Jul 042022
 


Salvador Dali Invisible Sleeping Woman, Horse, Lion 1930

 

Russia Claims Control Of Pivotal Eastern Ukrainian Province (AP)
To Avoid Civil War, Learn to Tolerate Different Laws in Different States
Yes, You CAN Blame Biden For High Energy Prices (Shellenberger)
Bezos Slams Biden Appeal For Lower Gasoline Prices (F24)
Supreme Court Marshal Calls on States To Crackdown on Protesters (Turley)
NY To Require 3 Years Of Social Media History For Gun Carry Permit (PM)
Text Messages Show Cassidy Hutchinson Referring To Jan 6 Committee As ‘BS’ (DC)
Are the Covid mRNA Vaccines Safe? (Kulldorff)
Spartacast 01 (Spartacus)
US Drag Queens Stand Their Ground Amid Intimidation By The Far Right (G.)

 

 

“France now imports more Russian liquefied natural gas than at any time in history, writes Welt.
The requirement to pay for gas in rubles does not apply to LNG supplies, and France has as many as four terminals for receiving such tankers.”

 

 

Dude

 

 

Myocarditis cases in USA, Ages 12-20:
2019: 16
2020: 9
2021: 2,301

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MSM still can’t do normal reporting on Ukraine. Because Russia keeps winning.

Russia Claims Control Of Pivotal Eastern Ukrainian Province (AP)

Russia claimed control Sunday over the last Ukrainian stronghold in an eastern province that is key to achieving a major goal of Moscow’s grinding war. The General Staff of Ukraine’s military reported that its forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk in Luhansk province. President Volodymr Zelenskyy acknowledged the withdrawal but said the fight for the city was still raging on its outskirts. If confirmed, Russia’s complete seizure of Luhansk would provide its troops with a stronger base from which to press their advance in the Donbas, a region of mines and factories that President Vladimir Putin is bent on capturing in a campaign that could determine the course of the entire war. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that Russia’s troops, with a local separatist militia, “have established full control over the city of Lysychansk” and now hold all of Luhansk, according to a ministry statement published Sunday.

As is typical with such descriptions, the Russian statement characterized the victories as “the liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic.” Separatists in Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk, which make up the Donbas and are home to significant Russian-speaking populations, declared independence from Kyiv in 2014 and their forces have battled Ukrainian troops there ever since. Russia formally recognized the self-proclaimed republics days before its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian and Russian forces fought fiercely for Lysychansk in recent days after the neighboring city fell last week. On Sunday evening, the General Staff of Ukraine’s military confirmed on social media that its forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk “to preserve the lives of Ukrainian defenders.”

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy noted the withdrawal. But he added that “Ukraine does not give anything back” and vowed to return with more modern weapons. Citing his forces’ success in recapturing other territory, he promised, “There will be a day when we will say the same about Donbas.” Earlier, Zelenskyy said Kyiv’s forces were still battling Russian soldiers on Lysychansk’s outskirts “in a very difficult and dangerous situation.” “We cannot give you the final judgment. Lysychansk is still being fought for,” Zelenskyy told a news conference in Kyiv given alongside Australia’s visiting prime minister. He noted that territory can move quickly from one side to the other.

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Good advice. And a good day for it too.

To Avoid Civil War, Learn to Tolerate Different Laws in Different States (Mises)

Most commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—which overturns Roe v. Wade—has focused on the decision’s effect on the legality of abortion in various states. That’s an important issue. It may be, however, that the Dobbs decision’s effect on political decentralization in the United States is a far bigger deal. After all, the ruling isn’t so much about abortion as it is about the federal government’s role in abortion. State governments are free to make abortion 100 percent legal within their own borders. Some states have already done so. The court’s ruling limits only the federal government’s prerogatives over abortion law, and this has the potential to lead to many other limitations on federal power as well. In this way, Dobbs is a victory for those seeking to limit federal power.

The decentralization is all to the good, and there’s nothing novel about it. Historically, state laws in the US have varied broadly on a variety of topics from alcohol consumption to divorce. This was also true of abortion before Roe v. Wade. Moreover, decentralizing abortion policy in this way actually works to defuse national conflict. This is becoming even more important as cultural divides in the United States are clearly accelerating and become more entrenched. Rather than fight with increasing alarm and aggression over who controls the federal government—and thus who imposes the winner’s preferences on everyone else—people in different states will have more choices in choosing whether to live under proabortion or antiabortion regimes.

In other words, decentralization forces policymakers to behave as they should in a confederation of states: they must tolerate people doing things differently across state lines. This will be essential in avoiding disaster, and laissez-faire liberals (i.e., “classical liberals”) have long supported decentralization as a key in avoiding dangerous political conflicts. Ludwig von Mises, for example, supported decentralization because, as he put it, it “is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil … wars.”

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Huh? “If Biden got America on a wartime footing, as he should be given Russia’s aggression in Europe, we would see the lowering of oil, gas and petroleum prices in less than one year.”

Yes, You CAN Blame Biden For High Energy Prices (Shellenberger)

This July 4th, as you fill up your car or truck, you might be tempted to blame President Joe Biden for high gasoline prices. You shouldn’t, say some experts. It’s Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fault, they say. The US had to cut off Russian oil imports to punish Putin for invading Ukraine. Meanwhile, Biden himself has blamed the American energy industry. “At a time of war,” Biden wrote in an open letter to the industry on June 15, “high refinery profit margins being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable… companies must take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel, and other refined product.” But US refineries are already operating at 94 percent of their capacity, with US refineries in the Gulf of Mexico running at 98 percent, which is the highest rate in 30 years.

Running refineries at a higher capacity than that risks damaging the equipment. As such, Biden isn’t just wrong, he insulted some of the hardest working people operating in one of the most dangerous industries in America. But, on May 12, Biden’s Interior Department blocked a proposal to open up more than one million acres of land in Alaska for oil and gas drilling. Two days later, Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency blocked plans to expand an oil refinery in the US Virgin Islands. Biden and his defenders said he had to block the expansion of the Virgin Islands refinery, given how polluting it was. But had Biden’s EPA allowed the Virgin Island refinery to expand, the owners would have poured nearly $3 billion into retrofitting the plant so it produced gasoline and other products more cleanly, while significantly increasing production at the same time.

Furthermore, anybody who cares about air pollution and climate change should want more oil and gas drilling, not less. US emissions declined 22% between 2005 and 2020, mostly because cheap natural gas has replaced coal. In truth, there are many things Biden could have done, and still should do, to lower energy prices. He could invoke the National Defense Act to accelerate the rate of oil and gas permits. He could set a floor of $80/barrel for re-filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which would be a powerful incentive for the industry, because it would prevent prices from falling to unprofitable levels. Biden could announce trade agreements with American allies to supply them with liquified natural gas, which would incentivize more natural gas production and lower prices. If Biden got America on a wartime footing, as he should be given Russia’s aggression in Europe, we would see the lowering of oil, gas and petroleum prices in less than one year.

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“99% of gas stations in America are small business owned. The average gas station’s profit actually DROPPED from April to May. ”

Bezos Slams Biden Appeal For Lower Gasoline Prices (F24)

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has criticized President Joe Biden for calling on oil companies to lower sky-high gasoline prices, prompting the White House to come to the US leader’s defense on Sunday. “My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” Biden tweeted Saturday. “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now,” Biden added. Bezos said Biden’s remarks amounted to “either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.” “Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this,” the US billionaire tweeted Saturday.

Gasoline prices at the pump have become a symbol of broader price rises in the United States, and they are sapping Biden’s approval rating ahead of legislative elections in November. Biden has regularly attacked oil companies, saying they only care about profits and not the well-being of the average consumer. The companies say in turn they have increased production to try to tame prices but that these are set on the world market and are subject to dynamics that are not under the control of US oil giants. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter Sunday that oil prices have dropped about $15 a barrel over the past month. “But prices at the pump have barely come down. That’s not ‘basic market dynamics.’ It’s a market that is failing the American consumer,” she wrote.

Gasoline prices have been above $5 a gallon since early June, which is unprecedented in the car-crazy nation. Prices have fallen slightly since, but remain far from the $3 a gallon level of a year ago. John Kirby, White House spokesman on national security issues, also defended the president Sunday in an appearance on Fox News. “The president is working very, very hard across many fronts… to try to bring that price down,” Kirby said.

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Governors refuse.

