Salvador Dali Invisible Sleeping Woman, Horse, Lion 1930
“France now imports more Russian liquefied natural gas than at any time in history, writes Welt.
The requirement to pay for gas in rubles does not apply to LNG supplies, and France has as many as four terminals for receiving such tankers.”
— Gonzalo Lira (@GonzaloLira1968) July 2, 2022
Myocarditis cases in USA, Ages 12-20:
The MSM still can’t do normal reporting on Ukraine. Because Russia keeps winning.
• Russia Claims Control Of Pivotal Eastern Ukrainian Province (AP)
Russia claimed control Sunday over the last Ukrainian stronghold in an eastern province that is key to achieving a major goal of Moscow’s grinding war. The General Staff of Ukraine’s military reported that its forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk in Luhansk province. President Volodymr Zelenskyy acknowledged the withdrawal but said the fight for the city was still raging on its outskirts. If confirmed, Russia’s complete seizure of Luhansk would provide its troops with a stronger base from which to press their advance in the Donbas, a region of mines and factories that President Vladimir Putin is bent on capturing in a campaign that could determine the course of the entire war. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that Russia’s troops, with a local separatist militia, “have established full control over the city of Lysychansk” and now hold all of Luhansk, according to a ministry statement published Sunday.
As is typical with such descriptions, the Russian statement characterized the victories as “the liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic.” Separatists in Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk, which make up the Donbas and are home to significant Russian-speaking populations, declared independence from Kyiv in 2014 and their forces have battled Ukrainian troops there ever since. Russia formally recognized the self-proclaimed republics days before its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian and Russian forces fought fiercely for Lysychansk in recent days after the neighboring city fell last week. On Sunday evening, the General Staff of Ukraine’s military confirmed on social media that its forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk “to preserve the lives of Ukrainian defenders.”
In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy noted the withdrawal. But he added that “Ukraine does not give anything back” and vowed to return with more modern weapons. Citing his forces’ success in recapturing other territory, he promised, “There will be a day when we will say the same about Donbas.” Earlier, Zelenskyy said Kyiv’s forces were still battling Russian soldiers on Lysychansk’s outskirts “in a very difficult and dangerous situation.” “We cannot give you the final judgment. Lysychansk is still being fought for,” Zelenskyy told a news conference in Kyiv given alongside Australia’s visiting prime minister. He noted that territory can move quickly from one side to the other.
Good advice. And a good day for it too.
• To Avoid Civil War, Learn to Tolerate Different Laws in Different States (Mises)
Most commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—which overturns Roe v. Wade—has focused on the decision’s effect on the legality of abortion in various states. That’s an important issue. It may be, however, that the Dobbs decision’s effect on political decentralization in the United States is a far bigger deal. After all, the ruling isn’t so much about abortion as it is about the federal government’s role in abortion. State governments are free to make abortion 100 percent legal within their own borders. Some states have already done so. The court’s ruling limits only the federal government’s prerogatives over abortion law, and this has the potential to lead to many other limitations on federal power as well. In this way, Dobbs is a victory for those seeking to limit federal power.
The decentralization is all to the good, and there’s nothing novel about it. Historically, state laws in the US have varied broadly on a variety of topics from alcohol consumption to divorce. This was also true of abortion before Roe v. Wade. Moreover, decentralizing abortion policy in this way actually works to defuse national conflict. This is becoming even more important as cultural divides in the United States are clearly accelerating and become more entrenched. Rather than fight with increasing alarm and aggression over who controls the federal government—and thus who imposes the winner’s preferences on everyone else—people in different states will have more choices in choosing whether to live under proabortion or antiabortion regimes.
In other words, decentralization forces policymakers to behave as they should in a confederation of states: they must tolerate people doing things differently across state lines. This will be essential in avoiding disaster, and laissez-faire liberals (i.e., “classical liberals”) have long supported decentralization as a key in avoiding dangerous political conflicts. Ludwig von Mises, for example, supported decentralization because, as he put it, it “is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil … wars.”
