Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Google Drive Takes Down Personal Copy Of "Plandemic"



Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com, If there was ever a time in history to pay attention, it’s now.  It’s now obvious that we all need to keep our eyes and ears open to that which Big Tech and the government continue to censor to “save us” from “misinformation.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

More arrogance: #Google & other US tech companies are providing web services to Chinese #surveillance companies that have been blacklisted by the US government. cnbc.com/2020/05/23/ama…

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Dr. Robert Epstein
@DrREpstein
More arrogance: #Google & other US tech companies are providing web services to Chinese #surveillance companies that have been blacklisted by the US government. cnbc.com/2020/05/23/ama…

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The arrogant geeks at #Google have been caught once again with their political pants down. For at least 6 months, #YouTube has been censoring anti-Communist anti-China comments on its videos. @tedcruz & others are protesting. theverge.com/2020/5/26/2127…

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Dr. Robert Epstein
@DrREpstein
The arrogant geeks at #Google have been caught once again with their political pants down. For at least 6 months, #YouTube has been censoring anti-Communist anti-China comments on its videos. @tedcruz & others are protesting. theverge.com/2020/5/26/2127…

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Universities are pressing the self-destruct button



Defending liberty isn’t easy – especially in times of crisis, when freedom is so often traded away in search of security.

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Monday, May 25, 2020

HMMM

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Image



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"Like It Was Designed To Infect Humans": COVID-19 'Cell Culture' Theory Gains Steam



A scientific study which found COVID-19 may have been a "cell-culture" uniquely adapted for transmission to humans (more so than any other animal - including bats), is gaining steam.

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The CDC confirms remarkably low coronavirus death rate. Where is the media?

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Guest Post by Daniel Horowitz

Most people are more likely to wind up six feet under because of almost anything else under the sun other than COVID-19.

The CDC just came out with a report that should be earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class, yet it will go into the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public. For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26 percent. Officials estimate a 0.4 percent fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35 percent rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26 percent — almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it a month ago.

'Nuff Said….. pic.twitter.com/0nZsydNHNb

— Ethical Skeptic ☀ (@EthicalSkeptic) May 22, 2020

Until now, we have been ridiculed for thinking the death rate was that low, as opposed to the 3.4 percent estimate of the World Health Organization, which helped drive the panic and the lockdowns. Now the CDC is agreeing to the lower rate in plain ink.

Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50 percent asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2 percent – exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected.

More importantly, as I mentioned before, the overall death rate is meaningless because the numbers are so lopsided. Given that at least half of the deaths were in nursing homes, a back-of-the-envelope estimate would show that the infection fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1 percent or 1 in 1,000. And that includes people of all ages and all health statuses outside of nursing homes. Since nearly all of the deaths are those with comorbidities.

The CDC estimates the death rate from COVID-19 for those under 50 is 1 in 5,000 for those with symptoms, which would be 1 in 6,725 overall, but again, almost all those who die have specific comorbidities or underlying conditions. Those without them are more likely to die in a car accident. And schoolchildren, whose lives, mental health, and education we are destroying, are more likely to get struck by lightning.

To put this in perspective, one Twitter commentator juxtaposed the age-separated infection fatality rates in Spain to the average yearly probability of dying of anything for the same age groups, based on data from the Social Security Administration. He used Spain because we don’t have a detailed infection fatality rate estimate for each age group from any survey in the U.S. However, we know that Spain fared worse than almost every other country. This data is actually working with a top-line IFR of 1 percent, roughly four times what the CDC estimates for the U.S., so if anything, the corresponding numbers for the U.S. will be lower.

Being alive means there is a risk that you will die in every year of your life. Normally we don't think about this because the probability is very small.

It turns out that even if you are infected with COVID, your increased risk to die vs normal is not very large at all. pic.twitter.com/lrQnTuHYRS

— Gummi Bear (@gummibear737) May 20, 2020

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the rest here.



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"Like It Was Designed To Infect Humans": COVID-19 'Cell Culture' Theory Gains Steam

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"Like It Was Designed To Infect Humans": COVID-19 'Cell Culture' Theory Gains Steam Tyler Durden Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:30

A scientific study which found COVID-19 may have been a "cell-culture" uniquely adapted for transmission to humans (more so than any other animal - including bats), is gaining steam.

The paper, currently under peer review, comes from Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who has spent over two decades developing vaccines against influenza, Ebola, and animal Sars. He says his findings allow for the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from a laboratory, according to Sky News.

"The two possibilities which I think are both still open is that it was a chance transmission of a virus from an as yet unidentified animal to human. The other possibility is that it was an accidental release of the virus from a laboratory," said Petrovsky, adding "Certainly we can’t exclude the possibility that this came from a laboratory experiment rather than from an animal. They are both open possibilities."

Professor Petrovsky, who is the Chairman and Research Director of Vaxine Pty Ltd, said COVID-19 has genetic elements similar to bat coronaviruses as well as other coronaviruses.

The way coronavirus enters human cells is by binding to a protein on the surface of lung-cells called ACE2. The study showed the virus bound more tightly to human-ACE2 than to any of the other animals they tested.

It was like it was designed to infect humans,” he said.

“One of the possibilities is that an animal host was infected by two coronaviruses at the same time and COVID-19 is the progeny of that interaction between the two viruses. -Sky News

"The same process can happen in a petri-dish," added Petrovsky. "If you have cells in culture and you have human cells in that culture which the viruses are infecting, then if there are two viruses in that dish, they can swap genetic information and you can accidentally or deliberately create a whole third new virus out of that system."

"In other words COVID-19 could have been created from that recombination event in an animal host or it could have occurred in a cell-culture experiment."

In January, Petrovsky began modeling the virus to try and create a vaccine candidate. According to the report, he then began to explore "what animal species might have been involved in the transmission to humans" in order to better understand the origins of the virus, when he discovered how well it infects humans over other species.