Supreme Court Marshal Calls on States To Crackdown on Protesters (Turley)

In a rare move, Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley has sent letters to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin demanding that authorities put an end to picketing and “threatening activity” outside the homes of SCOTUS justices. The letter seeks to use state laws to achieve what the Justice Department has clearly rejected under federal law. If the letter prompts arrests, we could see a major free speech challenge in the courts. The timing of the letter, however, is particularly interesting and may reflect a recognition of the limits of the federal law. Like most Americans, I have denounced these protests targeting the homes of justices as excessive and reckless (though one law professor actually suggested that such protests could be more aggressive).

However, I have also questioned the use of a federal law to arrest protesters. Under a federal law, 18 U.S.C. 1507, any individual who “pickets or parades” with the “intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer” near a U.S. court or “near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer” will be fined or “imprisoned not more than one year, or both.” I believe that a court would declare the use of the federal law against protesters on public sidewalks to be unconstitutional. There are issues of free speech, assembly, and vagueness that would be likely raised in federal court. Indeed, if you apply the broad interpretation of the law, even protests outside of the Supreme Court building could result in arrests since courthouses are also included.

However, the timing is particularly interesting. After the release of the decision in in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, I noted that it would be even harder to use this law because the statute refers to “interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge … in the discharge of his duty.” With the release of the decision, there is no chance that the protesters are interfering, impeding, or influencing the decision. Thus, even if the constitutional arguments were rejected, a court could question whether the law can be read as applying to protests generally against the justices for their views. That is what makes the date so interesting. Dobbs came out on June 24, 2022. One week later, Curley sought enforcement of state laws as an alternative to federal enforcement.

It may reflect the view that, even if the law is constitutional to arrest protesters, it would be narrowly construed in light of the fact that Dobbs is now on the books. Since it was clear for weeks that the Justice Department would not enforce the law to arrest protesters outside of these homes, the timing of the letter could reflect a dwindling likelihood of enforcement in light of the end of the term. Curley wrote Gov. Hogan: “I would respectfully request that you direct the Maryland State Police to enforce Maryland and Montgomery County laws that squarely prohibit picketing at the homes of Supreme Court Justices who reside in Maryland.” Both the Maryland and Virginia governors responded by calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to use his authority under federal law to stop the protesters.

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That’s a first for me. Sounds crazy.

NY To Require 3 Years Of Social Media History For Gun Carry Permit (PM)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul once again signed sweeping gun legislation into law on Friday that created several severe new restrictions on obtaining a gun in the state, including drastically increasing concealed carry regulations and requiring applicants to turn over social media history. According to the the legislation, part of Hochul’s new criteria to obtain a concealed carry permit will be an applicant giving the government a list containing three years of history of their current and inactive social media accounts. Applicants must also have 16 hours of firearm training, provide four character references, and list the contact information for any domestic partners or adults of any kind they live with.

Potential applicants will also be required to show “good moral character,” meaning “the essential character, temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself and others. At a press conference regarding the new legislation, Hochul said “we are creating a definitive list of sensitive locations where individuals will not be able to carry firearms.” This list includes “schools, summer camps, libraries, daycares, parks and playgrounds, places children gather, theaters, museums, entertainment venues, places of worship for religious observation, polling places, educational institutions, and health medical facilities. Federal State Local government buildings, homeless and domestic violence shelters, places where alcohol is consumed, restaurants, bars, public transportation, subway buses, airports and at public demonstrations and rallies, and in Times Square.”

Another new rule is a “Default of No Concealed Carry on Private Property and Businesses Unless Deemed Permissible by Property Owners.” Hochul said of this law, “We are making ‘no open carry’ the default position for private businesses. That means that any business, grocery store, retail, private home, place that wants to allow guns on their premises will have to demonstrate that and establish that they put a sign out there that says concealed carry guns are welcome here.”

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She is a strange story.

Text Messages Show Cassidy Hutchinson Referring To Jan 6 Committee As ‘BS’ (DC)

The January 6 committee’s key witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, called the committee “bs” in a text message obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller. On Feb 1. Hutchinson sent a text to a conservative activist with connections to the First Amendment Fund, which is a group started by the American Conservative Union that helps Trump officials cover costs for Jan. 6 lawyers. Matt Schlapp said Hutchinson approached CPAC for help through the First Amendment Fund. Schlapp said he is happy they did not end up assisting her because she was relaying White House “hallway gossip as fact.” In the text message, Hutchinson says: “Hey (redacted)! This is Cassidy Hutchinson. Kind of a random question, but do you still work for the Schlapp’s at the ACU?” To which the person responded, “Hi, Yes!”


Hutchinson then said, “Do you happen to know a First Amendment fund POC I could reach out to? I was subpoenaed in early Nov., but the committee waited to serve me until last week (after Ben’s deposition).” “I had to accept service because the U.S. Marshalls came to my apartment last Wednesday, but I haven’t made contact with the Committee. I’m just on a tight timeline and just trying to figure out what my options are to deal with this bs,” Hutchinson added. In another text message reviewed by the Daily Caller, Hutchinson told the conservative activist that she does not want things to get “unnecessarily elevated” in regards to the Jan. 6 committee. Hutchinson made headlines after testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, where she claimed former President Donald Trump lunged for the steering wheel in an effort to reroute the car to the Capitol where protesters were gathering. Sources close to the Secret Service have denied her claims.

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Kulldorff tries too hard to sound reasonable. No, they are not safe. So say so.

Are the Covid mRNA Vaccines Safe? (Kulldorff)

Covid-recovered people have natural immunity that is stronger than vaccine-induced immunity. So, the benefit of vaccination is – at best – minimal. If the risk of adverse reactions is the same as in the randomized trials, there is a negative risk-benefit difference. Why are we mandating people in this group to be vaccinated? It is both unethical and damaging to public health. While everyone can get infected, children have a minuscule risk of covid mortality. There is very limited safety data from the trials on children. If the risk of adverse reactions is the same as for adults, the harms outweigh the risks. Children should not receive these vaccines. Older people above 70 have a much higher risk of covid mortality than the population in the Fraiman study. If their risk of adverse reaction is the same, then the benefits outweigh the harms.

Hence, older people who have never had covid and are not yet vaccinated may benefit from these vaccines. However, we do not know if they are better than the Johnson & Johnson and Astra-Zeneca vaccines. It is unclear from the clinical trial data whether the benefits outweigh the risks for working-age adults who have not been vaccinated and who have not already had covid. This is true both historically, for the original covid variants, and currently for the newer ones. The Fraiman study analyzes data after the first and second doses. Both risks and benefits may differ for booster shots, but no randomized trial has properly evaluated the trade-off. These results concern only the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Fraiman et al. did not analyze data on the adenovirus-vector vaccines marketed by Johnson & Johnson and Astra-Zeneca.

Benn et al. found that they reduced all-cause mortality (RR=0.37, 95% CI:0.19-0.70), but nobody has used trial data to analyze AESIs for these vaccines. Critically, the Fraiman and Benn studies had a follow-up of only a few months after the second dose because Pfizer and Moderna, unfortunately, terminated their randomized trials a few months after receiving emergency use authorization. Of course, a longer-term benefit can provide a basis to tolerate negative or neutral short-term risk-benefit differences. However, that is unlikely since we know from observational studies that mRNA vaccine efficacy deteriorates a few months after the second dose.

There may also be long-term adverse reactions to the vaccine regarding which we do not yet know. Since the randomized trials ended early, we must look at observational data to answer that question. The publicly available data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is of low quality, with both under- and over-reporting. The best observational data is from CDCs Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) and FDA’s Biologics and Effectiveness Safety System (BEST), but there have only been limited reports from these systems. Fraiman and colleagues have produced the best evidence yet regarding the overall safety of the mRNA vaccines. The results are concerning. It is the responsibility of the manufacturers and FDA to ensure that benefits outweigh harms. They have failed to do so.

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Haven’t followed the Spartacus group for a bit.

Spartacast 01 (Spartacus)

SARS-CoV-2 was not the product of natural zoonosis. It was not the product of an accidental lab leak, either. It was the product of deliberate, willful bioterrorism by what I’ve come to call the Biodefense Mafia. This Biodefense Mafia grew out of an expansion of USAID, DARPA, BARDA, and DTRA-affiliated civilian biolabs, both in the US and elsewhere, thanks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program and Robert Kadlec’s expansion of biodefense after Amerithrax. That initial expansion of the Biodefense Mafia involved Kadlec awarding rigged contracts to Fuad El-Hibri’s company, BioPort, for anthrax vaccines. BioPort was a spinoff of DynPort, which, in turn, was spun off from the American mercenary company DynCorp in a partnership with Porton in the UK.

