Aug 252021
 


Salvador Dali The Madonna of Port Lligat 1950

 

Vaccine Effectiveness 15% in the Over-50s, 37% in the Under-50s (DS)
Fauci Dismisses “Freedom”: “The Time Has Come. Enough Is Enough.” (SN)
FDA Pfizer Authorization (Comirnaty): Key Points (Jill Malone)
Pfizer CEO Predicts A Vaccine-Resistant Covid-19 Variant (JTN)
Don’t Use Pfizer’s COVID Vax Off-Label in Kids, Experts Warn (MPT)
A Most Unusual Thing in Australia, Alice (CTH)
New Zealand Won’t ‘Throw In Towel’ On Covid-zero Strategy (G.)
Unvaccinated Removed From Transplant Waiting Lists (JTN)
Ivermectin: Enigmatic Multifaceted ‘Wonder’ Drug Continues To Surprise (Nature)
Supreme Court Orders ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy Reinstated (AP)
Biden’s Approval Rating Down To Lowest Levels Yet (PM)
Largest US Food Distributor Having Trouble Keeping Shelves Stocked (ZH)

 

 

Yesterday I posted this on mandates:

On Twitter, this was doubted, and a Verify thingy added.

But Snopes of all places confirms the first suggestion. After someone went through the trouble to write on Twitter that he used to love reading the Automatic Earth, but now that guy does nothing but spread misinformation on Covid. Who said the interwebs can’t be fun?

 

 

A New York Post tweet:

“Twitter cheers when an unvaxxed conservative dies and uses that fact against the right. When three Broward County, Fla., teachers died on the same day, their deaths were cited to attack Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for refusing to mandate masks in schools. Rarely mentioned in news stories is that the school had not yet opened.”

 

 

You can read anywhere that vaccine effectiveness is down to 60% or so. The Daily Sceptic goes further.

“Calculating the vaccine effectiveness against Delta infection in the over-50s [..] gives a figure of just 15%..”

Vaccine Effectiveness 15% in the Over-50s, 37% in the Under-50s (DS)

Public Health England (PHE) has released a new technical briefing on the variants of concern, number 21, and this allows us to update our estimate of (unadjusted) vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant using the data it provides on confirmed Delta cases. We subtract the figures in briefing 21 from those in briefing 17 to give the figures for the period June 22nd to August 15th. We also use figures for proportions of the population vaccinated by age derived from the PHE Covid surveillance reports. Starting with the over-50s, for the period June 22nd to August 15th, PHE reports 29,282 Delta infections in the double vaccinated and 3,915 in the unvaccinated. PHE figures show that in this period the proportion of the over-50s double vaccinated was stable at 88% and the proportion unvaccinated was 10%.

Calculating the vaccine effectiveness against Delta infection in the over-50s (1-(29,282/88%)/(3,915/10%)) gives a figure of just 15%, down from 17% using data from the briefing two weeks ago. This is very different to the estimate in the recent Oxford University study using ONS survey data, a study which I criticised for numerous implausible findings. With regard to deaths with Covid (within 28 days of a positive test), PHE reports 602 in the double vaccinated and 280 in the unvaccinated in the over-50s in this period. This works out (1-(602/88%)/(280/10%)) at a vaccine effectiveness against death of 76%, down slightly from 77% using data from the previous briefing. This is a 76% reduction in mortality including any reduced risk of infection, not in addition to it. It’s an encouraging figure, albeit lower than earlier studies have suggested.

For the under-50s, for the period June 22nd to August 15th, PHE reports 36,855 Delta infections in the double vaccinated and 125,394 in the unvaccinated. PHE figures show that on June 20th 61% of under-50s were unvaccinated while 18% were double vaccinated. On August 15th those figures were 52% unvaccinated and 35% double vaccinated. Taking the average of these gives 56% unvaccinated and 26% double vaccinated for the period. Using this to calculate the vaccine effectiveness against Delta infection in the under-50s (1-(36,855/26%)/(125,394/56%)) gives a figure of 37%. This is higher than in the over-50s, but still very low and much lower than earlier studies (including the trial) indicated.

For deaths, PHE reports 27 in the double vaccinated and 66 in the unvaccinated in the under-50s in this period. This works out (1-(27/26%)/(66/56%)) at a vaccine effectiveness against death of just 12%. Why this would be so much lower than in the over-50s is unclear, but it’s worth bearing in mind that these are small numbers of deaths which may make the estimate unreliable. These figures are much lower than those commonly quoted and used in modelling, and if they are closer to the truth then they mean the official, self-congratulatory estimates of “100,000 deaths” and “24.4 million infections” prevented by the vaccines are huge overestimates.

Read more …

“..they were just waiting to get what they felt was the real final stamp of approval, which we just got today with the Pfizer product.”

No, you did not. Pfizer was not approved. And people should be told that. Enough is enough, alright, of the lies.

Fauci Dismisses “Freedom”: “The Time Has Come. Enough Is Enough.” (SN)

After the FDA fully approved the Pfizer COVID vaccine, Anthony Fauci immediately issued a decree via his permanent CNN propaganda platform that it is time for nationwide vaccine mandates. Fauci declared that “There was some poll that showed about 30% of people who are not anti-vax, they were just waiting to get what they felt was the real final stamp of approval, which we just got today with the Pfizer product.” He continued, “And those 30% are saying when that occurs, they will feel very, very comfortable about getting vaccinated. So right away, you’re talking about 30%. I hope they come through with what the survey said.”


Fauci added “They’re going to give a lot of incentive and backing for a lot of institutions and organizations and places of employment to mandate, and that could be colleges, university, the military, organizations that employ a lot of people, some of the big corporations are going to say if you want to work for us in person, you’ve got to be there and get vaccinated.” Fauci then dismissed freedom as an after thought, noting “I know I respect people’s freedom, but when you’re talking about a public health crisis that we’ve been going through for well over a year and a half, the time has come. Enough is enough. We’ve just got to get people vaccinated.” “If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant which could complicate things.” Fauci further proclaimed.

Read more …

What Fauci doesn’t say is that the FDA approval is not straightforward, at all. The approval is for BioNTech only, but there are no supplies of that. So the Pfizer shot you’ll get has not been approved.

This is part of a document by Jill Malone, Robert Malone’s wife. Do read the whole pdf, it’s excellent.

FDA Pfizer Authorization (Comirnaty): Key Points (Jill Malone)

FDA Pfizer authorization (Comirnaty): Key points to consider and discuss.
These points are an aggregate of many minds, including Dr. Robert Malone. 23 Aug 2021
General talking points
• Why mandates if herd immunity isn’t possible?
• What happens 8 months after boosters?
• What’s the plan for the next variant?
• Why we’re messing with vaccine injury liability if the vaccines are safe and effective?

There are now TWO LEGALLY distinct (Pfizer vs. BionTech), but otherwise identical products, based on two FDA letters, as well as a press release. The analysis of these FDA products below is preliminary and subject to change.

Letter to Pfizer
https://www.fda.gov/media/150386/download
DOES NOT GIVE FULL APPROVAL
• Extends EUA to allow supply of current Pfizer under EUA because limited supply of BioNTech version.
• “The products are legally distinct with certain differences that do not impact safety or effectiveness. (page 2, Pfizer letter)
o here FDA quietly admits that the licensed Pfizer vaccine and the authorized Pfizer vaccine are identical with regard to safety/efficacy, but they are “legally distinct.” That’s code for one has manufacturer liability, while the other doesn’t. It is also code for “we don’t want to impose a mandate on the EUA product cause it is illegal, but we can probably get away with a mandate on the licensed product.”
o page 12 AA (Conditions with Respect to Use of Licensed Product). This tells you that yes, we licensed the vaccine, but…there is a lot of the old vaccine out there, actually “a significant amount” and this amount will be considered an EUA and will continue to be used.
o Now, why would they do that? Why specify that identical versions of the product will be legally different? Because they need the license to impose the mandates. But they need the EUA to evade liability.
o Along with the license comes liability for the manufacturer. (While all EUA products were given a liability shield.)
o Unfortunately, our federal governments would prefer us to be without recourse if we are injured, rather than have Pfizer defend its product in court. So, the feds want us to THINK the vaccine we are receiving is licensed, which will make people submit because they think it can now be mandated, but instead we are almost certain to receive the EUA vials instead, to save Pfizer’s behind. Yes, a stingy CICP injury program exists, but it has not paid out for a single COVID vaccine injury yet.
• Warning about myocarditis and pericarditis

Letter to BioNTech (COMIRNATY): (signed by Mary Malarkey) – MARKET AUTHORIZES BLA (APPROVAL)
https://www.fda.gov/media/151710/download
• For “active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older.”
• Analysis of […] adverse events reported […] not be sufficient to assess known serious risks of myocarditis and pericarditis and identify an unexpected serious risk of subclinical myocarditis.
• 13 Post marketing studies required
o Pediatric (3 studies) < 6m to <15 y
o Myocarditis and pericarditis (6 studies), with UP TO 5 years follow up
o Pregnancy – teratology (1 study)
o Dose levels, VA, effectiveness in Kaiser system (3 studies)
• The FDA bypassed/disregarded the normal advisory committee and public comment process for this license. See p2 “We did not refer your application to the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee because our review of information submitted in your BLA, including the clinical study design and trial results, did not raise concerns or controversial issues that would have benefited from an advisory committee discussion.”

[..] • FDA has licensed the BioNTech vaccine for 16 and up
• All of the authorized vaccine on shelves and in freezers will remain only authorized, until the new product with Cominaty labelling arrives.
• 3d or booster doses and vaccine for 12-15 year olds remains under EUA
• Why not also approve the Pfizer version? Why leave it under EUA?
• When the press says the “Pfizer vaccine is fully approved.” It is not. The vaccine that is likely to be supplied for some time, WILL BE THE Pfizer – EUA vaccine. So any mandates based on full approval are meaningless.

Read more …

“Every time that the variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it..”

Pfizer CEO Predicts A Vaccine-Resistant Covid-19 Variant (JTN)

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that there will likely be a COVID-19 variant that is resistant to the vaccine, but that his company would be able to get a variant-specific shot out in about three months. “Every time that the variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it,” Bourla said on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom. “They are researching to see if this variant can escape the protection of our vaccine. We haven’t identified any yet but we believe that it is likely that one day, one of them will emerge.” Pfizer has a process that would take 95 days to develop a variant-specific vaccine from the identification of the variant, Bourla said. In February, Bourla told Fortune that a vaccine-resistant variant was possible.


“Theoretically, it’s a very possible scenario. If you protect a very big part of the population, and if there is a strain that emerges that can use this pool of population to replicate while the current strains cannot, obviously this will overtake the original. So it’s not a certainty, but it is now, I believe, a likely scenario,” he said. The day of Bourla’s interview with Fox News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that found COVID-19 vaccines dropped from 91% effectiveness before the Delta variant to 66% effectiveness during the peak of the variant. The study included 4,217 participants who were fully vaccinated, with 65% having received the Pfizer vaccine, 33% Moderna, and 2% Johnson&Johnson.

Read more …

“..For kids under 5, the dose being studied is only 3 mcg. “We can’t have physicians writing for the approved 30 mcg dose to be used in someone under 12..”

Don’t Use Pfizer’s COVID Vax Off-Label in Kids, Experts Warn (MPT)

Pediatric infectious disease experts are warning that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, now fully approved and marketed as Comirnaty, should not be used off-label in children under 12. While full approval gives physicians the legal grounds to administer the vaccine off-label, experts noted that the doses being studied in younger children are much lower than those used in adults. There also have been no data published about use of the vaccine in children under 12. David Kimberlin, MD, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told MedPage Today that the dose authorized for individuals 12 and up is 30 mcg — but the dose being evaluated in kids ages 5 to 11 “is a third of that,” at 10 mcg.


For kids under 5, the dose being studied is only 3 mcg. “We can’t have physicians writing for the approved 30 mcg dose to be used in someone under 12,” Kimberlin said. “It’s a much higher dose than what’s being studied.” The lower dose “was chosen because of immunogenicity and reactogenicity,” he added. “We are going to have to get the word out that we should not be simply taking the Pfizer vaccine approved for adults and putting it in the arms of those under 12.” FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, warned against off-label use of the Pfizer vaccine in younger children during a press briefing Monday, warning that they’re “not just small adults.”

Read more …

Pretty good!

A Most Unusual Thing in Australia, Alice (CTH)

“Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.” So goes the wonderful words of Lewis Carroll from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland…. Which is the only appropriate frame of reference for what you are about to discover. You see… …The COVID madness has created a most unusual dynamic for the resident’s down-under and the painfully monitored Australian media who have to be careful not to run afoul of the government COVID compliance watchers. Once a nation creates an alternate reality of itself, in this case a totalitarian reality based on government needing to create an irrational illusion of fear that becomes part of the accepted national identity, how can a media outlet call attention to the outcomes without finding themselves in front of the governmental board of inquisition?


Put another way,… if the pod under your bed malfunctioned, but the pods under all the other beds in the city worked, what happens when you awaken and realize you are not one of them, but you must engage in the world of them while looking for others -like yourself- whose pods hopefully malfunctioned? That is the current challenge for media in Australia trying to report on their reality and yet avoid the ire from the national board of COVID compliance who have successfully brainwashed the audience. One Australian media outlet seems to have found a way. In this report from Sky News Australia, they avoid the censors by reporting on how the world is viewing Australian news, by sharing American news clips of Australian news. It is weird and the perfect example of how bizarre the world has become over COVID. WATCH:

Sky News host Rita Panahi says “to us, a bunch of teenagers being handcuffed in the middle of the night and fined $1,000 each for the crime of meeting at a Sydney beach has become normal,” she said. “But the rest of the world looks in abject horror.” Ms Panahi then shares how people around the world are “marveling” at what’s happening in Australia, noting Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has taken aim at how Australian police are treating protesters. “There is similar commentary and discussions I’ve seen from the UK,” Ms Panahi said. “Is this how we want to be perceived as a country?” As a rather prescient Lewis Carroll continued to share in his novel of Alice, Through The Looking Glass: “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”


So here we are. Cheers !

Read more …

Wonder how many questions are asked on the TV news down there.

New Zealand Won’t ‘Throw In Towel’ On Covid-zero Strategy (G.)

New Zealand’s Covid response minister says the country will not “throw in the towel” with its elimination strategy, as cases continue to rise. New Zealand announced 63 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 210 cases. It is the largest single-day jump since the outbreak began last week, and 12 people are hospitalised with the virus. Some commentators and media overseas have questioned whether the country should continue its elimination strategy, but Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said the country would be staying its course. “To New Zealanders at home who are saying, ‘is this still the right strategy’, it’s too soon to throw in the towel,” he said. “We’ve come this far, it would be an absolute waste for us to give up on this now. We still want to drive this particular outbreak of Covid-19 out of our community and get back to a sense of normality.”


“Of course we do want to get to the point where lockdowns aren’t the answer to potential outbreaks within the community, but we’re not there yet, and we’re certainly not willing to give up before we get to that point,” Hipkins said. His comments echoed those of the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Monday: “For now, everyone is in agreement: elimination is the strategy. There is no discussion or debate amongst any of us about that, because that is the safest option for us while we vaccinate our people,” she said. Support for the government’s approach to Covid remains sky high in New Zealand. According to polling conducted by The Spinoff and released on Wednesday, just 10% of New Zealanders did not think elimination was the right strategy. Sixty-nine percent still backed the approach, and 21% said they were unsure. An additional poll found 84% of New Zealanders supported the decision to move into lockdown last week.

Read more …

Little dictators. It’s a small step from Hippocrates to hypocrisy.

Unvaccinated Removed From Transplant Waiting Lists (JTN)

The University of Washington Medical Center has reportedly told two patients awaiting organ transplants that they would be placed further down their respective lines over their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Sam Allen, 64, told Seattle radio station KTTH that he was informed in June he was being removed from the transplant waitlist over his refusal to be vaccinated. Allen said he has been on the list for more than two years. According to KTTH, Allen said his heart was damaged during a previous surgery and three leaky heart valves lessened the amount of blood reaching his lungs, making it hard to breathe. The problem first arose over Allen’s refusal to wear a face mask during hospital visits, saying it made his breathing problems even worse.

“The cardiologist called me and we had a discussion and he informed me that, ‘well, you’re going to have to get a vaccination to get a transplant,’ and I said that’s news to me,” Allen told KTTH. A letter Allen received from the hospital shortly after states “Your name has been removed from the waitlist at the University of Washington Medical Center. This was done in follow-up to your recent conversation with providers regarding the hear transplant selection committee’s concerns about compliance with COVID-19 related policies and recommendations.” The letter added that Allen would be reconsidered for reinstatement “should the compliance concerns resolve in the future.”

A second patient, Derek Kovic, told KTTH he is awaiting a third liver transplant due to bile duct failure and was also told by the hospital he would have to receive the vaccine to remain high on the active list. Both Kovic and Allen told news outlets that they are hesitant to get vaccinated because of physical side effects. Kovic told Fox News because of his liver problems that he already suffers from high fevers and other problems people have reported after receiving the vaccine. The University of Washington Medical Center responded to their stories, saying immunity suppression becomes an issue shortly after a transplant.

Read more …

The long background story of ivermectin, before Covid.

From Nature, The Journal of Antibiotics, February 2017.

Ivermectin: Enigmatic Multifaceted ‘Wonder’ Drug Continues To Surprise (Nature)

Over the past decade, the global scientific community have begun to recognize the unmatched value of an extraordinary drug, ivermectin, that originates from a single microbe unearthed from soil in Japan. Work on ivermectin has seen its discoverer, Satoshi Omura , of Tokyo’s prestigious Kitasato Institute, receive the 2014 Gairdner Global Health Award and the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with a collaborating partner in the discovery and development of the drug, William Campbell of Merck & Co. Incorporated. Today, ivermectin is continuing to surprise and excite scientists, offering more and more promise to help improve global public health by treating a diverse range of diseases, with its unexpected potential as an antibacterial, antiviral and anti-cancer agent being particularly extraordinary.

The unique and extraordinary microorganism that produces the avermectins (from which ivermectin is derived) was discovered by Omura in 1973. It was sent to Merck laboratories to be run through a specialized screen for anthelmintics in 1974 and the avermectins were found and named in 1975. The safer and more effective derivative, ivermectin, was subsequently commercialized, entering the veterinary, agricultural and aquaculture markets in 1981. The drug’s potential in human health was confirmed a few years later and it was registered in 1987 and immediately provided free of charge (branded as Mectizan)—‘as much as needed for as long as needed’—with the goal of helping to control Onchocerciasis (also known as River Blindness) among poverty-stricken populations throughout the tropics. Uses of donated ivermectin to tackle other so-called ‘neglected tropical diseases’ soon followed, while commercially available products were introduced for the treatment of other human diseases.

[..] Today, ivermectin remains a relatively unknown drug, although few, if any, other drugs can rival ivermectin for its beneficial impact on human health and welfare. Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum anti-parasitic agent, primarily deployed to combat parasitic worms in veterinary and human medicine. This unprecedented compound has mainly been used in humans as an oral medication for treating filarial diseases but is also effective against other worm-related infections and diseases, plus several parasite-induced epidermal parasitic skin diseases, as well as insect infestations. It is approved for human use in several countries, ostensibly to treat Onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis (also known as Elephantiasis), strongyloidiasis and/or scabies and, very recently, to combat head lice. However, health workers are increasingly utilizing it in an unsanctioned manner to treat a diverse range of other diseases

And ivermectin today:

Read more …

The exact same argument that upheld DACA against Trump’s policies. Ironic.

Supreme Court Orders ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy Reinstated (AP)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Biden administration likely violated federal law in trying to end a Trump-era program that forces people to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S. With three liberal justices in dissent, the high court refused to block a lower court ruling ordering the administration to reinstate the program informally known as Remain in Mexico. It’s not clear how many people will be affected and how quickly. Under the lower court ruling, the administration must make a “good faith effort” to restart the program. There also is nothing preventing the administration from trying again to end the program, formally called Migrant Protection Protocols.

A federal judge in Texas had previously ordered that the program be reinstated last week. Both he and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused the administration’s request to put the ruling on hold. Justice Samuel Alito ordered a brief delay to allow the full court time to consider the administration’s appeal to keep the ruling on hold while the case continues to make its way through the courts. The 5th Circuit ordered expedited consideration of the administration’s appeal. The court offered little explanation for its action, although it cited its opinion from last year rejecting the Trump administration’s effort to end another immigration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

In that case, the court held that the decision to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious,” in violation of federal law. The administration has “failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious,” the court wrote Tuesday in an unsigned order. The three dissenting justices, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, did not write an opinion expressing their views of the case. In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said it regrets that the high court declined to issue a stay. The department said it would continue to challenge the district court’s order.

Read more …

The Dems have sleepless nights over Kamala stepping up.

Biden’s Approval Rating Down To Lowest Levels Yet (PM)

President Biden is facing severe backlash due to the failed exit from Afghanistan. According to USA Today, Biden’s approval rating has sunk to 41 percent. Up until last week, most polls showed the President sitting above 50 percent. Biden has also taken a hit beyond overall approval ratings. While he still has 87 percent of Democrats supporting him, only 32 percent of Independents say he is doing a good job. This poll was taken Thursday through Monday, as the nation and the world witnessed the shocking images of the Taliban taking Kabul, Afghanistan. Only 26 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of Afghanistan and his numbers on domestic issues are not much better, with 39 percent saying he’s handling the economy well.


“Today, President Biden’s overall approval has taken a turn for the worse due to his awful job performance rating on Afghanistan,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center. “His approval on immigration and the economy are also upside down. The only issue keeping him remotely in the game is his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he is barely at 50%.” Biden’s initial call to exit Afghanistan was approved by 53 percent of Americans, but a whopping 62 percent disapproved of how his administration handled the departure. “He basically handed the Taliban all these weapons, and he’s inspired a resurgent ISIS now,” said fifty-one-year-old Aubrey Schlumbrecht of Lakewood, Colorado. The home healthcare nurse and political independent was among those polled and said, “He is not even taking any responsibility. He says he owns it, but he’s blaming other people and he’s blaming the Afghan people themselves.”

Read more …

No workers. But please don’t say “food inflation”. It is meaningless because from there it’s just one small step to “cookie inflation”.

Largest US Food Distributor Having Trouble Keeping Shelves Stocked (ZH)

One of the defining features of the early phases of the covid pandemic, when public fear was rampant and when few wanted to take chances that supply chains would remain viable, is that for a brief period US supermarkets resembled those of the USSR circa the late 1980s: many items were in short supply, and some – notably toilet paper, clorox, and perishables such as milk – were out of stock for weeks. Fast forward to today when fears about the Delta strain are being fanned by the liberal media, the US may be facing a similar shortage of key products… only this time for a very different reason: not a surge in demand, but rather a drop in supply. According to Bloomberg, some of the largest U.S. food distributors are “reporting difficulties in fulfilling orders as a lack of workers weighs on the supply chain.”

Take distribution giant Sysco, North America’s largest wholesale food distributor, which is turning away customers in some areas where demand is exceeding capacity. Worse, food inflation is about to soar: the company said prices for key goods such as chicken, pork and paper products for takeout packaging are climbing amid tight supplies. In particular, production has slowed for high-demand, labor-intensive cuts like bacon, ribs, wings and tenders, Sysco said. And if intermediate and final wholesale prices are “rising”, just wait until they emerge on the consumer side. The culprit for the coming price shock? Biden’s catastrophic stimmies and universal basic income which has unleashed havoc on the US job market and led to historic labor shortages.

“There are certain areas across the country that are more challenged by the labor shortage and our volume of orders is regularly exceeding our capacity,” Sysco Chief Executive Officer Kevin Hourican said in a letter to clients earlier this month. “This has, unfortunately, led to service disruptions for some of our customers.” Hourican’s troubling observations were confirmed by an analysis from DecaData, which tracks retailer transactions with shoppers and manufacturers; it showed that retailers are bumping up against manufacturer capacity as they stockpile ahead of the holiday season. In July, the incidence of suppliers limiting or putting a cap on orders from customers was more than double what it was in January, its data show.

Read more …

 

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Jul 252021
 
 July 25, 2021  Posted by at 9:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Claude Monet Water lilies 1904

 

Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing
Adverse Reactions To The Covid-19 Vaccines Suffered By Infants (DE)
CNN: Segregate Unvaccinated, Make Them Pay For Tests Every Day (SN)
Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s ‘Noble Lie,’ Exposed (Rixey)
Big Protests Mark Global Anger At Covid Restrictions (F24)
Sydney Police Fine 100s Of Protesters For ‘Filthy, Risky Behaviour’ (G.)
Australian Leaders Blast Protesters, ‘Strike Force’ To Track Them Down (RT)
Protesters Slam Italian PM Draghi For Introducing Covid Health Pass (RT)
London Anti-vax Speaker Threatens Doctors With ‘Nuremberg Trials’ (RT)
FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror (Greenwald)
Space Returns Unwanted Amazon Delivery (BBee)

 

 

 

 

McCullough on long covid

 

 

The lower the vaccination rates, the lower the new infections.

 

 

Dalhousie: If a Professor of Infectious Diseases claims she’s been “immunized”, what hope is there for others?

 

 

 

 

Served its purpose?

Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing

Level: Laboratory Alert

After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.

In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Such assays can facilitate continued testing for both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and can save both time and resources as we head into influenza season. Laboratories and testing sites should validate and verify their selected assay within their facility before beginning clinical testing.

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“These vulnerable children will be used as part of a real-world experiment to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to all children, they are being treated in essence as sacrificial lambs.”

Adverse Reactions To The Covid-19 Vaccines Suffered By Infants (DE)

They’re coming for the children. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued advice to Sajid Javid’s Department of Health and Social Care, stating that children with disabilities should be offered a Covid-19 vaccine, despite the fact real world data shows that children as young as two-months-old in the USA have suffered paralysis, cardiac arrest and death after being given one of the experimental jabs. The JCVI said in a statement issued on the 19th July 2021 that “children aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, should be offered the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA Covid vaccine.

They have also recommended that “children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine”. The reason the JCVI give for this is that “immunosuppressed household contacts, who are at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 may not generate a full immune response to vaccination.” therefore in their opinion this will indirectly protect them. Perhaps the JCVI aren’t aware that the Covid-19 vaccines have not been proven to prevent infection or transmission? But they are aware that real-world data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in children is limited, and they are also aware that the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine are causing myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) in younger adults; they say as such in their statement.