"We found that the COVID-19 virus was particularly well-adapted to bind to human cells and that was far superior to its ability to bind to the cells of any other animal species which is quite unusual because typically when a virus is well-adapted to an animal and then it by chance crosses to a human, typically, you would expect it to have lower-binding to human cells than to the original host animal. We found the opposite so that was a big surprise," he said.

When asked why mainstream scientists are still clinging to the theory that the virus originated in a Wuhan wet market, he said that scientists "try not to be political" but that that scientists who support the lab escape theory risk negatively impacting their industry with tighter laboratory controls.

"For instance, if it was to turn out that this virus may have come about because of an accidental lab release that would have implications for how we do viral research in laboratories all around the world which could make doing research much harder," he said, adding "So I think the inclination of virus researchers would be to presume that it came from an animal until proven otherwise because that would have less ramifications for how we are able to do research in the future. The alternative obviously has quite major implications for science and science on viruses, not just obviously political ramifications which we’re all well aware of."

Petrovsky has called for immediate investigation now, and not when the pandemic is over - calling any delay in fact finding a "mistake."

"I’m certainly very much in favour of a scientific investigation. It’s only objective should be to get to the bottom of how did this pandemic happen and how do we prevent a future pandemic…. not to have a witch-hunt."



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The Unspooling

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Clusterfuck Nation
For your reading pleasure Mondays and Fridays

Support this blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page


What “the Resistance” really fears more than anything is General Michael Flynn’s mouth. He’s been under a judicial gag order since his case went before Judge Emmet Sullivan’s federal district court. Understandably, Gen. Flynn wasn’t eager to complicate his unjust plight with a contempt citation. Judge Sullivan’s recent shenanigans have one object: to keep that gag order in force as long as possible. The moment Judge Sullivan confirms the DOJ’s move to dismiss the charges, as he is duty-bound to do, General Flynn will be free to offer his views to the public. That might be inconvenient in an election season.

I’m sure he has a lot to say. Gen. Flynn was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for two years (2012 – 2014) under Barack Obama, and he knows a ton about every crooked operation Mr. Obama presided over, including the Benghazi fiasco, the Ukraine regime change op, and especially Mr. Obama’s hijacking of the NSA supercomputer surveillance database known as “the Hammer,” which was set up originally to track terrorists and then used by DNI James Clapper and CIA chief John Brennan to spy on Americans, most particularly Mr. Obama’s political adversaries. It’s rumored that Mr. Obama took the database with him when he left the White House, and it is said to contain great gouts of usefully damning information about just about everyone in government, including senators, congressmen, and Supreme Court justices.

Gen. Flynn became an antagonist to Obama & Co. when he objected to the nuclear deal they were cooking up with Iran and when he spoke out against the CIA’s 2013 Timber Sycamore op to arm and give money to Isis terrorists opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Obama canned Gen. Flynn in 2014. What really sealed Gen. Flynn’s fate was when he started publicly complaining about the politicization of John Brennan’s CIA. The New York Times quoted him saying, “They’ve lost sight of who they actually work for. They work for the American people. They don’t work for the president of the United States. Frankly, it’s become a very political organization.”

And a few months later, he jumped on Donald Trump’s campaign bandwagon. When he led the cheer “Lock her up” at the Republican convention, you can imagine how that gave the heebie-jeebies to a whole lot of other Deep State denizens besides She-Whose-Turn-Was-Foiled. And then, Lord have mercy, he was appointed to sit at Mr. Trump’s very elbow in the West Wing as National Security Advisor! Well, you can imagine the tremors that provoked. Gen. Flynn had declared his intention to completely reorganize, partially dismantle, and audit the intel community monster that had spread like a slime mold through the government. Mr. Brennan especially feared the audit part of the deal, since his agency regarded the billions of dollars that flowed in and out of it as just another one of its sacred secrets. Flynn had to be stopped.

So, John Brennan concocted the RussiaGate scam to put over the idea that General Flynn was an errand boy of Vladimir Putin ­—lock him up! — and for good measure, Mr. Trump probably was, too. Once they embarked on that grand misadventure, and enlisted the foolish James Comey and his FBI zealots to assist, the gang found themselves involved in a dangerous game of sedition, poorly thought out and executed desperately. And finally, by all that’s holy, the improbable Mr. Trump actually won the election, ensuring that he would be privy to every dark secret moldering in the vaults of the US government.

For three years, the whole wicked scheme has been slowly but steadily unspooling. The hapless (and perhaps senile) Robert Mueller was brought in to cap what threatened to become a political nuclear meltdown. We must suppose that Mr. Mueller was just a figurehead, and yet the supposedly brightest gang of Lawfare attorneys he enlisted — Weissmann, Van Grack, Rhee, Zebley, et. al. — absolutely blew it. They came up with zilch on Russian collusion, they muffed the attempt to nail Mr. Trump on an obstruction of justice rap (and watched helplessly as the inept Schiff & Nadler flopped fecklessly at impeachment), and now, having been exposed in the malicious prosecution of Gen. Flynn, they were forced to drop the case against him.

Finally, Judge Sullivan was recruited by The Resistance in a last-ditch effort to keep Gen. Flynn silent for a couple months more by ginning up an amicus circus that would invite a zillion bogus filings of briefs to be meticulously examined and argued, a pointless exercise in sound and fury. In doing so, he contradicted 25 of his own previous rulings against amicus filings by the defendant, and also moved in violation of a Supreme Court decision (Sineneng-Smith, 2020) and a DC Circuit case (Fokker Services 2016), as well as federal court rules against the use of amicus filings in criminal proceedings.

Now he has a few days to answer a mandamus motion from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to cut the shit and do his bound duty in the case. I won’t rehearse the separation-of-powers argument, except to say that Judge Sullivan doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and will be lucky if he is not reprimanded by the higher court. He’s been played by the Lawfare gang and exposed as a useful idiot. They’ve tossed aside his personal honor like a banana skin. Gawd knows what else prompted him to lawyer-up.

