The Federal Reserve, which has been boosting liquidity since mid-September, injected $104.293 billion to the financial markets on Thursday.
The addition of liquidity came in two parts, with one happening via overnight repurchase agreements totaling $73.593 billion. The other was from a $30.7 billion 13-day repo operation. In both interventions, dealers took less money than the Fed was willing to provide.
The US Central Bank’s market operations are aimed at ensuring that the financial system has enough liquidity, after the short-term funding rate spiked to 10 percent from two percent overnight in September. The effective Fed-funds rate stood within the target rate on Wednesday, at 1.55 percent. The broad general collateral rate for repo trading stood at 1.54 percent.
The Federal Reserve’s practice of adding and subtracting liquidity from short-term markets to manage short-term interest rates goes back decades. However, it is raising concerns among analysts and portfolio managers who claim that the size of recent operations are large and may not be enough to solve lending pressures.
PhD Candidate of Quantum Physics, Heriot-Watt University
Alternative facts are spreading like a virus across society. Now it seems they have even infected science – at least the quantum realm. This may seem counter intuitive. The scientific method is after all founded on the reliable notions of observation, measurement and repeatability. A fact, as established by a measurement, should be objective, such that all observers can agree with it.
But in a paper recently published in Science Advances, we show that, in the micro-world of atoms and particles that is governed by the strange rules of quantum mechanics, two different observers are entitled to their own facts. In other words, according to our best theory of the building blocks of nature itself, facts can actually be subjective.
Observers are powerful players in the quantum world. According to the theory, particles can be in several places or states at once – this is called a superposition. But oddly, this is only the case when they aren’t observed. The second you observe a quantum system, it picks a specific location or state – breaking the superposition. The fact that nature behaves this way has been proven multiple times in the lab – for example, in the famous double slit experiment (see video below).
In 1961, physicist Eugene Wigner proposed a provocative thought experiment. He questioned what would happen when applying quantum mechanics to an observer that is themselves being observed. Imagine that a friend of Wigner tosses a quantum coin – which is in a superposition of both heads and tails – inside a closed laboratory. Every time the friend tosses the coin, they observe a definite outcome. We can say that Wigner’s friend establishes a fact: the result of the coin toss is definitely head or tail.
Wigner doesn’t have access to this fact from the outside, and according to quantum mechanics, must describe the friend and the coin to be in a superposition of all possible outcomes of the experiment. That’s because they are “entangled” – spookily connected so that if you manipulate one you also manipulate the other. Wigner can now in principle verify this superposition using a so-called “interference experiment” – a type of quantum measurement that allows you to unravel the superposition of an entire system, confirming that two objects are entangled.
When Wigner and the friend compare notes later on, the friend will insist they saw definite outcomes for each coin toss. Wigner, however, will disagree whenever he observed friend and coin in a superposition.
This presents a conundrum. The reality perceived by the friend cannot be reconciled with the reality on the outside. Wigner originally didn’t consider this much of a paradox, he argued it would be absurd to describe a conscious observer as a quantum object. However, he later departed from this view, and according to formal textbooks on quantum mechanics, the description is perfectly valid.
The scenario has long remained an interesting thought experiment. But does it reflect reality? Scientifically, there has been little progress on this until very recently, when Časlav Brukner at the University of Vienna showed that, under certain assumptions, Wigner’s idea can be used to formally prove that measurements in quantum mechanics are subjective to observers.
Brukner proposed a way of testing this notion by translating the Wigner’s friend scenario into a framework first established by the physicist John Bell in 1964. Brukner considered two pairs of Wigners and friends, in two separate boxes, conducting measurements on a shared state – inside and outside their respective box. The results can be summed up to ultimately be used to evaluate a so called “Bell inequality”. If this inequality is violated, observers could have alternative facts.
We have now for the first time performed this test experimentally at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh on a small-scale quantum computer made up of three pairs of entangled photons. The first photon pair represents the coins, and the other two are used to perform the coin toss – measuring the polarisation of the photons – inside their respective box. Outside the two boxes, two photons remain on each side that can also be measured.
Despite using state-of-the-art quantum technology, it took weeks to collect sufficient data from just six photons to generate enough statistics. But eventually, we succeeded in showing that quantum mechanics might indeed be incompatible with the assumption of objective facts – we violated the inequality.
The theory, however, is based on a few assumptions. These include that the measurement outcomes are not influenced by signals travelling above light speed and that observers are free to choose what measurements to make. That may or may not be the case.