Huh? “If Biden got America on a wartime footing, as he should be given Russia’s aggression in Europe, we would see the lowering of oil, gas and petroleum prices in less than one year.”
• Yes, You CAN Blame Biden For High Energy Prices (Shellenberger)
This July 4th, as you fill up your car or truck, you might be tempted to blame President Joe Biden for high gasoline prices. You shouldn’t, say some experts. It’s Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fault, they say. The US had to cut off Russian oil imports to punish Putin for invading Ukraine. Meanwhile, Biden himself has blamed the American energy industry. “At a time of war,” Biden wrote in an open letter to the industry on June 15, “high refinery profit margins being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable… companies must take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel, and other refined product.” But US refineries are already operating at 94 percent of their capacity, with US refineries in the Gulf of Mexico running at 98 percent, which is the highest rate in 30 years.
Running refineries at a higher capacity than that risks damaging the equipment. As such, Biden isn’t just wrong, he insulted some of the hardest working people operating in one of the most dangerous industries in America. But, on May 12, Biden’s Interior Department blocked a proposal to open up more than one million acres of land in Alaska for oil and gas drilling. Two days later, Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency blocked plans to expand an oil refinery in the US Virgin Islands. Biden and his defenders said he had to block the expansion of the Virgin Islands refinery, given how polluting it was. But had Biden’s EPA allowed the Virgin Island refinery to expand, the owners would have poured nearly $3 billion into retrofitting the plant so it produced gasoline and other products more cleanly, while significantly increasing production at the same time.
Furthermore, anybody who cares about air pollution and climate change should want more oil and gas drilling, not less. US emissions declined 22% between 2005 and 2020, mostly because cheap natural gas has replaced coal. In truth, there are many things Biden could have done, and still should do, to lower energy prices. He could invoke the National Defense Act to accelerate the rate of oil and gas permits. He could set a floor of $80/barrel for re-filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which would be a powerful incentive for the industry, because it would prevent prices from falling to unprofitable levels. Biden could announce trade agreements with American allies to supply them with liquified natural gas, which would incentivize more natural gas production and lower prices. If Biden got America on a wartime footing, as he should be given Russia’s aggression in Europe, we would see the lowering of oil, gas and petroleum prices in less than one year.
“99% of gas stations in America are small business owned. The average gas station’s profit actually DROPPED from April to May. ”
• Bezos Slams Biden Appeal For Lower Gasoline Prices (F24)
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has criticized President Joe Biden for calling on oil companies to lower sky-high gasoline prices, prompting the White House to come to the US leader’s defense on Sunday. “My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” Biden tweeted Saturday. “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now,” Biden added. Bezos said Biden’s remarks amounted to “either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.” “Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this,” the US billionaire tweeted Saturday.
Gasoline prices at the pump have become a symbol of broader price rises in the United States, and they are sapping Biden’s approval rating ahead of legislative elections in November. Biden has regularly attacked oil companies, saying they only care about profits and not the well-being of the average consumer. The companies say in turn they have increased production to try to tame prices but that these are set on the world market and are subject to dynamics that are not under the control of US oil giants. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter Sunday that oil prices have dropped about $15 a barrel over the past month. “But prices at the pump have barely come down. That’s not ‘basic market dynamics.’ It’s a market that is failing the American consumer,” she wrote.
Gasoline prices have been above $5 a gallon since early June, which is unprecedented in the car-crazy nation. Prices have fallen slightly since, but remain far from the $3 a gallon level of a year ago. John Kirby, White House spokesman on national security issues, also defended the president Sunday in an appearance on Fox News. “The president is working very, very hard across many fronts… to try to bring that price down,” Kirby said.