The colossal melodrama of a sedition conspiracy is unspooling swiftly now. Before much longer, US Attorney John Durham will weigh in with something, whether it’s a mere report detailing gross abuses of power, or perhaps a string of hard indictments against the seditionists. With bales of evidence of their misdeeds now in the public domain, the various players must be turning on each other viciously now. There’s probably not enough room under the proverbial bus to throw anybody else. They’ll need a train.

Also, comically, FBI Director Christopher Wray opened an “internal investigation” last week to ascertain whether any current members of his agency engaged in any misconduct around the Flynn case. That’s cute. It only took him three years. Of course, most of the major perps have already been fired, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page. Why is Mr. Wray even still in that job, where his main occupation has been obstructing the release of court-ordered and congressionally subpoenaed documents?

You know what would be really a great move? Fire Chris Wray’s ass and replace him with outgoing Acting DNI Richard Grenell. Let Mr. Grenell just be Acting FBI Director for the statutory six months moving toward the election. Don’t even bother to nominate him and go through a senate confirmation. I bet a lot remaining information would get unstuck fast.

Oh, and get ready for Gen. Michael Flynn to speak. He might have a few interesting things to say. Not all of the news media will ignore him, and then those who do will have a lot to answer for about their long-running complicity in the criminal conspiracy to overthrow a president.


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Sunday, May 24, 2020

TINA's Orgy: Anything Goes, Winners Take All

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What nobody dares whisper is 'there is no alternative to collapse' because the system is now too fragile and brittle to survive.
TINA--there is no alternative--is throwing an orgy of money-creation, and it's one for the ages: The Federal Reserve has created over $3 trillion out of thin air in a few months and invited all the usual parasites, predators and speculators to the orgy.
You and I, mere taxpayers? We get to watch as our "betters" feast on the Fed's limitless bounty of free money for financiers and other parasites and predators. Of course we don't get a clear view of the proceedings; the orgy is all behind closed doors.
What we see is the threadbare comedy of Fed Chair Jay Powell coming out of the orgy to assure us that the orgy is all for the good of the country--ha-ha-ha. Those gorging on the Fed feast inside are in danger of laughing so hard at Powell's comedy routine they might choke.
Your share of the orgy is a bowl of thin gruel: $1,200. That wasn't distributed out of kindness or generosity; like all federal giveaways, it's real purpose is to give you enough cash to make your loan payments so all the parasites and predators in the Fed's orgy won't experience the terrible suffering caused by debt-serfs defaulting.
The excuse for the orgy is always the same: there is no alternative. We have to bail out the greedy corporations that borrowed billions to buy back their own stocks, the corporations that sold junk debt to finance their bonuses and dividends, the financiers who bought the risky debt, the speculators who front-run the Fed's purchases of assets and on and on in an endless parade of fraud and corruption--because if we don't bail out the speculators and other parasites, the whole financial system will implode and that would be terrible.
Terrible for who? To answer the question, we need to ponder the fundamental nature of the Fed and our financial system, which can be summarized in one line: anything goes, and winners take all.
Anything goes, because money buys political influence and so what was once illegal--buying back your own stock, advertising medications directly to consumers, etc.-- are not just made legal but normalized by constant propaganda in the corporate media that these forms of legalized looting are good for the nation because... well, that doesn't matter, just take our word for it.
When anything goes, the winners take all. This is how we've ended up with a unstable, fragile economy dominated by a handful of corporations in each sector whose sole purpose is to maximize profits by any means available, and it just so happens the most profitable arrangements are monopoly and cartels, and so that's what we have: an economy of high costs, enormous profits, low-quality goods and services for the bottom 95% and an extreme concentration of wealth and income in the hands of the winners.
This dynamic also characterizes the public sector, where anything goes if you can get away with it has generated a few winners-- employees of small school districts getting salaries of $350,000 and pensions to match, and so on--and a multitude of losers as actual services for the public decay even as costs soar. Naturally, questions about this are dismissed with TINA: there is no alternative.
The fragility of such a system is so extreme that the winners' only hope to hold onto their booty is to persuade us that the simulations of open markets and democracy they conjure up are "real" in the sense that we can't really see the Emperor's fine clothing but we accept that this must be a flaw in our own sight, rather than what it really is: self-serving institutionalized delusion: believe us when we assure you that there is no alternative.
So as the greediest and most parasitic few gorge on TINA's orgy, try not to bust a gut laughing at Jay Powell's comedy act justifying the orgy because really, there is no alternative other than a collapse of what deserves to collapse and what will collapse despite (or as a result of) the Fed's manic money-printing.
What nobody dares whisper is there is no alternative to collapse because the system is now too fragile and brittle to survive. TINA may get the last laugh after all.
fed-BS5-24-20.png
Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).


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There's No Longer Any Question: Biden Carried Out A Cover-Up In Ukraine



Authored by Andrew Korybko via Off-Guardian.

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Alice in Wonderland Technique: The Power of Applied Confusion

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On May 12th, Anthony Fauci testified before the Senate that reopening the economy too quickly could lead to “suffering and death that could be avoided [that] could even set you back on the road to…economic recovery.”

On May 23rd, Anthony Fauci appeared to reverse course when he told CNBC that the stay-at-home orders could end up causing “irreparable damage” and “I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go.”

This about-face triggered tweets of exasperation. Then I saw Amazing Polly’s tweet that what Fauci did was an example of the “Alice in Wonderland Technique”.

I’ve heard of Alice in Wonderland – but a technique by that name? This sent me down a rabbit hole for which I’m grateful, because for the past three years, I’ve been talking about the “psychological civil war” being waged against us, not knowing that the orchestrated gaslighting we’ve been subjected to is a scaled-up version of what was originally developed as an interrogation technique.

