark settlement Monday with two Ohio counties suing makers and distributors of the highly addictive painkillers.

The tentative settlement came hours before opening statements were set to be delivered in the Cleveland case, viewed as a harbinger for legal claims filed by hundreds of local and state governments.

Terms of a deal involving McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. would be announced later in the day. Cuyahoga County lawyer Hunter Shkolnik says the settlement amounts to $260 million.

Distributor Henry Schein announced it had settled for $1.25 million, leaving only Walgreens in the case. A possible trial involving Walgreens was put on hold.

U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster has encouraged a settlement, which would provide affected communities the funds to combat opioid addiction much sooner than the lengthy process of going through a trial and the likely appeals afterward.

As Court Case Imperils Affordable Care Act, Some States Prepare Contingency Plans

WSJ – Lawmakers explore ways to preserve coverage, benefits if the health law is struck down

A federal appeals court decision that could strike down the Affordable Care Act as soon as this month has rattled officials in several states who are pursuing legislation to preserve some coverage in the absence of any Trump administration contingency plan.

Trump ‘Demands Deposition’ Of ‘Corrupt’ Adam Schiff

Infowars- President Trump demanded that ‘shifty’ Adam Schiff be deposed Sunday, calling the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the panels investigating impeachment, ‘corrupt’ and ‘a fraud’.

“I demand his deposition,” Trump said.

“He is a fraud, just like the Russia Hoax was, and the Ukraine Hoax is now. When do the Do Nothing Democrats pay a price for what they are doing to our Country, & when do the Republicans finally fight back?”

The President also hit out at Nancy Pelosi for leading a congressional delegation to Jordan to inquire about Syria.

Trump said that if she wants answers on Syria, Pelosi should look to what Obama did.

Others charged that Pelosi and Schiff are violating The Logan Act with the trip to Syria.

The law criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized persons with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.

Graham reverses Syria views, now says Trump policy could succeed
The Daily Sheeple – Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been one of the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump’s decision to move US troops out of northeastern Syria, said on Sunday he now believed “historic solutions” were possible.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Graham said a conversation he had with Trump over the weekend had fueled his optimism that a solution could be reached where the security of Turkey and the Kurds was guaranteed and fighters from Islamic State contained.

“I am increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years if we play our cards right,” Graham said.

Graham said Trump was prepared to use US air power over a demilitarized zone occupied by international forces, adding that the use of air power could help ensure Islamic State fighters who had been held in the area did not “break out.”

Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Saturday that Trump understood the need for the United States to maintain air power in the region.

“The US must retain air power to keep the pressure on ISIS, prevent our adversaries Russia and Iran from exploiting this situation and protect our partners on the ground,” he said in a statement. ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

Graham also said he believed the United States and Kurdish forces long allied with Washington could establish a venture to modernize Syrian oil fields, with the revenue flowing to the Kurds. “President Trump is thinking outside the box,” Graham said of Trump’s thinking on oil.

The Liberation of Mitt Romney

The Atlantic – Mitt Romney is leaning forward in his chair, his eyes flashing, his voice sharp.

It’s a strange look for the 72-year-old senator, who typically affects a measured, somber tone when discussing Donald Trump’s various moral deficiencies. But after weeks of escalating combat with the president—over Ukraine, and China, and Syria, and impeachment—the gentleman from Utah suddenly appears ready to unload.

What set him off was my recitation of an argument I’ve heard some Republicans deploy lately to excuse Trump’s behavior. Electing a president, the argument goes, is like hiring a plumber—you don’t care about his character, you just want him to get the job done. Sitting in his Senate office, Romney is indignant. “Are you worried that your plumber overcharges you?” he asks. “Are you worried that the plumber’s going to scream at your kids? Are you worried that the plumber is going to squeal out of your driveway?” I am playing devil’s advocate; he is attempting an exorcism.

To Romney, Trump’s performance as president is inextricably tangled up in his character. “Berating another person, or calling them names, or demeaning a class of people, not telling the truth—those are not private things,” he says, adding: “If during the campaign you pay a porn star $130,000, that now comes into the public domain.”

Justice Dept Distances Itself From Giuliani

Non Perel – The Justice Department distanced itself on Sunday from Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, declaring that department officials would not have met with Mr. Giuliani to discuss one of his clients had they known that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating two of his associates.

