Jan 232023
 
 January 23, 2023  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  61 Responses »


Edward Hopper Folly Beach, Charleston, South Carolina 1929

 

Zelenskyy: 50 Tanks Will Not Solve Problem (Az.)
US Lawmaker Proposes ‘Just One’ Abrams Tank For Ukraine (RT)
Macron Comments On Heavy Tanks For Ukraine (RT)
Medvedev Predicts New Anti-US Military Alliance (RT)
AOC Heckled Over Ukraine Weapons (RT)
Moldova Fails To Remain Neutral In Global Proxy War – Ex-Leader (RT)
The Nord Stream Pipeline Could Be Repaired Within A Year (OP)
Immaculate Possession: Biden Defense is Fast Becoming Unsustainable (Turley)
Biden Family: The Delaware Sopranos (Newt Gingrich)
House Members To Press Secret Service About Biden’s Classified Records (JTN)
Biden Admin Finally Admits Mistake in Canceling Keystone XL Pipeline (RCE)
‘Succession’ Has Nothing On Davos: Elite Conclave Mulls Next Leader (Pol.eu)
Al Gore Amassed a $330 Million Climate Fortune by Terrifying Everyone (RedS)
Trump and DeSantis Both Leading Biden In Hypothetical 2024 Matchup (JTN)
WSJ Shreds Vaccine Makers, Biden Admin Over “Deceptive” Booster Campaign (ZH)

 

 

 

 

McCullough

 

 

 

 

Safety signal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jourova

 

 

 

 

Why get them then?

“..they motivate our fighters to fight for their values. Because they see that the whole world is on your side..”

Zelenskyy: 50 Tanks Will Not Solve Problem (Az.)

Western tanks will not be able to solve the issue of Russian aggression completely, but will give additional motivation to the Ukrainian defenders, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, Report informs. “When the Russian army with a thousand tanks is against us, 10, 20, or 50 tanks provided by the countries will not solve the problem. They do a very important job – they motivate our fighters to fight for their values. Because they see that the whole world is on your side,” Zelenskyy said.

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“..Even saying we’re gonna put Abrams tanks in, I think, would be enough for Germany to unleash [its Leopard tanks]”

US Lawmaker Proposes ‘Just One’ Abrams Tank For Ukraine (RT)

US Representative Michael McCaul has argued that announcing plans to provide America’s vaunted M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine – even if only one of the behemoths is actually shipped out – would leave Germany with no excuses to further delay sending its Leopard tanks to Kiev. “If we announced we were going to give Abrams tanks, just one… what I hear is that Germany is waiting for us to take the lead,” McCaul said on Sunday in an ABC News interview. “Then they would put Leopard tanks in.” The Texas Republican, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added that such a tactic also would prompt Berlin to give its permission for other European countries that use the Leopard to give some of their tanks to Ukraine.

McCaul has been among the most hawkish Republicans in the House, vowing to continue providing weaponry for Ukraine to fight Russian forces, regardless of growing public opposition to the aid. He claimed that Kiev must be provided tanks and longer-range artillery urgently, to help repel an alleged imminent offensive by the Russians. Asked by ABC anchor Martha Raddatz whether just one Abrams tank would be sufficient to trigger Germany to provide more advanced weaponry to Ukraine, McCaul hinted that Washington could trick its ally.” Even saying we’re gonna put Abrams tanks in, I think, would be enough for Germany to unleash [its Leopard tanks]” McCaul also said Kiev needs longer-range artillery to strike targets in Crimea, dismissing the risks of enabling attacks on the peninsula, which Moscow considers to be sovereign Russian territory. Asked how Russian President Vladimir Putin might react, McCaul pointed to how Washington apparently got away with past escalations in aid, such as giving Ukraine HIMARS rocket launchers.

Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, also called for sending battle tanks to Ukraine. “If it requires our sending some Abrams tanks in order to unlock getting the Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I would support that,” he told Raddatz. Media reports suggested that Berlin was unwilling to send its tanks unless the US made a similar commitment. Washington has so far refused to provide its Abrams tanks, arguing that they are very complex to operate and require extensive training. Key NATO nations failed to reach an agreement about sending the German-made battle tanks to Ukraine during a Friday meeting of Western military donors at the US Ramstein air base. However, on Sunday, Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock hinted that Berlin “would not stand in the way” if Poland decides to sends its own Leopards to Ukraine.

Gonzalo 2023.01.22 The Endgame—or Escalation?—of The War

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“..only “real and effective support” in the form of weaponry that Ukrainian forces can actually use on the battlefield without months or years of training..”

Macron Comments On Heavy Tanks For Ukraine (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirmed their continued “unwavering support” for Ukraine for “as long as it takes” in a joint press conference on Sunday, but both said that any decision on supplying heavier arms must be reached jointly by all “friends” of Kiev. Macron said that “nothing is excluded” when asked about the possibility of sending Leclerc main battle tanks to Kiev, and confirmed he had “asked the Defense Ministry to work on it.” However, any final decision would have to be a “collective” call based on several considerations, he noted, according to AFP. France does not want the move to “weaken our own defense capabilities,” and at the same time is cautious of “escalating” the conflict.

Another concern is to provide only “real and effective support” in the form of weaponry that Ukrainian forces can actually use on the battlefield without months or years of training. Scholz dodged a similar question about Leopards, saying vaguely that Germany “will continue to act according to the concrete situation” and in close coordination with “important friends and allies.” “Germany is doing a lot, too… We have constantly expanded our deliveries with very effective weapons that are already available today,” the chancellor said. Last week, Politico reported that Paris was considering deliveries of Leclerc tanks in an effort to provide a joint framework to overcome Germany’s reluctance. Amid reports that Berlin was unwilling to send its tanks unless the US made a similar move, a US lawmaker proposed giving Ukraine a single Abrams tank to leave Berlin with no excuses for further delays.

Calls for Germany to supply Kiev with Leopards grew louder after the UK confirmed earlier this month that it would send 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Poland also announced that it would transfer a company of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but the re-export of these tanks must be greenlit by Germany. On Sunday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock hinted that Berlin “would not stand in the way” if Poland makes the move. Baerbock noted that Warsaw has not yet reached out to Berlin on the matter. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the “importance of such supplies in terms of their ability to change something” on the battlefield should not be exaggerated.

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BRICS+.

Medvedev Predicts New Anti-US Military Alliance (RT)

The continuous flow of military aid to Kiev clearly shows that the collective West is seeking to “wear out or, preferably, destroy” Russia, the country’s former president, Dmitry Medvedev, remarked on Sunday. The effort, however, may ultimately backfire for the US and its allies, he believes. Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, made the comments in a social media post, days after a meeting at the US Ramstein air base in Germany at which Western powers pledged to continue supporting Kiev. “The meeting at Ramstein and the allocation of heavy weaponry to Kiev leave no doubt that our enemies will be trying to wear us out for an indefinite period of time, or, preferably, to destroy us,” the ex-president wrote.


However, the prolongation of the hostilities in Ukraine may ultimately lead to the emergence of a new military bloc that brings together nations “fed up with the Americans,” Medvedev suggested. “This has always happened in the history of mankind during long wars. And the US then will finally abandon old Europe and what remains of the unfortunate Ukrainians, and the world will return to an equilibrium once again,” the former leader said, warning, however, that it might be “too late” before this happens. Moscow has repeatedly urged the collective West to stop “pumping” Ukraine with weapons, maintaining that it would only prolong the hostilities rather than change the ultimate outcome. Top Russian officials have repeatedly characterized what is happening as a proxy war between Russia and the US-led NATO alliance rather than merely a conflict with Ukraine.

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Warmonger.

AOC Heckled Over Ukraine Weapons (RT)

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) had an event in New York on Saturday disrupted by a group of demonstrators who rose to their feet and began singing a Latin hymn for peace. The protestors were voicing their objection to the self-professed progressive’s vote to send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine. Holding signs reading “negotiation not annihilation” and “stop sending weapons to Ukraine,” the group sang ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’, a Latin hymn used in the Catholic mass that translates as ‘Give Us Peace’. “We always support everyone’s First Amendment rights here and everyone has the complete right to political expression,” Ocasio-Cortez responded, but only after the protesters had been removed from the premises by security.


A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ocasio-Cortez has voted against sending military aid to Saudi Arabia and abstained from voting on funding Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. However, she voted in May to provide Ukraine with $40 billion in military and economic aid, a decision that led a left-wing activist to accuse her of “voting to start a nuclear war” during a similar town hall in October. Despite giving a green light to such a massive arms fund, Ocasio-Cortez added her name to a letter by Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal in October urging President Joe Biden to “seriously explore all possible avenues, including direct engagement with Russia, to reduce harm and support Ukraine in achieving a peaceful settlement.” The letter, which was signed by 30 House Democrats, was retracted a day later and the pro-peace progressives stated that they backed Biden’s policy of indefinite military aid to Kiev.

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“Dodon said Sandu made her statement after meeting in Davos with Alexander Soros, son of Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, “who brought her to power.”

Moldova Fails To Remain Neutral In Global Proxy War – Ex-Leader (RT)

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has put the former Soviet republic at risk of turning into “cannon fodder” in NATO’s proxy war with Russia by failing to remain neutral over the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, her predecessor said on Saturday. “Maia Sandu continues to draw Moldova into NATO – contrary to the neutrality prescribed in the Constitution and the will of the Moldovan people, who are categorically against joining this military structure,” ex-President Igor Dodon claimed in a Telegram post. He made his comments in response to Sandu’s statement on Friday that her government was seriously considering joining a “larger alliance” amid Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Abandoning military neutrality would be “dangerous” for Moldova, said Dodon, who served as president from 2016 until Sandu defeated him in the country’s 2020 election.

The nation of just 2.6 million people consistently ranks among the poorest countries in Europe and has maintained a delicate peace with its breakaway Transnistria region since agreeing to a 1992 ceasefire, brokered by Moscow. Dodon said Sandu made her statement after meeting in Davos with Alexander Soros, son of Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, “who brought her to power.” He added, “Obviously, Sandu is implementing his scenario in Moldova, and joining NATO is one of his points.” Although Moldova isn’t yet a member of NATO, it has cooperated with the Western military bloc, such as when it sent peacekeeping troops to Kosovo. Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu attended a NATO summit in Bucharest last November, marking the first time that Chisinau sent a representative to a meeting of the bloc.

At the time, Popescu reportedly said that joining NATO was out of the question because of the neutrality provision in Moldova’s Constitution. By apparently changing that stance, Sandu is “acting on the orders of overseas masters, against the interests of the country and the people, against the sovereignty, territorial integrity of Moldova,” Dodon said. “Our citizens want to maintain neutrality and peace, as evidenced by the results of numerous public opinion polls, and they will never agree to become cannon fodder for NATO in the fight against Russia.” Moscow has blamed NATO’s eastward expansion – contrary to promises made after the Cold War ended in 1991 – for undermining Russia’s security interests, helping to trigger the current conflict.

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Will it be?

The Nord Stream Pipeline Could Be Repaired Within A Year (OP)

The Nord Stream pipeline can be repaired within a year, but it’s unclear whether Germany would want to receive Russian natural gas at all, said Klaus-Dieter Maubach, the outgoing CEO at German energy giant Uniper, which was Russia’s top gas customer before Moscow cut off supply via Nord Stream. “The first question that needs answering: what’s the political will on a European level and in Berlin to bring Russian gas to Germany?” Maubach said at the annual Handelsblatt Energy summit on Tuesday, as carried by Reuters. Last summer, the German government bailed out Uniper as losses at the German company continued to mount after Russia slashed gas deliveries via Nord Stream in June, before cutting off supply in early September.

At the end of December, it was Uniper, the operator of the Wilhelmshaven import terminal, that welcomed the first tanker carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the newly opened LNG terminal, with the cargo arriving from the Calcasieu Pass export facility in the United States. Meanwhile, the investigation into the Nord Stream explosions at the end of September continues amid accusations from Russia that some Western intelligence services are “hiding something.” Sweden’s refusal to share information about the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines is “puzzling,” and withholding the results of the investigation means that “Swedish authorities are hiding something,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week.

Traces of explosives were found near the sites of the explosions at the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, Sweden said in November, noting that the incident is “gross sabotage.” Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany axed the certification process following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in early September, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.

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“..if any witness or forensic evidence shows that Biden came into contact with any of these documents over the last 10 years, this dubious defense will take on a far more sinister appearance..”

Immaculate Possession: Biden Defense is Fast Becoming Unsustainable (Turley)

In 1977, as senator from Delaware, Biden torpedoed President Jimmy Carter’s nominee for CIA director over his alleged mishandling of classified documents. As with the current scandal, Ted Sorensen was accused of having the documents for work on a book. The motive did not matter. Sen. Biden expressed his signature revulsion at the very thought of the possession. There was no evidence of ill intent, but Biden insisted that was not the issue. Biden argued that Sorensen could still be prosecuted under the Espionage Act and insisted the “real issue” during Sorensen’s confirmation hearing was “whether Mr. Sorensen intentionally took advantage of ambiguities in the law, or carelessly ignored the law.” After all, Biden continued, “If he did so, can he now bring the activities of the intelligence community within the strict limits of the law? We will expect that in the future of intelligence agencies. If that is to be the case, then we must hold the director – DCI – accountable as well.”

Notably, some of the recently discovered classified documents may have been from Biden’s time as a senator — over ten years ago. I have previously noted that Biden “has always been better at expressing revulsion than responsibility.” When it came to Sorensen, Biden could not imagine a rationalization for a nominee to excuse such mishandling of classified material, but as a president, “there is no there there.” Biden has continued to make the case against himself with remarkable determination. His defense that some documents were housed in his “locked garage with my Corvette” may go down as one of the most imbecilic statements in modern political history. He then followed up with his “no regrets” comments (and his assurance of “no there there”) just before more classified documents were found “there.”

While special counsel do not mind defendants making fools of themselves, they do not want to join them in such public spectacles. In this investigation, the Biden defense is looking increasingly implausible in his claim of no knowledge or responsibility. Indeed, if any witness or forensic evidence shows that Biden came into contact with any of these documents over the last 10 years, this dubious defense will take on a far more sinister appearance. It would establish not just intent and knowledge, but an effort to deceive the public and prosecutors. Yet, even after the latest batch was found, Biden and allies like Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., are continuing to maintain that “there is no there there.” These continuing denials now border on willful blindness and the public reaction is likely to echo the president’s favorite tagline: “Come on, man.”

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“..Hunter Biden, is like the ambitious-but-dull son who wants to inherit the family business but always screws up..”

Biden Family: The Delaware Sopranos (Newt Gingrich)

Watching HBO’s “the Sopranos” can really help you understand the Biden family. Between Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal, and the Bidens’ various shady private-equity schemes with foreign fraudsters, it’s not too hard to make the analogy. President Joe Biden is clearly the head of a family. He has repeatedly exploited his public offices to make money. His son, Hunter Biden, is like the ambitious-but-dull son who wants to inherit the family business but always screws up. Some of what the Bidens have done is clearly inappropriate. Even more of what they have done is an abuse of public office. Most of what they have done is simply secret. The best example of Bidens’ manipulation of the system for profit surrounds the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.

The center has given the Bidens remarkable access to Chinese Communist Party money. According to reports in the New York Post, the university, “raked in a total of $54.6 million from 2014 through June 2019 in donations from China, including $23.1 million in anonymous gifts starting in 2016.” As the paper reported, about $15.8 in anonymous Chinese gifts came after the Biden Center was announced in 2017. As soon as Biden left the White House as vice president, he was tapped to lead the center and given a professorship. Shortly after the center fully opened, another $14.5 million in anonymous Chinese gifts were delivered in May 2018. In another report about this flood of money, The Free Beacon said $61 million in Chinese donations went to the university from 2017 to 2020.

The numbers vary because there is virtually no public accountability or transparency about the money trail. It’s a given that Chinese sources aren’t going to share any information. And the University of Pennsylvania is simply refusing to obey the law and report the foreign donations. I worked with the Trump administration’s Department of Education on this for several years, and we simply could not get the University of Pennsylvania to open its books and explain where all the Chinese money was coming from. Consider that now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken was the manager of the Penn Biden Center. Several other Biden team members were paid by the University of Pennsylvania in the period between Joe Biden’s vice presidency and presidency. Meanwhile, in apparent appreciation for setting him up at the center, Joe Biden appointed former University President Amy Gutmann to be U.S. Ambassador to Germany. Similarly, David Cohen, the former chairman of the university’s board of trustees, is now the U.S. Ambassador to Canada.

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Who’s seen them?

House Members To Press Secret Service About Biden’s Classified Records (JTN)

Stonewalled by the White House, House investigators are turning their attention to the Secret Service in hopes of finding records showing who had access to the five tranches of classified records found in President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and Washington think tank office. House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said Sunday the latest discovery of documents by the FBI during a search Friday had escalated the scandal from simply a question of incompetence, especially since the home where many of the documents were found was frequented by Hunter Biden as he pursued significant business deals with communist China.

“This has all the pattern of an influence peddling scheme, and it also has the makings of a potential coverup,” Comer told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. “… There’s a lot of connections with the CCP directly to both Hunter Biden, Hunter Biden’s Uncle Jim and Joe Biden.” The Biden administration has refused to provide any information about the classified documents, citing last week an ongoing special counsel probe into the discoveries of five tranches of classified documents at the Wilmington, Del., family home and the Penn Biden Center in Washington since Nov. 2. Comer said Sunday the distribution of the documents at multiple locations raised concerns.

“Does anyone believe that those classified documents, when they left the vice president’s office, they just took them to multiple locations all over the East Coast?” he asked. “It has the appearance that someone would have taken them and moved them around. I mean, this is very concerning.” Comer said his committee would be sending letters to the Secret Service on Monday for any records the presidential security agency has about who visited either location. “Hopefully, the Secret Service is going to work with us,” he said. “We’re requesting tomorrow formally any type of correspondence, any type of emails, any type of documentation that would help us determine who actually had access to those documents. And hopefully the Secret Service will work with us despite the fact that this White House is not.”

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“..oil’s share of energy production in the United States will only fall 8 percent in the next two decades, from 31 to 23 percent…”

Biden Admin Finally Admits Mistake in Canceling Keystone XL Pipeline (RCE)

At long last, the Biden administration is admitting what experts have always known: reckless energy policies have disastrous consequences. This time, the Department of Energy quietly released a report highlighting the positive economic benefits of developing the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, an energy project canceled by President Biden in the hours following his inauguration. But the DOE’s report is a proverbial day late and a dollar short. The cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline has already cost the United States thousands of jobs and billions in economic growth while families suffer under the weight of record high energy prices. It’s time for lawmakers to make American energy independence a top priority.

Released without a formal announcement, the DOE’s report points out that the pipeline would have created between 16,149 and 59,000 jobs and would have had an economic benefit of between $3.4 and 9.6 billion. That’s no small impact. Yet with one stroke of his pen, Biden slashed the project and instead focused his efforts on costly “green energy” goals. As a result of his executive action, 11,000 pipeline workers were promptly laid off and told to “go to work to make solar panels” instead. But Biden’s green energy efforts are bound to backfire sooner rather than later. That’s because today, more than 70 percent of the energy produced and consumed in America comes from oil, gas and coal. That’s not likely to substantially change anytime soon.

In fact, the International Energy Agency predicts that oil’s share of energy production in the United States will only fall 8 percent in the next two decades, from 31 to 23 percent. And that’s assuming a sustained commitment to green energy policies. The forecast spells bad news for the Biden White House. At his political peril, Biden ignores the lessons of Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, who both lost elections due to spiked oil prices and accompanying recessions. Two years into sowing its Green New Deal policies, the administration is reaping a bitter harvest. Due to Biden’s folly, oil, natural gas and electricity prices have more than doubled in just a single year. Meanwhile, more than 28 percent of Americans abstained from purchasing food or medicine to pay an energy bill in 2021. And now, the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act includes wind and solar spending that will cost Americans $369 billion.

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“Klaus Schwab will stay in office until he dies..”

‘Succession’ Has Nothing On Davos: Elite Conclave Mulls Next Leader (Pol.eu)

It’s the political race everyone is afraid to talk about. For 52 years the World Economic Forum has been synonymous with its founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab, whose humble manner belies what many who know him describe as great ambition and boundless energy, even into his mid-80s. Schwab has grown WEF’s $6,000 startup capital in 1971 into a $390 million a year business, turning a once sleepy organization into the think tank world’s FIFA. Today, WEF’s annual meeting attracts more billionaires and CEOs than any other event on earth, and more political leaders than any gathering outside the United Nations General Assembly. So what (and who) comes after Klaus Schwab?

Schwab turns 85 in March, and it’s an open question whether he will pass the torch at all. Rupert Murdoch hasn’t. Warren Buffet hasn’t. In an era of active aging, why should Schwab? POLITICO spoke to 29 WEF corporate strategic partners, current and former WEF staffers, and members of the forum’s committees and communities. They all agree: Schwab tightly controls the succession discussion. Even those who know Schwab well profess little knowledge of his plans. Forum staffers have become used to Schwab putting a high-profile political figure in the frame for succession, only to see the idea disappear before it becomes a plan. Schwab has been reluctant to talk about succession, and has consistently refused to discuss a timetable.

Five of the people POLITICO spoke to said they suspect he will stay in the job until he dies, like the monarchs and popes his critics say he styles himself after. WEF insiders are typically unwilling to talk on-the-record about the organization’s post-Schwab future. All 29 people told POLITICO they feared being barred from WEF events, while others said even speaking anonymously could get them fired. WEF is registered as a non-profit, but it’s also a multi-generation family business. Schwab’s children Nicole and Olivier hold high-ranking positions in the organization, and his wife Hilde presides over a foundation and awards ceremony in Davos. WEF’s governing statutes give family members rights to board seats. In 2017 Schwab brought in Børge Brende, a former Norwegian foreign minister, to serve as WEF’s president, while Schwab himself remained executive chair. If some outsiders expected the then 79-year-old to ease into the shadows, they were wrong: Per WEF’s website, the organization’s 800-strong staff is still “led by Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab.”

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“An Inconvenient Truth” amassed $49 million at the world box office and catapulted Al into the top ranks of climate hysterics, and he’s never looked back..”

Al Gore Amassed a $330 Million Climate Fortune by Terrifying Everyone (RedS)

Former Vice President and 2000 presidential election loser Al Gore has spent his post-political career warning anyone who will listen that the earth is in its death throes due to global warming (now called climate change because somehow that’s better). His 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” amassed $49 million at the world box office and catapulted Al into the top ranks of climate hysterics, and he’s never looked back, constantly jetting to meetings around the world to preach his truth. This week he’s at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, because of course he is. Is he doing this because he truly believes what he’s saying, or because he cares so very much about you? While we can’t read his mind, one thing we do know for sure: climate change has been very, very good to Al Gore.

Though he was worth approximately $1.7 million at the end of his vice presidency, he has now amassed an estimated $330 million fortune, owns houses in Virginia, California, and Tennessee, and receives a cool $2 million a month for a figurehead position at the Generation Investment Management green energy fund he founded with former Goldman Sachs Managing Director David W. Blood. There are only two conclusions I can come to upon learning this news—1) I should have been a climate activist. 2) Hunter Biden has nothing on this guy. If he’s so concerned about rising seas, why would Gore buy a huge oceanview mansion in flood-prone Montecito? One might ask the same question of former president Barack Obama, who dropped $12 million for a waterfront view on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Gore’s other property holdings are pretty sweet, too, according to Daily Mail:”Gore’s family has owned farming land in his native Tennessee for generations, while his mansion in Nashville is valued at $7.5 million, his waterfront villa in Montecito, where he counts Oprah as a neighbor [and don’t forget Prince Harry], is worth $13 million, his Virginia home is worth around $3 million as is his apartment in the St. Regis building in San Francisco.” Where did he get all this money? He has a stake in the aforementioned $36 billion Generation Investment Management fund, around $80 million worth of stock in companies such as Apple and Google, and a salary from Apple as a compensation committee member. He receives $200,000 a pop per public speaking engagement and also advises companies on “going green” for undisclosed (but presumably huge) fees.

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Trump still looks strong.

Trump and DeSantis Both Leading Biden In Hypothetical 2024 Matchup (JTN)

If the 2024 presidential election were held today, either of the two top presumed Republican contenders for their party’s nomination would defeat President Joe Biden, according to a new survey. Both former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would beat the current president if he chooses to run again, according to the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, which was released Friday. The survey polled 2,050 registered voters, 65% of whom said that Biden should not run again. Of those polled, 46% said they would support Trump with 41% for Biden and 13% uncertain at this time. This was the same 5-point margin that Trump led by in the December poll results.


If the GOP candidate is Gov. DeSantis, the poll shows him defeating Biden by a margin of 42% to 39%. News of the scandal regarding Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents appears to make little difference to those surveyed, comparing the two months’ results. While Trump remains the clear favorite for the Republican nomination, leading DeSantis by a 48% to 28% margin, the co-director of the poll is not convinced the lead will hold. “Trump is ahead but already has every vote he can get,” Mark Penn told The Hill. “DeSantis is the candidate of potential.” Other potential Republican candidates all registered in single digits, with Mike Pence at 7%, Nikki Haley at 3%, and Mike Pompeo at 1%.

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WSJ only took 3 years. Underwhelming.

WSJ Shreds Vaccine Makers, Biden Admin Over “Deceptive” Booster Campaign (ZH)

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Allysia Finley has taken a flamethrower to vaccine makers over their “deceptive” campaign for bivalent Covid boosters, and slams several federal agencies for taking “the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them and recommending them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.” “You might have heard a radio advertisement warning that if you’ve had Covid, you could get it again and experience even worse symptoms. The message, sponsored by the Health and Human Services Department, claims that updated bivalent vaccines will improve your protection. This is deceptive advertising. But the public-health establishment’s praise for the bivalent shots shouldn’t come as a surprise. -WSJ”

The narrative behind the campaign was simple; mRNA Covid shots could simply be ‘tweaked’ to to target new variants – in this case, the jabs were claimed to confer protection against BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, along with the original Wuhan strain. To call this wishful thinking would be extremely generous. As Finley writes, three scientific problems have arisen. 1/ The virus is mutating much faster than vaccines can be updated. 2/ Vaccines have ‘hard wired’ our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain, “so we churn out fewer antibodies that neutralize variants targeted by updated vaccines.” 3/ Antibody protection wanes after just a few months. Finley has brought receipts too…

Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine this month showed that bivalent boosters increase neutralizing antibodies against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but not significantly more than the original boosters. In one study, antibody levels after the bivalent boosters were 11 times as high against the Wuhan variant as BA.5. The authors posit that immune imprinting “may pose a greater challenge than is currently appreciated for inducing robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants.” This isn’t unique to Covid or mRNA vaccines, though boosters may amplify the effect. Our first exposure as children to the flu—whether by infection or vaccination—affects our future response to different strains. -WSJ”

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Actual Delta ad, 1973

 

 

Drive train

 

 

Lizard

 

 

 

 

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Dec 172022
 


Saul Leiter Phone call c1957

 

Moscow Reveals Capabilities Of Forthcoming ICBM Mobile Launcher (RT)
US Considers Providing Ukraine With More Weapons – Politico (RT)
Kissinger Outlines Ukraine Peace Proposal (RT)
Time For Ukraine Talks ‘Not Right Now’ – White House (RT)
Carthage Must Be Destroyed! (David Sant)
Approval of EU Support For Ukraine Lags Among Greeks (K.)
THE TWITTER FILES: Twitter… The FBI Subsidiary (ZH)
Twitter Docs Reveal FBI Pressure To Control Speech (RT)
EU Threatens Elon Musk With Sanctions (RT)
AOC Accuses Musk Of ‘Proto-fascism’ (RT)
What I Discovered At Twitter HQ (Jay Bhattacharya)
Truth And Consequences (Jim Kunstler)
Has ‘The End Of History’ Arrived In The Balkans? (Lukyanov)
Is Europe’s Energy Crisis Actually A Boon? (OP)
German MP Blasts ‘Absurd’ Price Cap On Russian Oil (RT)
The Petrodollar’s Long Goodbye (Prashad)

 

 

 

 

FTX O’Leary This is good.

 

 


Germany died suddenly

 

 

Dutch farmers nitrogen

 

 

Trump

 

 

 

 

Tucker vaccine risks

 

 

 

 

“..capable of evading any anti-ballistic missile system that could be fielded in the foreseeable future..”

Moscow Reveals Capabilities Of Forthcoming ICBM Mobile Launcher (RT)

Russia will commence the development of a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system next year, which will be a significant upgrade on the existing Yars system, Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) Commander Sergey Karakaev has said. The new platform will have increased mobility to facilitate “swift redeployment and launch from any region anywhere in the Russian Federation,” he told Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the official newspaper of the country’s military. Karakaev offered no further details about the new project. The interview was published on Friday, ahead of SMF Day, which will be celebrated on Saturday. The SMF is the arm of the Russian military responsible for the country’s ground-based nuclear deterrence. It is currently “on the lookout for new technologies… which could be used to improve strategic weapon systems or create new ones,” Karakaev stated.


The silo-based Sarmat ICBM, as well as the Avangard and Yars systems, are examples of what is possible through such research, he added. The general praised the Sarmat missile in particular, which he said was capable of evading any anti-ballistic missile system that could be fielded in the foreseeable future. Russia approved production of the rocket following a successful test launch in April. Earlier this week, the Defense Ministry showcased the rearmament of an SMF site in central Russia by releasing footage, which showed two Yars missiles being loaded into silos. The ICBM has silo-launched and road-mobile variants.

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“..an additional 300 tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 Howitzers would be needed to repel the Russian forces..”

US Considers Providing Ukraine With More Weapons – Politico (RT)

The US is planning to provide Ukraine with more weapons in the near future, extending the strike range of its military, Politico has reported. The media outlet, citing “six people with knowledge of the discussions,” claimed the move to provide additional supplies was prompted by concerns among top Ukrainian officials that Russia is amassing forces ahead of a major winter offensive. In its report on Thursday, Politico alleged that the Biden administration is currently entertaining the possibility of providing Kiev with, among other things, ground-launched small diameter bombs – high-precision munitions with a range of 150km (94 miles). Also under consideration, according to the article, is the delivery of joint direct attack munition kits, which are used to convert unguided aerial munitions into smart bombs.

These deliveries would be in addition to existing plans for the shipment of Patriot air-defense systems, Politico reported. Several US media outlets have indicated that those plans are in the final stages. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia would certainly target these missile systems in Ukraine, should they be deployed there. On Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder announced the expansion of a training program for Ukrainian military personnel at a US base on German soil. The number of troops attending there each month is reportedly expected to rise to around 500. In recent days, top Ukrainian officials – including the country’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, and Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba – have expressed concerns that Russia could launch a massive offensive as early as next month.