In other words, what we’ve been being put through is literally torture and the technique described in “Alice in Wonderland: The Power of Applied Confusion”, a chapter starting on page 129 of a manual entitled, ‘EDUCING INFORMATION – Interrogation: Science and Art’, published by the National Defense Intelligence College in 2006, citing a 1963 torture manual entitled, “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual, Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual,” based on CIA research, much of it conducted through the MK ULTRA program but some of it going all the way back to the 1350s, to the work of Nicholas Eymerich, Inquisitor General of Aragon, Spain.

In this video, Richard Grannon does a good job explaining the details of this torture technique that I feel could help us to cope with the madness of COVID-19. When we know that it’s called Alice in Wonderland and that it incorporates Gregory Bateson’s double-bind theory of Schizophrenia, scaled-up to the level of a global psyop, it can help us release ourselves from its thrall.

Grannon explains:

“You bring the person to be interrogated into the room, and you have the three interrogators immediately to start to badger them…with nonsensical questions. The pitch and the tone and the pacing of their questions will not match the subjects which they’re covering. Often times, the subjects that they’re asking the person being interrogated about are nonsensical. They go nowhere, they mean nothing.

“The purpose stated in the interrogation technique is not just to obliterate the normal. The purpose is also to replace that which is normal, with the mindbogglingly bizarre. So the person goes into a state of deep trauma that is so awful, they would rather give up their secrets and return to a reality that makes sense, than have to continue with more days [of this]. It takes days for them to crack, usually.”

To me, this describes the antics seen in the unrelenting #FakeNews, the Mueller Investigation and the fake impeachment, concomitant with things like #MeToo and the transgender putsch that have become the themes of this era.

Christine Blasey Ford, Jussie Smollett and the media crucifixion of Nick Sandmann were illogical orchestrated psyops designed to badger everyone into agreement, in order to just make it stop.

We’ve known that this was unconventional warfare but knowing that it’s called the Alice in Wonderland technique empowers you to identify it when it’s happening, to help you distance yourself from the fragmentation that it is attempting to induce.

Grannon likens the psyop currently being unleashed upon the global populace (he recorded this last October) to 9/11, which he believes would be much harder to pull off today, with so many people carrying smartphones at all times.

He says, “If you’re going to do something naughty, I don’t think you can get away with it in the same way anymore. So what do you do? You level up. You go meta-, instead of trying to deceive people and work behind their backs, as to what it is you’re really doing, it’s way more efficient to just confuse them about what’s right and what’s wrong. Cognitive dissonance, nobody knows right from wrong. The really clever thing that they’ve done, the evil thing that they’ve done is the slow encroachment of the boundaries.”

Hopefully, these thoughts will help you assert your cognitive boundaries and will help you to insulate yourself to a some degree during the storm.

Alexandra Bruce

Contributed by Alexandra Bruce

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Did Jack Dorsey Just Issue A 'Mea Culpa' To All Twitter-Banned "Conspiracy"-Peddlers?



Did Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey just, sheepishly, issue a 'mea culpa' to all those innocent (mostly conservative) voices he has silenced in the last few years who dared to question the "Russia, Russia, Russia" narrative, the "Biden did nothing wrong" stories, the "Comey is an American hero" facts, and,

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The Fight over Alternative Education

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Articles in college alumni magazines, even in the Ivy League, are usually puff pieces about academic programs and professors. They are designed to make graduates feel so good about their alma mater and its intellectual achievements that they will write out yet another donation check. Seldom do the articles circulate much outside of the closed circle of alums. Not so with a 1,007-word piece in the May – June 2020 issue of the Harvard Magazine entitled “The Risks of Homeschooling” in which Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet recommended a “presumptive ban” against parents’ educating their children at home (as between three and four percent of US parents currently do). That is, unless these parents can prove to educational authorities “that their case is justified.”

Bartholet had already expressed this view in an extensively footnoted 80-page scholarly article for the Arizona Law Review entitled “Homeschooling: Parent Right Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection” published earlier in 2020. There, she wrote:

A very large proportion of homeschooling parents are ideologically committed to isolating their children from the majority culture and indoctrinating them in views and values that are in serious conflict with that culture. Some believe that women should be subservient to men; others believe that race stamps some people as inferior to others. Many don’t believe in the scientific method, looking to the Bible instead as their source for understanding the world.

To shore up her position, Bartholet recited a litany of horror stories that sound more like failures of social service bureaucracy than failures of homeschooling per se: Author Tara Westover, whose 2018 bestseller, Educated, recounted that her breakaway-Mormon survivalist father in Idaho had taught her to read but little else; and seven-year-old Adrian Jones, starved, tortured, and killed by his father and stepmother in Kansas in 2015, then fed to pigs. (Both adults, who claimed to be homeschooling the boy, are serving life sentences for murder.) Armed with anecdotes like these, Bartholet called for a “new legal regime” of “positive rights” that would protect “child rights to an education allowing them to exercise autonomy rights in their future lives, including rights to make meaningful career and lifestyle choices.”

In both articles, Bartholet trained her sights specifically on Christianity, asserting that conservative Christian beliefs lay behind the decisions of “up to 90 percent” of homeschooling parents to “seek to remove their children from mainstream culture.” Indeed, her Arizona Law Review article and its footnotes employ the words “Bible” and “Christian” a total of 18 times, all negatively (along with a footnote or two excoriating Hasidic Jewish yeshivas and their near-exclusive focus on Talmudic studies). In her Arizona Law Review article Bartholet proposed that homeschooling parents who manage to overcome all the administrative hurdles she demands be further required to submit their curricula to state authorities for advance approval and agree to twice-yearly government visits to their home. The Harvard Magazine illustration alone seems designed to confirm the worst fears of aggressively secularized Harvard graduates (including, probably, many of Bartholet’s Harvard Law colleagues) while inflaming homeschooling parents: children frolicking and jumping rope outdoors while a sad little girl is imprisoned inside a house made out of books titled “Reading,” “Writing,” “Arithmetic,” and “Bible.”