Several weeks ago, Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and lawyers from the division’s Fraud Section met with Mr. Giuliani to discuss a bribery case in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants.

That meeting took place before the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan publicly charged the two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with breaking campaign finance laws and trying to unlawfully influence politicians, including former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were part of Mr. Giuliani’s effort to push Ukraine for an inquiry into Democrats.

ALERT: Antifa puppetmasters to engineer “patriot” slaughter of Leftists to spark violent uprising against conservatives

NaturalNews – Antifa is “mobbing up” for an engineered chaos event, according to multiple eyewitness accounts of Antifa activities at public events such as Trump rallies. This coincides with accelerated mainstream media calls for Trump to be removed from power or arrested, along with an explosion in pop culture messaging that calls for Trump to be hogtied, tortured and / or executed. The coordinated messaging and accelerating George Soros funding of mob-for-hire Antifa terrorists points to an imminent event that will unleash nationwide political, civil and financial chaos from which globalists hope to remove Trump from power (or collapse the United States if Trump survives).

This analysis is derived from multiple personal interviews, eyewitness accounts, media sources (cited below) and informed familiarity with the history of the communist playbook from which these events are unfolding. Highlights of this analysis:

  • A sudden increase in the number of paid Antifa terrorists is now being observed in multiple cities across the United States.
  • The increased recruitment of Antifa mobs coincides with a coordinated media campaign to incite mass violence against Trump supporters and the President himself.
  • Deep state operatives such as James Clapper and John Brennan — who masterminded the criminal plot to undermine democracy and overrule the 2016 election — are now “lawyering up” as Bill Barr’s DOJ actions rapidly approach. This speaks to the desperation and urgency of the deep state to initiate mass chaos within weeks.
  • To achieve their goals of a political coup, the unhinged, lawless Left needs a “spark” event to pull the trigger and flip Antifa masses into an enraged, violent mob that will unleash bloodshed on the streets of America.
  • That “spark” event is likely to consist of a massive staged (theatrical) false flag event where high-level Antifa operatives dress up as patriot Trump supporters and slaughter a large number of Antifa protesters. (Charlottesville 2.0)
  • CNN, as usual, will be tipped off to the upcoming false flag shooting to make sure CNN’s cameras capture the event and all its blood and gore. Trump will be blamed for the mass death, and the event will be exploited by the treasonous fake news media to simultaneously demand the arrest or removal of Trump and the immediate nullification of the United States Constitution and its Second Amendment.
  • As this is taking place, globalist financial operators will wage a sell-off war of U.S. currency and U.S. debt in a desperate effort to crash the U.S. banking system, sacrificing New York banks as unavoidable casualties in the war to eliminate Trump and maintain globalist control over not just the United States, but all countries now facing a populist uprising.

Mayor Pete Eyes 35% Corporate Tax Rate to Pay For Health Plan

Bloomberg – Pete Buttigieg would pay for his $1.5 trillion health-care plan by rolling back President Donald Trump’s corporate tax cut to return the rate to 35% and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, campaign spokesman Sean Savett said.

Buttigieg’s “Medicare for all who want it” plan would extend the federal health-care program for seniors as an option for Americans who prefer it, while also letting people opt for private plans. It’s a centerpiece of his campaign, positioning himself against the more far-reaching “Medicare for All” plan by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, which would put all Americans in Medicare.

The specificity from his campaign comes days after Buttigieg ripped into Warren during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Ohio for being evasive about how she’d finance her plan. Some of Warren’s allies noted that the South Bend, Indiana, mayor hadn’t detailed his pay-fors beyond broadly calling for “cost savings and corporate tax reform.”

Buttigieg said he would repeal the corporate tax cut in the 2017 Republican tax law enacted under Trump, which lowered the rate to 21% from 35%. That would raise an estimated $1.4 trillion, according to the non-partisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

“The vast majority of that can be recovered by rolling back the corporate tax rate cut portion of the Trump tax cuts,” Buttigieg said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

Economy & Business

Bank heads warn of looming liquidity crisis

Axios – A growing number of market analysts are voicing concerns that the repo market shock in September may have been the first signal of a wide-ranging liquidity shortage, and now those warnings are being echoed by the heads of major banks.

  • “Despite the fact that bank balance sheets are quite strong, I think you’ll see more moments like this going forward,” Ron O’Hanley, president and CEO of State Street, said during the Institute of International Finance’s annual membership meeting on Saturday.