Zaluzhny did not rule out a new attempt by Moscow’s forces to take the Ukrainian capital Kiev. He also called on the West to provide Ukraine with more weaponry, saying that an additional 300 tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 Howitzers would be needed to repel the Russian forces. While the US has already supplied Ukraine with short-range NASAMS air-defense systems, Kiev has been specifically requesting Patriot batteries since October, when Russia began massive missile and drone strikes on the country’s critical infrastructure. Moscow said the new strategy came in response to Ukraine’s attacks on Russian infrastructure, including the Crimean Bridge. Back in September, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Washington that “it would cross the red line and become an actual party to the conflict,” should it provide Ukraine with longer-range missiles.

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“..the other territories Ukraine claims – Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea – “could be the subject of a negotiation after a ceasefire.”

Kissinger Outlines Ukraine Peace Proposal (RT)

Urgently negotiating an end to hostilities in Ukraine would prevent another world war, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger argued in an essay published on Friday. The 99-year-old statesman noted that, in 1916, the US government had the chance to end the First World War through diplomacy, but missed it for reasons of domestic politics. Kissinger laid out his reasoning in the December 17 issue of The Spectator, describing the current conflict as a “war in which two nuclear powers contest a conventionally armed country,” a clear reference to Ukraine being a proxy war between the US and Russia. The “peace process” Kissinger proposes would “link Ukraine to NATO, however expressed,” as he believes neutrality for Kiev is no longer an option.

He also wants Russia to withdraw to the lines before February 24, while the other territories Ukraine claims – Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea – “could be the subject of a negotiation after a ceasefire.” In addition to “confirming the freedom of Ukraine,” the arrangement would strive to “define a new international structure, especially for Central and Eastern Europe,” in which Russia should “eventually” find a place, he explained. While some would prefer “a Russia rendered impotent by the war,” Kissinger disagrees, arguing that Moscow’s “historical role should not be degraded.” Dismantling Russia could turn its vast territory into a “contested vacuum,” where “competing societies might decide to settle their disputes by violence” and neighbors could seek to claim territory by force, all in the presence of “thousands of nuclear weapons.”

In substance, this is the same proposal Kissinger had first floated in May, for which he was labeled an enemy of Ukraine and added to the notorious ‘Peacemaker’ kill list. In an interview earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky categorically rejected any sort of ceasefire that did not take Kiev’s claimed 1991 borders as the starting point. It was also unclear whether Moscow would accept any Western-mediated ceasefire at all, after former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s admission that the 2014 Minsk armistice was intended to “give Ukraine time” to prepare for war. What’s fresh in Kissinger’s Spectator essay is his reasoning. He points to August 1916, at the height of the First World War, when the warring powers sought US mediation to end the unprecedented bloodshed.

Though “a peace based on the modified status quo ante was within reach,” President Woodrow Wilson delayed the talks until after he could get re-elected in November. By then it was too late, and the war would go on for two more years, “irretrievably damaging Europe’s established equilibrium.” Asked about Kissinger’s proposal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “eager to give the article a thorough reading,” but “hasn’t had a chance to do so yet, unfortunately.” Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The Kremlin demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that would never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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“..if and when the diplomacy is ripe, they will be in the best possible position at the negotiating table.”

Time For Ukraine Talks ‘Not Right Now’ – White House (RT)

It is not yet time for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan argued in an interview on Friday. Meanwhile, Henry Kissinger – who held the same post in the early 1970s – has said talks should happen sooner rather than later. “We don’t know where this is going to end up,” Sullivan said of the conflict, speaking at the Carnegie Endowment think tank in Washington. “What we do know is that it’s our job to continue to sustain our military support to Ukraine, so they are in the best possible position on the battlefield, so that if and when the diplomacy is ripe, they will be in the best possible position at the negotiating table.” “That moment is not right now,” he added. According to Sullivan, Ukraine has won a series of battles, “repelled the Russian invaders from most of the country,” and is now “fighting to reclaim the remaining land.”

He called it “a remarkable thing” and said the Biden administration is asking Congress for “a substantial amount of further resources” to ensure “Ukraine has the means to fight this war.” Meanwhile, Americans training Ukrainian troops on the ground have spoken of mounting casualties and Ukraine’s chief of general staff, Valery Zaluzhny, is asking for more tanks, armored vehicles and artillery than most NATO members have in their arsenal, much less to spare. The US and its allies have supplied Ukraine with tube and rocket artillery, air defense systems, small arms, vehicles and ammunition, allowing Kiev to fight long after its domestic capabilities had been degraded. Russia has condemned the shipments as needlessly prolonging the conflict and increasing casualties, repeatedly warning the West that it risks becoming an open party to the conflict.

Earlier in the day, Sullivan applauded Japan’s new national security strategy, which will see Tokyo embark on massive military expansion citing the “strategic challenge posed by China.” The Japanese constitution – drafted mainly by the US occupation authorities after the Second World War – had renounced war and limited the country to a “self-defense” force. There was no indication that 46-year-old Sullivan was aware of his predecessor’s essay in The Spectator, in which the 99-year-old Kissinger called for an armistice in Ukraine before the conflict spins out of control. He pointed to the missed US opportunity to negotiate an end to the First World War in 1916, which led to millions more deaths and a far less stable post-war world that eventually collapsed into another global conflict.

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“One might say that the West forgot the art of diplomacy..”

Carthage Must Be Destroyed! (David Sant)

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was not the result of losing a war. It was caused by the failed policies of a centralized economy, exacerbated by American manipulation of the oil markets, and a costly American-backed guerilla war in Afghanistan. The United States moved in with “shock therapy” economic advisors and took the opportunity to restructure a confused and gullible Russia, including writing a new constitution. For Russia the collapse of the Soviet Union had many similarities to the loss of Carthage in the Second Punic War. Despite making peace with their former adversary, and honoring their treaties, Russia found that she could never be accepted as a friend on equal terms by the Western world order. And this was for the very same reason that Carthage could never be tolerated by Rome.

Russia was and is in every way an equal to the Anglo-American Empire. Ever since Vladimir Putin became President of Russia, the chorus of the West has become louder and louder that Putin must go. While they cannot say it aloud yet, what they really mean is “Russia must be destroyed!” If Russia had continued the policy of submission to Western control that was begun by Boris Yeltsin, we can be assured that Moscow would have eventually met the same fate as Carthage from the Anglo-American Empire. However, the appointment of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia derailed their plans. Under his rule Russia has steadily reasserted her former leadership and strength against the machinations of the Anglo-American Empire.

While at first Mr. Putin made a genuine effort to be a “partner” with the West, by the year 2011 it was clear that the West would never accept Russia as a friend or an equal. The West had enjoyed two decades of bossing everyone else around and had learned to enjoy giving orders rather than negotiating. One might say that the West forgot the art of diplomacy. After watching in horror the NATO-led destructions of Serbia, Libya, and Syria, the Kremlin began asserting itself with foreign policy problems that directly affected Russian security interests starting in 2013.

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Harder to brainwash.

Approval of EU Support For Ukraine Lags Among Greeks (K.)

Deviating from the general mood in Europe, a large number of Greeks hesitate to declare their approval of the European Union’s backing for Ukraine following the Russian invasion. In the relevant question of the Parliament’s Eurobarometer for autumn 2022, a majority of citizens in the 24 member-states approve of the position taken by the EU, with the exception of Slovakia, Bulgaria and Greece, which have the lowest percentages (49%, 48% and 48% respectively). The highest levels are recorded in Sweden (97%), Finland (95%), the Netherlands (93%), Portugal (92%) and Denmark (92%). The same survey showed that three quarters of European citizens (73%) agree with the specific measures taken by the EU, namely sanctions against the Russian government, as well as economic, military and humanitarian support to Ukraine. Again, Greece is at the bottom of the ranking, with only 46%.

Loffredo

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And the FBI works for the DNC, Pfizer and Raytheon..

THE TWITTER FILES: Twitter… The FBI Subsidiary (ZH)

Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary. Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth. Some are mundane, like San Francisco agent Elvis Chan wishing Roth a Happy New Year along with a reminder to attend “our quarterly call next week.” Others are requests for information into Twitter users related to active investigations. But a surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts.


The FBI’s social media-focused task force, known as FTIF, created in the wake of the 2016 election, swelled to 80 agents and corresponded with Twitter to identify alleged foreign influence and election tampering of all kinds. Federal intelligence and law enforcement reach into Twitter included the Department of Homeland Security, which partnered with security contractors and think tanks to pressure Twitter to moderate content. It’s no secret the government analyzes bulk data for all sorts of purposes, everything from tracking terror suspects to making economic forecasts. The #TwitterFiles show something new: agencies like the FBI and DHS regularly sending social media content to Twitter through multiple entry points, pre-flagged for moderation.

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“..she asked whether there would be “impediments” to passing along classified information to industry partners. In response, the FBI was “adamant” that there were “no impediments to sharing.”

Twitter Docs Reveal FBI Pressure To Control Speech (RT)

Twitter has maintained “constant and pervasive” contacts with the FBI and other US intelligence agencies for several years, according to internal company documents leaked to reporters. The files appear to show a concerted government campaign to blacklist content labeled as “misinformation.” Published by journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday, the sixth installment of the ‘Twitter Files’ revealed additional pressure placed on the website by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) between January 2020 and as recently as last month, largely focused on moderating particular posts and accounts discussing American elections. While earlier documents indicated high-level coordination between intelligence agencies and Twitter, the latest files suggest such collusion took place on a larger scale than was previously known.

In a period of less than three years, the site’s former Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth alone exchanged more than 150 emails with the FBI. Prior to Friday, Roth was the only executive said to have had regular, direct contacts with the bureau, however the new files show that legal exec Stacia Cardille also held weekly meetings with not only the FBI, but the DHS, Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) beginning in September. In a letter addressed to Twitter’s former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker – himself an ex-lawyer for the FBI – Cardille noted that she asked whether there would be “impediments” to passing along classified information to industry partners. In response, the FBI was “adamant” that there were “no impediments to sharing.”

“This passage underscores the unique one-big-happy-family vibe between Twitter and the FBI. With what other firm would the FBI blithely agree to ‘no impediments’ to classified information?” Taibbi asked. A number of messages sent to Twitter by the FBI contain explicit requests to take down certain posts, or even ban accounts altogether. In one case, the agency flagged so much “possible violative content” that Twitter staffers were later seen congratulating each other in an internal company chat for the “monumental undertaking” of reviewing it. Another missive sent on November 5, 2022 from the FBI’s ‘National Election Command Post’ provided a list of 25 accounts that “may warrant additional action.” Twitter was quick to permanently ban seven of those handles, while it temporarily suspended another and deleted eight tweets for alleged “civil misinformation policy violations.”

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EU=hot air.

EU Threatens Elon Musk With Sanctions (RT)

The EU has warned Elon Musk that Twitter could be targeted by sanctions after the platform owned by the entrepreneur suspended several journalists for allegedly sharing real-time location data about the billionaire and his family. “News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying,” wrote EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova in a tweet on Friday. “EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights,” she said, adding that these rights are reinforced under the recently adopted European Media Freedom Act.= “[Elon Musk] should be aware of that. There are red lines.

And sanctions, soon,” Jourova warned, as the Digital Services Act is set to start coming into force next summer and will be fully implemented by 2024. Her threats come after Twitter suspended around half-a-dozen journalists on Thursday who reported and shared links to ElonJet, which provides real-time tracking of Musk’s personal flights. Musk has explained the decision by stating that the information being shared was “basically assassination coordinates” and pointed to Twitter’s terms of service, which prohibit doxxing – the illegal publishing of personal information – of anyone by anyone. “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” the billionaire wrote on Thursday.

Twitter has previously suspended the original @elonjet account, as well as other similar flight-tracking channels owned by Florida student Jack Sweeney, who had been posting real-time data on private flights of the world’s wealthiest men, including Musk, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Musk – a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” – purchased Twitter for $44 billion in late October. Back then he initially promised not to suspend any accounts that were exercising free speech, noting that that extended “even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”

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“Take a beat and lay off the proto-fascism. Maybe try putting down your phone,” the New York congresswoman suggested. Musk brushed off AOC’s criticism by simply replying: “You first.”

AOC Accuses Musk Of ‘Proto-fascism’ (RT)

Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, commonly referred to as AOC, has joined the backlash against Elon Musk after Twitter suspended several journalists for allegedly violating the platform’s anti-doxxing policies while reporting on the ElonJet flight tracker. AOC accused Musk of abusing his power as the new owner of Twitter and told him to “lay off the proto-fascism.” That was after he temporarily suspended half-a-dozen journalists from CNN, the New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others, for reporting on and providing the links to ElonJet – a flight tracker that posted real-time flight data about Musk’s private jet.

Musk had accused the journalists of sharing information that was “basically assassination coordinates” and cited Twitter’s terms of service, which prohibit doxxing – publishing the personal information and real-time coordinates of other people. In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, Cortez insisted that Musk should not have suspended the reporters because he was “a public figure,” suggesting that being the victim of such location information-sharing comes with the territory. “You’re a public figure. An extremely controversial and powerful one,” AOC wrote. “I get feeling unsafe, but descending into abuse of power + erratically banning journalists only increases the intensity around you.”

“Take a beat and lay off the proto-fascism. Maybe try putting down your phone,” the New York congresswoman suggested. Musk brushed off AOC’s criticism by simply replying: “You first.” The billionaire had previously stated that he was fine with any criticism coming his way over his handling of Twitter, which he purchased in late October for $44 billion, but insisted that threatening the safety of his family was over the line. “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” he wrote.

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“I could have bought an island with the $44 billion, but this was a much better use of the money.”

What I Discovered At Twitter HQ (Jay Bhattacharya)

You spoke with Elon for almost an hour. How was your conversation? The topic, of course, was censorship. My sense is that he bought Twitter in part because he is deeply offended by the idea that something like Twitter, which is so important for public communication… had put their thumb on the scale. It wasn’t specifically about Covid. Generally, his sense was that one side of the conversation wasn’t being heard on many, many issues… I think he views this as: he’s in a very privileged position that allows him to restore free speech, allow for free discussion of ideas. And he wants to use what gifts he’s had for that purpose. He even made a joke: I could have bought an island with the $44 billion, but this was a much better use of the money.

Was he a lockdown sceptic during the pandemic? I think he generally was a lockdown sceptic… He famously, early in the pandemic, protested against being locked down when the shutdown orders came, and then moved Tesla’s headquarters to Texas… He was very clear that he was aware of the harms of lockdowns. He mentioned the early days of the pandemic — that he had a number of plants in China, with tens of thousands of employees. He said: “Look, if somebody dies in amongst my employees, I find out immediately, because we stop paying them.” But he noticed that there were very, very few deaths on that metric early on. So his view was that it wasn’t clear that the case fatality rate numbers that were coming out matched reality in China itself, even from the earliest days of the pandemic… Certainly at this point, he was very sympathetic to my message about the harms to the poor of the world threatened by the economic dislocation caused by lockdowns, the closing of schools — all of that I think he opposed.

So then an engineer shows you your files. What did you find out? An engineer comes to me, we talk in this little cubicle. And so it turns out that there are two major sources of information for the journalists that are looking at this. First, there’s this tool, which Bari Weiss made famous: for each person, they’ll have the status of the person and history of the status of that person… That includes some personal identifying information, which is why you’re not seeing a dump of those files for everybody, because they’re not supposed to share that… I had got permission to look at myself of course. And I asked for permission to look at Martin Kulldorff.

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“The Big News Media may not be able to avoid reporting on it, especially with Twitter loosened up, and their lying attempts to spin events is going to look pathetic..”

Truth And Consequences (Jim Kunstler)

Even if NBC, CBS, CNN, The New York Times, The WashPo, and the rest of the Big News Media mafia ignore the Twitter Files story, the revolution at Twitter is going to shake their windows and rattle their walls. There will be free debate in 2023 on this social media platform. News and ideas will be set loose across the landscape, and, for the first time in years, reality will have a chance to compete with the bad faith narratives of a regime at war against its own people. We’ll have to see how long this lasts before the Intel Community tries to shut Twitter down, ramp up a campaign to defame it, or blow it up as a viable business. Or make a move to, shall we say, neutralize the person behind the revolution there.

The more that free speech is actually permitted on Twitter, the more every other platform will look like a lame organ of propaganda, especially when it comes to issues that really matter such as the deadly consequences of the mRNA “vaccines,” the shady doings around recent US elections, the actual condition of the US economy, the perilous folly of “Joe Biden’s” war in Ukraine (and the family grifting operation that prompted it), and the evil machinations of the Intel Community itself. In about three weeks, the Party of Chaos will be swept out of power in the US House of Representatives. Their opponents will take control of all the House committee chairs, with subpoena power to compel the testimony of public figures who have managed to avoid answering questions for years. The Big News Media may not be able to avoid reporting on it, especially with Twitter loosened up, and their lying attempts to spin events is going to look pathetic when it is instantly contrasted with free analysis and informed debate in the public arena.

You can’t overstate what an advantage the insidious takeover of social media gave to forces seeking to wreck the country, though the effects have not been adequately explored yet. The people remain bamboozled over the Covid-19 operation especially. It certainly wasn’t some random act by Mother Nature, not with US public health agencies supporting gain-of-function research on coronaviruses from Ukraine to North Carolina to Wuhan, China. And the subsequent damage caused by the government’s response to the outbreak was either an epic fiasco of inept officialdom, or something that smells like mass murder. Dr. Anthony Fauci’s little trick to so far avoid answering questions about these matters was simply to not use the term “gain-of-function” in his correspondence arranging grants for it — especially after President Barack Obama banned that type of research by its name in 2014. So when asked about gain-of-function, he could just lie with abandon. After that simple ruse is exposed, the patent and royalty benefits enjoyed by Dr. Fauci — who doubled his net worth after 2019 — will be dragged into the light of day.

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“Current events in northern Kosovo resemble an attempt to bring about the “end of history” in the Balkan context..”

Has ‘The End Of History’ Arrived In The Balkans? (Lukyanov)

Current events in northern Kosovo resemble an attempt to bring about the “end of history” in the Balkan context. Of course, the same one that was promised 30-odd years ago, on a global scale, hasn’t happened, but the idea behind it has remained in people’s minds. Francis Fukuyama, the author of the concept, later admitted that he had been hasty and had failed to take into account important circumstances in the development of societies. However, he hasn’tabandoned it, and continues to believe that the predicted triumph of Western liberal ideology, and the corresponding way of life, will still take place, just later than expected. What has Kosovo got to do with this? The disintegration of Yugoslavia has taken as long as the concept of “the end of history” has existed.

And it has been, perhaps, the clearest example of what it meant in practice. The nature of that state – a socialist federal republic – was diametrically opposed to what was thought to be right after the Cold War. Firstly, socialism as a socio-political construct was simply written off as having failed. Secondly, it was a complex federation dominated by the largest ethnic group. This, to be fair,could be described as being in the spirit of multiculturalism, which has become popular in developed countries over the past couple of decades. But no, because multicultural communities have only been welcomed if they were part of a process that develops from homogeneous to heterogeneous through immigration and the influx of new citizens of different origins.

Thus, multinational states like Yugoslavia or the USSR (or even Czechoslovakia) have instead been perceived through the prism of self-determination. In other words, national aspirations were worthy of support but the desire to maintain (con)federative unions was equated with imperial ambitions.

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“..now that winter proper has begun and the cold is settling in, consumption will increase, whatever the price of gas.”

Is Europe’s Energy Crisis Actually A Boon? (OP)

The energy crisis that began last year in Europe and dramatically escalated following the EU response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen many in government worry about the survival of the continent during the winter. Yet not all see such a bleak picture. In fact, some believe that not only is the worst over for Europe but that the crisis actually did the EU a favor. That favor took the form of accelerating the buildout in renewables and the restart of hydrocarbon-fueled power plants. This take, which is certainly not very common right now, came from one investment manager, Per Lekander, who is managing partner at a firm called Clean Energy Transition LLP. Speaking to CNBC this week, Lekander said that Russia had, in fact, very little to do with Europe’s crisis, and it could even be said Vladimir Putin did Europe a favor.

“This [the crisis] is the consequence of long term under-investments in conventional, long term red tape in renewables and then these political closures of nuclear, coal, lignite, etcetera,” Lekander told CNBC. He then went on to add that the measures that European countries took after Russia began responding to EU sanctions by reducing gas flows went a long way toward ensuring that the continent would survive this winter. Energy demand reduction was one of these measures, according to the financier, and returning to hydrocarbons for power generation was another. A third one was the planned reduction in red tape in wind and solar power system construction—obstacles that these two industries have been complaining about for years.

It could be argued that this energy demand reduction that has allowed Europe to save on gas was a result of exorbitant prices rather than any voluntary change in energy consumption behavior patterns. Indeed, millions of people across the continent are being hit with electricity bills that are substantially higher than last year’s bills because of the international gas price inflation caused by the tightening of supply following the EU sanctions on Russia and Russia’s easy to predict response. The sabotage of Nord Stream added to this tightening and pushed prices higher. Another reason for the lower demand was the warm European autumn, as many noted at the time. As the weather was warmer than usual, people’s heating needs were lower. Yet now that winter proper has begun and the cold is settling in, consumption will increase, whatever the price of gas.

Indeed, the worst might not be over. The Guardian reported this week that Germany was at risk of gas shortages because it had failed to hit its consumption reduction target. The reason it had missed it—the target is 20 percent of consumption—was the colder weather last week, the head of the country’s energy regulator said. The European Union last month approved a gas consumption reduction target of 15 percent, but Germany was more ambitious because of its high reliance on the commodity. Whether the rest of Europe would be able to hit the 15-percent target is yet to be seen because, as Klaus Mueller said, “With temperatures of -10C [14F], gas consumption shoots up dramatically.”

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“..such policies are “leveled against” ordinary consumers across the bloc.”

German MP Blasts ‘Absurd’ Price Cap On Russian Oil (RT)

Imposing an artificial ceiling on the price paid for Russian oil will provoke an increase in prices for the commodity, the chairman of the Bundestag committee on energy, Klaus Ernst, said in an interview with TASS, calling the measure “absurd.” Berlin is planning to entirely abandon energy imports from Russia, according to Ernst, who stressed that the operations at an oil refinery in the German city of Schwedt are critically dependent on Russian supplies. “It is absolutely clear that when a ceiling is introduced on energy prices, the object targeted by the measure will inevitably reduce the supply. It is clear that this will be counterproductive, because the price will rise,” Ernst argued. “In this regard, I think that such a restriction is absurd.”


The price limit on Russian seaborne oil, set at $60 per barrel, was introduced earlier this month by the EU, the G7 countries, Australia and Norway. The measure bans Western companies from providing insurance and other services to vessels loaded with Russian oil, unless the cargo is bought at or below the price indicated. The EU is currently debating a similar step targeting Russian gas supplies. According to Ernst, the policies pursued by Brussels are “self-destructive.” “The EU deliberately excluded pipeline oil supplies from sanctions. The government rejects them, although there is no need for this,” he said, adding that such policies are “leveled against” ordinary consumers across the bloc.

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“..they will do so slowly, as they both remain exposed to the U.S. economy..”

The Petrodollar’s Long Goodbye (Prashad)

At this first China-GCC summit, Xi urged the Gulf monarchs to “make full use of the Shanghai Petrol and Gas Exchange as a platform to conduct oil and gas sales using Chinese currency.” Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia suggested that it might accept Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars for the oil it sells to China. While no formal announcement was made at the GCC summit nor in the joint statement issued by China and Saudi Arabia, indications abound that these two countries will move closer toward using the Chinese yuan to denominate their trade. However, they will do so slowly, as they both remain exposed to the U.S. economy. (China holds just under $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds).

Talk of conducting China-Saudi trade in yuan has raised eyebrows in the United States, which for 50 years has relied on the Saudis to stabilise the dollar. In 1971, the U.S. government withdrew the dollar from the gold standard and began to rely on central banks around the world to hold monetary reserves in U.S. Treasury securities and other U.S. financial assets. When oil prices skyrocketed in 1973, the U.S. government decided to create a system of dollar seigniorage through Saudi oil profits. In 1974, U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon — fresh off the trading desk at the investment bank Salomon Brothers — arrived in Riyadh with instructions from U.S. President Richard Nixon to have a serious conversation with the Saudi oil minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani.

Simon proposed that the U.S. purchase large amounts of Saudi oil in dollars and that the Saudis use these dollars to buy U.S. Treasury bonds and weaponry and invest in U.S. banks as a way to recycle vast Saudi oil profits. And so, the petrodollar was born, which anchored the new dollar-denominated world trade and investment system. If the Saudis even hinted towards withdrawing this arrangement, which would take at least a decade to implement, it would seriously challenge the monetary privilege afforded to the U.S. As Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for Analysis of Global Security, told The Wall Street Journal, “The oil market, and by extension the entire global commodities market, is the insurance policy of the status of the dollar as reserve currency. If that block is taken out of the wall, the wall will begin to collapse.”

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Play

 

 

 

 

Wood art

 

 


Wat Samphran is a Buddhist temple in Amphoe Sam Phran, Nakhon Pathom province, around 40 km west of Bangkok. The temple is notable for its 17-story tall pink cylindrical building with a gigantic dragon sculpture curling around the entire height

 

 

Goose

 

 

 

 

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Apr 302022
 


Dante Gabriel Rossetti Monna Vanna 1866

 

Why Europe Cannot Understand Russia (Escobar)
Empire of Lies Eager to Receive Mr. Sarmat’s Business Card (Escobar)
Patrushev Goes Triple-X Unplugged (Escobar)
Pentagon Spokesman Chokes Up While Talking About Ukraine (Hill)
Ukraine: The Real Zelensky (GZ)
‘Donbas Is Not Ukraine’: In Industrial East, Hopes For Russian Rule (Y!)
UK Wants ‘Global NATO’ Capable of Defending Pacific (LI)
The Sweet Sound of Censorship (Turley)
Naomi Wolf Eloquently Deconstructs the Terms Dis, Mis, and Malinformation (CTH)
Vaccinated Had Fewer N Antibodies Even After Covid Infection (Blaze)
Moderna Montreal Factory Will Make Canada An mRNA ‘Leader’ – Trudeau (CTV)
“This is This” (Kunstler)
The Shanghai Lockdown: a Memetic Analysis (Ugo Bardi)
Why the Yen Fell While the Dollar Rallied (Mises)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nailed it

 

 


Chinese state television channel CCTV map showing which countries would receive the territories of the Scoto-Russian federation after its collapse.

 

 

Quite a bit of Escobar today. He knows the territory better than just about anyone. History lesson:

Why Europe Cannot Understand Russia (Escobar)

The apparently monolithic liberal west itself also cannot be understood if we forget how, historically, Europe is also a two-headed beast: one head may be tracked from Charlemagne all the way to the awful Brussels Eurocrat machine; and the other one comes from Athens and Rome, and via Byzantium/Constantinople (the Second Rome) reaches all the way to Moscow (the Third Rome). Latin Europe, for the Orthodox, is seen as a hybrid usurper, preaching a distorted Christianity which only refers to St. Augustine, practicing absurd rites and neglecting the very important Holy Ghost. The Europe of Christian Popes invented what is considered a historical hydra – Byzantium – where Byzantines were actually Greeks living under the Roman Empire.

Western Europeans for their part see the Orthodox and the Christians from the East (see how they were abandoned by the west in Syria under ISIS and Al Qaeda) as satraps and a bunch of smugglers – while the Orthodox regard the Crusaders, the Teutonic chevaliers and the Jesuits – correctly, we must say – as barbarian usurpers bent on world conquest. In the Orthodox canon, a major trauma is the fourth Crusade in 1204 which utterly destroyed Constantinople. The Frankish chevaliers happened to eviscerate the most dazzling metropolis in the world, which congregated at the time all the riches from Asia. That was the definition of cultural genocide. The Frankish also happened to be aligned with some notorious serial plunderers: the Venetians. No wonder, from that historical juncture onwards, a slogan was born: “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s tiara.”

So since the 8th century, Carolingian and Byzantine Europe were de facto at war across an Iron Curtain from the Baltics to the Mediterranean (compare it with the emerging New Iron Curtain of Cold War 2.0). After the barbarian invasions, they neither spoke the same language nor practiced the same writing, rites or theology. This fracture, significantly, also trespassed Kiev. The west was Catholic – 15% of Greek catholics and 3% of Latins – and in the center and the east, 70% Orthodox, who became hegemonic in the 20th century after the elimination of Jewish minorities by mainly the Waffen-SS of the Galicia division, the precursors of Ukraine’s Azov batallion.

Pepe Escobar and Danny Haiphong; Russia, China, and the Post-Dollar World

Read more …

I split this summary into two parts. Part 2 is just below.

“Totalen Krieg proceeds in parallel to the engineered controlled demolition of the EU’s economy..”

Empire of Lies Eager to Receive Mr. Sarmat’s Business Card (Escobar)

Especially since the onset of GWOT (Global War on Terror) at the start of the millennium, no one ever lost money betting against the toxic combo of hubris, arrogance and ignorance serially deployed by the Empire of Chaos and Lies. What passes for “analysis” in the vast intellectual no-fly zone known as U.S. Think Tankland includes wishful thinking babble such as Beijing “believing” that Moscow would play a supporting role in the Chinese century just to see Russia, now, in the geopolitical driver’s seat. This is a fitting example not only of outright Russophobic/Sinophobic paranoia about the emergence of peer competitors in Eurasia – the primeval Anglo-American nightmare – but also crass ignorance about the finer points of the complex Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

As Operation Z methodically hits Phase 2, the Americans – with a vengeance – have also embarked on their symmetrical Phase 2, which de facto translates as an outright escalation towards Totalen Krieg, from shades of hybrid to incandescent, everything of course by proxy. Notorious Raytheon weapons peddler reconverted into Pentagon head, Lloyd Austin, gave away the game in Kiev: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” So this is it: the Empire wants to annihilate Russia. Cue to War Inc.’s frenzy of limitless weapon cargos descending on Ukraine, the overwhelming majority on the road to be duly eviscerated by Russian precision strikes. The Americans are sharing intel 24/7 with Kiev not only on Donbass and Crimea but also Russian territory.

Totalen Krieg proceeds in parallel to the engineered controlled demolition of the EU’s economy, with the European Commission merrily acting as a sort of P.R. arm of NATO. Amidst the propaganda dementia cum acute cognitive dissonance overdrive across the whole NATOstan sphere, the only antidote is served by sparse voices of reason, which happen to be Russian, thus silenced and/or dismissed. The West ignores them at their own collective peril.

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Part 2 of the same article.

“So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery.”

Patrushev Goes Triple-X Unplugged (Escobar)

let’s move to an extremely detailed interview by Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, where Patrushev sort of went triple-X unplugged. The key take away may be here: “The collapse of the American-centric world is a reality in which one must live and build an optimal line of behavior.” Russia’s “optimal line of behavior” – much to the wrath of the universalist and unilateralist hegemon – features “sovereignty, cultural and spiritual identity and historical memory.” Patrushev shows how “tragic scenarios of world crises, both in past years and today, are imposed by Washington in its desire to consolidate its hegemony, resisting the collapse of the unipolar world.”