(The illustration in the print edition of the Harvard Magazine misspells the title on the spine of the third book as “Arithmatic.” The magazine quickly corrected the mistake in its online edition, but the lucky Harvard grads who received the print magazine might well own their own version of the famously mangled 1918 “upside-down airplane” US postage stamp that has sold at auction for close to $1 million.)

So pervasive was the negative reaction to the Harvard Magazine interview with Bartholet that the magazine shut down its comments section after only nine comments, all of which were scathing and at least one of which was left by a self-proclaimed atheist who had homeschooled her children for eight years. The law school had organized a closed-to-the-public, invitation-only conference scheduled for June 18th – 19th to discuss the “problems, politics, and prospects for reform” of homeschooling, but this was postponed until at least 2021 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference’s sponsors were to have been Bartholet and James G. Dwyer, a professor at the William and Mary Law School known for his acerbic critiques of parental rights in education. The planned list of speakers included other academics generally critical of homeschooling, plus several representatives of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit dedicated to homeschooling “reform” whose website consists largely of narratives of the unhappy experiences of homeschool graduates.

But Bartholet’s polemic is by no means simply directed at homeschooling all by itself. It is part of a larger—and relatively recent—specific animus among progressive academics and politicians against a range of alternatives to conventional public schooling: religious and other private schools, and even charter schools, which are government-funded but independent in curricula, governance, and teacher hiring (43 states plus the District of Columbia allow for these publicly funded but privately operated institutions). Charter schools enroll about three million children nationwide, most of whom live in failing urban public-school districts where charters seem to promise stricter discipline and more focused academic programs. Throughout the 1990s and the 2010s, they had been endorsed by Democratic politicians, including former California governor Jerry Brown and Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

In 2019, however, left-leaning Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both vowed to abolish charter schools if elected, and this position has also been adopted by self-proclaimed moderate and presumptive nominee Joe Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president. In 1997, when Biden was a Delaware senator, he delivered a speech in which he not only threw his support behind charters but also endorsed “voucher” programs through which governments help to pay for underprivileged children to be taught at Catholic parochial and other private schools. “Is it not possible,” he asked from the floor of the Senate, “that giving poor kids a way out will force the public schools to improve and result in more people coming back?”

But by December 2019, Biden was pledging that not only voucher programs but also charter schools themselves (both of which are promoted by GOP President Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos) would “be gone” if he were elected. Perhaps he was merely securing the endorsement of public school teachers’ unions—which he duly received—but the turnabout was dramatic nonetheless. An equally dramatic reversal occurred in Jerry Brown’s California, where 10 percent of school-age children attend some 1,300 charters. In the fall of 2019, the California legislature passed—and Brown’s Democratic successor Gov. Gavin Newsom signed—a law that gives public school districts vastly increased power to decide whether to approve new charter schools or renew the charters of existing schools. Furthermore, all teachers hired by charter schools, not just those teaching such “core” subjects as math and language arts, will have to be state-accredited—that is, they will have to go through the state education-school regime: no more music teachers whose only qualification is a degree from Julliard. The legislation was supported by teachers’ unions but also by the California Charter Schools Association, which viewed the new law as a compromise in the face of a possible ban on charter schools altogether.

In her Arizona Law Review article, the eye Bartholet cast upon public-school alternatives was almost as cold as that she cast upon homeschoolers who eschew every form of organized schooling:

Some private schools pose problems of the same nature as homeschooling. Religious and other groups with views and values far outside the mainstream operate private schools with very little regulation ensuring that children receive adequate educations or exposure to alternative perspectives. Policymakers should impose greater restrictions on private schools for many of the same reasons that they should restrict homeschooling. Moreover, it would be deeply unfair to allow those who can afford private schools to isolate their children from public values in private schools reflecting the parents’ values, while denying this possibility to those unable to afford such schools.

“Views and values far outside the mainstream,” “exposure to alternative perspectives,” “isolate their children,” and “schools reflecting their parents’ values” are the operative terms here. Underlying them seems to be the assumption that the main purpose of education isn’t to teach young people reading, writing, and arithmetic but to instill—or at least “expose” them to—certain “views,” “values,” and “perspectives.” It is equally important that those “views and values” be “mainstream”—which seem to be the fashionable preoccupations of the liberal professoriate: feminism, LGBTQ issues, global warming, racial oppression, and “diversity” of every variety except the ideological kind.

It is worth noting, for example, that several major public school districts—in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., among other cities—either actively encouraged or promised leniency to students who skipped classes on September 20th, 2019, to join a “global strike” demanding government action on “climate change.” Astonishingly, some 3,500 public schools peremptorily adopted the New York Times’s controversial but Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” magazine special into their curricula, even though its historical accuracy was vehemently contested by many academic historians. Are we to assume that this is what is meant by the “mainstream” in the world of public education?

Nor is Bartholet alone. The academics scheduled to deliver papers at the postponed conference all teach at prestigious institutions, and a survey of their writings indicates that what they most fear is that children will be taught things that are ideologically wrong. James Dwyer, the conference’s co-sponsor, wrote in a 2016 scholarly article: “Perhaps one day feminists will take a serious interest in the subordinating indoctrination to which girls are subjected in many religious schools and home schools.” Conference participant Michael A. Rebell, a lawyer with joint appointments at Columbia Law School and Columbia Teachers College, wrote in his 2018 book, Flunking Democracy: Schools, Courts, and Civic Participation, that many parents who send their children to alternative schools believe that “exposing their children to ideas such as secularism, atheism, feminism, and value relativism is inconsistent with the values they espouse and undermines their ability to inculcate in their children their beliefs in the sacred, absolute truth of the Bible.”