Yes, the same DynCorp that Kathryn Bolkovac blew the whistle on in Bosnia for sex trafficking of young girls, the same DynCorp that continued to receive US State Department contracts even after soliciting “dancing boys” in Afghanistan, and the same DynCorp whose OV-10 Bronco turboprops loaned from the US State Department for coca eradication crop dusting with RoundUp in Colombia happened to have the same tail number as a helicopter mentioned in Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs, N474AW, on one of the aircraft. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Kadlec again awarded rigged contracts for COVID-19 vaccines to Fuad El-Hibri and Emergent BioSolutions, which is what BioPort renamed themselves to. Emergent BioSolutions came under fire due to the scandalous condition of their vaccine manufacturing facilities and the poor quality-control practices exercised there.

Throughout the 2000s, Michael Callahan was part of an effort by the US State Department called the BioIndustry Initiative, authorized in the Defense and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2002, where US scientists would visit various former Soviet biowarfare labs in Russia and discuss technologies the Soviets developed that could be patented, commercialized, marketed, and “peacefully” used in drugs and therapies. He was on the ground in Wuhan in 2019 and 2020, as DARPA’s “Man in Wuhan”, suggesting that the H2 blocker famotidine might be useful for treating COVID-19, based on observations of patient data.

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Nothing against drag queens, but don’t push them on little kids.

US Drag Queens Stand Their Ground Amid Intimidation By The Far Right (G.)

The drag queens were out in force across New York’s recent Pride parade triggering cheers and waves with their flamboyant and extravagant costumes. But this year the world of American drag has been marred by growing fears of violence and intimidation as they have been specifically targeted by conservatives and extremist far-right and militia groups amid a general rise in anti-LGBTQ hate. One of the main targets for rightwing ire has been Drag Queen Story Hour events where drag queens will read books to children at public libraries. Three weeks ago at a reading in a library in San Lorenzo, 30 miles from San Francisco, a group of men, one wearing a T-shirt stenciled with the image of an assault rifle, interrupted a drag performer reading The Kindness Book to pre-schoolers, frightening all.

Authorities said at least five men who appeared in the black and yellow uniform aligned with the extremist Proud Boy group hurled homophobic and transphobic slurs at the story hour’s performer, Panda Dulce, who later said the interruption was “a brazen act of vitriolic intimidation”. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Members of the same organisation – designated a hate group by The Southern Poverty Law Group – also disrupted a Pride story-time event in South Carolina where kids were being read Daddy and Dada and Heather Has Two Mommies. One parent was told they were a child abuser. Last week a drag event at a California bar, Mojos, was cancelled after protestors yelling homophobic abuse sought to enter the premises.

The pattern of intimidation, in cases not limited to the intimidation of drag queens, comes as Pride month itself has become a target for rightwing extremists in the US. Recently in Idaho a group of far-right Patriot Front extremists were arrested amid fears they intended to attack a Pride march in the state. Drag queens themselves, however, are standing their ground.

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Chinatown

 

 

 

 

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Feb 092022
 


René Magritte L’éternité 1935

 

The Pentagon’s Response To The DEMD Data Is An Even Bigger Story (Blaze)
Pfizer Quietly Adds Language Warning On Data (ZH)
Let The Re-Writing Of Covid History Begin? (Rossini)
Joe Rogan Shows Us The Real Purpose Of Cancel Culture (OffG)
The Blue Stack Strikes Back (Jilani)
First Canadian Provinces Scrap Covid Mandates (RT)
Towing Companies Refuse to Move Freedom Convoy Trucks (TC)
Johnson & Johnson Stops Covid-19 Vaccine Production (RT)
Americans Have ‘Lost Touch With Reality’ – Russia (RT)
Scientists Divulge Easy Way To Lose Weight (RT)
Elon Musk Gives Views On ‘Traditional’ Media (RT)
Lithium Price Rockets Nearly 500% In A Year (G.)
Jeff Bezos’ Yacht Can Count On Rotten Eggs (Engelen)

 

 

Jerrycans
https://twitter.com/i/status/1491204379294277632

 

 

 

 

India’s ambassador

 

 

 

 

Calgary police officer

 

 

She loves school

 

 

Why the changes when you know Renz has all the files?

The Pentagon’s Response To The DEMD Data Is An Even Bigger Story (Blaze)

One thing is clear about the revelation of the 2021 military epidemiological data and the military’s response to it: There is undoubtedly a public health and national security crisis in the military, and the Pentagon’s reaction only seems to be concerned with exonerating the vaccine, not fixing its own alleged problem. It’s now certain that the military’s health surveillance system — DMED — showed a massive increase in sickness and injury diagnoses in 2021 over previous years, particularly in the neurological, cardiovascular, oncological, and reproductive health categories. The military, in a very terse and cryptic statement to PolitiFact last week, admitted as much, but claimed without any further explanation that the data in the system accessed by several military doctors working with attorney Thomas Renz was only a “fraction” of the true numbers that existed. In the words of the Pentagon spokesman, it was a “glitch in the database.”

Where those true numbers existed, why they weren’t in the system for five years, what exactly was in the system, and why the 2021 numbers were accurate according to the DOD account remain a mystery. However, one by one, the military public health officials have been adding back random numbers to the 2016 through 2020 codes. I’m told by Renz and two of the whistleblowers that throughout the past week, they have queried the same data again, and in most of the ICD categories, they have found that the numbers from 2016 through 2020 were “increased” exponentially to look as though 2021 was not an abnormal year. This has been done without any transparency, any press release, any statement of narrative, and sloppily in a way that makes the already unbelievable narrative simply impossible to believe.

In addition to believing that every epidemiological report for five years was somehow completely tainted with false data — including during the first year of the pandemic itself — we would have to believe that the minute they discovered this from Renz, they suddenly discovered the exact numbers. A five-year mistake fixed overnight! Just take a look at the following statement given to the Epoch Times, the only other public comment delivered by an authorized Pentagon spokesman: “Comparing the DMED database to the source data contained in DMSS, AFHSD discovered that the total number of medical diagnoses from 2016-2020 that were accessible in DMED represented only a small fraction of actual medical diagnoses for those years. In contrast, the 2021 total number of medical diagnoses were up to date in DMED. Comparison of 2021 to 2016-2020 resulted in the appearance of significant increased occurrence of all medical diagnoses in 2021 because of the under-reported data for 2016-2020. AFHSD has taken DMED offline to identify and correct the root-cause of the data corruption,” said Maj. Charlie Dietz.

That’s it! They are only concerned with downplaying any potential culpability of the vaccine, not explaining how they were flying blind, according to their official narrative, on such an important endeavor for so many years. Just consider the fact that at last week’s meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), officials revealed that they have been monitoring vaccine safety data from the DOD, among other places.

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Full immunity, but not from investors.

Pfizer Quietly Adds Language Warning On Data (ZH)

Two weeks ago, the FDA begged a Texas judge to delay production on the first monthly batch of 55,000 pages of Covid-19 vaccine data submitted to the agency by Pfizer. Originally, the agency was set to produce just 500 pages-per-month. Now, Pfizer – which just forecast $54 billion in Covid-related sales in 2022, appears to be anticipating some bad news, as evidenced by several redline changes in their Q4 earnings releases. As Rubicon Capital’s Kelly Brown notes on Twitter, the changes center around disclosures of unfavorable safety data. For example, in Q4 they added: “or further information regarding the quality of pre-clinical, clinical or safety data, including by audit or inspection.”

More from Brown, who notes that Pfizer is now highlighting “concerns about clinical data integrity…” The company also notes that Covid-19 may “diminish in severity or prevalence, or disappear entirely.”

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“Truth and Liberty go hand-in-hand; as do lies and tyranny.”

Let The Re-Writing Of Covid History Begin? (Rossini)

It took much too long, but it appears that the tide of public opinion has finally turned. The term “trust the science” has suddenly lost its luster, especially when it comes from the mouth of a politician or so-called “expert.” The meanings of the words “science” and “expert” have been blown to pieces. But such is always the case when politicians get involved in things they shouldn’t be involved in. They have an uncanny ability of destroying everything they touch. Well, they touched the words “science” and “expert” and made them completely unrecognizable. I’ve heard the phrase “You can’t tell what’s true anymore” more than enough times over the last several years. We’ve all had a front row seat in what a so-called “post-truth” world looks like — It looks like totalitarian tyranny! Truth and Liberty go hand-in-hand; as do lies and tyranny.

