Edgar Degas Landscape with Path Leading to a Copse of Trees 1880-92
Slowly redefining, eroding legal language.
From 2 days ago: “The updated guidelines say employers may offer incentives for employees to provide documentation showing they have been vaccinated since requesting this proof “is not a disability-related inquiry” or an “unlawful request” under federal anti-discrimination laws.”
Today: “..the coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S. are no longer considered “experimental” because they have “completed clinical trials and have been authorized for emergency use.”
A group of 117 Houston-area hospital employees on Friday filed a civil lawsuit against an employer hospital’s coronavirus vaccine mandate. The lawsuit alleges that the mandate violates both the Nuremberg Code and U.S. statutes that allow Americans to refuse “unapproved” medical treatments. It also alleges violations of Texas labor and employment laws. That “people” are “trying to force you to put something into your body that you’re not comfortable with to keep your job is just insane,” lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges told Houston CBS affiliate KHOU. The defendants are The Methodist Hospital, the Methodist Hospital System, and Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital. The people in charge of those entities responded to the litigation by saying the plaintiffs are but a small minority of voices among 26,000 employees and that it is “legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines.”
The sharply worded 56-page complaint argues that the COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market were authorized merely as “emergency” measures and, thus, are not fully “approved” vaccines. At the top of the document are words attributed to David Bernard, the CEO of Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital: “100% vaccination is more important than your individual freedom. Everyone [sic] of you is replaceable. If you don’t like what your [sic] doing you can leave and we will replace your spot.” Those alleged words did not sit well with the plaintiffs. “For the first time in the history of the United States, an employer is forcing an employee to participate in an experimental vaccine trial as a condition for continued employment,” the lawsuit argues.
The document continues by alleging that the defendant hospital “became the first major health care system in the country to force it [sic] employees to be injected with an experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection (‘experimental vaccine’) or be fired.” “Methodist Hospital is forcing its employees to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment,” the lawsuit’s opening paragraph also says. The Washington Post on May 14 reported that the coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S. are no longer considered “experimental” because they have “completed clinical trials and have been authorized for emergency use.” The same report quotes a bevy of experts who asserted that the current vaccines are safe while noting that millions of Americans have been vaccinated without serious harm.
You can be the healthiest person in the world, but it makes no difference.
Greece and Denmark have become the first to launch Covid-19 vaccine passports for travel within the EU, as the bloc pushes for all member states to adopt the system and US officials say they’re considering the idea. The two countries rolled out the new passes on Friday in separate press conferences, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis calling them a “fast lane to facilitate travel” in Europe and help “restore freedom of movement.” While some EU states, including Denmark, had already implemented their own internal vaccine certificates, the new passports can be used for cross-border travel, in line with a March proposal by the European Commission.
The Greek and Danish passports are managed through a smartphone app that shows a user’s vaccination status and the last time they were tested for coronavirus. Both also use a scannable QR code to quickly relay the information, though paper versions will also be made available. The EU has pressed for all 27 of its member states to adopt a bloc-wide passport by July 1, agreeing to the plan in principle last week ahead of the summer tourism season. The push comes after the bloc called for an easing of the travel restrictions imposed at the height of the pandemic, recommending that members allow foreign visitors if they are fully vaccinated. While the European Parliament has yet to formally approve the passport scheme, several countries have already moved ahead.
In addition to Greece and Denmark, Ireland also announced plans on Friday to adopt an international Covid pass by July 19, while the UK’s National Health Service recently updated its digital passport app for cross-border travel. The passports will also be valid in non-EU nations Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, according to the European Commission. As the passes gain traction across Europe, US officials have said they are also eyeing the concept for foreign travel, with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief Alejandro Mayorkas telling ABC on Friday that the Biden administration is “taking a very close look at that.” A DHS spokesperson later clarified, however, that there would be no “federal mandate” for any kind of vaccine pass, adding that the government would help Americans only to meet entry requirements in other countries.
“The Biden administration has previously said multiple times that it will not require vaccine passports, or proof of vaccination, on the federal level. However, the administration is working with private companies to set guidelines for passport systems.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday walked back comments made by the agency’s chief, who suggested earlier in the day that the federal government was “taking a very close look” at the idea of requiring vaccine passports to enter or leave the United States. “Looking ahead to summer, Europe and other countries are going to open up. Could we see vaccine passports to travel internationally either into or out of the U.S.?” an ABC “Good Morning America” host asked Alejandro Mayorkas, head of the DHS. “We’re taking a very close look at that,” Mayorkas responded. But DHS said Mayorkas was only talking about how Americans will need to use such passports to enter other countries.
