EP141: J&J vaccine pulled out; US troops to leave Afghanistan by Sept, India to clarify Sea Laws & EEZ

J & J vaccine pulled out; US troops to leave Afg by Sept, India to clarify Sea Laws & EEZ, Maryland state withdraws bill depicting Swastika as a hate symbol & more!

Sree Iyer: Hello and welcome to Daily Global Insights by Sri and Sree. Today is the 14th of April and this is episode 141. Sridharji, welcome to be PGurus Channel and a Happy New Year to everyone who happens to be following Tamil New Year day or Vishu any one of those different groups.

Sridhar Chityala: Good morning. Happy New Year, Happy Vishu, Happy Tamil New Year and best wishes to everybody and good morning to all of you.

Sree Iyer:  And in our main points:

  • Biden to withdraw US Troops from Afghanistan by September 1 and not May 1
  • Maryland House of Delegates has withdrawn House Bill 0418 (HB0418) a bill that falsely defines the swastika as a symbol of hate
  • 62% of Voters, including 59% of Black Voters, say Voter ID laws do not discriminate this according to Rasmussen Poll
  • Riots break out in Portland over Shooting in Minnesota
  • It is official – The J&J vaccine has been pulled out for the time being.

In US News, Joe Biden seems to have officially watched the coronavirus enroller 6 out of 7 million and officially J&J vaccine now has been pulled out now.

Donald Trump says that the FDA pause of the J&J covid-19 vaccine is a terrible disservice to the world.

Dr Anthony Fauci defends the J&J vaccine pause, he says that we are ruled by science.

And DeSantis says we have not seen any significant effects with J&J here in Florida. So now you have both sides taking a position on J&J. What are your thoughts, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: My thoughts are whether the decision was hasty. The decision was made on the basis of Six cases out of the seven million cases. Well, that form the basis of the sciences or weather disruptions and contamination that occurred in the Maryland plant, where 15 million vaccines had to be thrown out or are not fit for purpose whether that constituted the basis for this decision. One has to wonder what the rationale is to take such a big strategic decision, especially when you need more vaccines than fewer vaccines and you have had States just as Florida coming back and diverting. The problem is not in the vaccine. So whether that formed the basis for this action. It begs the question and it puts again into the distribution network, you know some challenges than they need to contend with especially as more and more variants make their way into the United States.

Sree Iyer: And we talked to you yesterday about the shooting in, Minnesota. Now, riots break out in Portland over the shooting in Minnesota and the police officer Kim Potter who fatally shot Dante Wright has resigned and LA County Sheriff calls on National Guard to prepare and prevent riots. So now this thing has taken a life of its own, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: Well, it seems to be waiting for a reason which is very unfortunate what happened in, Minnesota with regard to Mr Dante Wright. And as it relates to Portland, I don’t know whether Portland ever stopped this, Seattle has stopped, whether Portland has stopped ever ceased this activity that has been going on for almost now more than a year and the spillover of some of these activities that we are seeing in a number of cities. The fact that the LA County Sheriff is asking for the National Guard to be in a state of preparedness to be deployed is a reflection of where we are heading in this country, we already have National Guard in Washington DC guarding Capitol Hill and it’s almost become like a permanent feature which people are complaining. So is National Guard now going to be the internal Protection arm especially when defunding of police has occurred and there are also resignations of police in many of the liberal states.

Sree Iyer: And in other news, Georgetown University student support voting reform proposal and then they find out that it is Georgia’s law and in a poll conducted by Rasmussen 62% of Voters, including 59% of black voters say that voter ID laws do not discriminate. And in a survey Democrats a more important to make it easier to vote than prioritizing no cheating in elections. And Ken Starr has something to add to this, he is concerned that homeschooling can undo anti-American public schooling. Let’s get to that in a little bit of time, sir your thoughts about these Georgia laws now the people are beginning to read the print. They are in fact passing similar legislation in other places. Your thoughts on the Georgetown University incident.