Miraculously, as public opinion has changed, so has the “science”! Imagine that. The “science” now says that masks, lockdowns, and mandates are bad. If only the “science” crystal ball had said such things two years ago! Imagine all the pain, suffering and death that could have been avoided. One must also wonder, if public opinion didn’t change, would the “science” have remained unchanged as well? Who knows? But as the tyranny is (reluctantly) peeled away, the predictable re-writing of history has begun. Think of the Iraq War as an analogy for what you should expect going forward. The mania of lies and smears that led up to that failed war was deafening. Now think about today… How many people actually admit to supporting the Iraq War? Roughly… You can probably count them on one hand. Very (very) few people. Only the hard-core warmongers will admit to it.

Well, as Covid “history” is fabricated and branded into digital ink, you can be sure to see the same behavior from the lying class. Denial, followed by more denial: “I never supported the wearing of masks.” “I was always against lockdowns.” “Vaccine passports? What do you think I am, some kind of Nazi?” Be prepared, because just as people will not admit that they supported the Iraq War, so will they start changing their tunes about being petty dictators for a solid two years. The blame will also be offloaded onto a fictional collective. Be prepared to see the word “we” over and over: “We” should have known better. “We” made mistakes. “We” need to do a better job. The government needs more money. “We” thought that the masks, lockdowns & “vaccines” would work.

Tucker More & more people dying in the prime of life

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“Far more likely is that it was created and deployed to discredit Rogan’s COVID-questioning without having to engage with the Covid sceptic evidence or arguments.”

Joe Rogan Shows Us The Real Purpose Of Cancel Culture (OffG)

Joe Rogan has just been cancelled. Again. It’s not about covid “misinformation” this time. No, now he’s a racist. Some enterprising young mind combed through 13 years and hundreds of episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience, and cut together around twenty instances of Rogan using “the n-word”. This video was shared by award-winning musician India Arie, and used to explain her pulling her music from Spotify’s platform in protest of Rogan’s continued presence there. Rogan claims that these clips are all taken out of context in his recent apology video, and none were ever intended to be racist. This may well be true…we can’t check for ourselves, because Spotify removed all the episodes. These important bits of context were, naturally, removed from the viral video. Besides, it has since been said that context doesn’t even matter.

And you know what, they’re right. The context doesn’t matter, perhaps the intention doesn’t even matter, what matters is “Why now?” Some of these clips are over twelve years old, and yet there have never been any calls to boycott Spotify or cancel his show until just the last couple of days. Were they not racist before? Or was everyone just OK with the racism? Could there be something else behind this? …but why bother pausing the hate-fest to ask questions, right? The only message that matters is – Joe Rogan is a racist now, and streaming giant Spotify have pulled over seventy episodes of his show from their platform as a result. Of course the cyber-torches and internet-pitchforks coming for Joe Rogan is nothing new. Having preached the tenets of a healthy lifestyle, promoted alternate Covid treatments, and invited dissenting experts onto his show, Rogan has obviously been on the establishment’s hit list for a while.

[..] Rogan’s uses of “the n-word” are not new. They are all several years old and from 23 separate episodes, all multiple hours long. And there are almost 1800 episodes of the show to plough through if you decide to go searching. So making this video is at least two days’ work of simply watching the episodes – and that’s assuming you know where to start looking. And that’s before editing or trying to make it “go viral”. Was all this done on a whim by some bored pro-vaxxer? Does that sound likely? Far more likely is that it was created and deployed to discredit Rogan’s COVID-questioning without having to engage with the Covid sceptic evidence or arguments. It’s even possible the video may even have already existed before the current controversy. After all, why create this climate of stifling sensitivity if you don’t have the tools to use it?

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“It’s designed to look like they’re doing something, but they’re not doing anything. It’s more spectacle than substance.”

The Blue Stack Strikes Back (Jilani)

[..]The U.S. government, forbidden by contemporary constitutional law from simply censoring Rogan itself, dispatched Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to reinforce President Joe Biden’s message imparted last year that social media platforms are “killing people” by allowing too much freedom of speech about the pandemic, the virus, and the vaccines. “People have a right to make their own decisions, but they also have a right to accurate information to make that decision with,” Murthy told MSNBC. “This is not just about what the government can do,” he coyly noted, “this is about companies and individuals recognizing that the only way we get past misinformation is if we are careful about what we say and use the power that we have to limit the spread of misinformation.”

Murthy’s message reinforced the media outlets that had taken aim at Rogan, inspiring a wave of new reports not only focused on his discussions of COVID but also labeling him problematic in other regards. The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, whose role in this ecosystem is to disguise Democratic Party talking points as humor, criticized a segment in which Rogan and author Jordan Peterson poke fun at the absurdity of modern racial categorization, noting that nobody is actually “white” or “Black.” CNN signal boosted Noah’s criticism, as did a range of other outlets. Other activists found old clips of Rogan mentioning (but not using) racial slurs. Eventually, Spotify got the message. It announced new platform rules that include adding advisories to select content dealing with COVID.

It began deleting dozens of older Rogan episodes that contained transgressive content. Its CEO promised to devote $100 million of company money on content from “historically marginalized groups,” which in this case is likely to be defined exclusively by progressive activists (don’t expect a lot of sponsored podcasts on Asian American opposition to racial preferences in college admissions). In the span of a week, Rogan posted two separate apologies for his past content. The authors of the open letter that initiated the firestorm, however, are not satisfied. One of them told Rolling Stone that the Spotify advisories will just create a “‘false balance’ problem. It’s designed to look like they’re doing something, but they’re not doing anything. It’s more spectacle than substance.”

These activists know how to play the game. If you look back at any of the recent controversies over free speech—from QAnon to COVID to the last two presidential elections—this is how things work when a development or outcome is seen as unfavorable or undesirable by the favored political camp. First, activists create a panic about misinformation or offensive speech. Second, the social media platforms try to meet them halfway by introducing measures like warning labels. Third, the activists realize they’ve drawn blood, and continue to push for outright censorship. Finally, the social media platforms give in and remove the offending voice from their platforms altogether.

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Nothing much changed so far.

“Kenney just says he won’t bring back the vaccine passport “Unless we redefine full vaccination as having three shots”. Kenney said that “would make practical sense… make a requirement that people get a third shot.”

First Canadian Provinces Scrap Covid Mandates (RT)

Canada’s province of Saskatchewan announced on Tuesday it would stop requiring vaccine passes and masks. It comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted on the effectiveness of Covid-19 mandates amid trucker protests gripping the capital Ottawa. The prairie province, situated between Alberta and Manitoba, said it would stop requiring vaccine passports from next week and allow the mask mandate to expire at the end of February. It is one of the first Canadian provinces to offer a roadmap to ending the virus restrictions. Praising the soon-to-be-phased-out restrictions for helping to stem the spread of the virus, Premier Scott Moe, however, noted that they had created “two classes of citizens,” arguing that “the benefits of this policy no longer outweigh the costs.”

Urging Canadians not to “judge” their neighbors over their vaccination status, Moe said people should be entitled to decide whether to get vaccinated or not. “This government is going to respect that right,” he added. Another province, Alberta, also moved to ditch the restrictions on Tuesday. From midnight on Wednesday, residents will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination in public places, and from Monday next week children aged 12 and under would no longer be required to mask up. Compulsory masking will no longer apply to students in schools. “We’ll never be able to do a full accounting of the extent of the pain and hardship that restrictions have caused,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

[..] PM Trudeau has refused to meet with the truckers or hear their demands, referring to them as a “small, fringe minority” engaged in violence and hateful conduct. In a speech to the parliament on Monday, he accused the truckers of “trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives,” and demanded that their protest “has to stop” because the people of Ottawa and Canadians in general “deserve to get their lives back.” On Tuesday, the PM defended the mandates and restrictions his government put in place during the pandemic, saying they worked and will not be removed any time soon. “I can understand frustrations with mandates, but mandates are the way to avoid further restrictions,” he told reporters.

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“..heavy-duty tow trucks can transfer air from their system to the trucks to release their brakes. However, he added that “we have all the capabilities on our tow trucks to do it … but I don’t think anyone would want to.”

Towing Companies Refuse to Move Freedom Convoy Trucks (TC)

“I’ve contacted them all and they’re all refusing, as of today, to provide heavy tow truck work,” city manager Steve Kanellakos told reporters Monday evening, according to a report from the CBC. “Right now we’re reviewing their contracts or standing offer, and reviewing what actions we can take to deal with this unprecedented situation,” Kanellakos added. There are currently more than 400 trucks parked throughout the city in protest, which began over a week ago. The drivers have said that they will not move the trucks until the COVID vaccine mandates for drivers doing trips between the US and Canada are lifted. Kanellakos said that Mayor Jim Watson has also been reaching out to towing companies in other cities, but none are willing to help stop the protest.