The U.S. goes no holds barred “to ensure that other centers of the multipolar world do not even dare to raise their heads, and our country not only dared, but publicly declared that it would not play by the imposed rules.” Patrushev could not but stress how War Inc. is literally making a killing in Ukraine: “The American and European military-industrial complex is jubilant, because thanks to the crisis in Ukraine, it has no respite from order. It is not surprising that, unlike Russia, which is interested in the speedy completion of a special military operation and minimizing losses on all sides, the West is determined to delay it at least to the last Ukrainian.”

And that mirrors the psyche of American elites: “You are talking about a country whose elite is not able to appreciate other people’s lives. Americans are used to walking on scorched earth. Since World War II, entire cities have been razed to the ground by bombing, including nuclear bombing. They flooded the Vietnamese jungle with poison, bombed the Serbs with radioactive munitions, burned Iraqis alive with white phosphorus, helped terrorists poison Syrians with chlorine (…) As history shows, NATO has also never been a defensive alliance, only an offensive one.”

In a subtle reference to the work of Sergei Glazyev [..] Patrushev hit the heart of the current geoeconomic game, with Russia now actively moving towards a gold standard: “Experts are working on a project proposed by the scientific community to create a two-circuit monetary and financial system. In particular, it is proposed to determine the value of the ruble, which should be secured by both gold and a group of goods that are currency values, to put the ruble exchange rate in line with real purchasing power parity.” That was inevitable after the outright theft of over $300 billion in Russian foreign reserves. It may have taken a few days for Moscow to be fully certified it was facing Totalen Krieg. The corollary is that the collective West has lost any power to influence Russian decisions. The pace of the game in the new chessboard is being set by Russia.

[..] So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery. The pain dial is set to go substantially up – and with the total liberation of Mariupol and the resolution one way or another of the Donbass cauldron there is nothing the hysteria/propaganda/weaponizing combo deployed by the collective West can do to alter facts on the ground.

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“I don’t want to make this about me.”

Pentagon Spokesman Chokes Up While Talking About Ukraine (Hill)

The Pentagon’s top spokesperson became emotional Friday after he was asked whether he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin to be a “rational actor.” “It’s hard to look at what he’s doing in Ukraine, what his forces are doing in Ukraine and think that any ethical, moral individual could justify that,” press secretary John Kirby began before appearing to become choked up and pausing for several seconds. “It’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So I can’t talk to his psychology. But I think we can all speak to his depravity,” Kirby added. Kirby later apologized for becoming emotional, saying “I don’t want to make this about me.”


He then called Putin’s reasons for the invasion in Ukraine “BS.” “It’s hard to square [Putin’s] … BS that this is about Nazism in Ukraine, and it’s about protecting Russians in Ukraine, and it’s about defending Russian national interests, when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine,” said Kirby, pounding on the lectern for emphasis. Kirby also listed several “unconscionable” actions by Russian troops, including the reports of civilians being “shot in the back of the head, hands tied behind their backs. Women, pregnant women being killed, hospitals being bombed. I mean, it’s just unconscionable.”

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Natylie Baldwin interviews academic Olga Baysha.

“..cannot be explained apart from the success of his television series, which, as many observers believe, served as Zelensky’s informal election platform…”

Ukraine: The Real Zelensky (GZ)

The basic argument presented in my recent book is that the astonishing victory of Zelensky and his party, later transformed into a parliamentary machine to churn out and rubber-stamp neoliberal reforms (in a “turbo regime,” as they called it), cannot be explained apart from the success of his television series, which, as many observers believe, served as Zelensky’s informal election platform. Unlike his official platform, which ran only 1,601 words in length and contained few policy specifics, the 51 half-hour episodes of his show provided Ukrainians with a detailed vision of what should be done so that Ukraine could progress. The message delivered by Zelensky to Ukrainians through his show is clearly populist.

The people of Ukraine are portrayed in it as an unproblematic totality devoid of internal splits, from which only oligarchs and corrupted politicians/officials are excluded. The country becomes healthy only after getting rid of both oligarchs and their puppets. Some of them are imprisoned or flee the country; their property is confiscated without any regard to legality. Later, Zelensky-the-president will do the same towards his political rivals. Interestingly, the show ignores the theme of the Donbass war, which erupted in 2014, a year before the series started being broadcast. As the Maidan and Russia-Ukraine relations are very divisive issues in Ukrainian society, Zelensky ignored them so as not to jeopardize the unity of his virtual nation, his viewers and ultimately his voters.

Zelensky’s election promises, made on the fringes of the virtual and the real, were predominantly about Ukraine’s “progress,” understood as “modernization,” “Westernization,” “civilization” and “normalization.” It is this progressive modernizing discourse that allowed Zelensky to camouflage his plans for neoliberal reforms, launched just three days after the new government came to power. Throughout the campaign, the idea of “progress” highlighted by Zelensky was never linked to privatization, land sales, budget cuts, etc. Only after Zelensky had consolidated his presidential power by establishing full control over the legislative and executive branches of power did he make it clear that the “normalization” and “civilization” of Ukraine meant the privatization of land and state/public property, the deregulation of labor relations, a reduction of power for trade unions an increase in utility tariffs, and so on.

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Odd take from the MSM.

‘Donbas Is Not Ukraine’: In Industrial East, Hopes For Russian Rule (Y!)

At a market in the industrial town of Lysychansk in east Ukraine — war-scarred after relentless attacks by Russian forces — one woman quietly hopes Moscow’s army will break through. “Technically, we’re Ukrainian. But Donbas is not Ukraine,” Olena confided to AFP, referring to swathes of east Ukraine that Moscow has vowed to capture from Kyiv. “Ukrainians are the foreigners here — not Russians,” she said, giving a pseudonym, concerned that unpopular opinions like hers could land her “in prison”. Olena’s view on the war is not unique in this part of Ukraine where long-standing ties with Russia, nostalgia for the Soviet Union and hopes for a fast end to fighting mean many would welcome a Russian takeover.

For years the Kremlin has accused Ukraine of discriminating against Russian speakers in the Donbas region, which has been partially controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists since 2014. It says it wants to “liberate” parts of the mining and oil hub still controlled by Kyiv. Moscow’s forces are closing in, pounding Lysychansk and seizing villages around it. Ukraine’s army has put up fierce resistance, slowing Russia’s advance, but some wearing blue and yellow patches already feel as if they are in enemy territory. “Even if we do everything possible to hide our positions, residents here give the other side information about us,” a sergeant in the Ukrainian army, Iryna, told AFP. Attesting to that, Kyiv’s army regularly announces arrests of “saboteurs” in Donbas territory it controls and many among the rank and file said they were suspicious of residents.

Iryna, whose unit recently withdrew from Russian-controlled Kreminna north of Lysychansk, described this tale-telling as “very, very common”. “It comes from people who are supposed to be above suspicion — even priests,” she added. Some Ukrainian troops and officials hope that the Donbas residents fleeing fighting towards Russia are the ones sympathetic to Moscow. Still, they worry pro-Russia sentiment is lingering among some who have remained. “These are people who at best don’t mind and at worst are hoping for the arrival of the Russians,” Vadim Lyakh, the mayor of Sloviansk in northwestern Donbas, told AFP. Lyakh, whose city briefly fell to the separatists in 2014, said however that now was not the time to confront the mainly elderly Kremlin-sympathetic residents who long for the Soviet past. “Now is not the time to quarrel with them,” he told AFP.

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Contradictio in terminis.

UK Wants ‘Global NATO’ Capable of Defending Pacific (LI)

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said her government favors the creation of a “global NATO” that is able to guarantee the defense of Taiwan and the broader Pacific region, calling for preemptive action against would-be aggressors. In an address outlining UK foreign policy on Wednesday, Truss said London rejects the “false choice between Euro-Atlantic security and Indo-Pacific security,” instead arguing “we need both.” “I mean that NATO must have a global outlook, ready to tackle global threats,” she continued. “We need to preempt threats in the Indo-Pacific, working with allies like Japan and Australia to ensure that the Pacific is protected. And we must ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves.”

Though the official did not elaborate on what kind of support she favors for Taipei or what she envisions for a globally-engaged military alliance, Truss’ speech mirrored remarks by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year, when he said NATO’s reach must be extended into the Indo-Pacific. Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are already global NATO partners – each designated as a “major non-NATO ally” by Washington – while other security organizations serve similar functions in the Indo-Pacific region. The Quad alliance, consisting of the US, India, Japan and Australia, is often dubbed the ‘Asian NATO’ and largely exists to counter China. It has considered allowing other regional states to join to create a ‘Quad Plus,’ among them South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand.

The three-way AUKUS collective, meanwhile, has seen Washington, Canberra and London join forces to bolster the defenses of the region, including through the sharing of nuclear information. Like the Quad, the grouping has also reportedly mulled whether to expand to include additional countries like Japan. In recent months, several members of the NATO bloc have conducted ‘freedom of navigation’ missions in the Pacific to support territorial claims recognized by the United States and its western allies, namely those of Taiwan.

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“I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities.”

The Sweet Sound of Censorship (Turley)

President Joe Biden’s new disinformation chief Nina Jankowicz argued online mockery of Vice President Kamala Harris and other women in public life was a threat to national security: “Platforms and governments aren’t doing enough. It’s time to act. Our national security and democracy are at stake.” Jankowicz previously argued that Congress should create new laws to block mockery of women online by reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and including “provisions against online gender-based harassment.” Jankowicz testified before British House of Parliament last year about “gender misinformation” being a “national security concern” and a threat to democracy requiring government censorship. She has demanded that both tech companies and government should work together using “creativity and technological prowess to make a pariah of online misogyny.”

On the Hunter Biden laptop, Jankowicz pushed the false narrative that it was a false story and that “we should view it as a Trump campaign product.” She continued to spread that disinformation, including tweeting a link to a news article that she said cast “yet more doubt on the provenance of the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story.” In another tweet, she added “not to mention that the emails don’t need to be altered to be part of an influence campaign. Voters deserve that context, not a [fairy] tale about a laptop repair shop.” She even cites the author of the Steele Dossier as a guide for how to deal with disinformation. In August 2020, Jankowicz tweeted “Listened to this last night – Chris Steele (yes THAT Chris Steele) provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo. Worth a listen.”


She also joined the panic over the Musk threat to reintroduce free speech values to Twitter. In an interview on NPR, she stated “I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities.” Pitch perfect. Indeed, in seeing how we all “measure up,” Nina Jankowicz “is practically perfect in every way.”

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” Wolf doesn’t waste time debating “misinformation”, “disinformation”, or “malinformation”, instead she accurately just says those things do not exist.”

Naomi Wolf Eloquently Deconstructs the Terms Dis, Mis, and Malinformation (CTH)

All politicians and candidates for office should watch how Wolf responds to the first question from Tucker Carlson, and then makes the better argument. Wolf doesn’t waste time debating “misinformation”, “disinformation”, or “malinformation”, instead she accurately just says those things do not exist. Information stands undefined. From that position there are truth and lies. Her approach is exactly correct. Do not accept the insanity of the Alinsky language effort. A refreshing and really good interview:

On January 13, 2022, the fraudulent and managed autocrat, the installed occupant of the White House, gave instructions to his fellow travelers in Big Tech, and I quote: “I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets: Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows. It has to stop.” ~ Joe Biden. It was crystal clear what Joe Biden was telling his allies in social media to do. There is information the Government wants us to hear, and everything else is disinformation or misinformation the U.S. Govt disapproves of. Immediately CTH encountered criticism for our position on information. However, Wolf understands exactly what we have discussed:


…”There is no such thing as “disinformation” or “misinformation”. There is only information you accept and information you do not accept. You were not born with a requirement to believe everything you are told; rather, you were born with a brain that allows you to process the information you receive and make independent decisions.”…

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The “vaccines” focus only on S antibodies.

Vaccinated Had Fewer N Antibodies Even After Covid Infection (Blaze)

In a preprint paper posted last week, the NIH researchers studied the N (nucleocapsid) antibody levels of those who participated in the Moderna clinical trial vs. the placebo group upon the unblinding of the participants. Their findings were earth-shattering. m“We analyzed data from 1,789 participants (1,298 placebo recipients and 491 vaccine recipients) with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the blinded phase (through March 2021). Among participants with PCR-confirmed Covid-19 illness, seroconversion to anti-N Abs at a median follow up of 53 days post diagnosis occurred in 21/52 (40%) of the mRNA-1273 vaccine recipients vs. 605/648 (93%) of the placebo recipients (p < 0.001).” Kudos to Igor Chudov for finding this paper that clearly our government agencies are not excited to advertise.

Overall, the study’s authors found, “For any given viral copy number, the odds of anti-N seropositivity were 13.67 times higher for the placebo arm than the vaccine arm.” It’s truly hard to overstate the significance of this finding. These are the actual participants in the Moderna trial, and their levels were checked roughly seven weeks after being diagnosed with COVID, plus this was a study of the original strain of the virus when supposedly the vaccines were more effective. Yet just 40% of those with prior infection among the vaccinated group had anti-nucleocapsid antibodies, while 93% of the placebo group did. To be clear, this means that not only is the vaccine inferior to natural immunity, but it is so inferior that it might inhibit your acquisition of immunity to the nucleocapsid protein of the virus even if you wind up getting the virus, which you assuredly will because the vaccines don’t stop infection.

When you hear the proponents of the shots bragging about antibody titers, they are measuring the anti-spike protein (S) antibodies. The shots code your body to produce the most dangerous part of the virus, but on the other hand you don’t get the benefit of full immunity because your body is trained to recognize only the spike, not the main shell of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The implication of this study would be that the more you vaccinate, the more it erases your natural immunity, so not only do you still get the virus, but you will continue getting it because you can never achieve full immunity, as you might with natural infection without having been jabbed with a gene therapy that primes your body to respond inappropriately. It is an anti-herd immunity shot.

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“People forget Moderna was losing money in 2020..”

Moderna Montreal Factory Will Make Canada An mRNA ‘Leader’ – Trudeau (CTV)

The news leaked a day early, but Canadian leaders and biotech company Moderna officially announced Friday that a new vaccine production facility will be created in Montreal, helping ensure a long-term supply of made-in-Canada vaccines. “Our government promised to strengthen our capacity” for producing vaccines “here in Canada,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at an announcement at McGill University in Montreal. Canada has a now-infamous trajectory over the last few decades of building up top-notch vaccine research but dismantling its domestic capacity to actually produce vaccines, leaving it dependent on vaccine facilities in other countries.

The facility, expected to be operational as soon as 2024, will employ 200 to 300 people and will be able to produce up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per year, Trudeau said. But it will also ultimately be able to do research and hopefully produce other kinds of vaccines or treatment based on the same mRNA technology, or messenger RNA, that was first used in the COVID-19 vaccines, he said. “It also will have a significant impact in the research that they’re doing on a range of illnesses. We talked about Alzheimer’s, we talk about cancers, we talk about the range of things that messenger RNA is able to deliver to keep Canadians and people around the world healthy,” said Trudeau. “And Canada, that has long been leaders in research around mRNA, will now be also leaders in delivering mRNA to Canadians and to the world.”

Moderna’s founder and board chair has deep ties to Montreal, where his family fled after escaping Lebanon’s civil war. He attended Loyola College and McGill before going to M.I.T. in Boston. Moderna, which was founded in 2010, is still based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel joined Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault for the announcement, saying that Moderna’s path over the past two years has been a dramatic one, as it raced to get its mRNA vaccine developed and approved for the first time. “People forget Moderna was losing money in 2020,” he said. “We didn’t have the financial straps to get this industrial machine going. And Canada was one of only a few, a couple, countries here to help,” by putting in one of the first pre-orders for the vaccine and sending much-needed cash, he said.

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“The Left has exercised a Macumba voodoo death grip on free speech for years now.”

“This is This” (Kunstler)

“This is this,” DiNiro’s character “Michael” famously told Cazale’s “Stan” in The Deer Hunter, explaining the metaphysics of the bullet in his hand, and pretty much everyone watching the movie got the drift of that cryptic utterance. Likewise, Elon Musk’s character “Elon Musk” explained to America’s Maoist managerial legions: “Free speech is free speech” — as if, a week after Twitter’s surrender to Elon, there was some part of the formulation that the Left didn’t understand. (Apparently, all of it.) What a concept! Free speech is free speech. It has bowled over the — what? — maybe twenty-three percent of the country that considers free speech “a threat to democracy.” This is what comes of inverting and subverting language itself for the purpose of mind-raping the nation like Jeffrey Epstein on a 15-year-old. The Left has exercised a Macumba voodoo death grip on free speech for years now.

The deeper the Left’s crimes against the constitution and common decency, the harder they strangled the flow of news, information, and opinion until the mental life of the USA turned into a gibber of shamefully obvious unreality. It’s one thing to lose your dignity as citizens, and another to just lose your country altogether, and that is the circle of hell that the Left has dragged everyone else into since even before Hillary Clinton booted the 2016 election. This tyrannical Maoist managerial mob, grown paradoxically rich beyond precedent, became a tool of the state itself working around the inconvenient first amendment to hog-tie public debate. Will the US government allow Mr. Musk to get away with liberating the new “public square?”

It looks like the DOJ, the SEC, and perhaps other nefarious actors of degenerate officialdom are fixing to go after the rogue Tesla mogul who had the effrontery to oppose totalitarian control of the narratives driving public life. It’s rumored that money-losing Twitter could not exist without the government footing the bill for the vast, backstage server arrays that enable all Twitter’s messaging. In an odd twist, though, the shareholders were not necessarily benefitting from that symbiotic relationship as Twitter’s stock fell from $71 a share in July ’21 to $32 in March ’22. But the C-suite of Twitter’s executives were already too massively rich to care about anything but punishing their political enemies — which they did with sadistic zeal — when Mr. Musk surprisingly stepped onto the scene.

The government’s first counter-move, under the vividly deliquescing “Joe Biden” — whose treasonous corruption became Twitter’s job-one to conceal — was to concoct a brand-new agency under Homeland Security called the Disinformation Governance Board, to be run by one Nina Jankowicz, “internationally-recognized expert on disinformation and democratization,” who also happened to be a RussiaGate shill and publicist for the fifty national security officials who labeled the Hunter Biden laptop story “Russian disinformation” (turned out: not). In other words, America now has a “truth” kommissar who is a soldier in the War on Truth.

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“My grandmother was not stupid: she was simply applying a tested method to deal with things she knew little about.”

The Shanghai Lockdown: a Memetic Analysis (Ugo Bardi)

A “meme” is a small unit of information that can easily move from one human mind to another. It is the virtual equivalent of a virus in the sense that it “infects” people and influences their behavior. To explain the concept, maybe the best way is with an example: how my grandmother was absolutely convinced that nobody ever should drink a glass of milk without having boiled it first. She was infected with a meme that we could describe as “boil the damn milk.” It was simple and direct, but, unfortunately, completely useless in the 1960s, when pasteurization had become common. My grandmother was not stupid: she was simply applying a tested method to deal with things she knew little about.

The problem is that memes can be (or become) wrong or obsolete, and yet they are very difficult to dislodge. In the photo, you see Colin Powell, in 2003, showing a vial of baby powder while claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed largely on the basis of a meme that turned out to be completely false. The Covid pandemic is another case of a complex story that most of us are unprepared to understand. We should be trained in microbiology, medicine, epidemiology, and more — no way! So, we rely on simplified snippets to guide their everyday activities. “Wear the damn mask,” “stay home,” “don’t kill granny,” “flatten the curve,” and the like. That includes our leaders.

All memes have a story: that’s true for the one that led my grandmother to always boil her milk, and also for the “lockdown” meme. But whereas the first (“boil the damn milk”) was harmless, the second (“lock everybody in their homes”) can do a lot of damage. It did, and it is still doing damage in China with the recent massive lockdowns of Shanghai and other cities. So, where does this meme come from? Its origin can be found in the evolution of the concept of “biological warfare.” But let’s go in order.

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“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”

Why the Yen Fell While the Dollar Rallied (Mises)

How can we explain that the currency whose issuer has made the biggest inflationary mistake of all during the pandemic is the strongest (the US Consumer Price Index is up over 8 percent year on year), while that where the inflationary mistake if any has been the smallest (the Japan CPI is up less than 1 percent year on year) is the weakest? There lies the puzzle of the present dollar-yen rate. We can find at least part of the solution in a quote attributed to the Prussian and subsequently imperial German “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck. “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”


Today the “hunt” is the search for yield by investors suffering from a famine of interest income on safe savings; the hunters have convinced themselves and others that persistent high returns obtained from risky assets, often highly leveraged, are the new normal, never mind a decade of economic sclerosis (as evidenced by only weak growth if any in median living standards and sluggish productivity growth). “War” is the military conflict in Ukraine coupled with the West’s economic campaign against Russia; accompanying propaganda is a version of Bismarck’s lies. “Elections” are most prominently the midterms in the US where the lies include Fed propaganda including promises of a soft landing and the total official silence on its disastrous policy mistakes inducing present high inflation.

The near collapse of the yen and fantastic strength of the US dollar (yen/dollar moving from 110 last autumn to almost 130 now) are the outcome of such illusions and propaganda. The essence of the “carry trade boom,” a well-known aspect of the hunt for yield, is investors moving out of a zero or negative interest rate currency into ostensibly higher yield assets whether in high-yield credit or high-interest rate currency markets. Currency carry trades involve short positions in the yen, euro or Swiss franc matched by long positions most of all in US dollars but also commodity currencies. High US inflation could wipe out gains to date. After all holders of US money are subject to at least a 12 percent inflation tax levy through 2021–22.


Yet many of the carry traders act as if the tax is phantom, always to be effaced by exchange rate gains or to now fade away. Some believe apparently the Fed has really changed its spots from inflationmonger to inflationphobe. Yes, top Fed officials are talking aggressively and nonstop—the so-called hawkish pivot—about their promise to bring inflation back down to below 3 percent in 2023 without a recession along the way. This is music to the ears of Democrats who face voter wrath about their number one issue of concern—present high inflation. According to the Fed and the administration, high inflation was not due to avoidable policy mistake but bad luck—pandemic dislocation and “Putin’s war.”

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Brand cash

 

 

More than 30 years ago Fidel said: “The next war in Europe will be between Russia and fascism, except that fascism will be called democracy.”

 

 

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Aug 032021
 
 August 3, 2021  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  151 Responses »


René Magritte Man in a bowler hat 1964

 

Israeli Scientist Says Covid-19 Could Be Treated For Under $1/Day (JPost)
Necessity Of Covid-19 Vaccination In Previously Infected Individuals (Medrxiv)
Covid Vaccines: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (SPR)
Well, Duh. This Is Why It Was Stupid (Denninger)
When Things Don’t Add Up (Kunstler)
China Will Test All 12 Million Wuhan Residents (F.)
Millions Are Put Into Lockdown In China (DM)
Ratcliffe: COVID Lab Leak “Very Close To A Certainty” (ZH)
AOC Calls Fellow Democrats “Cowards” On The Eviction Moratorium (JTN)
Australians Getting Ready To Overthrow Tyrannical Government (BBee)

 

 

I knew it!

 

 

“99.999% survival vs 99.974% unvaxed. But they just say 25x higher chance of dying. Lmao. So vax increases your odds by .025%. Of surviving. Hmmmmmmmm”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1422202459036999687

 

 

How successful are the vaccines so far?

 

 

Why Macron insists on vaccine passports.

 

 

$1 a day is too cheap for political gain.

Israeli Scientist Says Covid-19 Could Be Treated For Under $1/Day (JPost)

Ivermectin, a drug used to fight parasites in third-world countries, could help reduce the length of infection for people who contract coronavirus for less than a $1 a day, according to recent research by Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. Prof. Eli Schwartz, founder of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Disease at Sheba, conducted a randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial from May 15, 2020, through the end of January 2021 to evaluate the effectiveness of ivermectin in reducing viral shedding among nonhospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Ivermectin has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since 1987. The drug’s discoverers were awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine for its treatment of onchocerciasis, a disease caused by infection with a parasitic roundworm.

Over the years, it has been used for other indications, including scabies and head lice. Moreover, in the last decade, several clinical studies have started to show its antiviral activity against viruses ranging from HIV and the flu to Zika and West Nile. The drug is also extremely economical. A study published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Therapeutics showed that the cost of ivermectin for other treatments in Bangladesh is around $0.60 to $1.80 for a five-day course. It costs up to $10 a day in Israel, Schwartz said. In Schwartz’s study, some 89 eligible volunteers over the age of 18 who were diagnosed with coronavirus and staying in state-run COVID-19 hotels were divided into two groups: 50% received ivermectin, and 50% received a placebo, according to their weight. They were given the pills for three days in a row, an hour before a meal.

The volunteers were tested using a standard nasopharyngeal swab PCR test with the goal of evaluating whether there was a reduction in viral load by the sixth day – the third day after termination of the treatment. They were swabbed every two days. Nearly 72% of volunteers treated with ivermectin tested negative for the virus by day six. In contrast, only 50% of those who received the placebo tested negative. In addition, the study looked at culture viability, meaning how infectious the patients were, and found that only 13% of ivermectin patients were infectious after six days, compared with 50% of the placebo group – almost four times as many. “Our study shows first and foremost that ivermectin has antiviral activity,” Schwartz said. “It also shows that there is almost a 100% chance that a person will be noninfectious in four to six days, which could lead to shortening isolation time for these people. This could have a huge economic and social impact.”

Read more …

There is none: “Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination ..”

Necessity Of Covid-19 Vaccination In Previously Infected Individuals (Medrxiv)

Employees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System working in Ohio on Dec 16, 2020, the day COVID-19 vaccination was started, were included. Any subject who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at least 42 days earlier was considered previously infected. One was considered vaccinated 14 days after receipt of the second dose of a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection over the next five months, among previously infected subjects who received the vaccine, was compared with those of previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated, previously uninfected subjects who received the vaccine, and previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated.

Results Among the 52238 included employees, 1359 (53%) of 2579 previously infected subjects remained unvaccinated, compared with 22777 (41%) of 49659 not previously infected. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection remained almost zero among previously infected unvaccinated subjects, previously infected subjects who were vaccinated, and previously uninfected subjects who were vaccinated, compared with a steady increase in cumulative incidence among previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated. Not one of the 1359 previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated had a SARS-CoV-2 infection over the duration of the study. In a Cox proportional hazards regression model, after adjusting for the phase of the epidemic, vaccination was associated with a significantly lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among those not previously infected (HR 0.031, 95% CI 0.015 to 0.061) but not among those previously infected (HR 0.313, 95% CI 0 to Infinity).

Conclusions: Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, and vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before. Summary: Cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was examined among 52238 employees in an American healthcare system. COVID-19 did not occur in anyone over the five months of the study among 2579 individuals previously infected with COVID-19, including 1359 who did not take the vaccine.

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“..covid vaccines do not achieve mucosal immunity (in contrast to natural infection) and serum antibody levels (i.e. antibodies in the blood) decrease within months..”

Covid Vaccines: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (SPR)

The latest data from Israel, which has used primarily the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, indicates that vaccine effectiveness against Delta coronavirus infection and symptomatic (“mild”) disease has dropped from about 95% to about 40%, whereas effectiveness against hospitalization and severe disease (i.e. low blood oxygen levels) remains at 80% to 90% (see chart above). Importantly, in people who got vaccinated already in January 2021 (primarily the elderly), protection against infection and mild disease may already have dropped to near 0% (see chart above). Moreover, since the Delta covid outbreak is still accelerating in Israel, the effectiveness against hospitalization and severe disease may further decrease (due to lags in hospitalizations). (Update: New data from Hebrew University shows that protection against severe disease has already dropped to 80%; compared to the original 96%, this results in a five-fold increase in residual risk.)

In the UK, which has primarily used the AstraZeneca DNA adenovector vaccine, the latest estimate by researchers at University College London indicates an effectiveness against infection of about 20% and a total effectiveness against severe disease of about 60%. In very senior citizens, the effectiveness against severe disease may be even lower (due to a weaker immune response). (A substantially higher estimate by Public Health England, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was based on outdated data from early June. Interestingly, the British government hasn’t updated its data on AstraZeneca vaccine effectiveness since June 13. Update: New data from PHE confirms that effectiveness against infection has dropped below 20%.)

The Israeli data shown above indicates that effectiveness against infection and mild symptoms decreases rapidly over time and reaches near-zero levels after about half a year. Most likely, this is because covid vaccines do not achieve mucosal immunity (in contrast to natural infection) and serum antibody levels (i.e. antibodies in the blood) decrease within months. Thus, the false promise of very high protection against “symptomatic infection”, found during official vaccine trials, was simply based on very high short-term serum antibody levels mimicking mucosal immunity. Conceivably, the pharmaceutical companies may even have known that this was just a (very lucrative) “flash in the pan” and not a lasting protective effect.

In contrast, protection against severe disease is achieved by lower serum antibody levels in combination with immunological memory (B cells) and cellular immunity (T cells). However, the Delta variant has already achieved partial immune evasion (as did Beta and Gamma, but not Alpha), and future coronavirus variants will likely achieve almost complete immune evasion. Thus, vaccine protection even against severe disease will likely further decrease due to new variants, or, in the very worst case, will turn into antibody-dependent disease enhancement (ADE), if high levels of non-neutralizing antibodies aggravate the infection. Indeed, this is what happened in the case of vaccines against SARS-1 and dengue fever.


Serum antibody levels after vaccination with Pfizer (blue) and AstraZeneca (red).

Read more …

An addendum to Vanden Bossche:

“There is no safe means of mass-use of non-sterilizing vaccines so long as transmission within the community does or is likely to exist.”

Well, Duh. This Is Why It Was Stupid (Denninger)

I warned everyone. Now even CNN is on it, although they (like SAGE) think we’re smarter than nature — and evolution. “They write that some variants that have emerged over the past few months “show a reduced susceptibility to vaccine-acquired immunity, though none appears to escape entirely.” But they caution that these variants emerged “before vaccination was widespread,” and that “as vaccines become more widespread, the transmission advantage gained by a virus that can evade vaccine-acquired immunity will increase.” In a word: Duh. I know I’ve been banging on this drum since Covid-19 started but it is no-less important today, especially in the context of holding people accountable for killing several hundred thousand Americans and the economic destruction they brought upon the nation.

To be sterilizing a vaccine must prevent infection. Since you never get infected you never replicate the virus and thus do not shed it. If you do not shed it the potential path of the viral life-cycle for that particular infection ends with you and thus you cannot pass on or cause a mutation. You are sterile against that disease; from the point of view of the virus you are a lifeless rock. Among commonly-used sterilizing vaccines are MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Varicella (chicken pox), OPV (oral polio) and others. The only time that such a vaccine fails is when you do not build immunity (such as due to immune compromise.) This is extremely rare and the protection from such vaccines tends to be either decades-long or lifetime.