• Supreme Court Marshal Calls on States To Crackdown on Protesters (Turley)
In a rare move, Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley has sent letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin demanding that authorities put an end to picketing and “threatening activity” outside the homes of SCOTUS justices. The letter seeks to use state laws to achieve what the Justice Department has clearly rejected under federal law. If the letter prompts arrests, we could see a major free speech challenge in the courts. The timing of the letter, however, is particularly interesting and may reflect a recognition of the limits of the federal law. Like most Americans, I have denounced these protests targeting the homes of justices as excessive and reckless (though one law professor actually suggested that such protests could be more aggressive).
However, I have also questioned the use of a federal law to arrest protesters. Under a federal law, 18 U.S.C. 1507, any individual who “pickets or parades” with the “intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer” near a U.S. court or “near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer” will be fined or “imprisoned not more than one year, or both.” I believe that a court would declare the use of the federal law against protesters on public sidewalks to be unconstitutional. There are issues of free speech, assembly, and vagueness that would be likely raised in federal court. Indeed, if you apply the broad interpretation of the law, even protests outside of the Supreme Court building could result in arrests since courthouses are also included.
However, the timing is particularly interesting. After the release of the decision in in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, I noted that it would be even harder to use this law because the statute refers to “interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge … in the discharge of his duty.” With the release of the decision, there is no chance that the protesters are interfering, impeding, or influencing the decision. Thus, even if the constitutional arguments were rejected, a court could question whether the law can be read as applying to protests generally against the justices for their views. That is what makes the date so interesting. Dobbs came out on June 24, 2022. One week later, Curley sought enforcement of state laws as an alternative to federal enforcement.
It may reflect the view that, even if the law is constitutional to arrest protesters, it would be narrowly construed in light of the fact that Dobbs is now on the books. Since it was clear for weeks that the Justice Department would not enforce the law to arrest protesters outside of these homes, the timing of the letter could reflect a dwindling likelihood of enforcement in light of the end of the term. Curley wrote Gov. Hogan: “I would respectfully request that you direct the Maryland State Police to enforce Maryland and Montgomery County laws that squarely prohibit picketing at the homes of Supreme Court Justices who reside in Maryland.” Both the Maryland and Virginia governors responded by calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to use his authority under federal law to stop the protesters.
That’s a first for me. Sounds crazy.
• NY To Require 3 Years Of Social Media History For Gun Carry Permit (PM)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul once again signed sweeping gun legislation into law on Friday that created several severe new restrictions on obtaining a gun in the state, including drastically increasing concealed carry regulations and requiring applicants to turn over social media history. According to the the legislation, part of Hochul’s new criteria to obtain a concealed carry permit will be an applicant giving the government a list containing three years of history of their current and inactive social media accounts. Applicants must also have 16 hours of firearm training, provide four character references, and list the contact information for any domestic partners or adults of any kind they live with.
Potential applicants will also be required to show “good moral character,” meaning “the essential character, temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself and others. At a press conference regarding the new legislation, Hochul said “we are creating a definitive list of sensitive locations where individuals will not be able to carry firearms.” This list includes “schools, summer camps, libraries, daycares, parks and playgrounds, places children gather, theaters, museums, entertainment venues, places of worship for religious observation, polling places, educational institutions, and health medical facilities. Federal State Local government buildings, homeless and domestic violence shelters, places where alcohol is consumed, restaurants, bars, public transportation, subway buses, airports and at public demonstrations and rallies, and in Times Square.”
Another new rule is a “Default of No Concealed Carry on Private Property and Businesses Unless Deemed Permissible by Property Owners.” Hochul said of this law, “We are making ‘no open carry’ the default position for private businesses. That means that any business, grocery store, retail, private home, place that wants to allow guns on their premises will have to demonstrate that and establish that they put a sign out there that says concealed carry guns are welcome here.”
She is a strange story.