In a 2005 essay entitled “Why Homeschooling Should be Regulated,” Stanford political science professor Rob Reich wrote: “With little or no exposure to competing ideas or interaction with people whose convictions are different from their parents’, children who are home schooled can be raised in an all-encompassing or total environment that fails to develop their capacity to think for themselves. To put this in language commonly used by political theorists, the capacity of children to ‘exit’ their parents’ way of life is undermined and they run the risk of becoming ‘ethically servile.’” And in a 2010 article entitled “Parent As (Mere) Educational Trustee: Whose Education Is It Anyway?,” Georgetown law professor Jeffrey Shulman wrote: “[T]he parent’s right to educate his or her children is strictly circumscribed by the parent’s duty to ensure that children learn habits of critical reasoning and reflection… [C]ourts should look with skepticism at any educational program—whether imposed by the parent or by the state—that, by restricting the spectrum of available knowledge, fails to prepare the child for obligations beyond those of familial obedience.”

The notion that parents and the schools they choose for their offspring are obligated to provide an “exit” strategy from the principles that the parents and schools hold most dear, and to expose them to ideas that they find morally or philosophically repugnant, may seem surprising to people who believe that the function of schools is actually to teach the multiplication tables and how to spell. Or that learning how to research and write a coherent essay ought to supply enough training in “critical reasoning and reflection” without religiously conservative parents or the schools they choose being required to rehearse the arguments in favor of unrestricted abortion, letting biological males use women’s bathrooms, the “1619 Project,” or why belief in God may be bunk.

However, at least some advocates of content-based regulation for alternative schooling seem far more accommodating toward religious and other kinds of conservatives in one-to-one conversation than they appear in their scholarship. While the Harvard Law School did not respond to my request for an interview with Elizabeth Bartholet (unlike other Harvard Law faculty members, she has no office email address listed online for direct contact), and James Dwyer refused to grant an interview unless I read a book he had written that was, practically speaking, unavailable during the coronavirus pandemic, Stanford’s Rob Reich told me over the phone that he was simply distinguishing between the views, religious and otherwise, that parents are entitled to convey to their children as parents and the accurate information that parents as teachers should be required to convey when covering an academic subject.

For example, evangelical parents may believe that abortion is morally wrong, Reich said, but they should be obliged to explain the current legal status of abortion and that people of differing views on abortion are all equal citizens. “They may believe that the Bible instructs different roles for men and women,” Reich said. “They can teach what they believe is women’s appropriate role, but they can’t then say that there’s no need to teach girls high school-level science.” Although an advocate for education regulation, Reich seems to take a minimalist approach: occasional standardized testing in core subjects in order to ensure that homeschoolers are learning something substantive and aren’t simply being kept at home. He expressed concern that I might want to “tie” him to Elizabeth Bartholet’s “mast” of presumptive condemnation.

The theory that education by its very nature has an ideological component—facilitating children in escaping from their parents’ culture in the name of attaining personal autonomy—goes hand-in-hand with another goal of the anti-alternative education crowd: establishing a “fundamental” constitutional right of children to an education that would grant to federal courts the power to supervise school funding and curricula. Such a right is not specifically enumerated in the US Constitution (although nearly all state constitutions enshrine a governmental duty to provide adequate schooling), and the US Supreme Court has yet to recognize it, despite nearly 50 years of litigation by activist lawyers. The high court has only rarely recognized non-enumerated rights under a general theory of “substantive due process” said to be enshrined in the 14th Amendment; one example is the court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges declaring a fundamental right to same-sex marriage “implicit in the context of ordered liberty” that the 14th Amendment’s due process clause presumably protects.

Despite the Supreme Court’s half-century of reluctance to extend this concept to education, various justices have issued enough statements in their education opinions over the years—typically involving claims of unequal racial or ethnic treatment, a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, to provide intellectual gruel for those who argue that the purpose of education relates to preserving “ordered liberty” and thus consists of something more than the acquisition of substantive learning. In Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 decision striking down racially segregated school systems as denying equal protection of the law to African-Americans, the Supreme Court declared that education “is the very foundation of good citizenship… [I]t is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment.” In Plyler vs. Doe, a 1982 decision again invoking the equal protection clause to rule that public schools could not exclude the children of illegal immigrants, the Supreme Court said: “By denying these children a basic education, we deny them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.”

Lawyers and law professors have seized upon these dicta about preparation for citizenship to try one more time to convince the federal courts (and ultimately the Supreme Court) that establishing a “fundamental right” to an education is the most effective way to secure that goal, through judicial oversight of the educational process. And in fact, one federal appellate court, the Cincinnati-based Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals that encompasses several Midwestern states, ruled exactly that in a 2 – 1 decision, Gary B. vs. Whitmer, on April 23rd, establishing a right to a “basic minimum education, meaning one that provides a chance at foundational literacy” so as to be able to participate in the democratic process. The case involved alleged severe deficiencies in the public-school system in notoriously depopulated and dysfunctional Detroit: crumbling school buildings, malfunctioning heating and cooling systems that exposed children to extremes of heat and cold, vermin-infested classrooms, filthy bathrooms, and such unattractive conditions for teachers that chronic teacher vacancies led to student-overcrowding and miserable results on standardized tests. At one Detroit elementary school only 4.2 percent of third-graders allegedly scored “proficient or above” in English, compared with 46.0 percent overall in the state of Michigan. In one Detroit ninth-grade classroom students allegedly struggled to read at the third-grade level. US Circuit Judge Eric L Clay, author of the majority opinion in Gary B., had no trouble aligning those alleged deficiencies with a finding that a right to a basic minimum education is indeed “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” That right, Clay wrote, “is fundamental because it is necessary for even the most limited participation in our country’s democracy.”