“Right now, the consensus seems to be that many of them — or most of them — don’t want to do the work because … they rely on on the the heavy truck industry for their livelihood, and they don’t want to damage that part of their business,” Kanellakos said. “That’s the position they’re taking, at least.” The CBC report added that deputy police chief Steve Bell confirmed that they are having trouble finding a willing tow truck operator in “every jurisdiction that’s faced this, and it’s forcing us to come up with some creative solutions.” While Bell wouldn’t say what those creative solutions may be, he did say that they are moving “toward a position where we’re not going to let the tow truck operators … be an obstacle to ending what’s occurring.”

Also speaking to the CBC, Trucker Lloyd Crowe said that there is no way the city will be able to move the trucks without cooperation from the drivers who are protesting. “If you know anything about truck air brakes, once you pull that button, all 18 wheels are locked,” Crowe told CBC on Wednesday. “Nothing can move it, except maybe a big wrecker. And no wrecker worth his salt is going to come anywhere near this, because they’re on our side.” David Allen, president of Gary’s Towing in Thunder Bay told the news organization that while it would be hard, he does not believe that it is impossible. He explained that heavy-duty tow trucks can transfer air from their system to the trucks to release their brakes. However, he added that “we have all the capabilities on our tow trucks to do it … but I don’t think anyone would want to.”

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Curious.

Johnson & Johnson Stops Covid-19 Vaccine Production (RT)

US multinational Johnson & Johnson suspended production of its Covid-19 vaccine late last year amid a massive push by the federal government and health officials to promote getting inoculated, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the situation. The pause in production is reportedly temporary, but the one plant producing the vaccine in the Dutch city of Leiden has apparently shifted its focus to producing a potentially more profitable vaccine for an unrelated virus. It’s unclear if the production pause has affected the availability of the single-jab Covid vaccine, as the company has a stockpile of doses. However, one person familiar with the situation says the suspension could mean a reduction in output of a few hundred million doses.


The plant is expected to produce more after a few months’ break. Other facilities are awaiting regulatory approval or to actually be up and running to produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the NYT report. Organizations that distribute the vaccine worldwide told the NYT they were unaware of the production pause, with some expressing concern about the timing. “This is not the time to be switching production lines of anything, when the lives of people across the developing world hang in the balance,” Dr. Ayoade Alakija, co-head of African Union vaccine distribution. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s offering requires only a single shot for the initial inoculation, while the others are delivered via two shots.

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Long ago.

Americans Have ‘Lost Touch With Reality’ – Russia (RT)

Washington’s rhetoric about the possibility of imposing colossal sanctions on Russia is so outrageous that Moscow sees little point in even responding, one of the country’s top diplomats has said. In an interview with RIA Novosti on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin was asked about the possibility of Washington imposing unprecedentedly harsh measures on the Russian energy and financial sectors, including additional sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking the gas fields of Siberia to consumers in Germany. “It’s long been clear to everyone that American legislators have lost touch with reality and are living in a kingdom of their own phobias regarding our country, churning out obscurantist plans to deter Russia on all fronts, with any justification or without one,” Pankin replied.


“I don’t see the point in reacting to the Capitol’s routine initiatives about this. We can only repeat once more our regret about what has happened, and confirm that there will inevitably be negative consequences from the harsh restrictions laid on us by the Western initiators of such measures,” the diplomat added. Asked whether Russia is prepared for the possibility of being cut off from the SWIFT banking system, which some American and European leaders have threatened if Moscow decides to invade Ukraine, Pankin said, “Our hope is that, as opposed to Washington’s completely unjustified movement towards the ‘sanction field’, reason will still prevail in Brussels and these measures will not happen, which would damage the stability of the international finance system itself, as well as global economic recovery and the possibility of fulfilling the [UN initiative] Sustainable Development Goals on time.”

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Sleep.

Scientists Divulge Easy Way To Lose Weight (RT)

Sleeping more can help people to consume less calories per day and to lose weight, if those healthy sleeping habits are maintained over a prolonged period of time, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, Illinois. The findings were published on Monday in peer-reviewed journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The clinical research involved 80 adults aged between 21 and 40. All the participants qualified as overweight with a body mass index ranging from 25 to 29.9, while ‘normal’ body weight falls into the range between 18.5 and 24.9. All the participants also had habitual sleep of 6.5 hours per night or less. The research was conducted for a prolonged period of time, running from November 2014 to October 2020.

The participants were observed for a two-week period to establish a baseline and were then randomly separated in two groups. The control group continued with their sleeping habits without any intervention, while another group received “an individualized sleep hygiene counseling session,” aimed at prolonging their bedtime to some 8.5 hours. No further support beyond the counseling was provided to the participants, who continued to sleep in their own beds, though they wore tracking devices to register the duration of their sleeping time. “Most other studies on this topic in labs are short-lived, for a couple of days, and food intake is measured by how much participants consume from an offered diet,” lead researcher Dr Esra Tasali at the University of Chicago’s Sleep Center stated.

“In our study we only manipulated sleep and had the participants eat whatever they wanted, with no food logging or anything else to track their nutrition by themselves.” The sleep duration was increased for the sleep extension group by 1.2 hours per night on average, which led to a significant decrease in energy intake compared to the control group. The people from the sleep extension group consumed some 270 kilocalories on average less, which is quite significant given that recommended daily intake is 2,000 kilocalories for women and 2,500 for men. “No significant treatment effect in total energy expenditure was found, resulting in weight reduction in the sleep extension group vs the control group,” the study reads.

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Fear sells, not just negative news.

Elon Musk Gives Views On ‘Traditional’ Media (RT)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, known for his prolific tweeting, questioned his 73 million followers about why “traditional” media outlets operate as a “relentless hatestream” before then engaging in discussions with his followers on the topic. “Why is the “traditional” media such a relentless hatestream? Real question,” Musk tweeted on Monday. This post was quickly followed by another, clarifying the billionaire’s position. “Most news outlets attempt to answer the question: ‘What are the worst things happening on Earth today?’ It’s a big planet! Obviously, some bad things are happening somewhere at any given time, but focusing relentlessly on those does not give an accurate picture of reality,” he wrote.


Musk then engaged in debate with followers, disagreeing with one view that “negative news sells better,” pointing to some popular “citizen podcasts” which “aren’t negative.” “Maybe part of why traditional media outlets are so negative is because old habits die hard? They so rarely even try to be positive,” Musk added, sharing his frustration over the constant flow of the “news that makes one sad & angry.” The degree of Musk’s apparent disdain for traditional news media became known when he agreed with another commenter who said the target audience of most media was “the amygdala of the bottom 50% of humanity.” “Sadly true,” the carmaker’s chief executive wrote.

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When everyone’s got an EV, they’ll be useless.

Lithium Price Rockets Nearly 500% In A Year (G.)

Lithium prices have “gone ballistic” as surging electric vehicles sales worldwide create massive demand for the critical component of lithium-ion batteries. According to figures from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI), the price of the lithium-rich raw material spodumene rose 478.3% between January 2021 and January 2022. In January alone the price of spodumene jumped 45.5% to US$2,400 a tonne, up from $1,650 in December. Similar price rises were recorded for lithium carbonate and hydroxide – refined lithium at different stages of purity – over the past year. BMI is forecasting the price will continue to increase for at least the next six month off the back of massive demand for battery cells.


In January the consulting firm McKinsey predicted the market for lithium batteries would grow to at least $360bn by 2030, with growth averaging 20% a year until the end of the decade. But some analysts have sounded a note of caution as lithium pricing can be volatile – demand can grow quickly but new mines open and increase supply, dropping the price again. Tim Buckley, an energy transition analyst and director of Clean Energy Finance, says demand for lithium is likely to remain high. “It’s unsustainably high – it’s gone ballistic. It’s just brilliant to watch – the world’s transforming before our eyes,” Buckley said. “Nothing excites financial markets more than a 500% increase in prices.”

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Google translation from Dutch.

Jeff Bezos’ Yacht Can Count On Rotten Eggs (Engelen)

Not so long ago there was a ship whose fortunes could serve as the perfect symbol of the age in which we were then. And no, I’m not talking about the Titanic, that monument of hubris and stupidity, which went down on its maiden voyage and disappeared into the icy ocean with 1,522 people on board, and with that, two years before the outbreak of the First World War, announced the end of the bourgeois belle époque. Not to mention the Probo Koala, that tanker full of chemical waste on its way to the Ivory Coast to discharge its toxic cargo, which suddenly became the focus of our nascent environmental consciousness, only to then, like a hot potato, to be shifted from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, to end up in the harbor of Amsterdam where it lay rotting for months and acted as a constant reminder of the end of our ecological innocence.