A vaccine that is not sterilizing permits the virus to infect you and replicate and as a result you can infect others. Technically it is not a vaccine at all (which by definition prevents infection); it is a prophylactic therapy. Such a “vaccine” instead acts to reduce or eliminate symptomatic disease. You don’t know you’re sick and you don’t get sick. You don’t go to the hospital and you don’t die. Unfortunately since you don’t know you’re sick but are infected and the virus is both replicating in you and shedding you are more-likely to spread the infection to others. All of the current Covid jabs are in this category and so is, for that matter IPV (injected polio vaccine — the original Salk discovery.) During the original vaccine trials in the summer and fall of 2020 they deliberately did not test any of the recipients for asymptomatic infections.

Only a person who developed a significant illness was tested. This has continued post roll-out with the CDC specifying that a close contact of a known case who was vaccinated did not need to quarantine or be tested until and unless they became symptomatic. They knew damn well, in other words, that the jabs were not sterilizing but did not want that data up for public debate because then those who have read history would be likely to make the connection to the present day and thus they did their level best to hide it. That has now blown up in their face with it being conclusively known that jabbed people in fact not only get infected but spread the virus to others. The problem with non-sterilizing vaccines is simply this: There is no safe means of mass-use of non-sterilizing vaccines so long as transmission within the community does or is likely to exist.

Ever. There are no exceptions. This was known to public health officials and virologists seventy years ago and is why the United States used both IPV (injected polio vaccine) and OPV (oral polio vaccine) in sequence for polio until the 1990s. OPV produced sterilizing immunity but IPV did not. OPV had a very small (but non-zero, about 1 in a million) risk of causing polio because it was a codon-deoptimized live virus which, on rare occasion, would mutate back to its virulent form in the human body. So to mitigate that risk you got IPV first in the US (to prevent systemic infection; this was non-sterilizing), then OPV which is sterilizing — that is, it prevents not only getting sick from polio but also replicating and shedding the virus, thus giving it to others along with preventing the promotion of mutations that WILL eventually escape the vaccine.

Had we done with polio what we’re doing now with Covid — IPV (non-sterilizing) use only with virus circulating in the United States — it is very likely the virus would have mutated, escaped the vaccine and killed millions in America.

Malone Arms race.

Read more …

“All that sound-and-fury for what? For vaccines that don’t work… and which, quite possibly, could leave you seriously ill, even dead?”

When Things Don’t Add Up (Kunstler)

The Covid 19 panic, which has been driving formerly civilized societies crazy for eighteen months, prompted the bringing-forth of The Science’s follow-up project: vaccines to stop the spread of the virus. Enter the scene, these vaxes did, like, a day-and-a-half after Covid-19 pirouetted onstage. Hmmmm. Could someone have been working on those vaxes backstage before the dread virus even premiered? Were patents issued for them pre-dating January, 2020? Seems so. But never mind that for now. The vaxes were rolled out to fanfares over a year ago and those moiling masses of America, the superfluous holders of bachelor’s degrees in Oppression Studies — for whom, sadly, the world had run-out of paying positions — lined up like kids at Santa’s throne in Macy’s on Black Sunday for their Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson jabs. Whew…! That was a close call!

Or was it? Naw, not even close, actually. Since now it turns out that the jabs don’t seem to work that well. The official story got murkier last week when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported internally to staff (it leaked) that “fully vaccinated people might spread the Delta variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people.” Whoopsie…. In a Delta variant outbreak on Cape Cod last month, three-quarters of the infected were fully vaxed-up patients. The story got darker because The New York Times, the usually-reliable mouthpiece for The Science and his allies in “Joe Biden’s” public health bureaucracy, let slip that, “The Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be spread by vaccinated people as easily as the unvaccinated.”

Wuh-oh…! A worm the size of an Amtrak Acela train has turned in the myocarditic heart of our nation’s capital. Things have changed overnight — didn’t they see it coming? — and now the government is freaking out as it appears to have some serious ‘splainin’ to do — and right on the heels, too, of an hysterical month-long campaign to persuade the remaining unvaxed millions to submit to the needle, climaxed by threatening the obdurate “hesitants” with taking away their employment and ability to participate in commerce and social life. All that sound-and-fury for what? For vaccines that don’t work… and which, quite possibly, could leave you seriously ill, even dead?

Read more …

Chia uses nucleic acid amplification tests, not PCR.

China Will Test All 12 Million Wuhan Residents (F.)

Chinese authorities said Tuesday they will administer Covid-19 tests to all 12 million residents in Wuhan, where the first cases of Covid-19 were first reported, after the first local cases of infection by the highly contagious delta variant were reported in the city. On Monday, authorities confirmed three new delta variant Covid-19 cases in Wuhan, the first local cases since mid-May last year, Reuters reported. A city official told a news briefing that the city-wide testing was being done to screen out all asymptomatic infections and to ensure that everyone in the city was safe.


Besides Wuhan, China has detected new local infections in the nearby cities of Jingzhou and Huanggang, all of which have been linked to cases found in China’s Jiangsu province. The outbreak in Jiangsu was reportedly fueled by the delta variant which is believed to have entered the region from an infected passenger flying in from Russia. 414. That’s the total number of locally acquired Covid-19 cases China has reported since July 20, when the first infections in Jiangsu were reported. It’s unclear if all of these cases are delta variant infections.

Read more …

Zero covid is a bad idea.

Millions Are Put Into Lockdown In China (DM)

Millions of people have been placed back into lockdown in China as the country tries to contain its largest coronavirus outbreak in months with mass testing and travel curbs. The country reported 55 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases today as an outbreak of the fast-spreading Delta variant reached over 20 cities and more than a dozen provinces. The latest surge, which state media has labelled the ‘most extensive outbreak of Covid since Wuhan’, began when airport workers in Nanjing who had cleaned a plane that arrived from Russia later tested positive for the virus. Local governments in major cities including Beijing have now tested millions of residents, while cordoning off residential compounds and placing close contacts under quarantine.

While the number of cases is relatively small they are spread out across the country, prompting state media to compare it to the initial outbreak in Wuhan in 2019. The central city of Zhuzhou in Hunan province ordered over 1.2 million residents on Monday to stay home under strict lockdown for the next three days as it rolls out a citywide testing and vaccination campaign, according to an official statement. ‘The situation is still grim and complicated,’ the Zhuzhou government said. Beijing has previously boasted of its success in bringing domestic cases down to virtually zero after the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, allowing the economy to rebound.

But the latest outbreak, linked to a cluster in Nanjing where nine cleaners at an international airport tested positive on July 20, is threatening that success with more than 360 domestic cases reported in the past two weeks. In the tourist destination of Zhangjiajie, near Zhuzhou, an outbreak spread last month among theatre patrons who then brought the virus back to their homes around the country. Zhangjiajie locked down all 1.5 million residents on Friday. Officials are urgently seeking people who have recently travelled from Nanjing or Zhangjiajie, and have urged tourists not to travel to areas where cases have been found.

Meanwhile, Beijing has blocked tourists from entering the capital during the peak summer holiday travel season. Only ‘essential travellers’ with negative nucleic acid tests will be allowed to enter after the discovery of a handful of cases among residents who had returned from Zhangjiajie. Top city officials on Sunday called for residents ‘not to leave Beijing unless necessary’. The capital’s Changping district locked down 41,000 people in nine housing communities last week.

Read more …

No Democrat will listen.

Ratcliffe: COVID Lab Leak “Very Close To A Certainty” (ZH)

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says that the lab-leak Covid-19 origin hypothesis isn’t just a “possibility,” but “more like a probability, if not very close to a certainty.” In a Monday Op-Ed, Ratcliffe excoriated China for rejecting new plans by the World Health Organization to investigate the lab-leak theory, which was “remarkable not only because of China’s continued belligerence, but also because the WHO was once complicit, caving to the CCP’s initial pressure to dismiss the lab leak theory and downplay the CCP’s coverup.” “I had access to all of the U.S. government’s most sensitive intelligence related to the pandemic. My informed opinion is that the lab leak theory isn’t just a “possibility,” at the very least it is more like a probability, if not very close to a certainty.

More than 18 months after the virus first leaked into the world, I still have not seen a single shred of scientific evidence or intelligence that the virus outbreak was a naturally occurring “spillover” that jumped from an animal to a human”. -John Ratcliffe Ratcliffe then notes that the CCP has gone to great lengths to ensure there is no “smoking gun,” and in fact – “every piece of evidence I have seen points to the pandemic’s origin being a leak out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).” The former DNI notes that classified intelligence has since been corroborated by public reporting with further details, yet “some in the media unwittingly helped the CCP in its disinformation efforts, dismissing the lab leak theory as a “conspiracy theory,” while Facebook affixed warnings of “false or misleading” to anyone who dared speak of it.”

Ratcliffe notes that before Trump left office, he tried to balance the need to protect intelligence gathering techniques with public disclosure – culminating in the State Department fact sheet which revealed that “several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and seasonal illnesses.”

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They could all have done this months ago, especially Pelosi, but also AOC.

AOC Calls Fellow Democrats “Cowards” On The Eviction Moratorium (JTN)

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling fellow Washington Democrats “cowards” for failing to extend a moratorium on evicting Americans during the pandemic, which after roughly 8 months of protection has put a reported 11 million Americans in jeopardy of losing shelter. “The House and House leadership had the opportunity to vote to extend the moratorium and there was, frankly, a handful of conservative Democrats in the House that threatened to get on planes rather than hold this vote,” Cortez said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have to call a spade a spade. We cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have a majority.”

The White House has said it didn’t have the authority to extend the moratorium past August 31 and asked Congress to address the issue legislatively. The House vote failed Friday. The Democrat-controlled Senate has yet to vote on the matter, but likely also does not have the votes. Ocasio-Cortez, is the official leader of House Democrats’ so-called squad, the conference’s most progressive wing. Fellow squad members Reps. Cori Bush, of Missouri, Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, all slept just outside of the Capitol building this past weekend to protest the end of the ban.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with other key Democrat leaders have sent a letter to the White House asking it to make the order instead of Congress because they did not have the votes needed. “It is clear that the Senate is not able to [extend the ban], and any legislation in the House, therefore, will not be sufficient,” the letter reads. “Action is needed, and it must come from the administration.” The Senate is still in session, but the House is now out for the remainder of the summer. However, House members may be called back in to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Read more …

“—Wait, Nevermind, Seems They Gave Up All Their Guns”

Australians Getting Ready To Overthrow Tyrannical Government (BBee)

Reports are coming in from the land down under that the people of Australia are getting ready to overthrow their tyrannical government—oh wait, they actually gave up all their guns. Amid the fears over the Delta strain of the virus, armed military members were patrolling the streets to make sure people were all at their correct address while helicopters and drones circled overhead to order people to go back inside if they ventured out at all in what the nation could only describe as some Orwellian nightmare. Many Aussies decided it was time to do something about the situation. “Blimey, this right here is a dog’s breakfast! No blokes gone walkabout since they brought in the military to cover us, shrimp on a barbie,” said a man who simply goes by Croc.


An American translator was found who told us that what Croc was saying was that the entire continent nation of 25 million people was living under martial law with no end in sight because a little over 900 people had died from coronavirus throughout the pandemic. “We were totally fed up with this and were all set to tell them Blokes and Sheilas to right buzz off, but then we remembered that we let the government have all our guns already,” Croc continued somberly. At publishing time, Australians were asking the aboriginals if they had any of those cool dart guns or at least some bevvies to make it through the lockdowns.

Read more …

 

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Feb 042021
 
 February 4, 2021  Posted by at 10:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


MC Escher Balcony 1945

 

‘Deadly Carrot’-Derived Antiviral Could Be Magic Bullet (RT)
5.8 Million Fewer Babies: America’s Lost Decade in Fertility (IFS)
Dallas Fed’s Kaplan: Reddit-Fueled Trading Frenzy Driven Partly By Fed (R.)
Beware Of Social Media-Fuelled Bubbles In Market – French Regulator (R.)
The Stock Market Is Broken, Now for All to See (WS)
The Insiders’ Game (Sacks)
SWIFT Sets Up Digital Currency Joint Venture With China’s Central Bank (R.)
“It Can’t Happen Here” (Rickards)
Andrew Cuomo Was a Villain All Along (NR)
Media Runs Defense as Amazon Caught Stealing Millions From Workers (MPN)
Defense Sec. Orders 60-Day Stand-down To Confront Extremism In Military (MT)
US Admiral Warns Nuclear War With Russia, China a ‘Real Possibility’ (Antiwar)
Xi, Putin Make The Case For Win-Win, Not Zero-Sum (Escobar)
If BlacK Lives Matter Wins Nobel, Rename It ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Prize (RT)

 

 

The Working Class pay taxes.
The Middle Class pay accountants.
The Upper Class pay politicians.

 

 

There’s a new meme in town: #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett. No comment.

 

 

Psaki calls out RT and Sputnik in front of the MSM. It’s too much.

 

 

“..several hundred times more effective than the current arsenal of antiviral treatments and is also effective against combined infections.”

‘Deadly Carrot’-Derived Antiviral Could Be Magic Bullet (RT)

Scientists are extolling the efficacy of a wonder drug in combating not only Covid-19 but influenza and other respiratory illnesses, in what may pave the way for a new generation of medicines to prevent future pandemics. Researchers led by a team at the University of Nottingham discovered that the broad spectrum antiviral thapsigargin has shown to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19), a common cold coronavirus, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as well as influenza A virus. Acute respiratory infections can be somewhat indistinguishable from one another on initial presentation to a doctor, which may result in lost time in terms of deploying the correct treatment. However, with an effective, broad-spectrum antiviral that can handle many of the main, more serious culprits with ease, it could yield far more positive outcomes for patients and medical practitioners.

Furthermore, it could also turn the tide against spontaneous community outbreaks of certain infections, including the dreaded clusters of Covid-19 which humanity can expect even after widespread vaccine rollout. The researchers, led by Professor Kin-Chow Chang, closely examined the plant-derived antiviral and put it through its paces against a number of pathogens. They found that it triggers a highly effective antiviral immune response against three major types of human respiratory viruses, and works before or during active infection, while preventing a virus from self-replicating for at least 48-hours, a critical component in stamping out community infections.

The drug remains stable in hostile, acidic environments, such as the human stomach, meaning it can be administered orally, without the need for injection or hospital admission, saving precious resources in the process. The researchers also claim the drug, derived from the ‘deadly carrot’ thapsia plant, is several hundred times more effective than the current arsenal of antiviral treatments and is also effective against combined infections. A derivative of the drug has been used in prostate cancer treatment, so concerns about safety in humans have already been allayed.


“The current pandemic highlights the need for effective antivirals to treat active infections, as well as vaccines, to prevent the infection,” Chang said, adding that future pandemics are likely to be zoonotic in nature, either animal-to-human or vice versa, so treating viral infections in humans and animals is crucial to prevent future catastrophe. The drug may mark the beginning of a new generation of powerful, host-centred antivirals, resulting in a holistic “One Health” approach to control both human and animal viruses and, hopefully at least, prevent further pandemics from inflicting such damage on the human race.

Read more …

And that’s before suspected COVID influence on -male- fertility.

5.8 Million Fewer Babies: America’s Lost Decade in Fertility (IFS)

Fertility rates have fallen around the world over the last decade—even in countries with generous social welfare states, which experts had long expected to be holdouts in the face of fertility declines. But while demographers often talk about this change in terms of “fertility rates” or “births per woman,” another way to tally the total is in terms of missing births. That is, if the population of women who might have kids changed the way it did over the last decade, and if fertility rates had remained at their 2008 levels (the last time we had replacement-rate fertility in America), how many more babies would have been born?


The answer is 5.8 million babies. Since births in the U.S. actually tend to run around 4 million per year, that’s almost like saying nobody had a baby for a year and a half. Figure 1 below shows the difference between the number of babies actually born to moms of each major racial or ethnic group tracked by the CDC from 2009-2019, and the number that would have been born, had 2008 fertility rates remained stable but underlying population totals changed in the same way.

The lion’s share of “missing babies” would have been born to Hispanic moms. That’s because in 2008, Hispanic moms could expect to have about 2.8 kids on average; now, they can expect to have about 2. Fertility rates declining by almost a third is a huge change, resulting in a loss of 2.7 million Hispanic babies that would otherwise have been born. Non-Hispanic whites make up the second biggest category of missing babies, with almost 2 million missing births. But that’s a bit of an illusion: in fact, non-Hispanic white fertility rates experienced the least amount of decline of any group (from 1.9 children per woman to 1.6; Asian-Americans have always been lower, falling from 1.8 to 1.5). But the number of potential non-Hispanic white moms is very large. Figure 2 below shows the percentage difference between actual births each year, and the expected number of births for that group and year.

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“Some of the current situation you are seeing – one of the factors – is there is a lot of liquidity, and some of that relates to Fed purchases..”

Dallas Fed’s Kaplan: Reddit-Fueled Trading Frenzy Driven Partly By Fed (R.)

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said Tuesday that while the Fed’s massive bond-buying program is creating plenty of liquidity in financial markets, there are no signs of broad market instability at present. “I don’t see anything right now systemic,” Kaplan said in a CNBC interview, responding to a question about a possible link between the Reddit-fueled frenzy in GameStop Corp shares and monetary policy. Kaplan did not comment on GameStop directly, and instead addressed the broader question of how Fed policy affects financial markets.


“Some of the current situation you are seeing – one of the factors – is there is a lot of liquidity, and some of that relates to Fed purchases of $80 billion of Treasuries and $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities every month: I think it’s wise for us to acknowledge that.” The Fed has kept interest rates near zero since last March and has pledged to keep them there until the economy has returned to full employment and inflation has reached, and is on track to overshoot, the Fed’s 2% goal. It has also said it will keep buying at least $120 billion of bonds each month until there is “substantial further progress” toward the Fed’s full employment and 2% inflation goals, a benchmark that Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida has said may not be reached until next year.

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“Customers with direct market access are welcome, but raises questions about… new ways to manipulate markets..”

Let’s stick with the old ways.

Beware Of Social Media-Fuelled Bubbles In Market – French Regulator (R.)

An increase in retail investors flocking to online brokers during the coronavirus pandemic risks creating “bubbles” engineered by social media, France’s top markets regulator said on Wednesday. Robert Ophele, chair of France’s AMF markets watchdog, said the trading frenzy fuelled by posts on the Reddit forum and surge in bitcoin prices have shown how technology and social media can bring “irrationality” to financial markets. “Customers with direct market access are welcome, but raises questions about… new ways to manipulate markets with a social media dimension,” Ophele told an Afore Consulting webinar.

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Step 1: stop calling it a market.

The Stock Market Is Broken, Now for All to See (WS)

It has finally blown into the open for all to see. The stock market has been broken for a while, for a long time, actually. The idea that the stock market is where price discovery takes place on a rational transparent basis, with ups and downs, and some amount of chaos, but free of rampant manipulations – that idea has now totally imploded. What has been visible for a long time but now blew into the open is just how manipulated the market is, by all sides, how overleveraged the big players are because the Fed encouraged them to, and how enormous the risks are, and how crazy the trading strategies are. And the stock market soared to record out-of-whack valuations, in a terrible economy where at least 10 million people have lost their jobs and are still out of work, and where entire industries have gotten crushed.


The whole thing is propped up by stimulus and bailout payments to consumers and companies alike. And then came a new force – or rather the force wasn’t new, but the magnitude was: regular folks ganging together in the social media, particularly on Reddit’s WallStreetBets, and they were deeply cynical about the fake markets and they saw an opportunity, and they conspired to make a ton of money and push some hedge funds over the cliff, by buying long the most shorted stocks, in other words, they conspired to engineer a historic short-squeeze. This coordinated buying by the crowd on WallStreetBets, of a handful of small most-shorted stocks, drove up their prices sometimes by 100% or more in a day, which pushed the hedge funds that were short these stocks to the brink. And it pushed online broker Robinhood to the brink. And it revealed for all to see just how broken the stock market has been.

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“With the Town Square now digitized, centralized, and privatized in the hands of a cartel of Big Tech companies, the protections of the First Amendment no longer apply.”

The Insiders’ Game (Sacks)

Some of us warned of a slippery slope when Parler was taken down and a sitting president was systematically ghosted from every online speech platform. But we could not have foreseen how slippery the slope would be, or how fast we would slide down it. We were told that the curbs on speech of President Trump and his supporters were necessary to prevent further “insurrection” and protect the peaceful transition of power. However, much like the troops and barricades that still ring the Capitol, these speech restrictions remain in place well after the transition of power has occurred. The censorship power is always justified in response to a genuine outrage or crisis, but it is rarely relinquished once the threat passes. Rather it gets weaponized to protect powerful, connected insiders, as the GameStop fiasco illustrates.

How do we suppose Discord chose that moment to enforce its “Community Guidelines” against WallStreetBets? Almost certainly, one of the hedge funds whose ox was being gored combed through their message boards looking for anything that might violate the terms of service. And surely they found it, as these boards contain the same raunchy language you would hear if you visited any trading floor or boiler room on Wall Street. They presumably reported the content to Discord, which took the group down. Did Discord warn WallStreetBets of content violations before last Wednesday? I’m sure they did. Amazon sent such a warning letter to Parler as well. Frankly, such a letter could be, and likely is, sent to every large message board on the web.

The founder of a user-generated content site described it to me as “the One Percent Problem.” Every user-generated content site will have a small percentage of offensive material that gets through, no matter how many content moderators are hired. For example, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube allowed far more content advocating for and planning the Capitol riot than Parler. But instead of acknowledging this, they were eager to blame the upstart, which had recently taken over the top spot in the social networking category in the app store. Scapegoating Parler served the dual purpose of deflecting blame and squashing a competitor. Critics of social networks insist that these sites simply need to double down on censorship in order to finally rid us of problematic speech. But that ignores how social media moderation actually works.


Algorithms set to recognize keywords capture only a small fraction of problematic posts, leaving millions of posts for humans to review. The work is so voluminous that it’s outsourced to far-flung locales where English may not even be the first language. Low-level employees must decipher complicated guidelines while navigating our increasingly Byzantine world of political and cultural hot-buttons. Mistakes are inevitable, and the harder a company tightens the standards to get the One Percent Problem down to 0.1 or 0.01 percent, the more undeserving accounts—from Ron Paul to the Socialist Equality Party—will be swept up in the dragnet. With the Town Square now digitized, centralized, and privatized in the hands of a cartel of Big Tech companies, the protections of the First Amendment no longer apply.

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The battle against Bitcoin will be fierce.

SWIFT Sets Up Digital Currency Joint Venture With China’s Central Bank (R.)

SWIFT, the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments, has set up a joint venture with the Chinese central bank’s digital currency research institute and clearing centre, in a sign that China is exploring global use of its planned digital yuan. Other shareholders of the Beijing-based venture include China’s Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) and the Payment & Clearing Association of China, both supervised by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), according to public information.


The new entity, called Finance Gateway Information Services Co, was established in Beijing on Jan. 16, and its business scope includes information system integration, data processing and technological consultancy, according to the website of the National Enterprise Credit Information Public System. China is a front-runner in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies, having launched domestic trials in several major cities including Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Its digital currency will help increase oversight of money flows, while also raising the efficiency of cross-border payments and facilitate yuan internationalization, HSBC said in a recent report. China’s cross-border payment system CIPS both partners and competes with SWIFT amid growing Sino-U.S. tensions.

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Rickards recognizes the role of money velocity in inflation, but doesn’t explain why he sees it change.

“It Can’t Happen Here” (Rickards)

The Federal Reserve printed $4 trillion in the years following the 2008 crash, expanding its pre-crisis balance sheet of about $900 billion to roughly $4.5 trillion. Many people thought, if hyperinflation were ever going to happen in the U.S., it would have already. Well, it never happened. Today, in response to the pandemic and the economic lockdowns that followed, the Fed has cranked up the printing press to even higher levels. It’s printed almost as much money in one year as it printed in the several years after the financial crisis. On February 26, 2020, the balance sheet was $4.16 trillion. Less than one year later, it’s roughly $7.3 trillion. Meanwhile, America’s M1 money supply spiked 70% last year.

But this blizzard of money-printing has not caused the level of alarm that the post-financial crisis money creation caused. If we didn’t get the hyperinflation then, they say, why should we get it now? Most people are complacent. They have a point. We still have no hyperinflation or even moderate inflation (except maybe in asset prices). But I’ve even argued that we won’t see inflation right away. Inflation is not only a product of money creation but also of money velocity. You can print as much money as you want, but if it’s not exchanging hands and there isn’t much turnover, it won’t lead to inflation. Inflation is at least as much a psychological phenomenon as a monetary phenomenon. And expectations right now are for disinflation.


Because of the lockdowns and their economic fallout, we will likely suffer a recession in the first quarter of 2021. Money velocity is low, so disinflation is the problem in the short term. But that doesn’t mean inflation isn’t coming back or even that hyperinflation isn’t possible once it does. Inflation will return, and when it does, it could be massive and potentially lead to hyperinflation. All this can happen faster than most people think.

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A useful scapegoat is past his best before date.

Andrew Cuomo Was a Villain All Along (NR)

For much of the past year, the mainstream media and Democrats have largely blamed former president Donald Trump and his administration for most of America’s COVID-19 deaths. Trump did indeed fail in certain aspects of coordination, messaging, and inserting politics into the parts of the process where it didn’t belong. He deserves credit, however, for Operation Warp Speed, the initiative that (ultimately successfully) fostered the development of coronavirus vaccines, one of the most successful public-private ventures in modern history. But Trump’s overbearing personality tended to absorb all the attention, leaving little room for real debate on the successes and failures of other politicians, except when the media found time to criticize Republican governors. But serious criticism of Democrats in this period was rare. Until now.

Last week, New York attorney general Letitia James, a Democrat, released a long-awaited report on the state of New York’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as led by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Her findings were stunning in their demonstration of both gross incompetence and outright malfeasance, and were recently reinforced by a New York Times report this week on Cuomo’s leadership failures and staffing troubles during the coronavirus period. The Times now reports that nine leading health-care experts for the state of New York resigned during the last summer and through the fall, all of whom complained that Cuomo had politicized health-care decisions and was ignoring the experts on long-standing plans for the pandemic, including regarding vaccinations.

Why the discrepancy? First, the state refused to count those patients who were transferred to, and later died at, hospitals. Why this loophole? Nobody has ever provided a good answer. Every other state in the country counts these deaths in the nursing-home numbers, because that is the practical and commonsense way to count it. New York specifically chose to be an outlier. The real failure, however, was New York’s unwillingness to be transparent with the data after the fact. For many who analyzed the data in April and May, it quickly became apparent that the state was not being fully transparent on nursing-home deaths. Many individuals were reporting that their family members died at the hospital, but only after getting severely ill at their extended-care facilities first. But somehow the numbers did not appear to bear that out.


An objective observer might be willing to give anyone in charge during such horrific events the benefit of the doubt. New York was at the time the worldwide center of COVID deaths, and it continued in this manner all through the spring. The vast majority of the more than 40,000 deaths in the state occurred during a horrific twelve-week period, when hospitals and health professionals faced war-like situations as patients died left and right.

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Please don’t send anyone to jail!

Media Runs Defense as Amazon Caught Stealing Millions From Workers (MPN)

It has been a turbulent 24 hours for retail giant Amazon. First, the company’s founder (and world’s richest individual) Jeff Bezos announced that he would step down as CEO. Then, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that the company had illegally stolen more than $61 million worth of customer tips meant for its delivery drivers. Under their contracts, Amazon drivers were supposed to make between $18 and $25 per hour and keep all their tips. However, since at least 2016, the company had been secretly confiscating tips customers sent through an app, using their contributions to reduce their own wage payouts, meaning they were swindling both customers and employees. “In total, Amazon stole nearly one-third of drivers’ tips to pad its own bottom line,” said FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.

Unlike corporate crime cases in other nations, Amazon will merely be required to pay back the money it took from employees. Thus, it will face no negative consequences, except a possible public relations backlash due to bad press. Yet, instead of grilling Amazon, the media appear to be working hard to run defense for it, downplaying the nature of the crime in their headlines. The word “steal” was noticeably absent from much of the reporting, despite the fact that the original Reuters report used the word in its title — a direct reflection of the FTC’s ruling. Many newspapers instead decided to go with “withhold” instead. Even worse, many more framed the news as a mere allegation, despite the fact that the FTC had made a formal ruling.

Forbes, for instance, led with the headline “Amazon Will Pay $61.7 Million Settlement After Allegedly Withholding Tips From Delivery Drivers.” Others (Daily Caller, Daily Mail) did the same. Meanwhile, in a tweet on the news, Vox claimed that (emphasis added) “Amazon will pay $61.7 million in a settlement over allegations that the company used customer tips to subsidize the hourly wages of some delivery drivers.” Thus, the fact that Amazon had been caught stealing was watered down into a claim that it was merely “subsidizing” “some” of its employees’ wages.


Perhaps the worst offender was business and tech news site ZDNet, whose headline was “Amazon will pay $61.7 million to settle Flex driver tip dispute with FTC,” which obscured the matter into a foggy and very technical sounding financial dispute. Only a very small number of outlets, including Slate and The Huffington Post, echoed the FTC’s decision by using the word “stole” in their headlines.

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The most extreme things in the US military take place in far-away lands.

Defense Sec. Orders 60-Day Stand-down To Confront Extremism In Military (MT)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has called on the services to conduct a 60-day stand-down on the issue of extremism in the military, prompted by the Jan. 6 attack on the the Capitol and subsequent reports of both active-duty and former service members attending a rally calling to overturn the 2020 election and the riot that ensued. Austin held a meeting Wednesday of the service secretaries and Joint Chiefs, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters, to ask them about their concerns and ideas for improving the situation. “Even though the numbers might be small, they may not be as small as we would like them to be, or we believe them to be,“ Kirby said of the prevalence of troops with extremists views, ties or activities. “And that no matter what it is, it is not an insignificant problem.”


Guidance is forthcoming on what Austin expects to see after the 60 days. “It wasn’t a blithe, ‘Hey, just go talk to your people,’” Kirby said of Austin’s direction to the service secretaries and Joint Chiefs. “He was very clear that he wants commands to take the necessary time. And I didn’t hear him be overly proscriptive about that … to speak with troops about the scope of this problem, and certainly to get a sense from them about what they’re seeing at their level.” The Defense Department does not centrally track troops who have been investigated for domestic terrorism or extremist sentiment, and neither do the services, making it difficult to get a read on how prevalent the problem is. Kirby told reporters on Jan. 28 that the FBI opened 143 investigations into troops and veterans in 2020, 68 of those for domestic extremism.

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The MIC needs orders.

US Admiral Warns Nuclear War With Russia, China a ‘Real Possibility’ (Antiwar)

The head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) warned that a nuclear war with Russia or China is a “real possibility” and is calling for a change in US policy that reflects this threat. “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” Vice Adm. Charles Richard wrote in the February edition of the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine. Richard said the US military must “shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality.”


