Blu Mural Rome, 2015 (click for more)
Does this say that even if a drug will be found to treat COVID19 the contract cannot be voided?!
So why would anyone want to get vaccinated now? Why not wait? “You’ll make it worse!” Me? On my own?
COVID-19 may be “just a few mutations” away from being able to evade vaccines, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Tuesday. Walensky said the current vaccines are effective against severe cases of the coronavirus, including those caused by its known variants, but its continuing spread could allow the disease to mutate beyond the immunizations’ protection. “The largest concern that I think we in public health and sciences are worried about is that virus and potential mutations … [have] the potential to evade our vaccine in terms of how it protects us from severe disease and death,” Walensky said at a press briefing.
“Right now, fortunately, we are not there. These vaccines operate really well in protecting us from severe disease and death. But the big concern is the next area that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccines.” The agency chief said the possibility is even more reason for people to get vaccinated — so that the virus can finally be off at the pass before it mutates into something that requires another vaccine. The CDC on Tuesday issued new indoor mask guidelines designed to help slow the spread of the virus in places experiencing surges in cases.
“In areas with substantial and time transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others,” Walensky said, referring to the highly contagious strain that comprises an estimated 83 percent of new cases nationwide. Health officials have stressed that rising coronavirus case numbers in the US are being driven by unvaccinated Americans. Currently, people who are not vaccinated are responsible for around 99.5 percent of COVID-19 deaths and 97 percent of hospitalizations, officials said.
CBS Sacramento. The ways the story is “massaged” is a sight to behold.
State workers and health care employees will now be required to show proof of vaccine or get tested for COVID at least once a week. The governor announced the new guidance today and is urging private employers to “replicate the example.” This comes as the highly contagious Delta variant is now dominant in the state and COVID rates have skyrocketed in the month since California officially reopened, including breakthrough cases among vaccinated Californians. A new analysis finds several counties with above-average vaccination rates also have higher COVID case rates, while case rates are falling in counties with below-average vaccination rates.
Statewide data analyzed by the Bay Area News Group found five counties, Los Angeles, San Diego, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco, have both a higher percentage of people who are fully vaccinated than the state average and a higher average daily case rate. Compare that to these five counties: Modoc, Glenn, Lassen, Del Norte, and San Benito, which have below-average vaccination rates and decreasing case rates. However, UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Phillip Norris clarifies that the data doesn’t mean the vaccine is not working. He notes, first, the counties referenced with higher vaccination and case rates are more densely populated. “If there are a lot of people around you’re more likely to bump into one who has COVID,” Norris explained.
He, like other infectious disease experts, warns that vaccinated people may be unknowingly spreading the virus. Julie: A lot of people think if they’re vaccinated, they can’t transmit. Is that true? Phillip: So, originally we thought that might be true. But he says that’s no longer the case, thanks to the Delta variant. He points to preliminary data from China that indicates the viral load in the nose from the Delta variant may be 1,000 times higher than previous variants. “If that’s the case, even a little bit in somebody who’s vaccinated could be a lot,” he explains.
Ireland. If I were me, I’d first want to know what’s in those booster shots. Different spike proteins perhaps?
A COVID-19 vaccine booster programme could get underway as soon as September, the Health Minister says. Stephen Donnelly says it will be done in conjunction with the flu vaccine, which is usually done in early autumn. It’s believed boosters will be offered first to people at high risk of illness or exposure to COVID-19 – in particular those who were vaccinated early in the rollout. Stephen Donnelly says we’re also likely to see “pop-up” vaccination centres in the coming weeks, to make it as “easy as possible” for young people to get vaccinated. He was speaking after NIAC and the Government gave the green light to extend vaccination to everyone aged 12-15. Around 70% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated against the virus, with nearly 85% having received at least their first dose.
Minister Donnelly told Newstalk Breakfast work is underway to figure out the best way to extend the vaccine programme in the coming weeks. He said: “My priority for some time has been children with underlying conditions. He said teenagers with underlying conditions may be able to book an appointment with their GP. However, it may ultimately be quicker to allow everyone in the age group to register at the same time for appointments in the mass vaccination centres. This weekend will also see the opening of the country’s first walk-in vaccination centres. Minister Donnelly said: “It’s this bank holiday weekend… it’s mRNA vaccines, so Pfizer or Moderna. Anyone over the age of 16… can just walk in.” He said it doesn’t matter if someone has already registered via the vaccine portal – they can still attend the new centre if they haven’t had their first dose yet.
Zero covid is a thing of the past that hampers effective reactions.
