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US Sends M2A2 Bradleys To Challenge Russian Forces In Northern Syria

Zero Hedge -

US Sends M2A2 Bradleys To Challenge Russian Forces In Northern Syria Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 22:35

Submitted by SouthFront,

The US military has reinforced its troops, supposedly mostly withdrawn from Syria, with a new batch of military equipment, this time M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.

In an official comment released on September 18, the US-led coalition said that mechanized infantry assets, including Bradley IFVs, were positioned to Syria in order to “ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS”, “ensure the protection of Coalition forces” and “provide the rapid flexibility needed to protect critical petroleum resources”.

The M2A2 Bradley is armed with a 25 mm chain gun, a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a dual TOW anti-tank guided missile launcher. This makes the IFV the heaviest weapon deployed by the US on the ground in Syria.

As of September 21, the newly deployed armoured vehicles were already spotted during a coalition patrol in al-Hasakah province, where the US has a network of fortified positions and military bases. US forces regularly conduct patrols in the area. Another area of US interest in Syria’s northeast are the Omar oil fields on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Washington reinforced its troops deployed there with M2A2 Bradley IFVs in October 2019.

The main difference is that, according to local sources, the vehicles deployed in al-Hasakah province will most likely be involved in patrols in the area and thus regular confrontations with the Russian Military Police and the Syrian Army.

Just a few days ago, Russian attack helicopters chased US Apaches after they had tried to harass a Russian Military Police patrol. Earlier, the US military claimed that US troops sustained “mild injures”, when a Russian vehicle rammed a US MRAP in the al-Hasakah countryside.

The US-led coalition regularly tries to limit the freedom of movement of Russian and Syrian forces in the northeast of the country and faces an asymmetric response. Now, US forces will have an additional argument in securing what they see as their sphere of influence.

Syrian government forces have suffered even more casualties from ISIS attacks in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ezzor. On September 19, at least five members of Liwa al-Quds, a pro-government Palestinian militia, died in an explosion of an improvised explosive device near the town of al-Shumaytiyah. On September 20, an explosion hit a vehicle of the Syrian Army near al-Mayadin reportedly injuring several soldiers. Also, a field commander of the National Defense Forces was killed in clashes with ISIS terrorists west of Deir Ezzor.

As of September 21, the Syrian Army, Liwa al-Quds and their allies continue a combing operation to clear the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert from ISIS cells. However, the strong ISIS presence is still a notable threat for the security situation in the central Syrian desert.

In Greater Idlib, the Russian Aerospace Forces continue their air campaign targeting training camps, weapon depots, HQs and fortified positions of Turkish-backed terrorist groups. The interesting fact is that with the resumption of active Russian strikes on targets across Idlib, terrorists have decreased the number of attacks on the Syrian Army and civilian targets along the contact line. It would appear that the airstrike diplomacy has all chances to become an integral part of the Idlib ceasefire.

Last Ditch Olive Branch? Iran's Zarif Offers Full Prisoner Swap With US

Zero Hedge -

Last Ditch Olive Branch? Iran's Zarif Offers Full Prisoner Swap With US Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 22:15

As if offering a last ditch olive branch to the Trump administration the moment the US is busy ramping up the anti-Iran maximum pressure campaign just ahead of the November election, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday said his country stands ready to conduct a full prisoner swap with the United States.

The offer was made during a virtual address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, reports Reuters. A prisoner deal would include a handful of Americans who are among other Westerners languishing in Iranian political prisons, most in Evin prison outside Tehran, considered highly susceptible to the spread of coronavirus. 

A couple of high profile US prisoners which Washington has long sought to gain the release of include  Iranian-American father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi. The latter is a businessman arrested in 2015 and given a ten year prison sentence for "collaborating with a foreign government". The family was formerly in the US-backed Shah's government prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Zarif also reiterated Monday that Tehran considers the 2015 nuclear deal "very much alive" even after the US pulled out of it in May 2018. Washington is still claiming authority to implement 'snapback' sanctions, however, which Iran has pointed out is backed by no one else. 

The US has indeed remained isolated on the world stage as it attempts to uphold a full arms embargo on the Islamic Republic, which is set to expire in October. 

Zarif has over the last days been mocking Washington over its seemingly contradictory stance regarding the status of the JCPOA:

Iran has mocked what it calls the Trump’s administration isolated stand on the question, and the other members of the U.N. Security Council, including U.S. allies, have vowed to ignore the administration’s declaration of a sanctions snapback.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif taunted Mr. Pompeo on Twitter, predicting Washington will face a fresh humiliation as this weekend’s deadline approaches.

“Wrong again, Secretary Pompeo,” Mr. Zarif tweeted. “Nothing new happens on 9/20.”

Unphased, Pompeo has said “We don’t need any other country to go along with us.” 

Given this latest offer of a "full" prisoner swap, which the Trump administration could gain a political boost from so near the election, it seems Tehran is hoping for an "out" before US-led sanctions escalate further. 

Should Scott Atlas Sue His Detractors?

Zero Hedge -

Should Scott Atlas Sue His Detractors? Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 21:55

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

Former Stanford professor and now White House advisor Scott Atlas has positioned himself against lockdowns and for widespread reopening of the economy, a position that is backed by high-prestige scientists around the world, including other colleagues at Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford, alongside many medical practitioners. 

For that matter, before all these wicked lockdowns hit, 800 top medical professionals warned against them. But that was before politics completely poisoned the debate. Gradually, it emerged that one’s positions on lockdowns followed partisan lines, as the lives of millions were shattered, at least in the United States. Meanwhile, scientists around the world are writing open letters pleading for a return to freedom. Even socialists have come out against lockdowns. 

Some colleagues at Stanford released a stinging letter against Dr. Atlas. It included this broadside:

To prevent harm to the public’s health, we also have both a moral and an ethical responsibility to call attention to the falsehoods and misrepresentations of science recently fostered by Dr. Scott Atlas, a former Stanford Medical School colleague and current senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Many of his opinions and statements run counter to established science and, by doing so, undermine public-health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy.

What follows in the letter is a series of assertions that supposedly contradict views allegedly “fostered” by Atlas. Notice the vagueness of the term “fostered.” It can mean anything, including blaming him for whatever media misrepresentations of his opinion might be. 