The STRATCOM chief said Russia and China “have begun to aggressively challenge international norms and global peace using instruments of power and threats of force in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.” Richard hyped up Russia and China’s nuclear modernization, calling for the US to compete with the two nations. When it comes to China’s nuclear weapons, the US and Russia have vastly larger arsenals. Current estimates put Beijing’s nuclear arsenal at about 320 warheads, while Washington and Moscow have about 6,000 warheads each.

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Was it Trump’s policies that made them stronger, or was it the way America handled Trump?

Xi, Putin Make The Case For Win-Win, Not Zero-Sum (Escobar)

The best in-depth analysis of Putin’s extraordinary speech , hands down, was provided by Rostislav Ishchenko, whom I had the pleasure to meet in Moscow in 2018. Ishchenko stresses how, “in terms of scale and impact on historical processes, this is steeper than the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk combined.” The speech, he adds, was totally unexpected, as much as Putin’s stunning intervention at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, “the crushing defeat” imposed on Georgia in 2008, and the return of Crimea in 2014. Ishchenko also reveals something that will never be acknowledged in the West: “80 people from among the most influential on the planet did not laugh in Putin’s face, as it was in 2007 in Munich, and without noise immediately after his open speech signed up for a closed conference with him.”

Putin’s very important reference to the ominous 1930s – “the inability and unwillingness to find substantive solutions to problems like this in the 20th century led to World War 2 catastrophe” – was juxtaposed with a common sense warning: the necessity of preventing the takeover of global policy by Big Tech , which “are de facto competing with states”. Xi and Putin’s speeches were de facto complementary – emphasizing sustainable, win-win economic development for all actors, especially across the Global South, coupled with the necessity of a new socio-political contract in international relations. This drive should be based on two pillars: sovereignty – that is, the good old Westphalian model (and not Great Reset, hyper-concentrated, one world “governance”) and sustainable development propelled by techno-scientific progress (and not techno-feudalism).


So what Putin-Xi proposed, in fact, was a concerted effort to expand the basic foundations of the Russia-China strategic partnership to the whole Global South: the crucial choice ahead is between win-win and the Exceptionalist zero-sum game.

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Amen.

If BlacK Lives Matter Wins Nobel, Rename It ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Prize (RT)

While 2020 may be remembered as the year Orwell turned over in his grave – and also the year deemed the perfect “match” for Satan – 2021 might well be remembered for the year Alfred Nobel did back flips in his. The Nobel Peace Prize has often generated controversy over many of its dubious nominees and recipients. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shared the prize with his counterpart, Le Duc Tho, “for jointly having negotiated a cease fire in Vietnam in 1973.” Kissinger won despite his role in the bombings in Cambodia and in the killings in ‘Operation Candor’. President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, inspiring him to bomb seven countries as he managed to out-Bush G.W. Bush. The former Nobel secretary told the AP news agency in 2015 that in awarding the prize to Obama, “the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.” You don’t say?

Yet, one of the biggest jaw-droppers may be a current contender, the corporate-funded Marxist front group, Black Lives Matter. The nomination must make BLM’s sponsors proud. And how much do corporate socialists like Black Lives Matter? As of June 2020, corporate America had pledged BLM over $1.678 billion, led by Bank of America and cheap-labor lover Nike. BLM was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Norwegian lawmaker. NBC News reported: “In his nomination letter, Petter Eide, a Socialist Left member of the Storting, Norway’s parliament, wrote that he had nominated Black Lives Matter ‘for their struggle against racism and racially motivated violence.’”

By now, much has been said about BLM’s violent roots. I discovered attempts by BLM (and its enablers) to disguise its history and ideology. But BLM’s scrubbing of its shady past has been to no avail, since its goals and tactics were on full display in the BLM-inspired riots. Protests and riots, including looting and arson, rampaged through the US from May to December 2020. The violence that resulted in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was the first “multi-state catastrophe event” ever declared for civil disorder by claim-tracking company Property Claim Services, Triple-I has said. BLM demonstrations have included calling for the murder of police officers: “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now!” On August 29, 2015, during a Black Lives Matter march outside the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, a chant rang out: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.” Inspired by BLM, at least two police officers were murdered, one at point-blank range.


On September 16, 2020, Axios headlined: “$1 billion-plus riot damage is most expensive in insurance history.” But noted in the report was the obligatory leftist cover for those who looted and set many cities ablaze. “The protests that took place in 140 U.S. cities this spring were mostly peaceful, but the arson, vandalism and looting that did occur will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion of paid insurance claims.”

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Dec 172020
 


Vincent van Gogh Self-Portrait with Straw Hat Aug-Sep 1887

 

Assange Spoke to US State Dept to Stop Publication of Unredacted Cables (Sp.)
Julian Assange Has Formally Requested a Pardon From President Donald Trump (GP)
Pfizer To Assess Report About ‘Serious Allergic Reaction’ To Vaccine (RT)
First Glitches Emerge In COVID-Vax Rollout (ZH)
An App Could Catch 98.5% Of All COVID19 Infections. Why Isn’t It Available? (G.)
Grand County Coroner Raises Concern On Deaths Among COVID Cases (CBSDenver)
A Record 61% Of Restaurants, 35% Of Small Businesses Can’t Pay December Rent (ZH)
Where Americans Splurged & Where They Cut Back (WS)
Congress to Pass $17 Billion Bailout of Airline Shareholders & Bondholders
Cuomo v. Cuomo (Turley)
AOC: Nancy Pelosi Needs To Go (IC)
Amistad To Sue Zuckerberg For Using ‘Dark Money’ To Fund ‘Massive’ Fraud (RT)
Enter Trump: America’s First Shadow President (Tracey)
Unicef To Feed Hungry Children In UK For First Time In 70-Year History (G.)

 

 

 

 

The recording is new, but what it says is not. We’ve known for years that Assange was trying to prevent material from coming out. The key would appear to be that Guardian “journalists” David Leigh and Luke Harding wanted to write Assange’s biography, and he declined. They then published the encryption key in a book, out of spite, to damage him. The wrong guy is in Belmarsh today.

Let’s hope James O’Keeffe gets this through to Trump.

“So the material, there is an encrypted version of the materials on the internet somewhere that we do not control. One doesn’t actually need to convey the material itself, one only needs to convey the location of the material and its encryption key”, the WikiLeaks co-founder explains to Johnson.

Assange Spoke to US State Dept to Stop Publication of Unredacted Cables (Sp.)

Julian Assange has been accused of endangering US interests and assets by “recklessly” publishing unredacted US State Department diplomatic cables. The charges are denied by both by WikiLeaks and the many journalists who note that Assange ‘meticulously’ redacted documents and sought to minimise possible harm while exposing illegal actions. Audio recordings of a 2011 conversation between Julian Assange and Hillary Clinton’s State Department, published by Project Veritas, provide new insight into the extent with which the WikiLeaks publisher sought to minimise harm from the potential release of unredacted US diplomatic cables, by actors working against the express wishes of the transparency organisation.

“So the situation is that, we have intelligence that the State Department database archive of 250,000 diplomatic cables, including the classified cables, is being spread around. […] To the degree that we believe that within the next few days, it will become public and we’re not sure what the timing could be, imminently or within the next few days to a week. And, there may be some possibility to stop it”, Assange is heard explaining to Cliff Johnson, an attorney with the US State Department. “Who would be releasing these cables?” Johnson asks, “Is this WikiLeaks?”. “No,” Assange explains, adding, “We would not be releasing them. This is Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a previous employee that we suspended last August”.

The problem was that Domscheit-Berg was apparently sharing the link of the full unredacted diplomatic cables, which had been copied from the WikiLeaks website, and which could be found online. Ordinarily, the file with the full unredacted cables would have been useless as it was encrypted and would likely require years of highly-sophisticated computing to break the password through what is known in tech circles as the “brute force” method. However, the password to the encrypted file was entrusted by Assange to Guardian journalist David Leigh, who, by his own account, kept pressing the Australian born-journalist for access to the entirety of the 250,000 documents. Leigh and fellow Guardian journalist Luke Harding would in February 2011 reveal the password to the world by publishing the key as the title of one of the chapters in their book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.

“[D]oes that mean that [Daniel Domschit-Berg] now [has] the ability…, without your control or authorisation, to make this as available as they want?” Johnson asks. “That’s correct”, Assange replies, adding “and there there’s no attempted redaction programme and no attempted harm minimisation.” “In case there are any individuals who haven’t been warned, they should be warned”, Assange stresses. Assange also explains the possibility of tracking down the encrypted files from the internet, potentially before people start using the encryption key revealed by Leigh and Harding. However, he explains that doing so is beyond the capability of WikiLeaks but that he was prepared to assist the State Department by urging other people to provide all the locations of the encrypted files. “[W]e have been calling the State Department and the embassy for over a day, trying to explain the urgency, and they have not called back other than this call”, Assange explains.

“Well, I appreciate what you’ve told us Mr Assange”, Johnson replies.

Assange

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Praying.

Julian Assange Has Formally Requested a Pardon From President Donald Trump (GP)

People from across the political spectrum have called on President Trump to pardon the WikiLeaks founder, citing the importance of the freedom to publish. Assange’s fiancé Stella Morris, the mother of his two young children, has previously called for a pardon — but a formal request was not filed with the White House until this week. Assange is imprisoned in the United Kingdom pending a decision about his extradition to the United States where he faces charges under the Espionage Act for his publication of the Iraq and Afghan War Logs. If convicted he could face a maximum sentence of 175 years for the “crime” of publishing material that the US government did not want the population to know. In 2018, President Trump’s attorneys quietly made a case in defense of WikiLeaks throughout legal filings responding to a lawsuit filed by Democrat Party donors who alleged that the campaign and former advisor Roger Stone conspired with Russians to publish the leaked Democratic National Committee emails.

Their assessment was correct. Buried within hundreds of pages of case filings, in a motion filed in October 2018, Trump lawyer Michael A. Carvin argued that under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (47 U.S.C. § 230), “a website that provides a forum where ‘third parties can post information’ is not liable for the third party’s posted information.” “That is so even when even when the website performs ‘editorial functions’ ‘such as deciding whether to publish,’” the filing contends. “Since WikiLeaks provided a forum for a third party (the unnamed ‘Russian actors’) to publish content developed by that third party (the hacked emails), it cannot be held liable for the publication.” This defense holds true for the war log releases that Assange has been charged for publishing.

“In addition, the First Amendment generally denies the government power to punish truthful speech,” Carvin wrote. He added that privacy cannot justify these violations of core First Amendment norms. The filing then refers to the 1989 case of Florida Star v. B.J.F., in which it was determined that “punishing truthful publication in the name of privacy” is an “extraordinary measure.” The formal pardon request comes on the heels of a viral claim from a Trump ally that the president would be pardoning the publisher. While he ended up retracting his statement, claiming he had faulty sources, it was clear that it was a move that people from both sides of the political spectrum support. The tweet gained over 75,000 “likes” on Twitter in about an hour, before being retracted.

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And also: “anaphylactic shock suffered by multiple healthcare workers in the UK..” [..] The UK also reported a “possible allergic reaction” in a third recipient..

Pfizer To Assess Report About ‘Serious Allergic Reaction’ To Vaccine (RT)

A healthcare worker in Alaska has reportedly been hospitalized with a serious allergic reaction after taking Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. They had no reported history of drug allergies, unlike others who’ve suffered such reactions. The afflicted individual remains in the hospital on Wednesday after suffering a powerful reaction Tuesday, three sources who had seen official reports of the victim’s health told the New York Times. The workplace or residence of the health worker have not been disclosed, nor have any more details about their health status been released, and it’s not clear if they had other, non-medical allergies, one of the sources explained.

Pfizer is “working with local health authorities” to assess the details of the report about a “potential serious allergic reaction,” the company told RT in a statement on Wednesday, pledging to “closely monitor all reports suggestive of serious allergic reactions following vaccination” and “update labeling language if needed.” They also added that “there were no safety signals of concern identified in our clinical trials, including no signal of serious allergic reactions associated with the vaccine.” The reaction was reportedly similar to the anaphylactic shock suffered by multiple healthcare workers in the UK, where the Pfizer-BioNTech jab was approved earlier this month. One of the stricken British women had a history of egg allergies, though the manufacturer has insisted there are no egg-related ingredients in its formula, and the other was said to be allergic to certain medications.

The UK also reported a “possible allergic reaction” in a third recipient, though the incident was not described in detail. UK health authorities have warned people with any history of “anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine, or food” away from getting the Covid-19 shot, and suggested that facilities set up to administer the vaccine be equipped with “resuscitation equipment” – guidance echoed in Pfizer’s own prescribing information. While the company did not report any allergic reactions among clinical trial participants, individuals with medical allergies and anyone who had ever suffered a “severe adverse reaction associated with a vaccine” were specifically excluded from the trials, and doctors were advised to watch for such reactions so the allergic could be routed out of the studies.

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“..roughly 900,000 fewer doses would be delivered next week than were shipped this week.”

We could roll out Vitamin D, HCQ and Ivermectin. We know much more about those than about the vaccine. But we now contend that they need to be studied more, not the vaccine.

First Glitches Emerge In COVID-Vax Rollout (ZH)

A healthcare worker in Alaska was hospitalized on Tuesday with a ‘serious allergic reaction’ after receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, according to the New York Times. The person, who had no known drug allergies, was still in the hospital on Wednesday morning under observation, according to the report. It is unknown whether they suffer from any other types of allergies. The Alaska resident’s reaction was reportedly similar to anaphylactic reactions two heal workers in Britain experience after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week – both of whom have recovered. Of note, they both had a history of severe allergies. One, a 49-year-old woman, is allergic to eggs (which Pfizer says are not in their vaccine). The other, a 40-year-old woman is allergic to several different medications. Both routinely carry EpiPenn-like devices in case of reactions.

“After the workers in Britain fell ill, authorities there initially warned against giving the vaccines to anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions. They later clarified their concerns, changing the wording from “severe allergic reactions” to specify that the vaccine should not be given to anyone who has ever had an anaphylactic reaction to a food, medicine or vaccine. That type of reaction to a vaccine is “very rare,” they said.” -NYT. No serious adverse effects were reported during Pfizer’s US trial involving over 40,000 participants, aside from aches, fevers and other ‘minor’ side effects. As Bloomberg notes, the first hiccups in the distribution of Pfizer’s vaccine are just beginning – including a holdup on the delivery of 3,900 shots to two states, and the announcement that roughly 900,000 fewer doses would be delivered next week than were shipped this week.

“Four delivery trays of the Pfizer-BioNTech SE vaccine were pulled back from delivery to California and Alabama this week and sent back to the company because they were colder than anticipated, according to Gustave Perna, the army general who serves as Operation Warp Speed’s chief operations officer. Each of the trays can likely be used to vaccinate 975 people. Pfizer has said its formula needs to be stored at 70 degrees below zero Celsius, the equivalent of negative 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. These trays were found to be much colder, according to Perna.” -Bloomberg. “We were taking no chances,” said Perna during a Wednesday news briefing.

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Not sure how this would work, but let’s hear it from you.

An App Could Catch 98.5% Of All COVID19 Infections. Why Isn’t It Available? (G.)

In late September, researchers at MIT announced that they had developed an algorithm that can accurately detect Covid-19 infections over the phone. When participants in their study produced a forced cough, MIT said their AI algorithm successfully detected 98.5% of Covid-19 infections with patients who have a cough and 100% of asymptomatic cases. If released in the form of an app, the technology could mean instant Covid-19 testing anytime, any place. As they wrote in their peer-reviewed article: “AI techniques can produce a free, non-invasive, real-time, anytime, instantly distributable, large-scale Covid-19 asymptomatic screening tool to augment current approaches in containing the spread of Covid-19. Practical use cases could be for daily screening of students, workers and public as schools, jobs and transport reopen, or for pool testing to quickly alert of outbreaks in groups.”


The impact of this technology would be huge. Currently, test results can take a week to be processed. Testing delays and shortages are due to things like strains on the supply chain providing swabs and chemicals, as well as the pressures on lab technicians processing high volumes of tests. And the test only tells you if you were positive at the time, not whether you are positive now, which can lead to a false sense of security. A smartphone-based, instant Covid-19 test would be a game changer and would save countless lives. The developers say they intend to make the technology available as an app, pending regulatory approval, but there is no clear timeline for when it might be released to the public.

People treated like infants

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“..two of their five deaths related to COVID-19 were people who died of gunshot wounds..”

Grand County Coroner Raises Concern On Deaths Among COVID Cases (CBSDenver)

The Grand County coroner is calling attention to the way the state health department is classifying some deaths. The coroner, Brenda Bock, says two of their five deaths related to COVID-19 were people who died of gunshot wounds. Bock says because they tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 30 days, they were classified as “deaths among cases.” “It’s absurd that they would even put that on there,” she said. “Would you want to go to a county that has really high death numbers? Would you want to go visit that county because they are contagious. You know I might get it, and I could die if all of a sudden one county has a high death count. We don’t have it, and we don’t need those numbers inflated.”


The state health department says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires them to report people who’ve died with COVID-19 in their systems because it’s crucial for public health surveillance.Colorado provides death data related to COVID-19 in two ways: Deaths due to COVID-19: This is based on CDC coding of death certificates where COVID-19 is listed as the cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. Deaths among COVID-19 cases: This reflects people who died with COVID-19, but COVID-19 may not have been the cause of death listed on the death certificate. CDPHE explains that they are required to report deaths among COVID-19 cases to the CDC.

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When we wake up, the world will have changed beyond recognition.

A Record 61% Of Restaurants, 35% Of Small Businesses Can’t Pay December Rent (ZH)

According to the latest Alignable Rent Poll, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for small businesses everywhere to pay their rent in full and on time, given the latest COVID resurgences. The need for more federal funding is also becoming more pronounced for many of these businesses, according to the poll. These findings are based on the most recent Alignable Rent Poll conducted among 9,204 small business owners from 11/21-11/23/2020. Several B2C industries are devastated – 61% of restaurants can’t pay their rent this month. That’s up 19% from 42% in November. 35% of U.S. small businesses couldn’t pay their rent this month, up 3% from 32% in November. Beauty salons (46%) and travel/hospitality businesses (43%) round out the Top 3 most-affected businesses, but many others are in trouble.


Looking at demographics, minority-owned businesses are suffering the most, as 49% of them reported that they could not afford their rent in December. That figure is 5% higher than it was in November. Women-owned businesses are also struggling (38% of those have not paid their rent, up 3% from 35% last month). Overall, 35% of small business owners reported that they couldn’t make rent this month (up 3% from 32% in November). For minority-owned businesses, the struggle is even more pronounced: nearly half (49%) report being unable to cover their rent in December. That figure jumped 5% from 44% in November. For women-owned businesses, 35% couldn’t make rent in November and now that percentage is up to 38% in December.

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Only large chains will survive.

Where Americans Splurged & Where They Cut Back (WS)

Retail sales in November fell 1.1% from October, the second month in a row of declines, and they even fell with restaurants and bars removed from the total. Sales at nonstore retailers, the placeholder for ecommerce, eked out a new record. This is the second month now of what I called a month ago Stimulus Fatigue. But wait… the Pandemic-induced switch from services – such as airline tickets, concert tickets, hotel bookings, and haircuts – to goods – such as food & beer at home, bicycles, and consumer electronics – is still on. In November, retail sales of $547 billion (seasonally adjusted) were still up 4.1% from November last year, according to the Census Bureau this morning. And for the 11-month period, they were essentially flat ($5.70 trillion), despite the collapse in March and April:

The metric of “retail sales” measures the sale of “goods” at various establishments and online. It doesn’t measure the sale of “services,” such as airline tickets, insurance, or healthcare services. During the Pandemic, consumers splurged on durable goods and food at home like never before, as free money flooded over them from the government, and as they cut back on other spending, such as plane tickets, payments on mortgages and student loans in forbearance, and on rent, protected by the eviction bans. A refinancing boom, triggered by record low mortgage interest rates, allowed consumers to extract cash from their homes and lower their mortgage payments. Part of this money from the government, and money not spent, and money extracted from the home was spent on goods, and part of it was used to pay down credit cards, whose balances have plunged 10.3% from a year ago.


[..] The once iconic retail institution of department stores – in their heyday, many of them were locally owned – has been obviated by events including the internet. For Americans, department stores have outlived their usefulness. For mall landlords, they’ve turned into a nightmare. The #1 and # 2 mall landlords – Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property – have ganged up to buy J.C. Penney out of bankruptcy, apparently to control the decline of their malls.Since the peak in December 2000, department store sales have collapsed by 55%, despite two decades of inflation and population growth, and the Pandemic has merely accelerated the process:

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Propping up zombies. Favorite pastime.

Congress to Pass $17 Billion Bailout of Airline Shareholders & Bondholders (WS)

Airlines in the US will get another $17 billion taxpayer-funded bailout if the $748 billion “bipartisan” stimulus proposal that the four most senior Congressional leaders are discussing this afternoon makes it into law. There is a commitment now to pass something. Many items that either party wanted but that the other refused to yield on have been trimmed out of this proposal, including the $1,200 stimulus checks. But their airline bailout is in it. Democrats and Republicans may not agree on much of anything these days, but they both love to bail out airline shareholders and bondholders. And that’s what this is – dressed up as payroll protection and airline support program.

The Democratic-backed $2.2 trillion stimulus package that the House passed at the end of September but that was not taken up by the Senate included $25 billion to bail out airline shareholders and bondholders. The airline industry has been lobbying with all its might to get this money. So now, it looks like they will have to make do with $17 billion. This new bailout comes on top of the original stimulus bill, which was passed in March and which came with $25 billion in so-called payroll support for the airlines, an additional $25 billion in loans for passenger airlines, and over $10 billion in grants and loans for cargo airlines and aviation contractors. The payroll protection provisions expired on September 30, under the assumption that by then the airlines would be operating more or less back at normal.

[..] The number of passengers going through TSA checkpoints to enter the secured areas at US airports through December 14 has dropped sharply since late November. The chart shows the number of TSA checkpoint screenings in 2020 (red) and 2019 (green) per day (thin lines) and the seven-day moving averages (bold lines):

Airline shareholders feel the money. And taxpayers feel the pain. This rally comes as revenues at the largest airlines have collapsed by 60% to 70%, and as debt has piled up in previously unthinkable amounts, and as airlines continue to report huge losses and – despite massive capacity cuts and layoffs – dizzying “daily cash burn” figures. Taxpayer money props up those shares and is a basic transfer of wealth from the American public to airline shareholders and to airline bondholders. This is the same industry where the top four airlines — Delta, United, American, and Southwest — willfully blew, wasted, burned, and annihilated $45 billion on share buybacks since 2012 to enrich their shareholders, including their own executives:

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Another story that must be buried.

Cuomo v. Cuomo (Turley)

There remains a blackout on the sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo by most major media outlets. Putting aside the striking lack of interest in comparison to the allegations raised against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the controversy from that confirmation fight could raise difficult questions for Cuomo who not only insisted that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford must be believed but demanded that Kavanaugh take a polygraph examination. It is not clear if Cuomo will now follow his own standard and take a polygraph examination arranged by others. During the Kavanaugh hearing, various Democratic leaders publicly insisted that “women must be believed” when raising sexual harassment allegations and declared Kavanaugh guilty before either he or Ford actually testified.

Senator Maxie Hirono publicly stated that Kavanaugh was not even entitled to any presumption of innocence. Indeed, Hirono insisted that men needed to “just shut up” and accept the allegations. The view that “women must be believed” changed the minute that Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault and then refused to allow the review of his papers held under seal at the University of Delaware. Suddenly, figures like Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer insisted that they believed Biden without any review such papers or even speaking with the alleged victim (a former Biden staffer). Ethics experts like Richard Painter attacked those who suggested that the accuser might be telling the truth as endangering the election. Others like Rep. Iihan Omar, Linda Hirschman, and Lisa Bloom found an even more startling resolution: they stated that Biden was clearly a rapist, but they would still vote for him.

The allegations raised by former Biden aide Lindsey Boylan are notably easier to confirm. She stated “Yes, [Cuomo] sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched. I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.” These are not allegations that are decades old with few, if any, witnesses. Boylan worked for the governor’s administration from 2015 to 2018 and says that there were many witnesses. Notably, the Kavanaugh hearing was in 2018.

[..] The strongest case against Cuomo may be Cuomo. In the Kavanaugh hearing, Cuomo declared Kavanaugh clearly guilty. He publicly declared “The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a sad day for this country, and it will haunt us for as long as he is on the court. Today 50 senators put partisan politics over the sanctity of the highest court in the nation. In November, the American people get to respond and make their voices heard. In New York, we will not waver and will not back down. To Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and all survivors of sexual assault, we believe you and we will fight for you. The sham FBI investigation and the bigger sham, this confirmation process, have energized us to fight even harder for our shared vision for a better future for all.”

Joe Biden voting machines 2007
https://twitter.com/i/status/1338923147215638528

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That will be appreciated.

AOC: Nancy Pelosi Needs To Go (IC)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes the Democratic Party needs new leadership, telling The Intercept in an interview that it’s time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to go. But the left, she said, currently has no plan on how to fill the subsequent leadership vacuum. “If you create that vacuum, there are so many nefarious forces at play to fill that vacuum with something even worse,” she told Jeremy Scahill during an interview aired Wednesday on Intercepted this week. Pelosi cruised to reelection in a virtual caucus vote last month and will face a full House floor vote for the speakership in January. She’s expected to remain speaker but has almost no room for error, after a disastrous performance in the general election cost the caucus at least a dozen seats.

With a single-digit majority, she can only afford to lose a handful of Democratic votes on the House floor or else she’ll be short of the required 218, which would then throw the contest back to the caucus. The rest of Pelosi’s octogenarian leadership team, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn, has held these top positions for over a decade and won their slots without any opposition. On the Senate side, Schumer won reelection unanimously. Ocasio-Cortez argued that there are no viable alternatives for House or Senate leadership at the moment because the caucus’s current leaders spent a number of years concentrating power without any “real grooming of a next generation of leadership.”

“A lot of this is not just about these two personalities, but also about the structural shifts that these two personalities have led in their time in leadership,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The structural shifts of power in the House, both in process and rule, to concentrate power in party leadership of both parties, frankly, but in Democratic Party leadership to such a degree that an individual member has far less power than they did 30, 40, 50 years ago.” This dynamic is what pushes the “really talented members of Congress that do come along” to leave or run for statewide office instead. But Pelosi has also indicated that this upcoming term could be her last, “and the left isn’t really making a plan for that either,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “So I do think that it’s something that we really need to think about.”

Tulsi Gabbard Patriot Act

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“..Zuckerberg’s money “purchased machines – Dominion and otherwise – and Zuckerberg’s funding was contributed to Secretaries of State.”

Amistad To Sue Zuckerberg For Using ‘Dark Money’ To Fund ‘Massive’ Fraud (RT)

Mark Zuckerberg poured cash into an “ecosystem” that caused widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential contest, election integrity watchdog the Amistad Project has alleged. The group will file suit against the Facebook CEO. The lawsuit, based on a report authored by the organization, will claim that Zuckerberg used $500 million of “dark money” to unlawfully tip the scales in battleground states that Democrat Joe Biden won by narrow margins, said Mark Serrano, a Trump 2020 campaign adviser who runs a communications firm that handles media relations for the Amistad Project. The lawsuit is expected to be filed by today in the District Court for the District of Columbia and will cover alleged election irregularities that took place in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia.

According to Serrano, the legal complaint takes aim at “the ecosystem” that caused “fraud on a massive level to take place” during the 2020 contest. He accused Zuckerberg of using his vast financial resources and influence to undermine the presidential election in the months leading up to, and continuing after, November 3. “A billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, was allowed in the counting room because he funded it, and the American people were kicked out.” The lawsuit announcement coincided with the release of a report by the Amistad Project which outlines how Zuckerberg allegedly used private funding to “improperly” influence the election outcome. Amistad Project director Phill Kline said during a press conference on Wednesday that Zuckerberg funneled huge amounts of money into charities and nonprofits that lobbied officials and carried out other partisan activities that impacted the 2020 results.

“He paid for election judges, purchased drop boxes, contrary to state laws,” Kline said, adding that Zuckerberg’s money “purchased machines – Dominion and otherwise – and Zuckerberg’s funding was contributed to Secretaries of State.” This injection of hundreds of millions of dollars into the election by Zuckerberg and others “violated state election laws and resulted in an unequal distribution of funding that deprived voters of both due process and equal protection,” according to a press release issued by the Amistad Project.

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“How could a country with a mystically-endowed “exceptional” nature — the “shining city on a hill,” Ronald Reagan once proclaimed — be said to retain its “exceptional” status if its elections are, as Trump vigorously maintains, structurally and systematically fraudulent?”

Enter Trump: America’s First Shadow President (Tracey)

The Electoral College formally convened this week, and with it expired the last faint hope of Donald Trump retaining the presidency. While the outcome had never been in real doubt, Trump and innumerable Republican boosters had for six weeks kept up the mirage of frantic irresolution, with Trump issuing a daily barrage of ALL-CAPS tweets claiming that despite what you might have heard, he’d actually won. In any event, all states have now ratified their results without serious incident, and the hucksterish post-election litigation efforts undertaken by Trump’s various sundry representatives have predictably gone nowhere. Yesterday, Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell even declared Biden the “president-elect” and now the Democrat is faithfully filling his forthcoming administration with a cast of characters drawn directly from the pits of the Washington, DC Democratic Party professional class — the same people whom he openly campaigned on rehabilitating and restoring to power.

The election is well and truly over, whatever toothless protestations may continue to arise. What’s far from over, however, is the political influence of Trump. No one can say with total certainty what he’ll do when he eventually leaves office; no one can even say exactly on what terms he’s going to leave. But in just over a month now, we may face a scenario that would be a first in modern US history: an aggrieved former president making a competing claim to the presidency and refusing in perpetuity to acknowledge the reality of his defeat. In other words, a “shadow” president. Trump’s lack of compunction about doing something like this would seem to solidify his position as the most thoroughgoing “post-exceptionalist” president since at least World War II.

That is, he is entirely unmoved by the kind of bipartisan “American exceptionalism” dogma that had previously bound together the elite US political class, across partisan lines. It’s the dogma which holds that, in short, the US possesses a singular uniqueness that sets it apart in all of world history. Often blended together with notions of Christian providence, it ascribes the very foundations of the US Constitutional order with a kind of divine import. But over the last four years, Trump has thrown these old assumptions into doubt. For one thing, the Constitution certainly makes no provision for a “shadow” president. How could a country with a mystically-endowed “exceptional” nature — the “shining city on a hill,” Ronald Reagan once proclaimed — be said to retain its “exceptional” status if its elections are, as Trump vigorously maintains, structurally and systematically fraudulent?

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The failure of all failures. Why do we let it happen? Because there’s no money to be made feeding children. We never escaped the Middle Ages, or the Industrial Revolution. We’ve been standing still for centuries.