The need to act on climate change is the fundamental moral imperative of our age, animated by the idea our sacrifices today will save the planet in the future. Yes, energy costs may be higher and some people will lose their jobs, but it’s worth it for the grandkids. Curiously, the grandkids haven’t been given much thought in our response to Covid-19. Our generation has foist extraordinary costs on future generations in a vain attempt to save lives from a disease that is lethal to a few. “The great majority of people … even in their 80s … will survive,” Britain’s chief scientific adviser Chris Whitty said in March last year, before collective psychosis took hold.
“Even in the most vulnerable, oldest groups, in a very stressed health service … the great majority of people who catch the virus – and not everyone will – survive it,” he told a parliamentary committee, having analysed the data from China and Italy. That was true then and it’s true now. Covid-19 was never an existential threat. After 18 months about four million people have died from or with Covid – most of advanced age apart for some tragic exceptions – in a world with a rapidly growing population of almost eight billion people. Sixty million people die every year. But we have behaved like it was, racking up trillions in extra debt and trashing norms of liberal democracy that might not quickly, if ever, return.
The idea that Sydney would be locked down in September 2021 or that American pediatricians would insist anyone over two years old wear a mask outside, to anyone living in February last year would have seemed ridiculous. Yet both, seemingly, are true. On this trend, silencing different scientific opinions or mandating individual tracking devices, all in the name of “saving lives”, may no longer be considered far-fetched. At the end of 2019 the federal budget papers forecast net debt of $361bn by June 2023. The latest budget papers forecast $835bn for the same period, rising to $980bn by mid-2025. Put another way, by 2030 the government’s gross debt burden is forecast to be more than 51 per cent of GDP, compared with 15 per cent forecast in 2019, according to the Intergenerational Report released last month.
By 2060, interest payments on federal debt will have doubled as a share of the economy, if interest rates start to return to more normal levels, it forecasts. A warmer planet won’t be the only burden we’re leaving for the grandkids. Future taxes will need to be higher, and expenditures on other goods and services lower, commensurately, than they otherwise would have been. We will have fewer resources to invest in cancer and dementia research, for example, much greater threats to welfare than Covid-19. “The Covid-19 pandemic and associated containment measures, however, have profoundly affected Australian society and the economy, and are likely to shape the future in ways that are not yet apparent,” the Intergenerational Report says. Who would have foreseen, for instance, a surge in babies being admitted to hospital in New Zealand for an “immunity debt” potentially caused by the government’s closed border policy?
Of course not, or it would be no fun:
“An employee told the Los Angeles Times that the restaurant is not actually checking patrons’ vaccine status.”
A California restaurant has refused to back down after being bombarded with negative press and customer reviews for posting a sign demanding that all diners provide proof that they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. With vaccination status increasingly becoming a prerequisite to participate in many ordinary activities, one Huntington Beach eatery has decided to take a slightly different approach to granting privileges based on personal medical decisions. On its storefront window, Basilico’s Pasta e Vino taped a sign reading: “PROOF OF BEING UNVACCINATED REQUIRED. We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering.”
The restaurant’s owner, Tony Roman, said that the unorthodox policy is designed to get people thinking as some Southern California businesses begin asking customers for proof of vaccination. “With the new and aggressive push for mandatory vax policies, we couldn’t resist, so we are sending a message of our own. Hopefully most are smart enough to read between the lines. Otherwise we will just sit back and have fun watching their heads explode over it,” Roman said in a statement to local media. An employee told the Los Angeles Times that the restaurant is not actually checking patrons’ vaccine status. The restaurant previously declared itself a mask-free zone and refused to shut its doors when eateries were ordered in March 2020 to curtail indoor dining as part of Covid restrictions.
Some appear to appreciate the intended message behind the odd measure. A vaccinated woman who cuts hair at a nearby barbershop told local media that she didn’t feel slighted by the no-vaxxed-allowed policy. “You got other places that want you vaccinated to come in. No different, right?” she noted to a local ABC affiliate. However, many others were furious over the move. The restaurant has been pelted with negative reviews on Yelp. One comment said that the provocative rule was a “slap in the face to all those who died from Covid-19.”
Good idea, so-so rendition:
The elites of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Capitol Hill act as the true overlords of Western thought, guarding the borders of allowable speech. How on earth did we allow this to happen – and what can be done now? America has changed beyond recognition over the past few years, and performed a rather rapid about-face on the issue of free speech, a notion it once championed. The source of this is no longer merely the apparatus of Silicon Valley and its desire to control information flows (which it is meant to merely shepherd without bias). The same pressure has come from the superstate structure of America itself, particularly (and ironically) the politically ‘liberal’ faction, as well as from an overarching pressure from the consumer interests of Western-backed global finance.