“We’ve always said we’re looking at how we can ensure Americans traveling abroad have a quick and easy way to enter other countries. That’s what the secretary was referring to; ensuring that all U.S. travelers will be able to easily meet any anticipated foreign country entry requirements,” an agency spokesperson told news outlets. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” the department also said. The White House had responded to Mayorkas’ statement by saying the same thing. Asked to explain his comments, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One:
“Again, the U.S. government recognizes that other countries have or may have foreign-entry requirements. We will be monitoring these and helping all U.S. travelers meet those, but we will not be—there will be no federal mandate requiring anyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.” The Biden administration has previously said multiple times that it will not require vaccine passports, or proof of vaccination, on the federal level. However, the administration is working with private companies to set guidelines for passport systems. A variety of groups have raised concerns about vaccine passports, arguing it would be an overreach of government authority to require vaccination proof. A number of states have banned requiring of passports, such as Georgia, and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) announced Friday they were introducing a bill that would ban them.
Latest analysis shows yet again – yet again – what we already knew from 40 years of published research. And also empirically from simply glancing over the past year’s real-world data. Masks don’t work! Our main finding is that mask mandates and use are not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 spread among US states. 80% of US states mandated masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandates induced greater mask compliance but did not predict lower growth rates when community spread was low (minima) or high (maxima). We infer that mandates likely did not affect COVID-19 case growth , as growth rates were similar on all days between actual or modeled issuance dates and 6 March 2021. Higher mask use (rather than mandates per se) has been argued to decrease COVID-19 growth rates .
While compliance varies by location and time, IHME estimates are robust (derived from multiple sources ) and densely sampled (day-level precision). Higher mask use did not predict lower maximum growth rates, smaller surges, or less Fall-Winter growth among continental states. Mask-growth rate correlation was only evident at minima. This may be an artifact of faster growth at fewer normalized cases, as well as regional differences in case prevalence early in the pandemic. States in the high mask quintile grew at similar rates as states in the low mask quintile after maxima (when interstate total case differences were smaller than before minima). In addition, mask use did not predict normalized cases at minima, and low mask growth curves trailed those of high mask (particularly Northeast) states before minima.
Growth maxima and Fall-Winter surges did not differ between Northeast and other states. Northeast states exhibited the highest seroprevalence up to at least July 2020  and constituted 80% of the top quintile of mask use, which may explain their comparatively lower Summer growth. Overall, mask use appears to be an intra-state lagging indicator of case growth. There is inferential but not demonstrable evidence that masks reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Animal models , small case studies , and growth curves for mandate-only states  suggest that mask efficacy increases with mask use . However, we did not observe lower growth rates over a range of compliance at maximum Fall-Winter growth (45-83% between South Dakota and Massachusetts during maxima)  when growth rates were high.
“..you must use very large amounts of the substance in order to get enough of it where you want it and the unwanted part can and does cause problems in other parts of the body.”
Moderna, for example, is not a new company. They have repeatedly tried to get their mRNA technology to be taken up preferentially by parts of the body that have some disease or disorder and thus attempt to treat that. It has never worked, because while some preference can be expressed for the particular particles injected too much of it winds up in other places where it’s not wanted and causes problems. Let me repeat this for emphasis: Nobody has managed to come up with an injected, complex substance such as “nanoparticles” that are only taken up by the tissues desired and not by any of the others. This in turn means you must use very large amounts of the substance in order to get enough of it where you want it and the unwanted part can and does cause problems in other parts of the body.
This is why Moderna, despite ten years of trying, has never before had a successful therapy licensed anywhere. We were told that this sort of thing does not happen with these shots. But there was zero proof of this; in fact, quite to the contrary, there was ten years of evidence by this company’s trials itself that said it was the exact opposite; specificity simply could not be guaranteed and too much would spill over into other places. We now know it happens with the mRNA shots as well, both directly and indirectly. The second pillar of the development of these vaccines was the claim, which the CDC still makes by the way, that the spike protein alone is harmless. Thus, even if some of the material was taken up in the wrong place (not the muscle and the lymph system) it was ok because it wouldn’t hurt you.
Unfortunately we now know that’s false as the spike alone is not inert and harmless; the first indications of that in scientific papers came in September of 2020 and development was not halted until the risk could be characterized. The CDC is knowingly lying in their public statements; that the spike portion of the virus is “harmless” is simply not subject to reasonable scientific support at this point in time. Yes, inducing antibodies in the circulation is what you want to happen. Causing spike protein components and the intact spike protein to be found in the circulation, however, you definitely do not want to happen because we now know, on the body of evidence, that both S1 standing alone and the whole spike are pathogenic — that is, they cause disorders in the body.
Indeed the evidence is quite strong that when you get hammered by Covid the reason you get hammered is that the infection becomes systemic and the part of the virus that causes the systemic problem is the spike when it gets into the circulation and then is disseminated through the body’s systems. We now know that the spike protein alone is capable of producing abnormal clotting absent the rest of the virus — that is, the entire virus isn’t necessary to do it and it’s not the virus infecting cells and replicating in them that causes it; it is the spike alone that induces the body to inappropriately produce blood clots where they do not belong.
We don’t see much virus news from China.
Border control and a partial lockdown have been imposed in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, after a cluster of the Indian variant of the coronavirus was discovered there. People leaving Guangzhou, a provincial capital of 15.3 million, must test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours before the trip. Roughly 520 flights were canceled at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, one of the world’s busiest air travel hubs, as of 11:40am local time on Monday, CNA news agency reported, citing aviation data provider VariFlight.
Authorities earlier announced stay-at-home orders for residents of several streets in the city’s Liwan District, where the first infected patient was discovered on May 21, and restricted travel on the subway and buses. Large gatherings were banned across Guangzhou, while indoor venues were told to operate at limited capacity and targeted mass-testing programs were launched. Chen Bin, the deputy chief of the provincial health commission, was cited by Xinhua as confirming on Sunday that all locally transmitted cases found in Guangzhou since May 21 were linked to the B.1.617 coronavirus strain, also known as the Indian variant.
200 is a lot.
More than 200 House Republicans are putting pressure on their Democrat counterparts to get down to the COVID-19 origins and hold the Chinese regime accountable for the pandemic coverup. “We request that you instruct the appropriate Democrat committee chairs to immediately join Republican calls to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its role in causing the global COVID-19 pandemic,” stated a May 28 letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The effort was led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), Minority Whip Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Rep. Elise Stefanik, the chair of the House Republican Conference and joined by 209 House Republicans.
The lawmakers said Pelosi had “falsely claimed” that “questions about the CCP’s liability” were a “diversion” – likely referring to Pelosi’s remarks from last May describing then-President Donald Trump’s blame on China as an “interesting diversion.” “There is mounting evidence the pandemic started in a Chinese lab, and the CCP covered it up. If that is the case, the CCP is responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 Americans and millions more worldwide,” they stated in the letter. “[E]very American family that lost someone deserves answers about the origin of this terrible virus,” they continued, adding that “House Democrats’ ongoing refusal to allocate investigative resources to get those answers is an affront to them.” “China can’t get away with this. Americans deserve answers,” Scalise wrote in a May 28 tweet.
The lawmakers cited a growing pile of evidence that the virus may have escaped from a Wuhan lab, an idea that many media outlets and scientists had initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. A State Department fact sheet, released during the final days of the Trump administration, suggested researchers with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), located in the vicinity of the seafood market initially thought to be the outbreak’s origin, fell ill with COVID-19 like symptoms in autumn 2019. Recently, an undisclosed intelligence report also surfaced saying three WIV staff were sick enough to seek hospital care that November.
What is Merkel going to do about Denmark? Her anger over having her phone spied on sure went away fast.
The US National Intelligence Agency received support from Denmark in spying on European politicians, according to a new joint media report, something President Joe Biden is well-informed to answer for, says Edward Snowden. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank Walter-Steinmeier are among those who were spied on by the NSA with the cooperation and help of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE), according to the European media investigation. The US spying on not only its own citizens, but also leaders in foreign countries is an accusation that came to light in 2013, mostly thanks to documents leaked by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower – though he remains a fugitive in the US – Edward Snowden. Snowden’s leaks specifically revealed Merkel’s private cell phone had been monitored by US authorities.
The new revelations come as a result of multiple European news outlets – including Danish state broadcaster DR, German NDR, Swedish SVT, Norwegian NRK and French Le Monde among others – obtaining access to internal reports and information from Danish Secret Service sources. According to the investigation, politicians in Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, France and even Danish finance industries were also targeted by the NSA with the help of Danish spies. The Danish government has reportedly known about the cooperation for years and forced FE leadership to step down in 2020 after discovering the full extent of the relationship following an internal investigation. They did not, however, report the findings to any European Union allies.
The spying was primarily done through hijacking Danish electronic communications systems as the country has landing stations for subsea internet cables between numerous countries, such as Germany and Sweden. By using politicians’ and officials’ phone numbers, authorities were able to pull texts and phone calls, while those being spied on were none the wiser. Snowden, who made his revelations about the NSA while Biden was vice president, says the current president is “well-prepared” to answer the accusations and that there should be a requirement of “full disclosure” from both Denmark and the US. “Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around,” he tweeted. “There should be an explicit requirement for full public disclosure not only from Denmark, but their senior partner as well.”
“Overall, they paid $219bn in income tax over the past decade, 3.6% of their total revenue of more than $6tn.”
The giant US tech firms known as the “Silicon Six” have been accused of inflating their stated tax payments by almost $100bn (£70bn) over the past decade. As Chancellor Rishi Sunak called on world leaders to back a new tech tax ahead of next week’s G7 summit in the UK, a report by the campaign group Fair Tax Foundation singled out Amazon, Facebook, Google’s owner, Alphabet, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft. It said they paid $96bn less in tax between 2011 and 2020 than the notional taxation figures they cite in their annual financial reports. . The six firms named handed over $149bn less to global tax authorities than would be expected if they had the paid headline rates where they operated, Fair Tax Foundation said.
Overall, they paid $219bn in income tax over the past decade, 3.6% of their total revenue of more than $6tn. Income tax is paid on profits, but the researchers said the Silicon Six companies deliberately shift income to low-tax jurisdictions to pay less tax. Based on companies’ regulatory filings, the report found that Amazon, the internet retailing and cloud services provider run by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, collected $1.6tn of revenue, reported $60.5bn of profit and paid $5.9bn in income taxes this decade. Amazon would have been expected to pay $10.7bn in taxes on those profits based on international tax rates, the report said. The tax paid as a percentage of profit was just 9.8% over the period 2011-20, the lowest of the so-called “Silicon Six”.
An Amazon spokesperson disputed the calculations as “extremely misleading”. “Amazon is primarily a retailer where profit margins are low, so comparisons to technology companies with operating profit margins of closer to 50% is not rational,” the company said. “Governments write the tax laws and Amazon is doing the very thing they encourage companies to do – paying all taxes due while also investing many billions in creating jobs and infrastructure. Coupled with low margins, this investment will naturally result in a lower cash tax rate.”
Don’t pay taxes, get bailed out instead.
Now that Jeff Bezos’s space flight company Blue Origin has lost a multibillion contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Congress is prepping the ground for Bezos to win a contract anyway, ordering NASA to make not one but two awards. The order would come through the Endless Frontier Act, a bill to beef up resources for science and technology research that’s being debated on the Senate floor this week. An amendment was added to that legislation by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to hand over $10 billion to NASA — money that most likely would go to Blue Origin, a company that’s headquartered in Cantwell’s home state.
Cantwell’s amendment is no sure bet though: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a last-minute amendment Monday to eliminate the $10 billion. “It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America,” Sanders told The Intercept Tuesday. The Bezos space company had been competing against SpaceX for a contract to put astronauts on the moon, the first such trips since 1972, but lost the bidding process with a price tag twice that of SpaceX. NASA announced the award to the Elon Musk-owned company last month.
“My brother Julian Assange has effectively been a prisoner for over a decade because he published evidence of war crimes..”
The father and brother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are planning a nationwide tour of the United States next month to advocate for the release of the detained journalist and for the Biden administration to drop its extradition effort—and to highlight the broader implications that his prosecution has for global press freedom. John and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s father and brother, will kick off the #HomeRun4Julian tour in Miami on June 6, then travel to over a dozen U.S. cities for the rest of the month, wrapping up in Washington, D.C. in July. Some events will be live-streamed, and the pair plans to meet with activists, journalists, and policymakers along the away. “My brother Julian Assange has effectively been a prisoner for over a decade because he published evidence of war crimes,” said Gabriel Shipton in a statement Thursday. “The U.S. government wants to make an example out of him to deter journalists and whistleblowers.”
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