Unicef To Feed Hungry Children In UK For First Time In 70-Year History (G.)

Unicef has launched a domestic emergency response in the UK for the first time in its more than 70-year history to help feed children hit by the Covid-19 crisis. The UN agency, which is responsible for providing humanitarian aid to children worldwide, said the coronavirus pandemic was the most urgent crisis affecting children since the second world war. A YouGov poll in May commissioned by the charity Food Foundation found 2.4 million children (17%) were living in food insecure households. By October, an extra 900,000 children had been registered for free school meals. Unicef has pledged a grant of £25,000 to the community project School Food Matters, which will use the money to supply 18,000 nutritious breakfasts to 25 schools over the two-week Christmas holidays and February half-term, feeding vulnerable children and families in Southwark, south London, who have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The food delivery firm Abel & Cole will also provide 1.2 tonnes of fruit and veg worth £4,500 to include in the boxes. The founder and chief executive of School Food Matters, Stephanie Slater, said: “We’re so grateful to Unicef for providing this timely funding. The response to our summer breakfast boxes programme has shown us that families are really struggling and many were facing the grim reality of a two-week winter break without access to free school meals and the indignity of having to rely on food banks to feed their children. “By providing our breakfast boxes, families know that their children will have a great start to the day with a healthy nutritious breakfast.

“Our breakfast boxes programme has also shown us that the threshold for free school meal eligibility is too low to capture all the families in need of support. That’s why we’re getting behind the national food strategy call for an extension to free school meal eligibility. “We cannot continue to rely on civil society to fill the hunger gap as too many children will miss out on the nutrition they need to thrive.”

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Dec 082020
 
 December 8, 2020  Posted by at 10:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Salvador Dali The Sick Child. Self-Portrait in Cadaqués 1921

 

China’s Sinovac To Double COVID19 Vaccine Output (F.)
We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time (NYMag)
Vilsack Emerges As Biden’s Top Choice For USDA (Pol.)
Biden Picks Retired General Lloyd Austin To Run Pentagon (Pol.)
Barack Obama & the Death of Idealism (Bovard)
A Resolving Picture (Kunstler)
What’s Ahead for New York? Maybe a Budget ‘Nightmare Scenario’ (NYMag)
Swedish Central Bank Governor Slams Expansion Of QE (ZH)
Japan Unveils $708 Billion In Fresh Stimulus With Eye On Post-COVID Growth (R.)
US Credit Card Balances in Steepest Drop Ever (WS)
Tucker Carlson: Our Elites’ Collusion With China Is Real And Widespread (Fox)
Suspected Chinese Spy Targeted California Politicians (Axios)
AOC Called For Boycott, Sales Jumped, Goya Named Her Employee Of The Month (DW)

 

 

Strawberry Fields Forever – John Lennon (Vocals Only)

 

 

Are we going to give these vaccines an honest look?

China’s Sinovac To Double COVID19 Vaccine Output (F.)

Anticipating regulatory approval off the back of ongoing clinical trials, China’s Sinovac Biotech said it has received more than $500 million from investors to help it ramp up production and distribution capacities for its leading Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac. Sino Biopharmaceutical, which is listed in Hong Kong, invested $515 million in Sinovac in exchange for a roughly 15% stake in the part of the company responsible for CoronaVac manufacture. The investment will help the company boost vaccine production, which it hopes will double to 600 million doses annually — roughly enough for 300 million people — upon the completion of a second production facility in late 2020.

In addition to funding CoronaVac, CEO Weidong Yin says the partnership will enable Sinovac to “improve our vaccine sales capabilities, expand in Asia markets, develop and access new technologies, and most importantly, accelerate our efforts to help combat the global pandemic.” CoronaVac is one of China’s leading hopes for a safe and effective domestic vaccine. Its development is under a great deal of pressure — as a matter of national pride, as a means of safeguarding Chinese citizens from Covid-19 and because Beijing has promised a great deal of it to less-affluent countries — something the recent successes of not one but three western vaccines will intensify. Its success will mean a lot globally, as it does not require the onerous ultra-cold storage requirements that Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines do, making it much more accessible in poorer regions.

Early trial data is promising, though larger Phase 3 clinical trials have yet to be conducted, with approval already either granted or close to being granted in Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Chile. “We have made significant progress in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate CoronaVac, which has reached critical milestones in clinical trials in Asia and Latin America,” said Weidong Yin. 600 million. That’s how many doses of CoronaVac Sinovac hopes to produce a year once its new production facility is up and running. Blaming supply chain issues, Pfizer and BioNTech halved their estimated vaccine output for 2020, saying they will now only deliver 50 million of a promised 100 million doses.

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“That a vaccine was available for the entire brutal duration may be, to future generations trying to draw lessons from our death and suffering, the most tragic, and ironic, feature of this plague.”

We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time (NYMag)

You may be surprised to learn that of the trio of long-awaited coronavirus vaccines, the most promising, Moderna’s mRNA-1273, which reported a 94.5 percent efficacy rate on November 16, had been designed by January 13. This was just two days after the genetic sequence had been made public in an act of scientific and humanitarian generosity that resulted in China’s Yong-Zhen Zhang’s being temporarily forced out of his lab. In Massachusetts, the Moderna vaccine design took all of one weekend. It was completed before China had even acknowledged that the disease could be transmitted from human to human, more than a week before the first confirmed coronavirus case in the United States. By the time the first American death was announced a month later, the vaccine had already been manufactured and shipped to the National Institutes of Health for the beginning of its Phase I clinical trial.

This is — as the country and the world are rightly celebrating — the fastest timeline of development in the history of vaccines. It also means that for the entire span of the pandemic in this country, which has already killed more than 250,000 Americans, we had the tools we needed to prevent it . To be clear, I don’t want to suggest that Moderna should have been allowed to roll out its vaccine in February or even in May, when interim results from its Phase I trial demonstrated its basic safety. “That would be like saying we put a man on the moon and then asking the very same day, ‘What about going to Mars?'” says Nicholas Christakis, who directs Yale’s Human Nature Lab and whose new book, Apollo’s Arrow, sketches the way COVID-19 may shape our near-term future. Moderna’s speed was “astonishing,” Christakis says, though the design of other vaccines was nearly as fast: BioNTech with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca. 

Could things have moved faster from design to deployment? Given the grim prospects for winter, it is tempting to wonder. Perhaps, in the future, we will. But given existing vaccine infrastructure, probably not. Already, as Baylor’s Peter Hotez pointed out to me, “Operation Warp Speed” meant running clinical trials simultaneously rather than sequentially, manufacturing the vaccine at the same time, and authorizing the vaccine under “emergency use” in December based only on preliminary data that doesn’t track the long-term durability of protection or even measure the vaccine’s effect on transmission (only how much it protects against disease). And as Georgetown virologist Angela Rasmussen told me, the name itself may have needlessly risked the trust of Americans already concerned about the safety of this, or any, vaccine.

Indeed, it would have been difficult in May to find a single credentialed epidemiologist, vaccine researcher, or public-health official recommending a rapid vaccine rollout — though, it’s worth noting, as early as July the MIT Technology Review reported that a group of 70 scientists in the orbit of Harvard and MIT, including “celebrity geneticist” George Church, were taking a totally DIY nasal-spray vaccine, never even intended to be tested, and developed by a personal genomics entrepreneur named Preston Estep (also the author of a self-help-slash-life-extension book called The Mindspan Diet). China began administering a vaccine to its military in June. Russia approved its version in August.

And while most American scientists worried about the speed of those rollouts, and the risks they implied, our approach to the pandemic here raises questions, too, about the strange, complicated, often contradictory ways we approach matters of risk and uncertainty during a pandemic — and how, perhaps, we might think about doing things differently next time. That a vaccine was available for the entire brutal duration may be, to future generations trying to draw lessons from our death and suffering, the most tragic, and ironic, feature of this plague.

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Vilsack’s nickname is “Mr. Monsanto”.

Vilsack Emerges As Biden’s Top Choice For USDA (Pol.)

President-elect Joe Biden is leaning toward picking former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to return as head of the USDA, according to four people familiar with the discussions, turning to a longtime ally over several other more diverse candidates who have been jockeying for the role. Though the decision is not final and the dynamics are still in flux, Vilsack’s emergence as the strong favorite for the job indicates the transition is looking for a USDA leader with deep management and policy experience who is close with the Biden-world. The former Iowa governor, who served as Agriculture secretary for eight years under the Obama administration, was a top rural and agriculture policy adviser to the Biden campaign. “He is the preferred choice of Biden’s inner circle,” one of the people said, but added, “that could change.”


The new frontrunner status for Vilsack comes after weeks in which the public discussion largely centered on former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, who has a vocal set of allies lobbying for her to get the position. Biden was on the verge of tapping Heitkamp for the role as recently as two weeks ago, POLITICO reported last week. But those plans were scrambled after House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn publicly criticized the transition team for a lack of diversity among its Cabinet picks to date. Clyburn has been encouraging Biden to select Fudge for Agriculture secretary. While Vilsack leads the short list, new potential names for the role continue to pop up, like former Michigan attorney general and Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

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And this guys sits on the board of top arms producer Raytheon. How crazy are we going to make this?

Biden Picks Retired General Lloyd Austin To Run Pentagon (Pol.)

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of defense, according to three people with knowledge of the decision. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black person to lead the Pentagon. In picking Austin, Biden has chosen a barrier-breaking former four-star officer who was the first Black general to command an Army division in combat and the first to oversee an entire theater of operations. Austin’s announcement could come as soon as Tuesday morning, people familiar with the plans said Monday. Austin, who also ran U.S. Central Command before retiring in 2016, emerged as a top-tier candidate in recent days after initially being viewed as a longshot for the job.


Michèle Flournoy, Obama’s former Pentagon policy chief, was initially viewed as the frontrunner, but her name was notably absent from Biden’s rollout of key members of his national security team two weeks ago. Biden had been under growing pressure to nominate a Black person to be his defense secretary in recent weeks. He chose Austin after also considering former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for the job, several people familiar with the discussions said. Lingering concerns about Johnson’s tenure in the Obama administration improved Austin’s standing among Congressional Black Caucus members in recent days, according to two people, including a House Democratic aide. Johnson has been criticized for his record on expanding family detention and accelerating deportations, as well as approving hundreds of drone strikes against suspected terrorists that killed civilians.

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“When their corpses arrived back in the U.S., Obama hailed the victims for embodying “the courage, the hope, and yes, the idealism, that fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a little better than before.”

Barack Obama & the Death of Idealism (Bovard)

Shortly before his first inauguration, Obama announced, “What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed.” After Obama’s inaugural address, the media rejoiced as if a new age of political idealism had arrived. Practically the entire world joined the race to canonize the new president. Less than 12 days after he took office, Obama was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — which he received later that year. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared at a White House state dinner, “We warmly applaud the recognition by the Nobel Committee of the healing touch you have provided and the power of your idealism and your vision.” Shortly after receiving the Peace Prize, Obama announced he would triple the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Peace Prize helped insulate him from criticism as he proceeded to bomb seven nations during his presidency.

Obama-style idealism quickly became a shroud for federal atrocities. On Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 23, 2009, Obama called for “fighting the silence that is evil’s greatest co-conspirator.” Ironically, on the same day, Obama decided to oppose creation of a truth commission to vigorously investigate and expose Bush administration crimes. After Obama visited CIA headquarters and praised his audience for helping to “to uphold our values and ideals,” Obama chose not to prosecute any CIA officials who created a secret worldwide torture regime because “it’s important to look forward and not backwards.” Over the next five years, Obama administration officials vigorously fought a Senate investigation into Bush torture abuses, and Obama personally defended the CIA after it was caught illegally spying on the Senate to thwart the inquiry.

The Obama administration also torpedoed every lawsuit by a torture victim in U.S. court. In 2011, Obama draped his decision to bomb Libya by invoking “democratic values” and the “ideals” which he asserted were “the true measure of American leadership.” But terrorist groups fighting dictator Muammar Qaddafi were already slaughtering civilians. Obama was so convinced of the righteousness of targeting Qadaffi that his appointees signaled that federal law (such as the War Powers Act) could not constrain his salvation mission. In the chaos that subsequently engulfed Libya, ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. When their corpses arrived back in the U.S., Obama hailed the victims for embodying “the courage, the hope, and yes, the idealism, that fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a little better than before.”

Obama’s soothing rhetoric failed to deter the proliferation of slave markets where black migrants were openly sold in Libya. Obama declared that America’s “ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake” in his first inaugural address. But one of Obama’s most shocking legacies was his claim of a prerogative to kill U.S. citizens labeled as terrorist suspects without trial, without notice, and without any chance for the marked individuals to legally object. Obama’s lawyers even refused to disclose the standards used for designating Americans for death. Drone strikes increased tenfold under Obama, and he personally chose who would be killed at weekly “Terror Tuesday” White House meetings which featured PowerPoint parades of potential targets.

Read more …

EO 13848 : A Trump Trojan Horse?

A Resolving Picture (Kunstler)

An awful lot has been churning in the deep background for months before the election. Mr. Trump was onto the mass write-in vote scam enabled by the media-assisted hysteria over Covid-19. The wheels of genuine US intel against national security threats still turned in spite of whatever Deep State perfidy had been aimed at Mr. Trump himself from Day One in office, and the president made use of his own private counter-intel hackers to suss out the game — which was finally to overthrow him by ballot fraud. The result was Executive Order 13848 issued in September 2020, which specified foreign interference in elections as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to national security” and laid out some pretty stringent remedies.

The main one was a requirement for the top executive agencies — DOJ, DOD, Homeland Security, Treasury plus the Director of National Intelligence (Mr. Ratcliffe) — to deliver an assessment within 45 days of the election. We’re now in the sweet-spot of that 45-day delivery period when something has to pop. Looks a little like the AG, Mr. Barr, has been dithering and wriggling painfully over this, and even making noises about resigning. But he may have already surrendered his credibility, with the foot-dragging of the FBI under Christopher Wray and the agency’s apparent lack of interest in election fraud. The consequences of EO 13848 will roll out with him or without him.

The real action was over at the Department of Defense, where the President hastily cleaned house this fall and installed the trustworthy Christopher Miller as SecDef, along with top aide Kash Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick as Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. Mr. Cohen-Watnick had been an assistant to General Michael Flynn, former Director of Defense Intelligence, in his brief tenure as National Security Advisor before getting sandbagged by Barack Obama and James Comey. Both Mr. Cohen-Watnick and General Flynn are intimately familiar with the apparatus of Defense Intelligence, of course, and have been actively using it to identify DNC and Joe Biden activists who played a role in election irregularities as well as foreign actors.

This wasn’t any RussiaGate type bullshit; it was the real deal. EO 13848 includes this provision: “The report shall identify any material issues of fact with respect to these matters that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security are unable to evaluate or reach agreement on at the time the report is submitted. The report shall also include updates and recommendations, when appropriate, regarding remedial actions to be taken by the United States Government, other than the sanctions described in sections 2 and 3 of this order.”

The “remedial actions” are interesting. They include pretty severe sanctions against any “persons” (entity or company) involved in or enabling foreign interference in elections: attaching property in the US, blocking trade, and an array of financial restrictions and penalties. The EO does not spell out criminal penalties that might fall under the sedition and treason statutes, but expect these to be activated as the law provides. Quite a few political celebrities and figures in the news and social media may have exposed themselves to liability in this. If it doesn’t mean the end of Facebook or Twitter, it may spell the end of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey running them. Also include the less-well-known execs at The WashPo, The New York Times, and several cable news networks.

Read more …

Who’s going to fund the lower levels of government?

What’s Ahead for New York? Maybe a Budget ‘Nightmare Scenario’ (NYMag)

Over the summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio made a virtual pilgrimage to testify before an antique government body , the New York State Financial Control Board. Created decades ago, in the depths of the 1970s fiscal crisis, the control board once dominated the city’s government with a tight fist. Today, to the extent it is remembered at all, it is widely presumed to be defunct. But the entity still exists in a dormant state, like Godzilla sleeping at the bottom of the ocean. The control board now typically convenes just once a year, for a simple review of the city’s finances. It is usually a perfunctory ritual, but this August’s meeting was different. Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a move that caused a ripple of municipal intrigue, had just appointed three new members to the board, including a trusted former top aide, and there were rumblings that the monster was stirring.

Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, opened the Zoom with dire deficit projections. “Today, as a result of the global pandemic, the city’s financial position and the city itself faces perhaps its most severe crisis since 1975,” he said. “And it may actually be worse than that.” De Blasio spoke next, departing from his prepared remarks to offer a rebuttal. “The study of history teaches you what is the same and what is different,” the mayor said. “I think it would just be a mistake to think this is anything like the New York City of the ’60s or ’70s, or even ’80s … even though we’ve been obviously deeply thrown for a loop.” What the two men were arguing about, besides the usual city-versus-state power struggle, was a question that will continue to hang over the city for months — maybe years — to come: How bad is the damage?

Viewed from the mayor’s perspective, the pandemic, as terrible as it has been, is a temporary disaster that should begin to resolve itself with the imminent approval of a vaccine, allowing New York’s economy to return to its previous healthy state. (The city government ran a $4.2 billion surplus as recently as last year.) But to fiscal pessimists, the glass is not just half-empty — it’s shattered. The city is now projected to face a $13.2 billion budget gap over the next four years. And so far, its government has made little tangible effort to address the shortfall. “What we’ve learned,” Andrew Rein, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission, said after the city released revised revenue and spending estimates last week, “is that we’re actually still doing nothing about a fiscal crisis.”

For the moment, discussions of what budgetary pain may come after the pandemic have been muted, overwhelmed by a cascade of more immediate developments, including the election, the transition to the Biden administration, a new wave of COVID cases, and the heartening prospect of mass vaccination. This week, there has been a flurry of activity in Washington, with a potential breakthrough in negotiations over a proposed $900 billion stimulus package. But even if it comes, it would be a stopgap. Eventually, a reckoning will have to come.

Read more …

Shouldn’t there be more questions about QE? Right now, there are hardly any left at all.

Swedish Central Bank Governor Slams Expansion Of QE (ZH)

Two weeks ago, the oldest central bank in the world, Sweden’s Riksbank stunned the world when it unveiled 40% more QE than consensus had been expecting. Specifically, the Riksbank announced that it was expanding its quantitative easing program to 700 billion kronor ($82 billion), which was 200 billion kronor more than its earlier target. To be sure, with the Riksbank having locked itself in after Governor Stefan Ingves said just a few years prior that its “experiment” with negative rates was officially over, expanding QE was the only available option unless the central bank was willing to gamble with its credibility (and until there is a far greater crisis when negative rates will be unavoidable, damn the soaring house prices).

And while most Swedish central bankers were on board with the decision, there was at least one who hopefully sees the writing on the wall: that central banks will be able to superglue the falling house of cards for only a few more years (effectively echoing the BIS’ latest warning). In a jarring break with the central bank consensus, Riksbank Deputy Governor Martin Floden presented a “long list of objections to the proposed decision” to expand QE through to the end of 2021, he said in minutes from the Nov 25 policy discussion, and noting that “it is the list as a whole that leads me to enter a reservation.” Below we summarize his six objections:

• First, it’s unlikely that further purchases will be able to push down already low bond yields to noticeably lower levels, and that ” a promise today for larger asset purchases will not make monetary policy more expansionary in the near term.”

• Second, it’s “uncertain whether asset purchases in the autumn of 2021 will make monetary policy more expansionary then.”

• Third, “communication concerning a comprehensive purchasing program until the end of 2021 may generate more uncertainty than clarity”

• Fourth, “the actors and markets” that the Riksbank can directly affect are still not in such an acute crisis situation as they were in the spring

• Fifth, “the most important mechanism is that central banks, via asset purchases, are able to remove risk from the markets.” And since this mechanism hardly works if the Riksbank purchases government securities with short maturities, Floden doesn’t consider purchases of treasury bills to be an effective measure

• Sixth, uncertainty over developments in the near term is high, bank needs “to take a new monetary policy decision to purchase more in the near term”

Read more …

Dress it in green, you get away with anything.

Japan Unveils $708 Billion In Fresh Stimulus With Eye On Post-COVID Growth (R.)

Japan announced a fresh $708 billion economic stimulus package on Tuesday to speed up the recovery from the country’s deep coronavirus-driven slump, while targeting investment in new growth areas such as green and digital innovation. The new package will include about 40 trillion yen ($384.54 billion) in direct fiscal spending and initiatives targeted at reducing carbon emissions and boosting adoption of digital technology, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a meeting with ruling party executives. Policymakers globally have unleashed a wall of monetary and fiscal stimulus to prevent a deep and prolonged recession as the coronavirus closed international borders and sent millions out of work.


In the United States, a $908 billion coronavirus aid plan is currently under debate in Congress. In Japan, the pandemic has forced the government to put its fiscal reform agenda on the backburner, despite holding the industrial world’s heaviest public debt burden, which is twice the size of its gross domestic product. “We have compiled the new measures to maintain employment, sustain business and restore the economy and open a way to achieve new growth in green and digital areas, so as to protect people’s lives and livelihoods,” Suga said at the meeting. Suga’s cabinet is set to endorse the stimulus package later on Tuesday, which would bring the combined value of coronavirus-related stimulus to about $3 trillion.

Read more …

70% of US GDP is consumers.

US Credit Card Balances in Steepest Drop Ever (WS)

American consumers – let’s face it, consuming is the number one top job during these trying times – have paid down their credit cards again. In October, credit card balances and other revolving credit ticked down again from the prior month, and plunged by 10.3% from October last year, the steepest year-over-year drop ever, eking past the peak year-over-year drop during the Financial Crisis (-9.9% in January and February 2010):

On a seasonally adjusted basis, credit card balances and other revolving credit declined to $980 billion (green line in the chart below), according to Federal Reserve data this afternoon – a balance first seen in October 2007, despite 13 years of inflation and population growth. Not-seasonally adjusted, credit card balances and other revolving credit ticked down to $943 billion (red line), a balance first seen in August 2007. Since the peak in December last year, balances have plunged by $151 billion. And this is something we have seen in other data: The seasonal adjustments can no longer adequately grapple with the new borrowing patterns that defy seasonality. The classic seasonality in consumer borrowing, established over many decades and utterly predictable, has been obviated by events:

The mega-plunge in credit card balances in April was a result of the dual impact of stimulus payments that were applied to credit card balances and the lack of spending opportunities when big parts of the economy, where consumers normally use their credit cards to spend money, shut down, such as malls, restaurants, cruises, plane travels, and hotels. Before the Financial Crisis, there had never been a year-over-year decline in revolving credit. For decades, Americans had been in the mode of piling on credit card debt with astounding passion and double-digit year-over-year surges in the early years, which allowed them to buy things and do things that they couldn’t otherwise afford, and it cranked up the US economy. The scheme lasted until the blowup during the Financial Crisis that caused the first-ever year-over-year decline. Now there’s the second year-over-year decline, and the steepest ever:

Read more …

Not quite sure where this came from.

Tucker Carlson: Our Elites’ Collusion With China Is Real And Widespread (Fox)

On Nov. 28, Di Dongsheng, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing, appeared on a Chinese television show about Wall Street and international trade. Like so many in academia in China, Di is a servant of his country’s government. This video was deleted from Chinese social media soon after being uploaded, and here’s why: DI DONSHENG (translation): The Trump administration is in a trade war with us, so why can’t we fix the Trump administration? Why, between 1992 and 2016, did China and the U.S., use to be able to settle all kinds of issues? No mater what kind of crises we encountered … things were solved in no time … We fixed everything in two months. What is the reason? I’m going to throw out something maybe a little bit explosive here. It’s just because we have people at the top. At the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence, we have our old friends.

[..] “We have people at the top. At the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence.” According to Di Dongsheng, that has been true for decades. So who are these people and how many of them work in our media and in our government? Well, Di didn’t say precisely. At another point in the program, he described a Chinese agent working as a vice president at, “a top Wall Street financial institution.” Di explained that he couldn’t say more without making political trouble. Di did tell his audience that one agent in particular was especially useful, and he goes on at some length about her. He describes her as an American who’s lived abroad for many years and is now a Chinese citizen, and this seems to baffle him a little bit. The Chinese government doesn’t allow dual citizenship. Why would they? Why would anyone?

Di seems pleased that the U.S. government is foolish enough to allow it. He explains that this American agent, who lives at least part of the year in Beijing, helped the Chinese government with a propaganda operation in Washington in 2015, and he goes on to describe that in some detail. The Obama administration was easy to manipulate, Di suggests. The Chinese had many friends among the Obama people. The problem came when Donald Trump was elected. After that, he says, everything changed.

DI DONGSHENG (translation): For the past 30 years, 40 years, we have been utilizing the core power of the United States … Since the 1970s, Wall Street had a very strong influence on the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States, so we had a channel to rely on. But the problem is that after 2008, the status of Wall Street has declined, and more importantly, after 2016, Wall Street can’t fix Trump. Why? It’s very awkward. Trump had a previous soft default issue with Wall Street, so there was a conflict between them. But I won’t go into details, I may not have enough time. So during the U.S.-China trade war they [Wall Street] tried to help. And I know that, my friends on the U.S. side told me that they tried to help, but they couldn’t do much.

Read more …

And then Axios joins Fox?

Suspected Chinese Spy Targeted California Politicians (Axios)

A suspected Chinese intelligence operative developed extensive ties with local and national politicians, including a U.S. congressman, in what U.S. officials believe was a political intelligence operation run by China’s main civilian spy agency between 2011 and 2015, Axios found in a yearlong investigation. The alleged operation offers a rare window into how Beijing has tried to gain access to and influence U.S. political circles. While this suspected operative’s activities appear to have ended during the Obama administration, concerns about Beijing’s influence operations have spanned President Trump’s time in office and will continue to be a core focus for U.S. counterintelligence during the Biden administration.

The woman at the center of the operation, a Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang, targeted up-and-coming local politicians in the Bay Area and across the country who had the potential to make it big on the national stage. Through campaign fundraising, extensive networking, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors, Fang was able to gain proximity to political power, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials and one former elected official. Even though U.S. officials do not believe Fang received or passed on classified information, the case “was a big deal, because there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up” in the intelligence network, a current senior U.S. intelligence official said.

Private but unclassified information about government officials — such as their habits, preferences, schedules, social networks, and even rumors about them — is a form of political intelligence. Collecting such information is a key part of what foreign intelligence agencies do Among the most significant targets of Fang’s efforts was Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). Fang took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to a Bay Area political operative and a current U.S. intelligence official. Swalwell’s office was directly aware of these activities on its behalf, the political operative said. That same political operative, who witnessed Fang fundraising on Swalwell’s behalf, found no evidence of illegal contributions.

Read more …

“She’s our hero. She helped boost sales tremendously.”

AOC Called For Boycott, Sales Jumped, Goya Named Her Employee Of The Month (DW)

Goya Foods and president CEO Bob Unanue revealed that after Rep. Alexandria Cortez (D-NY) echoed a call for a boycott of Goya products back in July because Unanue supported President Trump, his company named her “Employee of the Month” because sales rose so dramatically. Unanue had visited the White House, where he stated, “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder.” That prompted Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama administration, to tweet that Goya Foods “has been a staple of so many Latino households for generations. Now their CEO, Bob Unanue, is praising a president who villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain. Americans should think twice before buying their products.”

Unanue was interviewed on The Michael Berry Show, where Berry commented: “When you see the radical plans like the Green New Deal, when you hear politicians like AOC spouting these things off, agriculture is a major employer in this country but it’s also a major consumer of energy, as you noted earlier. It’s an intensive process for labor and energy. And they are talking about things that would drive the cost of energy through the roof in some cases making it prohibitive for marginal players. How much does that concern you and how much do you feel the need to step up and say, “Hey, guys, you want me to lay off these thousands of employees because that’s what would have to happen?”

Unanue replied: “You know, communism works until you run out of other people’s money to spend. We’re not going to be able to do that. It’s interesting that AOC was one of the first people to step in line to boycott Goya; go against her own people, as supposedly a Puerto Rican woman, to go against people of her own Latin culture. She’s naïve. To some extent I can understand AOC; she’s young; she’s naïve; she doesn’t get it. But you’ve got someone like (Bernie) Sanders, who’s older than us, older than me, and he still doesn’t get it.” “We still have to chat with AOC; I love her,” Unanue continued.

“She was actually our Employee of the Month; I don’t know if you know about this, but when she boycotted us, our sales actually increased 1,000%. So we gave her an honorary — we never were able to hand it to her but she got Employee of the Month for bringing attention to GOYA and our adobo. Actually our sales of adobo did very well after she said ‘Make your own Adobo.’” Berry wondered, “Was it P.T. Barnum who said, ‘Say what you want just spell my name right. All publicity is good publicity.” Unanue replied, “She’s our hero. She helped boost sales tremendously.”

Read more …

 

 

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Oct 242020
 


Henri Matisse Le Bonheur de Vivre 1906

 

Russian Data Reveals Diabetics Ten Times More Likely To Catch COVID19 (RT)
Kremlin Says US Elections Have Become “Competition In Russophobia” (ZH)
MSM Beat The Bidens To Declare Laptop Leak ‘Russian Disinformation’ (RT)
Millions Of Insurance Plans Were Cancelled Due To Obamacare (JTN)
FBI, GSA Undermined 2016 Transition By Sharing Private Trump Team Records (JTN)
Differences in How Democrats and Republicans Behave on Twitter (Pew)
If Trump Wins, My Profession Is Done: Pollster (RT)
Bleeding Out (Jim Kunstler)
AOC Blasts Republicans For Calling Her AOC (JTN)
YouTube Is Selling So Many Political Ads It Has Run Out Of Videos For Them (ZH)
European Data Considers Coronavirus Risk in Greece Mainly Low to Medium (GR)
Tesla, Ordered To Recall 30,000 Cars In China, Blames ‘Driver Abuse’ (LAT)

 

 

 

 

Tulsi Gabbard Daniel Ellsberg
“A whistleblower cannot get a fair trial”
https://twitter.com/i/status/1319750791641530369

 

 

What’s worse: ..coronavirus could be causing “an entirely new form of diabetes.”

Russian Data Reveals Diabetics Ten Times More Likely To Catch COVID19 (RT)

Diabetics are 10.3 times more likely to develop Covid-19, and their symptoms are more severe and life-threatening, with over a quarter of all infected patients already suffering from the illness as a pre-existing condition. That’s according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who told officials that coronavirus is especially dangerous for those suffering with the common metabolic disorder. “In patients with diabetes, Covid-19 infection is 10.3 times more common,” Golikova explained. “Patients with diabetes experience the disease more severely, and more frequently develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, as well as respiratory failure, [requiring] artificial ventilation and, unfortunately, [experiencing] higher mortality.”