There appears to be a mass consensus among American money-powers (and thereby state powers) to tightly control information, and to abandon utterly their so recently lauded values of free speech. The FBI in particular has seemingly transitioned into an institution of speech-referees and political oppressors, on guard primarily against America’s own citizens. Ironically, this has not halted America’s saber-rattling about political and informational oppressions from its geopolitical rivals in the east, which find themselves in the reverse role of shocked concern at the willingness of the American superstate to silence its political and moral enemies. Even to the extent of performing show trials.
[..] Facebook has led an initiative to officially create ‘snitches’ among its users, creating their own ‘social credit scheme’, along the lines of China’s. Again, in an act of unbridled obliviousness to the utter reversal of values they held as core only a few scant years ago, and while complaining out of the corner of their mouths about a Chinese variation of the same system. The nation which championed ‘free speech’ will now ban you from the public space and force you out of your job for the crime of ‘misgendering’. Among those who support the hard turn away from free speech, you will find devoted imbibers of neoliberal media, (CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NYT, etc). It is possibly here where you will find these attitudes are ‘created’ before being disseminated downstream among the elites of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Capitol Hill.
Once in consensus with the latest media buzzwords, these three may be considered part of a closed feedback loop. From there the true overlords of Western thought are those newly emerged sentinels who guard the borders of allowable speech. Today American citizens are tracked, monitored, and generally threatened more than ever before. Even my writing of this article, what would have been considered an innocuous expression of free political criticism only five or so years ago, might today be considered controversial to the new ‘American Stasi’. We in the West now live behind what we might call a new ‘iron curtain’ – and for those living behind this curtain, there is no longer any illusion of free speech, it is simply no longer talked about.
Hale was caught because the Intercept got involved.
Daniel Hale, a former intelligence analyst in the drone program for the Air Force who as a private contractor in 2013 leaked some 17 classified documents about drone strikes to the press, was sentenced Tuesday to 45 months in prison. The documents, published by The Intercept on October 15, 2015, exposed that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. For one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The civilian dead, usually innocent bystanders, were routinely classified as “enemies killed in action.”
The Justice Department coerced Hale, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, on March 31 to plead guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act, a law passed in 1917 designed to prosecute those who passed on state secrets to a hostile power, not those who expose to the public government lies and crimes. Hale admitted as part of the plea deal to “retention and transmission of national security information” and leaking 11 classified documents to a journalist. If he had refused the plea deal, he could have spent 50 years in prison. The sentencing of Hale is one more potentially mortal blow to the freedom of the press. It follows in the wake of the prosecutions and imprisonment of other whistleblowers under the Espionage Act including Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, who spent two-and-a-half years in prison for exposing the routine torture of suspects held in black sites.
Those charged under the act are treated as if they were spies. They are barred from explaining motivations and intent to the court. They cannot provide evidence to the court of the government lawlessness and war crimes they exposed. Prominent human rights organizations, such as the ACLU and PEN, along with mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and CNN, have largely remained silent about the prosecution of Hale. The group Stand with Daniel Hale has called on President Biden to pardon Hale and end the use of the Espionage Act to punish whistleblowers. It is also collecting donations for Hale’s legal fund. The bipartisan onslaught against the press — Barack Obama used the Espionage Act eight times against whistleblowers, more than all other previous administrations combined — by criminalizing those within the system who seek to inform the public is ominous for our democracy. It is effectively extinguishing all investigations into the inner workings of power.
US woman kills someone on UK motorway, her fault, flees the country. US calls diplomatic immunity of sorts, no extradition. The US attorney who makes that case happens to be the same who tries hard to get Assange extradited the other way around.
Radd Seiger, adviser and spokesperson for the Dunn family, said in a statement Monday that “as any parent might imagine, losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to you.” “But having to deal with the U.S. Government’s abuse and denial of justice as Harry’s family have had to since he died is unprecedented for us here in the U.K.,” he said. “Their conduct is and continues to be frankly unAmerican and against the core values of decency and compassion that we know most Americans hold dear to their hearts, including those who work for the intelligence agencies, many of whom have come forward to us privately to tell us how ashamed they are of their employer.”