No, I’m talking about that Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, which, with over four thousand passengers on board, ran aground at nightfall off the coast of Italy, at the port of Giglio, and began to overturn slowly, because the sun-tanned captain of the ship, and I’m exaggerating oly a little here, let his Moldovan sweetheart give him a blowjob during the maneuver. Meanwhile, a new ship has forced itself as a symbol on our collective consciousness. I am, of course, talking about the three-masted three-masted ship owned by Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos, which is currently being built at a cost of half a billion dollars at yacht builder Oceanco in Alblasserdam and is nearing completion. It would be a sailing yacht with a length of 127 meters long and a height of 55 meters, which, according to news agency Bloomberg, sets a new standard in the wonderful world of superyachts, with many undisclosed details.

In order to be able to choose the sea in the future, however, the yacht has to cross the Nieuwe Maas through the Koningshaven in Rotterdam. As it happens, the iconic Lift Bridge blocks the passage of the yacht: up to 44 meters high, the mouth of the bridge can be opened, too low for the masts of Bezos. And so, despite previous promises to residents, the city council has pledged to dismantle the bridge one more time to allow the yacht to escape. It is again the perfect fusion of an era, in this case of the corona pandemic entering its third year in three weeks, and of the neoliberal nature of the crisis that accompanied it. The measures taken by the state to prevent the spread of the virus and to prevent healthcare overload have had major redistributive consequences. Not only have the billions in monetary easing by central banks further exacerbated wealth inequalities, as the insane house and apartment prices in major cities illustrate: good for investors, bad luck for residents.

The shutting down or throttling of social intercourse has also greatly favored some and disadvantaged others. Household consumption expenditure did not fall during the four so-called lockdowns. What has happened is that one retail channel (the middle class with its physical stores) has been closed and the other retail channel (Amazon) has remained open, with a massive shift in terms of employees, logistics, turnover and thus profits from one channel to another. [..] That is what makes this such a significant event: after two years of corona measures, we have finally arrived in the neofeudal caste society that Thomas Piketty has been warning about since 2014. In that world, ordinary citizens with their bridges are only set pieces in the lives of the super rich. Knowing that will help you understand a little better why Twitter – another such platform – is circulating the call to treat Bezos’ ship with rotten eggs as it passes. You can hardly miss him!

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Brand/Taibbi

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 142021
 
 November 14, 2021  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  74 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Landscape 1920

 

The Texas Miracle (Steve Kirsch)
CDC: No Record of Naturally Immune Transmitting COVID-19 (ET)
Houston Doctor Suspended For ‘Spreading Dangerous Misinformation’ (ABC13)
Dr. Scott Atlas Unloads On Fauci, Birx, Redfield In Forthcoming Memoir (Fox)
Fauci and Birx Stuck To ‘Irrational’ Lockdown Policies – Atlas (DM)
Deaths In Children, Young People In UK With Covid Infection In 1st Year (RS)
CDC Shifts Pandemic Goals Away From Reaching Herd Immunity (LAT)
As America Falls Apart, Profits Soar (Taibbi)
Bezos Predicts Only Limited Number Of People Will Get To Remain On Earth (RT)
God Develops Ultra-Realistic Metaverse, Calls It ‘Universe’ (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Melbourne
https://twitter.com/i/status/1459635157070233602

 

 

 

 

“..unvaccinated people were 40 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people.”

The Texas Miracle (Steve Kirsch)

Someone texted this article to me and asked me what I thought. My immediate reaction is that if you are vaccinated, you’d want to move to Texas. And if you are unvaccinated, I suggest you move to another state where you will be safer! OK, just kidding. The study says this: “From January 15, 2021 to October 1, 2021, unvaccinated people were 40 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people.” Wow. A 40X death benefit. That’s impressive. I read the Pfizer Phase 3 6 month study and it showed just a 2X death benefit. But the numbers were small there. The study also says this: “According to the state’s study, between Jan. 15 and Oct. 1, “unvaccinated people were 45 times more likely to have an infection with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.”

OK, if the Texas study is right, then how do we explain the Harvard study Figure 1? The line should slope the other way since cases would be way down the more fully vaccinated you are. And how do we explain the UCSF study which showed the same viral loads for vaccinated and unvaccinated which means the vaccine didn’t work at all? Here’s what one of my team members wrote (I think she missed seeing the full report): “If you can get the data, I can try to make a proper interpretation. This one they present, is clearly garbage.” Another wrote: “My best friend in Dallas is a firefighter and EMT who drives ambulances. He told me before I flew to San Juan that almost everyone they drove was vaccinated.” Whoops! That anecdote has to be pretty embarrassing for their study! Reality seems to match the Harvard study.


Generally, the techniques they use to game these studies are: • Definitions of “vaccinated” restricted • Most cases during period of legacy variants • No accounting for naturally immune • No accounting for early treatment • Since unvaxxed are tested in the hospital with all kinds of fatal conditions and the vaxxed are not, many dying of other conditions are swept into the unvaxxed C19 group without clinical C19. All designed to frighten Texas into vaccinating.

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There’s that definition of “Naturally Immune” again.

CDC: No Record of Naturally Immune Transmitting COVID-19 (ET)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it has no record of people who are naturally immune transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19. The federal health agency was asked during the fall by a lawyer on behalf of the Informed Consent Action Network for documents “reflecting any documented case of an individual who: (1) never received a COVID-19 vaccine; (2) was infected with COVID-19 once, recovered, and then later became infected again; and (3) transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to another person when reinfected.” Persons who recover from COVID-19 are also known as naturally immune. In a response dated Nov. 5 and made public this week, the CDC said it does not have any documents pertaining to the request.

The CDC confirmed to The Epoch Times that its Emergency Operations Center did not find any records responsive to the request. The agency declined to say whether any documentation had been found between Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, directing The Epoch Times to file a Freedom of Information Act Request for that information, which it did. “You would assume that if the CDC was going to crush the civil and individual rights of those with natural immunity by having them expelled from school, fired from their jobs, separated from the military, and worse, the CDC would have proof of at least one instance of an unvaccinated, naturally immune individual transmitting the COVID-19 virus to another individual. If you thought this, you would be wrong,” Aaron Siri, a lawyer who sought the records on behalf of the network, said in a blog post.

The CDC’s disclosure drew responses from several medical experts, including Johns Hopkins Dr. Marty Makary, who said it underlined how little data the agency has released concerning the recovered. Makary called on the CDC to make public data on any re-infections that have resulted in hospitalization or death, with information on the patient’s comorbidities or lack thereof. “CDC should be transparent with data on natural immunity. Instead we get glimpses from FOIA requests like this one,” he wrote on Twitter.

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“She recently tweeted that she was focusing on treating the unvaccinated..”

Houston Doctor Suspended For ‘Spreading Dangerous Misinformation’ (ABC13)

Houston Methodist has suspended privileges for a Houston doctor after officials claim she was ‘spreading dangerous misinformation’ about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatments. Dr. Mary Bowden, an ear, nose and throat specialist with a popular private practice on Kirby Drive, has been outspoken about vaccine mandates and treatments. She recently tweeted that she was focusing on treating the unvaccinated. Friday night, a spokesperson with Houston Methodist said her privileges had been suspended pending an investigation. In response, Dr. Bowden defends her tweets, and said she has the utmost respect for Houston Methodist and her colleagues. Her suspension came just days after the U.S. Surgeon General released a guide to stop misinformation, which he called an urgent threat to public health.

Houston Methodist officials posted a statement on Twitter about Bowden’s suspension. “Dr. Bowden is using her social media accounts to express her personal and political opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatments. These opinions, which are harmful to the community, do not reflect reliable medical evidence or the values of Houston Methodist, where we have treated more than 25,000 COVID-19 inpatients, and where all our employees and physicians are vaccinated to protect our patients.” The hospital added she is “spreading dangerous misinformation which is not based in science.” Houston Methodist said Bowden recently joined the medical staff and, as of Friday, had never admitted a patient. She also told the hospital she is vaccinated, as is required.

Her attorney, Steven Mitby, released a statement Friday night. “Dr. Mary Bowden is a Stanford-trained physician who owns a successful medical practice in Houston and has provided top quality care to thousands of Houstonians. Dr. Bowden has treated more than 2,000 patients with COVID-19, many with co-morbidities, and has yet to have one of her patients end up in the hospital. Her early treatment methods work and are saving lives. If America had more doctors like Dr. Bowden, COVID outcomes would be much better. Dr. Bowden is not anti-vaccine. Like most Americans, Dr. Bowden believes that people should have a choice and believes that all people, regardless of vaccine status, should have access to the same high quality health care without discrimination. Dr. Bowden has the utmost respect for Houston Methodist and is proud of the work she has done along with her colleagues at Houston Methodist.”

