Boris Johnson Brexit

Brexit — The Transition Period

Friday, January 31st, is a Brexit Day. At 11:01 P.M. GMT, the UK — under the leadership of prime minister Boris Johnson — formally leaves the European Union and immediately enters an 11-month transition period.

Immediate changes.

Not so good.

On Wednesday (01/29/20), the European Parliament voted in Brussels to ratify the withdrawal agreement that governs Britain’s departure from the European Union. During the transition, the United Kingdom will continue to obey European Union rules and pay money to the EU coffers but:

  • Because the UK will leave all of the EU’s political institutions and agencies, the Britons will lose any influence over how things are run in the EU. At the same time, the European Court of Justice will continue to have the final say over legal disputes in the UK.
  • British will also no longer attend regular EU meetings, and if Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to attend any EU Council summits, he will have to be specially invited.
  • Germany won’t extradite its citizens to the UK (Germany’s constitution does not allow its citizens to be extradited unless it’s to another EU country). Still, The European Arrest Warrant will continue to apply during the transition period. (That means Germany will be able to extradite non-German citizens from UK.)

Immediate change.

Pretty good.

On a better note, the UK will be allowed to negotiate trade agreements with countries like the US and Australia, which as an EU member it could not do. (Brexit supporters believe that having the freedom to set its trade policy will boost the UK’s economy.) Still, trade between the UK and EU will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced.

No Immediate changes.

Leave it alone. No complaints.

If it comes to things like travel, the way medical care is handled, and rules governing living and working in EU countries, no changes are anticipated during the transition period.

  • Driving licenses will be honored.
  • European Health Insurance Card will continue to be valid.
  • UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive their state pension.

So, the life of ordinary British citizens living in the EU is not going to face any drastic change. At least till December 31st.

The last thought.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hail the “dawn of a new era” on Friday, as the UK will leave the European Union.

The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks, and the curtain goes up on a new act. It is a moment of real national renewal and change.

Boris Johnson

Over the next 11 months, the world will closely monitor Europe’s second-largest economy, breaking ties with the Union. If the process runs relatively painless and will create a positive impact on the British economy, no one should be surprised when some other EU member will realize that maybe breaking out of the pack is not such a bad idea.

Good luck to all Britons. I wish you the best.

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Coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS Outbreak In Wuhan, China

Notwithstanding the rising number of coronavirus cases and the dozens of deaths, public health experts say there is no ground for panic. The common flu kills approximately 35,000 people a year and hospitalizes about 200,000 in the United States alone.

Hopefully, the experts are right, and there’s no reason to grab family and friends and move to Mohave Desert. At least, not yet. On the other hand, I don’t think we should wait for the death-toll of the newest coronavirus to reach 35,000 before we start to worry. So, to all ladies and gentlemen wearing lab coats: Step on it!


COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC TRACKER

I decided to drop the Johns Hopkins corona tracker and switch to Worldometer’s COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC tracker. It’s not as good looking as the one from Johns Hopkins but provides more information.

  • Currently Infected Patients (Active Cases)
  • Patients in Mild Condition
  • Patients in Serious or Critical Condition
  • Closed Cases (Recovered / Discharged and Deaths)

Data on testing at The COVID Tracking Project. (US totals and state by state numbers.)

It’s also a good idea to read this article: Evidence over hysteria — COVID-19. (It looks like this post was taken down by Medium. Will see if it come back.) The material is still on at this location.

If you rather use tracker from Johns Hopkins, use this link. Remember, however, that in order to get the number of people presently infected (active cases) you must subtract “Total Deaths” and “Total Recovered” from “Total Confirmed”.


Dr. Chris Martenson on coronavirus outbreak:

His approach is a little scary.

Published on Jan 24, 2020

Published on Jan 25, 2020

Sarah Boseley on coronavirus outbreak:

She represents a more calm look at the outbreak

Published on Jan 23, 2020

Previous outbreaks of coronaviruses.

  • In 2002 Sars (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) spread virtually unchecked to 37 countries, creating global panic, infecting more than 8,000 people, and killing more than 750 (lethality close to 10%).
  • Mers (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome), first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 seems to be less easily passed from human to human, but had greater lethality, killing 35% of about 2,500 people who have been infected.

So far lethality of the newest string of coronavirus is floating around 2-3%. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use, and recovery depends on the strength of a patient’s immune system. Many of those who have died had pre-existing health problems.

Researchers are working in overdrive, trying to come up with the vaccine to the new deadly virus. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expecting to begin human trials for a potential vaccine in three months. In 2003, the agency took 20 months to move from gene sequencing to human vaccine trials for the SARS virus. Hopefully, this time it will not take that long.

Q and A

Graphics by WHO.

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

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Rudy Giuliani On His Ukrainian Investigation

Rudy Giuliani visits Fox and Friends to talk about the results of his investigation of corruption in Ukraine involving former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Giuliani looks exceptionally ticked off when talking about his findings concerning the involvement of high level US government officials in Ukraine corruption.

I can’t sit by and watch my country be sold out by Joe Biden.

Rudy had a lot to say, and it wasn’t easy to interrupt him. During his ten plus minutes, he did most of the talking and managed to get his point across quite clearly. In response, the mainstream media accuse him of pushing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about the former vice president. Time will tell who is right. Hopefully, sooner than later.

Rudy Giuliani

On Fox and Friends.

Published on Jan 24, 2020

From the interview on Fox and Friends:
Rudy Giuliani expresses his opinion on the ongoing Trump impeachment trial in US Senate.

It’s a total waste of money. It’s a complete show on the part of the democrats. And they should be sued for conspiracy to defraud the United States, and they should pay for that hearing.

Rudy Giuliani

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President Trump Speaks To Maria Bartiromo

President Trump Speaks To Maria Bartiromo Of Fox Business

While attending the Davos Conference, President Trump managed to cut twenty minutes out of his busy schedule to sat down for an interview with Fox Business Maria Bartiromo.

President Trump’s interview consisted of a wide range of topics from trade, economics, and impeachment disaster, through Virginia’s battle with the Second Amendment rights, to some current less significant events.

Donald Trump Speaks

To Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business.

Published on Jan 22, 2020

From the president’s interview with Maria Bartiromo:
Pres. Trump expresses his opinion on Democrats in Congress.

These people are crazy; they have gone totally nuts.
Mcconnell, they say things about him with Russia…
Jill Stein, I don’t know Jill Stein, green party, they say Jill Stein Is an agent of Russia.
Then they said Tulsi Gabbard, I don’t know her, but I know one thing she isn’t an agent of Russia, but they said she was an agent of Russia.
That’s what they said about me.
These people are crazy, they have gone nuts, and they’ve gone far left, and Nancy is a woman who I call her nervous Nancy for a reason, she doesn’t know what the hell is happening…

Donald Trump

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Second-Amendment-Rally-Virginia

Second Amendment Rally In Richmond, Virginia

Capitol Police estimate 22,000 attended Second Amendment Lobby Day rally in Virginia Capitol.

By State Police estimation, 6,000 people were allowed into a fenced-in area of Capitol Square, and another 16,000 were outside the gates.

Gov. Ralph Northam, for fear of a repetition of the Charlottesville tragedy, declared a temporary state of emergency last week to ban open and concealed firearms and other weapons from the state capitol grounds. The people, however, ware peaceful, and there were no reports of violence.

In the end, Governor released a statement expressing his satisfaction with the course of the day saying that the rally

Showed that when people disagree, they can do so peacefully.

And the House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert thanked the people who rallied at the Virginia State Capitol for attending

Peaceful, respectful, and orderly

Gathering with no arrests and no injuries. He also mentioned that after over 20,000 people left the area; there was no trash left behind. Unlike after climate change protest in NYC (and many other places), the defenders of the Second Amendment left state capitol grounds cleaner than they found it.

Massive rally + no problems = success, right?

It depends on who do you ask.

For some inexplicable reason (a little sarcasm here), our mainstream media (aka fake news) had spent lots of time and energy presenting a peaceful gathering of law-abiding citizens as an assembly of crazy, filled with rage, far-right white separatists ready to attack anyone who doesn’t share their point of view.

And when the peaceful gathering of peaceful people came to a peaceful end, and none of those “far-right extremists,” “supremacists” and “white nationalists” erupted with violence as expected, all the talking heads on television looked sad and disappointed.

Sad and disappointed because they did their best cheering for confrontation, and despite their best efforts, nothing happened.

Curtis Houck created an excellent compilation of “news” men and women pushing their dreams of violence on their viewers.

The last thought.

Second Amendment Lobby Day rally in Richmond, Virginia, proved that law-abiding citizens comply with the law regardless of whether they are armed or not.

The mainstream media could not understand why such a vast gathering of (heavily) armed people not only did not end in multiple mass shootings but even without one incident that could be classified as illegal.

It appears to me that members of anty-gun lobby find it severely challenging to understand that there are two fundamentally different gun cultures in the US of A. One composed of the freedom-loving, pro-gun-rights individuals that support the responsible use of firearms for hunting, sport, and self-defense. The second consists of criminals, which thrive in areas where the government limits or already eliminated gun rights of its citizens.

For some strange reason, the “anti-gun community” keeps confusing the responsible, law-abiding gun owners with that second group I’ve just mentioned – criminals. They attack the first group and defend the other…

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Palmer Luckey of Anduril

Palmer Luckey: Different Kind Of Defense Contractor

Palmer Luckey is the founder and chief technology officer of a defense tech startup — Anduril Industries. The company, launched in 2017, is creating products he says, the United States needs as a matter of national security.

Anduril (The Flame of the West) has built surveillance systems for the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the U.K. Royal Marines. The company is now adding a drone-destroying capability to its product line, which earned them a contract to deploy its interceptor system in conflict zones overseas.

Luckey doesn’t view his company as a defense contractor. He describes it as a defense technology company. Anduril doesn’t use government financing (otherwise known as taxpayer money) to design/create its products.

We started Anduril to disrupt an antiquated approach to defense; and, in doing so, save lives, save taxpayer money, and make the military-industrial complex way less complex.

The company uses its own resources to develop a fully functional system and then present it to the Department of Defense or other government agencies. This approach exposes the company to a higher level of financial risk, but, on the other hand, elimination of the hustle of dealing with government bureaucracy speeds up the development of new products.

Palmer Luckey talks to Laurie Segall.

Published on Jan 09, 2020

Read Silicon Valley should stop ostracizing the military by Palmer Luckey ((Anduril Industries’ founder and chief technology officer) and Trae Stephens (Anduril Industries’ chairman)

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Steve Bannon Talks to Maria Bartiromo On Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures

Former White House Chief Strategist — Steve Bannon, joins Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to discuss growing support for democracy throughout the World and connection of the freedom movement to the impeachment bid against President Trump.

People around the World see Pres. Trump fighting against establishment and winning. They see the United States getting stronger economically and militarily. They see Donald Trump’s policies working as intended.

Seeing Trump pushing back and succeeding encourages others to do the same. Events in Hong Kong and Iran are just two good examples. People now know that it is possible to fight the political aristocracy and win — It gives them hope.

President Trump also doesn’t shy from voicing his support for Iranian and Hong Kong uprisings. He makes sure that they know that he’s watching. By now, people know that Donald Trump means what he says and when he tweeted to the leaders of Iran:

DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!

It’s clear for the Iranian “government” that killing protesters is not a good idea — unless they’re O.K. with a concept of being reduced to a pile of rubbish decorated with some jewelry.

Sunday Morning Futures.

Steve Bannon talks to Maria Bartiromo.

Published on Jan 12, 2020

This is the crime of the century. This was an attempted coup on a sitting president, a sitting president who turned out to be right.
You know who says he’s right?
The kids in Tehran the, the kids in Beirut — They’re in the streets trying to throw off Hezbollah.
The kids in Hong Kong — They’re taking being gassed and taking rubber bullets.
The voters in Taipei, who yesterday throughout the Chinese Communist Party, with a landslide.
All wave an American flag, and all have signs of Donald Trump being a superhero on the streets of the World. The people that want the freedom of democracy against these dictators that Trump said no more appeasement. I’m going to confront this, I’m going to confront it, and we’re going to stop it on my watch.

Steve Bannon

From Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.

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Iran Admits Shooting Down Ukrainian Airliner Blaming Human Error

Why Iran did not ground all commercial flights on Wednesday after it fired dozen+ ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed.

Maybe they expected immediate massive retaliation by U.S. forces and planned to use the confusion to shoot down a civilian plane, not necessarily flight 752, and blame that on American missiles. Unfortunately for Iran, there was no retaliation.

I agree with Iran’s official explanation. It looks like human error — someone pressed the launch button too early and 176 souls have perished…

You have a very hot, contested, busy airspace over Iran. Everybody is on a heightened level of alert, concern; there’s a lot of chaos. And they have commercial flights still leaving the Tehran airport, which I think is just amazingly irresponsible.

Maj. Gen. James Marks – Retired

Profound regrets?

Really?

After it became clear that Ukrainian airliner was destroyed by Iranian missile, Iran’s foreign minister — Javad Zarif, issued one of those “yes we did it but…” kind of apologies.

According to Javad Zarif

“U.S. adventurism led to disaster.”

Let’s review…

  • When the U.S. eliminated Qassem Soleimani as a response to American contractor — Nawres Hamid — being killed in a rocket attack launched by Iran, there was no collateral damage. Only intended targets where killed. It was a perfectly planned and executed military operation.
  • When Iran decided to get even, they “accidentally” murdered 176 innocent people due to “human error.”

So. there’s no doubt in Zarif’s mind that the U.S. is run by a bunch of irresponsible adventurers with Donald Trump at the helm. On another hand, Iran is led by a group of distinguished gentlemen who mine their own business and don’t bother anyone until someone pushes them really, really hard.

Interestingly enough, some people here in America agree with this point of view…

The last (scary) thought.

The scary thing is that we have many people in the United States (including in the US Congress) who think of America as the source of all problems on the planet and will do everything in their power to make sure that our impact on the world is as insignificant, as possible.

The hatred of America, which many people, who owe everything they possess, to freedom and opportunities that exist in this country, carry in their hearts, had always puzzled me.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Index Breaks 29,000 First Time Ever!!!

On Friday (01/10/2020), the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly crossed the 29,000 milestone, before turning lower.

The index closed lower mainly to shares of Boeing, which slipped 1.9% and profit-taking from nice gains that have taken place. Over the last three months, the Dow has risen 8.8% (20% over the past 12 months). I wonder if my wild prediction will become a reality.

Larry Kudlow is the boss!

Coincidentally the Dow hit a new all-time high during FOX Business Network interview with National Economic Council Director — Larry Kudlow.

Larry made sure that he does not believe that Dow hitting 29 K has anything to do with his appearance on Fox.

Published by Fox Business on Jan 10, 2020


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Ricky Gervais To Gliteraties at Golden Globe Awards: Thank Your Agent and Your God and F**k Off.

Ricky Gervais made lots of enemies among famous and powerful of show business by lecturing them on how insignificant their opinions are to the rest of the population, specifically those of us chained to reality.

On the other hand, “we the people” loved it…

USA Today described Ricky’s performance as:

Lackluster, lazy parade of jokes.

Decide for yourself. Watch the video.

Published on Jan 5, 2020

If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech,” Gervais said on the ceremony aired by NBC. “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God and f**k off, OK? 

Ricky Gervais

From Gervais’ monologue at Golden Globe awards.

Gervais is making a killing on social media. By explaining to the lords of self-importance, that very few people give a damn about what Hollywood aristocracy believes is the proper approach to life, he became a hero to “regular” people.

As the time of this post, the video of Gervais’ speech had been viewed:

  • On YouTube by:
    10.4 million viewers. (All other clips from the event combined — a little over 5 million). Number 1 On Trending.
  • On Twitter by:
    9.6 million users. ( All other clips from the event combined — a little over 4 million)

The next day, reacting to the spectacular recognition of his performance, Ricky tweeted:

The last thought.

The funniest part about all the jokes was that he wasn’t joking. He was stating facts. One fact after another and then the reactions of all those super-important Hollywood greats to what Ricky Gervais was saying, worked amazingly as punchlines to his statements creating brutally funny jokes.

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