Bubble indemnity: Big Pharma firms will NOT be held accountable for side effects of Covid vaccine


01-08-20 08:24:00,

By Peter Andrews, Irish science journalist and writer based in London. He has a background in the life sciences, and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in genetics.

A senior executive for pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has confirmed that his company cannot face legal action for any potential side effects caused by its Covid vaccine. Those affected will have no legal recourse.

AstraZeneca is one of 25 pharmaceutical companies worldwide already testing their Covid vaccines on humans, in preparation for injecting hundreds of millions of people. These are flush times for Britain’s largest pharmaceutical company, worth something in the order of £70 million. They have just reported bumper profits of $12.6 billion in the last six months alone.

But despite its healthy balance sheet, AstraZeneca is unwilling to be held responsible for any potential side effects of its ‘hopeful’ vaccine candidate. In other words, the company is completely protected, or indemnified, against lawsuits from people who are injected with their vaccine and experience negative effects, regardless of how severe or long-lasting they are.

The firm’s lawyers have demanded that clauses to that effect be put in their contracts with the countries AstraZeneca has agreed to supply with its Covid vaccine. The company says that, without such guarantees of indemnity, they would not be incentivised to produce the drug. And it seems most of the countries have ceded to this demand.

Done in the national interest?

Ruud Dobber, a senior AstraZeneca executive, told Reuters “In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk on their shoulders because it is in their national interest’’. For “national interest,” read “government interest.” Whether what is happening is good for the actual people of vaccinated countries is, to put it very mildly, an open question.

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Dobber refused to name the countries which have placed orders for the firm’s vaccine, although many major western democracies are likely to be on the list.

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The Everything Bubble, Fictitious Capital, & COVID-19


24-03-20 09:14:00,

Authored by Frank Lee via Off-Guardian.org,

The years since the 1970s are unprecedented in terms of their volatility in the price of commodities, currencies, real estate and stocks. There have been 4 waves of financial crises: a large number of banks in three, four or more countries collapsed at about the same time. Each wave was followed by a recession, and the economic slowdown which began in 2008 was the most severe and most global since the great depression of the 1930s.”

Manias, Crashes and Panics – Kindelberger and Aliber

Interestingly enough 1971 was the year when Nixon took the world off the gold standard, which had been in effect since 1944. Fiat-bugs please note.

More to the point, however. Booms and busts have always been normal in a capitalist economy. But in recent years this has been a feature which has been exacerbated by and involves that part of the economy indicated by the acronym FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) and its growing importance in the economy in both qualitative and quantitative terms.

Financialisation is a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes. Financialisation transforms the functioning of economic systems at both the macro and micro levels. Its principal impacts are to:

  1. elevate the significance of the financial rent-seeking sector relative to the real value-producing sector

  2. transfer income from the real value-producing sector to the financial sector

  3. increase income inequality and contribute to wage stagnation

Since 1970 this part of the economy has grown from almost nothing to 8% of US Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This means that one dollar in every ten is associated with finance. In terms of corporate profits finance’s contribution now represents around 40% of all corporate profits in the US. This is a significant figure and, moreover it does not include those overseas earnings of companies whose profits are repatriated to their countries of origin.

Thus, the increasing presence and role of finance in overall economic activity and the increase of profits channelled to the financial sector represent the salient indicators as to what has been termed financialization.

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The Corporate Debt Bubble Is A Train Wreck In Slow Motion – Activist Post


23-01-20 10:41:00,

By Brandon Smith

There are two subjects that the mainstream media seems specifically determined to avoid discussing these days when it comes to the economy – the first is the problem of falling global demand for goods and services; they absolutely refuse to acknowledge the fact that demand is going stagnant and will conjure all kinds of rationalizations to distract from the issue. The other subject is the debt bubble, the corporate debt bubble in particular.

These two factors alone guarantee a massive shock to the global economy and the US economy are built into the system, but I believe corporate debt is the key pillar of the false economy.  It has been utilized time and time again to keep the Everything Bubble from completely deflating; however, the fundamentals are starting to catch up to the fantasy.

For example, in terms of stock markets, which are now meaningless as an indicator of the health of the real economy, corporate stock buybacks have been the single most vital mechanism for inflation. Corporations buy their own stocks, often using cash borrowed from each other and from the Federal Reserve, in order to reduce the number of shares on the market and artificially boost the value of the remaining shares. This process is essentially legal manipulation of equities, and to be sure, it has been effective so far at keeping markets elevated.

The problem is that these same corporations are taking on more and more debt through interest payments in order to maintain the facade. Over the period of a decade, corporate debt has skyrocketed back to levels not seen since 2007, just before the credit crisis. The official corporate debt load now stands at over $10 trillion, and that’s not even counting derivatives exposure.  According to the Bank for International Settlements, the amount of derivatives still held by corporations stands at around $544 trillion in notional value (theoretical value), while the current market value is only around $10 trillion.  This is a massive discrepancy that can only lead to disaster.

In terms of debt-to-GDP, the credit cycle peak has spiked beyond any other peak in the past 40 years.

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“The Bubble Is Starting To Burst” For Online Social Media Influencers


21-10-19 04:19:00,

One of the first brands to ever use social media influencers for advertising, Ipsy, is again leading the way – but this time, in pulling back from social media, according to the Wall Street Journal

Brands like Ipsy are left questioning whether or not the advertising is worth it, since they have no way to measure sales or verify how many people see ads. Influencer advertising and sponsored content, meanwhile, has become the equivalent of a 30 second TV spot, with big name stars getting as much as $100,000 or more for a single ad. 

But now there is an air of deceit over the marketplace, as many influencers have inflated their follower counts by buying fake followers by the thousands. Influencers have also damaged their credibility with their followers by promoting products that they don’t use. 

JaLynn Evans, a 19-year-old student at Virginia Commonwealth University said:

 “All these paid posts make you question whether influencers are genuine or just doing it for the money.”

We hate the disappoint you, JaLynn, but you’re probably not going to like the answer…

This loss of trust has undermined the power of influencers. Marcelo Camberos, Ipsy’s chief executive said: “Have they peaked? I don’t know.”

And it’s also difficult to track how well influencer ads perform. One way to track, monitoring the number of “likes” a post generates as a percentage of the account’s followers, is showing that engagement is waning. 

Anders Ankarlid, chief executive of online stationery retailer A Good Company, said: “Consumers can see if someone honestly cares about a product or whether they are just trying to push it. The bubble is starting to burst.”

But advertisers can’t ignore social media outright. Instagram has 1 billion monthly users and it is estimated that companies will spend $4.1 billion and $8.2 billion globally on influencers in 2019. This is up from $500 million in 2015, but still just a fraction of the $624.2 billion in total that companies will spend on advertising this year. 

Walmart began adding influencer posts to its website this year and last year, Unilever warned that fraud “undercut the power of influencers”

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Bubble 3.0: No Way Out


27-02-19 09:10:00,

Authored by David Hay via Evergreen Gavekal blog,

“We’re paddling against the current in trying to sustain public faith in the Fed.”

–Federal Reserve Chairman JEROME (JAY) POWELL

“The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s key rate-setting entity) is in panic mode now, facing the Frankenstein monster balance sheet it has created. The FOMC has come to the realization that it cannot unwind it.”

–Jones Trading’s chief strategist MIKE O’ROURKE

“The Fed today is as much a prisoner of the market as the market today is a prisoner of the Fed.”

–Epsilon Theory’s BEN HUNT

“Big hat, no cattle”. “All sizzle, no steak”. “Talks a good game”. Those and other popular sound-bites are meant to refer to someone who is, to use another colloquialism, “all bark and no bite”. When it comes to most of the world’s central banks, all of those quips apply.

If you think I’m being excessively judgmental, consider recent developments: The European Central Bank (ECB) has been adamant about its desire to both begin raising interest rates and shrinking its bloated-like-a-Sumo-wrestler-on-steroids balance sheet.

Source: Financial Times, 2/19/2019

Adamant, that is, until recently. Thanks to weakening inflation and continuing anemic growth on the Continent, rate hikes are off the table. Soon-to-be-outgoing ECB emperor chief Mario Draghi is already making noises about restarting its quantitative easing (QE) program rather than reversing it as its American counterpart, the Fed, has done. This is despite the fact that the ECB’s balance sheet—or stash of European bonds bought with pseudo-euros—is an outrageous 40% of GDP versus “only” about 20% in the case of the Fed (GDP represents a country’s total economic output).

It’s true that Europe’s chronically flaccid economic pulse has faded one more time (European economic “liveliness” almost makes a corpse look animated). As a result, the number of negative-yielding bonds (the ultimate Alice In Wonderland financial condition where borrowers charge lenders to use the latter’s money) is once again swelling. The total value of these legalized investor extortion instruments is now $11 trillion,

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Das: “The Bubble Is Losing Air. Get Ready For A Crisis”


16-12-18 04:44:00,

Authored by Satyajit Das,

The shift to tighter monetary policies in the West is weakening credit markets. Over-indebted emerging markets face headwinds from rising borrowing costs and dollar shortages… Investors need to focus on their response to financial stresses in an era in which policymakers will be constrained.

The “everything bubble” is deflating. The fact that it’s happening relatively slowly shouldn’t blind us to the real threat: The world is dangerously underestimating how hard it’ll be to deal with the fallout once it pops.

Frothy markets can’t disguise the warning signs. The shift to tighter monetary policies in the West is putting pressure on global equity and real estate values. Even more critically, it’s weakening credit markets. Over-indebted emerging markets face headwinds from rising borrowing costs and dollar shortages.