“The press is hunting physicians in coordination with Big Pharma.”

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The first expert annihilated by Fauci and Pfizer et al.

Dr. Scott Atlas Unloads On Fauci, Birx, Redfield In Forthcoming Memoir (Fox)

Former White House Coronavirus Response team member Dr. Scott Atlas blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and former CDC Director Robert Redfield in a new book saying that he was “disgusted” by their dismissal of scientific data he presented to them during the Trump administration. In the book, “A Plague Upon Our House” which Fox News Digital obtained an advance copy of, Atlas says he presented data and studies showing that schools should be reopened and that children are not significant spreaders of the coronavirus but was virtually ignored by Fauci and others on the team. “As I finished, there was silence,” Atlas wrote. “No one offered any contrary data. No one spoke of scientific studies. No one even mentioned the discredited Korea study. Zero comments from Dr. Birx. Nothing from Dr. Fauci.

And as always, not a single mention by Birx or Fauci about the serious harms of school closures. In my mind, this was bizarre. Why was I the only one in the room with detailed knowledge of the literature? Why was I the only one considering the data on such an important topic with a critical eye? Were the others simply accepting bottom lines and conclusions, without any analytical evaluation? Weren’t they supposed to be expert medical scientists, too? I waited.” Atlas said that Birx told him his opinion was “out of the mainstream” and said he was part of a “fringe” group of people who believed schools should be opened. “Meanwhile she insisted that all experts agreed with her,” Atlas wrote.

“I shook my head, thinking of some of the world-class epidemiologists who agreed with me—John Ioannidis and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Carl Heneghan and Sunetra Gupta of Oxford—and wondered if she or Fauci had ever read a single publication by them.” Atlas wrote that he “explained with numbers” that children did not have a significant risk of illness or death from the virus and cited statistics from New York City, California, and elsewhere documenting that while also noting data from Sweden showing zero deaths despite schools not closing and also not imposing mask mandates. “The icing on the cake was the evidence that almost all coronavirus transmission to children comes from adults, not the other way around,” Atlas wrote.

“That was not a predicate for opening schools, given the massive harms to kids if they were closed. But that evidence was already shown by contact tracing and other studies in Iceland, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, and elsewhere. Opened schools and childcare centers did not show significant dangers to children, adults, or teachers…”They found zero instances of a child passing the infection to an adult.” Atlas says Redfield responded to the data by saying “the jury is still out.” “I was disgusted at Redfield’s apparent lack of knowledge, shocked at his ignoring the scientific studies that had been published from around the world,” Atlas wrote. “I looked around the room, wondering if anyone else understood the glaring incompetence on display. Clearly, Pence needed more input.”

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“..she refused to attend meetings where he would be present..”

Fauci and Birx Stuck To ‘Irrational’ Lockdown Policies – Atlas (DM)

‘By the time I arrived, lockdowns had already been implemented throughout the country for months—including strict business restrictions and school closures as well as quarantines of healthy, asymptomatic people,’ he writes. ‘Those lockdowns were continually pushed, successfully, by Drs. Fauci and Birx to nearly all governors and throughout the media. ‘Those policies – the Birx-Fauci lockdowns – were widely implemented, and they were destroying America’s children and families. ‘Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of deaths kept piling up, including tens of thousands of elderly Americans – their policies were in place and were failing.’ Throughout, he portrays his role as critical thinker, asking awkward questions of the conventional wisdom while his opponents sought to block the president’s wishes.

Why, he asks, were scientists developing and promoting White House policy when their role should have been to offer advice and expertise to the nation’s elected leaders. Instead, Atlas says he pushed for reopening coupled with shielding of those at risk. Testing and isolating healthy people, he said, was a waste of time and resources, and compounded a culture of fear. Leaks quickly suggested he was pushing for a policy of ‘herd immunity,’ essentially by letting the virus spread until the level of natural immunity meant the coronavirus had nowhere left to go. He denies that is what he was proposing, instead describing how he once described the principle of ‘herd immunity’ in a meeting. ‘Not once did I advocate allowing infections to spread – not in that meeting nor in any other meeting, and never to the president,’ he says.

Throughout, he expresses frustration that the White House coronavirus task force was dominated by the views of Fauci and Birx – even as they advocated policies that contradicted Trump’s stated desire to reopen schools and businesses. Trump’s inner circle, he writes, seemed reluctant to rock the boat and reduce the power of two advisers that were popular with the public ahead of the election. ‘They had let Birx and Fauci tell governors to prolong the lockdowns and school closures and continue the severe restrictions on businesses – strategies that failed to stop the elderly from dying, failed to stop the cases, and destroyed families and sacrificed children,’ he writes. ‘The closest advisers to the president, including the VP, seemed more concerned with politics, even though the task force was putting out the wrong advice, contrary to the president’s desire to reopen schools and businesses.’

The result, he says, was dangerous and confusing mixed messaging from the White House. Atlas resigned in November, shortly before his term was due to end. Since then Fauci has been a target of Republicans, who accuse him of flip-flopping in his recommendations and of misleading the public over ‘gain-of-function’ research that they say may have triggered the pandemic. Both have been unstinting in their criticism of Atlas. In recent closed-door testimony to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Birx accused Atlas of using incomplete information to draw dangerous conclusions.

‘I was constantly raising the alert in the doctors’ meetings of the depth of my concern about Dr. Atlas’ position, Dr. Atlas’ access, Dr. Atlas’ theories and hypothesis, and the depths and breadths of my concern,’ she said. She also confirmed that she refused to attend meetings where he would be present. ‘I felt like by my presence and my discussions with him, by even legitimizing my responses to him, that I was giving his theories credibility,’ she said.

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“..a mortality rate of 2/million..” What’s the myocarditis rate?

Deaths In Children, Young People In UK With Covid Infection In 1st Year (RS)

Background Deaths in children and young people (CYP) following SARS-CoV-2 infection are rare. Quantifying the risk of mortality is challenging because of high relative prevalence of asymptomatic and non-specific disease manifestations. Therefore, it is important to differentiate between CYP who have died of SARS-CoV-2 and those who have died of an alternative disease process but coincidentally tested positive.

Methods During the pandemic, the mandatory National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) was linked to Public Health England (PHE) testing data to identify CYP (<18 years) who died with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test. A clinical review of all deaths from March 2020 to February 2021 was undertaken to differentiate between those who died of SARS-CoV-2 infection and those who died of an alternative cause but coincidentally tested positive. Then, using linkage to national hospital admission data, demographic and comorbidity details of CYP who died of SARS-CoV-2 were compared to all other deaths. Absolute risk of death was estimated where denominator data were available.

Findings 3105 CYP died from all causes during the first pandemic year in England. 61 of these deaths occurred in CYP who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. 25 CYP died of SARS-CoV-2 infection; 22 from acute infection and three from PIMS-TS. 99·995% of CYP with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test survived. The 25 CYP who died of SARS-CoV-2 equates to a mortality rate of 2/million for the 12,023,568 CYP living in England. CYP >10 years, of Asian and Black ethnic backgrounds, and with comorbidities were over-represented compared to other children.

Interpretation SARS-CoV-2 is very rarely fatal in CYP, even among those with underlying comorbidities. These findings are important to guide families, clinicians and policy makers about future shielding and vaccination.

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Goal posts are made to be shifted.

CDC Shifts Pandemic Goals Away From Reaching Herd Immunity (LAT)

Since the earliest days of the pandemic, there has been one collective goal for bringing it to an end: achieving herd immunity. That’s when so many people are immune to a virus that it runs out of potential hosts to infect, causing an outbreak to sputter out. Many Americans embraced the novel farmyard phrase, and with it, the projection that once 70% to 80% or 85% of the population was vaccinated against COVID-19, the virus would go away and the pandemic would be over. Now the herd is restless. And experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have set aside herd immunity as a national goal. The prospects for meeting a clear herd-immunity target are “very complicated,” said Dr. Jefferson Jones, a medical officer on the CDC’s COVID-19 Epidemiology Task Force.