Another important question is whether single photons can be considered to be observers. In Brukner’s theory proposal, observers do not need to be conscious, they must merely be able to establish facts in the form of a measurement outcome. An inanimate detector would therefore be a valid observer. And textbook quantum mechanics gives us no reason to believe that a detector, which can be made as small as a few atoms, should not be described as a quantum object just like a photon. It may also be possible that standard quantum mechanics does not apply at large length scales, but testing that is a separate problem.
This experiment therefore shows that, at least for local models of quantum mechanics, we need to rethink our notion of objectivity. The facts we experience in our macroscopic world appear to remain safe, but a major question arises over how existing interpretations of quantum mechanics can accommodate subjective facts.
Some physicists see these new developments as bolstering interpretations that allow more than one outcome to occur for an observation, for example the existence of parallel universes in which each outcome happens. Others see it as compelling evidence for intrinsically observer-dependent theories such as Quantum Bayesianism, in which an agent’s actions and experiences are central concerns of the theory. But yet others take this as a strong pointer that perhaps quantum mechanics will break down above certain complexity scales.
Clearly these are all deeply philosophical questions about the fundamental nature of reality. Whatever the answer, an interesting future awaits.
“Morales became a hate-figure for the oligarchs and their business patrons in Washington. His nationalization of the energy industry and his growing trade and investment ties with China and Russia made him a target for regime change for Washington and the multi-millionaires in Bolivia who despised his socialist policies and elevation of indigenous people’s rights.”
With Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales fleeing for his life to Mexico, the Andean country is on the brink of escalating civil strife and a potential take-over by military rulers. Reports of lawmakers belonging to Morales’ socialist party being attacked by riot police and shut out from parliament, where they still hold a majority of seats, raises fears that Bolivia is descending into the anarchy and dark past of former military dictatorships.
It seems stupendous denial to call the tumultuous events in Bolivia over the past week as anything other than a coup against democracy. But that is what Western governments and media are doing. Denying shocking reality.
With street protests by rightwing and neofascist groups mounting over the past three weeks since Morales won re-election on October 20, the military and police finally warned the president to step down. Morales did so on November 10. He said he wanted to “stop the bloodshed.” If that’s not a coup, then what is?
With incredible double-think, US President Donald Trump hailed the news of Morales’ forced resignation as a “great moment for democracy”. Trump’s celebratory remarks were echoed by other rightwing leaders across Latin America, including Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Columbia’s Ivan Duque, both of whom are close allies of Washington and its policy of hostility towards socialist governments in the region – a region which Washington considers its “backyard” and prerogative to intervene in at will under the aegis of the 19th century Monroe Doctrine.
In an unveiled menacing message to other Latin American governments whom Washington disapproves of, Trump said: “These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western hemisphere.”
To the list of Trump’s “illegitimate regimes”, we can add Cuba and the recently elected leftwing administration in Argentina, where Washington’s pro-business ally Mauricio Macri was voted out of office last month.
In many ways what happened in Bolivia was a repeat of Washington’s attempted regime-change operation in Venezuela carried out at the start of this year. An elected leader is smeared by an intensive media campaign as “illegitimate”, “authoritarian” and “undemocratic”. Then follows a campaign of orchestrated street violence to destabilize the targeted country. As usual, the people pulling the strings are connected to US government funding, such as USAID, and to Washington so-called “think-tanks”. In Venezuela’s case, the military remained loyal to the constitution and incumbent President Nicolas Maduro. Hence, US subversion of the oil-rich country seems to have failed. Not so Bolivia. Its military and attachés in Washington appear to have been successfully turned to serve US interests.
At stake are Bolivia’s prodigious natural resources of gas energy and minerals, in particular lithium. President Morales transformed the economy during 14 years of successive administrations to dramatically reduce poverty and increase living standards, especially for the indigenous majority who were previously marginalized by a ruling class descended from Spanish colonialists.
Morales became a hate-figure for the oligarchs and their business patrons in Washington. His nationalization of the energy industry and his growing trade and investment ties with China and Russia made him a target for regime change for Washington and the multi-millionaires in Bolivia who despised his socialist policies and elevation of indigenous people’s rights.
Admittedly, Morales caused controversy when he sought a fourth term as president, thus breaching constitutional term limits. But despite Western media claims and that of the Washington-funded Organization of American States (OAS), it seems Morales decisively won a free and fair election held last month. He won by a margin of 10 per cent ahead of his nearest rival.
