News for progressives

China Warns Trump It Won't Make Trade Concession If US "Plays Hong Kong Card"

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-08-20 20:15

Just days after Trump for the first time linked the ongoing Hong Kong protests with his assessment of the US-China trade war, Beijing has issued an ultimatum to the White House: the United States should not link trade negotiations with China to the Hong Kong protests, denouncing such a move as a miscalculation.

In a short commentary published by Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily late on Monday, the author said that events in Hong Kong were the internal affairs of China, and linking them with trade negotiations was a "dirty" aim.

“Making a fuss about Hong Kong will not be helpful to economic and trade negotiations between China and the US,” the commentary said. “They would be naive in thinking China would make concessions if they played the Hong Kong card” the oped cautioned.

Chinese diplomatic observers also said Beijing considered the worsening situation in Hong Kong a sovereignty issue and would be highly unlikely to cave to Washington’s pressure.

The remarks followed a statement by US Vice-President Mike Pence on Monday which reiterated President Donald Trump’s demand to tie the largely stalled trade talks with Hong Kong’s deepening crisis, a day after hundreds of thousands of people marched peacefully in defiance of repeated intimidation from Beijing. In an address at the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Pence said the Trump administration would continue to urge Beijing to resolve differences with the protesters peacefully and warned that it would be harder for Washington to make a trade deal with Beijing if there was violence in the former British territory. Separately, Mike Pompeo said that China should allow Hong Kong protesters the freedom to express themselves, in what China saw as clear interference in its own internal matters.

The Chinese article countered by saying that the top priority for Hong Kong was to stop violence and restore order, adding that US politicians should not send the wrong message to people creating chaos in the city. “In the face of political intimidation, we not only dare to say no, but also take countermeasures,” it warned.

Global Times, a tabloid controlled by the flagship state-run newspaper People’s Daily, also warned in an editorial on Monday that American political and public opinion elites should not harbour the illusion they could influence China’s decisions on Hong Kong.

“Because of the trade war, the US has lost the ability to impose additional pressure on China,” it said.

“The US should stop its meaningless threat of linking the China-US trade talks with the Hong Kong problem. Beijing did not expect to quickly reach a trade deal with Washington. More Chinese people are prepared that China and the US may not reach a deal for a long time.”

Chinese analysts noted Trump appeared to have hardened his stance on Hong Kong in the past week or so, under growing pressure from US lawmakers and extensive media coverage of the increasingly violent protests.  Indeed, it was only a month ago when we reported that "Trump Abandoned Support For Hong Kong Protests To Revive Trade Talks With Beijing." Now that trade war is once again front and center, with Trump using it as leverage for further Fed rate cuts, the US president is once again refocusing his attention on Hong Kong.

As the SCMP writes, Trump initially focused on making a deal with China ahead of his 2020 re-election bid and adopted a hands-off approach by characterizing the protests as “riots” which were a matter for China to handle. Over the past few days, he suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping should resolve the situation by meeting with protest leaders and warned that any violence in the handling of the Hong Kong crisis would exacerbate difficulties for attempts to bring an early end to the trade war.

“Trump’s about-face on Hong Kong, from being neutral to piling pressure on Beijing, is largely due to domestic political pressure ahead of the presidential elections,” said Shi Yinhong, an international relations expert at Renmin University and an adviser to the State Council which is China’s cabinet.

But the Hong Kong issue concerns China’s sovereignty and the government’s ability to maintain stability, which in Beijing’s view is of superior priority. China cannot afford to make much compromise and will do everything to fend off interventions from abroad, in spite of all the risks and ramifications,” he said.

Despite the soured mood between China and the US over their spiralling trade war – as well as escalating tensions over Huawei, Taiwan and other geopolitical rifts – both sides were planning further trade talks in the coming 10 days, according to White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday.

Any progress would be virtually impossible with analysts cautioning that the US attempt to "play the Hong Kong card" would further complicate the trade talks.

Meanwhile, in the latest significant escalation in diplomatic tensions, China responded angrily to Washington’s decision on a US$8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan and Trump’s warning against Huawei citing national security threats.

“When a long list of old problems between the two countries remains unsolved, the US side is now ramping up the pressure on Hong Kong,” said Shen Dingli, a professor of US studies at Fudan University. “China has so far refused to make concessions in the absence of adequate mutual respect and trust and I don’t think we’ll have much room to compromise on Hong Kong or other issues. We’ll have to wait and see what the US would do next,” he said.

Shi also said none of the flashpoints in the bilateral ties – from Hong Kong, Taiwan, to the South China Sea and the denuclearisation of North Korea – had any easy solution in sight, with both sides showing little willingness to cooperate and accommodate the other’s interests. He said the increasingly hardline, confrontational approach on China by Trump – who faced mounting pressure in his bid for re-election, especially amid signs of a looming global economic recession – would only make a trade deal increasingly unattainable.

“Even if there were no Hong Kong crisis, could the US and China reach a trade deal? Even if Beijing caved into Washington’s pressure on Hong Kong, would it make it easier for them to bridge their glaring differences in the trade talks and cut a deal?”

Of course not, and since Trump is far more interested in keeping trade war simmering and on the verge of a substantial escalation if only to keep the Fed on its toes and ready for far more aggressive rate cuts, and even "some quantitative easing", that's precisely what the US president wants.

Turkey Gives Up On The Idea Of A Caliphate For The Second Time

Oriental Review - Tue, 2019-08-20 20:12
In Islam, the role of Imam does not fall to a theologian, but like Christianity in Roman times, to the most powerful head of State. The function of Caliphe has therefore become a political rather than a spiritual gamble. President Erdogan realised that using the idea of Caliphate in reclaiming Ottoman splendour for Turkey he risked hurling his country into a state of barbarism.