According to Golikova, 27 percent of all infected patients have diabetes among their comorbidities, and this is often complicated by increased glycemia. As of the start of 2020, 5.1 million people in Russia had a diabetes diagnosis. She noted that the risk is even higher in patients with high blood pressure. Curiously, earlier this week, American Covid-19 patient Mario Buelna experienced exactly the opposite situation – he developed diabetes for the first time, having contracted coronavirus. According to his doctors in Mesa, Arizona, Buelna’s diabetes was triggered by Covid-19. Speaking to London-based news agency Reuters, Dr. Robert Eckel, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, thinks that coronavirus could be causing “an entirely new form of diabetes.”

Read more …

“..competition in Russophobia has become a constant in all US electoral processes, regrettably.”

Kremlin Says US Elections Have Become “Competition In Russophobia” (ZH)

This week’s perhaps overly dramatic announcement Wednesday night by the heads of multiple federal agencies – foremost among them Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe – alleging new major efforts by Russia and Iran to interfere in the US presidential election formed a key question and talking point by debate moderator Kristen Welker Thursday night. Welker even referenced as somehow undisputed and settled “truth” the now debunked “Russian bounties” story. Over a month ago the Pentagon and other intelligence heads concluded after an exhaustive investigation that there’s simply no evidence to suggest Russian military intelligence paid Afghan fighters to target Americans.


Russia was certainly paying attention to the debate and was not amused. The Kremlin on Friday blasted what it said was “Russophobia” at the center of the debate. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Friday that “competition in Russophobia has become a constant in all US electoral processes, regrettably.” “We are fully aware of this and can only express regret,” he added as quoted in TASS. “After all, probably, it is the American electorate who is the target audience of these debates, that is, common Americans. It is up to them to decide who won the debate, not us,” the spokesman said. Indeed the American public is by and large likely growing tired of the endless Russia scapegoating too.

Read more …

“Joe Biden is supposed to deny and deflect attention from damaging information. He’s a politician, after all – it’s his job. The press is supposed to do the exact opposite.”

MSM Beat The Bidens To Declare Laptop Leak ‘Russian Disinformation’ (RT)

It’s not the media’s job to cover for Joe Biden. Yet the New York Times and its ilk have fallen over themselves to call the damaging leaks “Russian disinformation,” while also awkwardly publishing the FBI’s denial of the claim. As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden geared up to debate on Thursday night, the cable TV commentariat wondered how Trump would bring up the “laptop from hell.” Recovered from a Delaware repair shop last year and handed to Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, the laptop – which allegedly belonged to Joe’s son, Hunter – contained a tranche of emails that implicated the Biden family in numerous foreign graft schemes, all while Joe was in the White House.

Before the debate kicked off, the New York Times quoted the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as saying: “No concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation,” and the FBI as seconding this claim. For the Times, it was a dramatic turnaround. Just days earlier, before the FBI and DNI could weigh in, a headline in the nation’s paper of record read, “Is the Trump campaign colluding with Russia again?” Quoting only a Senate Democrat, the Times alleged that Giuliani had been cultivated as an “asset” by the Kremlin, and “any information proffered by Rudy Giuliani is likely compromised.” The Washington Post sang from the same hymn sheet, using the usual anonymous “former officials” to tie Giuliani to Russia.

Even before the media settled on Russia as the culprit, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called the scandal “made up” and a “hokey story,” while NBC’s Hallie Jackson described it as “dubious” and “questionably sourced.” As the Times and Post rang the Russia alarm last week, neither the FBI nor DNI had commented on the laptop. DNI John Ratcliffe would do so on Monday, and the FBI followed suit a day later. In fact, as these articles hit the presses, the only people who had fingered Russia for the stunt were a collection of Biden’s aides and advisors, who gave no evidence to support their claims. The Biden campaign itself didn’t embrace the Russia excuse until several days later. It’s one thing to cover a candidate sympathetically. It’s another to work as his preemptive press corps. Joe Biden is supposed to deny and deflect attention from damaging information. He’s a politician, after all – it’s his job. The press is supposed to do the exact opposite.

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But Biden can make the claim uncontested that number is zero.

Millions Of Insurance Plans Were Cancelled Due To Obamacare (JTN)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said during Thursday night’s debate that nobody lost their health insurance plans when Obamacare was fully implemented, but millions of individuals had their insurance policies cancelled at the time. A RAND Corporation study estimated that 5.9 million people lost their insurance plans due to Obamacare’s rules and regulations. Obamacare is the 2010 health care law crafted by former President Obama, for whom Biden served as vice president for both of his terms. Obama was heavily criticized at the time for telling Americans that if “you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” which turned out not to be the case. Politifact rated Obama’s promise the “lie of the year” in 2013.

Trump and Biden each were asked Thursday night how they would handle health care policy if the Supreme Court invalidates Obamacare’s individual mandate in the upcoming California v. Texas case. “What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option. It will become Bidencare. The public option says in fact if you do not have the wherewithal, if you qualify for Medicaid and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you’re automatically enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies,” Biden said. Biden rejected the idea that he wants to eliminate private insurance. “Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare. They did not lose their insurance unless they chose they wanted to go to something else,” he said.

In response, Trump said Biden’s health care plan would amount to socialized medicine, given that the federal government would run the public option.

Bernie Biden

Read more …

This is the most severe of all. This is also why they complain in advance about Trump not doing a peaceful transition. Because they themselves did not.

FBI, GSA Undermined 2016 Transition By Sharing Private Trump Team Records (JTN)

A Senate report released today claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the General Services Administration undermined the Trump transition team in 2016 by sharing private Trump team records in violation of an agreement between that team and the GSA. The majority staff report from both the Senate Committee on Finance and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs claims that officials from both the FBI and Mueller’s office “secretly sought and received access to the private records of Donald J. Trump’s presidential transition team, Trump for America, Inc.”

“They did so,” the report continues, “despite the terms of a memorandum of understanding between the Trump transition team and the General Services Administration…—the executive agency responsible for providing services to both candidates’ transition teams—that those records were the transition team’s private property that would not be retained at the conclusion of the transition.” The report states that officials at the GSA proactively called the FBI and offered to retain Trump transition team records following the controversy surrounding Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser in early 2017. The agency informed neither the White House nor Trump for America of that decision. Those records would eventually make their way to Mueller’s office, the report says.

“At bottom,” the report continues, “the GSA and the FBI undermined the transition process by preserving Trump transition team records contrary to the terms of the memorandum of understanding, hiding that fact from the Trump transition team, and refusing to provide the team with copies of its own records.” “These actions have called into question the GSA’s role as a neutral service provider, and those doubts have consequences,” the report adds. “Future presidential transition teams must have confidence that their use of government resources and facilities for internal communications and deliberations—including key decisions such as nominations, staffing, and significant policy changes—will not expose them to exploitation by third parties, including political opponents.”

Amanda Milius The Plot Against the President

Read more …

And guess who gets censored?

Differences in How Democrats and Republicans Behave on Twitter (Pew)

Most U.S. adults on Twitter post only rarely. But a small share of highly active users, most of whom are Democrats, produce the vast majority of tweets. The Center’s analysis finds that just 10% of users produced 92% of all tweets from U.S. adults since last November, and that 69% of these highly prolific users identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents. A number of factors contribute to this phenomenon. Previous Twitter analyses by the Center have found that the platform contains a larger share of Democrats than Republicans. And in addition to being more prevalent on the site in general, the 10% most active Democrats typically produce roughly twice as many tweets in a month (157) as the 10% most active Republicans (79).

Across both parties, those who use Twitter differ in several ways compared with non-users. For instance, Twitter-using Democrats and Republicans alike tend to be younger and have higher levels of educational attainment compared with members of each party who do not use the platform. Although nearly identical shares of Republican Twitter users (60%) and non-users (62%) describe themselves as very or somewhat conservative, Democrats who use Twitter tend to be more liberal than non-users. Some 60% of Democrats on Twitter describe their political leanings as liberal (with 24% saying they are “very” liberal), compared with 43% among those who are not Twitter users (only 12% of whom say they are very liberal).

Beyond posting volume, Democrats and Republicans also differ from each other in their actual behaviors on the platform. For instance, the two accounts followed by the largest share of U.S. adults are much more likely to be followed by users from one party than the other. Former President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) is followed by 42% of Democrats but just 12% of Republicans, while President Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) is followed by 35% of Republicans and just 13% of Democrats. Many other popular accounts are followed primarily by those who identify as either Democrat or Republican. However, a small number of the most-followed accounts on Twitter (mostly popular celebrities or entertainers) are followed by similar shares of U.S. adults belonging to each party.

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I don’t think so. If it didn’t happen in 2016, why would it now?

If Trump Wins, My Profession Is Done: Pollster (RT)

Polling guru Frank Luntz has admitted that if Donald Trump wins re-election, his “profession is done.” Though polls show Joe Biden in the lead, Luntz and his colleagues are hedging their bets and preparing to be shocked… again Democratic candidate Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by up to 10 points nationwide. Yet polls can be wrong, and for all the talk of a Biden “landslide” in the media, Trump’s supporters likely remember 2016, when their candidate pulled off a shock victory against Hillary Clinton, despite being given only a seven percent chance of winning by the New York Times two weeks before election day. Should Trump once again dispatch his Democratic challenger, the polling industry is finished, Republican pollster Frank Luntz told Fox News on Thursday.

“Well, I hate to acknowledge it, because that’s my industry,” he told Fox anchor Bret Baier. “But the public will have no faith. No confidence. If Donald Trump surprises people… my profession is done.” Luntz insists that his polling is accurate this time, and that Biden will win. However, undecided voters may be leaning toward Trump. As the two men faced off in the final presidential debate in Tennessee on Thursday night, Luntz organized a focus group of undecided voters. After the showdown, a majority of these voters were leaning toward backing Trump. They described him as “controlled,” “poised,” and “surprisingly presidential,” while Biden was thought of as “vague,” “elusive,” and “defensive.”

Luntz is a longtime critic of Trump, and a recently released email – found on Hunter Biden’s now-infamous laptop – apparently showed him massaging his predictions in favor of Biden back in 2012, when the then-VP was debating Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan. Luntz appeared to confirm the email’s authenticity in a tweet, but denied it was any kind of bombshell, saying he’s known the Biden family since the 1990s. However, if a Biden-friendly pollster, backed by his latest focus group, is publicly opening the door to a potential Trump victory, the election gurus may not be as confident in their figures as they let on.

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“Is Hillary ironing her purple pantsuit up in Chappaqua, awaiting the emergency call from her DNC?”

Bleeding Out (Jim Kunstler)

“The difference between you and me,” Mr. Trump said to the ever more ghostly Joe Biden, fading mentally late in the action on the debate stage, “is that I’m not a politician and you are, and you’re a crooked politician.” Millions watching this spectacle might not have noticed, due to the media’s near-complete blackout of news detailing the Biden family’s adventures in systematic global moneygrubbing, but the Democratic candidate for president has political Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever of credibility, now gushing out of every pore and orifice.

Twitter and Facebook may try to squelch the story, but the evidence is all over the Internet now, like blood on a crime scene, in verifiable emails, texts, Snapchats, memoranda, and bank records that Ol’ White Joe Biden is at the center of a decades-long influence-peddling spree, selling his personal services to China, Russia, Ukraine, and any other country seeking favors in US government policy, and that this slime-trail of grift disqualifies him from holding high office as much as the irreversible rot of his cognitive abilities.

The “Laptop from Hell” affair has twelve more days to play out before the November 3 vote and the Democratic Party is in a terrible jam. Do they ask Mr. Biden to step aside, or do they keep running with him while the barrage of allegations and hard evidence pours down on them like so many mortar rounds on a besieged bunker? It’s obvious now that one way or another, voters are actually being asked to elect Kamala Harris president — but who asked for her? Only the disgraced and disabled head of the ticket, Joe Biden, desperate for a non-white running mate. Elsewise, she was so disliked by voters that she skulked out of the Iowa caucuses, ending her own run. Is Hillary ironing her purple pantsuit up in Chappaqua, awaiting the emergency call from her DNC?

The early 2020 impeachment gambit has finally blown up in the Democrats’ faces, too, as it’s now obvious the phony furor over Mr. Trump’s phone call to Ukraine President Zelensky was ginned up to smother any inquiry into Hunter Biden’s $83,000-a-month services to the Burisma gas company and its crooked chief, Mykola Zlochevsky, with help from then US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and several of her staff, as well as then Secretary of State John Kerry.

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On to more important matters.

AOC Blasts Republicans For Calling Her AOC (JTN)

Her name is a mouthful, so Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became AOC. In fact, she calls herself AOC. “Team AOC is hiring!” she wrote on Twitter in August, for instance. But the first-term Democratic Socialist from New York bristles when Republicans call her AOC, as President Trump did during Thursday night’s debate with Joe Biden. “I wonder if Republicans understand how much they advertise their disrespect of women in debates when they consistently call women members of Congress by nicknames or first names while using titles & last names when referring to men of = stature. Women notice. It conveys a lot,” she wrote on Twitter.

“AOC is a name given to me by community & the people. Y’all can call me AOC. Government colleagues referring to each other in a public or professional context (aka who don’t know me like that) should refer to their peers as ‘Congresswoman,’ ‘Representative,’ etc. Basic respect 101,” she added. Twitterers pointed out that President Trump calls nearly all of his opponents, regardless of gender, by nicknames — some not so nice. Trump calls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas” for her false claims that’s she’s Native American. He calls Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat who falsely claimed to have fought in the Vietnam War, “Da Nang Dick.” Jeb Bush was, of course, “Low Energy Jeb.” Then there’s “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Leakin’James Comey,” “Jeff Flakey,” “Head Clown Chuck Schumer,” and “Mad Maxine Waters.”

So AOC isn’t all that bad, is it? “You do this all the time, referring to ‘Trump’ or ‘Pence,'” Fee Online contributor Brad Polumbo wrote on Twitter. “Just *stop* with the endless self-victimization. It’s pathetic and tiring.” “Yes, names like Crying Chuck Schumer and Crazy Bernie are super sexist,” wrote another. In fact, AOC has another nickname for her and three colleagues — “The Squad,” which includes Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar, (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). That’s who Trump referred to in Thursday’s debate. “They know nothing about the climate,” Trump said, referring to AOC’s “New Green Deal” environmental plan. “I mean, she’s got a good line of stuff, but she knows nothing about the climate. And they’re all hopping through hoops for AOC plus three. Look, their real plan costs $100 trillion.”

And one Twitterer pointed out that AOC isn’t even a nickname: “AOC is not a nickname, they’re your initials. JFK is also not a nickname. The FBI, again, is not a nickname. You can maybe say that Trump should’ve still used your official title, but Obama was also referenced sans title, and you don’t see him whining about it on Twitter …”

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“..commercial ads have been “anemic”..”

YouTube Is Selling So Many Political Ads It Has Run Out Of Videos For Them (ZH)

While social media makes its best attempt at trying to get Joe Biden elected by censoring stories about his son, YouTube is facing another dilemma: the platform is so inundated with political ads it has nowhere to put them. As advertising campaigns flood the platform, YouTube has “struggled” to place the ads in front of the desired audience for each, according to Bloomberg. Interestingly enough, YouTube is experiencing the shortage most in “critical swing states”, where ad prices have doubled as a result. This, obviously, makes political advertising far more lucrative for Google, who saw ad revenue fall this year and will announcing its earnings next week.

Cat Stern, media director for Lockwood Strategy Lab, a digital campaign agency focused on Democratic candidates and progressive advocacy organizations, told Bloomberg: “There’s a crunch. All political advertisers are buying in the same states, to similar audiences.” YouTube viewers have risen during the pandemic and while commercial ads have been “anemic”, political ads have spiked heading into November 3. In highest demand are the ads that users aren’t allowed to skip through. There are also ad “reservations” for YouTube’s most popular videos that are in high demand. Reid Vineis, vice president of digital at Majority Strategies, a Republican political ad firm, said: “The reserves tend to be gobbled up by well-funded campaigns.”

While this occurs, other less-well-funded campaigns have turned to platforms like Hulu and Roku to run their ads. Some states, like Iowa, are usually entirely sold out on YouTube. Tim Cameron, co-founder of FlexPoint Media, said: “A lot of late money that’s coming on board — it’s difficult to find anywhere to put it.” At some points, YouTube has been unable to place up to 75% of the amounts that people are willing to spend. YouTube didn’t comment for Bloomberg’s article, but the article notes that a “code yellow” was assigned to Google’s staff regarding the inability to place ads, meaning Google was increasing the resources it was deploying to try and solve the issue.

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We have a mask mandate now. And a curfew.

European Data Considers Coronavirus Risk in Greece Mainly Low to Medium (GR)

According to data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Friday, much of Greece is at a “low” or “medium” risk level for Covid-19. The ECDC records the epidemiological burden across Europe, and classifies either entire countries or regions, depending on their coronavirus risk level. Unlike much of Europe, excluding areas of Central and Northern Europe, which is considered high-risk, much of Greece is at low or medium risk. The regions of Attica, Central Greece, Macedonia, Epirus, are at medium risk, and areas of Central Macedonia belong to the high-risk category. Southern Greece, Eastern Macedonia, and Thrace are all considered very low risk areas.


All European countries, except for Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Estonia, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are considered “stable” by the ECDC, are in a situation of “great epidemiological concern” in terms of the virus. Although the stable countries may report an increase in cases, like Greece, they are still considered to have a relatively low risk level for young and healthy citizens. Older people and those who belong to vulnerable groups in these stable countries are still considered to be of high risk, however. Despite their stable designations, the situation regarding Covid-19 in the six countries should be carefully monitored, as the virus can spread quickly, increasing the countries’ risk level, according to the authorities.

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Best business model: always blame your customers.

Tesla, Ordered To Recall 30,000 Cars In China, Blames ‘Driver Abuse’ (LAT)

Tesla Model S and Model X owners have complained about potentially dangerous flaws with suspension systems at least since 2015. On Friday, the Chinese government took action — and the company responded by blaming the country’s drivers. China’s State Administration for Market Regulation ordered a recall for about 30,000 Model S and Model X vehicles manufactured at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., plant and exported to China. The affected cars were built from 2013 to 2017. Model S and Model X vehicles sold in the U.S. and Europe were built at the same factory using the same suspension systems. More than 250,000 were sold worldwide. The traffic safety regulator for the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Friday afternoon it is “aware of the Tesla recall due to suspension problems in China.


At this time, the agency has not received significant complaints related to these issues in the United States. The agency is in contact with Tesla and monitoring the situation closely, and will not hesitate to take action to protect the public against unreasonable risks to safety.” A spokesman declined to say what marks a complaint as significant. [..] in a letter sent by a Tesla attorney to NHTSA on Sept. 4, the company blamed Chinese drivers for the problem, said there was no safety issue, and said it didn’t plan to issue a recall outside China.Tesla owners at the Tesla Motors Club forum have been complaining about suspension issues since at least 2015, complaints that continue to this day. Many report that a ball joint connected to a control arm comes loose.

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“Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter.”

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Emotions Trump

 

 

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Oct 172020
 


Pablo Picasso Self portrait with palette 1906

 

Battleground State Polling Shows Tighter Race Than National Polls (JTN)
AOC, House Progressives Warn Biden On Corporate Hires (Pol.)
Wall Street Donors Line Up Behind Biden In Massive Q3 Fundraising Haul (CNBC)
Michigan Appeals Court Strikes Down 2-Week Window To Count Ballots (JTN)
New Book Warns Of Danger Of Kamala Harris Presidency (OffG)
Nancy Pelosi Won’t Tell Anybody What’s In The Coronavirus Deal (IC)
Russia Quitting MH17 Panel A Logical Result Of Dutch Provocations (Clark)
Spain’s Pain and the Perils of Textbook Economics (Steve Keen)
Amazon, Apple, Google And Facebook Scooping Up Office Space In New York (F.)
Google & Oracle to Monitor US Vaccine Recipients for up to Two Years (Webb)
Counting Long Covid In Children (BMJ)
Sex Banned Indoors For Tier 2 Couples Living Apart (St.)

 

 

 

 

Clapper

 

 

Giuliani

 

 

Giuliani 2

 

 

Think electoral college.

Battleground State Polling Shows Tighter Race Than National Polls (JTN)

While national polls may reliably forecast the national popular vote in a presidential election, given the electoral college map, battleground state polling is more meaningful — and in 2020 battleground polls show a much tighter race between President Trump and challenger Joe Biden. In the RealClearPolitics polling averages on Thursday, Biden led Trump by 9.4% nationally but just 4.9% in key battleground states. In the battleground states, moreover, Trump on Thursday was running 0.5% ahead of where he was at this stage of the 2016 campaign, according to the RCP average — the 12th consecutive day on which the president outperformed his corresponding 2016 numbers.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen, who conducts the Just the News Daily Poll, also released for PoliticalIQ a series of polls in four battleground states showing a race for the White House that remains competitive. Trump was victorious in all four states in 2016, and they are crucial to his reelection hopes. Rasmussen reported that Biden leads narrowly in all four — Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. However, with a slightly stronger-than-expected Republican turnout, Rasmussen said the president would take the lead in Florida and North Carolina. Like the polls in the RealClearPolitics average, Rasmussen’s nationwide poll for Just the News also showed a wider lead for Biden than among his PoliticalIQ key battleground polls.

And the PoliticalIQ polls conducted among 800 likely voters show results in all four states that were within the margin of error, meaning that Trump could prove victorious and defy conventional wisdom as he did in 2016. “One particular challenge involves estimating the number of mail-in votes that will be cast,” Rasmussen wrote. “Those who plan to vote by mail overwhelmingly prefer Biden over Trump. Therefore, the larger the number of votes cast by mail, the better it is for the Democrat.” Rasmussen told Just the News that the polling wild card this cycle is sampling during a pandemic — something for which there is no precedent, as polling wasn’t practiced in 1918 during the last global pandemic. Rasmussen said if the race remains close, this could create a crisis of legitimacy for whoever wins.

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They think they’ll have massive power. Ask Bernie why they’re wrong.

AOC, House Progressives Warn Biden On Corporate Hires (Pol.)

The election is still 18 days away but Democrats are already drawing battle lines over what a Biden administration ought to look like. Left-wing House members including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, Raúl Grijalva and candidate Jamaal Bowman along with 39 progressive groups signed a letter, obtained by POLITICO, arguing that no C-suite level corporate executives or corporate lobbyists ought to have Senate-confirmed positions in a Biden administration. “One of the most important lessons of the Trump administration is the need to stop putting corporate officers and lobbyists in charge of our government,” they wrote. “As elected leaders, we should stop trying to make unsupportable distinctions between which corporate affiliations are acceptable for government service and which are not.”

The letter, which was delivered to Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell on Friday morning, called on both parties to adopt this standard, but organizers told POLITICO it was also intended to send a message to Joe Biden’s transition team as it vets potential candidates. “It’s not addressed to Biden, but there’s an understanding that he’d be in charge and be the person making nominations,” said Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, who drafted the letter and recruited the signees. The letter is the latest sign of the deep divisions that continue to simmer within the Democratic Party.

The clashes between the left-wing and the center — particularly over economic policy — have eased over the past several months as the factions unite to defeat President Donald Trump but are likely to reignite if Biden is victorious. Biden would be forced to manage a potentially unwieldy coalition of aggressive left-wing Democrats and a new class of more moderate swing district Democrats from the suburbs. Those divisions could result in an intraparty brawl over nominations for senior level posts at Treasury and other economic agencies early in Biden’s term. The dueling sides could also put Schumer in a difficult position as he tries to fend off a potential primary challenge in 2022 — possibly by Ocasio-Cortez.

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Do they have the same interests as voters?

Wall Street Donors Line Up Behind Biden In Massive Q3 Fundraising Haul (CNBC)

The joint committees, which raise money for the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties, are being fueled, at least in part, by Wall Street executives. Those committees accept six-figure contributions. This surge of donations from people in the finance and investment industry comes even as Biden calls for raising taxes on those making over $400,000, as well as an increase in the corporate tax rate. It also comes as Biden faces pressure from progressive activists not to allow Wall Street leaders to join his Cabinet if he were to defeat Trump. Tim Geithner, former Treasury secretary under President Barack Obama and current president of private equity firm Warburg Pincus, contributed $150,000 to the Biden Action Fund in August.

Antonio Gracias, founder of Valor Equity Partners, and Jonathan Shulkin, a partner at the same firm, each shelled out more than $300,000 that same month to the committee. John Doerr, chairman of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, gave over $355,000 to the Biden Action Fund last quarter. Stephen Mandel, founder of Connecticut-based hedge fund Lone Pine Capital, contributed more than $310,000. Pete Muller, founder of investment manager PDT Partners, gave the committee $360,000. Jonathan Soros, an investor and son of billionaire George Soros, gave just under $145,000. Biden Action also saw large contributions from leaders at Blackstone, JPMorgan Chase, The Carlyle Group and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, among other firms.

The Biden Action Fund raised more than $4 million from those in the finance industry in the third quarter of 2020. The fund raised over $30 million overall last quarter. People in the financial industry have largely favored Biden, spending more than $50 million to back his candidacy, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, compared with more than $10 million for Trump. Several finance executives privately say that they’re tired of dealing with the impact of Trump’s tweets on their investments. They are starting to be convinced of a sweep by Democrats come Election Day.

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Utter chaos. Cui bono?

Michigan Appeals Court Strikes Down 2-Week Window To Count Ballots (JTN)

A Michigan appeals court on Friday struck down a two-week extension ordered to tally votes after the election, ruling all mail-in ballots in the battleground state must arrive by Nov. 3 to count. The decision in a case brought by a group know as the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans was a victory for President Trump, who has argued long delays in counting could lead to fraud, and a loss for Democrats who embraced the extension. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the 14 extra days ordered by a lower state court was not legal, or warranted by the pandemic or concerns about the postal service’s ability to deliver ballots.


The judges ruled the state constitution requires all votes to be turned in by 8 p.m. of Election Day to be counted, and could not be changed by a judicial order. “The Constitution is not suspended or transformed even in times of a pandemic, and judges do not somehow become authorized in a pandemic to rewrite statutes or to displace the decisions made by the policymaking branches of government,” Judge Mark Boonstra in one of the opinions. Trump won Michigan narrowly in 2016 and and Democrats are trying to turn the state back to blue this tie around.

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There’s a reason she never polled above 2%. As someone said recently, she makes Hillary look likeable.

New Book Warns Of Danger Of Kamala Harris Presidency (OffG)

With the 2020 US presidential election less than a month away, there is widespread speculation concerning Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s mental and physical fitness at 77 years of age if he were to defeat incumbent Donald Trump on November 3rd. The former Vice President and Senator from Delaware would surpass his opponent as the oldest to ever hold the office of the presidency if victorious, while his generally acknowledged cognitive decline has led many to question whether he is even capable of serving a single term. Given the concerns about his health, the likelihood that Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, would become his successor has put the controversial former prosecutor and California Attorney General’s own politics under scrutiny, though not to a degree sufficient with the odds she could very well become commander-in-chief in the near future.

Trump himself suggested it was the hidden motivation behind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent introduction of a 25th Amendment commission on removing a “mentally unfit” president to enable the replacement of an incapacitated Biden with Harris after the election. Even Saturday Night Live recently joked about Biden’s poor first debate performance as a Harris term in-the-making — but as journalist Caleb Maupin explains in his new book Kamala Harris and the Future of America: An Essay in Three Parts, the prospect of her becoming president is no laughing matter. Maupin’s ambitious essay surpasses the redundant analysis of the vice-presidential nominee by placing her political success in a broader historical context while forewarning the unique danger of a budding Harris administration waiting in the wings.

The majority of the critical examinations of Harris during the campaign have critiqued her rebranding as an outwardly “progressive” figure in stark contrast with the reality of her career as a ruthless criminal prosecutor turned establishment politician. While that is true, Maupin’s analysis takes an important step further by formulating the rise of Harris, who is the first Jamaican and South Asian-American nominee on a major party ticket, as the culmination of the US left’s failures in the last several decades resulting in its present deteriorated state preoccupied with liberal identity politics.

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This has turned into a very ugly game.

Nancy Pelosi Won’t Tell Anybody What’s In The Coronavirus Deal (IC)

Last friday, the Trump administration offered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a $1.8 trillion stimulus deal, which she promptly rejected. It’s $400 billion smaller than the House Democrats’ plan and probably wouldn’t pass the GOP-controlled Senate. A handful of Democrats are calling on Pelosi to take it anyway, and dare Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to be the one to kill it. Now, Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are back on the phone, and reportedly inching closer to an agreement. But most House Democrats haven’t spoken out one way or another, in part because no House Democrat other than Pelosi knows what’s actually in the proposal.

The top-line spending amounts and some of the major provisions have been confirmed, but no one has seen the text, and no one’s sure what else Republicans have stuffed into it. Meanwhile, the typical lines of battle in the House have been scrambled. The left is urging Pelosi to quickly cave to Trump and take whatever deal is on offer, while the centrist Problem Solvers Caucus is doing the same, hoping to pick off enough progressives that they can team with Republicans to box McConnell in. It’s politically disorienting, made all the more confusing by Pelosi’s inability to put forward anything other than a callous rationale for her objections.

Pelosi defended her strategy in a contentious interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, repeatedly lashing out at the host for asking why she wouldn’t accept Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s recent $1.8 trillion offer when Americans are being evicted and waiting in food lines. Blitzer cited the pressure within the Democratic Party to accept a deal, pointing to California Rep. Ro Khanna and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who have called on Pelosi to accept the GOP’s offer. “I don’t know why you’re always an apologist and many of your colleagues are apologists for the Republican position,” Pelosi told Blitzer. “Ro Khanna, that’s nice. That isn’t what we’re going to do. And nobody’s waiting until February. I want this very much now because people need help now. But it’s no use giving them a false thing just because the president wants to put a check with his name on it in the mail.”

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Why did they ever talk in the first place?

Russia Quitting MH17 Panel A Logical Result Of Dutch Provocations (Clark)

Russia’s decision to quit the three-sided consultations with the Netherlands and Australia on flight MH17 is not surprising. It’s surprising that Moscow hasn’t done this earlier, having been declared guilty from day one.
Almost as soon as the terrible news came out on 17th July 2014 that a passenger airliner had come down over eastern Ukraine with the loss of all 298 people on board, the fingers of blame in the West were pointing at Russia, and the Kremlin was declared guilty until proven innocent. ‘Putin’s Missile’ was the headline of the Sun newspaper, implying that the Russian President had personally fired the missile which allegedly downed the airliner. ‘MH17: Can Russia be held to account?’ asked The Economist – again implying it was a foregone conclusion who was responsible.

Russia’s guilt was already established – before any inquiry was held – and even saying ‘let’s wait a while before we see more evidence’ could bring you under attack as part of ‘Putin’s lie machine.’ That has more or less been the case ever since. Just eight days after the tragedy, the Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the EU would widen its already existing sanctions on Russia on account of the crash. The explanation for the disaster was simple. The plane had been shot down by separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine who had been armed by Russia. End of Story. Since 2014 we’ve had investigations into the crash by the Dutch Safety Board and the Joint Investigation Tim (JIT) – which included Ukraine.