They’re also aware that all children and young people are at very low risk from Covid-19. Symptoms, and they know that fewer than 30 children have died because of Covid-19 in the UK since March 2020, all of them having severe underlying conditions which were the probably cause of death rather than the alleged Covid-19. So why are the JCVI recommending the Pfizer Covid-19 jab is given to children with disabilities and learning difficulties when they are fully aware of the above? These vulnerable children will be used as part of a real-world experiment to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to all children, they are being treated in essence as sacrificial lambs. That is evident from the fact that the JCVI recommend children with learning difficulties should be offered the jab.

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They finally found a target that is not Trump. Same MO. Clickbait wars.

CNN: Segregate Unvaccinated, Make Them Pay For Tests Every Day (SN)

CNN continued its wall to wall broadcasts calling for unvaccinated people to be punished, with analysts again calling for those who haven’t gotten the COVID shots to be segregated from society and forced to pay for tests every single day. First up was CNN’s resident medical health “expert” Dr. Leana Wen who called for vaccine passports and forever masking. “I think it depends on the circumstance,” Wen said, explaining “So if you’re going to the grocery store, and the grocery store doesn’t have the capacity to enforce some kind of proof of vaccination, then they have to say that indoor masking needs to apply, because we don’t know who’s vaccinated and who’s not.” “The same thing for schools,” Wen continued, adding “Schools, you can’t expect the teacher in every school to be asking ‘well you’re not wearing a mask so are you vaccinated or not?’

And so that’s the case, everyone should be wearing masks.” “But I can imagine there are already concert venues or workplaces that are saying ‘if you are not vaccinated, you can’t come, or you have to get a negative test.’ And that’s what’s needed in order to really incentivize vaccines at this point,” Wen further stated. Wen previously suggested that life should be made as difficult as possible for those who are still opting not to take the shots, and that Americans should be banned from engaging in social events and forced to undergo PCR tests twice a week if they want to stay unvaccinated. She also previously advocated directly linking the amount of freedom Americans should be allowed to their vaccination status.

Next up on CNN, which should probably be renamed VNN, was Former White House senior COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt who proclaimed that the Biden administration should become “very aggressive” and force unvaccinated workers and students to take daily tests and to cover the costs themselves. “We should be really seriously considering whether schools, workplaces, government agencies ought to be saying, ‘Hey, if you’re coming here, you need to be vaccinated. If you’re not, you need to show you have a negative test every single day,” Slavitt declared.

He continued, “Look, if people say they don’t want to be vaccinated, which some people might say, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that’s fine. We want you to show up every morning an hour before work and get a negative test. Maybe even at your own expense. Until the point where people will say, you know what? It makes more sense to actually get vaccinated. If you give people that option, I think you’re going to see more and more people take the option to get vaccinated.” “Option.” Right.

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Amazing deep dive. Primarily on Fauci.

Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s ‘Noble Lie,’ Exposed (Rixey)

Six months ago, I began my first article on scientific censorship during COVID-19 by introducing Dr. Fauci as a surprise character that had emerged unexpectedly while digging through what was then 83,000 FOIA emails, published by US Right-to-Know over the course of the last year: [see files related to Ralph Baric, Linda Saif, Rita Colwell, Colorado State/Rocky Mountain National Laboratory & the NCBI; other FOIA releases from Judicial Watch, Buzzfeed & the Washington Post include NIH funding of the WIV & Dr. Fauci’s emails]

I’ve been trying for quite some time to get people to understand the full scope of the Dr. Fauci ‘situation,’ but it’s clear that segments of our national leadership are preventing an honest and open inquiry into his actions because they fear the backlash/collateral damage that will result from the tarnishing of their sacred cow. It’s time Americans were told the truth – that the grant money sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV] is merely a footnote in this narrative. After all, Dr. Fauci controls nearly $4 billion of annual grant funding for the NIAID, the institute within the NIH he has directed since 1984; over 37 years, more than 50,000 research projects have been supported with more than $50 billion [conservatively] of taxpayer funds have been doled out to them.

It’s reasonable to hold him accountable for the results of his organization’s efforts, but the direct funding received by the WIV for Gain-of-Function (GOF) research represents only a tiny fraction of Fauci’s involvement in enabling risky research – the 2017 repeal of the GOF ban was decided without the consultation of the Trump administration, even though news coverage during the pandemic blamed him for the decision. Neither Fauci nor his boss Francis Collins [the NIH director] bothered to clarify the record, which looks especially disgusting in the wake of persistent rejections of Senator Rand Paul’s assertions [with accompanying evidence] that the NIH ever financially supported such research.

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The crowds are still too small, and protesting on a weekend day doesn’t truly count.

Big Protests Mark Global Anger At Covid Restrictions (F24)

More than 100,000 people protested in Australia, France, Italy and Greece on Saturday, sparking clashes with police as they railed against Covid-19 measures and government sanctions against the unvaccinated aimed at prodding more people into getting jabs. Dozens of protesters were arrested after an unauthorised march in Sydney, with the city’s police minister branding those who took part as “morons”. Organisers had dubbed the protest a “freedom” rally. Attendees carried signs and banners reading “Wake up Australia” and “Drain the Swamp”. In France, where police deployed teargas and water cannon against some protesters, an estimated 160,000 took to the streets in nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s health pass that will drastically curtail access to restaurants and public spaces for unvaccinated people.

“Freedom, freedom”, chanted demonstrators in France, carrying placards denouncing “Macron, Tyrant”, “Big Pharma shackles freedom” or saying “No to the pass of shame”. The demonstrations highlight the conflict globally between people caught between the advice of the World Health Organization and other public health agencies and the need to earn a living — or simply to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. In Indonesia and the UK, governments have pressed ahead with easing of restrictions even in the face of surging. Meanwhile, around 5,000 people demonstrated in Athens, carrying placards touting slogans such as, “Don’t touch our children”, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. And in Italy protesters gathered in Rome to demonstrate against a mandatory “green pass” for indoor dining and entertainment.

Earlier in Sydney, demonstrators pelted officers with pot plants and bottles of water as they defied a month-long stay-at-home order, a day after authorities suggested the restrictions could remain in place until October. New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was “utterly disgusted” by the protesters whose “selfish actions have compromised the safety of all of us”. Police said they issued nearly 100 fines and arrested 57 people. In Melbourne, meanwhile, six people were arrested. police said. New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott said a team of detectives would be scouring footage to identify and charge as many people as possible in the coming days. “Sydney isn’t immune from morons,” he said.

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When you address your own citizes like this, you aim to rule and divide.

Sydney Police Fine 100s Of Protesters For ‘Filthy, Risky Behaviour’ (G.)

Hundreds of fines have been issued and dozens charged in Sydney after anti-lockdown protesters marched and clashed with police in what one deputy commissioner called “violent, filthy, risky behaviour”. The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said was “utterly disgusted” by the thousands who had breached the region’s coronavirus measures to protest, saying on Sunday that the scenes “broke my heart”. Detectives are now combing social media and footage from CCTV and police-worn body cameras to identify and punish everyone who defied stay-at-home orders, which are now entering their fifth week. Police issued 510 fines on Saturday, with the “vast majority” coming from Saturday’s protest. Two have been charged with allegedly striking a police horse.

State police minister David Elliott was scathing of Saturday’s unrest, saying: “Sydney isn’t immune from morons.” Victorian officials criticised similar protests in the state capital, Melbourne. The state’s Covid-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar described those who took to the stresses as a “small minority having a self-indulgent tantrum”, with the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews warning that you “cannot vaccinate against selfishness”. The Sydney region is struggling to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant that started in Bondi last month, amid a sluggish vaccination rollout and persistent violation of stay-at-home orders among family groups. A Guardian Australia analysis has found it could take months to recede.

Around half of Australia’s 25 million people are in lockdown across several cities and states, with anger growing at the federal government for a vaccine programme that has fully inoculated less than 13% of the population since it began in February. New South Wales reported another 141 cases on Sunday, and two deaths, including a woman in her 30s who had no pre-existing conditions. “If anybody think this is a disease just affecting older people, please think again,” said Berejiklian. The ugly scenes in Sydney and Melbourne, – as well Adelaide and Brisbane – were also reflected across Europe as people railed against Covid-19 measures and government restrictions aimed at improving uptake of vaccines.

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Australia is lost.

Australian Leaders Blast Protesters, ‘Strike Force’ To Track Them Down (RT)

Australian police have already issued hundreds of fines in the wake of mass anti-lockdown rallies, and are looking for more info about the violators, as state leaders condemn protesters for endangering other people’s lives. In just 24 hours after Saturday’s mass protest, police in New South Wales issued 510 penalty infringement notices, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. He vowed that the authorities will continue to investigate the acts of “violent, filthy, risky” behavior. “A strike force is set up right at this moment that continues to ask for people to bring forward any video files or telephone footage that they have of that sort of behaviour.”

NSW Police Minister David Elliott earlier announced that at least 22 veteran detectives will be working as part of a special unit to identify and track down people who attended the rallies. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian echoed these sentiments, saying she was “absolutely disgusted” by the mass gatherings, and urging anyone who recognized any of the activists to contact police immediately. “I’m just so utterly disgusted, disappointed and heartbroken that people don’t consider the safety and wellbeing of their fellow citizens. NSW reported two deaths and 141 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, which is slightly lower than the day before. Authorities, however, have hinted that as the protest risks turning into a superspreader event, the month-long lockdown in Sydney might be extended even further.

“We don’t want a setback, and yesterday could have been a setback – time will tell,” Berejiklian said. The state’s current lockdown rules bar residents from leaving home except to obtain food and other “essential” goods and services, for medical care, including vaccinations, and for outdoor exercise and “essential” work. The state of Victoria in the meantime recorded only 11 new cases, but Premier Daniel Andrews blasted the protesters for putting “many other people in real danger,” and said that he could not rule out that the state’s own lockdown will also be extended. “We can’t vaccinate against selfishness, and these people should be ashamed, absolutely ashamed, it’s just wrong.”

Since the pandemic began, Australia has repeatedly staved off the spread of Covid-19 with some of the world’s most draconian lockdown measures, in pursuit of driving new cases down to zero even at the expense of civil liberties. Over the course of the pandemic, the country recorded just over 32,700 cases and 916 total deaths. On Saturday, thousands of people sickened by perpetual restrictions and confinement marched through major Australian cities, chanting “Freedom!” and clashing with police who were deployed to disperse these “illegal gatherings.”

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In the US, it’s the right that clamors for freedom. In Europe, not so much.

Protesters Slam Italian PM Draghi For Introducing Covid Health Pass (RT)

Protests against the Italian government’s plan to introduce health passes were held in more than 80 locations on Saturday, where people denounced the measure as discriminatory. Around 3,000 rallied in Rome and 5,000 in Turin, the capital of the northwestern Piedmont region, while smaller protests were held elsewhere across the country, Italian media said. Overall, demonstrations were reported in more than 80 cities and towns. People took to the streets to denounce the plan of the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi to introduce a health pass, known as the ‘Green Pass’. The document serves as proof that a person has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, has tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 48 hours, or has recovered from the virus.

Starting from August 6, only Green Pass holders will be allowed into cafes, restaurants, gyms, and open-air shows. Protesters view the measure as discriminatory. Some marched with signs that read, ‘Draghi Like Hitler’ and ‘Freedom, No More Dictatorship’, while others carried Italian flags and lit flares. “We say no to the Green Pass because it creates A-class and B-class citizens – those who have rights and those who have no rights,” a protester in Rome told RT’s Ruptly video agency. “This is against Italy’s constitution.” La Stampa newspaper reported that some business owners took part in the protest, fearing that the introduction of the pass will lead to a drop in clientele and endanger their livelihood.

Draghi said the Green Pass is necessary to stop the spread of the disease and restart the economy. Some politicians criticized Saturday’s protests. “Hearing words like ‘slavery’ and ‘Covid scam’ makes me shudder. According to these irresponsible [people], 130,000 deaths were perhaps only imaginary,” Senator Licia Ronzulli from the center-right Forza Italia party said, as quoted by La Stampa.

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Posted on RT, but sounds like MSNBC.

London Anti-vax Speaker Threatens Doctors With ‘Nuremberg Trials’ (RT)

Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination activists rallied in multiple British cities against the vaccine passport initiative. In London, one of the speakers triggered a major controversy by likening NHS staff to Nazi doctors. Thousands of people gathered at Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday for the ‘Freedom Rally’, to protest the restrictive measures introduced amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Demonstrators flooded almost the entire square, holding placards and banners reading: “No to forced testing” and “No to forced vaccination.” Many activists went as far as accusing the government of “crimes against humanity,” while banners seen in the crowd ranged from 5G conspiracy theories to flags reading “Trump for 2024.” Though minor scuffles erupted on the sidelines of the event, resulting in several arrests, the rally was otherwise peaceful.


The gathering was attended by controversial media personality Katie Hopkins, who just returned from Australia after her visa was canceled over a quarantine breach. Former TV presenter turned-conspiracy theorist David Icke was also present, as well as Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. One of the speakers, Kate Shemirani, a former nurse turned-anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist, triggered a major controversy, calling the vaccines “Satanic” and describing them as part of a larger surveillance scheme – while urging people to send her the names of doctors and nurses involved in the vaccination campaign. “At the Nuremberg trial the doctors and nurses stood trial, and they hung.” “If you are a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus… and stand with us, the people,” she said, claiming that a group of lawyers is helping her collect the information.

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The whole Whitmer thing stank from the get-go. But that no longer matters in the US. What counts is what words make you feel, not what they actually mean.

FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror (Greenwald)

The narrative that domestic anti-government extremism is the greatest threat to U.S. national security — the official position of the U.S. security state and the Biden administration — received its most potent boost in October 2020, less than one month before the 2020 presidential election. That was when the F.B.I. and Michigan state officials announced the arrest of thirteen people on terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges, with six of them accused of participating in a plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had been a particular target of criticism from President Trump for her advocacy for harsh COVID lockdown measures. The headlines that followed were dramatic and fear-inducing: “F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” announced The New York Times.

That same night, ABC News began its broadcast this way: “Tonight, we take you into a hidden world, a place authorities say gave birth to a violent domestic terror plot in Michigan — foiled by the FBI.” Democrats and liberal journalists instantly seized on this storyline to spin a pre-election theme that was as extreme as it was predictable. Gov. Whitmer herself blamed Trump, claiming that the plotters “heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) claimed that “the president is a deranged lunatic and he’s inspired white supremacists to violence, the latest of which was a plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer,” adding: “these groups have attempted to KILL many of us in recent years. They are following Trump’s lead.”

[..] Yet from the start, there were ample and potent reasons to distrust the FBI’s version of events. To begin with, FBI press releases are typically filled with lies, yet media outlets — due to some combination of excessive gullibility, an inability to learn lessons, or a desire to be deceived — continue to treat them as Gospel. For another, the majority of “terror plots” the FBI claimed to detect and break up during the first War on Terror were, in fact, plots manufactured, funded and driven by the FBI itself. Indeed, the FBI has previously acknowledged that its own powers and budget depend on keeping Americans in fear of such attacks. Former FBI Assistant Director Thomas Fuentes, in a documentary called “The Newberg Sting” about a 2009 FBI arrest of four men on terrorism charges, uttered this extremely candid admission:

If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive. In the Whitmer kidnapping case, the FBI’s own affidavit in support of the charges acknowledged the involvement in the plot of both informants and undercover FBI agents “over several months.” [..] An excellent piece of investigative journalism published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday documents that, far from being passive observers of the plot, FBI informants and agents were the key drivers of it:

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

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“..a giant metal gumdrop with 4 dudes in it..”

Space Returns Unwanted Amazon Delivery (BBee)

Outer space has returned an unwanted Amazon package that was sent to it unsolicited yesterday. According to witnesses, the package floated gently back down to earth after being rejected. Locals have asked Amazon to please “pick this thing up and bring it back to the warehouse” as no one really wants it around or knows what to do with it. If you know who ordered a giant metal gumdrop with 4 dudes in it, please call Amazon immediately.

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René Magritte Mysteries of the horizon (a.k.a. The Masterpiece) 1955

 

Debate Erupts Between Trusted Medical Doctor And Dr. Fauci (Bbee)
Fauci Loses It With Sen. Rand Paul Over Wuhan Lab Funding Accusations (RT)
Pfizer Granted Priority Review for FDA Vaccine Approval (Claus)
Over Half Of Australia’s Population Now Under Stay-at-Home Orders (RT)
NSW Health Official Tells Australians To Refrain From Talking To People (RT)
More Than 200 Facebook Groups Actively Circulating Vaccine Misinformation (F.)
World Champion Boxer To Retire Due To Introduction Of Covid Passports (Mir.)
Statins for Cancer and COVID; Beyond Ivermectin
Biden Regime Jails a ‘Domestic Terrorist’ (Julie Kelly)
The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada (WS)
Lawmakers Sound Alarm Over China Purchases Of US Farmland (ZH)
Oliver Stone’s New JFK Assassination Doc Is Being Ignored By The MSM (RT)

 

 

 

 

Unvaxxed

 

 

Might as well give it a Babylon Bee overdo. Fauci hides behind semantics.

Debate Erupts Between Trusted Medical Doctor And Dr. Fauci (Bbee)

During an explosive Senate hearing this week, Senator and trusted medical doctor Rand Paul argued with Anthony Fauci—a dangerous conspiracy theorist who thinks vaccines don’t work and that the government is not funding the creation of medical abominations in secret labs. “You are a LIAR!” said Rand Paul, pointing gravely at Dr. Fauci. “You are a LYING LIAR who LIES!” Fauci, who was initially taken aback by the accusation, immediately recovered and said: “NO! It is YOU who is the LIAR, you LIAR!” Fauci then bobbed his head back and forth in a very sassy way and snapped his fingers in a zig-zag pattern.


“OOOOooo! Rand Paul got OWNED!” said CNN. “OOOOooo! Fauci got DESTROYED!” said Fox News. The C-SPAN segment immediately went viral, leading to more requests for the two men to face off in another confrontation. C-SPAN then announced they would be organizing a pay-per-view rematch, in which the trusted medical doctor and Dr. Fauci would call each other liars in an octagon-shaped cage. Unfortunately, Fauci backed out at the last minute after C-SPAN instituted a strict “no bioweapons” policy for the face-off.

Full exchange between Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Fauci.

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“You take an animal virus and you increase its transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function?” Paul asked. “That is correct..”

Fauci Loses It With Sen. Rand Paul Over Wuhan Lab Funding Accusations (RT)

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has told Kentucky Senator Rand Paul “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” after Paul accused him of lying about his alleged role in controversial virus research in China. Questioning Fauci during a Senate Health Committee hearing on Tuesday about the government’s coronavirus response, Sen. Paul (R) implied that Fauci lied to Congress in May when he said that the National Institute of Health (NIH) did not fund so-called ‘gain-of-function’ research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, believed by many to be the source of the coronavirus pandemic. “I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci replied. Paul presented a 2015 academic paper that asserts such research did take place at the Wuhan lab, and was partly funded by the NIH.


One US scientist has reviewed the paper and concluded that the research within “seemed to meet the definition of gain-of-function,” — but that it did not lead to the creation of the novel coronavirus. The term ‘gain-of-function’ refers to modifying and increasing the transmissibility of animal viruses to better study their effect on humans. “This paper that you’re referring to was judged … up and down the chain as not being gain-of-function,” Fauci responded, before Paul interjected. “You take an animal virus and you increase its transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function?” Paul asked. “That is correct, and Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially,” Fauci snapped back.

Despite the paper’s own definition of gain-of-function research seemingly being the same as Paul’s, the White House scientist still insisted that the research outlined in the 2015 paper “is not” the same thing. The paper itself does not prove that the Covid-19 coronavirus was created in the Wuhan lab, but it does imply that similar research on bat-borne coronaviruses was carried out there, with the NIH’s financial support. Such research used to be done in the US, but was paused by the Obama administration in 2014 and subsequently outsourced to China. Between 2015 and 2019, the Wuhan lab received, albeit indirectly, more than $800,000 in grants from the NIH. $600,000 in grant payments were given to the institute via EcoHealth Alliance, a private research firm, and $216,000 via the University of California, Irvine.

Fauci GoF
https://twitter.com/i/status/1401891543322185728

Letter to Do: criminal referral

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As the vaccines are very clearly failing, now is of course the time to speed up the process, because that is what people are not yet allowed to know.

Pfizer Granted Priority Review for FDA Vaccine Approval (Claus)

Last Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration granted pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech priority review designation for their coronavirus vaccine for those who are age 16 and older. This step marks the last hurdle that must be cleared in order for the vaccine — the very first to come onto the world scene, being approved for emergency use back in December of 2020 — to be distributed and marketed like any other inoculation. Until now, the products, like the other two coronavirus vaccines used in the US, have had emergency use authorization (EUA) only — a legal sticking point that has led to some questioning their efficacy and safety and adding to the vaccine hesitancy that continues to plague some areas of the country and the world.

Anti-vaccine proponents argue that they refuse to accept a product that has not been fully cleared by the FDA, and many corporate entities along with the federal government, will not require coronavirus inoculations while they are still under EUA-only status. This status allows for vaccine doses to be shipped to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other organizations to be administered to the general public — but not distributed and marketed. Although the vaccine came out in a little more than 300 days since the genome of the virus was determined — an amazing feat of modern medical technology — the perceived delay in the granting of full authorization has led many to speculate that this feeds into an anti-vaccination narrative which may be partly responsible for the spike in infections in the last month worldwide.

As the Delta variant, first detected in India, continues to sweep across the world, the lack of formal approval of the vaccines has sparked concern that a window of opportunity may have been lost, as people for the most part are allowed to gather together without restrictions across the US while sizable pockets of vaccine resistance remain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday that the number of new coronavirus cases were up by nearly 70% in just one week, while hospitalizations are up by nearly 36%, after weeks of steeply declining numbers all over the US. The Delta variant appears to be approximately 225% more transmissible than the original strains of the coronavirus. NPR reports that one recent study from China found that those who are infected with Delta have on average about 1,000 times more copies of the virus in their respiratory tracts than those who were infected with the original strain.

Not only that but they also become infectious earlier in the course of their illness, leading to much more transmission since many do not realize they have become infected. The emergency use authorization vaccines that are currently on the market, however, are strikingly effective against the Delta variant. [..] At this point, experts say the picture looks fairly rosy. “The level of antibodies seem to be holding up pretty well, so we have to watch and see what happens over the course of the coming months,” stated National Institutes of Health’s Francis Collins, in an interview with NPR. The New York-based pharma giant must now go through a rigorous review process that experts believe will be completed in January of 2022. Even with expedited handling of the approval process, speeded up from its usual 10 months, the lightning-fast spread of the Delta variant, which is so many more times as transmissible as the original coronavirus, is rushing past that timeline.

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Australia is done. Pull the plug and let it pour down the drain. The only things people there think are “wrong” in their isolation campaign are in not building quarantine accomodation, and in not ordering vaccines fast enough. Blind as bats.

Over Half Of Australia’s Population Now Under Stay-at-Home Orders (RT)

South Australia has entered a snap lockdown of seven days, joining neighboring Victoria and New South Wales as the third state to implement stay-at-home orders, with half of the country’s population now under restrictions. South Australia entered a week-long lockdown to quell a spike in coronavirus cases at 6pm local time on Tuesday. Premier Steven Marshall defended the decision to impose harsh measures, stating that “we hate to put these restrictions in place, but we have just one chance to get this right” to avoid an extended lockdown period and cases spiraling out of control. Under the new rules, all South Australian citizens are required to stay at home unless they are essential workers or need to purchase necessary produce or attend medical appointments.


They are allowed outside to exercise for a maximum of 90 minutes and within a 2.5km (1.5 mile) radius of their home. All educational institutions will be shut and transition to online learning. The decision to impose a strict snap lockdown comes after five coronavirus cases were reported, with the fifth being an isolated incident from the other four cases. All of the cases have been confirmed to be the Delta variant, which is 60% more transmissible than other variants, according to Public Health England. As of Tuesday, some 13 million Australians, over half of the country’s population, are under a stay-at-home mandate. Neighboring Victoria extended its lockdown until July 27. It was intended to last only five days, however, new Covid-19 cases are still being recorded there.

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How crazy can one get and still be taken serious? “She was named New South Wales ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2021..”

NSW Health Official Tells Australians To Refrain From Talking To People (RT)

With Sydney still in lockdown amid a handful of new Covid-19 cases, the top health official for New South Wales has called for a new level of social-distancing inhumanity: not having conversations with other people. After reporting a whopping 78 new Covid-19 cases and one death in the state, Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant told reporters on Tuesday that Australians shouldn’t engage in conversations, even if both parties were wearing masks, and regardless of vaccination status. “Whilst it’s human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly, unfortunately, this is not the time to do that,” Chant said. So, even if you run into your next-door neighbor in the shopping center … don’t start up a conversation. Now is the time for minimizing your interactions with others.

Masks don’t afford “total protection,” Chant added, so residents must avoid talking to each other and “be absolutely sure that, as we go about our daily lives, we do not come into contact with anyone else that would pose a risk.” Since the pandemic began, Australia has repeatedly staved off the spread of Covid-19 with some of the world’s most draconian lockdown measures, in pursuit of driving new cases down to zero even at the expense of civil liberties. Lockdowns have been reimposed recently, as infections flared up again. In Melbourne, for instance, just about everything other than grocery stores and hospitals was shuttered for nearly four months, and the city entered its fifth lockdown last week. Alice Springs ordered a new lockdown in June after just one new infection was reported.

Much like the White House’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in the US, Chant has been championed by mainstream media outlets as a pandemic-fighting hero. The Guardian referred to the doctor as “unflappable” and a “secret weapon.” She was named New South Wales ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2021. Social media critics weren’t charmed by her advice against having conversations, however. “Unbelievable,” TV presenter and author Tonia Buxton said. “Don’t behave like a human, forget humanity, just do as you are told.”

DON’T ACT LIKE A HUMAN. DON’T TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS

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Start reading, hoping to find what this misinformation is. Nothing until the last paragraph -apparently you’re supposed to know(?!) but I don’t, where someone says “I truly believe that they are out to kill people with this shot..” Now I still don’t know what misinformation they talk about. Pretty sure that’s on purpose.