Among the Justice Department officials who signed the motion for a protective order was Raj Parekh, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and an appointee of the Biden administration. In an ironic twist, Parekh supervises hundreds of Justice Department attorneys, including many who are seeking the extradition of foreign nationals to the United States. The most prominent case currently under Parekh’s direction is the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, from the U.K. to the United States to face charges under the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917. David Davis, a Conservative member of the U.K. Parliament, wrote in an op-ed on Saturday that his government appears to have a one-sided relationship with the United States on the issue of extradition.
“[T]he UK is one of most amenable nations in the world to the surrender of its citizens to overseas courts — but we do not insist on corresponding arrangements with other governments,” Davis wrote in his July 24 column for the Daily Mail. [..] Sacoolas is scheduled to be deposed by the Dunn family’s lawyers on Aug. 24 as part of the lawsuit against her and her husband. Dunn’s parents were deposed in the civil proceeding in early July. At Sacoolas’s deposition, “she will be questioned regarding her activity as she drove from the base to the accident scene, and Plaintiffs are deeply concerned that the Government’s motion will needlessly thwart a legitimate inquiry on this and other relevant subjects,” the Dunn family lawyers wrote in their court filing on Monday. Seiger, the spokesperson for the Dunn family, said the July 23 motion filed by the Justice Department “is not an attempt to protect state secrets or national security.” “It is an attempt to keep Harry’s family from the truth and minimize what happened to him,” he said.
“The first thing I do when I get a new phone is take it apart.”
The first thing I do when I get a new phone is take it apart. I don’t do this to satisfy a tinkerer’s urge, or out of political principle, but simply because it is unsafe to operate. Fixing the hardware, which is to say surgically removing the two or three tiny microphones hidden inside, is only the first step of an arduous process, and yet even after days of these DIY security improvements, my smartphone will remain the most dangerous item I possess. Prior to this week’s Pegasus Project, a global reporting effort by major newspapers to expose the fatal consequences of the NSO Group—the new private-sector face of an out-of-control Insecurity Industry—most smartphone manufacturers along with much of the world press collectively rolled their eyes at me whenever I publicly identified a fresh-out-of-the-box iPhone as a potentially lethal threat.
Despite years of reporting that implicated the NSO Group’s for-profit hacking of phones in the deaths and detentions of journalists and human rights defenders; despite years of reporting that smartphone operating systems were riddled with catastrophic security flaws (a circumstance aggravated by their code having been written in aging programming languages that have long been regarded as unsafe); and despite years of reporting that even when everything works as intended, the mobile ecosystem is a dystopian hellscape of end-user monitoring and outright end-user manipulation, it is still hard for many people to accept that something that feels good may not in fact be good. Over the last eight years I’ve often felt like someone trying to convince their one friend who refuses to grow up to quit smoking and cut back on the booze—meanwhile, the magazine ads still say “Nine of Ten Doctors Smoke iPhones!” and “Unsecured Mobile Browsing is Refreshing!”
In my infinite optimism, however, I can’t help but regard the arrival of the Pegasus Project as a turning-point—a well-researched, exhaustively-sourced, and frankly crazy-making story about a “winged” “Trojan Horse” infection named “Pegasus” that basically turns the phone in your pocket into an all-powerful tracking device that can be turned on or off, remotely, unbeknownst to you, the pocket’s owner.
The microphones inside my actual phone, prepped for surgery
Officially stateless now? Nice. What says Australia?
Ecuador has revoked the citizenship of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who is currently in a British prison. Ecuador’s justice system formally notified the Australian of the nullity of his naturalisation in a letter that came in response to a claim filed by the South American country’s foreign ministry. A naturalisation is reconsidered when it is granted based on the concealment of relevant facts, false documents or fraud. Ecuadorian authorities said Assange’s naturalisation letter had multiple inconsistencies, different signatures, the possible alteration of documents and unpaid fees, among other issues. Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, said the decision was made without due process and Assange was not allowed to appear in the case.
“On the date [Assange] was cited he was deprived of his liberty and with a health crisis inside the deprivation of liberty centre where he was being held,” Poveda said. Poveda said he will file appeals asking for an amplification and clarification of the decision. “More than the importance of nationality, it is a matter of respecting rights and following due process in withdrawing nationality.” Assange received Ecuadorian citizenship in January 2018 as part of a failed attempt by the government of then-President Lenín Moreno to turn him into a diplomat to get him out of its embassy in London. On Monday, the Pichincha court for contentious administrative matters revoked this decision. Ecuador’s foreign ministry said the court had “acted independently and followed due process in a case that took place during the previous government and that was raised by the same previous government”.
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Nature is the source of all true knowledge. She has her own logic, her own laws, she has no effect without cause nor invention without necessity.
-Leonardo da Vinci
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