But, as the Kremlin has stated, both appeared to have started off from the premise Russia was guilty, and worked backwards from there. Those who weren’t prejudiced against Russia – and simply wanted to get to the truth without fear nor favour, saw clearly what was happening. “We are very unhappy, because, from the very beginning, it was a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing. Even before they examine, they already said Russia. And now they said they have proof. It is very difficult for us to accept that.” was the view of the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. “As far as we are concerned, we want proof of guilt … but so far, there is no proof. Only hearsay,” he added. “I hope everybody will go for the truth.”

The fact that Malaysia, the country whose airliner was the one lost in the tragedy, believed there was ’no proof’ of Russian guilt should have been front-page news in the West, but of course it was ignored because it didn’t fit the dominant anti-Russian narrative. In 2018 Russia agreed to hold trilateral consultations with the Netherlands and Australia but it was clear that the aim of these consultations was only to try and make Russia admit guilt – and in the process make it liable for compensation to the relatives of the crash victims. Proof of this is the fact that the Dutch government did not even wait for the preliminary results of these consultations before taking Russia to the European Court of Human Rights in July, for its ’role in the downing’ of MH17. The only surprise is that it’s taken Russia three months after that incredibly provocative act to quit the consultation.

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Steve also predicts a “full-blown GFC-style global financial crisis” next year.

Spain’s Pain and the Perils of Textbook Economics (Steve Keen)

As I write these words, Spain is suffering from its second wave of Covid-19, and it ranks 7th in the world for Covid-19 cases, while its rank in world population is far lower. It has, and is, experiencing more than its fair share of pain from the novel coronavirus. Spain suffered far more than its fair share of pain during the Global Financial Crisis too. There is now a terrible danger that these two crises will compound each other, because neither Spain nor the rest of the world had truly recovered from the financial crisis when Covid-19 began. I use the USA for most of my examples in this book, but in many ways Spain is a textbook example of the economic forces that caused the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), and how conventional economic thinking — epitomized most dramatically in the European Union’s limits on government debt and government deficits—helped cause the crisis, and made its impact even worse.

The data on Spain’s crisis and its bungled aftermath are so obvious that you might wonder why the thesis I defend in this book—that economic crises are caused not by government debt, but by private debt—is not the conventional wisdom. The role of the Euro in triggering the boom in private debt, and thus making a crisis more likely, is also obvious. After an exciting first eight years, the Euro and its “Growth and Stability Pact” have led to contraction and instability. Much was made of Spain’s success in meeting the Growth and Stability Pact’s target of government debt being below 60% of GDP. Government debt was 70% of GDP when the Euro commenced in 1999, and it fell to a low of 35% of GDP by mid-2008.

It was almost the only country in the Eurozone to meet and exceed both of the Euro’s policy targets: a government debt level of less than 60% of GDP, and a deficit of less than 3% of GDP. In fact, it exceeded the deficit target handsomely, running not merely a small deficit, but a substantial surplus between 2004 and the crisis, peaking at 2.5% of GDP in mid-2006—see Figure 1. If the Euro’s rules had the effect they were intended to have, this should have meant that Spain was less likely to experience a crisis, and well prepared to handle it if one did occur. This proved to be the opposite of the truth.

The reason is starkly evident in Figure 2: while Spain was lauded for halving its level of Government debt, across the same time span, private debt almost trebled—and throughout, it dwarfed government debt. Private debt had no trend before the introduction of the Euro: it was 67% of GDP in 1970, rose as high as 85% in 1977, but by the start of the Euro, it had risen not at all: it was also 85% of GDP in 1999. However, from the introduction of the Euro until 2010, it rose far more rapidly than government debt fell: as government debt fell by 35% of GDP, private debt rose by 140%.

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All Your Base R Belong to Us.

Amazon, Apple, Google And Facebook Scooping Up Office Space In New York (F.)

Big Tech is bucking two big workforce trends. Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google are all scooping up New York City commercial real estate after prices have plummeted due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. The companies are making a bold contrarian bet that Manhattan will bounce back and there will still be a need for people to work in offices. According to the New York Times, Facebook leased enough space in the city to triple the amount of people that can work in New York. Apple, which has been in the city for at least a decade, plans to expand its footprint there. Google and Amazon are snatching up space in New York—greater than any other place in the U.S. Amazon recently paid about $1 billion to acquire the Lord & Taylor flagship building in Midtown Manhattan from WeWork. Collectively, the tech behemoths can accommodate over 20,000 workers.


After seven months of remote work, it seems that both employees and employers are seeking a balance and options. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview at the TIME100 Honorees: Visions for the Future event, the company will be more “flexible” with its workers and offer a “hybrid” model that will include a blend of both remote and in-office methods of working. Pichai, who was recognized by TIME as one of the world’s most influential people, acknowledged that his employees have distinct needs, as it relates to their work style and preferences, stating, “We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing. But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models.”

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“incredibly precise . . . tracking systems”

Google & Oracle to Monitor US Vaccine Recipients for up to Two Years (Webb)

Moncef Slaoui, the official head of Operation Warp Speed, told the Wall Street Journal last week that all Warp Speed vaccine recipients in the US will be monitored by “incredibly precise . . . tracking systems” for up to two years and that tech giants Google and Oracle would be involved. Last week, a rare media interview given by the Trump administration’s “Vaccine Czar” offered a brief glimpse into the inner workings of the extremely secretive Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the Trump administration’s “public-private partnership” for delivering a Covid-19 vaccine to 300 million Americans by next January. What was revealed should deeply unsettle all Americans.

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal published last Friday, the “captain” of Operation Warp Speed, career Big Pharma executive Moncef Slaoui, confirmed that the millions of Americans who are set to receive the project’s Covid-19 vaccine will be monitored via “incredibly precise . . . tracking systems” that will “ensure that patients each get two doses of the same vaccine and to monitor them for adverse health effects.” Slaoui also noted that tech giants Google and Oracle have been contracted as part of this “tracking system” but did not specify their exact roles beyond helping to “collect and track vaccine data.”

The day before the Wall Street Journal interview was published, the New York Times published a separate interview with Slaoui where he referred to this “tracking system” as a “very active pharmacovigilance surveillance system.” During a previous interview with the journal Science in early September, Slaoui had referred to this system only as “a very active pharmacovigilance system” that would “make sure that when the vaccines are introduced that we’ll absolutely continue to assess their safety.” Slaoui has only recently tacked on the words “tracking” and “surveillance” to his description of this system during his relatively rare media interviews.

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I can see the potential crisis, but why not tell us how many children we’re talking about?

Counting Long Covid In Children (BMJ)

With the recent announcement that the NHS will provide services for patients with long covid, there was a palpable sense of triumph among the community of long haulers. We both have long covid and are active campaigners for this condition. We should have been elated; after all, this was the recognition campaigners had been advocating for since the release of the video “Message in a bottle—Long Covid SOS.” Although we are pleased by this commitment from the NHS to recognise long covid, we have ongoing concerns for the lack of paediatric services for children with covid-19. One of us (Frances Simpson) is a mother of two children who have also been experiencing symptoms for almost seven months, and has met many other parents whose children have had covid-19.

Existing research shows that children have generally been found to have less severe covid-19, but there is concern among campaigners that paediatric long covid has received much less attention. Many of the parents in online support groups share this concern, describing their fear at the strange and fluctuating symptoms experienced by their children, their frustration at the lack of medical care, and their struggles to be believed. When the World Health Organization extended an invitation to the campaign group LongCovidSOS to share experiences of Long Covid, Frances took the opportunity as a speaker at the meeting to present the narratives of children and parents who have symptoms of long covid. She shared the views from the many long covid support groups on social media, as a means of drawing attention to the possibility that symptoms of long covid may extend to children.

The quantification of this was impossible due to the lack of empirical data. However, with this in mind, she conducted an informal poll on closed social media groups including the Body Politic/Slack support group, the LongCovid Support Group, and the Parents of Longhauler children support group on Facebook. There are of course limitations of a survey of this kind due to selection and other types of reporting biases, but in the absence of any existing data, this was a scoping exercise. Parents reported that their children experienced fatigue, general gastrointestinal issues, sore throats, headaches, and muscle pain or weakness. Other symptoms included fevers, nausea, mood changes, rashes, dizziness, breathing difficulties and cognitive blunting. The findings of this very informal patient-led survey demonstrate that there is a need for further epidemiological data collection, in order to quantify and qualify the existence of long covid in children. There is also need for research into pathophysiology of these symptoms as is being currently instigated in adult cohorts.

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Deaf and dumb politics.

Sex Banned Indoors For Tier 2 Couples Living Apart (St.)

Couples living apart in areas with Tier 2 restrictions are not allowed to have sleepovers unless they are in a “support bubble”, Downing Street confirmed today. Boyfriends and girlfriends will be able to meet outdoors in Tier 2 but are expected to adhere to social distancing rules such as hands, face and space. They must also adhere to the rule of six. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a briefing of Westminster journalists: “The rules on household mixing in Tier 2 set out that you should mix with your own household only unless you’ve formed a support bubble and that obviously does apply to some couples.”


A support bubble is a network between a single-person home and one other household of any size , according to the government rules. It comes as both London and Essex are set to be plunged into Tier 2 at midnight tonight. Asked why there was no exemption for people in established relationships in Tier 2, he replied: “Because the purpose of the measures that were put in place is to break the chain in transmission between households and the scientific advice is there is greater transmission of the virus indoors.” Asked if couples in Tier 2 can meet outside, he said: “Yes, as it was set out in the guidance that was published this week the ban on household mixing is in relation to indoors and outdoors the rule of six applies.”

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Aug 192020
 


Wassily Kandinsky Autumn Landscape with Boats 1908

 

Chinese Regulator: Vaccines Must Have 50% Efficacy, 6 Months Immunity (SCMP)
Brennan, Strzok and DOJ Needed Assange Arrested – And UK Officials Obliged (CT)
The Big Story Behind The Mueller Special Counsel Purpose (CT)
Senate Panel Releases Final Report On Russian Interference In 2016 (ZH)
Will the Dam Break After Clinesmith’s Plea? (RCP)
Justice Delayed or Denied? A Response To Weissmann And Goodman (Turley)
The Specter of a Fascist Coup by Trump Haunts the US (MPN)
The Plot Against The President (HR)
AOC ‘Snubs’ Joe Biden In Speech Nominating Bernie Sanders (Ind.)
Biden ‘Is Just Lost,’ Says Obama’s White House Doctor (WE)
At Least 10 Times More Plastic In The Atlantic Than Presumed (Phys.org)

 

 

 

 

Most of the good news was gone by Tuesday, though US new cases stayed subdued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m confident if you throw in a pair of ringside playoff seats you can get it down to 40%.

Chinese Regulator: Vaccines Must Have 50% Efficacy, 6 Months Immunity (SCMP)

Covid-19 vaccines must have an efficacy rate of 50 per cent and provide at least six months’ immunity if they are to be approved for use in China, the country’s drug regulator has announced. According to a draft document released by the Chinese Centre for Drug Evaluation (CCDE), 50 per cent is the minimum efficacy rate allowable, although 70 per cent is the target. The document said also that the regulator would consider granting emergency use of vaccines that have not yet completed their final phase of clinical trials. Chinese companies are among the forerunners in the race to produce a vaccine for Covid-19, with four candidates in final testing. A total of 29 products are undergoing clinical trials around the world, seven of which are in the final stage.


On Friday, China issued several documents setting out the standards for clinical trials and research on vaccines, including those based on the unproven mRNA platform. China’s requirement for a minimum 50 per cent efficacy – which means the vaccine would protect half of those injected with it – is in line with the benchmarks set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unlike the Chinese draft, the FDA does not have a requirement for a minimum period of immunity. The WHO said in a document published in April that it hoped Covid 19 vaccines would protect recipients for a year, a target that China is also seeking, but many scientists are concerned that might not be achievable.

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This is how it all ties together. As I have written many times. Mueller needed Assange muzzled. He wasn’t interested in the truth, or he would have visited him. Mueller/Weissmann needed the RussiaRussia blubber to last. Or they would have come up completely empty.

The Mueller investigation ended on April 11 2019. Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuador embassy on April 11 2019.

Brennan, Strzok and DOJ Needed Assange Arrested – And UK Officials Obliged (CT)

Knowing how much effort the CIA and FBI put into the Russia collusion-conspiracy narrative, it would make sense for the FBI to take keen interest after this August 2017 meeting between Rohrabacher and Assange; and why the FBI would quickly gather specific evidence (related to Wikileaks and Bradley Manning) for a grand jury by December 2017. Within three months of the grand jury the DOJ generated an indictment and sealed it in March 2018. The EDVA sat on the indictment while the Mueller probe was ongoing. As soon as the Mueller probe ended, on April 11th, 2019, a planned and coordinated effort between the U.K. and U.S. was executed; Julian Assange was forcibly arrested and removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and the EDVA indictment was unsealed.

As a person who has researched this three year fiasco; including the ridiculously false 2016 Russian hacking/interference narrative: “17 intelligence agencies”, Joint Analysis Report (JAR) needed for Obama’s anti-Russia narrative in December ’16; and then a month later the ridiculously political Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in January ’17; this timing against Assange is too coincidental. It doesn’t take a deep researcher to see the aligned Deep State motive to control Julian Assange because the Mueller report was dependent on Russia cybercrimes, and that narrative is contingent on the Russia DNC hack story which Julian Assange disputes.

This is critical. The Weissmann/Mueller report contains claims that Russia hacked the DNC servers as the central element to the Russia interference narrative in the U.S. election. This claim is directly disputed by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, as outlined during the Dana Rohrabacher interview, and by Julian Assange on-the-record statements. The predicate for Robert Mueller’s investigation was specifically due to Russian interference in the 2016 election. The fulcrum for this Russia interference claim is the intelligence community assessment; and the only factual evidence claimed within the ICA is that Russia hacked the DNC servers; a claim only made possible by relying on forensic computer analysis from Crowdstrike, a DNC contractor.

The CIA holds a massive conflict of self-interest in upholding the Russian hacking claim. The FBI holds a massive interest in maintaining that claim. All of those foreign countries whose intelligence apparatus participated with Brennan and Strzok also have a vested self-interest in maintaining that Russia hacking and interference narrative. Julian Assange is the only person with direct knowledge of how Wikileaks gained custody of the DNC emails; and Assange has claimed he has evidence it was not from a hack. This Russian “hacking” claim is ultimately so important to the CIA, FBI, DOJ, ODNI and U.K intelligence apparatus…. Well, right there is the obvious motive to shut Assange down as soon intelligence officials knew the Mueller report was going to be public.

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While Trump was president and Jeff Sessions was AG, “the Mueller team was essentially controlling all DOJ activity”.

The Big Story Behind The Mueller Special Counsel Purpose (CT)

Foolishness and betrayal of our country have served to reveal dangers within our present condition. Misplaced corrective action, regardless of intent, is neither safe nor wise. The intelligence apparatus was weaponized against a candidate by those who controlled the levers of government. This is what AG Bill Barr needs to explain to the nation. The purpose behind briefing Durham’s lead investigator William Aldenberg was essentially to provide an understanding of what we the people already know. The purpose behind releasing the investigator name is to cut through the chaff and countermeasures and give face to the unit holding the precarious responsibility of sunlight.

The position of Bill Barr, and indeed our nation today, is a direct result of decisions made by Main Justice -as run by the special counsel- in the Fall of 2017 & Summer of 2018. The events surrounding the leaking of the FISA warrant used against U.S. person Carter Page; the purposeful cover-up by Andrew Weissmann; and the downstream 2018 DOJ decision not to prosecute SSCI Security Director James Wolfe for those leaks, was the fork in the road moment for the Department of Justice – and the institutions of government as a whole. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was recused.

As admitted in his June 2nd testimony Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein was providing no special counsel oversight, and the Mueller team was essentially controlling all DOJ activity. That was when the DOJ made a decision not to prosecute Wolfe for leaking classified information. DC U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu signed-off on a plea deal where Wolfe plead guilty to only a single count of lying to the FBI. If the DOJ had pursued the case against Wolfe for leaking the FISA application, everything would have been different. The American electorate would have seen evidence of what was taking place in the background effort to remove President Trump; and we would be in an entirely different place today if that prosecution or trial had taken place.

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Something tells me it won’t be the final report, not if they can help it. This nonsense needs to stop.

You and I don’t need a bogeyman enemy to live our lives, only the intelligence services do. And politicians of all stripes.

Senate Panel Releases Final Report On Russian Interference In 2016 (ZH)

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a 966 page final report on Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election, and outlines “Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities” during the race. The panel interviewed over 200 witnesses and reviewed over 1 million pages of documents, according to The Hill – finding that while Russia made efforts to interfere in the election through disinformation and cyber campaigns, there was insufficient evidence that the Trump campaign ‘colluded’ with the Kremlin, as we were promised was the case by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the MSM over the course of several years. “No probe into this matter has been more exhaustive,” said acting Senate Intelligence Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) in a statement, adding “We can say, without any hesitation, that the Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election.”

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the Committee’s Vice Chairman, had a different interpretation – saying “At nearly 1,000 pages, Volume 5 stands as the most comprehensive examination of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign to date — a breathtaking level of contacts between Trump officials and Russian government operatives that is a very real counterintelligence threat to our elections.” And while there was no evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, the panel found that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s contacts with ‘Kremlin-linked’ officials (as the Washington Post describes them) posed a “grave counterintelligence threat.”

“The volume, released Tuesday, states that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort worked with a Russian intelligence officer “on narratives that sought to undermine evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election,” including the idea that Ukrainian election interference was of greater concern.” -WaPo “One of the Committee’s most important — and overlooked — findings is that much of Russia’s activities weren’t related to producing a specific electoral outcome, but attempted to undermine our faith in the democratic process itself,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

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Quite a few people doubt it.

Will the Dam Break After Clinesmith’s Plea? (RCP)

• It was no surprise to learn last week that Kevin Clinesmith had altered an official document. Inspector General Michael Horowitz had already reported it, without naming the culprit. Durham had that information and could have indicted Clinesmith long ago. He didn’t because he was interviewing others about FISA abuses and didn’t want to give them any information from Clinesmith’s indictment. Releasing that information now shows Durham has completed his work on FISA fraud.

• Other, more senior FBI officials must have been involved in these FISA abuses, though Durham hasn’t said so yet. Some committed abuse themselves. Others knew about it or should have known. Still others must have discovered the misrepresentations, but failed to report them to the FISA court, as they were required to do. Those failures are felonies.

• Clinesmith has said he gave other FBI members the true document, not just the altered one. The 23rd paragraph of the charging information says Clinesmith “provided the unchanged C.I.A. email to Crossfire Hurricane agents and the Justice Department lawyer drafting the original wiretap application.” That’s a smoking bazooka.

• How can Durham prove the CIA’s truthful information was circulated and then hidden? By thoroughly checking the FBI’s internal document system. It should record everyone who received Clinesmith’s accurate (unaltered) document and those they later passed it to. If the agents and lawyers merely discussed the falsification, then prosecutors will need several witnesses to substantiate it.

• The real leader of the Mueller team, Andrew Weissmann, is still blowing smoke about these mounting legal problems. On Friday, he tweeted, “Clinesmith is charged with adding the words ‘not a source’ to an email about Carter Page, but nowhere does the charge say that is false, i.e. that Page was a source for the CIA.” Notice, Weissmann is not saying he knew nothing or that Page really was a Russian source. He simply saying that a 180-degree change in the document’s wording doesn’t mean what your lying eyes think it means.

• Weissmann’s comment shows the Mueller team is sticking with their existing disclaimer. Their report says they won’t speculate on “whether the correction of any particular misstatement or omission, or some combination thereof, would have resulted in a different outcome.” In order words, “We don’t see something. We don’t say something. And we don’t know if it matters.”

• Clinesmith actually worked on Robert Mueller’s team. He was tasked from the bureau to work with that team, which then submitted his falsified document to the FISA court. That’s crucially important. If attorneys on the special counsel team knew about his crime and did nothing to inform the court, if they continued to use a document they knew was fraudulent, they will face charges. That would implicate Mueller’s team for the first time in illegal activity to undermine the Trump presidency. That’s a much bigger matter than writing a biased report.

• We know from other declassified documents that it wasn’t just Mueller’s FISA application that had false information. All four applications did. Indeed, they depended on it, especially on the Steele dossier. Then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified that, without Steele, the warrants would not have been granted. Yet none of the agents and prosecutors ever told the FISA court about fraud, misrepresentation, and bias from Steele, Clinesmith, or others.

• The Mueller team must have known Clinesmith’s actions were a problem. They didn’t just get rid him, they tried to shift the blame. That’s the meaning of an opaque footnote in their report, which said that the bureau, not the Mueller team, supervised “an FBI attorney” who worked for the special counsel. Hey, it’s them, not us!

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Weismann doesn’t argue in good faith.

Justice Delayed or Denied? A Response To Weissmann And Goodman (Turley)

Recently, I posted a criticism of Andrew Weissmann, one of the top prosecutors with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who ran a column with Professor Ryan Goodman encouraging Justice Department attorneys not to assist U.S. Attorney John Durham in his ongoing investigation (at least before the election) and dismissing the basis for the plea agreement reached with former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. Goodman argues that I was unfair to him and Weissmann in my posting and I wanted to respond. I did include a longer quote from the column to be sure that their point was better understood in context in an updated posting. However, in my view, the defense of this column only highlights the inherent bias that the original posting sought to address.

Rather than append this long discussion at the end of the original column, I felt it deserved its own posting and consideration by readers. [..] On Twitter, Professor Goodman makes four basic points which I make out into roughly six points. I would like to address each below. However, it is worth noting that only one point appears to be a claim of misrepresentation. First, Goodman states that the posting was “seriously flawed” and “Turley badly misrepresents what we said, what Justice Dept charged, and more… This is a pattern for Turley (see final tweet in this thread for that pattern)…” I will address the “pattern” referenced by Goodman below. However, Goodman states that the blog “falsely claims op-ed calls on DOJ lawyers ‘to undermine’ Durham investigation. He points out that “[o]ur op-ed: DOJ lawyers should refuse IMPROPER requests if VIOLATE oath to Constitution and policy on actions that interfere in election; plus Durham CAN indict after 11/3.”

This appears to be the heart of Goodman’s claim of misrepresentation (indeed it appears the only claim). It is a rather curious and tautological point. Goodman simply restates his argument that what Durham is doing is improper and thus says that it cannot be viewed as “undermining” Durham’s investigation. Yes, I believe telling DOJ lawyers that they should refuse to assist in indictment or pleas is undermining Durham’s investigation, even if it is to do so for a few months. Such pleas or indictments are critical parts to an investigation or additional criminal cases. Durham, who even Democratic leaders have acknowledged is an apolitical and dedicated prosecutor, believes that this plea is needed to move forward on what could be a broader prosecution.

Durham was delayed by the pandemic but has moved to complete this long-standing investigation. For Durham, waiting for additional months is an example of an unnecessary example of justice delayed being justice denied. He is allowed to move forward with his case and the cited “unwritten norm” of the authors is highly challengeable. Regardless of the merits, it hardly seems “seriously flawed” to characterize a call for Durham’s subordinates to stand down as undermining his investigation.

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You’ve been programmed. Man, all the people who take this serious…

“Recall similar warnings about Bush and Romney, who are now chums of Democrats in high places.”

The Specter of a Fascist Coup by Trump Haunts the US (MPN)

Should Trump fail to carry the Electoral College, Noam Chomsky admonishes, “he could send Blackshirts out in the streets… preparation for a plan to try to bring the military in to carry out something which would amount to a military coup.” A New York Times columnist opines: “Put nothing past Trump, not even the destruction of the American electoral process.” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, explains that Trump’s election delay threat is a coup in the making. Economist Jack Rasmus speculates Trump will “call for his radical right, gun-toting friends to come to Washington to surround and protect the White House.”

The left World Socialist Web Site joins the liberal chorus: “In an act unprecedented in American history, Donald Trump has repudiated the Constitution and is attempting to establish a presidential dictatorship, supported by the military, police and far-right fascistic militia acting under his command.” Meanwhile, in the real world, more than 51 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March. Some 27 million people have lost their health insurance on top of around 30 million who were uninsured before, in the face of the massive pandemic. The Federal Reserve has pumped $7 trillion into corporate bonds, municipal securities, loans and grants to business, while millions are going hungry. The pandemic death toll in the U.S. is 168,345 as it rages out of control. California cannot even accurately count the number of cases being reported.

[..] The obsession with the person of Trump is a testament to the political bankruptcy of the increasingly anemic successors of the New Deal and their epigones on the left who, every four years, admonish us that never before have the stakes been so high: we have to vote for the lesser evil. Given their view of the danger of a fascist coup, we should put aside a progressive agenda and vote for the former senator from Mastercard and learn to love endless imperial war and increasing austerity for working people in a repressive security state.

The liberal-left pundits reproach us to vote Democrat simply because the alternative is not Trump. Recall similar warnings about Bush and Romney, who are now chums of Democrats in high places. Vote, but not for any issue, because the so-called liberal agenda is today devoid of issues. Liberalism is dead. Indicative is its standard-bearer barely showing vital signs. Biden is being told to stay in his basement and even sit out his nominating convention.

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The Hollywood Reporter’s only loyalty lies with Hollywood.

The Plot Against The President (HR)

There’s a hush-hush Russiagate documentary on the horizon from a director who hails from Hollywood royalty. But this one makes the case for President Trump. Amanda Milius, daughter of legendary screenwriter-director John Milius and a State Department alum, has directed The Plot Against the President, based on Lee Smith’s 2019 best seller of the same name. Milius, who optioned the book in manuscript form last summer and stepped down in early March from her post as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Content in the State Department’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs, began working on the doc in secrecy shortly thereafter.

Over the past three months, she interviewed Russiagate critics including Congressman Devin Nunes, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Mike Cernovich and Roger Stone as well as Gen. Michael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell. Milius’ father, the screenwriter of such classics as Apocalypse Now and Dirty Harry, is such a larger-than-life figure in Hollywood that he has inspired characters in at least two films: The Big Lebowski(played by John Goodman) and Zeroville (Seth Rogen). His politics have long deviated from the industry’s centrist Democratic leanings (he and Charlton Heston served on the board of the NRA at the same time). Amanda, who attended USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and worked in the film industry for a decade, also shares his pro-Trump sentiments.

[..] The film was financed by a handful of private investors that the Washington-based director declines to name. She produced alongside Jonathan Eisenman. The production companies are Wollman Prods. and 1AMDC Prods. The producers are currently in talks with a few distributors and are planning an Oct. 1 release in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Milius says the film will offer several additional bombshells that weren’t included in the book, whose thesis is that a coup was engineered by the American establishment elite, including the media, and targeted the president as well as the democratic process.

Trailer The Plot Against The President

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Well, actually she didn’t, it was just protocol. After that she proudly supported Biden. After being snubbed, and seeing her mentor Bernie be snubbed again. Have these people no pride?

AOC ‘Snubs’ Joe Biden In Speech Nominating Bernie Sanders (Ind.)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has delivered a snub to Joe Biden when she delivered a speech endorsing her progressive mentor Bernie Sanders for president. In words that likely infuriated supporters of Mr Biden, the New York congresswoman spoke to second the nomination of Mr Sanders as the party’s official candidate. “I want to thank everyone towards a better, more just future for our country and our world,” she said, speaking to second the Vermont senator after he was formally nominated by labour activist and lawyer Bob King. She said she sought to create “mass people’s movement dedicated to addressing the wounds of racial injustice, colonisation, misogyny, and homophobia”.


When Mr Sanders, 78, announced in April he was suspending his campaign for the presidency, after Mr Biden made a series of stunning primary wins to breathe life into a run that appeared dead, he said his name would remain on the ballot and that he would continue to collect delegates. The purpose was not vanity, he said, as some critics said, but in order to better put pressure on Mr Biden to adopt more progressive policies than he might otherwise have felt obliged to do so. Already that has resulted in a succession of policy think thanks that agreed to several policy points on the economy, the environment and criminal and racial justice. Ms Ocasio-Cortez, 30, praised the campaign of Mr Sanders and other progressive candidates who “reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past”.

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Oh, c’mon, let me have some fun… All the other stuff is already so serious.

Biden ‘Is Just Lost,’ Says Obama’s White House Doctor (WE)

The chief White House doctor to former President Barack Obama is worried about the mental health and stamina of former Vice President Joe Biden, suggesting that “something is not right” with the Democratic presidential nominee. “The best way I can describe him every time I see him is that he’s just lost,” said Dr. Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician to Obama and President Trump. “I won’t make any particular diagnosis about dementia. … But what I will say is that something is not right,” added the retired Navy rear admiral who recently won a House GOP primary in Texas. And it is getting so bad that he is “not comfortable” with Biden being commander in chief.


“I’m not,” he said of the top Democrat, set to be nominated by the Democratic Party for president on Thursday. Jackson’s comments are in an upcoming book from Donald Trump Jr., Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Defense of the Indefensible, out Sept. 1 but already selling fast on his website, DonJr.com. In the book, the president’s son and top campaign supporter addressed current issues and included interviews with key current affairs figures, such as Jackson, who began working in the White House Medical Unit under former President George W. Bush and served as “physician to the president” during the Obama and Trump administrations. He stressed to Trump Jr. that he hasn’t reviewed Biden’s records but said that he witnessed the changes to Obama’s vice president in person and over time.

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How do you like the coating in your intestines?

At Least 10 Times More Plastic In The Atlantic Than Presumed (Phys.org)

The mass of ‘invisible’ microplastics found in the upper waters of the Atlantic Ocean is approximately 12- 21 million tons, according to research published in the journal Nature Communications today. Significantly, this figure is only for three of the most common types of plastic litter in a limited size range. Yet, it is comparable in magnitude to estimates of all plastic waste that has entered the Atlantic Ocean over the past 65 years: 17 million tons. This suggests that the supply of plastic to the ocean have been substantially underestimated. The lead author of the paper, Dr. Katsiaryna Pabortsava from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), said “Previously, we couldn’t balance the mass of floating plastic we observed with the mass we thought had entered the ocean since 1950.

This is because earlier studies hadn’t been measuring the concentrations of ‘invisible’ microplastic particles beneath the ocean surface. Our research is the first to have done this across the entire Atlantic, from the UK to the Falklands.” Co-author, Professor Richard Lampitt, also from the NOC, added “if we assume that the concentration of microplastics we measured at around 200 meters deep is representative of that in the water mass to the seafloor below with an average depth of about 3000 meters, then the Atlantic Ocean might hold about 200 million tons of plastic litter in this limited polymer type and size category. This is much more than is thought to have been supplied.”

“In order to determine the dangers of plastic contamination to the environment and to humans we need good estimates of the amount and characteristics of this material, how it enters the ocean, how it degrades and then how toxic it is at these concentrations. This paper demonstrates that scientists have had a totally inadequate understanding of even the simplest of these factors, how much is there, and it would seem our estimates of how much is dumped into the ocean has been massively underestimated.”

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