More Than 200 Facebook Groups Actively Circulating Vaccine Misinformation (F.)

After President Biden came down hard on Facebook last week over coronavirus vaccine misinformation, the company responded with almost equal force, insisting in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t responsible for how that type of content has spread on the web. But new research released Tuesday suggests Facebook does indeed remain a place where such misinformation is circulating: Media Matters for America, a liberal tech watchdog organization, says it has found 284 active private and public Facebook Groups currently distributing vaccine misinformation, more than double the amount the researchers found in April. Over a half million users belong to these groups. Media Matters identified six groups with more than 15,000 members, and most of those half-dozen groups are private, underscoring an on-going problem for the social network.

These groups are invite only, making them harder to track and a more fertile ground for misinformation to spread than public ones, which invite more immediate scrutiny. The discussion around Facebook’s role in handling vaccine misinformation was heightened on Friday when President Biden made stark comments about his views on the company’s culpability. “They’re killing people,” he said. The White House has since tried to soften its stance on the matter, and Facebook raced to point to efforts to combat vaccine misinformation. In a blog post released a day after President Biden’s comments, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of intregrity, said the platform had removed more than 18 million pieces of Covid-19 information since the pandemic started and limited the spread of 167 million pieces its fact checkers judged as inaccurate.

More broadly, Facebook has introduced new tools for users who control Groups, though those features are only as effective as those group leaders want them to be. Groups represent an enormous avenue of growth for Facebook—and an unending source of problems for it. Over the last few years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has clearly emphasized Groups’ place within the app, and the company launched a redesign in 2019 to encourage their use. Even public Groups tend to encourage more intimate and more engaged conversations than on Facebook’s core Newsfeed, exactly what the company has sought to foster. But Groups have proven to be problematic hotbeds, used to do things such as spread Qanon content and white supremacy posts.

The largest group identified by Media Matters is one called “Canadian Deaths and Adverse Reaction,” which numbers almost 95,000 users. The researchers unearthed a number of posts containing conspiracy theories, including one falsely stating that the vaccines are part of a secret ongoing experimental trial. One user in another large group, Covid19 Vaccine Victims & Families, which has 46,4000 members, wrote this: “I truly believe that they are out to kill people with this shot…I think it causes people who have health issues to have [sic] make it worse and those with no health issues I think this jab is also giving people illnesses they never had. People need to wake up and say no to the jab.”

Tucker VAERS

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He won’t be alone.

World Champion Boxer To Retire Due To Introduction Of Covid Passports (Mir.)

World champion boxer Sunny Edwards has vowed to retire if Covid-19 vaccine passports are introduced in September. Boris Johnson announced yesterday that Covid-19 passports will be required for nightclubs and venues with large crowds, which could signal a passport being required at sporting events such as boxing later on in the year. And newly crowned British world champion Edwards has claimed he could hang up his gloves in protest. “Looks like I’m retiring from the game in September.” Edwards posted on Twitter in response to the announcement. The announcement could signal an increase in the uptake of vaccinations across the UK, in particular amongst sports stars who could be required to take the vaccine in order to compete in the future unless they are given immunity from the policy that will be introduced.

Several boxing stars have been caught up with vaccine debates during the pandemic, including undisputed super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor who recently defeated Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas to claim the belts and remain undefeated. He has also posted on Twitter against the idea of vaccine passports, slamming the rules as a ‘dictatorship’ which could signal his stance to any future rules that are introduced into boxing. “Do as [sic] your told or be excluded from society! #Dictatorship ” Taylor posted on his Twitter page today after the announcement. He also responded to a fan who questioned his stance on the passport and whether his choice to do so was an example of freedom.

“The fact you’re being told to take something in order to live life, simply isn’t freedom! It’s oppression.” Taylor said. The pandemic has had a damaging effect on boxing in recent weeks with Tyson Fury’s outbreak in camp causing the third face-off in the ring against Deontay Wilder to be rescheduled for October 9. Despite reports of the ‘Gypsy King’ testing positive himself for the virus, he was pictured greeting fans in Las Vegas amid rumours that he may soon be returning to the UK after the trilogy fight broke down. The lineal heavyweight champion also refused his second vaccine ahead of the fight, after he relayed fears to his team of suffering with ill-effects ahead of his attempt to defeat Wilder for the second time in two years.

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Interesting, but statins?

Statins for Cancer and COVID; Beyond Ivermectin

When my friend contracted Glioblastoma, I reacted by researching what else could be done for him – scientifically. I went through PubMed, and I read the latest studies. I read accounts of medical professionals who survived their terminal cancers. And I found patterns. One concept that arose was the use of repurposed drugs IN ADDITION to the standard of care. Another was that Cancer Stem Cells, CSCs, were very real and could reseed cancer. These roots of cancer were stimulated to spread and regrow with cutting into the tumor [Surgery], poisoning it [Chemotherapy], and radiating it [Radiation Therapy]. I realized, to my horror, our own best treatment was making cancers resistant and causing them to return, often fatally. So why was this information hidden? Everyone should know this.

When I found that Dr. Ben Williams, a Harvard-educated professor, had cured his Glioblastoma using a cocktail of repurposed drugs, I knew my friend had a chance to do the same. And it was up to me to get him this information. I found that a combination of four common drugs, Atorvastatin, Mebendazole, Metformin, and Doxycycline, could almost double the expected GBM survival time when added to the standard of care based upon a study by Dr. Agrawal published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. In addition, these four drugs had been used safely, for decades, to treat other diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6610246/ As I dug deeper, I realized that instead of using this cocktail as a last-ditch effort to save a person from cancer after it has already developed, WHAT IF ONE USED IT TO PREVENT CANCER from ever developing?

I searched Amazon. I found no physicians had written about this to the general public except for Dr. Raymond Chang in 2014. He wrote a book, “Beyond the Magic Bullet.” Dr. Ben Williams, a PhD, had written about his personal experience in beating his GBM with repurposed drugs in “Surviving Terminal Cancer.” These books, unfortunately, had very thin readerships. Finally, a magnificent documentary was made that interviews both of these men, “Surviving Terminal Cancer.” However, very few people have watched this. Most who do, have Glioblastoma, a disease which afflicts about 10,000 Americans each year – people like Beau Biden, people like John McCain, and now my friend Evan.

Only 25 % survive longer than one year. Less than 5% make it past five years. And Ben Williams has now survived 26 years. His friend Professor Richard Gerber has now survived 13 years and uses repurposed drugs. Richard followed Ben Williams’ strategy.

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“And therein lies the real crime: Paul Hodgkins, a working-class American who took a bus on the 900-mile journey to the nation’s capital to support his president and protest a clearly rigged election, defiled the ruling class’ palace with a Trump flag.”

Biden Regime Jails a ‘Domestic Terrorist’ (Julie Kelly)

“Paul Hodgkins is not my enemy.” Fighting back tears, Patrick Leduc, an attorney representing a man charged in connection with the January 6 protest at the Capitol, made that statement in a dramatic court hearing Monday morning. Leduc, by the way, is no snowflake. On Tuesday, the 33-year-old U.S. Army reservist will be deployed to the Middle East for his third tour. Leduc cited his military oath—to protect the country from “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”—to refute the government’s accusation that Paul Hodgkins, 38, is a domestic terrorist. “Words have meaning,” Leduc told U.S. District Court Judge Randoph Moss. “I have been shot at by real terrorists. If we’re going to label this as domestic terrorism, where do we draw that line?”

Sadly, after listening to Monday’s proceedings, I must conclude there is no line. Americans on the political Right are considered an enemy no less lethal than al-Qaeda and minus the civil libertarians to defend them. It’s clear the Biden regime, in cooperation with federal judges, will stop at nothing to destroy the lives of people who protested the 2020 presidential election. This includes people like Paul Hodgkins, who was sentenced to eight months in prison for denouncing what his government was about to do on January 6—certify a rigged, corrupt presidential election—and for supporting Donald Trump. Hodgkins, who lives in a working-class neighborhood in Tampa, took a bus alone from his home in central Florida to Washington, D.C. to attend Donald Trump’s January 6 speech.

After the speech, he walked to Capitol Hill. He later said he had no intention of going inside the building but got caught up in the moment. Like many pro-Trump protesters, Hodgkins did not bring a weapon. He did not assault a police officer or damage any property. He was inside the building for roughly 22 minutes, entered the Senate chamber, hoisted a “Trump 2020” flag, took some selfies, and left. Nonetheless, law enforcement arrested Hodgkins in Tampa on February 16 and charged him with four misdemeanors and one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding. Joe Biden’s Justice Department has added the obstruction charge to roughly 200 misdemeanor cases so federal prosecutors can get jail time for Capitol defendants.

[..] Paul Hodgkins, who had nothing much to start with, will now lose everything. He will live the rest of his life as a convicted felon. A broken man railroaded by a broken country. But it was clear on social media that the bloodlust of the Left still is unsatiated. Destroying him isn’t enough; they want heads to roll. “We are a country ruled by cancel culture now,” Leduc told me. “There is no compassion or grace.”

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You better look good than feel good.

The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada (WS)

At least the Bank of Canada is officially acknowledging the craziness of the Canadian housing market, which has been deemed to be the second biggest housing bubble in the world, behind New Zealand, whose central bank also officially acknowledged its housing bubble, and stopped QE cold turkey, unlike the Fed, which has refused to officially acknowledge anything. Starting last October, the Bank of Canada began the process of ending its asset purchases. Since then, it stopped buying mortgage-backed securities, unwound its holdings of repos and Treasury bills, and cut the amount of its weekly purchases of Government of Canada bonds for the third time, from C$5 billion per week last year to C$2 billion per week now. The assets on its balance sheet dropped from C$575 billion in March to C$487 billion as of last week. And in its pronouncements, the housing bubble looms large.

[..] The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index tracks prices of single-family houses through “sales pairs,” similar to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the US, comparing the price of a house that sold in the current month to the price of the same house when it sold previously. Since it tracks how many more Canadian dollars it takes to buy the same house over time, it is a measure of house price inflation. In the Greater Toronto Area, the house price spike “decelerated”: In June, the index jumped by 2.7% from May, but that crazy increase (annualized 32%!) was the slowest increase since March. Year-over-year, the index jumped by 15.9%. Note the decline in house prices in 2017, and the wavering that followed, until the BoC opened its vault:

All charts here are on the same scale as the chart for Vancouver, with more white space appearing at the top as we go down the list, indicating the slower price increases over the past 20 years, compared to Vancouver. In Hamilton, Ontario, house prices spiked by 3.8% in June from May, and by a mind-boggling 28.0% year-over-year, thank you Bank of Canada hallelujah. But now the BoC, with an eye on this exponential increase in house price inflation, is pulling back its radical monetary policies. Here too, the housing market had started to decline and waver in 2017, and it was the BoC’s pandemic policies that triggered this spike:

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1/3 for China, 1/3 for Bill Gates, 1/3 for Monsanto.

Lawmakers Sound Alarm Over China Purchases Of US Farmland (ZH)

A group of bipartisan lawmakers are sounding the alarm over foreign purchases of prime US agricultural real estate, in an effort to lessen China’s influence on the US economy. Recent legislation advanced by House lawmakers warns that China’s presence in the American food supply poses a national security risk, while key Senators have expressed interest in keeping American farms in American hands, according to Politico. The debate over farm ownership comes amid broader efforts by Congress and the Biden administration to curb the nation’s economic reliance on China, especially in key industries like food, semiconductors and minerals deemed crucial to the supply chain. The call for tighter limits on who owns America’s farms has come from a wide range of political leaders, from former Vice President Mike Pence to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), after gaining momentum seeded in farm states.

“America cannot allow China to control our food supply,” said Pence during a Wednesday speech at the Heritage Foundation in which he urged President Biden and Congress to “end all farm subsidies for land owned by foreign nationals.” By the beginning of 2020, Chinese owners controlled approximately 192,000 agricultural acres in the US, worth around $1.9 billion – including land used for farming, ranching and forestry, according to the Department of Agriculture. It’s a small but growing percentage of the nearly 900 million acres of total US farmland – with the USDA reporting in 2018 that China’s agricultural investments have grown more than tenfold since 2009.

“The Communist Party has actively supported investments in foreign agriculture as part of its “One Belt One Road” economic development plans, aiming to control a greater piece of China’s food supply chain. “The current trend in the U.S. is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly,” Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) warned during a recent House Appropriations hearing.= The committee unexpectedly adopted Newhouse’s amendment to the Agriculture-FDA spending bill (H.R. 4356 (117)) that would block any new agricultural purchases by companies that are wholly or partly controlled by the Chinese government and bar Chinese-owned farms from tapping federal support programs. -Politico

Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) warned that the new law would “perpetuate already rising anti-Asian hate,” however she and committee leaders have indicated a willingness to find a solution as the legislation works its way through Congress, according to the report. It’s expected to reach the House floor before the end of this month as part of a broader appropriations package, however the Senate has yet to draft their own version of the spending bill.

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Nobody cares who shot JFK anymore. We now have the Insurrection. Much bigger threat.

Oliver Stone’s New JFK Assassination Doc Is Being Ignored By The MSM (RT)

When ‘JFK: Revisited’ premiered on Monday, July 12, the mainstream media didn’t praise it or pan it. They pretended it didn’t exist. The New York Times’ vast coverage of Cannes consisted of 11 articles, most focusing on the more salacious content, such as ‘Benedetta’, a steamy story about lesbian nuns, ‘Annette’, a musical where Adam Driver sings while performing oral sex on Marion Cotillard, and ‘Titane’, where a woman has sex with a car and lactates oil. But not once has ‘JFK Revisited’ been mentioned in the supposed ‘paper of record’. The same is true of the Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the New Yorker and every mainstream outlet I searched, as none of them acknowledge ‘JFK Revisited’exists at all.

The only media mentions I found were in trade papers likeVariety and the Hollywood Reporter, and in the British press, in the Times and Daily Telegraph. Their reaction to the film was split, with Variety and The Times giving negative reviews and THR and the Daily Telegraph praising it. Considering that Cuba, intelligence agency nefariousness, and conspiracy theories are making headlines, and that the small critical assessment of the documentary is split, it’s curious that the media is maintaining the status quo by endorsing sexual depravity at Cannes instead of pursuing truth by debating ‘JFK Revisited’. I’m kidding, of course. It’s no surprise that the American myth-making media who bequeath to us the official narrative from which ‘respectable’ people will never deviate, are tossing ‘JFK Revisited’ down the memory hole and lavishing praise on horny nuns and coital Cadillacs.

You see, the establishment loves to distract the masses and hate conspiracies – except for the ones they love. JFK assassination conspiracies are rejected outright as unserious, despite a plethora of damning evidence, because they indict the establishment itself. Half of the talking heads on cable news are former (wink-wink) intelligence community members, and the vast majority of journalists are lapdogs for the intel agencies, so they’re not going to bite the hand that feeds them in service to the truth about the JFK assassination. This same anti-conspiratorial press spent four years breathlessly belching up every half-assed Russia conspiracy story they could conjure – including Russiagate, claims of Russia using microwave weapons or hacking into power grids and voting machines – and shouted them from the rooftops 24/7 until they become presumed true despite a complete lack of evidence.

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“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.”
-George Orwell, 1984

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jul 072021
 
 July 7, 2021  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  98 Responses »


Damien Hirst Spiritual Day Blossom 2018

 

CDC Insists Benefits Of mRNA Vaccines Still “Clearly Outweigh” Risks (ZH)
Ultra-Contagious Lambda Variant Detected In Australia (NZH)
A Thread On Vaccines! (Neary)
Military Members Say They’ll “Quit” If Army Mandates COVID-19 Vaccine (ZH)
Adjuvant Quercetin Supplementation For Early-Stage COVID-19 Infection (Dove)
Santa Clara County Revises Official COVID-19 Death Toll Down by 22% (CBS)
Brazil’s Lower House Allows Breaking Vaccine Patents In Case Of Emergency (RT)
Dershowitz Predicts Charges Against Trump Org’s CFO Will Be Tossed (ZH)
The Wealth Effect Creates Wealth Disparity (WS)

 

 

Someone tweeted this graph and said: early treatment can’t be far off.

 

 

Ioannidis

 

 

Just the fact that they feel they need to re-state it says enough.

CDC Insists Benefits Of mRNA Vaccines Still “Clearly Outweigh” Risks (ZH)

With a new round of data out of Israel seemingly confirming what we have been reporting for weeks now, fresh questions are emerging about the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines (those produced by Pfizer and Moderna) and whether they’re truly 90%+ effective, as advertised. As the number of confirmed COVID cases topped 184MM, the Israeli health ministry shared preliminary data appearing to confirm that these vaccines are less effective at preventing infection via the Delta variant. Although the data must still be peer reviewed, the Israelis went so far as to proclaim that the true efficacy number is closer to 64%. To be sure, the vaccines continue to mostly prevent severe infection and death (though they’re only 93% effective at this, less than the 100% number initially touted by their corporate parents).

Now, with President Joe Biden publicly addressing the administration’s ongoing effort to combat COVID as case numbers continue to creep higher in the US, the CDC has chimed in – right on cue – to remind the world that the benefits of everybody taking the vaccine still far outweigh the risks posed by the rare (but sometimes deadly) side effects that have now also been documented. As we reported, the FDA now recognizes that the rare heart inflammation seen in some patients, including members of the military, have been linked to mRNA vaccines. So, with criticism and skepticism directed at the US-made vaccines mounting, the CDC on Tuesday tried its hand at a little damage control.

Per Bloomberg: “The benefits of messenger RNA Covid-19 vaccines clearly outweigh the risks despite heart complications seen in a relatively small number of mostly young men, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly 1,200 cases of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart wall, were reported in people who received mRNA vaccines, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Tuesday. But with about 296 million doses of mRNA vaccines having been administered as of June 11, the benefit is clear in all populations, including adolescents and young adults, the researchers reported.”

For the Biden Administration, the stakes have never been higher. COVID cases are rising, and many are blaming Southern and western states with lower vaccination rates as a potential vulnerability that could ignite another wave of COVID.

Tucker life expectancy

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Reaction? More lockdowns. Which have failed for 18 months now. And what are they trying to achieve? How long can you separate the entire country from the world? Until you reach zero, and then you can open and start all over again?

Ultra-Contagious Lambda Variant Detected In Australia (NZH)

The world’s most transmissible Covid-19 strain has found its way into Australia – with worrying research revealing it may be even more infectious than the Delta variant. The Lambda strain has puzzled World Health Organisation scientists after it spread to nearly 30 countries in the last four weeks. The mutation was originally discovered in Peru and is related to 81 per cent of the country’s cases since April. Peru currently has the highest Covid mortality rate in the world. In Australia, the variant was detected in an overseas traveller who had been in hotel quarantine in New South Wales in April, according to national genomics database AusTrakka. Early research shows it has not spread among the community in Australia.

Lambda has just started to make its way into the community in the UK, with six cases reported on Monday. It is a worrying sign for the UK, which has recently relaxed Covid-19 restrictions after 37 million people received at least one dose of a vaccine. The country had returned to normality in recent weeks, with pubs flooded by revellers enjoying their country’s recent success at Euro 2020. However, these civil liberties could change if the highly transmissible Lambda strain spreads across the community. Professor Pablo Tsukayama of Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru, said the strain has exploded in Peru, suggesting “its rate of transmission is higher than any other variant”. His claims were backed up by a report by Jeff Barrett from London’s Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Welcome Sanger Institute.

“Lambda has a unique pattern of seven mutations in the spike protein that the virus uses to infect human cells. Researchers are particularly intrigued by one mutation called L452Q, which is similar to the L452R mutation to contribute to the high infectiousness of the Delta variant,” Barrett told the Financial Times. There is also concerning research that current vaccines are not as effective in neutralising the new strand, according to a report from scientists at the University of Chile in Santiago. “Our data show for the first time that mutations present in the spike protein of the Lambda variant confer escape to neutralising antibodies and increased infectivity,” they wrote in a pre paper report published last week.

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official Product Information file from the European Medicines Agency

A Thread On Vaccines! (Neary)

Many people have already taken the AstraZeneca vaccine, or want to take it. So I thought I’d read its official Product Information file from the European Medicines Agency. Some might call this “the small print”. Here is what I learned: Firstly, is it safe for children? “The safety and efficacy of Vaxzevria in children and adolescents (less than 18 years of age) have not yet been established. No data are available.” How about people with weak immune symptoms – is it safe for them? “The efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine have not been assessed in immunocompromised individuals, including those receiving immunosuppressant therapy. How long does protection last? The EMA says that ongoing clinical trials will tell us: “The duration of protection afforded by the vaccine is unknown as it is still being determined by ongoing clinical trials.”

How about older people – will the vaccine work for them? Many of them have already taken it, of course. This is what the document says: “Currently available clinical trial data do not allow an estimate of vaccine efficacy in subjects over 55 years of age.” Sounds important! And for pregnant women: “There is limited experience with use of Vaxzevria in pregnant women. Animal reproductive toxicity studies have not been completed. Based upon results from the preliminary study, no effects are expected on development of the fetus.” Again, later in the document: “Animal studies of potential toxicity to reproduction and development have not yet been completed. A preliminary reproductive toxicity study in mice does not show toxicity in dams or foetuses.” Hopefully the animal trials will show it is safe!

How about studies relating to the risk of cancer and genetic mutations? “Neither genotoxicity nor carcinogenicity studies were performed. The components of the vaccine are not expected to have genotoxic potential.” Adverse reactions: – headache (52.7%) – fatigue (53.0%) – muscle pain (43.9%) – malaise (44.4%) – feverishness (33.5%), fever (7.6%), – chills (32.2%) – joint pain (26.6%) – nausea (22.2%). Most reactions were “mild to moderate in severity and usually resolved within a few days” And now the results: In the control group, 3% suffered “Covid” with at least one symptom. In the vaccinated group, 1.2% suffered “Covid” with at least one symptom. None of the vaccinated group were hospitalised by Covid, versus 0.2% of the control group (8 people out of 5,210) It has the medical equivalent of a provisional driving licence: “This medicinal product has been authorised under a so-called ‘conditional approval’ scheme. This means that further evidence on this medicinal product is awaited.”

https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/product-information/vaxzevria-previously-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-epar-product-information_en.pdf

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“I’ve been contacted by members of our voluntary military who say they will quit if the COVID vaccine is mandated”

Military Members Say They’ll “Quit” If Army Mandates COVID-19 Vaccine (ZH)

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he was informed by some members of the U.S. military that they would quit if the armed forces mandated a COVID-19 vaccine, coming after a report claimed that Army headquarters told commanders to prepare for mandatory vaccinations in September. “I’ve been contacted by members of our voluntary military who say they will quit if the COVID vaccine is mandated. I introduced HR 3860 to prohibit any mandatory requirement that a member of the Armed Forces receive a vaccination against COVID-19. It now has 24 sponsors,” Massie wrote on Twitter. He didn’t provide more details.

It isn’t clear how the service members could quit or how many would try to do so. Once a member reports to their first duty station, they are obligated to stay within the service of the armed forces. If a service member leaves without approval, they can be declared AWOL, or absent without leave. The Republican lawmaker was referring to a report published by the Army Times over the weekend that detailed an executive order sent by the Department of the Army Headquarters that commands should be prepared to administer COVID-19 vaccines starting as early as Sept. 1. The date is contingent on when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues its full approval of the vaccines. The Army Times reported that it had obtained the directive, HQDA EXORD 225-21, COVID-19 Steady State.

“Commanders will continue COVID-19 vaccination operations and prepare for a directive to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for service members [on or around] 01 September 2021, pending full FDA licensure. Commands will be prepared to provide a backbrief on servicemember vaccination status and way ahead for completion once the vaccine is mandated,” the directive reads. An EXORD is a directive issued by the president to the defense secretary to execute a military operation.

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Didn’t see this about quercetin before. We use it to make sure zinc gets into the cell.

Adjuvant Quercetin Supplementation For Early-Stage COVID-19 Infection (Dove)

The current pandemic, known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) triggered by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is provoking devastating health, psychological and financial consequences worldwide.1–3 Although several vaccines have been developed, due to limitation in their manufacturing and distribution capacities, the desired globally “herd immunity” still appears to be a distant mirage. In addition, the constant mutations in SARS-CoV-2 put the effectiveness of these vaccination campaigns at serious risk regardless of its speed.4 The current antivirus agents being used, including hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, lopinavir/ritonavir, have not shown any conclusive benefits.

New possible treatments that are safe, affordable, and worldwide available targeting the SARS-CoV-2 are therefore urgently required.6 SARS-CoV-2 proteases, like 3-chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro), papain-like protease (PLpro), RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, spike (S) protein and human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) are considered possible targets for developing effective anti-COVID-19 drugs.7 Recently, molecular docking studies have suggested the possible binding interaction of quercetin with the 3CLpro, PLpro, and S-hACE2 complex.8–12 Some recent results, obtained by biophysical techniques, appear to support the results of the molecular docking studies.

Quercetin, a flavonol not naturally present in the human body, is the most abundant polyphenol in fruits and vegetable and is widely used as a dietary supplement to boost the immune system and promote a healthy lifestyle. Quercetin is characterized by three crucial properties: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory. The combination of these actions allows quercetin to be a potential candidate to support all unhealthy conditions where oxidative stress, inflammation and immunity are involved.

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That’s not much.

Santa Clara County Revises Official COVID-19 Death Toll Down by 22% (CBS)

On Friday, Santa Clara County health leaders announced a drop in its COVID-19 death toll by nearly a quarter after it refined its approach in reporting the data. The county reported that it had reviewed each COVID-19 fatality and was only counting those whose cause of death was from the virus and not those who tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of death but did not necessarily die from the virus. The new approach meant that the death toll dropped by 22%, specifically from 2,201 to 1,696 deaths. “It is important to go back and do this accounting to see if COVID was actually the cause of death,” said University of California San Francisco Prof. of Medicine and Infectious Disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi.


“I think that transparent communication is an upside, I mean, in the sense that it’s true that if we did this across the nation, it would bring our death rate lower. A downside of that, could be that people will say, ‘Well, it wasn’t as serious as you said.’” The refined approach in Santa Clara County comes as county officials try to figure out the true impact of the virus on the community. Last month, Alameda County health leaders refined their approach to reporting COVID-19 deaths as well and also registered a drop in that county’s death toll by about a quarter. “In the midst of everything COVID people were sort of putting down that cause of death as COVID,” Gandhi said. “It is important to go back and do this accounting to see if COVID was actually the cause of death.”