We can debate the probity of Morales’ extended would-be fourth term, but what seems quite clear and unacceptable is the systematic US-fomented campaign to throw Bolivia into violent chaos and grossly interfere in the country’s democratic process. The irony of Washington complaining about alleged Russian interference in its elections is amplified by the blatant way the US has trashed the sovereignty of Bolivia to instal a militaristic, pro-oligarchic regime whom it desires for its geopolitical and economic objectives.
Amazingly, or perhaps not, the Western media have reacted to the sinister events in Bolivia with an attempt to whitewash and justify what is an egregious subversion.
A New York Times headline this week stated: “Bolivia’s Interim Leader Pledges to ‘Reconstruct Democracy’”. This is a reference to a pro-Washington opposition figure who has appointed a new cabinet.
The Washington Post in an editorial declared: “Bolivia is in danger of slipping into anarchy. It’s Evo Morales’ fault.
A curious distraction opinion piece by Leonid Bershidsky for Bloomberg made the convoluted analogy between Bolivia and Russia, contending that the Russian people and its military will eventually turn against President Vladimir Putin because of his allegedly similar “arbitrary rule.”
It is disgraceful that Western media should seek to cover-up what has happened in Bolivia. By denying that a coup took place, these media are complicit in giving Washington a license to attack or subvert other nations for regime change. Where is international law? Where is respect for sovereignty? Where is respect for democratic rights, peace and security? This is a green light of creeping fascism.
Here’s the crowning irony for Trump and the American corporate media. They can’t, or won’t, acknowledge illegal regime change and coups in Bolivia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria or elsewhere. Because the very same process of subversion is underway in the US itself against an elected president there.
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
I just keep tripping on how dumb this latest US-backed military coup is. It’s in Bolivia in case you’ve lost track, which would be perfectly understandable since US-backed coups have become kind of like US mass shootings — there’s so many of them they’re starting to blend into each other.
I mean, for starters the justifications for this one are so cartoonishly reachy and desperate it boggles the mind a bit. The main argument you’ll see in favor of the coup is that Evo Morales was elected after Bolivia’s high court ruled that he could run for a fourth term, but the (democratically elected) court ruled against a 2016 referendum on presidential term limits.
That’s it. That weird, pedantic appeal to a particular interpretation of bureaucratic technicalities is the whole entire argument in support of a literal military coup backed by the United States.
And make no mistake, that’s exactly what this was: the military ousting a government is precisely the thing that a coup is. The coup’s Christian fascist leader Luis Fernando Camacho openly tweeted that the military was actively pursuing Morales’ arrest prior to the ousted leader’s escape to Mexico, a tweet he later deleted presumably because the admission makes it much harder to call this military coup anything other than the thing that it is. The Grayzone has published an article documenting this coup’s many ties to Washington. Put it all together, and you’ve got a US-backed military coup.
So the only actual argument really boils down to “Well he ran for another term, and yeah he won, and yeah the democratically elected high court ruled he could run again, but a loud and violent minority of Bolivians don’t want him to be president. What choice do you have in such circumstances other than to support a literal military coup?”
Which is just so crazy. That’s how low the bar has sunk for supporting the toppling of a government today. They don’t have to claim he’s starving his own people. They don’t have to claim that he’s using chemical weapons. They don’t have to claim that he’s governing without the consent of the voting populace. Just “Yeah well some of us don’t like him and there’s some paperwork we disagree on.”
I mean really, how much lower can the bar get for when a US-backed military coup is justified? “Oh, that government needed to be toppled because the leader got a parking ticket once”? “Well the president wore white after Labor Day, and that’s a fashion atrocity”?
It’s absolutely amazing how many people all across the political spectrum have been sucked in by this ridiculousness. How lost do you have to be to believe that this US-backed military coup is different from all the others? How many times is Charlie Brown going to run up and try to kick Lucy’s football?
That bitch is never gonna let you kick that goddamn football, Charlie Brown. And this US-backed military coup isn’t going to be any more moral, legal or beneficial than all the others.
The so-called War on Terror launched by the United States government in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost at least 801,000 lives and $6.4 trillion according to a pair of reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
“These reports provide a reminder that even if fewer soldiers are dying and the U.S. is spending a little less on the immediate costs of war today, the financial impact is still as bad as, or worse than, it was 10 years ago,” Lutz added. “We will still be paying the bill for these wars on terror into the 22nd century.”
The new Human Cost of Post-9/11 Warsreport (pdf) tallies “direct deaths” in major war zones, grouping people by civilians; humanitarian and NGO workers; journalists and media workers; U.S. military members, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors; and members of national military and police forces as well as other allied troops and opposition fighters.