• Text Messages Show Cassidy Hutchinson Referring To Jan 6 Committee As ‘BS’ (DC)
The January 6 committee’s key witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, called the committee “bs” in a text message obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller. On Feb 1. Hutchinson sent a text to a conservative activist with connections to the First Amendment Fund, which is a group started by the American Conservative Union that helps Trump officials cover costs for Jan. 6 lawyers. Matt Schlapp said Hutchinson approached CPAC for help through the First Amendment Fund. Schlapp said he is happy they did not end up assisting her because she was relaying White House “hallway gossip as fact.” In the text message, Hutchinson says: “Hey (redacted)! This is Cassidy Hutchinson. Kind of a random question, but do you still work for the Schlapp’s at the ACU?” To which the person responded, “Hi, Yes!”
Hutchinson then said, “Do you happen to know a First Amendment fund POC I could reach out to? I was subpoenaed in early Nov., but the committee waited to serve me until last week (after Ben’s deposition).” “I had to accept service because the U.S. Marshalls came to my apartment last Wednesday, but I haven’t made contact with the Committee. I’m just on a tight timeline and just trying to figure out what my options are to deal with this bs,” Hutchinson added. In another text message reviewed by the Daily Caller, Hutchinson told the conservative activist that she does not want things to get “unnecessarily elevated” in regards to the Jan. 6 committee. Hutchinson made headlines after testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, where she claimed former President Donald Trump lunged for the steering wheel in an effort to reroute the car to the Capitol where protesters were gathering. Sources close to the Secret Service have denied her claims.
Kulldorff tries too hard to sound reasonable. No, they are not safe. So say so.
• Are the Covid mRNA Vaccines Safe? (Kulldorff)
Covid-recovered people have natural immunity that is stronger than vaccine-induced immunity. So, the benefit of vaccination is – at best – minimal. If the risk of adverse reactions is the same as in the randomized trials, there is a negative risk-benefit difference. Why are we mandating people in this group to be vaccinated? It is both unethical and damaging to public health. While everyone can get infected, children have a minuscule risk of covid mortality. There is very limited safety data from the trials on children. If the risk of adverse reactions is the same as for adults, the harms outweigh the risks. Children should not receive these vaccines. Older people above 70 have a much higher risk of covid mortality than the population in the Fraiman study. If their risk of adverse reaction is the same, then the benefits outweigh the harms.
Hence, older people who have never had covid and are not yet vaccinated may benefit from these vaccines. However, we do not know if they are better than the Johnson & Johnson and Astra-Zeneca vaccines. It is unclear from the clinical trial data whether the benefits outweigh the risks for working-age adults who have not been vaccinated and who have not already had covid. This is true both historically, for the original covid variants, and currently for the newer ones. The Fraiman study analyzes data after the first and second doses. Both risks and benefits may differ for booster shots, but no randomized trial has properly evaluated the trade-off. These results concern only the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Fraiman et al. did not analyze data on the adenovirus-vector vaccines marketed by Johnson & Johnson and Astra-Zeneca.
Benn et al. found that they reduced all-cause mortality (RR=0.37, 95% CI:0.19-0.70), but nobody has used trial data to analyze AESIs for these vaccines. Critically, the Fraiman and Benn studies had a follow-up of only a few months after the second dose because Pfizer and Moderna, unfortunately, terminated their randomized trials a few months after receiving emergency use authorization. Of course, a longer-term benefit can provide a basis to tolerate negative or neutral short-term risk-benefit differences. However, that is unlikely since we know from observational studies that mRNA vaccine efficacy deteriorates a few months after the second dose.
There may also be long-term adverse reactions to the vaccine regarding which we do not yet know. Since the randomized trials ended early, we must look at observational data to answer that question. The publicly available data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is of low quality, with both under- and over-reporting. The best observational data is from CDCs Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) and FDA’s Biologics and Effectiveness Safety System (BEST), but there have only been limited reports from these systems. Fraiman and colleagues have produced the best evidence yet regarding the overall safety of the mRNA vaccines. The results are concerning. It is the responsibility of the manufacturers and FDA to ensure that benefits outweigh harms. They have failed to do so.
Haven’t followed the Spartacus group for a bit.
SARS-CoV-2 was not the product of natural zoonosis. It was not the product of an accidental lab leak, either. It was the product of deliberate, willful bioterrorism by what I’ve come to call the Biodefense Mafia. This Biodefense Mafia grew out of an expansion of USAID, DARPA, BARDA, and DTRA-affiliated civilian biolabs, both in the US and elsewhere, thanks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program and Robert Kadlec’s expansion of biodefense after Amerithrax. That initial expansion of the Biodefense Mafia involved Kadlec awarding rigged contracts to Fuad El-Hibri’s company, BioPort, for anthrax vaccines. BioPort was a spinoff of DynPort, which, in turn, was spun off from the American mercenary company DynCorp in a partnership with Porton in the UK.
Yes, the same DynCorp that Kathryn Bolkovac blew the whistle on in Bosnia for sex trafficking of young girls, the same DynCorp that continued to receive US State Department contracts even after soliciting “dancing boys” in Afghanistan, and the same DynCorp whose OV-10 Bronco turboprops loaned from the US State Department for coca eradication crop dusting with RoundUp in Colombia happened to have the same tail number as a helicopter mentioned in Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs, N474AW, on one of the aircraft. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Kadlec again awarded rigged contracts for COVID-19 vaccines to Fuad El-Hibri and Emergent BioSolutions, which is what BioPort renamed themselves to. Emergent BioSolutions came under fire due to the scandalous condition of their vaccine manufacturing facilities and the poor quality-control practices exercised there.
Throughout the 2000s, Michael Callahan was part of an effort by the US State Department called the BioIndustry Initiative, authorized in the Defense and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2002, where US scientists would visit various former Soviet biowarfare labs in Russia and discuss technologies the Soviets developed that could be patented, commercialized, marketed, and “peacefully” used in drugs and therapies. He was on the ground in Wuhan in 2019 and 2020, as DARPA’s “Man in Wuhan”, suggesting that the H2 blocker famotidine might be useful for treating COVID-19, based on observations of patient data.
Nothing against drag queens, but don’t push them on little kids.
• US Drag Queens Stand Their Ground Amid Intimidation By The Far Right (G.)
The drag queens were out in force across New York’s recent Pride parade triggering cheers and waves with their flamboyant and extravagant costumes. But this year the world of American drag has been marred by growing fears of violence and intimidation as they have been specifically targeted by conservatives and extremist far-right and militia groups amid a general rise in anti-LGBTQ hate. One of the main targets for rightwing ire has been Drag Queen Story Hour events where drag queens will read books to children at public libraries. Three weeks ago at a reading in a library in San Lorenzo, 30 miles from San Francisco, a group of men, one wearing a T-shirt stenciled with the image of an assault rifle, interrupted a drag performer reading The Kindness Book to pre-schoolers, frightening all.
Authorities said at least five men who appeared in the black and yellow uniform aligned with the extremist Proud Boy group hurled homophobic and transphobic slurs at the story hour’s performer, Panda Dulce, who later said the interruption was “a brazen act of vitriolic intimidation”. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Members of the same organisation – designated a hate group by The Southern Poverty Law Group – also disrupted a Pride story-time event in South Carolina where kids were being read Daddy and Dada and Heather Has Two Mommies. One parent was told they were a child abuser. Last week a drag event at a California bar, Mojos, was cancelled after protestors yelling homophobic abuse sought to enter the premises.
The pattern of intimidation, in cases not limited to the intimidation of drag queens, comes as Pride month itself has become a target for rightwing extremists in the US. Recently in Idaho a group of far-right Patriot Front extremists were arrested amid fears they intended to attack a Pride march in the state. Drag queens themselves, however, are standing their ground.
When JACK NICHOLSON won a BAFTA for Chinatown, he accepted the award from the set of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. One of the great acceptance speeches. pic.twitter.com/kRSrJkUlXx
— All The Right Movies (@ATRightMovies) July 2, 2022
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