Sridhar Chityala: There are two conclusions that you know when we assemble this news. Two conclusions one can draw, one people are ignorant and they are agitating not knowing the subject matter, which is very clearly demonstrated in the case of Georgetown University. So how much of it is the case probably all of it because this seems to be like sponsored agitations. When you agitate and said this is why I am agitating and when we ask somebody but that’s the law. So therefore why agitating, then they are all left stone-faced just like some of the agitations we saw without naming, this is the first message. The second message is that what the people want is not what the politicians are pushing, especially the Democrats that is the second message. The polls continue to point out that the community they believe which is a aggrieve, which is saying no, no, we are not aggrieved because of this we are aggrieved because of some other reasons not because of this but they have taken this and doesn’t matter how many polls one conducts and we have seen even 72%, if you recall in Georgia, which we reported at that point of time. I think it was a Gallop poll but that’s another clear message that’s coming out that we have a progressive policy whosoever is we, we are going to kind of drive that agenda, so, that’s the second. If I had to give the third and then we pass it back to you. Now, the Democrats are official whether the election is fraudulent or not doesn’t matter but, make it easier that’s more dangerous than the first two.

Sree Iyer: I think Americans every one of us has to draw a line in the sand and say if you cannot prove that you are a citizen of the United States, then you cannot go vote here, that’s it. This has to incontrovertible whether it is the smallest Village in the poorest state or the richest burrow in the richest state. I think this has to be the line that has to be drawn. I don’t know when and how we will get there. But that’s what I would like to see America get to.

Sir, Ken Starr, a little bit of background about him. I don’t know how many of you remember, this was in the 1990s when Ken Starr was the prosecutor, who prosecuted Bill Clinton whether he officially lied under oath and you will also remember that Bill Clinton,

the then president did say that I made a mistake. I should have not lied and then, of course, the house did not impeach him. This is a standard thing, that was one of the recent impeachment that happened in the presidency and the next one about Ken Starr, Ken Starr has said that culture has become hostile to religious freedom and we are also seeing gun control bills before Senate. These are all wolves in sheep’s clothing according to critics. And Biden’s gun control push creates an opening for GOP in midterm elections. I don’t know what your thoughts are sir, but I am for gun control and effective gun control this weekend exhibitions where they don’t check your ID all that needs to go that’s just personal opinion, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: So do you want me to react to your statement which is gun control is essential. The certification process is essential. Concealing of the guns in public places in specific states with the ruling has been given one has to push back on that legislation and test the veracity of the reason behind that. Why do you conceal a gun? So there is a number of issues that needs to be addressed without going to the extremity of a complete ban. Why extremity of a complete ban, the more you ban, it’s like this we banned marijuana you mean there was no drugs in schools. It’s flowing at an exorbitant rate. Today, you can smoke any of this stuff anywhere in public. So no cop can stop you. So similarly, I think gun control has to be dispensed taking into account people’s needs and how you can make sure that there is safety, security, integrity preserved and there is common sense in the law as it is active. So I am for all of that, but I am not for a complete ban because it just going to only make it worse.

Sree Iyer: Thank you for that clarification, sir, and one of Biden’s nominees for the Pentagon has run into headwinds GOP Senators, including Bill Haggerty were joined by a group of 17 Senators. They have written to the FBI director on Colin Cahl nomination. Sir, can you expand on a little bit on who Colin Cahl is, what is this nomination in Pentagon? And why does it run into headwinds?

Sridhar Chityala: He is served in the former Obama administration. He is being proposed or nominated as the assistant secretary for Defence policy within the Department of Defence. The reason why it has become contentious and people are raising questions? It is because he has used social channels and public media in terms of disseminating and seeking very sensitive and confidential information as it relates to defence matters. So the question has come up that why is he doing it? Can the FBI do an investigation and give clearance on this specific topic before you put that person in the Department of Defence which is as you know is preserves the security and the global policy of our forces in various Global forces and the vulnerability. So, therefore, I think the question is around the integrity of the person especially as it relates to this social media and public dissemination of information.

Sree Iyer: And in a very significant development, the Maryland house of delegates has withdrawn House Bill 0418 a build that was falsely defining the swastika as a symbol of hate. With your permissions sir, I want to just share a couple of coins that were printed before the common era time period which talks about swastika as a Sanatani symbol, with your permission, I’d like to show these symbols and explain a little bit about how I came about with this data viewers.

Viewer, what you are seeing now is a silver coin that was issued by Kuninda Dynasty’s Amoghbhuti in 200 before the Common Era it was the Himalayan Kingdom that extended from the upper slopes of Uttarakhand into what is modern day’s Tibet and in this particular coin and I’m going to show you the backside in just a minute to tell you what the other side says. On the front side, you can clearly see some symbols one is the swastika symbol then there is the Buddhist symbol and you have these arches building into a peak. So to understand a little bit more about this. I have actually found a book that I have promoted on PGurus, it’s called Dharma yoga by Padma Bhushan awardee Dr Naga Swami and here on his page 259. He talks about these coins. So the important thing here is this Sanatana Dharma, which means Eternal flow. We don’t know when it started. We don’t know when it will end. So there is it’s something that has been Eternal, Sanatana means Eternal, Dharma means flow, flow is anadi. The interpretations of Dharma has many meanings but, in this context, you can think of it as the eternal flow and it has been going on forever. So this symbol on the other side if you look at the coin it says there is a deer that is standing facing the right and it is crowned by to cobras on its head and there is a square box with a parasol three arched Hill the one that was on the other side too and a parasol under the deer and goddess Lakshmi standing facing to the right of the deer. So I don’t know what are all the different forms of proof that was provided to convince the Maryland house that this would be a very wrong thing to do but it just shows you the mischief mongers among Us who continue to keep raking up things unrelated just because a certain dictator use something that looks like this. It’s not even derived from this and continues to peddle this fake narrative for God’s sake stop it. We are having such a big pandemic on our hand let’s work towards making the earth a safer place.

Sir, let’s move on to Global News now, Biden raises concern with Putin over Ukraine and proposes a summit. Biden never brought up Navalny with Putin in Khodorkovsky says this. What are your thoughts, sir? Do you think Russia and the USA are going to have a summit now over Ukraine?

Sridhar Chityala: No, there was no reaction from Mr Vladimir Putin to the invitation. He doesn’t want to discuss Ukraine. I’m glad that there was this meeting between President Biden and President Putin. I think whether you agree or disagree, you have to meet with the leaders and you know have a face-to-face discussion and put the issues on the table. So glad that happened. It’s very evident that very selective Mr Biden that is and I think this is what Khodorkovsky is pointing out. He talked about this, did he talk about this because the guy is about to die, he is got to go covid, he is in prison? The whole agitation is I’m sure he did not speak about that either. So I think the meeting has occurred and that’s the good news. The bad news is or the no news is nothing has come out of it.

Sree Iyer: Defense secretary Austin reverses Trump’s troop cut plans in Germany and there are reports that Biden is going to withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan by September 1st and not May 1st. If you will remember we had quoted a Singapore editorial, which refers to the same thing, that was the only editorial and I think we were the first ones to report your thoughts Sridharji.

Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think that you know, we seem to be on the radar on most of these issues and on track on most of the issues which are good. This whole NATO shift there is some policy difference between Trump and Biden is the imminent as well as prolific threat that the world faces is in the South China Sea and Himalayan Kingdom area. There are no imminent threats in the cross-Atlantic or black sea or NATO they may be skirmishes. So having an asymmetric set of armed forces located and resources committed to an area based on the cold war and past circumstances is not the good way to spend the defence allocated budget money maximum resources are needed in the Asia Pacific, sorry indo-pacific region and in the evolution and development of the quad model under Trump. So therefore what you’re seeing is some of these reversals relates to that. So by reducing, by not reducing, by keeping, and by sending the naval ships into the Bosphorus Sea and talking about the Baltic is just counterintuitive in the present context and we can’t do anything. I think that’s the present Administration. They seem to think that there is still a cold war that is going on and a lot of emphases is being placed on Russia. That’s why there’re skirmishes around the Ukraine region which PGurus again have alluded to. The issue in Ukraine is around the water supply to Crimea. So, therefore, would you commit such humongous resources? The Nostrum gas pipe fight too continues to go from Russia into Europe. So it looks like Russia is an ally of the EU rather than an adversary.

Sree Iyer: Iran says that it is going to enrich uranium to 60% at the highest level ever that they have claimed. And Global lawmakers experts organizations condemned the attack on Hong Kong’s Epoch Times. Remember, we reported on this yesterday. The Chinese Communist Party stops the US intelligence’s worldwide threat assessment. This is something that they come out with periodically. Sir, your thoughts.

Sridhar Chityala:  It is well known that Iran is being pumped up. They have a strategic partnership with China. They have a strategic partnership with Russia. It’s also alleged that they have some tie-up with the Great Dictator from North Korea. So they’re going to have plenty of accessibility to nuclear materials and nuclear technology. So they continue on the path and Israel has made it very clear that it will continue to monitor the situation and it could choose actions that it deems fit for its existential threat and continue to make that progress. It becomes a melting point is to bring Iran to discussions without any preconditions and without any undertakings whether they want to go mainstream, they want to become part of a broader global trading community, they want to have their country being harnessed for the welfare of their people, they have to behave like a global nation which follows rule of law. Nobody is talking about that and everybody is talking let’s put the deal and then let’s hope that he will comply and I don’t think Israel is going to allow it. So that’s, unfortunately, the situation with regard to Iran.

With regard to CCP and the threat assessment that the DNI and other intelligence have conducted say the same things that they are into universities, they are into endowments, they have a database. You can see how cleverly the database issue has disappeared as soon as the presidency transitioned from President Trump to President Biden. It was reported at that point in time that close to 1.9 million names were found in the database and the name started to come out, we did not get the full list but some of the names we talked about and quite a few of them are British lawmakers. Several names popped up in the election debates here in the United States, all that went into the back corner. The only thing that has come out is that the disinformation campaign is a big threat. The latest to add to that list is that they are now using, which we again reported yesterday, Facebook and Twitter as a vehicle to counter the Uyghur narrative and place their own pieces of information to communicate to the rest of the world. So we have a real challenge and again, I think Mr Biden and his team are more focused on other things. Again, we discussed and we said other countries may take the lead and move forward.

Sree Iyer: Japan’s China policy turns to confrontation in 2021. If we look at it, there are disputed waters in the East and the South China Sea, Taiwan, and then there is a human rights situation in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. So now Japan is really sharpening its policy towards China. Isn’t it?

Sridhar Chityala: Very clear. Japan has indicated that it is going to tolerate No-Nonsense and the confrontation policy as is being word relates to the exact issues that you have defined – the South China Sea and the East China Sea and the threat to their own sovereignty in the Senkaku Island where there have been skirmishes. Most recently, they found some 200 people got marooned and they took their position on the island saying that they’re waiting for reinforcements and machinery to come to repair the ships and most of them were found to be PLA. Japan took that issue head-on. So the confrontation is that China is not going away. It seems to be lurking around Taiwan. It seems to be lurking around the Senkaku Island and such and Japan is saying we were going to have no more of this.

Sree Iyer: If you look at the map of China, the ever-growing map, the problem didn’t start now it started 60 years ago. What was the world doing when China which was just a small piece of land kept annexing its neighbours including Tibet in 1959 and so on or 1950s I should say. So this is where the problem started because at that time China was a much less powerful nation. Now, because of all the trade imbalances, it is a much more economically powerful country. We don’t know about its military strength because it has never really fought any serious Wars that will come out to the fore if these things keep escalating. Let’s hope not.

Let’s keep on moving on to India related news. Sir, negotiations on the India-EU trade deal are going to resume next month, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharamanji.

Sridhar Chityala: India-EU trade deal is pending for quite some time and they believed that it would augur well for India and the broad EU countries to come together and develop a framework whereby many nations can back into it. Remember, that excludes what India does with Germany, excludes what India does with France. They operate within the EU, they operate outside the EU. Both Germany and France are very big trade and security partners. France specifically is a very big trade and security partner for India, but the EU will open up the doors in a much broader fashion providing access with either way. I also think that pharmaceutical is another big area, which I think EU and India eye. There are some tariff issues and as it relates to some of the products. Once they get past that I would assume that there could be a way forward, I am not suggesting that there IS a way forward because the EU’s regulations and restrictions are extremely stringent, but one hopes that they would be a breakthrough.

Sree Iyer: The government of Maharashtra says that the MSME – Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Industries in the industrial hubs face ravage from a number of factors including covid. Maharashtra also has a new strain that is mutating two times which is now something that has even reached the shores of the United States. Sir, I think India is going through a second wave where a lot more covid instances are coming up plus a new New Mutant. What is the efficacy is of the current vaccines being used? Are there other alternatives for people such as using Vitamin D, Zinc and so on and so forth? What are your thoughts, overall sir?

Sridhar Chityala: My thoughts on the covid situation with regard to Maharashtra is, I think we covered this yesterday or the day before and there’s a special feature, in Maharashtra the issue seems to be not the vaccine shortage but more around black marketing and other things that are going on. That’s one part of it. The second part of it is that the Maharashtra government has been in power, this is the difficulty in India, especially either you are in opposition to the centre or you are in alignment with the centre. If you are in opposition to the centre, then it becomes a point-scoring game and you are willing to create a swag of issues that puts your state in compromise. There is something of this bickering as far as the management of the covid situation is concerned. With regard to vaccines, all states have received pro-rata supplies. If you recall again about a week ago, we put up a chart. In the chart, we showed how many vaccines were distributed to various States. How much was given and how much was still left pending? So Maharashtra is in the top three by way of allocation.

Now, with regard to this variance and other forms, I think Indians took it relatively easy as they came out of the first wave well-managed. Maharashtra is no exception to it, but they didn’t take cognizance of the variants that were coming in and it quickly began to spread. I’ve also read one other report and the report says that one is witnessing these big numbers because the rapidity of the testing has also increased. So, therefore, you are now beginning to discover more cases. It’s doesn’t mean that they were not this many numbers, but you are now beginning to look at these cases differently.

India uses different protocols as you rightly said. It also uses some of the Ayurveda formulations etc. I believe they should be able to deal with this situation. But of course with numbers rising, there are always casualties.

Sree Iyer: As a matter of fact the state of Tamil Nadu, I think had a total lockdown for about six days, I believe. I think they’re in the middle of that right now because as soon as the elections ended they said that we are going to have a complete cessation of activity just so that we can let things calm down. Perhaps that’s one way.

In other news, safeguarding India’s economic exclusion zone, we have talked about this at length, we also had a couple of Hangouts with Abhijit Iyer Mitra, which talk about this Economic Exclusion Zones on how it came about. So now India is going to clarify the interpretation of Sea Laws and reinforce Ocean Surveillance. I think perhaps PGurus videos had a role in trying to get the government to clarify some of these things because if there are grey areas both sides will claim that this is what we were following. I’m glad that something is happening. What are your thoughts, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: I think it’s excellent. Two actions that the Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian government has taken. First and foremost, it didn’t make it into a big issue. Then it responded by saying India objects to the stand taken by the US Navy. US Navy responded by saying, we deliberately don’t accept these laws and we believe that we were within our rights to do that. So India has now provided a written clarification to explain why it is right. So it’s a very very proactive approach to assert the rule of law and the sovereignty of the country. All are very positive developments from India and the US has to heed and respond back. The US is not China. China will not care. With the US, at least there is hope that they would be a dialogue and they’ll be a resolution.

Sree Iyer: In global covid updates I’m going to read a couple of news items and then you can weigh in on them. Moderna says that its vaccine is 80% effective six months after the second shot. Pfizer CEO says that they can deliver 10% more doses to the US by the end of May than previously agreed. Turkey says China’s Sinovac vaccine is significantly more active, so we have to wait and see that. Remember that the counter-story that Imran Khan is supposed to have taken Sinovac and then got covid. So that was one of the high-profile, I guess, embarrassments for China. Thailand braces for significant covid-19 spike after the Songkran holiday and British covid variant is not as severe as feared according to experts. So this is the global picture on covid. Your thoughts, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: My thoughts are that it’s a continually evolving journey. The great news is Moderna’s effectiveness is now reaching the thresholds of Pfizer. There are a number of people in the United States who have taken Moderna and are extremely satisfied with the outcome that they have seen. There’ve been fewer issues. So what we’re witnessing now is the vaccination, the impact of the vaccination.

As far as the Sinopharm/Sinovac is concerned, you’re going to see a lot of advocacy. If you recall, we again reported in PGurus some of the Chinese officials themselves complaining that its efficacy is not greater than 55% – 56%.

Sree Iyer: In market news, Coinbase gets a reference price of $250 per share ahead of listing. Do you think it is overvalued, undervalued, correctly valued and just asking an opinion? I’m not going to hold your feet to the fire if it happens in any other way, sir, please go ahead.

Sridhar Chityala: I’m a markets guy. Price discovery happens in markets. Whether 250 is the right price, whether 300 is the right price, the markets will give an answer rather than me. The fact that it is listed at $250, the fact that the Bitcoin went past 62 and I think it’s settled somewhere around $63,000. This Bitcoin-US dollar pair is a reflection that there is a market perception that this is something that is acceptable and I think we will wait and see. Let’s wait for the IPO. They’ve done the assessment and usually, they send the base price now, it’s up to Coinbase to determine whether they want to offer it at 250 or they want to offer it 150 and then allow the market forces to make the move. But fortunately or unfortunately if you are a believer and non-believer, it is here.

Sree Iyer: Yes, and gas tax is not being considered in the Biden’s infrastructure plan according to someone from the White House. Sir, this kind of thing when they say it is not the issue usually turns out to BE the issue, your thoughts.

Sridhar Chityala: I’m not going to comment. I just reported one day earlier that the gas tax is very much part of the plan. One day later, the gas tax is not part of the plan. What is part of the plan? What is not part of the plan? Even after they have agreed that they’re going to dump they have not yet tested this in the Senate and they have agreed even with no Republican support, with the filibuster, they will get this thing passed. But the funding remains a mystery or funding remains Not Well defined and well-documented, ranging from corporate taxes to overseas taxes to domestic taxes to clean energy costing, $1,400 per household, it remains a puzzle as to what the offset payback over the next 15 years is. A number of schemes have been contemplated but nothing tangible has come out as yet by way of finality.

Sree Iyer: The stock market continues to move forward. S&P notches record, NASDAQ is up 1% and the stocks appear to have shaken off vaccine halt and inflation, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: I think the inflation index is determined by two numbers. One is the energy crisis and the second is the rates. When you look at the 10-year rates and the 30-year rates which we have been reporting every day, I have to say, hats off to Jerome Powell and his theory that I’m not going to raise rates for foreseeable future at least not in 2021, maybe 2022 until the economy recovers. He has been able to hold the rate below that 1.7%. It toggled between 1.6% -1.7% but the rates are back around that below1.6% or 1.62% as the case. So he has managed it but once the stimulus money kicks into the system, the system has not yet kicked into the system, there’s bound to be inflationary pressures. We may see the 10-year rate, my prediction is by end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter we could see it at 2%.

Sree Iyer:  And that brings us to a close on today’s episode. We’ll be back tomorrow bright and early. Namaskar. Do subscribe to our Channel and donate to our cause. Sridharji, as always a pleasure to have you with us and we’ll be back again tomorrow.

Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar and thank you so much. Have a wonderful New Year Day.




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