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Why break patents of experimental drugs?

Brazil’s Lower House Allows Breaking Vaccine Patents In Case Of Emergency (RT)

The lower house of the Brazilian Congress has voted for a bill that would legalize the violation of patents for vaccines and medications in the event of a national health emergency. It will now go back to the Senate for approval. On Tuesday, the Chamber of Deputies voted 425 to 15 in favor of PL 12/2021. Sponsored by Aécio Neves da Cunha, a Social Democrat from Minas Gerais, the bill would authorize Congress to issue patent-breaking licenses “in case of a public health emergency,” without the approval of the head of state. President Jair Bolsonaro has opposed the proposal. The bill will now return to the Senate, which will decide whether to approve amendments adopted during Chamber debate. “There is an understanding that the changes… we introduced in the bill will also be incorporated in the Senate, which will maintain the text that we have negotiated here,” Neves said, according to Reuters.


One significant difference from the original is that patent holders will no longer be required to provide biological material to companies licensed to violate intellectual property under the emergency rules. The provision was declared “impractical,” “arbitrary” and in violation of Brazil’s constitutionally guaranteed principle of free enterprise. Another amendment would see IP holders compensated to the tune of 1.5% of the net sales involving the infringed medication or vaccine. The law was hailed by the Brazilian branch the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The measure “improves the current patent law, authorizing the application of compulsory licensing in a more complete and efficient manner, in this health emergency and others,” said MSF’s Brazilian coordinator Felipe Carvalho.

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“You can’t get a city district attorney indicting somebody for failing to pay federal income taxes when the IRS hasn’t even gone after him..”

Dershowitz Predicts Charges Against Trump Org’s CFO Will Be Tossed (ZH)

Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz says he believes federal tax fraud charges filed in New York City against The Trump Organization’s longtime finance chief will end up being dismissed. “You can’t get a city district attorney indicting somebody for failing to pay federal income taxes when the IRS hasn’t even gone after him,” Dershowitz said in a July 3 interview with Newsmax. “One of the charges, a major charge, is grand larceny against the United States government. “That shows the extent to which they are prepared to stretch existing law and the Constitution to give them authority over federal taxes. It’s absurd.”

On July 1, The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, were charged in what New York prosecutors called a “sweeping and audacious” tax fraud scheme in which Trump’s company and Weisselberg allegedly cheated the state and city out of taxes by conspiring to pay senior executives off the books by way of fringe benefits, such as apartment rent and car payments. Prosecutor Carey Dunne said in court that the alleged scheme was “orchestrated by the most senior executives” at the firm and got “secret pay raises at the expense of state and federal taxpayers.” Weisselberg and attorneys for The Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty.

Ahead of the unsealing of the criminal indictment on July 1, The Trump Organization criticized Manhattan prosecutors for what they claimed was a partisan criminal investigation designed to hurt Trump politically. In a July 1 statement, The Trump Organization said the probe “is not justice; this is politics.” Dunne pushed back on the claim, saying that “politics has no role in the jury chamber, and I can assure you it had no role here.” Alan Futerfas, a member of The Trump Organization’s defense team, disagreed. “I believe the political forces driving today’s events are just that. It’s political, politically driven, notwithstanding the statements by my colleague at the DA’s office in court today,” Futerfas said.

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The Fed will end the US if the US doesn’t end the Fed first.

The Wealth Effect Creates Wealth Disparity (WS)

“The ‘wealth effect’ is the notion that when households become richer as a result of a rise in asset values, such as corporate stock prices or home values, they spend more and stimulate the broader economy,” the NBER said. And yes, after making about 10% of the population a lot richer and producing immense concentration of wealth at the top 1%, there are some minor trickle-down effects on the rest of the economy. Meanwhile, the already immense wealth disparity in the US between the top 10% and the bottom 50% – or worse still, the top 1% and the bottom 50% – blows out. Turns out, the lower 50% of Americans holds practically no stocks, no bonds, and very little real estate, according to the wealth distribution data from the Federal Reserve.

And these folks cannot benefit at all from the wealth effect. For them, life (such as housing) just gets more expensive as a result of the wealth effect. From the Federal Reserve’s data, as of Q1 2021: – The average household in the richest 10% owns $2.6 million in stocks and $1.2 million in real estate. – The average household in the richest 1% holds $16 million in stocks and $4 million in real estate. – The average household in the bottom 50% holds essentially no stocks, no bonds, and only small amounts of real estate. The wealthiest 1% is where the real concentration of wealth takes place. – The wealthiest 15 US individuals have a combined wealth of $2 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (June 2021). They benefit more than anyone from the wealth effect.

The Wealth Effect purposefully increases asset prices. But only the top 10% of households have significant amounts in assets. The bottom 50% hold nearly no stocks because they don’t make enough money to put anything aside. Many of these people live from paycheck to paycheck. But the Wealth Effect also makes housing more expensive – both buying and renting – and thereby the bottom 50% disproportionately pay for the Wealth Effect. For the bottom 50%, the Wealth Effect is a negative. This chart is from my Wealth Effect Monitor.

Read more …

 

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Feb 182021
 
 February 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Ansel Adams Church, Taos, Pueblo 1942

 

Masked Drivers Banned From Wearing Sunglasses & Hats in Saxony (RT)
Facebook Blocks News From Australia – Yes, The Entire Country (CTH)
The Deplatforming Of Australia (Mark Pesce)
Hong Kong Aiming For Legislation To Ban Insulting Public Officials (ZH)
Vaccine Rollout Will Trigger New Covid Variants, Oxford Scientist Warns (RT)
Many Top NBA Players Hesitant To Promote Coronavirus Vaccines (ESPN)
Waitress Fired From NYC Eatery For Not Getting Covid Vaccine (DM)
How Well You Fared With Covid19 Might Be Down To Neanderthal Genes (RT)
Cuomo-gate: A Nixonian Scandal Is Engulfing New York (DP)
Texas Governor Blames Power Outages on Wind, Solar (CD)
Subzero Rates Are Coming to the US and the UK (Lacalle)
Twenty Days Of Infamy: The January 2017 Red Flags The FBI Blew Past (JTN)
VP Harris Gets Two Pinocchios For ‘Starting From Scratch’ Comment (JTN)
‘A Love As Real As Climate Change’: Tucker Carlson About Joe & Jill Biden (RT)

 

 

Perfectly in line with today’s news. Insanity rules. Just find someone to hate.

 

 

Ha ha ha. Brilliant. What people think of. “… general facial features” of the driver must still be visible to the road safety cameras…

Masked Drivers Banned From Wearing Sunglasses & Hats in Saxony (RT)

Drivers must still be identifiable by traffic cameras, even when they follow existing health protocols and wear masks, a new rule in Germany’s eastern region says. According to the Bild newspaper, Saxony became the first region in Germany to ban hats and sunglasses on masked drivers. “Wearing a hat and sunglasses in addition to a mask that covers the face and mouth makes [the driver] unrecognizable. So that’s not allowed,” Saxony’s Interior Minister Roland Woller said. Woller explained that “general facial features” of the driver must still be visible to the road safety cameras.


He added that officials responsible for handing out fines to drivers were advised to handle the new rule on a case-by-case basis. Starting from Monday, people are required to wear masks in vehicles in Saxony if members of more than two households are traveling together. Last month, Germans were mandated to wear medical-grade respirator-type masks on public transport and when going to supermarkets. Simple cloth or homemade masks are not allowed in such cases.

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Will this wake up more politicians?

Facebook Blocks News From Australia – Yes, The Entire Country (CTH)

Australian officials are pushing back against the totalitarian grip of Big Tech. {Go Deep} As a result of investigations into Google and Facebook the Australian government is set to establish fines against tech companies for anti-trust violations. However, some officials are now discussing taking actions that are beyond civil lawsuits, and are now advocating for arrest of company officers for unlawful conduct. The battle lines are being drawn, and in response to the Australian government position on anti-trust Facebook (feeling they are elite and above the law) has now decided to block all news articles from the entire country from their social media platform.


FACEBOOK ANNOUNCEMENT – […] this means people and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook. Globally, posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers is also restricted. To do this, we are using a combination of technologies to restrict news content and we will have processes to review any content that was inadvertently removed.

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“Does Facebook truly believe that their actions will change the political outcome? Or are they sending a signal to other sovereign powers—such as the EU, India and the USA—that Facebook is itself a sovereign power..”

The Deplatforming Of Australia (Mark Pesce)

Can a whole country be deplatformed? That question confronts all of Australia today, as Facebook (for Facebook, read Mark Zuckerberg, who autocratically controls the social media giant) suddenly went nuclear, blocking all postings from news sites by its Australian users, and blocking those same users from seeing news postings from any source, anywhere in the world. All of this seemingly in response to a law that hasn’t even passed through Parliament. It feels like a dummy spit for the ages, the kind of moment that historians will simply chuckle over—and it is. But there’s much more here: never before in history has any technology firm gone head-to-head with the legitimate democratic apparatus of a highly advanced state. Australia is neither an economic backwater nor new to the Internet. That’s what makes this all a bit terrifying.

The cheek of it: a trillion-dollar social media firm twists a few dials, drops in some barely-functioning algorithms—that blocked NASA and The Betoota Advocate along with the ABC, News, Seven and Nine—and voila! the entire media landscape alters, bringing the nation’s focus to a foreign technology firm that appears to be acting to interrupt the legislative workings of a democratic sovereign power. If Facebook had acted after the bill had passed through Parliament, after the Governor General had given the law royal assent, then, perhaps, it would have seemed somewhat proportionate—just a protection of business interests. Happening now—in the middle of the political process, and seemingly designed to derail that process—it feels a bit more like the Capitol Insurrection: a bit of violent theatre designed to derail another political process.

Does Facebook truly believe that their actions will change the political outcome? Or are they sending a signal to other sovereign powers—such as the EU, India and the USA—that Facebook is itself a sovereign power, and will use that power to assert its own interests? Both of these alternatives feel like a scenario from dystopian science fiction. Yet this is the problem we now find ourselves in with Big Tech. We’ve nurtured these firms with our attention and our dollars, both of which they’ve converted to raw power. And now, when that power has been turned against us, we recognise the true cost of our addictions to our newsfeeds, our community groups—even those status updates from our families. All of it fed a monster, now unleashed, wreaking havoc with Australia’s democratic interests.

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Facebook, Hong Kong, the vaccine industry, what’s the difference?

Hong Kong Aiming For Legislation To Ban Insulting Public Officials (ZH)

Hong Kong’s government is currently in the process of introducing legislation that would prohibit insulting public officials. We can only imagine the insults that were muttered when local citizens read the news from local media. Hong Kong’s Security Bureau is in the midst of leading a study on how the legislation could work and how it would be overseen, according to Bloomberg. Local outlets said, citing Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip, that the issue was under examination. The legislation would be part of a broader agenda by China to “erode basic freedoms” in Hong Kong. The move would be the biggest to censor free speech in Hong Kong since China’s institution of a law that has been used to combat mass protests in Hong Kong.


Beijing has also implemented a “patriotism test” to weed out pro-Democracy lawmakers. The test prompted mass resignations from opposition members in the Legislative Council last November, Bloomberg notes. Bloomberg also noted that Hong Kong judges and law enforcement are unlikely to challenge any new legislation from Beijing: Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s top court ordered that media tycoon and democracy activist Jimmy Lai remain in jail ahead of his trial on foreign collusion charges, a victory for Beijing that suggested Hong Kong judges were unlikely to challenge the security law. Hong Kong police also separately arrested Lai for assisting in an activist’s attempt to flee to Taiwan, the Oriental Daily reported on Wednesday, without citing anyone. Recall, back in June 2020, Hong Kong passed a law banning insults to China’s National Anthem.

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There are thousands already. If you boost your immune system, that is much less scary.

Vaccine Rollout Will Trigger New Covid Variants, Oxford Scientist Warns (RT)

A senior scientist at Oxford University has warned the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will prompt the virus to mutate, driven by “immunological selection” rather than the adaptations we have seen so far. Speaking to the UK Commons Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday, Professor Sir John Bell, Oxford’s regius professor of medicine, said that the Covid-19 mutations observed so far are a result of the virus adapting to be more effective in its new hosts, humans. “Most of the variants we have seen so far represent that kind of adaptation to a new species; it’s a bit like moving into a new apartment, you are shuffling the sofa around and making sure the TV is in the right place,” Bell told colleagues and lawmakers.


“What we will see between now and the end of the year is a number of variants which are driven by immunological selection, largely by the vaccines, and that will add another layer of complexity.” Bell added that a number of variants that currently exist have already demonstrated some “quite profound resistance” to existing immunity, either from previous Covid-19 infection or vaccines, citing people who have been reinfected by the Brazilian and South African strains. Despite this, Bell said there was good news in the fight against Covid-19, in that current vaccines do appear to have an impact on existing variants and are capable of stopping severe disease. “We need to be conscious of the new variants, we need to be ready to make new vaccines if we need them, but I am pretty clear our existing vaccines are going to work to some extent [against known variants],” the Oxford scientist stated.

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“Player apprehensions about receiving the vaccine are consistent with those that also exist in Black communities..”

Many Top NBA Players Hesitant To Promote Coronavirus Vaccines (ESPN)

Many of the NBA’s top players are expressing apprehension about accepting invitations to participate in league-sponsored public service announcements to bolster broader acceptance of the coronavirus vaccine, sources told ESPN. The NBA’s outreach to the agents of many of the league’s elite players — with hopes of getting stars to participate in PSAs to promote the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine — has been met with a tepid response, sources said. Player apprehensions about receiving the vaccine are consistent with those that also exist in Black communities throughout the country, agents and players told ESPN.

Sources describe a number of factors contributing to many players’ reluctance to participate, including uncertainty about taking the vaccine themselves, reluctance to advocate its use for others and resistance to extending favors to a league amid the largely unpopular plans for an All-Star Game. On a call with league general managers on Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver continued to tell top team executives that the league wouldn’t “jump the line” of the general public to get vaccines, but he suggested an optimistic timeline that included the possibility of late March and early April for the start of player vaccinations, sources said. Nevertheless, that’s considered a fluid timeline, largely meant to reaffirm to teams the need to be prepared for whenever the opportunity to vaccinate players comes from public health officials, sources said.

The NBA shared with teams an expectation of 70 million to 100 million vaccine doses likely distributed by mid-March. In the hours after the call with the league’s GMs, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the nation’s leading infectious disease expert — told CNN that his original hope of April as a target for widespread vaccine availability for those outside of priority groups could be pushed back. “That timeline will probably be prolonged into mid- to late May and early June,” Fauci told CNN.

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“The way I see it, getting the vaccine is for me. It protects me. If I am not getting it, it’s my choice, and I’d only be hurting myself,” she said. The coronavirus vaccines available haven’t been tested on pregnant women, but also haven’t been shown to affect pregnancy and are viewed as generally safe. [..] The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that getting vaccinated is “a personal choice for people who are pregnant..”

Waitress Fired From NYC Eatery For Not Getting Covid Vaccine (DM)

A New York waitress was fired from her job on Monday after she told her bosses at a tavern that she wanted to wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine until she could learn more about its side effects on women who are pregnant. Bonnie Jacobson, 34, said she is not an ‘anti-vaxxer’ but wanted to wait for more research as she recently starting trying to get pregnant with her husband, she told DailyMail.com. Jacobson, who started working at the Red Hook Tavern in August, said the restaurant first sent out an email on February 8 which said: ‘If you choose to get vaccinated, here’s what you need to know.’ That email, reviewed by DailyMail.com, did not tell employees that vaccinations were required.

Jacobson said she told her manager during a staff meeting that she wanted more time to research the vaccine and said her manager initially understood her concerns, telling her she would not be required to get the shot. But the Brooklyn tavern changed its mind days later on February 12 and sent workers and email noting the vaccines were mandatory. Please be advised that we will require that all employees receive the vaccination,’ notes the email. This will be mandatory for all existing employees and any new hires. The exception to this policy will be if your own personal health or disability prohibits you from obtaining this vaccination. We encourage you to consult your healthcare professional to determine if getting a vaccine is right for you.’

Jacobson then emailed her employers on Saturday and said that she did not yet want to get the vaccine, which she said she ‘fully supports.’ ‘I am choosing not to get the vaccine because there just isn’t enough data or research at this point on its effects on fertility,’ she wrote to her boss.

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How do I find out?

How Well You Fared With Covid19 Might Be Down To Neanderthal Genes (RT)

Has Covid-19 floored you? Or did you only suffer mild symptoms? The answer to how your body responds to coronavirus could very well be influenced by the Neanderthal genes you carry, according to researchers in Germany. Svante Paabo and Hugo Zeberg of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have been looking to the genes inherited from our Neanderthal ancestors – and the pair’s studies suggest that our modern-day responses to Covid-19 are part of a genetic lottery played out over 40,000 years. Their latest study suggests that a genetic mutation in genes linked to our ancestral Neanderthal relatives might reduce the risk of severe infection by about 22 percent.

The mutation, which helps fight off RNA viruses, has been found in all Neanderthal DNA samples tested and is present in about 30 percent of samples from people with European and Asian backgrounds today. In September, the pair co-authored another study that looked at a different set of Neanderthal genes found in some 50 percent of Asians and 16 percent of Europeans. People that carried that particular gene sequence were found to be more susceptible to developing serious respiratory problems after contracting Covid-19. Neanderthals are known to have lived alongside – and interbred with – modern humans in Europe and Asia before becoming extinct some 40,000 years ago.

Paabo and Zeberg compared DNA samples from 2,200 people with samples taken from four ancient humans – a 70,000-year-old Neanderthal from Siberia, a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal from Croatia, and two separates samples from Denisova Cave in Siberia, to reach their findings for the most recent study. Previously, they had looked at samples from some 3,000 people for the study published in Nature.

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How is he still in office?

Cuomo-gate: A Nixonian Scandal Is Engulfing New York (DP)

The biggest political scandal in America right now is playing out in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in a lot of trouble — and rightly so. The Democratic governor did not merely wildly mismanage his state’s response to the COVID emergency, while netting himself a lucrative book deal and an Emmy. He did something worse. In the middle of a public health emergency, he used his office to help one of his largest political donors shield itself from legal consequences as 15,000 nursing home residents died from COVID — and then he and his administration underreported that death toll, helping the same donor. The Daily Poster had been covering the story for months before it exploded this week. The scandal is a cautionary tale of hubris, megalomania, and corruption that left a literal mountain of preventable COVID deaths in its wake.

Now we are about to see whether a blue state’s democratic institutions can hold wrongdoers accountable, or whether America’s culture of impunity can once again protect the powerful from facing any consequences at all. Amid a cacophony of demands for Cuomo to resign, the governor and his aides are frantically trying to cover up the basic facts of what happened, and that includes launching a Nixonian campaign of intimidation and retribution against Democratic lawmakers who have for months been sounding the alarm. Two national news outlets today detailed Cuomo’s new campaign of retribution against one lawmaker in his own party who dared to ask questions about constituents and family members who died under Cuomo’s nursing home policies.

Cuomo held a press conference to publicly berate the same Democrat, while another New York news outlet reported that other lawmakers are now facing threats. For months, these legislators’ questions were ignored by a national media that has seemed far more interested in valorizing Cuomo than in reporting inconvenient facts. But those facts are worth reviewing, because they illustrate the direct link between the underreporting of nursing home deaths and the push for corporate immunity. They also spotlight the very real human carnage that can result when an imperious, out-of-control politician is unwilling to engage in any contrition, self-reflection, or reform.

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Whether it’s Cuomo or Abbott, it’s clear that crises expose incompetence.

Texas Governor Blames Power Outages on Wind, Solar (CD)

As millions of Texans struggled desperately to keep warm amid power outages stemming from the devastating winter storm sweeping the nation, the state’s Republican governor late Tuesday blamed solar and wind for the blackouts—despite the fact that Texas relies overwhelmingly on fossil fuels—and claimed the crisis shows that the Green New Deal would be a “deadly deal” for the United States. “Texas is blessed with multiple sources of energy, such natural gas and oil and nuclear, as well as solar and wind,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in an appearance on “Hannity” Tuesday night. “Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid. And that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power in a statewide basis.”

Abbott was far from the first Republican to deploy such blatantly false talking points in response to the ongoing crisis in Texas, which has left at least 10 people dead. But the governor’s decision to appear on Fox News and attack a policy that has not even been implemented as Texans resorted to burning their belongings to keep their children warm was viewed as yet another example of his failed leadership. “Five million Texans are without power tonight and temperatures are below freezing. People will most certainly die tonight because of it,” said Sawyer Hackett, senior adviser to Julián Castro. “But Gov. Abbott had time to go on Sean Hannity to blame the Green New Deal.” Citing an official with the state’s Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT), The Texas Tribune reported that as of Tuesday afternoon “16 gigawatts of renewable energy generation, mostly wind generation, was offline. Nearly double that, 30 gigawatts, had been lost from thermal sources, which includes gas, coal and nuclear energy.”

“Texas is a gas state,” Michael Webber, an energy resources professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Tribune. “Gas is failing in the most spectacular fashion right now.” But that hasn’t stopped Texas Republicans like Abbott and Rep. Dan Crenshaw from attempting to blame frozen wind turbines for outages that could continue for days, endangering lives and coronavirus vaccines. In response to Abbott’s “Hannity” interview, Texas voting rights advocate Charlie Bonner tweeted, “He is lying. People are dying, and he is on Fox News lying to you. We are living in fear and Greg Abbott is playing politics with our lives.” “Greg Abbott doesn’t care if you live or die tonight so take care of each other, my friends,” Bonner added. “We’re living in a failed state.”

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“The financial repression of central banks begins with a misdiagnosis assuming that low growth and below-target inflation is a problem of demand, not of the previous excess..”

Subzero Rates Are Coming to the US and the UK (Lacalle)

Negative rates are the destruction of money, an economic aberration based on the mistakes of many central banks and some of their economists, who all start from a wrong diagnosis: the idea that economic agents do not take more credit or invest more because they choose to save too much and therefore saving must be penalized to stimulate the economy. Excuse the bluntness, but it is a ludicrous idea. Inflation and growth are not low due to excess savings, but because of excess debt, which perpetuates overcapacity with low rates and high liquidity and zombifies the economy by subsidizing the low-productivity and highly indebted sectors and penalizing high productivity with rising and confiscatory taxation.

Historical evidence of negative rates shows that they do not help reduce debt, they incentivize it. They do not strengthen the credit capacity of families: the prices of nonreplicable assets (real estate, etc.) skyrocket because of monetary excess and because the lower cost of debt does not compensate for the greater risk. Investment and credit growth are not subdued because economic agents are ignorant or saving too much, but because they don’t have amnesia. Families and businesses are more cautious in their investment and spending decisions, because they perceive, correctly, that the reality of the economy they see each day does not correspond to the cost and the quantity of money.

It is completely incorrect to think that families and businesses are not investing or spending. They are only spending less than what central planners would want. However, that is not a mistake from the private sector side, but a typical case of central planners’ misguided estimates, which come from using 2001–07 as “base case” of investment and credit demand instead of what those years really were: a bubble. The argument of the central planners is based on an inconsistency: that rates are negative because markets demand them, not because they are imposed by the central bank. If that is the case and the result would be the same, why don’t they let rates float freely? Because it is false.

Think for a moment what type of investment, company, or financial decision is profitable with rates at –0.5 percent but unviable with rates at 1 percent. A time bomb. It is no surprise that investment in bubble-prone sectors is rising with negative rates and that nonreplicable and financial assets are skyrocketing. Instead of strengthening economies, negative rates make governments more dependent on cheap debt. Public debt trades at artificially low yields, and politicians abandon any reformist impulse, preferring to accumulate more debt. The financial repression of central banks begins with a misdiagnosis assuming that low growth and below-target inflation is a problem of demand, not of the previous excess, and ends up perpetuating the bubbles that it sought to solve.

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“Between Jan. 4, 2017 and Jan. 24, 2017, nearly every major assumption of the FBI’s Russia collusion theory was gutted..”

Twenty Days Of Infamy: The January 2017 Red Flags The FBI Blew Past (JTN)

From its earliest moments, the FBI’s Russia collusion probe was always fraught with warning signs. Agents were told Christopher Steele provided faulty information, had likely been compromised by Russian intel disinformation, wanted to defeat Donald Trump, had leaked to the media and was being paid by Hillary Clinton, who herself might be carrying out an epic dirty political trick to vilify Trump with false information to distract from her own scandals. Those intelligence reports alone should have given agents pause. The fact that Steele had been terminated by the FBI as an informant for leaking also should have weighed heavily.

But if ever there were red lights screaming for the FBI to end the counterintelligence probe, they were flashing during a harrowing 20-day window in January 2017 as Barack Obama was leaving office and Trump was coming in. Between Jan. 4, 2017 and Jan. 24, 2017, nearly every major assumption of the FBI’s Russia collusion theory was gutted, according to recently declassified evidence reviewed by Just the News. Months of investigating Trump adviser Mike Flynn had turned up “no derogatory information,” and agents recommended shutting down that part of the inquiry after concluding Flynn wasn’t aiding Moscow. Two separate informant recordings of Trump adviser Carter Page — the target of an ongoing FISA warrant — produced stunning evidence of innocence.

U.S. intelligence had concluded a key allegation in the Steele dossier was Russian disinformation. And Steele’s primary sub-source — whom the FBI assessed was likely tied to Russian intelligence — discounted much of the information attributed to him in the dossier. Even Director James Comey was telling colleagues there wasn’t much corroborated in the dossier. And yet somehow, some way, the FBI accelerated the investigation even though overwhelming evidence showed — as lead investigative agent Peter Strzok would later text his colleague — there was “no big there, there.”

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It doesn’t matter. She will be believed by her fans, and that’s all that counts.

VP Harris Gets Two Pinocchios For ‘Starting From Scratch’ Comment (JTN)

A Washington Post fact check has given a statement made recently by Vice President Kamala Harris a rating of two Pinocchios. “There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. We were leaving it to the states and local leaders to try and figure it out. And so in many ways, we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year,” Harris said during an interview with Axios. In the Post fact checking piece Glenn Kessler writes that Harris “gets into trouble when she says ‘we’re starting from scratch.’ The Biden administration appears to have had to fill in the blanks of the Trump plan and certainly did speed up the tempo of what the Trump administration envisioned. It has added a federal component and pushed for funding for states,” Kessler wrote.


“Biden administration officials may be proud of what they have accomplished, but they shouldn’t suggest that nothing was in place when they walked in the door. They have built on an existing structure left behind by the Trump team. Harris modified her comment by saying ‘in many ways,’ but that’s not quite enough to avoid Pinocchios,” he wrote. Two Pinocchios is like a rating of “half-true,” according to the Post’s explanation of the Pinocchio Test ratings. “Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people,” the Post says about the two Pinocchio rating.

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Ha ha ha. “His latest comments quickly sparked a liberal uproar on social media, with critics calling the Fox News host “bitter,”“offensive,” and “deranged.”

‘A Love As Real As Climate Change’: Tucker Carlson About Joe & Jill Biden (RT)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has outraged Democrats once again after he appeared to suggest President Joe Biden’s relationship with his wife is a carefully-devised PR campaign, mockingly saying it is “as real as climate change.” Reacting to the glowing coverage celebrating Biden’s public displays of affection with his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, and glee over a supposed return to ‘normalcy’ following chilly public interactions between former President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, Carlson put his own spin on the situation. “Not since Antony dined with Cleopatra at downtown Antioch, before they killed themselves obviously, has a country witnessed a love story as moving and poignant as Jill and Joe’s,” said Carlson sarcastically on his Tuesday show.


“No, ladies and gentlemen, Jill Biden is not Joe’s caretaker. She isn’t his nurse. She’s his fully-equal romantic partner. Together they are like besotted teens, yet at the same time they are the wise and knowing parents of a nation,” he continued. He then implied the public displays of affection were “part of a slick PR campaign devised by cynical consultants,” designed to “hide the president’s senility,” adding that in his view, their love is “as real as climate change.” Carlson has previously shot down concerns about climate change, calling it “systemic racism in the sky” – “You can’t see it, but rest assured it’s everywhere and it’s deadly.” His latest comments quickly sparked a liberal uproar on social media, with critics calling the Fox News host “bitter,”“offensive,” and “deranged.”

Read more …

 

 

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Aug 302020
 


Pablo Picasso Girl Before A Mirror 1932

 

Rapid Home COVID19 Tests Could Help Find People While They Are Contagious (NP)
DNI Ratcliffe: Election Security Briefings Will Now Come In Written Form (JTN)
3/4 of Democratic Voters Still Believe Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia (JTN)
Will Hillary And The Dems Get The Civil War They Are Trying To Provoke? (Saker)
Michael Moore Warns That Donald Trump Is On Course To Repeat 2016 Win (G.)
Steele Associate Offered To ‘Feed’ Michael Flynn Story To WaPo Columnist (DC)
With New Monetary Policy Approach, Fed Lays Phillips Curve To Rest (R.)
Ex-Australia PM Menzies Boasted Of Delivering Large Budget Deficits (ABC.au)
Italy Evacuates Dozens From Overcrowded Banksy-Funded Migrant Rescue Boat (RT)
Airlines Warn Flying Back 100,000 Stranded Australians Will Take 6 Months (G.)

 

 

We passed 25 million global cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan:
– Population: 126 Million
– COVID deaths: 1,255 (10/M)
– % Obese: 4%

USA:
– Population: 328 Million
– COVID deaths: 183,000 (558/M)
– % Obese: 40%

If the US had the same obesity as Japan, we would have only 3,280 COVID deaths. 179,720 lives would have been saved…

 

 

Anti Face Mask Issue Solved

 

 

There is so much wrong with PCR tests, yet the “experts” refuse to even discuss rapid tests. Time to change that, test people every day in 15 minutes, not let them wait for days or weeks.

Rapid Home COVID19 Tests Could Help Find People While They Are Contagious (NP)

Cheap, rapid COVID-19 tests simple enough to use anywhere — home, school, the office — could help us climb out of the pandemic disaster, says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Andrew Morris. Just spit into a tube or swab your nose, wait a few minutes for the stripes to change colour — results available within minutes. With no vaccines or “fantastic therapies” for COVID, the best we can do is keep infected people out of buildings to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus, says Morris. Which is why he finds it “absurd” that Heath Canada says the risks of home or self-testing kits outweigh the benefits and that it will reject applications for such devices “without compelling new evidence to the contrary.”

The federal health agency worries that, “without the guidance of a health-care professional,” people would use the home test kit improperly or “misinterpret the results” and that it could be impossible to collect test results — information that’s key to “important health decisions involving disease control during an outbreak,” the department said in an emailed statement. “If it’s done in a haphazard way … you might actually create more problems, confusion than the actual benefits because you might get maybe a higher risk of false negative results,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Tuesday during a COVID-19 briefing. Morris wants the government to seriously rethink its position on home testing. They’re not the solution to COVID, but they are part of it, he believes.

Cheap, rapid testing is the backbone of infectious disease management, says Morris, of the Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto. “But if Health Canada says ‘we aren’t even interested in these tests,’ they are neither being open-minded nor strategic in understanding the potential of these tests.” It has echoes of earlier federal dismissals of face masks, when officials worried masks would lead to a “false sense of security” and more face-touching. “The current strategy is not to trust the public… and we need to change that,” Morris says. The gold standard of testing today is a workhorse called reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR, which amplifies SARS-CoV-2 from nasal swabs, so that minute amounts of RNA can be detected.

Anyone who is sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19, or who thinks he or she may have been exposed, can get PCR testing. But PCR testing isn’t designed around getting our lives back to normal, Morris says. It’s expensive, testing capacity is seriously limited and it can take days to get results. Vancouver has seen traffic gridlock at testing sites as B.C. battles with a surge in cases. Ottawa has had four-hour-long waits at its COVID testing sites. “The only way we can get our society back up and running is by having some better situational awareness than what we have,” Morris says.

[..] Rapid tests aren’t perfect. They aren’t as sensitive as PCR tests. But they don’t need to be perfect, argues Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Michael Mina. Mina says the tests can detect the virus when a person is most infectious, with high viral loads. “The vast majority of PCR positive tests we currently collect in this country are actually finding people long after they have ceased to be infectious,” Mina told Harvard Magazine. Paper-strip test could cost less than one or two U.S. dollars to produce, he says. Millions could take them daily or every other day. Frequent testing, with fast results, would help break chains of transmission, Mina tweeted this week. Morris has heard talk the FDA is expected to authorize several lateral flow assay tests for COVID-19 in the coming weeks. “And nothing by Health Canada. To me, this is a massive, massive blind spot.”

Read more …

I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he provokes this gem from Adam Schiff (is this the 1950s?): “..the Trump administration “clearly does not want Congress or the country informed of what Russia is doing.”

DNI Ratcliffe: Election Security Briefings Will Now Come In Written Form (JTN)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe informed senators and representatives on Friday that election security briefings, previously given to Congress in person, will between now and the November elections be delivered in written form. The letter, which was sent on Friday and declassified on Saturday afternoon, notes that the intelligence community has given Congress dozens of briefings on election security over the past two years. “While many of these engagements and products have been successful and productive, others have been less so,” Ratcliffe wrote in the document.

“In order to ensure clarity and consistency across the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s … engagements with Congress on elections,” Ratcliffe continued, “the ODNI will primary meet its obligation to keep Congress fully and currently informed leading into the Presidential election through written finished intelligence products.”

Ratcliffe said the move will help ensure that intelligence information is neither “misunderstood nor politicized,” and that the new protocol will “protect our sources and methods and most sensitive intelligence from additional unauthorized disclosures or misuse.” Democrats on Saturday evening slammed the decision. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter that the move represented “a shocking abdication of [ODNI’s] responsibility to keep Congress informed.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, meanwhile, claimed that the Trump administration “clearly does not want Congress or the country informed of what Russia is doing.”

Read more …

Schiff can also claim a large role in this. Where’s that evidence, Adam? We’re still waiting.

3/4 of Democratic Voters Still Believe Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia (JTN)

Three-quarters of Democratic voters believe that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 election, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Asked whether it was more likely that Trump colluded with Russia in 2016 or that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign that year, 73% of Democrats said the Russia collusion theory was more likely to have occurred. In contrast, 67% of Republicans expressed more belief in the claim that the Obama administration spied on Trump during that election. Overall, 43% of voters put more stock in the Russia story.


The Russia collusion theory dominated headlines and politics for roughly the first three years of the Trump administration. A 22-month, special counsel probe led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller concluded without finding evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election. The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Rasmussen using a mixed-mode approach from August 20-22.

Read more …

“The Dems won’t get their civil war – but they will suffer the blowback for their attempts to destroy the United States.”

Will Hillary And The Dems Get The Civil War They Are Trying To Provoke? (Saker)

I don’t see a civil war happening in the US. But I do think that this country can, and probably will, break-up into different zones so to speak. In some regions, law and order will be maintained, by force is needed, while in others something new will appear: what the French call “des zones de non-droit“, meaning “areas of lawlessness” in which law enforcement will be absent (either because the political leaders will refuse to engage them, or because they will simply have to withdraw under fire). Typically, such zones have a parallel “black” economy which can make the gangs which control such zones very wealthy (think of Russia in the 1990s). Eventually, a lot of people will flee from such zones and seek refuge in the safer areas of the country (this process has already begun in New York).


Right now, there are a little over two months before the election, and I think that it is safe to say that the situation will deteriorate even faster and much worse. By November 2nd the country will be “ready” (so to speak) for a massive explosion of violence followed by months of chaos. Many will probably vote Trump just because they will (mistakenly) believe that he is the only politician who will stand against what the Dems promise to unleash against the majority of “deplorables” who want to keep their country and traditions. At the core, the conflict we are now witnessing is a conflict about identity, something which most people deeply care about. Sooner or later, there will be push-back against the Dems attempt to turn the USA into some kind of obese transgender liberal Wakanda run by crooks, freaks and thugs. The Dems won’t get their civil war – but they will suffer the blowback for their attempts to destroy the United States.

Read more …

Michael Moore’s winning slogan and strategy: the Democrats are terrible, but you DO have to vote for them.

Michael Moore Warns That Donald Trump Is On Course To Repeat 2016 Win (G.)

The documentary film-maker Michael Moore has warned that Donald Trump appears to have such momentum in some battleground states that liberals risk a repeat of 2016 when so many wrote off Trump only to see him grab the White House. “Sorry to have to provide the reality check again,” he said. Moore, who was one of few political observers to predict Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, said that “enthusiasm for Trump is off the charts” in key areas compared with the Democratic party nominee, Joe Biden. “Are you ready for a Trump victory? Are you mentally prepared to be outsmarted by Trump again? Do you find comfort in your certainty that there is no way Trump can win? Are you content with the trust you’ve placed in the DNC [Democratic National Committee] to pull this off?” Moore posted on Facebook late on Friday.

Moore identified opinion polling in battleground states such as Minnesota and Michigan to make a case that the sitting president is running alongside or ahead of his rival. “The Biden campaign just announced he’ll be visiting a number of states – but not Michigan. Sound familiar?” Moore wrote, presumably indicating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 race when she made the error of avoiding some states that then swung to Trump. “I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much,” he later added. He continued to voters: “Don’t leave it to the Democrats to get rid of Trump. YOU have to get rid of Trump. WE have to wake up every day for the next 67 days and make sure each of us are going to get a hundred people out to vote. ACT NOW!”

Moore, a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders’s leftwing candidacy, warned in October 2016 that “Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘f*** you’ ever recorded in human history – and it will feel good,” even as Clinton appeared to be sailing to victory. “Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant because he’s saying the things to people who are hurting, and that’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump,” Moore warned at that time.

Read more …

A lot of people in that camp were actively working on this. There are new names just about every day.

Steele Associate Offered To ‘Feed’ Michael Flynn Story To WaPo Columnist (DC)

A former associate of Sen. John McCain served as a key conduit between journalists and dossier author Christopher Steele in early 2017, going so far as offering to “feed” stories about Trump associates to a Washington Post columnist, according to documents from a British court proceeding. David Kramer, a former State Department official who worked at the McCain Institute, kept Steele apprised of his contacts in January 2017 with journalists from BuzzFeed News, CNN, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post regarding aspects of the dossier. Kramer relayed information he learned from reporters at ABC News and the Journal regarding the dossier’s allegation that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague, according to text messages read at a defamation trial against Steele in London last month.

The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained a transcript of the closed-door court proceedings, which were held in London from July 20-24. Steele, a former MI6 officer, is being sued by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman who Steele’s dossier accuses of hacking Democrats’ computer systems in 2016. Kramer was already known to have met with reporters to discuss the dossier. He has acknowledged providing the dossier to a reporter for BuzzFeed News, which published the salacious document on Jan. 10, 2017. But the Steele messages suggest Kramer played a more proactive role in trying to put negative stories in the media about Trump associates. Kramer’s most eye-catching references are to David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist who writes about national security issues.

“The Flynn calls story is picking up legs,” Kramer wrote to Steele, seemingly referring to a Jan. 12, 2017, column by Ignatius that revealed that Flynn spoke by phone weeks earlier with Sergey Kislyak. According to text messages read at the trial, Kramer suggested to Steele that he would provide dirt on Trump associates to Ignatius. “I think it’s time to get that other [Manafort] story out there,” Kramer wrote in a message to Steele, referring to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. “And Ignatius is the one I’ll feed it to,” he also wrote. Steele insisted during his testimony that Kramer was suggesting feeding a story to Ignatius about Flynn rather than Manafort. “It’s a Michael Flynn story, isn’t it?” Steele asked during the cross-examination.

He went on to say that the information regarding Flynn he discussed with Kramer was not found in the dossier. “Any story here about Michael Flynn is completely independent of anything in the dossier,” said Steele. The former spy did not describe the Flynn story, but Kramer told the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 that Steele told him that he believed that Flynn had an affair with a Russian-British researcher in the United Kingdom. The unverified allegation matches closely with stories that appeared in the media in March 2017 that alleged that Flynn had improper contacts with former Cambridge researcher Svetlana Lokhova in 2014, when Flynn visited the historic university as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Read more …

“Decades of thought at the Fed are now being pushed aside.”

In most other jobs, if you’ve been wrong for decades, you get fired or resign. But when you’re handling trillions of dollars, there are different standards.

With New Monetary Policy Approach, Fed Lays Phillips Curve To Rest (R.)

One of the fundamental theories of modern economics may have finally been put to rest. In the several years before the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the global economy, Federal Reserve policymakers watched as the U.S. unemployment rate fell lower and lower and waited for the jump in inflation typically associated with such a tight labor market. The expectations were based on a rule that has shaped decades of monetary policy decisions: the Phillips curve, or the concept that inflation tends to rise when the unemployment rate falls, and vice versa. But the inflation that Fed officials anticipated never arrived, and in a monumental speech delivered on Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced that the U.S. central bank’s policymakers are done waiting.

The Fed chief, speaking during the Kansas City Fed’s annual conference, unveiled the central bank’s new approach to monetary policy, which puts more emphasis on shortfalls in employment, and less weight on the fear that low unemployment could spark higher inflation. “The conditions in the economy have changed to such an extent that this upwardly sloped relationship between inflation and employment has now changed,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist for RSM. “Decades of thought at the Fed are now being pushed aside.” With its landmark policy shift, the Fed is putting new weight on bolstering the labor market and less on inflation, promising to aim for 2% inflation on average over a period of time rather than using that figure as a hard annual target, as it had done since 2012.

With their new approach, Fed officials are essentially saying they are no longer worried about the unemployment rate falling too low. Now that inflation expectations are anchored at low levels, the economy has room to keep adding jobs. Policymakers can also wait a little longer for the gains to reach the workers on the margins – including Black, Hispanic and low-income workers – who are often the last to reap the benefits of a tight labor market, Powell said. “It is hard to overstate the benefits of sustaining a strong labor market, a key national goal that will require a range of policies in addition to supportive monetary policy,” Powell said on Thursday, reflecting on the strong U.S. labor market that existed before the pandemic.

Read more …

h/t Steve Keen.

Ex-Australia PM Menzies Boasted Of Delivering Large Budget Deficits (ABC.au)

There’s a lot we’ve forgotten about Robert Menzies. Take his name, for example. Younger Australians may not know it, but our country’s longest-serving prime minister, one of the founders of the Liberal Party, was nicknamed “Ming”. He was our first prime minister to have two Australian-born parents, but his paternal grandfather was Scottish and he was proud of that heritage. He preferred his surname to be pronounced the way the Scots pronounce it — Ming-iss — but his attempts to convince his countrymen to do so were in vain. He received the nickname “Ming” instead. Then there was his time as prime minister, when he boasted about delivering a bigger budget deficit than Labor would have, for the good of the country. That’s right.

The father of Australia’s Liberal Party was proud of spending whatever was necessary to ensure full employment, even when the economy wasn’t in recession. A speech Mr Menzies gave in August 1962 about his budget that year is worth reading. He’d won the federal election eight months earlier, defeating the Labor opposition led by Arthur Calwell. During the campaign, Mr Calwell promised to deliver a deficit large enough to eradicate unemployment, and he figured that meant a deficit of 100 million pounds. Here’s Mr Menzies explaining why he was spending more than Labor pledged. “Too few people realise that a cash deficit of 120 million [pounds] … will of itself have a most expansionary effect,” he said.

“We shall pay out to the citizens 120 million [pounds] more than will be collected from them. “So, far from being timorous — I think that was another of the words used by the deputy leader of the opposition — this is adventurous finance. “Add to the deficit the tax refunds now being made, and it is clear that purchasing power in Australia this financial year will be uncommonly high. “The real task of any government today, as well as of the business community and all sensible citizens, is to get that purchasing power exercised.” It was uncomplicated Keynesian logic. As John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1933: “Look after the unemployment, and the budget will look after itself.”

[..] Mr Menzies’ second stint as prime minister lasted from 1949 to 1966. For his last nine budgets he delivered deficits, and the size of his last deficit, at 3.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), was 0.3 per cent larger than the deficit in Wayne Swan’s last budget in 2013. So why wasn’t the public angry? Because Australia’s economy, like economies in other western nations, grew strongly in the post-war period. In the 1940s, its average growth rate was 3.8 per cent. In the 1950s, it was 4.2 per cent. In the 1960s, it was 5.3 per cent. And that constant growth meant the size of Australia’s government debt relative to the size of the economy (the ratio of debt-to-GDP) shrank dramatically, too. All while the government was handing down budget deficits.

Read more …

How much extra attention because of Banksy’s involvement?

Italy Evacuates Dozens From Overcrowded Banksy-Funded Migrant Rescue Boat (RT)

Some 50 people were evacuated from the migrant rescue boat Louise Michel that got stranded off Malta’s coast after taking more than 200 people aboard. After one person died, the crew accused Europe of ignoring its pleas for help. The vessel, which reported rescuing a total of 219 people from the sea over the past few days, including “many women and children,” had become so “overcrowded” that a life raft was attached to its side, and it lost its ability to maneuver. The crew’s Twitter feed suggests they have been desperately sending distress signals and making calls to various European maritime authorities to no avail. To make the matters worse, one of the migrants died on the ship as conditions deteriorated.

“Louise Michel is unable to move … above all due to Europe ignoring our emergency calls for immediate assistance,” a tweet from the crew read. Following about a day of pleas for help, Italy’s coast guard arrived at the scene and took 49 of “the most vulnerable” migrants in. While describing the development as “great,” the Louise Michel crew said it leaves the majority “still waiting.” It added that another NGO migrant rescue ship, Sea Watch 4, arrived to “do what Europe falters to do.” Photos and videos apparently taken on board the vessel – a 31-meter motor yacht once owned by French customs authorities, now named after a French anarchist – show it is extremely crowded with people who are cooped up literally everywhere, from the foredeck to the aft and even on top of the captain’s bridge.

[..] Painted in white and bright pink and featuring a Banksy artwork of a girl in a life vest holding a heart-shaped flotation device, Louise Michel is said to have set sail in secrecy from a Spanish port of Burriana, near Valencia. The first post in its Twitter account appeared about a week after what was called its first successful mission. The ship, flying a German flag, is captained by Pia Klemp, a controversial German boat captain credited with rescuing more than 1,000 North African migrants between 2011 and 2017. The woman was charged with colluding with human smugglers by the Italian authorities in 2019 and defiantly snubbed Paris’ highest civilian award months later.

[..] Reports claim that Klemp was personally contacted by the artist as early as in September 2019 and was offered assistance with buying a new boat. She told the Guardian that she sees the effort as “part of anti-fascist fight,” while adding that Banksy’s involvement in the project is limited to financial support. “Banksy won’t pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won’t pretend to be artists,” she said.

Read more …

And you thought your “leaders” were incompetent.

Airlines Warn Flying Back 100,000 Stranded Australians Will Take 6 Months (G.)

Frustrated airlines continuing to fly into Australia are warning it will take six months to repatriate more than 100,000 Australians stuck overseas if the country’s strict arrival caps are not eased. Pressure is also mounting within government ranks to address the growing number of Australians stranded by the caps, with Coalition MPs complaining the limits are “probably the biggest area of concern” raised with them by constituents currently, who claim airlines are repeatedly bumping them off flights to prioritise more expensive tickets and remain profitable under the caps. Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, on Friday criticised the government’s position of recommending those affected by the caps rely on early super withdrawals to fund what could be an indefinite period away from their jobs, families and secure accommodation.

“The government should be offering financial support to stranded Australians who need it. People shouldn’t be forced to raid their super or launch a GoFundMe fundraiser in order to return home,” she said, noting earlier reports that consular staff had told Australians to start crowdfunding sites to sustain living costs and business class flights. Wong said she had been contacted by a pensioner forced to sleep in a car in France because his flight had been cancelled and he couldn’t get a refund. Wong also criticised the government for recent travel exit exemptions – including allowing Tony Abbott to fly to the UK, and an entrepreneur to collect a yacht in Italy – calling it “special treatment for the privileged few” with “everyone else being left behind”.

Qatar Airways on Friday announced it had suspended sales of tickets into Australia until the caps are lifted, and said it will have to cancel the tickets of “thousands” more Australian citizens who are currently scheduled to fly home with the carrier in the coming months. The airline has acknowledged it has been forced to prioritise customers who pay more for tickets after reports its aircraft were landing in Sydney with as few as four economy passengers. The Guardian has been inundated by stories of Australians who have been forced to live in caravans for months, exhaust all their paid leave, and forgo seeing dying parents in Australia while they wait for airlines to honour their economy flights home.

Read more …

 

 

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If Greece and Turkey go to war, it’s over this:

 

 

Long time favorite. Possibly the ultimate Calvin and Hobbes:

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

May 142020
 


Byron Street haberdashery, New York 1900

 

95,000 Entered UK By Air In 25 Days During Lockdown (G.)
Australia Saw Overseas Visitors Fall 99% In April (R.)
Why California Is Struggling To Control Coronavirus (LAT)
Real UK Care Home Death Toll Double Official Figure (G.)
Pensioners 34 Times More Likely To Die Of COVID19 Than Working Age Brits (G.)
Only 4.4% of French Population Infected By Coronavirus (R.)
Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down State’s Stay-at-Home Order (NBC)
72 People In Wisconsin Test Positive After Attending ‘Large Gathering’ (DM)
36.6% of COVID19 Patients In NY Study Develop Acute Kidney Injury (R.)
Ontario Redeploys Educators Into Nursing Homes, As One Records 56 Deaths (R.)
Why Are So Many People Getting Sick And Dying In Montreal From Covid-19? (G.)
COVID-19 Bailout Gave Wall Street a No-Lose Casino (Taibbi)
FBI Accidentally Reveals Name Of Saudi Embassy Official Suspected In 9/11 (Y!)
US Judge Asks If Michael Flynn Should Be Held In Contempt (R.)
Flynn Case Requires Letting The Sun Shine On Comey And Mueller (McLaughlin)

 

 

• US New cases 21,449

• New deaths 1,896 (yesterday 1,894, Monday: 830, Sunday: 776)

• Russia breaks its chain of 10 consecutive days of more than 10,000 new cases with 9,974

 

 

 

Cases 4,451,226 (+ 93,006 from yesterday’s 4,358,220)

Deaths 298,520 (+ 5,284 from yesterday’s 293,236)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

The UK never had an actual lockdown, they just pretended they did.

18.1 million arrivals to the UK by air, land and sea from 1 January to 23 March, pre-“lockdown”. Another 95,000 just by air between 1 April and 26 April, during the lockdown. With tons of stories of very few if any checked out.

The government stopped issuing guidance at the border to arrivals from specific countries – including from Italy and China – to self-isolate on 13 March, 10 days before the lockdown was imposed.

95,000 Entered UK By Air In 25 Days During Lockdown (G.)

At least 95,000 people have entered the UK from overseas since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed, one of the government’s chief scientific advisers has revealed, while repeatedly failing to provide an estimate of how many of these people had Covid-19. Appearing before MPs on the science and technology committee, Prof John Aston, the chief scientific adviser at the Home Office, admitted that had tougher restrictions been introduced at the border, the peak of the virus may have been delayed – but he did not say by how long, or if this would have saved lives. Aston, who attends meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which is advising the government during the crisis, was asked repeatedly for the estimated proportion or number of people arriving in the UK with Covid-19.

He insisted instead that a more “robust” assessment was the ratio of imported cases to domestic cases. This model, formulated by Sage, estimates 0.5% of all cases on any given day are imported from overseas. The government stopped issuing guidance at the border to arrivals from specific countries – including from Italy and China – to self-isolate on 13 March, 10 days before the lockdown was imposed. Since then, there has been little intervention other than advice provided on leaflets and posters. Arrivals will have been subjected to the same lockdown restrictions imposed on the wider population since 23 March. [..] Yvette Cooper, the chair of the home affairs select committee, [..] asked Aston if ministers had a central estimate of the number of people arriving each week who might have Covid-19 when the decision to stop asking any arrivals to self-isolate was made.

[..] Cooper [..] said: “Previously people were asked to self-isolate at the border for 14 days. Inexplicably when other countries were increasing their restrictions or their requirements to self-isolate, the UK lifted them all. It was before the peak in Spain, it was still around the peak in Italy, it was several weeks before the peak in UK.” Aston’s evidence comes as the government prepares to enforce a 14-day quarantine for arrivals by air at the UK border – a policy that some have suggested would have been more appropriate prior to the UK lockdown on 23 March. There were 18.1 million arrivals to the UK in the period from 1 January to 23 March across air, land and sea, of whom 273 air passengers were formally quarantined. Aston told the committee that between 1 April and 26 April there were 95,000 arrivals into the UK by air, of whom about 53,000 were UK citizens.

Read more …

This looks more like a lockdown. Just 6,500 non-Australians arrived in April.

Australia Saw Overseas Visitors Fall 99% In April (R.)

Australia saw overseas arrivals collapse to almost nothing in April as it closed its borders to fight the coronavirus pandemic, in a massive blow for the tourist industry. Preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released on Wednesday showed arrivals of 21,600 in April, down 98.7% from a year earlier. Returning Australian citizens accounted for 15,100 of them. The biggest decline was in arrivals from New Zealand, which dived by 161,950 to just 1,180. Arrivals from China, where closures had already badly curbed tourism in March, dropped 132,040 to only 320. Departures from Australia likewise plunged 96.5% to 63,500, mostly foreigners returning home.

Read more …

50% of people still leave their homes every day. Not a lockdown.

Why California Is Struggling To Control Coronavirus (LAT)

The Times asked UC San Francisco epidemiologist and infectious disease expert Dr. George Rutherford, a former epidemic intelligence service officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about why the plateau persists. “As long as it’s going up, it has not ended. It’s got to come down for it to end,” he said. Rutherford offered two reasons why the disease is persisting: a certain percentage of people still must go out to work, and others are getting fed up with staying at home. A significant part of the population has chosen not to say home or has been unable to do so because they’re essential workers manning supermarkets, meat processing plants, prisons and nursing homes.

A CDC study estimated that around April 1, about two weeks into a regional stay-at-home order, nearly 50% of residents in five Bay Area counties were still leaving home, down from 80% in late February. “That’s still 50%,” Rutherford said, adding that people can still get infected even if they limit their trips outside the home to buy a loaf of bread at the supermarket. Essential workers who must leave home — people working in the food industry, making deliveries and staffing medical facilities — are among those contracting the coronavirus. A UC San Francisco study of thousands of residents and workers in the city’s Mission District found that 57% of those tested must leave their homes for work, and those who had to leave home to work accounted for 90% of the positive cases.

Nearly 89% of those who tested positive earn less than $50,000 a year, and most live in households with three or more people. While Latinos made up 44% of those tested, they accounted for more than 99% of the positive COVID-19 cases. Many residents and workers in the Mission District are employed in essential services such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, restaurants, grocery stores and janitorial and domestic services, the university said. Staying home, the researchers said, clearly seemed to make a difference.

Read more …

Ambrose Evans Pritchard quotes a “London cardiologist friendly to Boris”:

“We discharged known, suspected and unknown cases into care homes which were unprepared with no formal warning that the patients were infected, no testing available, and no PPE to prevent transmission.”

Real UK Care Home Death Toll Double Official Figure (G.)

More than 22,000 care home residents in England and Wales may have died as a direct or indirect result of Covid-19, academics have calculated – more than double the number stated as passing away from the disease in official figures. Academics at the London School of Economics found that data on deaths in care homes directly attributed to the virus published by the Office for National Statistics significantly underestimated the impact of the pandemic on care home residents and accounted for only about four out of 10 of the excess deaths in care settings recorded in recent weeks in England and Wales. ONS statisticians said on Tuesday that 8,314 people had died from confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in English care homes up to 8 May.

The figures suggest the impact of the virus in care homes is finally reducing. They are based on reports filed directly from care home operators to the regulator, the Care Quality Commission. Care Inspectorate Wales has said Covid was confirmed or suspected in a further 504 cases in homes up to the 8 May in Wales. But academics at the care policy and evaluation centre at the LSE found that when excess deaths of other care residents and the deaths of care home residents from Covid-19 in hospitals are taken into account, the toll that can be directly and indirectly linked to the virus pandemic is likely to be more than double the current official count.

[..] Care homes have been running at 10% to 20% staff absence rates and many homes have been trying to isolate residents in their rooms to reduce infection spread, but this can also make their normal care more difficult and residents’ needs less visible.

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Well, if you put them all together and insert known patients, no wonder. Do the same with younger people and you get the same result.

Pensioners 34 Times More Likely To Die Of COVID19 Than Working Age Brits (G.)

As Britain edges back to work and employees consider the risks of moving beyond lockdown, official figures underscore that working-age Britons are 34 times less likely to die of coronavirus than over-65s. About 12% of all deaths relating to Covid-19 have occurred among those under 65 – a total of 4,066 deaths. Most victims have been in the over-65 category, accounting for 30,978 fatalities. There have been 8.4 deaths per 100,000 people among the under-65 category, which rises to 286 deaths per 100,000 in the over-65 group, meaning pensioners are 34 times more likely to die of the illness. The contrast is even starker in data concerning those under 45. According to the Office for National Statistics figure, there have been just 401 deaths in this age group – one death for every 100,000 people, or around 1% of the overall death toll.

However, age is just one of the factors that will affect a person’s vulnerability to the virus. Research has shown that ethnicity, deprivation, pre-existing health conditions and occupation also contribute to an individual’s risk of dying. The death rate among the working population differs by gender. The death rate for men is 9.9 per 100,000 people and 5.2 per 100,000 women. This may also be driven by the death rate in particular occupations, as some workers appear to be more vulnerable depending on exposure to the virus.

Death rates among some minority ethnic groups are also disproportionately high, according to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It found the death rate among British black Africans and British Pakistanis from coronavirus in English hospitals was more than 2.5 times that of the white population. Guardian reporting also found that areas with high BAME populations tended to have higher death rates.

New data released by the ONS on Monday showed for the first time that people in low-paid manual jobs were at much greater risk of dying from Covid-19. Men in low-paid jobs were almost four times more likely to die from coronavirus than professionals, with 21.4 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 5.6 among white-collar male workers, according to the analysis. Jobs which were found to have high death rates included security guards, care workers, construction workers, plant operatives, cleaners, taxi drivers, bus drivers, chefs and retail workers. Commenting on the findings, Professor Neil Pearce, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “The observations are almost certainly due to … exposure to people….”

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Probably a lowball, but very far from herd immunity.

Only 4.4% of French Population Infected By Coronavirus (R.)

A study led by the Pasteur Institute says a mere 4.4% of the French population – or 2.8 million people – have been infected by the novel coronavirus, much higher than the official count of cases but way too low to achieve so-called “herd immunity”. In a study published on Wednesday in the journal Science, researchers say the infection rate in the worst-hit parts of France – the eastern part of the country and the Paris region – is between 9 and 10 percent on average. “Around 65% of the population should be immune if we want to control the pandemic by the sole means of immunity”, the study says. Herd immunity refers to a situation where enough people in a population have immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading. The rate of infection was measured by the Pasteur Institute as of May 11, the day when France started to unwind its almost two-month-long national lockdown.


“As of a consequence, our results show that, without a vaccine, the herd immunity alone will not be enough to avoid a second wave at the end of the lockdown. Efficient control measures must thus be upheld after May 11”, researchers say. France’s overall death toll from the virus rose to 27,074 on Wednesday, the fifth-highest in the world, and total number of cases officially stood at 177,700, the seventh-highest total. The Pasteur Institute also said the lockdown put in place on March 17 in France led to a drastic decline of the coronavirus’ reproduction rate, going from 2.9 to 0.67 over the 55-day virtual standstill of the country. A Spanish study also published on Wednesday showed similar results, saying about 5% of the country’s population had contracted the disease and that there was no herd immunity in Spain, also emerging progressively for long lockdown.


Large sero-survey in Spain with 60,000 participants shows ~5% of population tested positive for #coronavirus antibodies, 11% in region with highest incidence (Madrid)
1) Infection fatality rate ~1.2%
2) Herd immunity is not an option

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Why then have a law that says you can’t drive through city center at 200 mph? Same difference. “I will not give up my freedom for your safety”.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down State’s Stay-at-Home Order (NBC)

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the state’s stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic as “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable” after finding that the state’s health secretary exceeded her authority. In a 4-3 ruling, the court called Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm’s directive, known as Emergency Order 28, a “vast seizure of power.” The order directed all people in the state to stay at home or at their places of residence, subject only to exceptions allowed by Palm, the ruling says. The order, which had been set to run until May 26, also restricted travel and business, along with threatening jail time or fines for those who don’t comply.


The ruling says the judges weren’t challenging Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency powers, but the decision effectively undercuts his administration and forces him to work out a compromise with the Republican-controlled Legislature. One of the dissenting justices, Rebecca Dallet, said her conservative colleagues in the majority were the ones who were exceeding their authority, and she noted precedent for Palm’s directives — a monthslong stay-at-home order during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. “This decision will undoubtedly go down as one of the most blatant examples of judicial activism in this court’s history,” she said. “And it will be Wisconsinites who pay the price.” [..] During oral arguments, Justice Rebecca Bradley suggested that the order amounted to “tyranny,” and at another point, she referred to Japanese Americans’ internment during World War II.

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A protest meeting.

72 People In Wisconsin Test Positive After Attending ‘Large Gathering’ (DM)

More than 70 people in Wisconsin have tested positive for coronavirus after admitting they attended a ‘large gathering’ in the state – around the same time that thousands of protesters were pictured ignoring social distancing and shunning face masks at a mass anti-lockdown rally. The state’s Department of Health Services (DHS) confirmed that 72 individuals who were diagnosed with the deadly virus on or after April 26 had all attended a large gathering not long before their diagnosis. ‘We were able to pull some limited data – out of 1,986 cases with onset/diagnosis on or after 4/26, there were seventy-two cases who reported attending a large gathering,’ DHS spokesperson Jennifer Miller told The Progressive.


Two days earlier on April 24, thousands of protesters gathered outside Wisconsin’s capitol building in Madison demanding Democratic Governor Tony Evers reopen the state for business. It marked one of the largest anti-lockdown rallies to take place across the country. At the time there were 5,356 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin and 262 people had died. As of Wednesday, cases have almost doubled to 10,611 and the death toll has reached 418. [..] ‘Possible exposures during protests haven’t been specifically added to the database because we already ask about large gatherings,’ Miller told The Progressive. ‘Contact tracers do ask if patients attended mass gatherings, but not specifically about protests, so there’s really no data on who may have contracted COVID-19 at a protest.’ Miller added: ‘No, it doesn’t specifically state that the 72 were at a rally, but this is the data we have.’

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Right before they go on the ventilator.

36.6% of COVID19 Patients In NY Study Develop Acute Kidney Injury (R.)

Over a third of patients treated for COVID-19 in a large New York medical system developed acute kidney injury, and nearly 15% required dialysis, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. The study was conducted by a team at Northwell Health, the largest health provider in New York state. “We found in the first 5,449 patients admitted, 36.6% developed acute kidney injury,” said study co-author Dr. Kenar Jhaveri, associated chief of nephrology at Hofstra/Northwell in Great Neck, New York, whose findings were published in the journal Kidney International. Acute kidney injury occurs when the kidneys fail and become unable to filter out waste. Of those patients with kidney failure, 14.3% required dialysis, Jhaveri said in a phone interview.


The study is the largest to date to look at kidney injury in COVID-19 patients. It may be helpful, Jhaveri said, as other hospitals face new waves of patients with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 4.3 million people and killed over 295,000 globally. Several groups have noted increased rates of kidney failure among patients with COVID-19. Jhaveri and colleagues set out to quantify it by combing through medical records of 5,449 COVID-19 patients hospitalized between March 1 and April 5. They found that kidney failure occurred early on, with 37.3% of patients arriving at the hospital with failing kidneys, or developing the condition within the first 24 hours of being admitted. In many cases, the kidney failure occurred around the time severely ill patients needed to be placed on a ventilator, Jhaveri said.

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Canada’s not doing well.

Ontario Redeploys Educators Into Nursing Homes, As One Records 56 Deaths (R.)

The Canadian province of Ontario is allowing its education staff, including teachers and custodians, to voluntarily redeploy into the province’s long-term care homes, the provincial government said on Wednesday, as the coronavirus outbreak at just one Toronto-area home alone has killed dozens. Coronavirus deaths in long-term care nursing homes account for 815 of 1,765 total deaths in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, according to provincial data released on Wednesday. Camilla Care Community recorded 56 deaths, according to the home’s owner, Sienna Senior Living, on Wednesday. The regional health authority reported 179 residents and 39 staff have tested positive at the facility.


In March, Ontario closed schools in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, requiring many educators and other staff to leave their jobs. This latest redeployment focuses on training and moving any employees who volunteer into nursing homes. Ontario has previously moved workers from hospitals into long-term care homes, and Wednesday’s announcement expands the province’s support for the facilities, which have been hit hard by the virus. The province also issued an emergency order on Wednesday morning, allowing the provincial government to issue mandatory management orders to any long-term care home struggling to deal with an outbreak.

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Not just care homes, poor parts of town as well.

Why Are So Many People Getting Sick And Dying In Montreal From Covid-19? (G.)

Springtime in Montreal is normally a cause for celebration. After the city’s long, arduous winters, people emerge from the confines of their apartments at the first inkling of warmth to lounge in parks and on patios – or terrasses – and enjoy a meal, beverage and the company of friends. Not this year. Montreal, a city touted by tourist guides as “North America’s Europe” for its rich culture and joie de vivre, is Canada’s centre for Covid-19. Of the entire country’s 70,000 cases and 5,000 deaths, the city of 2 million people has 20,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths, or about 64% of the entire province’s death toll. Those numbers have catapulted Quebec into an unfavourable position: it is now the seventh deadliest place in the world for daily coronavirus deaths, according to Quebec newspaper La Presse.


[..] Earlier this month, the province admitted that its effort to manage staffing shortages by moving workers around the long-term care network could be spreading the virus. Montreal North feels the consequences of that. One in five Montrealers infected with Covid-19 are healthcare workers – none of whom are receiving danger pay. In Montreal North, 23% are infected, said community organizer Will Prosper. “It’s these people who are still taking care of us, when not too long ago they were the people who we wanted to kick out,” said Prosper.

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Just a bigger casino.

COVID-19 Bailout Gave Wall Street a No-Lose Casino (Taibbi)

The $2.3 trillion CARES Act, the Donald Trump-led rescue package signed into law on March 27th, is a radical rethink of American capitalism. It retains all the cruelties of the free market for those who live and work in the real world, but turns the paper economy into a state protectorate, surrounded by a kind of Trumpian Money Wall that is designed to keep the investor class safe from fear of loss. This financial economy is a fantasy casino, where the winnings are real but free chips cover the losses. For a rarefied segment of society, failure is being written out of the capitalist bargain. This is a fresh take on a long-developing dynamic. Dating to the late Eighties, when then-Fed-chief Alan Greenspan slashed interest rates after the 1987 stock-market crash, there’s been an understanding that the government would be there to help Wall Street back on its feet in hard times.

[..] What’s happening in the COVID-19 crisis is the next step: a financial bubble where the Fed isn’t the cleanup mechanism, but the source of the mania itself. While the real economy is seeing record disruptions, Wall Street has seen prolonged rallies of “rational exuberance” over the Fed’s decision to usher in “QE infinity” and essentially ban losing in finance capitalism. Though this is a Trump bill — El Pompadour is so determined that the CARES Act be remembered as his work, he fought to get his signature on relief checks — it passed unanimously, by voice vote in the House, and 96-0 in the Senate. Talk to Democrats on the Hill and they will tell you this is a bailout to be cheered and supported, nothing like the 2008 rescue. This time is different, the argument goes: Three-quarters of the money goes to real people.

[..] Technically, “only” about $500 billion of the congressionally passed rescue package goes to “big business.” Moreover, the big-business aid ostensibly comes with a range of draconian-sounding conditions barring greedy hijinks, meaning no layoffs, no stock buybacks, no big bonuses, etc., if companies want the handout. The loophole comes via $454 billion created as part of that big-business package. This “emergency fund” will be dumped into a “special-purpose vehicle” used to backstop further lending by the Federal Reserve. That $454 billion is designed to grow by a factor of 10 or more. “We can lever up to $4 trillion,” said Steve Mnuchin, playing the “free-spending Goldman Sachs-trained Treasury secretary” role that apparently is a prerequisite for financial-disaster narratives in modern America.

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Lovely.

FBI Accidentally Reveals Name Of Saudi Embassy Official Suspected In 9/11 (Y!)

The FBI inadvertently revealed one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive secrets about the Sept. 11 terror attacks: the identity of a mysterious Saudi Embassy official in Washington who agents suspected had directed crucial support to two of the al-Qaida hijackers. The disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks. The declaration was filed last month but unsealed late last week. According to a spokesman for the 9/11 victims’ families, it represents a major breakthrough in the long-running case, providing for the first time an apparent confirmation that FBI agents investigating the attacks believed they had uncovered a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

It’s unclear just how strong the evidence is against the former Saudi Embassy official — it’s been a subject of sharp dispute within the FBI for years. But the disclosure, which a senior U.S. government official confirmed was made in error, seems likely to revive questions about potential Saudi links to the 9/11 plot. It also shines a light on the extraordinary efforts by top Trump administration officials in recent months to prevent internal documents about the issue from ever becoming public. “This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” said Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families whose father was killed in the attacks. “It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.”

Still, Eagleson acknowledged he was flabbergasted by the bureau’s slip-up in identifying the Saudi Embassy official in a public filing. Although Justice Department lawyers had last September notified lawyers for the 9/11 families of the official’s identity, they had done so under a protective order that forbade the family members from publicly disclosing it. Now, the bureau itself has named the Saudi official. “This is a giant screwup,” Eagleson said.

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Or should the FBI be held in contempt?

US Judge Asks If Michael Flynn Should Be Held In Contempt (R.)

A U.S. judge on Wednesday signaled reluctance to allow the Justice Department to drop its criminal prosecution of Michael Flynn, tasking a retired judge with advising on whether the former Trump administration official should face an additional criminal contempt charge for perjury. In a short written order, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington asked John Gleeson, a former federal judge in New York, to present arguments in the case as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court. Sullivan said he was seeking Gleeson’s recommendation on whether Flynn should face a criminal contempt charge for perjury because he testified under oath that he was guilty of lying to the FBI but then reversed course and said he had never lied. Sullivan also said he wanted Gleeson to make the case for why a motion to dismiss the Flynn case filed by the Justice Department last week should be rejected.


The Justice Department’s bombshell May 7 decision to drop its case against Flynn came on the heels of growing pressure from Trump and Trump’s political allies who repeatedly accused the FBI of improprieties in how it handled the investigation. Up until that point, the Justice Department had staunchly defended the FBI’s actions in the case. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who served as an adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russia’s U.S. ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks before Trump took office. However, later in the case he switched lawyers and tactics, accusing the FBI of tricking him and seeking to have his guilty plea withdrawn.

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Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Patrick M. McLaughlin served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio from 1984-1988 and as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1978 to 1984.

Flynn Case Requires Letting The Sun Shine On Comey And Mueller (McLaughlin)

For most Americans, it must be absolute confusion trying to decipher truth from non-truth as charges and countercharges are leveled by the Democrats and Republicans, and the media weigh in on the Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn case. My suggestion is to ignore the talking heads and read the DOJ’s 20-page motion to dismiss the criminal information against Flynn, and all the exhibits attached to that motion. Then, you will have the facts necessary to come to an informed opinion. I have done that, so let me give a primer. The DOJ determined that “continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice” because the interview of Flynn by the FBI was unjustified by the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Flynn, since that investigation “had yielded an ‘absence of any derogatory information.’”

The DOJ is unpersuaded that Flynn’s interview “was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis” and does not believe that Flynn’s statements “were material even if untrue.” In addition, in consideration of all the evidence “including newly discovered and disclosed information,” the government doubts that it can prove “either the relevant false statements or their materiality beyond a reasonable doubt.” The motion, plus 86 pages of exhibits, provides evidence, at best, of the dereliction of duty by the FBI under James Comey and, at worst, possible criminal misconduct. Only a full disclosure of all relevant information, documents, and testimony under oath by participants will satisfy the right of Americans to have the evidence we deserve in order to form our opinions unfiltered by the talking heads. Let the real facts fall where they may.

[..] When you review the DOJ’s filing, put yourself in Flynn’s shoes and consider how you would feel if the government treated you in the same manner and, to top it off, hid material exculpatory information from your defense team and the court. Overlay on that: How would you handle it if legal fees had wiped you out financially and the agents and prosecutors were threatening to indict a member of your family to pressure you to cave? The conduct of Comey’s FBI, of the Special Counsel, and of some at Main Justice should be placed under the microscope of a truth-seeking, nonpartisan inquiry with the interests of the nation in mind. Find out what happened and why — then fix it.

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Jan 122020
 


Dorothea Lange Crossroads grocery store and filling station, Yakima, Washington, Sumac Park 1939

 

China Wants To Save Iran Nuclear Deal As It Leaves Their Oil Market Behind (F.)
Instagram Says It’s Removing Posts Supporting Soleimani (CNN)
Trump Administration Warns Iraq Could Lose New York Fed Account (CNBC)
Ukraine Tells Israel To Stay Out Of Debate About Nazi Collaborators (JTA)
Obama Campaign Guru: Trump Would Love To Run Against Bernie (Pol.)
Bernie Sanders Rips Biden Revisionist History On Iraq War Support (WE)
Revolving Door Shills On TV Need An ‘Outing’ (AC)
Australia’s Fires Pump Out More Emissions Than 100 Nations Combined (MIT)
Greta Thunberg Tells World Leaders To End Fossil Fuel ‘Madness’ (G.)
Anti-Terror Police Target School Climate Strikers (G.)
‘Like Sending Bees To War’: The Deadly Truth Behind Your Almond-Milk (G.)

 

 

No discussion of the Iran situation is worth a grain of salt if it doesn’t include Putin. He called for a conference on Lybia yesterday; Iran is (one of the) next. But yeah, of course China wants to add its two bits as well.

China Wants To Save Iran Nuclear Deal As It Leaves Their Oil Market Behind (F.)

China’s top foreign policy officials scolded President Trump’s January 3 hit on Iranian general Kassam Soleimani over the weekend, vowing to do what they could to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran’s hands. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, told the local press on Monday that Iran was basically “forced” to end its commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action after the death of Soleimani by drone strike outside of a Baghdad airport last week. Geng said that by doing so, however, they would be in violation of their non-proliferation obligations. The South China Morning Post reported Geng saying that, “China will continue to maintain close communication and coordination with all related parties, and will take relentless efforts” to save the nuclear deal and avoid greater conflict in the Gulf.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed under then-president Barack Obama in the summer of 2015. But the deal has had its critics ever since, with some saying the U.S. was basically bribing Iran not to enrich uranium for nuclear weaponry. Iran has been fighting a proxy war with the United States and its allies since the fall of the Washington-backed Shah of Iran. Soleimani was a lead soldier in that fight, and has since climbed the ranks to lead the elite Quds Force. He was blamed by Washington for leading a militia attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on December 31. Brent crude oil prices rose to $70 in intraday trading on Monday morning, but have since fallen below $70. Texas crude is still pricing in the low $60s, up half a percent following a rash of pro-Iran militia attacks against U.S. facilities this weekend.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reportedly held telephone conversations on Saturday with the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and France, reiterating that China would not back U.S. military strikes on Iran. China, France and Russia are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. That body has a weapons ban on Iran in place since 2010, set to expire in October of this year. “China will continue to uphold an objective and just position,” Wang said, adding that China will help safeguard “peace and security in the (Persian) Gulf.” On Friday, China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and urged the U.S. not to start a regional war in the Middle East.

Last week, Russia’s Vedomosti business daily sourced an unnamed diplomat who surmised that Iran would retaliate by blocking free shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that roughly 35% of all seaborne traded oil, or almost 20% of oil traded worldwide, goes through that Strait. The Strait curves through the coasts of Oman and Iran and is a key transit route for Saudi Arabian oil into China. China’s imports of Saudi oil have hit a record high of late due to sanctions on Iran and dwindling resources in Venezuela, making that body of water very important to Chinese oil supply. China imported 8.21 million tons of crude oil from Saudi Arabia in November, pushing the total volume for 11 months to a record 76.33 million tons. That’s up 53% from the same period in 2018, based on numbers crunched by Caixin Global..

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Don’t worry, the thought police has your back.

Instagram Says It’s Removing Posts Supporting Soleimani (CNN)

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that voice support for slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani to comply with US sanctions, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business Friday. The Iranian government has called for nationwide legal action against Instagram in protest, even creating a portal on a government website for the app’s users to submit examples of posts the company removed, Iranian state media reported. Instagram is one of the few western social media platforms that is not blocked in Iran. Facebook and Twitter are blocked but some Iranians access those sites using VPNs.


In a tweet, Iran’s government spokesperson, Ali Rabiei, called Instagram’s actions “undemocratic.” Instagram shut down Soleimani’s own account on the platform last April after the US government designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization. Soleimani was an IRGC commander. “We operate under US sanctions laws, including those related to the US government’s designation of the IRGC and its leadership,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. Iranian soccer player Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who has a verified Instagram account, posted a photo of Soleimani after his death. Jahanbakhsh said Instagram had removed that post.

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Would almost like to see them try, but don’t think they will. Too many risks. Can’t just wave around the petrodollar; it’s not made of steel; we know because it’s getting rusty.

Trump Administration Warns Iraq Could Lose New York Fed Account (CNBC)

The Trump administration this week warned Iraq that it could lose access to its central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York if Baghdad expels American troops from the region, Iraqi officials told The Wall Street Journal. The State Department’s warning follows the U.S. airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top military commander and the face of the Islamic Republic’s interventions across the Middle East. The strike led to Iraq’s parliament voting to force out American troops — a move some officials argued would hurt Iraq — and a counterstrike by Iran on two bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq last week. Shutting down Iraq’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York could be detrimental to its financial system.


The country puts its revenue from oil sales there, and takes out that money to pay government salaries and contracts. The Fed held almost $3 billion in overnight deposits at the close of 2018, according to the most recent financial statement from the Central Bank of Iraq. President Trump threatened to place economic sanctions on Iraq after parliament voted to request that Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi oust about 5,300 American troops. Those sanctions would also extend to Iran. The White House could also end waivers that allow Iraq to buy Iranian gas to fuel generators that supply a large portion of the country’s power, placing another pressure on the prime minister over addressing U.S. troops without enduring economic and financial loss. Mahdi has argued that forcing out American troops is the only way to avoid conflict in Iraq.

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Brought to you courtesy of John McCain and Victoria Nuland. This is America.

Ukraine Tells Israel To Stay Out Of Debate About Nazi Collaborators (JTA)

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel has told Jerusalem to butt out of the debate about honoring of Nazi collaborators. Thursday’s intervention by Hennadii Nadolenko, head of Ukraine’s diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv, reflects an escalation in the disagreement between Israel and Ukraine over the issue. The subject is related to “internal issues of Ukrainian politics” and Israel’s protests about it are “counterproductive,” Nadolenko told Israeli diplomats, according to the news site Jewish.ru. Last week, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Lion, and his Polish counterpart Bartosz Cichocki wrote officials an open letter condemning the government-sponsored honoring of Stepan Bandera and Andryi Melnyk, two collaborators with the Third Reich.


The two have written on the subject before. In 2018, Lion wrote that he was shocked at an earlier act of veneration for Bandera, saying: “I cannot understand how the glorification of those directly involved in horrible anti-Semitic crimes helps fight anti-Semitism and xenophobia.” Ukrainian diplomats had previously refrained from commenting publicly about Lion’s protests. The veneration of Nazi collaborators, including killers of Jews, is a growing phenomenon in Eastern Europe, where many consider such individuals as heroes because they fought against Russian domination. But few of Lion’s counterparts in those countries have spoken out as forcefully and publicly on this issue.

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For Trump, it’s an easy campaign. Bernie is a socialist, Biden is a sleepy flip flop who blackmailed Ukraine, Warren is Pocahontas squared and a socialist, Buttigieg has a closet full of things he hasn’t yet outed, and nobody likes Bloomberg.

Obama Campaign Guru: Trump Would Love To Run Against Bernie (Pol.)

Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager is warning that Democrats would struggle in a general election against Donald Trump if Bernie Sanders is the nominee. In an interview with POLITICO, Jim Messina predicted that Trump would exploit Sanders’ stamp of socialism in battleground states needed to defeat Trump, keep control of the House and have a shot at winning the Senate. “If I were a campaign manager for Donald Trump and I look at the field, I would very much want to run against Bernie Sanders,” Messina said. “I think the contrast is the best. He can say, ‘I’m a business guy, the economy’s good and this guy’s a socialist.’ I think that contrast for Trump is likely one that he’d be excited about in a way that he wouldn’t be as excited about Biden or potentially Mayor Pete or some of the more Midwestern moderate candidates.”

This is not the first time Messina has questioned Sanders’ viability as a general election candidate. His latest remarks come amid Sanders’ first-place showing in the marquee Iowa Poll and as the Vermont senator‘s messaging has increasingly focused on his electability. Messina said he is not endorsing in the 2020 race. He recently attended a fundraiser for Biden in Irvine, Calif., he said, because his wife is a supporter of the former vice president. “From a general election perspective, socialism is not going to be what Democrats are going to want to defend,” Messina added.“If you’re the Democratic nominee for the Montana Senate race, you don’t want to spend the election talking about socialism.”

Messina is the latest Democrat to raise concerns about Sanders at the top of the ticket. Endangered House Democrats are coalescing around Biden because of concerns that Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could threaten their reelection hopes, POLITICO reported Saturday. [..] Sanders surged starting in late October after recovering from a heart attack and receiving a pivotal endorsement from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. For more than a week, Sanders has more directly attacked Joe Biden, the national top polling candidate, arguing the former vice president has too much “baggage” to win a general election. Sanders has argued the excitement behind his campaign and his steady dominance in grass-roots fundraising makes him the more electable candidate.

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From the Sanders campaign: “Jim Messina’s corporate clients include Google, Uber, AirBNB, a major private equity firm, a major airline that has been fighting its workers’ efforts to form a union, and Third Way, the Wall Street front group whose mission is to destroy the progressive movement.”

The campaign had set January 1st as the starting date for attacking rivals long ago.

Bernie Sanders Rips Biden Revisionist History On Iraq War Support (WE)

Bernie Sanders’s campaign ratcheted up its attacks on Joe Biden’s claim that he did not support the Iraq War nearly as soon as it started. “It is appalling that after 18 years Joe Biden still refuses to admit he was dead wrong on the Iraq War, the worst foreign policy blunder in modern American history,” Sanders senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement Saturday. “Unlike 23 of his Senate colleagues who got it right, Biden made explicitly clear that he was voting for war, and even after the war started, he boasted that he didn’t regret it.” Biden voted for the Iraq War in 2002 while he was a Delaware senator, but he has claimed several times on the campaign trail that he opposed the effort “from the moment” the March 2003 invasion started.

The then-senator expressed support for the war, saying in July 2003 that he still thought the job was “doable.” In a Senate floor speech, Biden said, “I voted to go into Iraq, and I’d vote to do it again.” He later changed his position. As vice president, Biden oversaw the withdrawal of nearly 150,000 troops from Iraq in 2011, which many argue fueled the rise of the Islamic State. “Bernie Sanders saw the same information and had the judgment to vote against the Iraq War,” Weaver said. “That’s the kind of commander in chief we need — someone with the toughness and judgment to get those calls right, not someone who undermined Democratic opposition, enthusiastically supported a disastrous war, refuses to admit mistakes, and then tries to rewrite history.”

Foreign policy shot to prominence in the Democratic presidential field after President Trump ordered a strike that killed of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 2, changing the landscape of Middle East policy. Sanders argued that the move puts the United States on the path to another war. Despite flaunting in Iowa last week that his supporters “have not heard me disparage any of the candidates,” Sanders has been increasing his attacks on the former vice president as the the Feb. 3 first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses loom. “You know, Joe Biden has been on the floor of the Senate, talking about the need to cut Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid,” Sanders said in an interview on Monday. “Joe Biden pushed a bankruptcy bill, which has caused enormous financial problems for working families.”

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The worst of this relates to Clapper and Brennan’s Russiagate comments.

Revolving Door Shills On TV Need An ‘Outing’ (AC)

David Petraeus, Van Hipp, Jeh Johnson, John Negroponte (and these are just the ones featured in Fang’s piece)—all have ties to the Big 5 contracting companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon (whose stocks are soaring in response to recent events) and/or work for venture capital firms that invest in these companies. In fact, General Jack Keane, who is reportedly at the elbow of the president, advising him directly, while alternately appearing on FOX News to congratulate him after launching kinetic attacks like killing Gen. Soleimani, currently serves as a partner for such a firm (SCP Partners) and has worked for General Dynamics and Blackwater. [..] key here, according to Fang is this: “Many of the pundits who appeared on national television or were quoted in major publications to praise the president’s actions have undisclosed ties to the defense industry — the only domestic industry that stands to gain from increased violence.”


Whether they are not disclosing their ties to producers or the hosts don’t bother to mention it on air doesn’t matter. It’s called ethics and journalistic integrity. Due diligence. Honesty. None if it seems to be in evidence here. “It is imperative that viewers are aware when their news commentary is coming from someone with a financial incentive tied to the topic they’re coming on, especially when so many lives hang in the balance,” Gin Armstrong, who’s with the Public Accountability Initiative, told Fang. Quite right. This seems so simple, yet this practice of deception—and it is a deception—has been going on for decades. But that doesn’t mean we have to swallow it passively.

Think of all the damage that was done in the run-up to the Iraq War and after the invasion, when former military generals were cultivated by the Pentagon and delivered to the networks and cable shows as commentators for years, helping to sell the war and pacify public opinion when conditions on the ground went sour. The “Afghanistan Papers” revealed last month that hundreds of government officials and military officers knew for years that the war was lost and that the American people were being sold a bill of goods throughout the entire 18-year campaign. By their silence and complicity they served as enablers. How many of them have cycled through the revolving door to the private sector and have served as “experts” in any media capacity (authors, speechmakers, pundits) to promote those lies back to the American people? If they hadn’t, might there be more public pressure to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home (14,000 still there) today?

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Tree-planting anyone?

Australia’s Fires Pump Out More Emissions Than 100 Nations Combined (MIT)

The wildfires raging along Australia’s eastern coast have already pumped around 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further fueling the climate change that’s already intensifying the nation’s fires. That’s more than the total combined annual emissions of the 116 lowest-emitting countries, and nine times the amount produced during California’s record-setting 2018 fire season. It also adds up to about three-quarters of Australia’s otherwise flattening greenhouse-gas emissions in 2019. And yet, 400 million tons isn’t an unprecedented amount nationwide at this point of the year in Australia, where summer bush fires are common, the fire season has been growing longer, and the number of days of “very high fire danger” is increasing.

Wildfires emissions topped 600 million tons from September through early January during the brutal fire seasons of 2011 and 2012, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. But emissions are way beyond typical levels in New South Wales, where this year’s fires are concentrated. More than 5.2 million hectares (12.8 million acres) have burned across the southeastern state since July 1, according to a statement from the NSW Rural Fire Service. Climate change doesn’t spark wildfires. But rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall dries out trees, plants, and soil, converting them into fuel that can amplify fires when they do break out.

A 2018 report by Australia’s national science agency and the Bureau of Meteorology concludes climate change has contributed to the nation’s worsening fire conditions, noting that average temperatures have risen more than 1˚C. In turn, these huge fires are fueling climate change. As trees and plants burn, they release the carbon stored in their trunks, leaves, branches, and roots. That creates a vicious feedback loop, as the very impacts of climate change further exacerbate it, complicating our ability to get ahead of the problem.


Wildfire emissions from September through early January, nationwide and in New South Wales. Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service

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But to be replaced with what? I still haven’t seen an answer to that which makes any sense.

Stay out of Davos, Greta, you’re being bought.

Greta Thunberg Tells World Leaders To End Fossil Fuel ‘Madness’ (G.)

Greta Thunberg and fellow youth climate campaigners are demanding that global leaders immediately end the “madness” of huge ongoing investments in fossil fuel exploration and enormous subsidies for coal, oil and gas use. The 21 young activists are also calling on the political and business leaders who will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos to ensure investment funds dump their holdings in fossil fuel companies. “Anything less would be a betrayal against life itself,” said Thunberg and colleagues in an article in the Guardian. “Today’s business as usual is turning into a crime against humanity. We demand that you play your part in putting an end to this madness.”

The burning of fossil fuels is the biggest driver of the climate emergency. Scientists predict catastrophic impacts unless deep cuts in emissions are made rapidly, but global emissions are still rising. “Young people are being let down by older generations and those in power,” the climate strikers said. “To some it may seem like we are asking for a lot. But this is just the very minimum effort needed to start the rapid sustainable transition.” Much of the world’s existing coal, oil and gas reserves must be kept in the ground to avoid the worst impacts of global heating. But investment in fossil fuel exploration and extraction remains high.

Since the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the world’s largest investment banks have provided more than $700bn to fossil fuel companies to develop new projects, with the total investment estimated to be trillions of dollars. Fossil fuel companies argue that their products will be used for many years to come and that they have a pivotal role in shifting the energy system to zero emissions. But their investments in green energy are tiny compared with those in fossil fuels. Subsidies for fossil fuels also remain high despite a G20 pledge in 2009 to eliminate them. The IMF estimates such subsidies run at $10m a minute, or $5.2tn a year. “The fact that [ending investment and subsidies] hasn’t been done already is, quite frankly, a disgrace,” said Thunberg and colleagues.

Investors managing funds totalling $12tn have already divested from coal, oil and gas, but the climate activists demand that “all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels”. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, said in December that the financial sector was not cutting investments in oil and gas companies rapidly enough and warned that assets in the sector could end up “worthless”. He said in October that companies and industries not moving towards zero-carbon emissions would be punished by investors and go bankrupt.

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UK 2020. Laughing stock.

Anti-Terror Police Target School Climate Strikers (G.)

Extinction Rebellion is threatening legal action against counter-terrorism police for what it said was the illegal listing of the group as an extremist ideology in a guide designed to help stop terrorist violence. The Guardian revealed on Friday that counter-terrorism police had placed the non-violent protest group on a list of extremist ideologies that should be reported to the authorities running the Prevent anti-radicalisation programme. Police now say that was an error. Amnesty International condemned the decision on Saturday as criticism grew and questions remained about how Extinction Rebellion (XR) came to be included in the guide alongside neo-Nazi and terrorist groups.

The climate emergency campaign group was included in a 12-page document produced by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) titled “Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism”. XR has instructed lawyers. Jules Carey, who acted for XR when it successfully struck down police protest bans in the courts last year, told the Guardian that the latest guidance was unlawful. “It is extraordinary that Counter Terrorism Policing South East have added Extinction Rebellion to the list of terrorist groups and extremist organisations that the Prevent strategy was set up to deal with.

“The guidance issued by the CTPSE is clearly unlawful. It constitutes an unlawful interference with human rights including free speech, right to assemble and enjoyment of a private life. “The guidance is clearly designed to harm Extinction Rebellion and cast those who support the movement as domestic extremists. It is a glaring example of the sort of overzealous policing we have come to expect around protests. Being referred to Prevent could have long-lasting and life-changing consequences for a young school activist.”

[..] Kerry Moscogiuri, Amnesty International UK’s campaigns director, said the police guidance added to longstanding concerns about Prevent. “It’s deeply shocking that the police ever seriously considered classifying peaceful climate crisis protesters as extremists. To see that schoolchildren were effectively going to be profiled under these proposed measures, just deepens our shock. “Given that children are potentially those who will be most affected by the climate emergency, it’s vital that they are able to speak out on these issues without this heavy-handed and entirely disproportionate police attention. This episode only adds to our existing concerns about Prevent, which is a highly dubious scheme sorely in need of a proper, independent and impartial review.”

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“Commercial honeybees are considered livestock by the US Department of Agriculture..”

Might as well register them as cartoon characters. Same difference. We really don’t have any connection to anything alive anymore, do we?

‘Like Sending Bees To War’: The Deadly Truth Behind Your Almond-Milk (G.)

A recent survey of commercial beekeepers showed that 50 billion bees – more than seven times the world’s human population – were wiped out in a few months during winter 2018-19. This is more than one-third of commercial US bee colonies, the highest number since the annual survey started in the mid-2000s. Beekeepers attributed the high mortality rate to pesticide exposure, diseases from parasites and habitat loss. However, environmentalists and organic beekeepers maintain that the real culprit is something more systemic: America’s reliance on industrial agriculture methods, especially those used by the almond industry, which demands a large-scale mechanization of one of nature’s most delicate natural processes.

Environmental advocates argue that the huge, commercially driven proliferation of the European honeybees used on almond farms is itself undermining the ecosystem for all bees. Honeybees out-compete diverse native bee species for forage, and threaten the endangered species that are already struggling to survive climate change. Environmentalists argue a better solution is to transform the way large-scale agriculture is carried out in the US. Like all bees, honeybees thrive in a biodiverse landscape. But California’s almond industry places them in a monoculture where growers expect the bees to be predictably productive year after year.

Commercial honeybees are considered livestock by the US Department of Agriculture because of the creature’s vital role in food production. But no other class of livestock comes close to the scorched-earth circumstances that commercial honeybees face. More bees die every year in the US than all other fish and animals raised for slaughter combined. “The high mortality rate creates a sad business model for beekeepers,” says Nate Donley, a senior scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s like sending the bees to war. Many don’t come back.”

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The state of -rich western- mankind in a few words.

 

 

 

Include the Automatic Earth in your 2020 charity list. Support us on Paypal and Patreon.

 

Jan 052020
 
 January 5, 2020  Posted by at 11:03 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  15 Responses »


Jack Delano Foggy night in New Bedford, Massachusetts 1941

 

Suleimani’s Death Huge Blow To Iran’s Plans For Regional Domination (Hassan)
Trump Could Start A War Via Twitter; The Social Network Is OK With That (Keys)
Sanders, Warren Want No War With Iran, Biden, Buttigieg Better-Run Wars (IC)
Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani (Murray)
Doubling Down Into Yet Another ‘March of Folly,’ This Time on Iran (VIPS)
To Stop Trump’s War with Iran, We Must Also Confront the Democrats (ITT)
PBOC Says Will Keep Monetary Policy Prudent, Flexible And Appropriate (R.)
Bernanke: Fed Has Ample Clout To Fight Downturn If Toolkit Used Properly (R.)
How the Two-Party System Broke the Constitution (Atlantic)
Bushfire Turns Aussie Sky Into A Re-Creation Of The Aboriginal Flag (DMA)

 

 

It’s very hard not to wonder what everyone would have been writing and talking about in these first few days of 2020 if Australia weren’t burning and the US hadn’t killed Soleimani. Because this is all people are on about. Nobody talks about impeachment, for one thing.

It’s a shame that virtually all use the two events to reaffirm their prior positions, that they see to tweak events to reinforce their prior positions. It’s nigh impossible not to read that Trump will start a grand war, or the US will. This first article by Hassan Hassan is a rare exception.

Something else that crossed my mind: Soleimani’s death has -perhaps greatly- increased the chance that US troops will have to leave Iraq. Who would want that to happen?

Suleimani’s Death Huge Blow To Iran’s Plans For Regional Domination (Hassan)

The killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani could prove to be the most consequential US slaying of an enemy operative in recent memory. It will eclipse in its significance the killing of Osama bin Laden almost a decade ago or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October. Not because it might spark another Middle East war, as many have warned, or merely because Suleimani was irreplaceable. Rather, his killing came at a time when the project he had led – to create an Iranian hegemony in the region – is facing unprecedented challenges in Iraq and Lebanon, through cross-sectarian and grassroots protests, while in Syria the project is still in its infancy. One can add to this picture a more aggressive policy adopted by the US.

Indeed, Suleimani was killed while he was trying to deal with these very challenges. His successor is unlikely to be able to complete that mission and contain the spiral of events in countries where, only a year ago, Iran declared major victories – in Syria against the rebels, in Lebanon through a Hezbollah-friendly government and in Iraq and Syria against Isis. In the short term, doomsday scenarios seem far-fetched. Neither side is interested in an outright war, even if developments over the past few years indicate that both have been caught in an unpredictable cycle of escalation and mounting tension. Crucially, nearly all the most influential public figures in Iraq, so far the main battle-space for the two powers, have called for a restrained and clear-headed response to prevent the situation in their country from spinning out of control.

These calls reduced significantly the chances for the worst-case scenario – of Iraq’s public figures mobilising impulsively and collectively against the United States in a way that might spark attacks and retaliations. Such scenarios would have made the US presence in Iraq unsustainable, at best. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most revered cleric, condemned Washington for its “flagrant aggression” but, in the same breath, he also called for restraint. What’s more, he cited the Iran-linked attack on the US embassy in Baghdad as part of a dangerous whirlwind of events that could steer Iraq into renewed chaos.

Beyond the extreme scenarios, Iran’s options for retaliation seem limited to familiar patterns of proxy and asymmetric warfare. Even Iranian officials have suggested any response to Suleimani’s killing would have to come later; foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said that Tehran would launch “legal measures” at international level to hold the US to account. While a future response is possible, alarmism about a spiral into confrontation between Iran and the US is misplaced.

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Hmmm. Yes, Trump was the first to use Twitter, social media the way he does. because they didn’t exist the way they do. Presidents, CIS etc., would use the NYT and WaPo to start wars, sell them to voters. Does any of this mean Twitter should censure Trump? Or that not doing it makes them warmongers?

Trump Could Start A War Via Twitter; The Social Network Is OK With That (Keys)

Lost in the back-and-forth over the legality of the assassination and whatever future consequences it may hold is that Trump may be the first president to stoke, and perhaps even declare, war through the Internet. [..] Since taking office, Trump has used Twitter to antagonize North Korea, start false rumors about Russia, intimidate witnesses, harass journalists, slander political rivals and — perhaps we should have seen it coming — threaten Iran. For its part, Twitter seems okay — maybe even pleased — that Trump has selected their platform to connect directly with the public. To date, no other social media platform has been able to boast that two sitting presidents have actively used their platform with the level of tenacity seen on Twitter.

That was likely the thought in mind when Twitter responded to criticism over its selective enforcement of its own terms of service — the kind that prohibit direct harassment against a person, incitement of violence, certain slurs and other acts of malfeasance — by saying it would give greater leniency to world leaders because what they have to tweet is important for people to read. “Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation,” a blog post published in January 2018 said. “Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society. Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate.”

Twitter goes on to argue that removing a world leader like Trump from the platform would not silence them as some would wish, but rather “hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.” “We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” Twitter said. So far, that enforcement has amounted to a blank check for Trump to say whatever he want with impunity, with the social network apparently figuring that whatever Trump has to say — on his personal account that he used for several years before he became president — has roots in political discourse. And, hey, it’s not like anyone has died from a president’s tweet before.

But the assassination of Gen. Soleimali at Trump’s direction changes everything. Nowhere has Trump’s trademark approach to public discourse — filterless, unhinged, often ignorant and without regard to consequence — played out more than on Twitter. Now, people are paying closer attention to what Trump has to say, particularly on Iran, and a lot of the focus is on what Trump will tweet next. Certainly among those waiting with baited breath are world leaders — allies who are trying hard to prepare for what’s ahead with virtually little advance notice and foes who are looking for any excuse to attack.

As the crisis between the United States and Iran over the killing of Gen. Soleimali intensifies, it’s not unreasonable to assume Trump will, at some point, tweet something that instigates an attack or declaration of war. When that happens, Americans will die. By choosing not to enforce its terms equitably across users and show privilege and favor to world leaders, Twitter — as a platform and as a company — will play a role in whatever comes next.

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Trump alos said he wants no war with Iran. Biden and Mayor Pete are twisting like pretzels, Warren has a hard time keeping up with events.

Sanders, Warren Want No War With Iran, Biden, Buttigieg Better-Run Wars (IC)

Warren, who faced criticism from the left for initially prefacing her alarm at the threat of “another costly war” with the statement that Suleimani was “a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans,” amplified Sanders’s anti-war message more clearly on Friday. “Donald Trump is dangerous and reckless,” she wrote. “He’s escalated crises and betrayed our partners. He’s undermined our diplomatic relationships for his own personal, political gain. We cannot allow him to drag us back into another war. We must speak out.”

Biden also criticized the killing of the general as needlessly provocative, but issued a statement that embraced the Trump administration’s argument that Suleimani, who orchestrated deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers during the post-war occupation of Iraq, “deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops.” The former vice president — who voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq when he was still in the Senate, and later authored a bizarre plan to partition the country along ethnic and sectarian lines — was critical mainly of what he called Trump’s failure to explain his “strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel” and Trump’s lack of a “long-term vision” for the U.S. military’s role in the region.

Warren, who faced criticism from the left for initially prefacing her alarm at the threat of “another costly war” with the statement that Suleimani was “a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans,” amplified Sanders’s anti-war message more clearly on Friday. “Donald Trump is dangerous and reckless,” she wrote. “He’s escalated crises and betrayed our partners. He’s undermined our diplomatic relationships for his own personal, political gain. We cannot allow him to drag us back into another war. We must speak out.”

Biden also criticized the killing of the general as needlessly provocative, but issued a statement that embraced the Trump administration’s argument that Suleimani, who orchestrated deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers during the post-war occupation of Iraq, “deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops.” The former vice president — who voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq when he was still in the Senate, and later authored a bizarre plan to partition the country along ethnic and sectarian lines — was critical mainly of what he called Trump’s failure to explain his “strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel” and Trump’s lack of a “long-term vision” for the U.S. military’s role in the region.

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Propaganda is what it is.

Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani (Murray)

In one of the series of blatant lies the USA has told to justify the assassination of Soleimani, Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence. Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu’s government and then Blair’s, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me.

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine – that here “Imminent” – the word used so carefully by Pompeo – does not need to have its normal meanings of either “soon” or “about to happen”. An attack may be deemed “imminent”, according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. [..] The truth of the matter is that if you take every American killed including and since 9/11, in the resultant Middle East related wars, conflicts and terrorist acts, well over 90% of them have been killed by Sunni Muslims financed and supported out of Saudi Arabia and its gulf satellites, and less than 10% of those Americans have been killed by Shia Muslims tied to Iran.

This is a horribly inconvenient fact for US administrations which, regardless of party, are beholden to Saudi Arabia and its money. It is, the USA affirms, the Sunnis who are the allies and the Shias who are the enemy. Yet every journalist or aid worker hostage who has been horribly beheaded or otherwise executed has been murdered by a Sunni, every jihadist terrorist attack in the USA itself, including 9/11, has been exclusively Sunni, the Benghazi attack was by Sunnis, Isil are Sunni, Al Nusra are Sunni, the Taliban are Sunni and the vast majority of US troops killed in the region are killed by Sunnis.

Precisely which are these hundreds of deaths for which the Shia forces of Soleimani were responsible? Is there a list? It is of course a simple lie. Its tenuous connection with truth relates to the Pentagon’s estimate – suspiciously upped repeatedly since Iran became the designated enemy – that back during the invasion of Iraq itself, 83% of US troop deaths were at the hands of Sunni resistance and 17% of of US troop deaths were at the hands of Shia resistance, that is 603 troops. All the latter are now lain at the door of Soleimani, remarkably.

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“One short week ago, for example, Iran launched its first joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman, in an unprecedented challenge to the U.S. in the region.”

Doubling Down Into Yet Another ‘March of Folly,’ This Time on Iran (VIPS)

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) SUBJECT: Doubling Down Into Another “March of Folly”?

The drone assassination in Iraq of Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani evokes memory of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, which led to World War I. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to warn of “severe revenge.” That Iran will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing is a near certainty. And escalation into World War III is no longer just a remote possibility, particularly given the multitude of vulnerable targets offered by our large military footprint in the region and in nearby waters. What your advisers may have avoided telling you is that Iran has not been isolated. Quite the contrary. One short week ago, for example, Iran launched its first joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman, in an unprecedented challenge to the U.S. in the region.

Cui Bono? It is time to call a spade a spade. The country expecting to benefit most from hostilities between Iran and the U.S. is Israel (with Saudi Arabia in second place). As you no doubt are aware, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life. He continues to await from you the kind of gift that keeps giving. Likewise, it appears that you, your son-in-law, and other myopic pro-Israel advisers are as susceptible to the influence of Israeli prime ministers as was former President George W. Bush. Some commentators are citing your taking personal responsibility for providing Iran with a casus belli as unfathomable. Looking back just a decade or so, we see a readily distinguishable pattern.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon payed a huge role in getting George W. Bush to destroy Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Usually taciturn, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, warned in August 2002 that “U.S. action against Iraq … could turn the whole region into a cauldron.” Bush paid no heed, prompting Scowcroft to explain in Oct. 2004 to The Financial Times that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had George W. Bush “mesmerized”; that Sharon has him “wrapped around his little finger.” (Scowcroft was promptly relieved of his duties as chair of the prestigious President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.)

In Sept. 2002, well before the attack on Iraq, Philip Zelikow, who was Executive Secretary of the 9/11 Commission, stated publicly in a moment of unusual candor, “The ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The unstated threat was the threat against Israel.” Zelikow did not explain how Iraq (or Iran), with zero nuclear weapons, would not be deterred from attacking Israel, which had a couple of hundred such weapons.

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Guess who the main Democratic donors are. Except for Bernie and Warren, but she’s already in funding trouble.

To Stop Trump’s War with Iran, We Must Also Confront the Democrats (ITT)

Since President Trump took office in 2017, the leadership of the Democratic Party has overwhelmingly supported the precursors to today’s dangerous U.S. escalation towards Iran: sanctions, proxy battles and a bloated military budget. Yet, now that we stand on the brink of a possible U.S. war of aggression, Democratic leaders are feigning concern that Trump is leading a march to war without congressional approval, and using a faulty strategy to do so. These objections, however, are grounded in process critiques, rather than moral opposition—and belie Democrats’ role in helping lay the groundwork for the growing confrontation.

The U.S. drone assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force and a ranking official of the Iranian government, takes confrontation with Iran to new heights, inching the U.S. closer to the war the Trump administration has been pushing for. While Trump deserves blame for driving this dangerous escalation, he did not do it on his own.

As recently as December 2019, the House overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 with a vote of 377-48. Two amendments were stripped from that bill before it went to a vote: Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-Calif.) amendment to block funding for a war with Iran barring congressional approval and Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) amendment to repeal 2001’s “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists” (AUMF). That AUMF effectively allows the government to use “necessary and appropriate force” against anyone suspected of being connected to the 9/11 attacks, and has been interpreted broadly to justify U.S. aggression around the world. Officials from the Trump administration have suggested that the 2001 AUMF may give them authority to go to war with Iran.

Of the 377 Representatives who voted for the $738 billion defense bill, 188 were Democrats. Just 41 Democrats opposed the legislation. The bill cleared the Senate with a tally of 86-8, with just four Democrats voting against it. None of the Senators running for the 2020 Democratic nomination were present for the vote. Before the vote, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor to brag about the fact that “partisan demands” had effectively been removed from the bill and declared that “sanity and progress” had won out. “Reassuringly, the past few days have finally brought an end to bipartisan talks and produced a compromise NDAA,” said McConnell.

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Talk about propaganda. Hollow words.

PBOC Says Will Keep Monetary Policy Prudent, Flexible And Appropriate (R.)

China will keep monetary policy prudent, flexible and appropriate, and continue to deepen financial reforms, the central bank said on Sunday, reiterating previous policy statements. After a work meeting chaired by People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang, the central bank also vowed to prevent any financial crisis, and said it would continue to help small companies seeking financing, according to a statement posted on PBOC’s website. It also said it will continue to let market play a decisive role in the currency exchange rate, but would keep the yuan exchange rate stable within a reasonable range. China’s economic growth cooled to a near 30-year low of 6% in the third quarter, but is expected to meet the government’s full-year 2019 target of 6%-6.5%. The PBOC on Wednesday cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves for the eighth time in nearly two years…

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And there’s more where that came from. The rate cuts Bernanke once labeled “uncharted territory”, he now calls “conventional”.

Bernanke: Fed Has Ample Clout To Fight Downturn If Toolkit Used Properly (R.)

The U.S. Federal Reserve still has enough clout to fight a future downturn, but policymakers should state in advance the mix of policies and policy promises they plan to use to get the most bang for their buck, former Fed chief Ben Bernanke said on Saturday. In an address to the American Economics Association, Bernanke pushed back on the notion that central banks have lost influence over the economy, and laid out his thoughts about how the Fed in particular could change its monetary policy “framework” to be sure that is not the case. Citing new research of his own and others at the Fed and elsewhere, Bernanke said the bondbuying programs known as “quantitative easing” were effective in lowering long-term interest rates even after the Fed’s target policy rate had been cut to zero.


Several rounds of QE were rolled out in response to the deep 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession, and Bernanke said bondbuying should be made a permanent part of the U.S. central bank’s toolkit. Similarly, “forward guidance,” or promises about future policy, proved effective particularly as those pledges became more specific and tied to particular goals like reaching a certain level of unemployment. “Forward guidance in the next downturn will be more effective – better understood, better anticipated, and more credible – if it is part of a policy framework clearly articulated in advance,” Bernanke said. “Both QE and forward guidance should be part of the standard toolkit going forward.” “The room available for conventional rate cuts is much smaller than in the past,” Bernanke said, but “the new policy tools are effective.”

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You can talk about the Framers all you want, but the country has changed a lot since them.

How the Two-Party System Broke the Constitution (Atlantic)

From the mid-1960s through the mid-’90s, American politics had something more like a four-party system, with liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alongside liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Conservative Mississippi Democrats and liberal New York Democrats might have disagreed more than they agreed in Congress, but they could still get elected on local brands. You could have once said the same thing about liberal Vermont Republicans and conservative Kansas Republicans. Depending on the issue, different coalitions were possible, which allowed for the kind of fluid bargaining the constitutional system requires.

But that was before American politics became fully nationalized, a phenomenon that happened over several decades, powered in large part by a slow-moving post-civil-rights realignment of the two parties. National politics transformed from a compromise-oriented squabble over government spending into a zero-sum moral conflict over national culture and identity. As the conflict sharpened, the parties changed what they stood for. And as the parties changed, the conflict sharpened further. Liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats went extinct. The four-party system collapsed into just two parties.

The Democrats, the party of diversity and cosmopolitan values, came to dominate in cities but disappeared from the exurbs. And the Republicans, the party of traditional values and white, Christian identity, fled the cities and flourished in the exurbs. Partisan social bubbles began to grow, and congressional districts became more distinctly one party or the other. As a result, primaries, not general elections, determine the victor in many districts.

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Nice find, dark humor.

Bushfire Turns Aussie Sky Into A Re-Creation Of The Aboriginal Flag (DMA)

An amazing photo taken by a woman as fires raged nearby seemed to mimic the Aboriginal flag. South Australian woman Rose Fletcher took the photo at Victor Harbour as the sun rose on New Year’s Day when fires near her home were at their worst. ‘It was taken on New Year’s Day, just after sunrise, when the fires were arguably at their worst, and hearts were heavy and people were frightened – me included,’ Mrs Fletcher told Daily Mail Australia. ‘The rising sun was just a pale disc behind the layers of smoke over the Southern Ocean – and then, for just a few magic seconds, as it moved up through successively dense layers, it formed the Aboriginal flag.’


Towns on Australia’s east coast have been plunged into darkness in the middle of the day recently, while others have witnessed the sky turn apocolyptic red as the fire front approached. At least 24 people have died so far and dozens more are still missing so far this fire season. Authorities predict that number will rise. In addition to the death toll, more than 1,500 homes and four million hectares of land have been wiped out. More than 500 million animals are feared to have perished. Ms Fletcher said she recognised right away the power of the image and immediately went home to share it. ‘So I went home and put it up on Facebook, hoping that those moments would speak to other people as they spoke to me, and the rest is history,’ she said.

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Jan 042020
 


Jack Delano Near Shawboro, North Carolina, Florida migrants on way to Cranberry, NJ 1940

 

The Dubious Official Story Behind the Soleimani Assassination (Whitney Webb)
Israel Had Advance Notice Of US Plan To Kill Iranian General Suleimani (LAT)
How Trump Decided To Kill Iran’s Soleimani (Pol.)
Inside The Plot By Iran’s Soleimani To Attack US Forces In Iraq (R.)
Iraqi PMF Militias Retract Claims Of Medics Targeted By US Airstrike (RT)
The Dogs of War (Kunstler)
Fed Policymakers Broadly See Eye To Eye On 2020 Outlook (R.)
Fed’s Mester Warned Of Inflation Risks, Says Current Policy ‘Well Calibrated’ (R.)
Australian Troops Called To Tackle Fires (BBC)
Slow Burn (John Quiggin)
Australia’s Bushfires Push Countless Species To Extinction (G.)
Mexico President Calls For Julian Assange To Be Released From UK Prison (R.)

 

 

See far too many people pretending they’re far too sure about what’s going on. Mostly in line with their pre-conceived views, but others, too, appear to think there’s shame in not having a strong opinion on things they don’t know much about (there will be a war!). While Israel and Saudi are almost completely missing from those opinions and reports.

First victim of war is truth, guys, and that war for now only exists in opinions. And don’t believe everyone in Iran is in deep mourning now. There, too, in the upper echelons there’s a constant power battle, with lots of bloodshed and torture and renditioned people. Just like in America. Plenty Iranians will be happy to see Soleimani gone.

The Dubious Official Story Behind the Soleimani Assassination (Whitney Webb)

Much has been written by MintPress and other outlets about the long-standing efforts by prominent neoconservatives in the U.S. as well as the Israel lobby and Israeli government to prod the U.S. into a major war with Iran. Neoconservative efforts at regime change in Iran have been decades in the making and the current presidential administration has several notable Iran hawks in prominent positions. Furthermore, both President Trump and his foremost ally in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are facing domestic efforts aimed at removing them from office and are facing fresh elections, giving both leaders incentive to ratchet up tensions abroad to distract from their own domestic conflicts.

Yet, the current pressure facing both Trump and Netanyahu in their respective policies is only the latest factor that has pushed both administrations into a renewed and increasingly desperate push to satisfy the decades-old effort of Iran hawks in both countries to stoke war and “reshape” the Middle East in favor of the U.S.-Israel axis. Given the recent assassination of Soleimani, however, it is essential to point out that the U.S. airstrike targeting the Quds Force leader came just a few months after Israel tried but failed to assassinate the general. Indeed, the most recent of these failed attempts was slated to occur early last October and, per The Times of Israel:

“The assassins planned to dig under a religious site associated with Soleimani’s father and set off an explosion under the building when he was inside, and then try to deflect blame so that it ignited an interfaction[al] religious war. The assassins prepared some 500 kilograms to use for the bomb.” Israel’s government did not comment on the alleged plot, though it is notable that the plan to dig below a Muslim holy site and plant a bomb has been attempted by Israeli extremist groups in the past, groups which have a major foothold in Israel’s current government.


This alleged attempt by Israel to kill Soleimani came after claims that, in 2018, the Trump administration had given Israel a “green light” to assassinate the general. The report claimed that “there is an American-Israeli agreement” that Soleimani is a “threat to the two countries’ interests in the region” and was published by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, which is widely considered to be “an Israeli platform for conveying messages to other countries in the Middle East,” according to Israeli media.

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Geez, what a surprise.

Israel Had Advance Notice Of US Plan To Kill Iranian General Suleimani (LAT)

Israel had advance notice of the U.S. plan to kill Iranian military leader Gen. Qassem Suleimani, Israeli military and diplomatic analysts reported Friday night while refraining from providing further details due to heavy military censorship. “Our assessment is that the United States informed Israel about this operation in Iraq, apparently a few days ago,” Barak Ravid, a journalist and commentator with deep sources in the Israeli security establishment, said on Channel 13. An Israeli army officer with knowledge of Israeli military assessments, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not have permission to speak to reporters, told the Los Angeles Times that the attack on Suleimani “did not come as a surprise.”

The reactions of Israel’s political leadership to Suleimani’s assassination were mostly positive, though deep concern was registered throughout the leadership. Iran and Israel maintained warm relations for almost four decades before the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the shah and imposed a theocratic Shiiite Muslim regime that for four decades now has called for “death to Israel” and is accused of backing and masterminding numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli or Jewish targets, including the 1992 and 1994 attacks on the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left over 100 people dead. Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Iranian proxy militia, has in recent years been accused of perpetrating further attacks against Israeli targets in India, Thailand and Bulgaria.


[..] Due to the heightened alarm, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Greece, where he had signed an agreement for a regional gas pipeline. He made a statement on the tarmac ahead of boarding his flight back to Israel, saying that the United States had the right to defend itself. “Qassem Suleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks. President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively. Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense.” The Israeli army officer described the situation as “definitely higher readiness than usual, but not DEFCON One. We want to err on the side of caution, but we know we are not the first target. We are the second.”

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Lots of stories of Trump spilling the beans before the attack to run of the mill Mar-a-Lago guests. While Howie Carr didn’t know anything until afterwards. Don’t let news outlets shape your opinions for you.

How Trump Decided To Kill Iran’s Soleimani (Pol.)

Hours before the U.S. military sent a Reaper drone to kill one of the most wanted men on the planet, President Donald Trump was relaxing at his palatial Florida properties. In the morning, he played 18 holes at Trump International, his West Palm Beach golf club. At around 3 p.m., he returned to Mar-a-Lago, the historic oceanfront estate he’s branded “the Winter White House,” and waited, donning a navy blue suit with a powder-blue tie and an American flag pinned to his lapel. He’d already made a risky—and potentially world-altering—decision to allow the U.S. military to kill Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite paramilitary forces.

Earlier this week, he’d been surrounded at Mar-a-Lago by top officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland. Throughout the entire week, Trump sought input from other advisers by phone. “He was calm, cool and collected,” said conservative radio host Howie Carr, who spoke with Trump on Thursday at Mar-a-Lago soon after the news first broke, as the president dined with GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy. “I had no idea there was anything out of the ordinary going on until I got home.”

As rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq intensified over the last two months, the president had granted the Pentagon extraordinary latitude: The U.S. military had his permission to kill Soleimani the next time it had an opportunity to do so, according to a senior defense official who was not authorized to speak on the record. “We had authority before the strike to take that action,” said the official, who wouldn’t say how recently Trump gave the Pentagon that authorization—whether it was hours, weeks or even months earlier. As recently as New Year’s Eve, the president was telling reporters that he didn’t want war with Iran.


For a man U.S. officials have portrayed as a terrorist mastermind, an evil genius responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, Soleimani often flaunted his influence as he jetted between Tehran, Baghdad and Beirut for meetings with local potentates. “I don’t think it was so hard [to find him] because he was not below the radar in the last two or three years,” said a former senior Israeli government official, who noted that Soleimani had previously moved around under strict operational secrecy. “But the last two or three years, he worked in the open.”

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We simply don’t know what is fact and what fiction. And that’s okay.

Inside The Plot By Iran’s Soleimani To Attack US Forces In Iraq (R.)

In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi’ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad. The Revolutionary Guards commander instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran, two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters. The strategy session, which has not been previously reported, came as mass protests against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq were gaining momentum, putting the Islamic Republic in an unwelcome spotlight.

Soleimani’s plans to attack U.S. forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect that rising anger toward the United States, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi’ite politicians and government officials close to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Soleimani’s efforts ended up provoking the U.S. attack on Friday that killed him and Muhandis, marking a major escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran. The two men died in air strikes on their convoy at a Baghdad airport as they headed to the capital, dealing a major blow to the Islamic Republic and the Iraqi paramilitary groups it supports. Interviews with the Iraqi security sources and Shi’ite militia commanders offer a rare glimpse of how Soleimani operated in Iraq, which he once told a Reuters reporter he knew like the back of his hand.


Two weeks before the October meeting, Soleimani ordered Iranian Revolutionary Guards to move more sophisticated weapons – such as Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles that could bring down helicopters – to Iraq through two border crossings, the militia commanders and Iraqi security sources told Reuters. At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries – unknown to the United States – who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases. He ordered Kataib Hezbollah – a force founded by Muhandis and trained in Iran – to direct the new plan, said the militia sources briefed on the meetings. Soleimani told them such a group “would be difficult to detect by the Americans,” one of the militia sources told Reuters.

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That second strike everyone’s talking about? Did it even happen?

Iraqi PMF Militias Retract Claims Of Medics Targeted By US Airstrike (RT)

The Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) have dropped their claims that a medical convoy was destroyed in a US air raid along Taji road, north of Baghdad. In a new press release cited by several news agencies, the PMF leadership retracted their statement in which the group said their medics were hit by a US airstrike. This happened after Reuters cited Iraqi Army sources who said that six people were killed in a raid near Taji. The Iraqi Army, however, later denied that an airstrike took place there. In a statement quoted by local media, the military urged everyone to be “careful” about spreading unverified information and “rumors” in the future. The US-led coalition in Iraq also said that no air raids have been conducted in that area in recent days.

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“..the little towns that dotted that landscape where all the carnage and horror played out. Not a strip-mall in the whole gorgeous panorama. The rolling fields neatly fenced in the stillness of a summer’s day. A peaceful tranquility we today cannot even imagine.”

The Dogs of War (Kunstler)

In that mercifully quiet week between Christmas and New Years, I re-watched Ken Burns’ documentary of the first Civil War, in contemplation of a possible second. What an almighty bloodbath that was. Thousands butchered in minutes in one battle after another, heads and limbs flying, men turned inside-out, and horses, too. The blue and the gray were hostage to their battlefield tactics and didn’t seem to learn from the insane extravagance of souls wasted in massed assaults against massed artillery again and again and again. The population of the whole nation (Confederacy included) was 31 million in 1860 and the war killed two percent of that, almost entirely young men.

Another impression left by that documentary was the startling beauty of the countryside in that day, and of the little towns that dotted that landscape where all the carnage and horror played out. Not a strip-mall in the whole gorgeous panorama. The rolling fields neatly fenced in the stillness of a summer’s day. A peaceful tranquility we today cannot even imagine. Everything human-scaled and so many buildings graced with beauty deliberately made: pediments, steeples, cupolas, columns, and swags. Walt Disney could not have imagined a more tender and appealing place. The lyrical names of those towns are linked to rivers of blood: Shiloh, Spotsylvania, Missionary Ridge, Cold Harbor….


And the last impression accumulated over each installment was that this we did it to ourselves, and couldn’t seem to stop, just as today various parties to current events can’t seem to stop their provocations to a new episode of national domestic violence. This time it is the very government at war with itself, and so far the war is merely legalistic, the battles of lawyers — of which, one senses, we have far too many for our own good. The Department of Justice in particular is at war with itself, one faction in it refusing to cooperate with the other, hiding documents, trafficking in political muck, kluging up the works with deceptions, and still at it in the yet-unresolved case of General Flynn, which should have been thrown out of court months ago based on obvious prosecutorial malice.

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These people think you are really really stupid…

Fed Policymakers Broadly See Eye To Eye On 2020 Outlook (R.)

Federal Reserve policymakers who last year were frequently at odds over where to set U.S. borrowing costs opened 2020 telegraphing confidence in the state of the economy and signaling broad agreement that monetary policy is right where it should be. In their first remarks in the new year, heads of several regional Fed banks noted a strong job market, robust consumer spending and a rising optimism for a resolution to the trade tensions that had nicked growth in the second half of 2019.


And after cutting interest rates three times last year to bring the Fed’s target to a range of 1.5% to 1.75% and ensure global headwinds didn’t short-circuit the longest U.S. economic expansion in history, “I think most of us think that we are well-calibrated now,” Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said in an interview on the sidelines of an economics conference in San Diego. Based on forecasts of her fellow policymakers on the Fed’s rate-setting committee, she said, “the committee thinks a flat path (for interest rates)… is appropriate.” Mester had been among a handful of Fed policymakers who argued last year that the U.S. economy did not need lower rates to continue to grow.

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… so stupid, in fact, that they say whatever sounds good, truth be damned.

Fed’s Mester Warned Of Inflation Risks, Says Current Policy ‘Well Calibrated’ (R.)

Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester, among the Fed policymakers most concerned that easy monetary policy would risk excessive inflation, said on Friday she has put those fears to rest for now and is willing to leave rates at their current level absent some substantial change in the economy. Her comments in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the American Economic Association conference suggest how firmly the Fed is anchored to its current setting for overnight interest rates, fixed in a range of between 1.5% and 1.75% after three rate cuts last year. Advocates for even deeper rate reductions now agree the current setting is helping the economy enough that the Fed can stand pat while Mester and others who worried that lower rates might court faster inflation or risky lending have concluded that at this point there is little cause for concern.


I have been kind of forecasting inflation to go up to 2% for quite a while and we have been undershooting,” said Mester, who assumes a voting role this year on the Fed’s policy-setting committee. Mester, who was skeptical last year that rate cuts were needed, said, “I think we are really well calibrated now.” A rate increase would not be needed, “until I see either financial stability issues looming or some indication that inflation is going to pick up strongly. I don’t see that now and it is not in my forecast.” “You want to see that inflation really is at 2%. You want persistence. You want to be able to say that I am confident now that inflation is meeting our goal,” which was set at 2% in 2012 but never consistently achieved, she said.

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Finally, and even then it’s just reserve troops.

Australian Troops Called To Tackle Fires (BBC)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 3,000 reserve troops will be deployed to help tackle raging bushfires across the country. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said this is the first time this has happened in Australia’s history. Temperatures have surpassed 40C (104F) in parts of south-east Australia. Officials had warned that Saturday was set to be a “dangerous day”. Since September, fires in Australia have killed at least 23 people. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Mr Morrison told reporters: “We have seen this disaster escalate to an entirely new level.”


An emergency warning was issued for areas of eastern Victoria that told remaining residents it was now too late to leave. “The safest option is to plan how you will safely take shelter indoors as conditions worsen,” the warning said, adding: “Leaving now would be deadly.” Residents were instructed to attempt to take shelter indoors or in a large clearing or body of water. Dozens of people are missing and some 1,500 homes have already been lost this fire season. Mr Morrison also announced A$20m (£10m) has been allocated to lease four water bomber planes. Defence force bases would provide temporary accommodation, he said.

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Just think about all the plastics and paints etc. that are burning.

Slow Burn (John Quiggin)

At least eighteen people have already been killed by this season’s bushfires — and, with most of January and all of February still to come, that number is sure to rise. But these dramatic deaths are far outweighed by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, that will ultimately result from the toxic smoke blanketing Australian cities.

The most dangerous component of bushfire smoke are tiny particulates, no more than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, known as PM2.5. Over the past twenty years, studies have shown that high levels of PM2.5 have contributed to millions of premature deaths in highly polluted cities like Beijing and Delhi. Sydney, Canberra and other Australian cities have recently joined this list. In 2016 alone, exposure to PM2.5 contributed to an estimated 4.1 million deaths worldwide from heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease and respiratory infections.

Even before the current cataclysm, air pollution was a major health hazard. While Sydney’s prevailing average of 6 micrograms per cubic metre (6 μg/m3) is within international health standards, it is above the levels observed in most European and American cities. A study led by the Sydney Public Health Observatory’s Richard Broome estimated that particulates and associated forms of pollution already account for between 310 and 540 premature deaths annually.

As far as can be determined, the mortality and health risks of PM2.5 are a linear function of the level of exposure. Being exposed to 6 μg/m3 every day for a year, for example, amounts to 2190 “microgram days.” Broome and his colleagues’ work implies that each microgram day is associated with between 0.14 and 0.25 premature deaths. This figure is consistent with a range of international studies they cite.

The overall mortality effects are also a linear function of the number of people exposed. That’s why a city like Delhi, with thirty million people and an average PM2.5 of 150 μg/m3, suffers tens of thousands of premature deaths every year.

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Think anyone cares? Always had the impression white Australia only wants to sell off all resources as fast as they can, because they know they stole all of them to begin with. Before you get caught, make sure the money’s in your pocket.

Australia’s Bushfires Push Countless Species To Extinction (G.)

Close to the Western River on Kangaroo Island, Pat Hodgens had set up cameras to snap the island’s rare dunnart – a tiny mouse-like marsupial that exists nowhere else on the planet. Now, after two fires ripped through the site a few days ago, those cameras – and likely many of the Kangaroo Island dunnarts – are just charred hulks. “It’s gone right through the under storey and that’s where these species live,” said Hodgens, an ecologist at Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, a not-for-profit conservation group. “The habitat is decimated.” On Friday afternoon word came through that three other Land for Wildlife sites protecting dunnarts and other endangered species, including the southern brown bandicoot, had also been consumed by fire on the island off the South Australian coast.


Prof Sarah Legge, of the Australian National University, said the prognosis for the Kangaroo Island dunnart was “not good” and its plight was symbolic of what was happening all across the east coast of Australia. “Many dozens” of threatened species had been hit hard by the fires, she said. In some cases “almost their entire distribution has been burnt”. So far, the Australian bushfire season has burned through about 5.8m hectares of bush, known across the world for its unique flora and fauna. Ecologists say the months of intense and unprecedented fires will almost certainly push several species to extinction. The fires have pushed back conservation efforts by decades, they say, and, as climate heating grips, some species may never recover. Climate scientists have long warned that rising greenhouse gases will spark a wave of extinctions.

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AMLO doesn’t appear to be very effective so far, certainly not internationally. A socialist right on America’s doorstep. Can’t be easy.

Mexico President Calls For Julian Assange To Be Released From UK Prison (R.)

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday called for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be released from prison in London, urging an end to what he described as his “torture” in detention. Assange, 48, is in a British jail for skipping bail when he sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he spent nearly seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape that were dropped in November. Assange is also battling U.S. attempts to extradite him over Wikileaks’ publication of vast caches of leaked military documents and diplomatic cables. He faces a lengthy prison term if extradited to the United States.


A U.N. human rights investigator last year said Assange has suffered psychological torture from a defamation campaign and should not be extradited to the United States where he would face a “politicized show trial.” Lopez Obrador, a leftist who has close ties with Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, expressed his solidarity with Assange and said he hoped the former hacker and activist is “forgiven and released” from prison. “I don’t know if he has recognized that he acted against rules and norms of a political system, but at the time these cables demonstrated how the world system functions in its authoritarian nature,” Lopez Obrador said in response to a question about Assange at a regular government news briefing. “Hopefully consideration will be given to this, and he’s released and won’t continue to be tortured.”

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