What’s happening: Even with the Fed’s commitment to pump $60 billion a month into financial markets, there still may not be enough funding because of regulations, changes to market structure, and banks’ desire to keep their reserve levels high.

  • Strategist from JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America sent recent notes also warning of the funding issues.
  • Additionally, the increase of passive investments and major flows from pension funds and large asset managers into private equity funds is drying out typical sources of liquidity to the stock market and could mean major outflows in the face of bad news.

What they’re saying: Brian Porter, president and CEO of Scotiabank, said he also is worried about the health of the so-called shadow banking sector — firms that are not banks but lend money to consumers for things like auto loans or home mortgages and aren’t subject to the same regulations.

The shadow banking sector is largely private and little is known about how much money the insurance companies, hedge funds, private equity funds and payday lenders that make up the industry actually have.

  • “Regulators have been very successful in distributing risk,” O’Hanley said. “It’s now been very much deconcentrated. But it hasn’t gone away; it’s been moved.”

Don’t sleep: IIF president and CEO Tim Adams likened it to the market for mortgage-backed securities before the housing bubble burst in 2007, triggering the global financial crisis.

  • “We used to make the same case on securitization of mortgages — that we could slice them and dice them and we distribute risk globally and it was a safer system because it was distributed,” Adams said.
  • “We found out that wasn’t necessarily the case.”

After trade ‘deal’ with USA, China ramps up Brazilian soy purchases?

Rueters – Chinese importers have been busy booking fresh purchases of soybeans from Brazil this week, despite the White House announcement that China had agreed to buy up to $50 billion (38.6 billion pounds) of U.S. farm products annually during trade talks last week.

Energy & Environment

Tornado tears through Dallas, leaving thousands without power

ABC – At least one tornado touched down in the Dallas area amid stormy weather on Sunday night, tearing through structures, overturning cars and knocking out electricity for thousands.

The National Weather Service said the radar-confirmed the tornado hit the ground around 9 p.m. local time near Dallas Love Field Airport, northwest of downtown. Footage from the area showed several damaged businesses, homes with roofs ripped off, fallen trees and downed power lines.

The Dallas Independent School District canceled Monday classes at six schools, citing “extensive damage” to a number of campuses due to the severe weather.

There were also reports of gas leaks north of Dallas’ Walnut Hill neighborhood, according to a press release from the city of Dallas.

Science & Technology

Scientists fuse brains with AI implants to ‘give people superhuman intelligence’

Daily Star – Humans will be turned into cyborgs — with scientists sticking AI implants deep into their brains.

Brain-zapping electrodes have treated seizure patients with promising results, and bizarre and unexpected side-effects of calmness and positivity means they are now being probed as a radical treatment for depression.

It’s even theorised that the electric implants can be manipulated to make users max out their brain power — similarly to how amphetamines like Adderall are abused today.

Science power couple Kelly and Zach Weinersmith explored the exciting advancements in their brand new book “Soonish – Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve And/Or Ruin Everything”.

The pair reckon that brain-boosting electrodes will soon become “like plastic surgery” — with people spending shedloads in order to become smarter and stay ahead of the pack.

Health

Walmart ‘Great Value’ brand of frozen meat products recalled over salmonella concerns

Fox – Several Walmart “Great Value” brand meat items have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, health officials announced.

More than 6,400 pounds of the food – ready-to-eat pork sausage patties and turkey sausage patty products – were recalled by George’s Prepared Food, located in Caryville, Tenn. The items included in the recall were produced on April 19, April 27, May 7 and May 9.

Elderberry Offers Powerful Protection Against Influenza

Mercola – Elderberry contains zinc and antioxidants, including vitamin C and anthocyanin (a flavonoid found in blue and purple fruits and berries), known for their ability to boost immune function and inhibit cold and flu.

A 2004 study found taking 15 milliliters (1 tablespoon) of elderberry syrup four times a day for five days eased symptoms of influenza four days quicker than a placebo.

A 2019 study found elderberry protects against influenza and other viral attacks by preventing the virus from entering and replicating in human cells.

Elderberry also promotes the release of certain cytokines (chemical messengers), which allow your immune system to mount a more efficient response.

Research also shows elderberry supplementation shortens duration of cold symptoms after intercontinental flights. Symptoms were also milder in those who contracted a cold after flying