The report sorts direct deaths by six categories: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria/ISIS, Yemen, and “Other.” The civilian death toll across all regions is up to 335,745—or nearly 42% of the total figure. Notably, the report “does not include indirect deaths, namely those caused by loss of access to food, water, and/or infrastructure, war-related disease, etc.”
Indirect deaths “are generally estimated to be four times higher,” Costs of War board member and American University professor David Vine wrote in an op-ed for The Hill Wednesday. “This means that total deaths during the post-2001 U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen is likely to reach 3.1 million or more—around 200 times the number of U.S. dead.”
Reckoning with the costs of war: It’s time to take responsibility – @thehill cites new Costs of War report released today on the human costs of the post-9/11 wars. https://t.co/x2TUPI6yK8
“Don’t we have a responsibility to wrestle with our individual and collective responsibility for the destruction our government has inflicted?” Vine asked in his op-ed. “Our tax dollars and implied consent have made these wars possible. While the United States is obviously not the only actor responsible for the damage done in the post-2001 wars, U.S. leaders bear the bulk of responsibility for launching catastrophic wars that were never inevitable, that were wars of choice.”
“At a time when everyone from Donald Trump to Democratic Party candidates for president is calling for an end to these endless wars, we must push our government to use diplomacy—rather than rash withdrawals, as in northern Syria—to end these wars responsibly,” he concluded. “As the new Costs of War report and 3.1 million deaths should remind us, part of our responsibility must be to repair some of the immeasurable damage done and to ensure that wars like these never happen again.”
The project’s $6.4 trillion figure accounts for overseas contingency operations appropriations, interest for borrowing for OCO spending, war-related spending in the Pentagon’s base budget, medical and disability care for post-9/11 veterans (including estimated future obligations through FY2059), and Department of Homeland Security spending for prevention of and response to terrorism.
Costs of War co-director and Boston University professor Neta Crawford co-authored the project’s death toll report and authored the budget report. For the latter, she wrote that “the major trends in the budgetary costs of the post-9/11 wars include: less transparency in reporting costs among most major agencies; greater institutionalization of the costs of war in the DOD base budget, State Department, and DHS; and the growing budgetary burden of veterans’ medical care and disability care.”
Both reports were released as part of the project’s new “20 Years of War” series. Crawford, Lutz, and fellow Costs of War co-director Stephanie Savell were in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to present the reports’ findings at a briefing hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.
“The 800,000 figure is very conservative.” Catherine Lutz on the human costs of war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere, in a briefing in the Senate Armed Services Committee room
“We have already seen that when we go to Washington and circulate our briefings, they get used in the policymaking process,” Lutz said in a news story published by Brown Wednesday. “People cite our data in speeches on the Senate floor, in proposals for legislation. The numbers have made their way into calls to put an end to the joint resolution to authorize the use of military force. They have real impact.”
Lutz pointed out that “if you count all parts of the federal budget that are military-related—including the nuclear weapons budget, the budget for fuel for military vehicles and aircraft, funds for veteran care—it makes up two-thirds of the federal budget, and it’s inching toward three-quarters.”
“I don’t think most people realize that, but it’s important to know,” she added. “Policymakers are concerned that the Pentagon’s increased spending is crowding out other national purposes that aren’t war.”
About the Author
Jessica Corbett is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow her on Twitter: @corbett_jessica.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is obvious censorship. YouTube is planning to silence those who disagree with the political/ruling class and have taken sides. Speaking truth to power is now borderline criminal. The censorship continues…
Content creators everywhere are starting to panic about an upcoming policy change over at YouTube that threatens to eliminate all accounts and channels on the Google-owned video platform that are deemed to no longer be “commercially viable.”
In the “Account Suspension & Termination” section of YouTube’s “Terminations by YouTube for Service Changes,” guidelines, the company explains that, as of December 10, 2019, “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service, if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”
In other words, if you have a YouTube channel that YouTube employees decide isn’t profitable enough for Google, then the company has now granted itself the option to completely shut down your account without warning or consequence.
What this means is that YouTube content creators who’ve built their entire livelihoods around the platform are going to need a backup option in the event that they end up being terminated. One such option is Brighteon.com, which you can sign up for here.
It also means that YouTube has created for itself yet another legal loophole to continue targeting channels that disseminate politically incorrect content, which YouTube has been trying to silence from its platform for at least the past several years.