UK manufacturing slowdown eases but Brexit concerns persist

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-08-20 20:08

The downturn in UK manufacturing eased slightly in August, but factories are still fearful of the global economic slowdown and Brexit uncertainty, according to a new survey.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported an improvement in output in August compared with the previous month in its latest monthly industrial trends survey but figures remain “below normal”.

Orders in August improved, as the CBI’s order book balance rose to -13 from -34 in July, beating analyst expectations.

Around 15% of manufacturers said their order books were above normal, but 28% said their output was below normal.

Both export and domestic orders were significantly below normal levels, while the CBI’s gauge of expected selling prices fell to the lowest level in more than three years.

Bank notes and coins (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Anna Leach, CBI deputy chief economist, said: “Despite signs of stabilisation in the data this month, UK manufacturers remain on the receiving end of a double whammy, the slowdown in the global economy and Brexit uncertainty.

“Trade tensions between nations such as China and the US only exacerbate the demand uncertainty facing UK manufacturers.”

Manufacturing firms said they expect output for the next three months to be broadly unchanged.

Official UK manufacturing data for the second quarter of 2019, showed that manufacturing output fell at the fastest pace in a decade, as the UK economy contracted for the first time in almost seven years.

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By The Canary

Another Reason To End Fluoridation: Fluoride Consumption During Pregnancy Lowers IQ Of Children

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-08-20 20:04

By Aaron Kesel

An influential medical research Journal the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a very interesting study that links fluoride consumption during pregnancy to lower IQs in children.

The study funded by the Canadian government and the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science, was conducted using 512 pregnant women from six Canadian cities. The scientists then measured their exposure in various different ways including – analyzing the amount of fluoride in their urine; looking at how much tap water and tea they drank; and comparing the fluoride concentration in the community drinking water.

Then, after the women had birth and the children were 3 or 4, the researchers administered IQ tests to the kids.

“We saw an association between prenatal fluoride exposure and lower IQ scores in children,” said Rivka Green, lead author of the study.

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Fellow researcher, Christine Till, agreed with Rivka Green. She stated to NPR that:

“Only boys were affected when we looked at urinary fluoride,” she says, “but both boys and girls were affected when we looked at maternal fluoride intake or water fluoride concentration.”

“I think people are going to be shocked but I think people should realize that science is constantly evolving,” senior study author Till says. A previous study in Mexico found a similar link, she says, so this is not the first to suggest a connection. This finding is likely to spur more research on the topic.

There are three types of fluoride used to “fluoridate” water supplies: Fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride.

Fluorosilicic acid is the type most often used for cost reasons, and it is derived from phosphate fertilizers according to the CDC’s website.

The other two are created by adding either table salt or caustic soda to the mix. Fluoride is also found in toothpaste, food, tea and other products.

Harvard Professor David Bellinger stated that “high-quality epidemiological studies,” are still needed. However, “the hypothesis that fluoride is a neurodevelopmental toxicant must now be given serious consideration,” Bellinger added.

Someone needs to educate the Daily Beast on fluoride since they inaccurately mocked the dangers of a potential neurotoxic chemical, stating essentially that fluoride is safe and anyone who says its not is a conspiracy theorist in a recent fluoride propaganda article.

Daily Beast even attempts to mix in being health conscious about fluoride with caring about vaccinations and various metallic adjuvants. What the Beast’s ignorance fails to address are the numerous amounts of problems with both fluoride and vaccines. See this author’s previous article on Natural Blaze about the history of dangers with vaccines if you are interested (here).

No, fluoride is not safe; it accumulates and never finds a way out of your body. But don’t tell the Daily Beast that daunting factoid.  In fact, the same medical journal, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), stated in their Sept. 18, 1943 issue that fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons that change the permeability of the cell membrane by certain enzymes. And an editorial published in the Journal of the American Dental Association on Oct. 1, 1944,  stated:

Drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm fluoride will cause developmental disturbances. We cannot run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances. The potentialities for harm outweigh those for good.

If you bring up the topic of fluoride you’ll be heavily ridiculed, as the Daily Beast proved. However, numerous cited scientific research studies in the rest of this article will make you think twice. That maybe, just maybe, a chemical does cause damage to the human body in numerous ways and is linked to several disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain, and the thyroid gland, as well as lowering IQ.

Fluoridating water has long been debated across the country, and some opponents have argued that its health effects aren’t completely understood. There is a host of scientific research besides what’s mentioned above that I guess Daily Beast just decides doesn’t exist.

To this writer’s knowledge, in 1995, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix Ph.D., a highly respected pharmacologist and toxicologist, found that rats who had fluoride added to their diet exhibited abnormal behavioral traits in a published study.

In 2005, a study conducted at the Harvard School of Dental Health found that fluoride in tap water directly contributed to causing bone cancer in young boys.

“New American research suggests that boys exposed to fluoride between the ages of five and 10 will suffer an increased rate of osteosarcoma – bone cancer – between the ages of 10 and 19,” according to a London Observer article about the study.

Based on the findings of the study, the respected Environmental Working Group — a non-profit research organization environmental watchdog — lobbied to have fluoride in tap water be added to the U.S. government’s classified list of substances known or anticipated to cause cancer.

After reviewing fluoride toxicological data, the NRC reported in 2006, “It’s apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain.”

In another article by Scientific American, a study “Concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid — the gland that produces hormones regulating growth and metabolism.”

The report also notes that “a series of epidemiological studies in China have associated high fluoride exposures with lower IQ.”

“Epidemiological studies and tests on lab animals suggest that high fluoride exposure increases the risk of bone fracture, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and diabetics,” writes Dan Fagin.

Fagin interviewed Steven Levy, director of the Iowa Fluoride Study which tracked about 700 Iowa children for sixteen years. Nine-year-old “Iowa children who lived in communities where the water was fluoridated were 50 percent more likely to have mild fluorosis… than [nine-year-old] children living in nonfluoridated areas of the state,” writes Fagin.

In 2012, years later, a Reuters headline read: “Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ – Published in Federal Gov’t Journal.”

Then the U.S. government finally admitted in 2015 that they’ve overdosed Americans on fluoride and, for the first time since 1962, lowered its recommended level of fluoride in drinking water, Mercola reported.

Even the Chinese have found that fluoride in drinking water causes damage to children’s livers and kidneys, according to an August 2006 Chinese study.

Interestingly enough, when digging I found a case in town where they found out the hard way that fluoride added to their water supply began corroding pipes and even damaging city vehicles.

In 2014, a report from the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, officially classified fluoride as a neurotoxin — in the same category as arsenic, lead, and mercury, Activist Post reported.

Further, the EPA published a now-deleted document stating that fluoride is a chemical “with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.”

A study, published in the journal Environmental Health in 2015, found that states with a higher portion of artificially fluoridated water had a higher prevalence of ADHD. This relationship held up across six different years examined. The authors include psychologists Christine Till and Ashley Malin at Toronto’s York University. The group looked at the prevalence of fluoridation by state in 1992 and rates of ADHD diagnoses in subsequent years as Activist Post reported.

“States in which a greater proportion of people received artificially-fluoridated water in 1992 tended to have a greater proportion of children and adolescents who received ADHD diagnoses [in later years], after controlling for socioeconomic status,” Malin says. Wealth is important to take into account because the poor are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, she says. After income was adjusted for, though, the link held up.”

Another study in 2015 from the University of Kent suggests that fluoride in drinking water may trigger depression and weight gain by causing thyroid problems, reported.

Fluoride isn’t the only chemical to worry about in our water; in 2017, the Environmental Working Group released a searchable database that shows almost 50,000 public water systems in the U.S. that are contaminated with dozens of harmful chemicals.

Some of the chemicals found in your drinking water include – arsenic, hexavalent chromium, radiation, chloroform, perfluorooctanoic acid, Bromodichloromethane, Dichloroacetic acid, Barium, and Uranium; and that’s just scratching the surface of the 250-plus contaminants the group discovered.

In 2016, the EWG found that two-thirds of Americans’ water is contaminated with the carcinogen that Erin Brockovich exposed – chemical chromium 6 or hexavalent chromium – affecting the tap water of more than 218 million Americans.

2008 study by the National Toxicology Program found that chromium-6 in drinking water caused cancer in rats and mice that were exposed to the chemical.

It’s been 20 years since the EPA last passed any new drinking water regulations. Regardless, it’s clear that municipalities have not been following the guidelines anyway.

If you’re in the U.S. you can check your own water supply by visiting the Tap Water Database, which allows anyone in the U.S. to enter their zip code or local utility’s name and find out what’s lurking in their local water supply.

Last year, NBC reported that nearly 75% of the U.S. gets fluoridated water from the community system. However, in the past five years, 74 cities have voted to remove fluoride from their drinking water, according to NBC. Despite the fact that a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) previously concluded that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas.

Earlier this year, Activist Post reported that a small town in northwestern Iowa called Ida Grove had voted to end treating its city’s drinking water with fluoride after city leaders and residents challenged whether the fluoride was effective at preventing tooth decay or presented health risks.

So the tides are turning against the elitists pushing for using an essentially slow-kill poison on the public. See for an up-to-date list of countries and cities that have opposed adding fluoride to their water supply.

The first appearance of fluoridated drinking water was found in Germany’s Nazi prison camps. The Nazis had no concern at all about fluoride’s supposed effect on children’s teeth; their alleged reason for mass-medicating water with sodium fluoride was to sterilize humans and force people in their concentration camps into calm submission by dumbing them down. (Ref. book: The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben by Joseph Borkin.)

On the other side of the battlefield, in the U.S. fluoride was being tested in the Manhattan Project. According to declassified government documents summarized by Project Censored, Manhattan Project scientists discovered early on that fluoride was a “leading health hazard to bomb program workers and surrounding communities.” Now, fluoride is a chemical used in our water to keep our teeth healthy.

With all of the aforementioned problems associated with fluoride, we can now add that fluoride causes problems in children when women are pregnant. Is this enough evidence to get fluoride removed from our drinking water? As Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote for Huff Post in 2013, “there are so many scientific studies showing the direct, toxic effects of fluoride on your body, it’s truly remarkable that it’s NOT considered a scientific consensus by now.” (archived)

The argument that fluoride is good for your teeth isn’t worth all of these health problems associated; brush your teeth with charcoal infused toothpaste instead.

Does anyone else not see a problem with all of the evidence above? I’ll leave you with the song, “Water Crimes” by New Zealand rapper Trillian and ask a question: Why do you want to poison me?

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter.

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Categories: News for progressives

Blain: "Anyone Trying To Exit Debt Positions Is Finding Chronic Illiquidity"

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-08-20 20:00

Blain's Morning Porridge, submitted by Bill Blain of Shard Capital

“We’re only making plans for Nigel. He has this future in a British Steel..”

It’s always about the bond markets…!

Markets look to have stabilised after last week’s flight from stocks to bonds. The market panicked on the lack of resolution on trade wars, the perceived rise in the risks of recession over the next 18 months, and the gut-feel stocks are over-valued and due a reset. However, this week the fear is receding. The market has shrugged off the concerns. Mr Market figures some kind of compromise will be reached on trade, the inverted yield curve wasn’t a real signal of recession, and how can we fear slower growth when the US economy is so fundamentally strong? (Although Trump is screaming at Powell for a 100 bp ease!) There are very real problems – like Germany looking likely to slip into recession – but, generally it feels like the market has persuaded itself it’s all FINE.. Its recovered. Somewhat.

As any man will tell you.. FINE is possibly the most dangerous word in the world… When a wife or the market says its FINE – you know you are in the deep solids.

One of the clues as to what might happen next is bond markets. Last week was a spectacular flight to safety rally in Government bond prices (with commensurate fall in yields to record lows). Debt funds have posted spectacular gains – bonds proving the top performing assets in terms of total returns. The whole German yield curve is now negative – and it will launch a long 30-year bond with a 0% coupon this week. The USA is mulling a 100-year century bond. I’m sure my chums across the road in the UK Debt Management Office are looking at the Century bond concept again. And so they should be. I could sell it in a heartbeat..

But there are a few issues. To continue delivering stellar returns, the bond market needs to keep rising and yields to go even lower. Many investors now suspect low rates might have become a trap. We’ve been seduced by just how low yields have gone. Can they go lower still? This raises a whole series of questions:

Why should rates go lower? Central Bank efforts to stimulate real economic growth through lower rates have proved singularly ineffective despite bond purchase programmes, QE and other experimental policies. Engineered lower rates have had the unintended consequence of driving up the stock markets through yield tourism and corporate buybacks, rather than fuelling real economic growth.

For real growth we need real returns through normalised interest rates. A large part of the market has been happy to lap up the benefits of lower for longer rates in terms of inflated financial assets prices, but increasingly they are exiting asset markets where prices have been distorted by these policies – and that includes stocks and bonds – and are looking for alternatives.

It increasingly looks like economies have a “stall speed”: when rates go too low the economy stalls. They need real interest rates to drive investment in real assets. If an economy stalls, then you get Japan. And guess what? The number of research and analyst notes suggesting the Japanification of Europe or the US has dramatically risen in recent months.

There are now a number of bond funds now quietly exiting bonds figuring the gains we’ve seen on fears of global slowdown are vastly overplayed, and taking the view it’s time to move some bond cash off the table. Check out this story in FT – “Pimco has pared positions in government debt as it fears a violent sell-off, putting an end to one of the biggest fixed income rallies in history.”

Anyone trying to exit corporate and high-yield debt position is finding chronic illiquidity makes any exit expensive. Even government bond markets have proved highly illiquid through the summer –Treasury market bid/offers have widened. It’s too easy to simply blame thin summer markets for illiquidity – bond market liquidity has been tumbling since the 2008 crash. Dealer inventory is close to zero. Everyone is just a bond broker. (As I’ve said before – if a crunch comes then corporate debt markets will be about as liquid as concrete..)

As bond issuers looking to pay the lowest rates it’s no surprise Governments are thinking about how to use ultra-low interest rates to finance growth and infrastructure projects. It makes perfect sense to take advantage of the opportunity. The US is out there talking about a 100-year bond again to cater to investors looking for duration – the bond’s sensitivity to yield changes.

The 100-yr Austria bond has gone through the roof since it was launched 2 years ago. It works because Austria is perceived to be a decent sovereign credit. Bloomberg’s Mark Gilbert pointed out last week that what goes up will go down just as fast when yields rise. Apparently 40% of the Austria bond is held by UK accounts!  I suspect they will try to buy even more of a US Century Bond or UK 100-yr Gilt – driving either bond to a spectacular highs.

Interesting to see what happens next…

The Oligarchy’s Plans For Our Future Keep Getting Dumber

Greanville Post - Tue, 2019-08-20 19:49
CAITLIN JOHNSTONE—I really think the mainstream idea that we can always make a mad dash for the black emptiness in the sky if things go to shit here keeps us from truly confronting our urgent need to preserve the ecosystemic context in which we evolved, and which there's no evidence that we can live without.

Law Enforcement To Flag and Spy On Future Criminals

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-08-20 19:31

By MassPrivateI

America’s fear of mass shootings is about to take a truly bizarre turn. That’s because our law enforcement will soon be used as fortune tellers to spy on future criminals.

How will law enforcement be used as fortune tellers?

A recent Albuquerque Journal article revealed that law enforcement will flag people who they think might pose a potential risk.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham directed state Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary Jackie Lindsay to start enrolling all 33 county sheriffs in a data-sharing program so that individuals deemed a potential risk could be flagged and monitored.

What types of things could Americans do that law enforcement would consider threatening?

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Inside Sources revealed that police would be looking for “certain indicators.”

State Police Chief Tim Johnson said,

I think it’s obviously important for all of the citizens of New Mexico to be on the lookout for certain indicators of these types of folks that would do this.  And part of our job as government officials is to ensure that the citizens of the community understand what those indicators are so they can report them.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that police are looking for “certain critical threat indicators” on students’ social media posts, and has even created their own FortifyFL app that allows anyone to secretly report suspicious behavior.

What these “indicators” are is anyone’s guess.

Johnson also said that it was “important for law enforcement and other social services to follow up” on reports of possibly dangerous citizens “in the hopes of preventing” acts of domestic terrorism.

Law enforcement and other agencies are being encouraged to report on and flag anyone who they deem a “potential risk.”

What could possibly go wrong?

It was only a couple of months ago, when I warned people about the “Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety Act” that basically allows law enforcement to label anyone a potential threat.

The TAPS Act would encourage law enforcement to give everyone a personal threat assessment (kids and adults) and single out those that they deem as future threats.

Police across the country are already using “red flag” laws to take weapons away from people they deem a potential threat. So why is Homeland Security creating a whole new class of suspicious people?

Because the War on Terror constantly needs new enemies if it is to keep Americans living in fear.

The Albuquerque Journal revealed how law enforcement plans to use the red flag bill to allow law enforcement and other agencies to give people secret threat ratings.

“Sheriffs had been working with the Democratic sponsor of a proposed red flag bill toward a possible compromise. In its original form, the bill would have allowed courts to order the temporary taking of guns from someone deemed an immediate threat,” San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari said.

From Homeland Security spying on everyone’s social media posts to the FBI, it seems like no one is safe from Big Brother’s prying eyes. warned that the FBI’s “red flag” social media spying tool is “a meme-illiterate Facebook-stalking precog from the Minority Report.”

Reason also warned that spying on everyone’s social media posts could spiral out of control.

There are operations centers and watch floors, which monitor news and events to create reports for the relevant FBI team. These would spur the activation of fusion center, tactical teams which use early notification and accurate geo-locations. Which could allow law enforcement to target and even disenfranchise social media users whose posts may have been misinterpreted.

Placing people on a secret risk chart is a disaster waiting to happen; just ask those people on the no-fly list or terror watch list.

There are no law enforcement risk rating charts yet.

Based on DHS’s old risk advisory chart we could expect law enforcement to use something similar to Canada’s workplace risk assessment ratings chart:

Canada’s workplace risk assessment ratings chart is a disturbing example of how DHS could give everyone a personal risk assessment.

Asking law enforcement to guess who might become a criminal is at best fortune telling; and at worst it is an excuse to incarcerate more people.

Also Read from Activist Post: New FBI Document Adds “Fringe” Conspiracy Theories As Next Big Domestic Terror Threat

You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.

Image credit: Anthony Freda Art

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Categories: News for progressives

Brussels rejects Boris Johnson’s call for Irish backstop to be scrapped

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-08-20 19:05

Boris Johnson has been rebuffed by Brussels after demanding major changes in a new Brexit deal.

The prime minister set out his call for the backstop – the contingency plan to avoid a hard border with Ireland – to be scrapped from the divorce deal ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.

But European Council president Donald Tusk defended the measure and warned that those seeking to replace it would risk a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found. Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) August 20, 2019

Tusk said: “The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found.

“Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.”

We are ready to work with our friends and partners to get a deal. But if you want a good deal for the UK, you must simultaneously get ready to come out without one. #LeaveOct31

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 20, 2019

Johnson had written to Tusk on Monday night outlining his opposition to what he called the “anti-democratic” Northern Ireland backstop.

In the letter, Johnson said while he wants the UK to leave the EU with a deal, he could not support any withdrawal agreement that “locks the UK, potentially indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind us into a customs union and which applies large areas of single market legislation in Northern Ireland”.

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By The Canary

Moveable Feast Cafe 2019/08/20 … Open Thread

Vineyard of the Saker - Tue, 2019-08-20 19:00
2019/08/20 12:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

The racist chicken boxes are getting a make-over and it’s total genius

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-08-20 18:46

As The Canary previously reported, the home office’s latest attempt to tackle knife crime through chicken boxes was lambasted for “racial profiling”.

Chicken stores are replacing their usual packaging with special boxes. Bearing the hashtag #knifefree, the boxes also feature “real life stories to show people how they can go #KnifeFree”. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott called the plans “crude, offensive and probably expensive”.

Now a group has come up with a genius plan to actually do some good with chicken boxes. But it needs your help to raise the money to do it. Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives is hosting the fundraiser after it was rejected by other sites:

In response to the dumb & racist #knifefree chicken boxes, there's now a fundraiser to print boxes that inform young ppl on their rights when stopped by the cops

Not my project, but I'm hosting the fundraiser as all the main fundraising sites rejected it

— Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives (@darren_cullen) August 19, 2019

If the gov think they can hold the monopoly on distributing info via chicken shops they are WRONG! Donate to our campaign for Stop & Search takeaway boxes NOW .. #stopandsearch #knifefree #chickenbox

— Help us print stop and search chicken boxes (@MobNrg) August 17, 2019

“Don’t be a chicken! Know your rights!”

The boxes will have the messages “Don’t be a chicken! Know your rights!” and “All Cops Are Boneless” emblazoned on them. Inside the flap is information about your rights on stop and search. The box states:

Stop and search is racist from top to bottom, and has nothing to do with catching criminals. In 2011 there were 1,205,495 searches. Across the country less than 10% of stops end in arrest, and in London this figure drops to 8%. Many of those are nothing to do with finding anything illegal, but because people choose to disagree with or resist the search.

It then sets out important information, including all the things a police officer should tell you when you’re being stopped and searched. And it also gives the crucial advice of answering “no comment” to any questions that the police ask. There are limited circumstances, such as driving a car, when you need to give information to the police. But general stop and search powers do not give the police power to demand your personal details.

“Law and order orgy”

The text for the fundraiser sets out the background of Boris Johnson’s “law and order orgy”. It states that Johnson has:

rushed to announce the addition of 20,000 more police, massive prison expansion and enhanced stop and search powers.

And it explains that:

These measures go against what we know to be effective in combating violence in communities – and are a direct attack on the people who suffer most from knife crime, police violence and discrimination.

Importantly, it points out where the money could be better spent:

The money spent [on] these new measures could have been used investing in our communities, re-opening youth centres, re-opening libraries, funding our schools and healthcare services.

Before it firmly highlights:

More police is not the answer, more prisons are not the answer, more racist stop & search powers are not the answer, and badly designed chicken shop boxes are definitely not the answer.

Fighting back

These boxes are a brilliant way of fighting back against the ludicrous home office chicken boxes with both humour and information. Johnson does indeed seem to be embarking on a “law and order orgy”, and we all need to find new ways to resist and challenge what his government is trying to do.

Featured image via screengrab – Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives

By Emily Apple

Here’s why we should care about India’s occupation of Kashmir

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-08-20 18:18

On 6 August, India cancelled key articles in its constitution which until now had granted autonomy to the region of Kashmir. Since then it’s initiated what can only be described as a military crackdown in the disputed territory. Below is a breakdown of the situation as it currently stands.

1. Communications Blackout

One of India’s first moves was a communications blackout, blocking internet and telephone access. India has used this as an opportunity to control news going out from the region. Although more recently India has partially restored communications, it has denied that there’s unrest in the region. This is despite the BBC and Reuters sharing video evidence of protests that took place on 9 August.

2. Detentions

Many activists, political leaders, and journalists have been detained since 5 August. The move reportedly followed a mass data-gathering exercise on mosques, journalists, activists, and civilians, which India carried out ahead of 5 August.

3. Abductions and molestation

Business Insider recently reported on troubling human rights abuses from Indian authorities. Hundreds of “very young school boys and teenagers” have reportedly been arrested and detained. Arrests took place during midnight raids on homes, where women and young girls were also allegedly molested.

4. Civil society and religious observance

In the wake of the unrest, Eid celebrations were muted and weddings have been cancelled en masse. On 16 August, worshippers were blocked from entering mosques for Friday prayers. The communications blackout is also reportedly putting patients at risk and blocking access to healthcare.

Let them speak.

— Amnesty International (@amnesty) August 18, 2019

What does India want?

The dispute over Kashmir originated in the wake of the partition between India and Pakistan in 1947. Since then, the two nations have fought several wars staking their claim over Kashmir.

Most recently, though, India’s revocation of Kashmir’s special status appears to be motivated by Hindu nationalism. India’s ruling party, the BJP, and prime minister Narendra Modi espouse an ideology that places a conservative Hinduism at the centre of India’s national identity. Therefore, that Kashmir’s population is mostly Muslim is not unrelated to India’s ambitions in the region.

What can we do?

In response to the conflict, the BBC published an article asking if Kashmir is “a priority” for British Asians. Of the British Asians interviewed in the article, however, it’s difficult to say how many actually have a connection to Kashmir.

In the midst of this conflict, one thing we can do is listen to and amplify the voices of Kashmiris themselves. We must counter misinformation being put out by the Indian government to whitewash its military crackdown.

Moreover, what’s happening in Kashmir has often been compared to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, especially as Kashmiris must live in what looks increasingly like a police state. Therefore, just as with the Palestinian cause, the international community must respect and support the right of Kashmiris to self-determination. We can do this by joining demos and protests against the Indian government or writing to our MPs, asking them to raise the issue in parliament.

If Kashmir isn’t a priority for people in Britain, maybe we should ask ourselves: why not? What will it take for us to notice that Kashmiris are living under occupation, and that they deserve to finally be free?

Featured image via Wikimedia – Panky2sharma

By Afroze Fatima Zaidi

CalPERS Engineering Board Resignation: Underhanded, Dishonest Plans to Cut Investment Meetings of Poorly Performing Fund by More Than 50%, Shrink Investment Committee

Naked Capitalism - Tue, 2019-08-20 17:57
The first of a two-part series describing the process and substance with which CalPERS staff is trying to engineer a de facto resignation of its board.

CalPERS Engineering Board Resignation: “Attempted Coup” via Unconstitutional, Fiduciary-Duty-Violating “Code of Conduct”

Naked Capitalism - Tue, 2019-08-20 17:56
Just when you think CalPERS can't sink any lower, it manages to outdo itself, this time, with an illegal governance monstrosity masquerading a code of conduct.

Offering Choice but Delivering Tyranny: The Corporate Capture of Agriculture

Off-Guardian - Tue, 2019-08-20 17:47
Colin Todhunter Many lobbyists talk a lot about critics of genetic engineering technology denying choice to farmers. They say that farmers should have access to a range of tools and technologies to maximise choice and options. At the same time, somewhat ironically, they decry organic agriculture and proven agroecological approaches, presumably because these practices have no …

Hospital Reduces Children’s Exposure to WiFi Radiation Because They Are More Vulnerable to It

Activist Post - Tue, 2019-08-20 17:44

By B.N. Frank

Exposure to cell phone and wireless WiFi radiation can cause a multitude of symptoms and illnesses.  This is referred to as Microwave Sickness.  Microwave Sickness is not new and is more common than many people think. When it becomes chronic and disabling, it is referred to as Electromagnetic Sensitivity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other health experts warn that kids are more vulnerable than adults to exposure.  In fact, no safe level of exposure has even been determined for children or pregnant women.  This is why many health experts, parents and teachers in the U.S. and around the world have been trying to get schools to replace WiFi with wired internet (see 1, 2).

Thanks to Environmental Health Trust for posting an article about one hospital that is determined to reduce exposure to pediatric patients AND encourage parents to reduce their children’s exposure everywhere else.

The Archbishop Makarios III Hospital in Cyprus  has launched a project to minimize cell phone and wireless radiation exposure to pediatric patients.

  • Wi-Fi is disabled and replaced with ethernet connections in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Neonatal unit.
  • Parents are educated to keep cell phones away from children and out of the pediatric units.

The Campaign is a cooperation between the Archbishop Makarios III Hospital (NAM III) and the Cyprus Committee on the Environment and Children’s Health (CyCECH) with the active support of the Executive Director of the Archbishop Makarios III Hospital, Dr. A. Neophytou, the Director of the Pediatrics Department, Dr. A. Elia. It is a collaboration of Dr. Andreas Sergis and Dr Antonis Kleanthous and the nursing staff of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

The initiative was detailed in a June 24, 2019 Press conference where authorities also shared the new wireless public awareness campaign. In his address Dr. Andreas Neophytou said, “We are reducing direct and passive exposure of children to non-ionizing radiation. We protect the children.”

He pointed out that the pilot project indicated that the use of Wi-Fi at the Pediatric Intensive Therapy Unit (PITU) creates levels of continuous and uninterrupted passive as well as significant active exposure at levels much higher than biologically-based safety criteria.

The hospital initiative recommendations can be summarized (per Dr. Stella Canna Michaelidous presentation) as the following:  

  1. Babies can be exposed when parents or personnel hold their mobiles powered on, close to the babies, even if they are not making a call.
  2. The radiation is increasing while calling.
  3. If in addition, when mobile data is activated radiation is increased.
  4. The radiation is further increased when downloading data or Viber and social media are used. It is like placing an antenna next to their body.
  5. Mobile phones if carried in the pediatric chambers should be deactivated (powered OFF or in flight mode.
  6. Remember: while in flight mode you can still take photos, video and play pre- downloaded music.
  7. You can pre download videos prior visiting your child.


The Cyprus National Committee on Environment and Children’s Health  website is

EHT  Notes: Electromagnetic fields within neonatal incubators have been shown to have adverse effects on newborns. Research has found that equipment in the NICU creates low-frequency electromagnetic fields “that can have subtle yet measurable effects on the autonomic nervous system” and preterm infants are especially vulnerable to these effects. A study that looked at 26 preterm infants from the NICU at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center measured the environmental electromagnetic levels in and around incubators. Then, the researchers electrically grounded the babies to reduce the exposures. They found that the babies autonomic nervous system “is able to sense the electrical environment” and the babies were more relaxed when they were grounded.

In 2017 Bellieni and colleagues carried out a review of the current research on electromagnetic fields in neonatal incubators, and concluded, “…future incubators should be conceived following better criteria about EMF emissions, redesigning the incubator components” (Bellieni et al., 2017). Earlier publications by Bellieni and colleagues report similar findings including changes in melatonin production and altered heart rate variability.  Due to the vulnerability of newborn babies, preventative and prudent measured should be taken against exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Based on the current human and animal research on radiofrequency, several scientists have published studies concluding that radiofrequency  is a human carcinogen (Hardell and Carlberg 2017, Peleg et al., 2018, Miller et al 2018). When combined with lead or a known carcinogen, RFR has been shown to promote tumor development and enhance toxic effects.  For example, a 2015 Jacobs University replication study found more than doubled the numbers of liver and lung tumors in carcinogen-exposed mice when combined with RFR at levels well below FCC limits (Lerchl 2015). A 2017  literature review (Kostoff and Lau. 2017) published in Microwave Effects on DNA and Proteins found  there is “substantial credible scientific evidence” supporting not only tumor  promotion but also enhanced cellular or genetic mutations, and teratogenicity from nonionizing radiation.

Register Now for The 5G Crisis: Awareness & Accountability Summit. Online and FREE from August 26 – September 1, 2019.

Activist Post reports regularly about illnesses caused by exposure to all sources of Electromagnetic Radiation.  For more information, visit our archives.

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Categories: News for progressives

Key questions about Boris Johnson’s Brexit letter to Donald Tusk

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-08-20 17:04

With Brexit due on October 31, Boris Johnson has set out in writing his demands for changes to the UK’s divorce deal from the European Union.

– What has the Prime Minister said?

In his letter to European Council president Donald Tusk, Johnson confirmed his aim of removing the backstop – the contingency plan to keep a soft border with Ireland in all circumstances – from the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement.


I have written to @eucopresident about key aspects of the UK’s approach to Brexit, problems with the “backstop” & the Government’s commitment to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement whether there is a deal with the EU or not.

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 19, 2019

– Why does he say the change is necessary?

He gives three reasons: The backstop is “anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK” because it would potentially indefinitely “bind us into a customs union” and result in single market legislation in Northern Ireland. There would be no means of unilaterally exiting from the arrangement and no say for the people of Northern Ireland over the rules that apply there.

His second reason is that it would restrict the UK’s ability to diverge from the EU’s rules, which is “the point of our exit” from the bloc.

Johnson also claims the backstop risks weakening the Good Friday Agreement by removing control of large areas of commercial and economic life to an “external body over which the people of Northern Ireland have no democratic control”.

– So what does he propose instead?

The Prime Minister said the UK would agree to a “legally binding commitment” not to put in place infrastructure, checks or controls at the border with Ireland and would hope the EU did the same.

The backstop should be replaced with a commitment to put in place “alternative arrangements”, as far as possible before the end of the transition period, as part of the future relationship between the UK and EU.

Johnson also leaves the door open for a fallback option – which the backstop was intended to be – in case other arrangements are not in place, saying “we are ready to look constructively and flexibly at what commitments might help”.

– What is the response from the EU?

The Taoiseach reiterated the EU27 position that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened, and emphasised the importance of the legally operable guarantee to ensure no hard border and continued free trade on the island of Ireland.

— (@merrionstreet) August 19, 2019

Ireland has already rejected the idea of scrapping the backstop. In a phone call with Johnson on Monday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar “reiterated the EU27 position that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened” and stressed the importance of the “legally operable guarantee” to prevent a hard border.

Johnson will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday and France’s Emmanuel Macron on Thursday for his first face-to-face talks with Europe’s key powerbrokers.

– So what happens next?

Johnson believes the EU will blink first and agree to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, saying on Monday that although “our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel are showing a little bit of reluctance at the moment to change their position” he was “confident that they will”.

But the UK was also ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, with a public information campaign and advertising blitz expected in the coming weeks to prepare citizens for the prospect.

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By The Canary

UK "Extremely Concerned" After Hong Kong Consulate Worker Reportedly Detained In China

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-08-20 16:56

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab apparently made  quite the impression when he spoke out in support of Hong Kong demonstrators earlier this month: Because, in an incident that is perhaps unsettlingly reminiscent of Beijing's arrest of a former Canadian diplomat and a Canadian businessman, as well as Turkey's arrest of Turkish nationals who worked in the American consulate, an employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong has gone missing after failing to return home from a conference in Shenzen.

According to BBG, the UK said it was "extremely concerned" by reports that a Hong Kong consulate worker was detained during a recent trip to mainland China, a case that threatens to add to strains between Beijing and London.

"We are extremely concerned by reports that a member of our team has been detained returning to Hong Kong from Shenzhen," a spokesman for the UK’s Foreign Office said in a statement. "We are providing support to his family and seeking further information from authorities in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong."

Raab spoke with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Aug. 9 to discuss "concerns about the situation in the city and the protests there." But even before that, Beijing had accused the UK of meddling in the affairs of its former colony by standing up for the pro-democracy demonstrators.

The employee, Simon Cheng Man-kit, is a trade and investment officer at the Hong Kong consulate’s Scottish Development International section, according to the Telegraph.

It is unclear whether he entered China on a diplomatic passport. Cheng, an HK permanent resident, reportedly crossed into China via the Lo Wu border crossing and planned to return the same day using the Express Rail link.

Simon Cheng Man-kit

As BBG reminds us, the safety of diplomatic staff, who technically should have immunity from persecution, has been under threat since Michael Kovrig, a Canadian who was on leave from the Canadian diplomatic service, was arrested in China last year. He has since been charged with espionage.

Text messages published by Hong Kong radio station HK01 suggest that Cheng and his Taiwanese girlfriend were concerned about his safety as he prepared to pass through immigration on his return to Hong Kong from the conference.

He reportedly texted "pray for me" to his girlfriend, identified only by her surname Lee, before trying to cross back into HK.

Beijing has sought to stop the unrest in HK from spreading over the border by cracking down on border controls in the mini-financial hub that lies just across the border from Hong Kong. Travelers into China are reportedly being asked to unlock their smartphones so Chinese immigration agents can look at their chats and social media.

Immigration authorities reportedly told Lee that Chen was being held in administrative detention. Authorities can hold people for as long as 15 days under that process, though if Cheng has been held since Aug. 8, then his limit is coming up.

Proposal to increase pension age branded ‘chilling and immoral’

Canary, The Other - Tue, 2019-08-20 16:30

Retraining people older than 50 to find jobs should be a greater priority than a “chilling and immoral” proposal to increase the pension age to 75, former pensions minister Ros Altmann has said.

Baroness Altmann condemned the idea from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), in a paper published this week, to increase the pension age from 65 now to 70 by 2028, and then to 75 by 2035, saying it would be a betrayal of hard-working people who had planned and saved for their retirements.

In a column in the Daily Mail, she wrote: “Forcing Britons to work until their mid-70s may help to boost the economy by £182 billion a year, but to me the idea is chilling and immoral.

“It is an outrageous betrayal of people who have worked hard, paid their taxes and made their National Insurance [NI] contributions for decades in the expectation that they will receive at least a basic income so they can retire, rather than being forced to labour until they drop.”

Baroness Altmann feels the proposed pension age rise will increase discrimination against the underprivileged (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Altmann said the proposal gave rise to the “farcical prospect” that 74-year-olds who could not find work would have to go on the dole.

“More than a million over-50s want to work but can’t find a job because age discrimination is embedded in the labour market,” she wrote. “Increasing support for these people – with retraining programmes and employer incentives – should be the first priority, before increasing the state pension age.”

The proposal would also likely shorten the life expectancy of those in disadvantaged parts of Britain, she added.

“The better-off, whose employment does not usually entail physical labour, might hope to live well into their 80s with good health,” she said. “But for people burned out by tough manual work, who tend to have poorer housing, diets, access to healthcare and are at greater risk of ill-health and frailty, death comes much sooner.

“This is already a grave injustice in our society. Driving up the pension age even further makes it worse – particularly for those groups who are statistically more likely to die in their late 60s or early 70s, who will suddenly see the finishing line pushed so far into the distance that it becomes meaningless.”

Altmann, who was pensions minister from 2015-16, said she had rarely seen a proposal “with the potential to do such damage”.

“The flaws in the thinking must be challenged immediately, before there is any chance of the CSJ paper being adopted by politicians who see it as an opportunity to boost the nation’s coffers,” she said.

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By The Canary