The Sixth Circuit’s expansive decision in Gary B. would seem to be inevitably headed to the Supreme Court—except that Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and Democratic attorney general, Dana Nessel, are both liberal and so unlikely to appeal a ruling, the practical effect of which is likely to force massive state spending to try to repair Detroit’s broken public school system. Furthermore, the ruling has given new impetus to a 1918 federal lawsuit, Cook vs. Raimondo, challenging alleged deficiencies in the public school system throughout the state of Rhode Island. The lead lawyer on that case is Michael Rebell of Columbia, one of Elizabeth Bartholet’s handpicked conference panelists. The Cook suit, which is still in its procedurally preliminary stages, takes Gary B. a step further to try to secure a ruling that a “fundamental” right to an education under the US Constitution extends well beyond minimum literacy and focuses specifically on Rhode Island’s alleged failure to provide enough adequate grounding in civics education to prepare young people “to function productively as civic participants capable of voting, serving on a jury, understanding economic, social, and political systems sufficiently to make informed choices, and to participate effectively in civic activities,” according to the plaintiffs’ complaint. In a phone interview, Rebell made it clear that the ultimate aim of the Cook suit is to set nationwide standards for adequate training in those components of democratic participation. “There’s been a marked decline in the teaching of civics in American public schools,” he said.

Rebell’s observations are certainly supported by the data. Results released in April from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics assessment indicated that less than one-fourth of US eighth-graders in 2018 demonstrated proficiency or more in civics and American history. A 2017 Annenberg Public Policy survey found that only 26 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government and 37 percent can’t name a single right protected by the First Amendment. But Rebell’s notion of what constitutes adequate civics education goes well beyond imparting such textbook information such as how a bill becomes a law or the contents of the Constitution. “Civics knowledge means field trips to legislatures, it means learning democratic values, it means having civil conversations with people having very different views from yours,” he said. “Kids have a right to more than what they’re getting now.”

This experiential aspect of civics education promoted by Rebell—hinging as much on exposure to values (the “very different views” of other people) as on substantive learning—segues nicely with Elizabeth Bartholet’s insistence in her Arizona Law Review article that a “new legal regime” must be put into place to ensure an education that furthers “child rights.” Indeed, Bartholet seems to recognize that such a “new legal regime” might be unpopular with the millions of US voters who choose alternative forms of education for their children, so she calls on the courts to act instead by reinterpreting federal and state constitutions: “Constitutional doctrine should recognize that children have enforceable rights to an appropriate education and to protection against maltreatment. This would mean that legislatures could be required to enact legislation protecting those rights.”

There is an obvious irony here: The two legal cases on which those who pin their hopes for stringently regulating private education both deal with alleged gross inadequacies in public school education. And those inadequacies are even better documented than the failings of some charter schools or the fact that some homeschooling parents belong to eccentric religious sects. The most recent NAEP testing results, for example, indicate that only 37 percent of America’s children rate as proficient or higher in reading and 25 percent as proficient or higher in mathematics—the two most basic educational skills—by the time they reach 12th grade. (This may be the reason why polls show that black and Hispanic Democrats, who often live in the worst-performing public school districts, have not been enthusiastic supporters of the anti-charter school turn among white Democratic politicians; a 2019 New York Times article reported a sharp pro- and con-divide on charters between minority and white Democrats.) Nonetheless, in almost all the rhetoric against homeschooling or religious schooling or charter schooling there is a romanticizing of public schools as versions of Plato’s Academy for youngsters. “There’s a tendency of critics to idealize that which they wish to defend,” said Stanford’s Rob Reich.

Most troubling, though, is the apparent desire of the anti-alternative education faction to shove all children in America into a monolithic system of public schooling, or at the very least, to force those who teach them to adopt a monolithic public school model for education. That model would be replete with whatever pedagogic fads—“everyday” math, “whole word” reading—may be responsible for American children’s generally poor academic performance these days. Worse, it would include a range of secular ideologies to which children are required to be “exposed” that claim to be “mainstream” but are often as insular, as hostile to opposing viewpoints, and as “totalizing” (to use one of Reich’s words) as those of the most fanatical Christians. “I’m not particularly religious, but the anti-religious bias is so thick you can cut it with a knife,” said New York University law professor Richard A. Epstein, an outspoken critic of the “positive rights” jurisprudence that marked both Bartholet’s article and the Gary B. decision. “What they want to do is give the state complete monopoly powers over education.”

 

Charlotte Allen has a Ph.D. in medieval studies from the Catholic University of America. She has written frequently for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and First Things. You can follow her on Twitter @MeanCharlotte.

Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash.

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The Path To Monetary Collapse



Few mainstream commentators understand the seriousness of the economic and monetary situation, ranging from a V-shaped rapid return to normality towards a more prolonged recovery phase.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

What critical thinking? Wayback Machine is now complicit in Big Tech censorship



By , former editor of the technology and innovation magazine maize and editor of culture magazine BOZO. He has written for numerous publications around the world focussing on technology, belief systems, and culture.

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Wayback Machine Latest Victim of Big Tech Consolidation and Censorship

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In what is turning out to be something of a latter-day dot com bust, many small to medium-sized tech startups are teetering on the edge of oblivion as the deliberate economic shutdown eats away at their capitalization and opens the door for the biggest fish in the tech space and others to pick the ripest fruit from the tech start up tree.

As opposed to the original, this start up bust is accompanied by a very precise view of market opportunities for interested buyers and investors, brought on by an equally deliberate reshaping of workplace conditions and societal interactions which are driving companies like Microsoft to “aggregate capabilities” in “cloud computing, collaboration, access management, and other business continuity tools that saw a surge in demand during regional lockdowns.”

The ride-share behemoth, Uber, for example, is reportedly in talks to acquire Grubhub and expand its food-delivery operations, while Microsoft just completed its purchase of robotic automation company, Softomotive. One global research and advisory firm that focuses on IT and finance has even put out a guide “on how tech startups can best prepare for being acquired by a larger company,” revealing that just 13 companies accounted for a full 60 percent of the $150 billion raised by tech startups between March and April.