In essence, YouTube now has a blanket excuse to pull down all channels that it wants to see eliminated by simply claiming that these channels are no longer profitable. And there will likely be no way for targeted YouTube users to prove otherwise.
According to YouTube, these changes merely make the company’s Terms of Service “clearer and easier to understand.” But for most people carefully observing what’s going on, the obvious reality is that YouTube is once again up to no good.
“The terms could be a way for YouTube to remove channels that promote hate speech, conspiracy theories, or harmful messages whose content isn’t extreme enough to warrant an outright ban, as these are unlikely to be commercially viable,” writes Rob Thubron for Techspot, illustrating this point.
“But if this is the case, it needs to be clearly explained,” he adds.
For more related news about Big Tech’s plot to subvert online free speech, be sure to check out Censorship.news.
ALL YOUTUBE HAS TO DO NOW TO SILENCE FREE SPEECH IS DEMONETIZE CHANNELS IT DOESN’T LIKE AND FORCE THEM INTO COMMERCIAL NON-VIABILITY
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what YouTube is planning to do once this policy change comes into full effect.
We already know that many conservative-leaning YouTube channels have been demonetized by YouTube with the goal of driving them out of business. However, thanks to workarounds like Patreon, many of these channels are still up and running, despite YouTube’s best efforts to financially destroy them.
Since mere demonetization hasn’t led to the outcome that YouTube hoped for, the Google-owned video platform is now making “commercial viability,” as arbitrarily defined by YouTube, a new requirement to maintain a presence on YouTube.
If you’re a YouTube creator or know someone who is, let this be the writing on the wall as to what’s coming in less than a month. YouTube wants total control over everything that happens on its platform, just like its parent company Google wants over its search engine platform.
“Just another backdoor attempt at censorship and traffic steering,” wrote one Techspot commenter in response to the news.
“In a few years, YouTube will only allow creators that have a minimum of 100K followers within 90 days of launch and they’ll have to be a member of the local communist party.”
Exercise your free speech, without commercial censorship, at Brighteon.com.
Melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer. It is most likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. For this reason, it is considered a serious and life-threatening cancer. Although it is only responsible for about one percent of all skin cancers, metastatic melanoma is the leading cause of death by skin cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS estimates that approximately more than 96,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma, while over 7,200 people will die due to skin cancer this year in the U.S. (Related: Melanoma (skin cancer) found to be easily prevented with low-cost Vitamin B-3.)
The researchers identified 11 bacterial strains that activated the immune system and hampered the growth of melanoma in mice. Moreover, they found a signaling pathway that maintains protein health called unfolded protein response (UPR) as a primary link between the gut bacteria and the immune system’s ability to fight tumors.
The team found that UPR activity was lower in people with melanoma whose cancer was responsive to immune checkpoint therapy. They suggested that UPR activity is a potential marker for identifying people with melanoma who have a higher chance of benefiting from immune checkpoint therapy. Immunotherapy is a general term for treating diseases by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response.
Gut microbiota is important for the immune system’s ability to fight off tumors
For this study, the researchers examined mice that lack the RING finger protein 5 (RNF5), which aids cells in removing incorrectly folded or damaged proteins. They found that mice that lack RNF5 were able to suppress the growth of melanoma tumors, given that they had an intact immune system and gut microbiome.
However, the mice that had RNF5, or were treated with antibiotics, lost their ability to fight melanoma tumors. This suggested that gut bacteria play an important role in the immune system’s ability to fight tumors. In addition, this also confirmed that antibiotics negatively affect gut microbes.
Further tests demonstrated the involvement of several components of the immune system in the gut. The reduction in UPR in immune and gut cells was also enough to trigger immune cells.
With the use of advanced techniques, the researchers also discovered that the RNF5-lacking mice had bigger populations of 11 strains of bacteria. These strains also activated an anti-tumor response and decreased the growth of melanoma tumors when they were transplanted to germ-free mice.
To verify that the results were relevant in human disease, the researchers conducted a final set of tests in which they collected tissue samples from three groups of people with melanoma who then received treatment with checkpoint inhibitors.
Based on the results of these tests, the researchers confirmed that reduced response to treatment correlated with levels of UPR components. This indicated that these could be used as potential biomarkers to predict who would be most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.
The next step for the researchers is to identify the cancer-fighting metabolites that gut bacteria produce. They plan to test these metabolites to measure their ability to enhance anti-tumor immunity and to determine which probiotics might boost their cancer-fighting effects.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone