Mutated Strain Of Delta Variant Causing Panic In UK Has Been Found In US

Mutated Strain Of Delta Variant Causing Panic In UK Has Been Found In US

A mutated version of the delta variant that has caused panic in the UK has been detected in several states in the US, the CDC revealed this week.

AY.4.2, a subtype of the highly transmissible delta variant which has become informally known as “delta plus”, accounted for 6% of all sequenced samples of the virus. Its emergence has coincided with a rebound in COVID cases in the UK.

To be sure, right now, the strain is still rare in the US and accounts for “well below 0.05%” of cases sequenced, the CDC says. So there’s no reason to panic.

“At this time, there is no evidence that the sublineage AY.4.2 impacts the effectiveness of our current vaccines or therapeutics,” the CDC said. “Vaccination remains the best public health measure to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the likelihood of new variants to emerge.”

Around 16,830 AY.4.2 cases have been detected around the world across at least 28 countries, according to data from Outbreak.Info.

Jeffrey Barrett, director of the COVID-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the U.K., told Newsweek on Thursday that it’s still unclear whether the subtype is helping drive rising case numbers in the UK.

“We are one of the groups that has observed a [roughy] 10 percent growth advantage compared to other Delta.”

“I’d say we can’t say for sure yet that that is a true biological advantage, as opposed to a bit of epidemiological ‘luck’ for this lineage, but the data are now accumulating week-by-week in favor of a small growth advantage.”

While the sub-lineage is spreading in the U.K., experts have said AY.4.2 is not necessarily going to outcompete the original Delta variant.

Although AY.4.2 is being monitored in the UK, it hasn’t yet been classified as a “variant under investigation” or a “variant of concern” by the WHO.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 21:20

Why Authoritarianism Must Prevail

Why Authoritarianism Must Prevail

Authored by Robert Wright via The American Institute for Economic Research,

Freedom anywhere is a threat to authoritarianism everywhere. That is why authoritarians must destroy all freedom and why liberty lovers, and even the merely “lib-curious” (liberty curious), must not just resist blatant authoritarianism, but reject it in all its guises. The fate of the nation, and the world, again hangs in the balance.

To the extent that any freedom persists, authoritarian diktat can be subverted, albeit at a cost. History is rife with examples of bizarre entities, like nonbank banks (I kid you not!), rent-a-banks (ditto!), and gold caches, designed to work around branching restrictions, usury laws (maximum interest rates), the criminalization of holding gold, and sundry other attempts to limit financial freedom. (See my Financial Exclusion for details.)

To squelch “undesirable” activity, like increasing bank competition, voluntarily lending/borrowing small amounts of money at rates commensurate with the attendant costs and risks, or trying to protect one’s family against fiat money inflation, government must outlaw the workarounds too. To get their way, statists must suppress all unapproved activities, which ultimately means forcing would-be innovators to obtain permission before they can lawfully engage in any new activities.

Consider, for example, recent calls to allow the IRS to monitor essentially all bank accounts in the country. Maybe Americans will accept it, if, as claimed, the power is only used to enforce current tax laws. But if tax rates rise appreciably, as it seems they will, given the current administration’s policy goals, or if the transaction information is used for partisan political purposes, or to shame or coerce people into buying this, or not buying that, Americans will begin to search for workarounds. To the extent that the workarounds prove successful, government will be forced to outlaw the workarounds too.

For instance, if workers ask their employers to pay them in Federal Reserve Notes or Bitcoin because they believe that the transaction costs of making payments in those media will be less burdensome than giving some party hack access to the most intimate details of their lives, the government may well force employers to pay workers only in USD and only via bank transfer. It might even ban cryptocurrencies entirely, or at least try to.

Workers might then make one payment per month, to a “bill paying service” that for a fee will pay their bills for them, out of its one, giant bank account. Oh, but that sounds like an unregulated bank taking uninsured deposits so those services will have to be suppressed as well, or perhaps replaced by the central bank.

People may then begin paying everything by credit card, and even direct their employers to repay their credit card issuers directly. Next thing you know Uncle Sam will want to see your credit card statements too. Ditto PayPal, Venmo, and any other fintech apps used to make or receive payments. Thus a seemingly innocuous request to see bank accounts for tax purposes becomes the excuse for full-blown financial repression. This will, as always, hurt the poor the most.

Employers might work around those laws, along with the tax code and vaccine mandates by converting their employees into volunteers and donating payroll to a nonprofit charity with the singular mission of ensuring that the “volunteers” receive “donations” that happen to match the value of their former compensation. Imagine the chaos if every employer simultaneously did that! Government would have to respond by tightly regulating, if not outright outlawing, charities and volunteer work. Our liberty would be truly lost at that point, and again the poor would suffer most.

Corporations shouldn’t be taxed, but they are. Many of the largest have engaged in (international) tax arbitrage by adroitly shifting headquarters, production facilities, and charters between different states, provinces, and countries. Governments are now fighting back by establishing a global minimum corporation tax. How long before some entity begins to offer oceanic or orbital (then moon, then Martian) charters as tax havens? Soon after, though, private space flight and oceanic colonization will likely be banned or heavily restricted.

Everyone should be aware that if an international gold ETF issuing bearer shares, (a sex worker-owned substitute for OnlyFans), a parallel university system, or anything else of import that runs against the woke or statist grain begins to gain commercial traction, regulatory hammers will swiftly bludgeon the innovators into compliance, or out of existence.

Were that all! When statist solutions to perceived “problems” create real problems, the call inevitably goes out for yet more government. When pressed about how to pay for UBI (various universal basic income) schemes, for example, schemes that are purportedly needed to solve a nearly nonexistent income disparity “problem,” proponents will sometimes argue for the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF, or a giant investment fund owned by a government), the dividends and realized capital gains of which can be divided equally among the citizenry. 

UBI proponents are not sure where the money to fund the SWF will come from, or if it is a good idea to concentrate all that economic and political power in one decision maker’s hands, but if you want to see their true colors, ask them why individuals cannot simply invest their own money for themselves. Turns out that elites believe that most Americans don’t know how to invest properly, in the “right” (which is to say Left) companies. So look for a push to outlaw individual investment in favor of a SWF-funded UBI, or at least a narrowing of choice to SEC-approved ESG funds. You may still own something in 2030, but it seems increasingly unlikely you will be happy.

America and the rest of the West have been sliding down the slippery slope of statism for so long that they are now rapidly approaching the precipice that ends in rock bottom. Will liberty be crushed and a new dark age commence? Or will the masses then finally see governments as the problem, rather than as the solution?

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 21:00

Parts Shortages Hit Auto Repair Shops, Taking Weeks To Fix Vehicles

Parts Shortages Hit Auto Repair Shops, Taking Weeks To Fix Vehicles

A global semiconductor shortage has reduced new car production and boosted used car demand. The average used car age on U.S. highways hit 12.1 this year, a record high, and has unleashed a repair boom. But with snarled supply chains, auto repair shops have had difficulty sourcing parts and told customers their cars could take weeks to fix, according to Bloomberg

Paul McCarthy, chief executive of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, said that auto parts and repair industry is getting slammed like everyone else – delays stretching from weeks due to port congestion have produced hefty backlogs. 

“This is the most difficult supply-chain environment that I have ever seen,” AutoZone Inc. CEO  William Rhodes said in a September earnings call. AutoZone is operating at “the lowest level of in-stock that I can ever remember,” he said. 

For repair shops, breaking the news to customers that their broken cars might not be fixed for weeks because of a part of backorder has been difficult. 

Bryan Kelley, the owner of Valley Automotive Repair and Electric, had to wait months for parts in the Seattle suburbs. He said a crankshaft position sensor took between 60-90 days to arrive, adding that the sensors used to take less than a day in pre-COVID times. 

Kelley said one customer was about to give up on fixing his Dodge Ram 1500 because of the sensor backlog. 

“He went as far as to say, ‘I’m going to tow it and buy another truck,'” said Kelley, who’s also chairman of the Automotive Service Association Northwest trade group. “It got compounded when he found he couldn’t just go down and buy one.”

Another instance is in the Philadelphia suburbs, where Matlock’s Nissan Sentra flooded during Hurricane Ida in early September. The storm left her car’s interior moist. She took her car to Colket Technical Services in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, for new carpets, but mechanics told her no carpet sets were available. The workaround the mechanics advised her to do was rip up the old carpet and have it professionally cleaned, then reinstalled. 

In Bethesda, Maryland, River Road Auto Service manager Danny Tomasian said even “oil filters are becoming harder to get, so when I buy them, I buy them in as big of quantities I can get.” 

Compounding a repair boom with port congestion across China and U.S. adds to domestic shortages of parts and increased prices. 

McCarthy of the suppliers association warned the shortage of aftermarket parts could get worse into next year. 
Colket, the Philadelphia-area garage owner, called the shortage of parts and persistent delays: “We lovingly refer to it as an intergalactic backorder.”

… and it’s not just sensors and oil filters that are becoming harder to find. Some tires have been in short supply that takes well over a month to receive. 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 20:40

Feeding The Liberal Flock: Glenn Greenwald Exposes The Real Reasons For The Congressional 1/6 Committee

Feeding The Liberal Flock: Glenn Greenwald Exposes The Real Reasons For The Congressional 1/6 Committee

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via Substack,

The Biden DOJ has not charged one 1/6 defendant with insurrection, sedition or plotting to kidnap or kill. Democrats need Adam Schiff and Liz Cheney to satiate liberal anger...

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) arrive for the House Select Committee hearing investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

What follows is the last section of my article earlier this week, documenting why Congress’s Select Committee to Investigate 1/6 is both unconstitutional and an assault on civil liberties.

Underlying so much of the anger and resentment surrounding 1/6 is the complete dissonance between the narrative fed to the citizenry by Democrats and their media allies on the one hand, and the legal realities on the other. It must be infuriating and baffling to a large sector of the population to have been convinced that what happened on January 6 was an unprecedentedly dangerous insurrection perpetrated by an organized group of seditious traitors who had plotted to kidnap and murder elected officials, only for the Biden DOJ to have charged exactly nobody with any criminal charges remotely suggesting any of those melodramatic claims.

This was the same frustration and confusion that beset a large portion of liberal America when they were led to believe for years that Robert Mueller was coming to arrest all of their political enemies for treason and criminal conspiracy with Russia, only for the FBI Superman to close his investigation without charging a single American with criminal conspiracy with Russia and then issuing a report admitting that he could not find evidence to establish any such crime. How to keep the flock loyal when the doomsday prophecies continue to be unfulfilled, as the World-Ending Date comes and goes without so much as a bang, let alone an explosion?

Adam Schiff’s new book — which essentially claims that Mueller is senile and was suffering from pitiful dementia — is obviously intended to provide some solace or at least a framework of understanding for disappointed liberals to keep the faith, but deep down, they know what they were expecting. The endorphin-producing fantasies on which they fed for years — of Trump and Trump, Jr. and Jared and Bannon and Ivanka being frog-marched out of the White House by armed, strapping FBI agents — were way too viscerally arousing for them to simply forget that none of it happened.

A repeat of this disorientation and disillusionment when it comes to 1/6 could be quite dangerous for Democrats. It could be devastating to the media outlets which survive on serving the Democrats’ messaging and feeding dramatic conspiracy theories to the beleaguered liberal flock. In the days and weeks following 1/6, liberals really thought that dozens of members of Congress — from Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz to Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene — would be not just expelled from Congress but summarily imprisoned as traitors by a newly righteous Justice Department. They were led to believe that, with Bill Barr out of the way, Trump and his mafia family would finally pay for their crimes.

Instead, they have been served a tepid, cautious, and compartmentally conservative Merrick Garland who seems barely able to send the Evil Insurrectionists — many of whom are just hapless and impoverished lost souls — to prison for more than a few months. The harsh reality is yet again destroying their cravings for promised vengeance and retribution, and something must be done, lest the cult loyalty be lost forever.

That is, at bottom, what the 1/6 Committee is really for. The House Democrats have smart lawyers who are fully aware of all the above-discussed case law and other limitations on congressional power. That is why they purposely structured their third-party subpoenas to ensure nobody can challenge them in court: they know those subpoenas vastly exceed the limits of their authority and cannot withstand judicial scrutiny.

This congressional committee is designed to be cathartic theater for liberals, and a political drama for the rest of the country. They know Republicans will object to their deliberately unconstitutional inquisitions, and they intend to exploit those objections to darkly insinuate to the country that Republicans are driven by a desire to protect the violent traitors so that they can deploy them as an insurrectionary army for future coups. They have staffed the committee with their most flamboyant and dishonest drama queens, knowing that Adam Schiff will spend most of his days on CNN with Chris Cuomo comparing 1/6 to Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust; Liz Cheney will equate Republicans with Al Qaeda and the Capitol riot to the destruction of the World Trade Center; and Adam Kinzinger will cry on cue as he reminds everyone over and over that he served in the U.S. military only to find himself distraught and traumatized that the real terrorists are not those he was sent to fight overseas but those at home, in his own party.

But the manipulative political design of this spectacle should not obscure how threatening it nonetheless is to core civil liberties. Democrats in politics and media have whipped themselves into such a manic frenzy ever since 1/6 — indeed, they have been doing little else ever since Trump descended the Trump Tower escalator in 2015 — that they have become the worst kinds of fanatics: the ones who really believe their own lies. Many genuinely believe that they are on the front lines of an epic historical battle against the New Hitler (Trump) and his band of deplorable fascist followers bent on a coup against the democratic order. In their cable-and-Twitter-stimulated imaginations, shortly following this right-wing coup will be the installation of every crypto-fascist bell and whistle from concentration camps for racial and ethnic minorities to death or prison for courageous #Resistance dissidents. At some point, the line between actually believing this and being paid to pretend to believe it, or feeling coerced by cultural and friendship circles to feign belief in it, erodes, fostering actual collective conviction and mania.

And when fanatics convince themselves that their cause is not only indisputably just but an imperative for survival, then any doubts or questions about methods and weapons can no longer be acknowledged. The war they are fighting is of such overarching importance and righteousness that there is no such thing as unjust or excessive means to achieve it. Just a cursory examination of liberal discourse is enough to see that they have long ago arrived at and flew past this point of sectarian zealotry. And that is what explains their overwhelming support for state and corporate censorship of the internet, increasing reverence for security state agencies such as the CIA and FBI, love for and trust in corporate media, and a belief that no punishment or level of suffering is excessive when it comes to retaliation against their political enemies, including but not only those who participated in any way in the 1/6 protests.

This is, after all, a movement that has long opposed the death penalty and whose more left-wing factions spent 2020 rioting in cities to protest police violence and chanting “Defund the Police!,” yet their only lament about Ashli Babbitt seems to be that she was the only pro-Trump “fascist” shot and killed by noble police officers on that day. They have pranced around for decades as criminal justice reformists, denouncing harsh prosecutorial strategies and judicial punishments, yet are indignant that people who put their feet on Nancy Pelosi’s sacred desk or vandalized the sacred halls of American power with their dirty and deplorable presence are not spending decades in a cage. They spent 2020 depicting police officers as racist savages, only to valorize the Capitol Police as benevolent public servants whom only barbarians would want to harm, then gave them an additional $2 billion to intensify their surveillance capabilities and augment their stockpile of weapons. Their fury that Trump officials did not end up spending decades in cages due to vague associations with Russians is exceeded only by their rage that pro-Trump protesters at the Capitol are being sentenced to months rather than years or decades in prison.

A political movement that operates from the premise that its cause is too important to be constrained is one that inevitably becomes authoritarian. That such authoritarianism is the defining feature of American liberalism has been evident for several years. And an investigative congressional committee that they control, aimed squarely at their political enemies, accompanied by demands that anyone resisting it be imprisoned, can only lead to very dark and dangerous destinations.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 20:20

All The Metals Mined In One Visualization

All The Metals Mined In One Visualization

Metals are all around us, from our phones and cars to our homes and office buildings. While we often overlook the presence of these raw materials, they are an essential part of the modern economy. But, as Visual Capitalist’s Govind Bhutada details below, obtaining these materials can be a complex process that involves mining, refining, and then converting them into usable forms.

So, how much metal gets mined in a year?

Metals vs Ores

Before digging into the numbers, it’s important that we distinguish between ores and metals.

Ores are naturally occurring rocks that contain metals and metal compounds. Metals are the valuable parts of ores that can be extracted by separating and removing the waste rock. As a result, ore production is typically much higher than the actual metal content of the ore. For example, miners produced 347 million tonnes of bauxite ore in 2019, but the actual aluminum metal content extracted from that was only 62.9 million tonnes.

Here are all the metals and metal ores mined in 2019, according to the British Geological Survey:

Miners produced roughly three billion tonnes of iron ore in 2019, representing close to 94% of all mined metals. The primary use of all this iron is to make steel. In fact, 98% of iron ore goes into steelmaking, with the rest fulfilling various other applications.

Industrial and technology metals made up the other 6% of all mined metals in 2019. How do they break down?

Industrial Metals

From construction and agriculture to manufacturing and transportation, virtually every industry harnesses the properties of metals in different ways.

Here are the industrial metals we mined in 2019.

It’s no surprise that aluminum is the most-produced industrial metal. The lightweight metal is one of the most commonly used materials in the world, with uses ranging from making foils and beer kegs to buildings and aircraft parts.

Manganese and chromium rank second and third respectively in terms of metal mined, and are important ingredients in steelmaking. Manganese helps convert iron ore into steel, and chromium hardens and toughens steel. Furthermore, manganese is a critical ingredient of lithium-manganese-cobalt-oxide (NMC) batteries for electric vehicles.

Although copper production is around one-third that of aluminum, copper has a key role in making modern life possible. The red metal is found in virtually every wire, motor, and electrical appliance in our homes and offices. It’s also critical for various renewable energy technologies and electric vehicles.

Technology and Precious Metals

Technology is only as good as the materials that make it.

Technology metals can be classified as relatively rare metals commonly used in technology and devices. While miners produce some tech and precious metals in large quantities, others are relatively scarce.

Tin was the most-mined tech metal in 2019, and according to the International Tin Association, nearly half of it went into soldering.

It’s also interesting to see the prevalence of battery and energy metals. Lithium, cobalt, vanadium, and molybdenum are all critical for various energy technologies, including lithium-ion batteries, wind farms, and energy storage technologies. Additionally, miners also extracted 220,000 tonnes of rare earth elements, of which 60% came from China.

Given their rarity, it’s not surprising that gold, silver, and platinum group metals (PGMs) were the least-mined materials in this category. Collectively, these metals represent just 2.3% of the tech and precious metals mined in 2019.

A Material World

Although humans mine and use massive quantities of metals every year, it’s important to put these figures into perspective.

According to Circle Economy, the world consumes 100.6 billion tonnes of materials annually. Of this total, 3.2 billion tonnes of metals produced in 2019 would account for just 3% of our overall material consumption. In fact, the world’s annual production of cement alone is around 4.1 billion tonnes, dwarfing total metal production.

The world’s appetite for materials is growing with its population. As resource-intensive megatrends such as urbanization and electrification pick up the pace, our material pie will only get larger.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 20:00

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