At the same time, investors are underestimating how disruptive trade conflicts and sanctions could turn out to be. That’s not to mention rising non-financial risks — from the legal difficulties of the US administration, to the UK’s Brexit debacle, to political instability in France, Germany, Italy and even Saudi Arabia. Uncertainty will impact the real economy, primarily through the wealth effect of declining asset values and a reduced supply of credit.

Investors need to start focusing on how best to respond to a new crisis. The choices are more limited than many realize. Historically, central banks have needed to slash official rates as much as 4-5% in order to offset the effects of a financial crisis or an economic slowdown. That’s why former US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen talked about the need to raise rates in good times — to provide room to cut when necessary.

Yet, even after recent US interest rate hikes, the Fed has nowhere near enough room to cut rates that much without going negative. In Europe and Japan, where rates are already less than zero, easing would require substantially negative levels, which would likely be politically impossible. Even current levels are controversial. Negative rates are a disguised way of writing down debt; they penalize savers and weaken the banking system.

Fiscal policy doesn’t offer much of an alternative.

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The ‘Everything Bubble” Has Popped


08-12-18 05:24:00,

Authored by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity,

Now that the world’s central banking cartel is taking a long-overdue pause from printing money and handing it to the wealthy elite, the collection of asset price bubbles nested within the Everything Bubble are starting to burst. 

The cartel (especially the ECB and the Fed) is hoping it can gently deflate these bubbles it created, but that’s a fantasy. Bubbles always burst badly; it’s their nature to do so. Economic suffering and misery always accompany their termination.

It’s said that “every bubble is in search of a pin”. History certainly shows they always manage to find one.

History also shows that after the puncturing, pundits obsess over what precise pin triggered it, as if that matters.  It doesn’t, because ‘cause’ of a bubble’s bursting can be anything.  It can be a wayward comment by a finance minister, otherwise innocuous at any other time, that spooks a critical European bond market at exactly the right (wrong?) moment, triggering a runaway cascade.

Or it might be the routine bankruptcy of a small company that unexpectedly exposes an under-hedged counterparty, thereby setting off a chain reaction across the corporate bond market before the contagion quickly spreads into other key elements of the financial system. 

Or perhaps it will be the US Justice Department arresting a Chinese technology executive on murky, over-reaching charges to bully an ally into accepting that unilateral US sanctions are to be abided by everyone, regardless of sovereignty.

How was it that the famous Tulip Bulb bubble came to a crashing end back in the 1600’s?  No one knows the exact moment or trigger. But we can easily imagine that in some Dutch pub on the fateful night on the Feb 3rd1637, a bidder on the most-coveted of all bulbs, the Semper Augustus, had an upset stomach and briefly grimaced when hit by a ripping gas pain:

Interpreting this face as distaste for the opening bid price, the assembled crowd may have suddenly realized the absurdity of paying so much (enough to clothe and feed a family for more than half a lifetime) for an ungrown flower.

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The Carbon Bubble Cometh (and Open Thread) : The Corbett Report

The Carbon Bubble Cometh (and Open Thread) : The Corbett Report

09-10-18 06:47:00,

by James Corbett

October 9, 2018

So as I (p)reported this weekend, all the usual suspects in the lying, fake news-promoting, bankster-funded corporate mouthpiece media have responded to the latest hot air from the IPCC by dutifully repeating the line that we only have 12 YEARS TO AVERT CLIMATE ARMAGEDDON!!1! And how will we avert this disaster, precisely? By raising carbon taxes and blowing the trillion-dollar carbon trading bubble, of course. Yay.

For those who are confused by the fact that we had only 3 YEARS TO AVERT DISASTER!!1! last year, don’t fret too much over the discrepancy. As I detailed at the time, we’ve been getting different X YEARS TO AVERT DISASTER!!1! warnings for the last 30+ years now, all of which set a different, completely arbitrary timeline for the end of the world. To which the global warming true believers respond: “Details shmeetails, it’s Settled Science™! End of argument!”

So while I’m off this week working on my next major project (coming to The Corbett Report in the very near future), I’ll take the liberty of reposting some of my previous work on the climate issue. These include reports exposing the IPCC; drilling down on the actual science behind the doomporn platitudes; interviewing actual climate scientists; exposing the data fabrication which the climate cult regularly engages in; and explaining the carbon eugenics philosophy which (aside from the obvious financial incentives) motivates the whole scheme. Stay tuned to the front page of corbettreport.com for a different “featured video” from the climate change archives every day.

In the meantime, as I mentioned at the tail end of last week’s New World Next Week, I am taking this week off from new productions while I’m busy working on my next project, so Corbett Report members are invited to use this space to comment on these development or whatever else is on your mind. It’s an open thread, so feel free to discuss all the latest news or open up discussion on more esoteric matters.

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