November 23rd, 2021





COVID-19 has killed more people in 2021 than 2020.

The virus was reported as the underlying cause of death (or a contributing cause of death) for an estimated 377,883 people in 2020, accounting for 11.3% of deaths, according to the CDC. As of Monday, more than 770,000 people have died from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That means over 15,000 more people have died in 2021 than last year from COVID-19 – and there's still more than a month left.

This has happened despite the fact that last year no Americans were vaccinated (now 59% of all eligible Americans have had the "life-saving" jab) and some 17% have received booster shots...

 

The 2021 U.S. death toll caught some doctors by surprise. They had expected vaccinations and precautionary measures like social distancing and scaled-down public events to curb the spread of infections and minimize severe cases. But, The Wall Street Journal has its own explanation, suggesting lower-than-expected immunization rates as well as fatigue with precautionary measures like masksallowed the highly contagious Delta variant to spread, largely among the unvaccinated, epidemiologists say.

Among missteps, Dr. Abraar Karan, an infectious-diseases doctor at Stanford University, said, public-health officials failed to effectively communicate that the purpose of vaccines is to protect against severe cases of Covid-19 rather than to prevent the spread of infection entirely, which may have led some to doubt the effectiveness of the shots.

CDC has an excuse too, claiming that there was a larger undercount of Covid-19 deaths in 2020, when the disease was newer and a scarcity of tests made confirming some infections difficult.

Deaths remain concentrated in older people (81% of 2020 deaths were among people aged 65 and above, and 69% of the same cohort in 2021).

Still could be worse (and still could be if this latest trend continues in the US).

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Liberal socialist utopias such as California are a blessing for deadbeat klepto hobos from around the world thanks to the state's lack of prosecution of shoplifting, but the same policies are becoming a major headache for nationwide retailers such as Best Buy which this morning reported that despite beating on the top and bottom line (revenues of $11.9 billion vs expectations of $11.7BN, EPS of $2.08, beating est of $1.96), its margins missed, echoing the same margin crunch theme that emerged recently with big box retailers such as Walmart.

Gross margin fell 0.1% to 23.5%, Best Buy said, missing the 23.6% average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg, while the decline in the core U.S. operation was steeper. The company also reported a 10% drop in domestic online revenue as more shoppers returned to stores. 

But besides the usual margin-crushing suspects of frayed supply chains and deep discounts as a result of stepped-up promotional activity and a drag tied to its new TotalTech membership program, the company brought up the reason why Democrats are looking at far more losses in the coming months as a reason for the margin drop: organized theft.

“We are seeing more and more particularly organized retail crime,” Chief Executive Officer Corie Barry said on a conference call with analysts. “You can see that pressure in our financials, and more importantly, frankly, you can see that pressure with our associates. It’s traumatizing.”

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The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse produced a number of immediate changes beyond the custodial status of the 18-year-old himself.

GoFundMe lifted its ban on people contributing to his defense . . . after his defense was over and the verdict was in. Some media outlets finally reported on evidence that supported his self-defense claims and one critic called for “revisiting” the clearly biased reporting in the case.

However, there is one person whose status has not changed: Norfolk Police Officer William Kelly who was fired for simply donating to the Rittenhouse defense fund and writing a supportive note as a private citizen.

He made the comment and donation anonymously.

The only thing more shocking than Kelly’s loss of his job is that Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer and Police Chief Larry Boone have retained theirs

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Russia's Defense Ministry informed China on Tuesday that US strategic bombers recently conducted training exercises which envisioned Russia as a target for nuclear strikes.

Speaking to Chinese Defense Minister and top PLA General Wei Fenghe, Russia's defense chief Sergey Shoigu described that "this month, during US strategic forces exercise Global Thunder, ten strategic bombers practiced the option of using nuclear weapons against Russia almost simultaneously from the Western and Eastern directions."

Crucially he emphasized the threat is ultimately aimed at China too, as "such actions of the US strategic bomber aviation pose a threat not only to Russia but also to China," according to the remarks cited in state media. 

He also informed the PLA chief that "We are witnessing a considerable increase in the US strategic bombers' activity near the Russian borders. Over the past month, they conducted about 30 flights to the borders of the Russian Federation, or 2.5 times more compared to the same period of last year."

The virtual meeting among the defense chiefs came as Washington and some European allies, including officials in Kiev, have charged the Kremlin with a threatening build-up of forces near Ukraine, and after the Biden administration was reported to have briefed the European partners that Russia is "planning an invasion" of eastern Ukraine. 

The militaristic rhetoric has only grown as a result, with US News and World Report describing that tensions are dangerously approaching a breaking point:

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday intervened in former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit against Facebook in order to defend the constitutionality of Section 230, a federal statute derided by both Trump and President Joe Biden.

The plaintiffs in Trump’s lawsuit filed a constitutional question in July as to the legality of Section 230. The federal court handling the case in Florida certified the question to Attorney General Merrick Garland and in late August ordered the DOJ to decide whether to intervene to defend the legality of the statute.

In its filing on Nov. 22, the government noted that the Justice Department “has an unconditional right to intervene to defend the statute” and is intervening “for the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section 230.”

The counsel for Facebook and Trump agreed to the DOJ’s intervention, according to the filing (pdf).

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shields internet companies from liability for good faith removal of “objectionable” content.

On the campaign trail in 2019, Biden told The New York Times that Section 230 should be repealed.

“The idea that it’s a tech company is that Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms,” Biden said in an interview with the Times’ editorial board on Dec. 16, 2019.

“It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false.”

In May this year, Biden revoked a Trump order that had targeted Section 230.

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Goldman's commodities team, which for most of 2021 has been extremely bullish on the price of oil which it sees rising to $90 by year end and remaining higher for years to come, has not been exactly timid in its view on what Biden's SPR release will do to the price of oil: two months ago, when the idea was first floated, Goldman said that an "SPR Sale Would Release Only 60MM Barrels; Will Bring Even Higher Oil Prices", and then, less than a week ago when oil prices tumbled, the bank said that with Brent below $80, "A Biden SPR Release Is Now Fully Priced In And Will Send Oil Price Even Higher In 2022."

Well, Goldman was right, and as we showed today, Brent exploded higher after news of the smaller than expected SPR exchange (not release) finally hit turning sell the rumor into a "buy the news" frenzy.

Not surprisingly, after the dust finally settled, it was time for Goldman's commodity guru Damien Courvalin to take a victory lap and in a note titled "A Drop in the Ocean" (it's all too clear what the title was referencing).

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Thirty-four percent of white college student applicants have lied about their race to admissions officials to better their chances of getting accepted into their desired university or receive better financial aid, according to a survey from Intelligent.

The survey of 1,250 white college applicants ages 16 and older found that the most popular racial claim was Native American. Out of the 34 percent of white college applicants who lied about their race, 77 percent were accepted.

“It’s the easiest lie to tell because you can’t get caught in it,” said Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam, an admissions consultant at SOSAdmissions.com and author of “Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got Into Medical School By Pretending to Be Black.”

“A lot of people, based on very flimsy reasons, claim to be either African-American, Hispanic or Native American because they know it’s going to improve their chances,” Chokal-Ingam said in an interview with The College Fix.

Though lying on college applications is frowned upon, universities typically do not push back on students about their race. Instead, they accept it regardless of what they look like, he said.

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According to reports, 21 House Republicans are siding with the likes of transgender activist groups to make sexual orientation and gender identity a federally protected class under civil rights law.

Yet, with the mounting controversies that have cropped up over the past year regarding the transgender movement, these House Republicans may be alienating their constituents by handing over more power to this ideology’s already forceful ability to silence dissent.

Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah sponsored the Fairness For All Act (FFAA) in 2019, an all-Republican bill that would make sexual orientation and gender identity a federally protected class in exchange for specific “right to discriminate” carve-outs for dissident religious organizations.

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Expect to pay more for some of your favorite cereals, snacks, soups and cooking brands next year.
General Mills (GIS) notified retail customers that it's raising prices in mid-January on hundreds of items across dozens of brands. They include Annie's, Progresso, Yoplait, Fruit Roll-Ups, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charm's, Wheaties, Reese's Puffs, Trix and more, according to letters General Mills sent to at least one major regional wholesale supplier last week. 
 
For some items, prices will go up by around 20% beginning next year.
    The wholesaler shared General Mills' letters with CNN Business on the condition of anonymity to protect the company's relationship with its suppliers. A leader at the company said it plans to push along all of the increases to its grocery and convenience store customers. He expects they will then pass them down to shoppers.
     
     
      A spokesperson for General Mills did not provide a comment for this story.
          If more General Mills' customers — including the leading big box stores, supermarkets, drug stores and other chains in the United States — decide to do the same, these familiar brands will get more expensive for shoppers.
          General Mills' plans are the latest evidence that rising prices won't be going away anytime soon for some of the most recognizable food and household brands. The company is the latest consumer manufacturer to announce price hikes beginning next year, joining Tyson (TSN)Kraft Heinz (KHC)Mondelez (MDLZ)Procter & Gamble (PG)Kimberly Clark(KMB) and others.
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          Obama had the IRS scandal. It targeted 400 conservative groups. Now Biden is hiring 87000 new irs agents.  

          Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Rep. Lauren Boebert teamed up to rip President Joe Biden’s effort to double the staff of the Internal Revenue Service in a bid to crack down on ultra-wealthy tax cheats.

          To put the proposed staffing boost into context, the Colorado Republican compared it to the workforces of Tesla and Apple, which employ 70,000 and 154,000 individuals, respectively.

          “An increase of 87,000 supposedly to monitor the 614 billionaires in America,” she tweeted.

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          Self-reported masculinity is linked to better outcomes in men’s personal and professional lives, based on a March 2021 Institute for Family Studies survey.

          Men who reported themselves as more masculine had healthier weights and higher rates of life satisfaction, according to analysis by the IFS. They were more likely to have attended college, had higher incomes and higher risk tolerance, and reported rarely feeling depressed and a stronger ability to control their emotions.

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          The Biden administration has found a hill that about 10,000 Marines will not climb.

          With a Nov. 28 deadline looming for Marines to comply with a Marine Corps mandate to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, about 10,000 active-duty Marines are not fully vaccinated, according to The Washington Post.

          Although 94 percent of Marine Corps personnel are vaccinated, the rest of those in the service do not have time to complete a vaccination regimen by the deadline.

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          Rents have spiked throughout the country in the last year, but smaller cities have been hit particularly hard.

           

          Topping the list for the highest rental increase for a one-bedroom apartment was Gilbert, Arizona, a town with a population of 267,000, where rent jumped 117% from September 2020 to $1,866 in September 2021, according to an analysis by Apartment Guide.

          Seven of the top 10 cities that experienced the biggest surge in rents for one-bedroom apartments have populations of 300,000 or less.

          Other small cities in the top 10 include Spokane, Washington; St. Petersburg, Florida, Boise, Idaho; Birmingham, Alabama; Irvine, California; and Scottsdale, Arizona.

          While rents continue to rise at a breakneck speed nationally, increasing by 20% from September 2020 to September 2021, renters in the top 10 cities experiencing the biggest rental hikes were shelling out at least 40% more

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          Boosters aren’t add-ons; they’re part of the original regimen. But you don’t have to get boosters to be considered fully vaccinated – or wait, maybe you do? Dr. Anthony Fauci argued that boosters shouldn’t be considered extra at this year’s STAT Summit, where leading figures in science and medicine meet with corporate executives, patient advocates, and government officials. But on Nov. 21, he told ABC’s This Week that the definition of “fully vaccinated” wasn’t being updated to require booster shots – though perhaps it will be in the near future. Meanwhile, in Connecticut and New Mexico, those follow-up shots are well on the way to becoming mandatory. If the man put in charge of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases can’t keep it straight, what hope is there for the average American? Oh, you think you’re good to go? Maybe you are – but for how long?

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          The city of Long Beach, NY faces a major crisis as Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate has caused the only emergency room in the city to shut down.

           

          Even though the facility sees over 70,000 patients per year, Biden’s strict mandate forced the hospital to fire more than 6 dozen healthcare workers over their refusal to get jabbed.

          “I’m very concerned,” said a Long Beach council-member as she held back tears.

           
           
           

          Mt. Sinai South National hospital puts 100% of the blame on the tyrannical vaccine mandates.

          The hospital says they lost 6 dozen healthcare employees today, all unvaccinated workers who had been allowed to stay on the job with religious exemptions. But New York’s department of health withdrew those exemptions as of today, and that created a shortage of ER nurses here,” reported NBC 4 New York.

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          New York trial judge on Tuesday extended a ban keeping the New York Times from publishing some materials concerning Project Veritas, a restriction the newspaper said violated decades of First Amendment protections.

           

          Justice Charles Wood of the Westchester County Supreme Court said his temporary ban imposed on Nov. 18 will run at least until Dec. 1. The judge granted the extension after a 1-3/4-hour hearing in White Plains, which was part of a defamation lawsuit that Project Veritas filed against the Times last year.

           

          Wood said as the hearing began that the case involved a clash between two “bedrock principles” of law: “freedom of the speech and freedom of the press, and attorney-client privilege.”

           

          Project Veritas had been suing over a NY Times article describing a video the group released that showed voter fraud connected to the campaign of Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat.

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          Turkey’s lira crashed to a record low of 13.44 to the dollar on Tuesday, a level once unfathomable and well past what was just last week deemed the “psychological” barrier of 11 to the dollar.

          “Insane where the lira is, but it’s a reflection of the insane monetary policy settings Turkey is currently operating under,” Tim Ash, senior emerging markets strategist at Bluebay Asset Management, said in a note in response to the news.

           

          The lira was trading at 12.7272 to the greenback at 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday, and was down around 15% on the day at one point, according to Reuters.

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          Attorneys for Lake and Trumbull counties in Ohio argued the chains failed to prevent painkillers from spreading throughout the counties, or to stop false prescriptions from being filled, the Wall Street Journal reports

          The counties argued that by enabling the opioid crisis, the pharmacy companies created a public nuisance. Each county said the crisis cost them around $1 billion in costs related to law enforcement, social services and courts. 

           

          As similar cases play out against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, the verdict is being closely watched by attorneys across the country. 

          “For decades, pharmacy chains have watched as the pills flowing out of their doors cause harm and failed to take action as required by law,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys said. “Instead, these companies responded by opening up more locations, flooding communities with pills, and facilitating the flow of opioids into an illegal, secondary market.” 

          Spokespeople for the pharmacies strongly disagreed with the verdict, to no surprise. 

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          CONTENT CREATOR