For example, the letter condemns “encouraging herd immunity through unchecked community transmission,” with a heavy implication that Atlas has pushed this. It’s completely ridiculous. He and many others in his position have favored an intelligent approach that protects the vulnerable, encourages therapeutics, while otherwise allowing normal social functioning as community immunity develops. It’s nowhere the case that anyone, to my knowledge, has ever encouraged “unchecked” transmission, except perhaps Governor Cuomo who forced Covid-19 patients into nursing homes. 

The entire letter, in fact, seemed not about public health but rather political positioning, exhibit A in the politicization of science. Atlas had agreed to advise the White House: that was his crime and that is what prompted the letter, including the condescending demand that he, a highly accomplished and published scientist, should follow the science. 

Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University wrote the Stanford Daily thusly:

Dear Editor,

In an open letter, 98 Stanford faculty members accuse their Stanford colleague and White House COVID-19 advisor Scott Atlas of “falsehoods and misrepresentations,” claiming that “many of his opinions and statements run counter to established science.” Surprisingly, the alleged falsehoods are not mentioned, making scientific discourse difficult.

Among other things, the letter advocates handwashing, which Atlas obviously agrees with. So, what are the disagreements?

While anyone can get infected, there is a thousand-fold difference in mortality risk between the old and young, and the risk to children is less than from annual influenza. Using an age-targeted strategy, Atlas wants to better protect high-risk individuals, while letting children and young adults live more normal lives. This contrasts with general age-wide lockdowns that protect low-risk students and young professionals working from home, while older higher-risk working-class people generate the inevitable herd immunity.

The open letter ignores collateral damage caused by lockdowns. Being a public health policy expert, it is natural and reassuring that Atlas also consider plummeting childhood vaccinations, postponed cancer screenings, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, deteriorating mental health and more house evictions, just to name a few.

Among experts on infectious disease outbreaks, many of us have long advocated for an age-targeted strategy, and I would be delighted to debate this with any of the 98 signatories. Supporters include professor Sunetra Gupta at Oxford University, the world’s preeminent infectious disease epidemiologist. Assuming no bias against women scientists of color, I urge Stanford faculty and students to read her thoughts.

Martin Kulldorff, professor, Harvard Medical School

Notice Dr. Kulldorff’s invitation to debate any of the signers of the letter. As yet, not one signer has taken him up on the offer, which is rather strange. They claim to believe in science and yet won’t consider debating a highly credentialed and widely published scholar who has a different view from the signers of the letter. 

The original open letter, written most likely in haste and with politicized anger, was a smear. A defamation. A libel. Which is why Atlas has threatened to sue

The signers responded by invoking their freedom of speech. 

Who is right?

One could argue that all libel laws are an unjust use of force against the freedom to speak. This was Murray Rothbard’s position. He said we do not possess property rights in our reputation. As cruel and wicked as genuine defamation is – and truly many people would choose to have their car stolen than to be widely smeared on the internet – it falls into the category of sin not crime. 

There are also huge problems with enforcement. The court system is not cheap. It is expensive to sue for libel or slander, and the guilty parties don’t often have resources to pay compensation. It ends up going to mediation, where one party decides reluctantly to recant. But there is no guarantee that the recantation will be seen by the same people who saw the smear. 

What’s the point of a sheepish admission on Facebook that what one person said was a lie? This brings no justice at all. The damage is already done. 

There is an additional problem with defamation law: its very existence might lead people to have an unwarranted trust in what others say rather than holding a proper incredulity toward implausible claims – claims such as that which accuses a famous public health expert of ignoring the science. If there were no opportunity to use the law to sue someone for something they said, the public might otherwise develop a correct suspicion of all such smears. 

That said, the laws do exist. Given that, and the widespread but incorrect supposition that actual libel would not go unpunished, I see no real objection to deploying these laws in the defense of truth if the resources are available and there is some hope that regaining one’s good name is possible. 

In this case, it strikes me that Scott Atlas has a strong case that his old colleagues played fast and loose with his professional reputation for purely political reasons. If the courts get involved and decide against the signers of this document, I won’t shed too many tears for their free speech rights: after all, the upshot of their letter is to lend their professional reputations to violating everyone’s rights in the name of disease mitigation, and cover up their political motivations with the veneer of science. 

"Maniacal Laughing Vandal" Derails Manhattan Subway Train By Tossing Metal Objects On Tracks

Zero Hedge -

"Maniacal Laughing Vandal" Derails Manhattan Subway Train By Tossing Metal Objects On Tracks Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 21:35

The debt laden and horrifically inefficient MTA, who has spent the better part of the last several months petitioning for bailout money amidst a historic collapse in riders, now has another problem on its hands after a Manhattan subway train derailed Sunday morning.

The wreck was blamed on a "maniacal, laughing vandal" who reportedly tossed metal plates onto the tracks, according to The Daily News.

The plates, called "D plates" were placed about 50 feet into 14th St. station. They are usually used to secure tracks to the roadbed and police say the ones that were thrown onto the tracks had been left behind by MTA workers. Three passengers were injured as a result of the derailment. 135 passengers were evacuated and the wreck tripped a breaker on the uptown express A train tracks between Canal and 34th Sts., leaving a second train without power. 125 people were on board and needed to be saved by a rescue train. 

30 year old Demetrius Harvard reportedly tossed the plates onto the tracks before a bystander jumped onto the roadbed to try and clear them off the tracks before a train pulled in. Harvard then throw more of them onto the tracks as the train pulled further into the station. 

The train's first two wheel sets were then thrown from the tracks causing the front car to slam into station pillars.  Frank Jezycki, acting senior vice president of subways at NYC Transit, said that "hundreds of feet" of rail was damaged or destroyed. 

MTA chief safety officer Pat Warren said: “We’ve ruled out that this was any malfunction of our equipment or any inappropriate action of our crews.” 

Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano stated: “This was an all-hands on deck emergency with transit workers from multiple divisions responding to assist riders and then begin repairing the extensive damage. It’s a stark reminder that the MTA can’t cut its frontline workers even if the federal government fails to provide funding in a COVID relief package.”

Harvard was seen laughing after the train derailed, but Good Samaritans chased him down and held him at the station until the NYPD arrived. He was brought to NYPD Transit District headquarters at the Canal St. station and was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespassing.

It is being called one of New York's "most catastrophic train derailments in years". Harvard also has an "extensive criminal history" according to The Daily News - which means Mayor De Blasio will likely have him released immediately and cleared of all charges. 

China Stock Shorts Soar To Record High

Zero Hedge -

China Stock Shorts Soar To Record High Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 21:15

By Molly Dai, Singapore based macro commentator for Bloomberg

With China’s equity market cooling in recent weeks, following its fastest rally in years, investors have pushed the value of Chinese stocks being shorted to uncharted levels.

The balance of securities lending in domestic exchanges has jumped to a record 81.9 billion yuan ($12.1 billion), surging 8.8 billion yuan last week alone in the biggest one-week net increase ever, according to data compiled by Bloomberg dating back to late 2012.

That suggests traders remain worried about further declines in Chinese shares as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fights to hold on to a series of support levels around the 3,300 level.

Tuesday: Existing Home Sales, Fed Chair Powell Testimony

Calculated Risk -

Tuesday:
• At 10:00 AM ET, Existing Home Sales for August from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The consensus is for 6.00 million SAAR, up from 5.86 million in July. Housing economist Tom Lawler expects the NAR to report 5.92 million SAAR.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for September.

• At 10:30 AM, Testimony, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives

One Bank Expects COVID Herd Immunity To Emerge By 2022

Zero Hedge -

One Bank Expects COVID Herd Immunity To Emerge By 2022 Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 20:55

Last week, Bank of America made a rough, back-of-the-envelope calculation that roughly 12% of the US population had achieved COVID herd immunity, far below the 60% threshold that is necessary for the disease to be contained without fresh policy actions, prompting BofA to propose a vision for a world in which we get periodic covid flareups in the coming months, many of which could culminate in fresh lockdowns.

Taking the initial thoughts from BofA, this morning Deutsche Bank published an extensive report analyzing what "Living with Covid" for the foreseeable future would be like (with an emphasis on Asian countries) since - like BofA - the German bank does not see herd immunity emerging as a factor until 2022 for advanced economies, and 2023 for the rest of the world, to wit:

Although developments on the vaccine front have been promising, there is uncertainty over the uptake of vaccines by the public and thereby the pace of achieving herd immunity, which would better ensure a more full normalization of economic activity. Our baseline forecast now assumes that some economies will achieve herd immunity to Covid-19 in 2022, along with most advanced  economies. Other countries are likely to have to wait until 2023 to achieve the same. Risks around these forecasts are evenly balanced.

Another key point that remains lost on many politicians both in the US and elsewhere is that "the tolerance for extended rigorous social distancing appears to be weakening, with new social distancing regulations being in most places milder and imposed for shorter durations. People appear to have learned how to protect themselves and to live with the virus better than during the initial outbreaks, as economic data are proving in some respects more resilient to the virus."

The bottom line, as we said many months ago, is that having done the calculus most economies are now willing to reopen their economies as the political and socioeconomic hit from lockdowns is far more adverse to the broader population - and especially the youth which is losing jobs by the millions - than enforcing full quarantine with spotty results while hoping to minimize new cases, something which can be seen most vividly in new cases in some countries like Spain and France, has failed to lead to a rebound in new deaths or hospitalizations.

Finally, reliance on a vaccine as some magic bullet that will magically cure the global economy appears largely misplaced, because as Deutsche notes, "although developments on the vaccine front have been promising, there are concerns about a possible low acceptance by the public of these new vaccines by the public. It may also matter importantly which vaccines are put into commercial production first – they vary significantly in cost and emerging economies could be at a disadvantage in acquiring enough vaccine."

The bottom line, according to the report's authors is that until herd immunity has been achieved - some time in 2022/2023, "economies will remain hostage to the virus - shrinking with each new outbreak and expanding quickly as social distancing eases with the subsequent decline in infection risks."

One can only hope that after the US elections, the political angle of such decision-making will become moot, and policymakers can finally focus on the most optimal outcome without a preference for decisions that leads to who ends up in the White House, but rather what is truly for the benefit of the people.

NASA Is Paying For Moon-Rocks - Implications For Space Commerce Are Huge

Zero Hedge -

NASA Is Paying For Moon-Rocks - Implications For Space Commerce Are Huge Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 20:35

Authored by Alexander William Salter via The American Institute for Economic Research,

Commercial space enthusiasts, we have liftoff! On September 10th, NASA announced that it’s soliciting proposals for private entities to collect lunar rocks and soil. Basically, NASA is offering to buy these materials from the corporations that gather them. This project has enormous implications for the future of commercial space activities.

“Today, we’re taking a critical step forward by releasing a solicitation for commercial companies to provide proposals for the collection of space resources,” announced NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

One of his goals is to create “a stable and predictable investment environment for commercial space innovators and entrepreneurs.” 

Furthermore, he clarified that NASA intends to take an “‘in-place’ transfer of ownership.”

Translation: whoever harvests the moon materials needn’t bring them back to Earth. This initiative helps realize Congressional legislation to protect U.S. citizens’ property rights to celestial resources, and gives teeth to a recent executive order promoting the commercial development of space.

NASA is creating financial incentives for private companies to market lunar resources. This could be a first step to developing lunar mining capabilities. The biggest benefit of the program, though, is precedent. It puts the U.S. government’s imprimatur on space commerce. Given the ambiguities in public international space law, this precedent has the potential to steer space policy and commerce in a pro-market direction.

The foundational document of international space law is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST). Drafted at the height of the Cold War, its chief function was to prevent a celestial arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. That’s why it didn’t include any specific provisions for outer space property rights. Article II of the treaty forbids “national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.” This calls into question the permissibility of private property rights. And Article VI states “activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision” by their governments. This suggests that commercial actors must be micromanaged by their governments.

Subsequent treaties tried to clarify OST’s purposes. For example, the Moon Agreement of 1979 clearly frowns on property rights to celestial resources: It forbids making the moon or any of its resources the “property of any State, international intergovernmental or non-governmental organization, national organization or non-governmental entity or of any natural person.” Fortunately, none of the major spacefaring nations ratified the treaty. Nevertheless, a significant portion of the international community supports it.

With NASA’s announcement, the U.S. government decisively rejected this anti-commercial mindset. The U.S. government is not annexing lunar real estate, meaning it continues to affirm OST Article II. And as for Article VI, as space lawyer Laura Montgomery correctly notes, it is not self-executing. It isn’t “enforceable federal law” without Congress passing “domestic implementing legislation.” In fact, Congress passed such legislation: The previously-mentioned law to recognize and protect outer space property rights. It’s clear that Congress is comfortable with markets in space. Finally, because the U.S. government never signed the Moon Agreement, there’s no subterfuge.

The position of the US government is clear: commercial activities in space are neither exploitative nor illegal. Given the vagueness of international space law on property rights, the precedents created by national space law will have a decisive role in shaping the future space environment. Hence, NASA’s actions can support a pro-business turn not just for the United States, but also for the international community as a whole.

In ancient times, mankind extended the division of labor across tribes, turning enemies into friends. Later came trade across national boundaries, with similar largely peaceful effects. Now, humans are prepared to extend it still further: into the final frontier. Doux commerce is coming to the stars. NASA just made a “giant leap for mankind.” Everyone who cares about human wealth and welfare should heartily thank them.

"End School To Prison Pipeline" - New Kim Klacik Ad Highlights How Liberals Destroyed Baltimore 

Zero Hedge -

"End School To Prison Pipeline" - New Kim Klacik Ad Highlights How Liberals Destroyed Baltimore  Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 20:15

Readers may recall, in mid-August, we pointed out Kim Klacik, the GOP congressional candidate from Baltimore, is attempting to take late Elijah Cummings' congressional seat in Maryland's 7th congressional district. 

However, there just one problem, she's a Republican, nevertheless, a young black millennial, who has been embraced by President Trump and top Republicans. 

For more color on Maryland's 7th District, which covers the northern and eastern boundaries of Baltimore County, the majority of Howard County, and a decent chunk of eastern and western parts of Baltimore City, which have been dominated by Democrats for a little more than half a century. 

Klacik was propelled into the spotlight in August when her campaign released a video of her walking the streets of Baltimore. She showed people "the real Baltimore," outlining how decades of Democratic policies have imploded communities:

"Democrats don't want you to see this. They're scared that I'm exposing what life is like in Democrat-run cities. That's why I'm running for Congress Because All Black Lives Matter Baltimore Matters And black people don't have to vote Democrat." 

Two weeks later, in early September, Trump tweeted that he "fully endorsed" Klacik. 

Now the Baltimore-based GOP Congressional candidate is out with another political ad bashing Baltimore liberals for destroying the city. She focused on Baltimore's trash problems, dilapidated row houses, and the "black struggle of people in Baltimore." 

"I see a Baltimore that picks up trash," Klacik said. "There are piles of garbage all around Baltimore. It makes life unsafe for our families. I'll work with city leaders to get Baltimore Solid Waste Bureau the resources it needs to take out the trash."

"Our streets should be a reflection of our leaders: clean, not dirty," she said, adding that she wants to "end school to prison pipeline" and introduce the school choice plan, a program backed by Trump. 

Klacik said there are more than 17,000 vacant row houses in the city, calling them a "scar on the face of our city" (read: "Baltimore Continues To Struggle With Thousands Of Vacant Homes"). 

"A broken Baltimore doesn't have to be our future," she said. 

Trump has criticized the liberal-run city for years. In 2019, he called the metro area, which is about a 40-minute train ride from Washington, D.C., a "disgusting" and "rodent-infested mess." 

Klacik's new ad puts Baltimore Democrats to shame and points out their decades of failures. 

Will Klacik one day be the new face of the GOP? 

Crazy College COVID Rules: Online-Only Student Who's Never On-Campus Suspended Indefinitely For Attending Party

Zero Hedge -

Crazy College COVID Rules: Online-Only Student Who's Never On-Campus Suspended Indefinitely For Attending Party Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 19:55

Authored by Robby Soave via Reason.com,

It was a gorgeous August weekend in New York City, and Andy - a college senior at New York University (NYU) - decided to attend a rooftop social gathering with his roommates.

The party was consistent with New York City's Phase 4 COVID-19 guidelines, which allow events of up to 50 people. Many attendees went mask-less, but Andy says he didn't stand in close proximity to anyone other than his roommates—who are also students—and they left after a short while.

But unbeknownst to Andy - whose name has been changed for this article to protect his privacy - someone at the party posted a video of the event on social media. Andy never saw this video, but he knows that he was visible in it. The video was reported to NYU administrators via the university's COVID-19 compliance system. On Sunday, August 23—a day after the party—NYU Director of Student Conduct Craig Jolley sent an email to Andy accusing him of "threatening the health and safety of the NYU Community."

By 5:00 p.m. on Monday, NYU had suspended him indefinitely:

To return to campus in 2021, Andy will need to write a reflection paper and beg for readmission.

Resuming his education might be impossible, anyway, since he relies on a full-tuition scholarship that is now threatened by his disciplinary status.

Andy thinks NYU treated him unfairly. It's hard to disagree. Importantly, he didn't actually put anyone on campus in danger, because he had no plans to set foot on NYU property: He lives off campus, and all his classes were online.

"I am not a student who will be staying at or near NYU housing, nor will I be entering Campus Grounds or NYU buildings as I am currently enrolled in all online courses," Andy wrote in his appeal of the decision.

The appeal was rejected.

*  *  *

The COVID-19 pandemic is a multifaceted disaster, casually crippling vast swaths of the U.S. economy, bringing social interaction to an unexpected and unprecedented halt, and of course, killing more than 200,000 Americans. The challenges are daunting for many people, organizations, and industries—U.S. higher education certainly among them.

Colleges and universities have adopted a wide variety of strategies. Some have decided that in-person instruction is simply impossible: In May, California State University (CSU) became the first to announce that the fall semester would be online-only. Earlier this month, CSU made the same call regarding the 2021 spring semester.

Many other universities, perhaps realizing that students will balk at paying full tuition for a series of glorified online tutorials, attempted to reopen in various stages and forms. But these reopenings were accompanied by tough restrictions on student social gatherings in dormitories, off-campus housing, and elsewhere. Evidently, administrators expected that students would be willing to come to class, learn, then hurry back to their residences—and stay there. At many campuses, near-perfect compliance with extreme social distancing requirements on the part of students was not merely a requirement, schools assumed they would comply.

"Everything we have done - the months of planning to give our students the opportunity to continue their educational pursuits in person - can be undone in the blink of an eye with just one party or event that does not follow the rules and guidelines," said Katie Sermersheim, Purdue University's dean of students, in a statement detailing the school's no-parties pledge.

Carl Bergstrom, a professor of biology at the University of Washington, likened Sermersheim's admission that non-universal compliance will destroy the strategy to "an evacuation plan that will work perfectly as long as the building isn't on fire."

"Why would anyone admit that their months of planning would collapse if students hold a single party?" he wondered on Twitter.

Universities that believe they can ban many or all social functions for students are essentially conducting an experiment that has been run many times, from the era of Prohibition to modern abstinence-only education. The results of this latest experiment are in, and they are familiar: Students will party, COVID-19 be damned.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for instance, opened for in-person learning on August 10. By August 17, the school had decided to go online-only for the duration of the semester following a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases on campus. In an editorial, The Daily Tarheel, which reported numerous parties during the first weekend back at school, chided university leadership for failing to anticipate that students, "many of whom are now living on their own for the first time," would be reckless. "Reports of parties throughout the weekend come as no surprise," wrote the student editors.

The social gatherings are entirely unsurprising. But that's not because students are uniquely incautious. On the contrary, students are just like the rest of us—trying to manage risk while still living life, months beyond the point where most people expected they would be able to go back to normal. (Remember "15 days to slow the spread"?) These risks are not the same for all people—age and health status matter—and they are not equally significant in all circumstances—outdoor events are not indoor events. And people who take on some amount of risk do not always attract equal levels of moral condemnation. Assuming that virtually everyone would obey orders, not just to be more careful than usual, but to live a sad and isolated existence indefinitely—perhaps that was reckless.

Events resembling what happened at UNC have transpired on dozens of campuses, and hundreds of students have already suffered suspensions. Purdue kicked 36 kids off campus for partying without masks. St. Olaf College in Minnesota suspended 17. Syracuse University suspended 23. Northeastern University learned that a first-year student had conducted a poll asking classmates whether they intended to party, despite the school's restrictions. When more than 100 students responded in the affirmative, the pollster forwarded their names to administrators, who then threatened the students—and their parents—via email.

"You have displayed a disregard for health and safety measures, jeopardized our chances to keep our community safe, and increased the possibility that you and others—including your classmates—might not be able complete the semester," wrote the school, before demanding that they sign a pledge to improve their behavior.

Northeastern eventually suspended 11 students for partying. They will be allowed to return in the spring. Their tuition for the aborted fall semester—a whopping $36,500—will not be refunded.

*  *  *

Andy's financial hit is indirect but no less serious. His suspension is likely to result in the loss of his full-tuition scholarship, which means he would not be able to afford NYU, even if the administration lets him return. He also has a job offer with a bank that is contingent upon his successful graduation, he told Reason.

"I considered looking at legal action, though I might be out of my budget," he says. "I contacted a lawyer. She was just ball-parking some numbers and they seemed unreasonable."

Following their receipt of the social media video—emailed to covidcompliance@nyu.edu, the university's hotline for reporting noncooperation—NYU administrators accused Andy of violating three separate aspects of the student code of conduct: Policy B1, which prohibits "threatening" behavior that compromises health and safety; Policy E1, which prohibits "disorderly, disruptive, or antagonizing behavior that interferes with the safety, security, health or welfare of the community"; and Policy E3, which obligates students to follow the new COVID-19 guidelines when on campus.

"As you are likely aware, the University is responding swiftly and seriously to behaviors that threaten the health and safety of the NYU Community," wrote Jolley, the student conduct office director, in his initial email to Andy. Jolley did not respond to a request for comment on this article.

Andy was invited to plead his case on a Zoom call but was given just 24 hours to prepare for it. Jolley rendered his verdict swiftly: Immediately after the call, Andy says he was informed that he was suspended.

Andy was devastated.

"A suspension for me is more than just a semester," he says. "This adversely impacts my entire life."

The university was unmoved.

"Considering the importance of creating a safe environment during a global pandemic, the University will not tolerate conduct which intentionally and recklessly disregards the rules and threatens the health and safety of others," wrote Jolley. "Your behavior in this situation is unacceptable."

Was it? Reasonable people can debate—and are debating, all over the country—what level of risk is acceptable, for themselves and others. Many people believe the decision to open campuses at all is reckless: Students and faculty affiliated with the University of Georgia's educators' union, for instance, held a die-in protest on the school's lawn to oppose re-opening. Many educators with union protection expect to be paid, regardless of whether schools re-open, which gives them greater reason to lobby for additional delays. University administrators, on the other hand, probably realize that distance learning hurts their bottom line since it encourages customers—students and their parents—to explore other options. College reopening strategies around the country are based on profoundly misguided assumptions about human behavior.

Andy says he didn't put the health and safety of other students at risk—he lives off campus and takes all his classes online. He also thinks the COVID-19 rules, as written, only apply to people who are actually present on campus, or in NYU buildings.

Adam Steinbaugh, an attorney with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says Andy has a point.

"COVID-19 is not a computer virus, so unless this event involved a number of NYU students, any interest the university has in wielding its disciplinary procedures to deter the spread of COVID-19 among NYU students is pretty attenuated," Steinbaugh tells Reason. "It's hard to blame students for being surprised that this type of policy is being applied to their off-campus conduct."

Steinbaugh reviewed Andy's case at Reason's request (and with Andy's permission). He thinks NYU is overreacting, and unless the rooftop party was itself in violation of New York City's public health orders, it would be tough to justify the suspension.

"Universities appear eager to shift blame for ballooning COVID-19 infections to students," says Steinbaugh, who notes that the reflection paper assigned to Andy in hopes of gaining readmission is supposed to "focus on the role young people have played in the transmission of COVID-19 in the United States."

***

For now, Andy is trying to enroll in a different online college so that the semester is not a total waste.

"I've got to get some credit somehow," he says.

He regrets going to the party and says that it wasn't characteristic of how he has conducted himself during the pandemic.

"While it may not appear this way, I have been attempting to stay safe as best I can," he wrote in his appeal. "My attempt to seek some feeling of normalcy was nothing more than a snap decision and I cannot emphasize how much I have learned from this process."

Indeed, going back to school during a pandemic is proving to be an educational experience for everyone, including and especially the educators. School administrators are learning that they can't quite overcome students' natural inclinations—all they can do is process their tuition payments. The faster, the better, probably.

Emmys Hit Lowest-Ever Ratings With Just 6.1 Million Viewers

Zero Hedge -

Emmys Hit Lowest-Ever Ratings With Just 6.1 Million Viewers Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 19:35

The Emmys hit their lowest-ever ratings Sunday night, as Nielsen's Live+SameDay fast nationals for reveal the awards ceremony had just 6.1 million viewers, and a 1.2 rating in adults aged 18-49.

This is a drop of 12% over last year, which marked the previous all-time low, and represented a 25% dropoff in the key demographic, according to Variety.

Perhaps it was host Jimmy Kimmel's "Black Lives Matter" chant - which comedian Stephen Crowder 'manipulated' with clips of Kimmel's old blackface routines.

Last year marked a historic low for TV’s top awards show, as a host-less ceremony on Fox delivered a massive 33% decline from the year before, scoring a 1.6 rating and drawing only 6.9 million viewers. For comparison, the previous four ceremonies before that were watched by 10.2 million viewers, 11.4 million viewers (in both 2017 and 2016) and 11.9 million viewers. That 6.9 million figure was roughly one third of the total pairs of eyeballs the Emmys drew as recently as 2013. -Variety

That said, Variety notes that Sunday night's ceremony had competition from NBC's "Sunday Night Football" as well as the NBA Playoffs on the East Coast, which aired in the primetime window for the first time.

What's more, there was no red carpet lead-in this year, which "likely played some part in producing these low numbers."

CNBC Screamfest Culminates With Muddy Waters Teasing Reveal Of New Short That "Makes Tesla Look Like Microsoft" 

Zero Hedge -

CNBC Screamfest Culminates With Muddy Waters Teasing Reveal Of New Short That "Makes Tesla Look Like Microsoft"  Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 19:15

Sometimes, CNBC goes too far in trying to represent "both sides" of an issue - like when Scott Wapner put himself in the awkward position of defending taxpayer handouts to corporations that blew all their own money on stock buybacks.

It happened against during Monday's episode of "The Closing Bell", when co-host Wilfred Frost became the latest to lose his cool on air during an interview with Muddy Waters founder Carson Block - inadvertently offering Block a golden opportunity to tease his firm's next big short on twitter, instead of CNBC where it could have drawn far more eyeballs (and ad revenue).

According to the Muddy Waters Twitter account, the firm will release its next big short on Tuesday.

Block, who built his reputation by uncovering fraud and shorting Chinese companies trading in the US, was brought on to discuss the disaster at Nikola, when the discussion suddenly veered off course.

After answering a few questions from Frost's co-host Sara Eisen, Block was prompted to broaden his criticism after being asked about the sell-side analysts standing by Nikola. Block implied that sell-side analysts might be guilty of securities fraud, if it wasn't for companies' "safe harbor" statements.

Expanding on this, Block explained his low opinion of sell-side research, claiming "they're a highly paid dating service for institutional investors...the way that they really add value to the world - to the extent they do - is by arranging meetings between institutional clients and management. And it's no secret that if an analyst isn't pretty bullish on a company, most companies won't allow the analyst to arrange the dates, and so that analyst is shut out.

Then came the punchline: when talking about stocks, sell side analysts "should be taken about as seriously as your 5-year-old kid".

Frost was seemingly taken aback by this last comment (his seemingly genuine indignation reminded us of another classic CNBC moment that unfolded earlier this year). Responding with a hint of agitation, Frost insisted that he didn't really appreciate that characterization and assured his audience that many analysts are "highly trained."

"I think that's completely wide of the mark even though at times there are examples where they do get things wrong," Frost said.

"It's hard for me to let that one lie Wilford," Block said.

Frost doubled-down, resolving to bash Block with his call to short Tesla.

"Have you gotten every single call you've made absolutely right? Well have you?"

To this, Block replied that he has "about as good a batting average as anybody does on the long side...but I've been doing it on the short side during the biggest bull market of your generation. So maybe you can cut me a little slack."

Then, the short-seller went for the jugular: "You're the one who pushed back when I said Elon Musk was committing fraud...and then he settled with the SEC...do you actually read anything Wilfred...I know you're a good looking guy with a British accent, but what do you read?"

Frost responded by throwing Block's Tesla call in his face: "You're the guy who told viewers to short Tesla, then Tesla stock soared."

Then, Frost touched upon what just might be the true motivation for his anger: Sell side analysts are hard-working people and "a lot of them come on this network and give up their time to do so," Frost said.

Of course, practically everybody on Wall Street knows showing face on CNBC is literally part of the sell side analyst's job description. But Block kept pushing, doubling down on his critique of sell-side research: "It's largely toilet paper, there's occasionally a sell-side analysts who are willing to go out a limb and say something unpopular...but they're a dying breed."

As Frost stammered out a response, Block added "Do you understand that about Wall Street? That's just baffling."

Of course, Block has a point.

Those who understand this should also understand that for professionals, there is no "random walk down Wall Street".

Another Bloody Chicago Weekend Sees Almost 40 Shot, With Homicides Up 50%

Zero Hedge -

Another Bloody Chicago Weekend Sees Almost 40 Shot, With Homicides Up 50% Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 18:55

Another grim weekend out of Chicago as the Sun Times reports at least 36 total shot, including 9 fatalities across the city after total figures were tallied Monday.

This is slightly down from the prior weekend which included 42 people shot, 12 of which died of their wounds.

The windy city has seen shocking numbers nearly every weekend over the past months, also earlier this month over a bloody Labor Day holiday weekend which saw a whopping 51 shot, including 10 deaths.

Via CNN

The deaths remain relatively young black males, with this weekend's homicides all being male victims between the ages of 17 and 47 years old. A 16-year old was also shot, but is expected to survive:

The weekend’s youngest victim was a teenage boy critically wounded early Saturday in South Chicago. The 16-year-old was standing on the sidewalk about 2:15 a.m. in the 5000 block of West Monroe Street when someone fired shots from a dark blue vehicle in an alley, according to police. He was hit in the chest and taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.

Chicago police have that tallied shootings are up 50% compared to this time last year. Here are the numbers according to local reports:

But, overall, shootings and murders are up 50% compared to last year, according to Chicago Police Department statistics. Through Sept. 13, police have recorded 544 murders in 2020 compared to 364 murders during the same time in 2019.

The same increase applies to shootings. The city has seen more than 2,220 shootings in 2020 compared to about 1,500 over the same time in 2019, according to the statistics.

The weekend period running late Friday into Monday morning remain the deadliest portion of the week, with warm weekend holidays typically witnessing the worst numbers. 

And this particular weekend, 30 among the 36 victims were reported shot Friday evening into Sunday morning alone in Chicago.

Inflation As A Tool Of The Radical Left

Zero Hedge -

Inflation As A Tool Of The Radical Left Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 18:35

Authored Thorstein Polleit via The Mises Institute,

“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch its currency….Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer way of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

Keynes does not provide a concrete source backing his words but deliberately used the phrase “is said to have declared.” For a good reason. As Frank W. Fetter (1899–1991) pointed out, there is no evidence at hand that Lenin actually said or wrote these words, and anyone quoting Lenin on inflation would be indeed be referring to Keynes’s opinion.

Be that as it may, it is pretty obvious that Lenin had a good understanding of the evils of inflation caused by the issuance of large amounts of unbacked paper money. He writes:

There is another side to the problem of raising the fixed grain prices. This raising of prices involves a new chaotic increase in the issuing of paper money, a further increase in the cost of living, increased financial disorganisation and the approach of financial collapse. Everybody admits that the issuing of paper money constitutes the worst form of compulsory loan, that it most of all affects the conditions of the workers, of the poorest section of the population, and that it is the chief evil engendered by financial disorder.

Indeed price inflation caused by the increase in the quantity of money does not only cause serious economic problems. It also brings severe sociopolitical problems. Inflation makes most people poorer, degrades their social status, destroys their dreams of a better life. People become desperate and open to radical political programs.

In times of high inflation, all too often political agitators succeed in making people believe that the free market, capitalism, is to be held responsible for their plight. They promise that the collectivist-socialist program offers the solution—like, say, imposing price stops or price controls, raising corporate taxes and taxing the “rich,” controlling capital flows, etc.

That said, it becomes clear that ramping up inflation is actually a proper tool for those political forces that wish to overthrow the existing economic and social order—to get rid of what little is left of the free market system, as desired especially by those inspired by Marxist or Neo-Marxist ideas.

In a nutshell, militant Marxism wants to topple capitalism by means of a bloody revolution. Neo-Marxism follows a different strategy. It wants its ideas to attain “cultural, moral and ideological hegemony.” Once this is achieved, people will have no other choice than adopting socialism.

The supporters of Neo-Marxism attack people's values—family, hard work, thriftiness—stir conflict among people, discredit Christianity, and manipulate language (via calling for “political correctness”) to estrange people from their societal order, moving them away from the capitalist economy.

Neo-Marxists blame all evils in the world—economic crises, unemployment, income gaps, racism, ecological damage, etc.—on capitalism. At the same time, socialism is said to fix things, to set things straight, and to create a better world: more peaceful, just, and fulfilling people's real needs.

Neo-Marxism is alive and kicking. It has increasingly found its way into the political mainstream. For instance, the so-called political elite in many countries advocates a “Great Reset,” a “new world order,” to transform the economies, steering them away from the free market system.

Of course, inflationary policy is already being used to finance the state and its expansion. However, in most advanced countries the rate of inflation has been kept relatively low, that is, at a level that has not been stirring up outright public unrest. Inflationary policy follows the motto “Milk the cows, don’t kill the cows.”

What if Neo-Marxism makes it into central banks’ monetary policymaking? Well, you could say that it has already succeeded in doing so, for the concept of central banking is essentially a Marxist one. In their Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx (1818–83) and Friedrich Engels (1820–78) set up a list of ten “means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.”

Among them is “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.” However, Neo-Marxism has not yet mustered sufficient supporters of outright monetary destruction, that is, a policy of very high inflation, for triggering an economic and societal revolution.

This is no reason for relief, though. As noted earlier, Neo-Marxist ideas have been gaining ground in basically all kinds of policy—education, law and order, transportation, conservation, money and credit, you name it. And so it would be consistent if Neo-Marxism increasingly undermined the consensus that relatively low goods price inflation is beneficial.

It is in this context that the US Federal Reserve’s latest change to its inflation target deserves mentioning. In August 2020 the Fed announced that it aims to achieve its 2 percent inflation goal only on average in the long term. This means that the Fed will allow for inflation in excess of 2 percent if and when inflation is below 2 percent in preceding periods.

The reason is obvious: the Fed is monetizing debt on an epic scale, through which it increases the quantity of money heavily. By the end of August 2020, the US money stock M1 had grown 40 percent compared to last year, M2 by 23 percent. The increased quantity of money will, sooner or later, most likely to be reflected in higher prices, be it consumer and/or asset prices.

This may not be fueled by a deliberate Neo-Marxist creed, but the Fed - and this holds true for other central banks as well - is certainly playing into the Neo-Marxist goal to shatter civic order, to drive people into socialism, and this is achieved as Lenin allegedly suggested: through the debasement of the purchasing power of money.

September 21 COVID-19 Test Results

Calculated Risk -

The US is now mostly reporting over 700,000 tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections, so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).

There were 676,903 test results reported over the last 24 hours.

There were 39,467 positive tests.

Over 16,000 Americans have died from COVID so far in September. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here.

COVID-19 Tests per Day Click on graph for larger image.

This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.

The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 5.8% (red line is 7 day average).

For the status of contact tracing by state, check out testandtrace.com.

And check out COVID Exit Strategy to see how each state is doing.

COVID-19 Positive Tests per DayThe second graph shows the 7 day average of positive tests reported.

The dashed line is the June low.

Note that there were very few tests available in March and April, and many cases were missed (the percent positive was very high - see first graph). By June, the percent positive had dropped below 5%.

If people stay vigilant, the number of cases might drop to the June low some time in October (that would still be a large number of new cases, but progress).

NYPD Officer Arrested, Charged With Spying For China

Zero Hedge -

NYPD Officer Arrested, Charged With Spying For China Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 18:15

A NYPD officer has been arrested and charged with acting as an agent of China, according to WABC New York.

Community affairs officer Baimadajie Angwang of the 111 precinct in Queens and a US Army Reservist at Fort Dix acted "at the direction and control" of CCP government officials operating out of the consulate in New York, and was reporting on the activities of ethnic Tibetans, according to the allegations against him.

NYPD officer Baimadajie Angwang in an interview with NTD in Queens, New York, on Nov. 8, 2019. (via The Epoch Times)

Angwang is accused of using his official position with the NYPD to give consulate officials access to senior NYPD officials. He is also accused of committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding, according to the report.

"None of these activities falls within the scope of Angwang's official duties and responsibilities with either the NYPD or the USAR," reads the complaint.

Angwang, 33, is an ethnic Tibetan native of the People's Republic of China and a naturalized U.S. citizen who referred to himself as an "asset" of the People's Republic of China, according to the criminal complaint. Since June 2018, the FBI said Angwang has been "in frequent communication" with an unidentified Chinese consular official he referred to as "Boss." -WABC

In one phone conversation, Angwang told his handler at the consulate that he offered to "raise our country's soft power" by having the consular official attend NYPD events, and provide the official with nonpublic information about the NYPD's internal workings.

"Angwang also discussed the utility of developing sources for the PRC government in the local Tibetan community and suggested that the primary qualification for a source as follows: 'If you're willing to recognize the motherland, the motherland is willing to assist you with its resources,'" reads the complaint, which adds that Angwang maintained a relationship with at least two PRC officials stationed at the Consulate since prior to 2018, one of whom is believed to have been assigned to the "China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture," a division of the PRC's United Front Work Department ("UFWD"). According to the report, the department is responsible for neutralizing PRC potential sources of opposition.

Recorded conversations have revealed that the PRC officials has been a "handler" of Angwang. He received tasks from them and reported back to PRC officials.

From August 21, 2014, through August 11, 2017, Angwang called and texted one of the PRC official's cellular telephone on at least 53 occasions. From in or about and between June 2018 through March 2020, Angwang called and texted the other PRC official's cellular telephone on at least 55 occasions.

Furthermore, Angwang has been observed entering the Consulate on numerous occasions during these time periods. -WABC

Angwang made his first virtual appearance in federal court in downtown Brooklyn Monday afternoon.

"As alleged in this federal complaint, Baimadajie Angwang violated every oath he took in this country," reads a statement from NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who added "One to the United States, another to the U.S. Army, and a third to this Police Department. From the earliest stages of this investigation, the NYPD's Intelligence and Internal Affairs bureaus worked closely with the FBI's Counterintelligence Division to make sure this individual would be brought to justice."

Daily Briefing - September 21, 2020

Zero Hedge -

Daily Briefing - September 21, 2020 Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 18:10 Real Vision senior editor, Ash Bennington, and managing editor, Ed Harrison, discuss a volatile day in markets. Ed and Ash analyze today’s sell-off in stocks, gold, and silver as well as a significant rally in bonds. They then consider the resignation of Nikola founder, Trevor Milton, the rumors of European bank consolidation, and the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Ed looks forward to his interviews with Jim Berry, Deloitte’s U.S. real estate leader, and Ben Inker, head of asset allocation at GMO. Lastly, Ash speaks to Real Vision editorial intern Bryce Zuccoli, who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19.

House GOP Report Reveals Extent Of China COVID-19 Coverup; Slams WHO Director Tedros Over "Gross Mishandling"

Zero Hedge -

House GOP Report Reveals Extent Of China COVID-19 Coverup; Slams WHO Director Tedros Over "Gross Mishandling" Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 17:55

Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee released their final report on how the CCP handled the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China - uncovering "even more disturbing evidence about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) coverup and WHO Director General Tedros’s gross mishandling of the virus that allowed it to turn into a deadly pandemic."

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) who led the investigation wrote in the report, released on Monday:

It is crystal clear that had the CCP been transparent, and had the head of the WHO cared more about global health than appeasing the CCP, lives could have been spared and widespread economic devastation could have been mitigated. Revealing the truth is just the first step; we must hold both the CCP and WHO Director General Tedros accountable for the suffering they have allowed the world to endure.

According to Breitbart News' Kristina Wong, the report follows an interim report issued in June - and "contains more details and new information about how the CCP punished a nurse from speaking out about the virus early on, forced American companies in China to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for its citizens only, instructed Chinese companies around the world to begin buying up critical supplies, and threatened other countries economically if they spoke out against China."

During the early stages of the pandemic, the CCP began hoarding PPE, including masks, gowns and gloves - buying them on the international market and shipping them to China, while Chinese officials also nationalized the supply chains and manufacturing capacity of US companies operating in China, forcing companies such as General Motors and 3M to produce medical supplies for domestic use while denying export licenses.

McCaul's committee obtained a discipline notice for nurse Li Min of the eastern city of Taizhou, who discussed the virus with classmates and family via WeChat.

The discipline notice was issued as World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was to arrive in Beijing to discuss COVID-19 with Chinese President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping. On January 29, 2020, Tedros praised the CCP’s response to the virus, calling it “very impressive, and beyond words” and that the CCP was “actually setting a new standard for outbreak response.” -Breitbart News

Meanwhile, China threatened to cut off critical supplies, and used their leverage as a manufacturer to threaten countries calling for an international investigation into the CCP's actions regarding the outbreak.

Notably, the report mentions an April threat China issued to Australia if they didn't halt all investigations related to the CCP's handling of the virus. According to the report, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, threatened a boycott of Australian goods while speaking with Financial Review.

"It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?" he said, adding "The proposition is a kind of teaming up with those forces in Washington and to launch a kind of political campaign against China."

 

Tesla Tumbles After Musk Pours Cold Water On Battery Day Expectations

Zero Hedge -

Tesla Tumbles After Musk Pours Cold Water On Battery Day Expectations Tyler Durden Mon, 09/21/2020 - 17:36

After an initial drop on Monday that followed the broader market swoon, Tesla shares recovered all losses and even managed to close up 1.6% as enthusiasm over tomorrow's Battery Day unveil once again dominated retail flow with a whopping 33,152 deep out of the money $600 calls traded, sparking yet another gamma meltup as dealers were forced to buy stock to keep their book hedged.

However, in a surprise announcement ahead of tomorrow's highly anticipated day, none other than Elon Musk sparked another round of selling after the close, when he poured cold water on expectations, warning that "what we announce [tomorrow] will not reach serious high-volume production until 2022" and adding that "even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves."

As Bloomberg notes, the highly anticipated event has helped drive up Tesla shares in the recent months, with analysts and experts saying potential announcements could be on anything from a million-mile battery to achieving cost-parity with traditional cars.

That said, Tesla skeptics were not surprised...

... although it was once again the buildup of enthusiasm ahead of tomorrow's reveal that got to the retail public, which quickly forgot about the sharp drop in Tesla stock at the start of September following the non-admission into the S&P500 and looked to the next catalyst with so much hope.

Yet sure enough, that too is now a dud. Even the Tesla faithful were less than enthused by Musk's latest bait and switch:

Which in turn goes back to the now tried and tired strategy perfected by Musk of hyping, hyping, hyping well ahead of any given event, only to let the air out just prior. Consider what he said on Jan 29, 2020 during Tesla's Q4 earnings call:

"Battery Day people. Wait until Battery Day. It's gonna blow your mind. It blows my mind, and I know it!"

Or... not. The result: TSLA stock quickly dropped 30%, which while not nearly as aggressive as this morning's tumble, promptly wiped out as much as $42 billion in Tesla market cap, the equivalent of GM's entire market cap.

And while Musk remains an undisputed master when it comes to setting and missing expectations, the question once again emerges: at what point will Tesla do something to justify its "growth" status. Because one look at its revenues over the past two years certainly begs a simple question: where is the growth.

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