Signs that yet another massive wave of consolidation in the technology sector is on the horizon and is already raising concerns throughout the industry, but the fact that it is occurring in tandem with a larger push by outfits like Twitter, Facebook and other huge tech players to stifle freedom of online expression and association should make us pay closer attention to the dynamics at play.

 

Censorship creep

Under the guise of facilitating conversation, Twitter unveiled changes to the reply feature that ostensibly gives users more control, but in reality, it broadens the ability to censor content. The new format, still in testing mode, will allow users to select who can and cannot reply to their tweets. This, of course, presents a serious problem from the vantage point of free flowing interaction and gives even more power to the most popular accounts to stifle undesirable feedback, leaving their viewpoints publicly unchallenged.

Another seemingly innocuous development in the last few days was the announcement made by popular podcaster Joe Rogan on his move to Spotify. The comedian and UFC commentator’s immensely popular podcast has been freely available on YouTube and other platforms since its inception, but his multi-million-dollar exclusive licensing deal with the music platform will further cloister content behind a single outfit and likely diminish its reach and propagation.

Perhaps the most concerning, however, are the changes taking place at one of the most important research tools on the Internet and, up to now, a venerable tool for online transparency: The Wayback Machine.

 

Misplaced century

In the campy 1970s futuristic movie “Rollerball,” starring a young James Caan as a superstar athlete at the twilight of his celebrated career, there is a curious scene in which his character, Jonathan E, visits an archive where the entire knowledge base of humanity is stored. The man in charge of the quantum computer-like machine mentions, in passing, that due to some unknown glitch, the records containing the whole of the thirteenth century have been lost.

Such a predicament is, no doubt, much closer to becoming a real possibility as more and more of humanity’s knowledge is accumulated in massive digital repositories. The danger is not only in the outright loss of stored data as a result of technical malfunctions but also in the greater ability to execute historical revisionism and misrepresenting facts to future generations. Wikipedia – a widely consulted online encyclopedia – is already guilty of this. But, now the Wayback Internet archive is trending down this slippery slope with its recently implemented labeling of snapshot results as potential disinformation.

As a former editor, Elliot Leavy, warns in an article addressing the changes at the Wayback Machine site, “if we continue to censor the past, attaching intent to some but not to others, we will be unable to evaluate anything at all.” Indeed, the new measures instituted at the behest of MIT’s Technology Review over worries of COVID-19 hoaxes do not bode well for the survival of historical accuracy and a discerning populace.

The promise of the internet as an “information superhighway” modeled around democratized access to information is quickly eroding before our very eyes, as the measures are taken to curb the COVID-19 pandemic are being used to restrict unfettered knowledge. Together with the swift consolidation of tech companies that own the means to distribute and create the platforms we are obliged to use, we might soon find ourselves feeling like Jonathan E did when he realized that his once greatest supporters and benefactors were only looking to push him out the door and find a more pliable and less curious superstar.

Feature photo | The homepage of Internet Archive is displayed on a PC. Sharaf Maksumov | Shuttershock

Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.

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Central Banks Are Buying $2.4 Billion In Assets Every Hour As Their Balance Sheets Eclipse $20 Trillion

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Central Banks Are Buying $2.4 Billion In Assets Every Hour As Their Balance Sheets Eclipse $20 Trillion Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 14:40

As Deutsche Bank's Peter Sidorov writes, "the global policy response to the rapidly unfolding coronavirus crisis has been substantial, in many ways unprecedented."

Just how unprecedented? One number highlighted by BofA's Michael Hartnett in his latest Flow Show report has the answer: in the past 8 weeks, central banks have been buying $2.4 billion per hour of financial assets.

Here is another: as Deutsche Bank calculates, the combined G-10 central bank balance sheet is now above $20 trillion, catching up to its trendline since the financial crisis after stagnating around $16 trillion for the past two years...

... with the response to the coronavirus already double that observed after the global financial crisis.

Some more details: central banks have undertaken or announced $9trn of measures since the start of the Covid crisis...

... with a $4.5trn increase in G10 central bank balance sheets since the end of February, bringing their total size to over $20trn.

As central banks continue to provide further support and with additional fiscal stimulus expected, this figure will likely move towards $20tn later this year, even if some of the announced measures are implemented in 2021 and beyond.

According to DB, the US has responded the most aggressively to date, with the amount of QE purchases implemented and new credit facilities announced accounting for around 55% of all measures across the G20 and 60% of the $4.5trn increase in G10 central bank balance sheets. This share will likely gradually ease over time as the Fed's aggressive pace of QE is easing while intervention in other countries, such as the newly discounted TLTRO3 in the euro area, are yet to come online. Relative to the size of the economy, the Fed and BoC have seen the largest increase in their balance sheets since the Covid shock — with a 12-13pp of GDP increases since the end of February, compared to rises of 6-7pp across the euro area, Japan and the UK.

When it comes to policy rates, across the DM universe rates were already cut towards the zero bound by the end of March and – with the exception of a 25bp Norges cut to 0.00% two weeks ago – have been unchanged since. The conversation has now moved onto whether more countries will join the Eurozone, Japan and Switzerland in negative-rates territory. Across EM, further room for rates easing remains in many countries, although the question of how low is too low is starting to come into view in some countries.

Finally, while all major countries have cut rates over the policy cycle, the non-standard measures that have been  introduced vary widely across countries. As Sidorov notes, on asset purchases, most G10 economies and a few EM countries are now undertaking sovereign QE, although Australia has been the only country so far to join Japan in pursuing yield curve control. The introduction of purchases of local government and corporate debt and other assets has been more varied even among the DM economies, with the Fed seeing the broadest range of new measures, with its array of new credit-oriented facilities. On the banking side, macro-prudential easing and the expansion liquidity operations have been a global feature but the use of targeted or discounted term funding varies considerably across countries.

Below is a handy summary of non-rates monetary policy measures undertaken in the past two months:



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