“Thinking that we’ll be able to achieve some kind of threshold where there’ll be no more transmission of infections may not be possible,” Jones acknowledged last week to members of a panel that advises the CDC on vaccines. Vaccines have been quite effective at preventing cases of COVID-19 that lead to severe illness and death, but none has proved reliable at blocking transmission of the virus, Jones noted. Recent evidence has also made clear that the immunity provided by vaccines can wane in a matter of months. The result is that even if vaccination were universal, the coronavirus would probably continue to spread. “We would discourage” thinking in terms of “a strict goal,” he said. To Dr. Oliver Brooks, a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, it was a sobering new message, with potentially worrisome effects.

With just 58.5% of all Americans fully vaccinated, “we do need to increase” the uptake of COVID-19 shots, said Brooks, chief medical officer of Watts Healthcare in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, he said, Jones’ unexpected admission “almost makes you less motivated to get more people vaccinated.” Brooks said he worries that as the CDC backs off a specific target for herd immunity, it will take the air out of efforts to run up vaccination levels. And if public health officials stop talking about the “herd,” people may lose sight of the fact that vaccination is not just an act of personal protection but a way to protect the community. A public tack away from the promise of herd immunity may also further undermine the CDC’s credibility when it comes to fighting the coronavirus.

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“BREAKING REPORT: Judge in Rittenhouse Trial receiving MULTIPLE THREATS ahead of closing arguments..”

A fair trial? Not possible. Media. Found it remarkable that hardly anyone knows the people he shot, after they attacked him, were not black.

As America Falls Apart, Profits Soar (Taibbi)

The Mayhem Watch is on. Closing arguments in the trial of “Kenosha Shooter” Kyle Rittenhouse are expected Monday, and after weeks of hype, the country is primed to explode again. Wisconsin governor Tony Evers announced 500 National Guard troops will be on hand for potential post-verdict “unrest,” which seems almost guaranteed, no matter the result.

As with all major news stories lately, the Rittenhouse case saw idiosyncrasies wash away as coverage accumulated, with pundits pounding the trial into yet another generalized referendum on American culture war. Prestige media made Rittenhouse a stand-in for the Proud Boys, January 6th, school board protests, anti-mask protests, QAnon, Blue Lives Matter, Trump, “Domestic Terrorism,” fascism, school shooters, and every other naughty thing, with everyone from then-candidate Joe Biden to The Intercept blithely declaring him a white supremacist. The efforts to cast Rittenhouse as a symbol of racism and white rage have been awesome in quantity and transparently, intentionally provoking, with even leading papers like the New York Times standardizing a practice of underscoring Rittenhouse’s race (“white teenager”) while leaving the identities of those shot out of coverage. Glenn Greenwald pointed out that his old outlet, The Intercept, noted Rittenhouse’s race 20 times in one piece while keeping schtum about the color of those shot. This has gone on for so long, we’ve seen a foreign newspaper misreport that the two people killed in the case were black. In the public consciousness, they might as well have been.

Because Rittenhouse from the day of the shooting was made a symbol of Fox-watching, Trump-loving conservatives, he was also quickly adopted in red media as a hero, which “he surely wasn’t,” as Andrew Sullivan put it. This turbo-charged the freakout even more, as Rittenhouse’s defenders turned his case into a referendum on everything from media coverage of last summer’s protests of Black Lives Matter to the performance (or non-performance, as it were) of police during the George Floyd/Jacob Blake demonstrations, to a dozen other things that made public passions rise in the last year.

Rittenhouse in other words became a symbol of so many things to so many people that the specifics of his legal case have ceased to be relevant. There seems to be no such thing as an editorialist who has negative feelings about, say, Rittenhouse posing with Proud Boys, yet also believes that incident can’t be evidence since it happened after the shooting. Everyone picks a side and stays there. Pundits are telling us that any opinion on how the jury should rule can only be understood as a reflection of racial attitudes. “If you’re defending Kyle Rittenhouse, you might be a white supremacist. Just sayin,” is how Tweeter-with-beard and sometimes-journalist David Leavitt puts it.

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Not the Onion. Can’t decide who’s crazier, he or Zuckerberg.

Bezos Predicts Only Limited Number Of People Will Get To Remain On Earth (RT)

Humanity will move most industry into space and allow only a select few to remain on our planet, which will be turned into a natural resort, according to self-funded space explorer Jeff Bezos. The Amazon billionaire enthusiastically shared his predictions for what human civilization will look like in the future – with him personally helping to bring that future closer – during a talk at the annual Ignatius Forum in Washington, DC. He expects vast cylindrical space colonies spinning to create artificial gravity for millions of residents to take over most industrial production. Meanwhile, Earth will be turned into a natural reserve with restricted access similar to US national parks today.

“This place is special, we can’t ruin it,” the founder of Amazon said of our planet. “Millions of people will move from Earth to space over time. And that’s the vision of Blue Origin – millions of people working in space,” he said, referring to his own firm. “Over centuries, most or many of the people will be born in space. It will be their first home. They will be born on these colonies, they will live on these colonies. They may visit Earth the way you would visit Yellowstone National Park,” Bezos predicted. He said that the colonies themselves “will have rivers and forests and wildlife,” which arguably brought his speech out of the realm of futurology and towards optimistic science fiction.

Amazon is infamously resourceful when it comes to squeezing its workers for every drop of productivity. That’s why the similarly rosy description of ‘Amazon factory towns’ solving economic inequality in the US was met with horror, when it was proposed by a Bloomberg columnist in September. Bezos referred to Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, who proposed the concept of space habitats in 1976, as the source of inspiration for him. He said the sort of expansion he predicted was inevitable, if humanity is to grow in a sustainable way. “This Earth can support, let’s say, 10 billion people to a certain degree. We’d have to work really hard to figure out how to do that without degrading the planet… The solar system can support a trillion people,” he said.

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We know where to send Bezos.

God Develops Ultra-Realistic Metaverse, Calls It ‘Universe’ (BBee)

In a bold announcement to all of His children, God unveiled the creation of an ultra-realistic metaverse where people can talk, learn, and work with other people, stating this unique new metaverse will be called “Universe.” “This is more realistic than any virtual reality I’ve experienced before,” said reality enthusiast Miles Kann while walking through one of the Universe’s city parks in real-time. “I can literally smell the fresh air, touch the cool grass, and interact with other players in incredible ways.” Another early adopter of God’s Universe demonstrated how detailed and immersive the player-to-player interaction was as she showed off her humble home, complete with husband, children, and dog.


She thanked God for providing her with a sense of purpose and fulfillment unmatched by any competing product. Critics were quick to point out possible bugs in the Universe, listing wars, injustices, violence, and disease, and suggested God either label it “Early Access” or reboot altogether. These criticisms, however, were countered by God’s supporters who were well-versed in the instruction manual, stating a truly realistic Universe must come with the full experience of joy and pain, choice and accountability, life and death, but that the end game was worth it. According to witnesses, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg screamed in terror at the frightening, immutable reality of God’s Universe.

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May 312021
 


Edgar Degas Landscape with Path Leading to a Copse of Trees 1880-92

 

Employees Sue Hospital over Vaccine Mandate (L&C)
Vaccine Passports For Cross-Border Travel Take Off In Europe (RT)
DHS Walks Back Claim US Taking “Close Look” At Vaccine Passports (ZH)
Masks Achieve Nothing In Terms Of Spread (Guerra)
The Basic Foolishness With The Path (Denninger)
Travel Restrictions & Partial Lockdown Imposed In Guangzhou (RT)
Over 200 Republicans Press Pelosi To Back COVID-19 Origin Probe (ZH)
Denmark Helped NSA Spy On EU Leaders, Snowden Says Biden ‘Deeply Involved’ (RT)
‘Silicon Six’ Tech Giants Accused Of Inflating Tax Payments By $100bn (G.)
Senate Preparing $10 Billion Bailout Fund For Jeff Bezos Space Firm (IC)
Julian Assange’s Father and Brother Announce US Tour (CD)

 

 

 

 

Slowly redefining, eroding legal language.

From 2 days ago: “The updated guidelines say employers may offer incentives for employees to provide documentation showing they have been vaccinated since requesting this proof “is not a disability-related inquiry” or an “unlawful request” under federal anti-discrimination laws.”

Today: “..the coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S. are no longer considered “experimental” because they have “completed clinical trials and have been authorized for emergency use.”

Employees Sue Hospital over Vaccine Mandate (L&C)

A group of 117 Houston-area hospital employees on Friday filed a civil lawsuit against an employer hospital’s coronavirus vaccine mandate. The lawsuit alleges that the mandate violates both the Nuremberg Code and U.S. statutes that allow Americans to refuse “unapproved” medical treatments. It also alleges violations of Texas labor and employment laws. That “people” are “trying to force you to put something into your body that you’re not comfortable with to keep your job is just insane,” lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges told Houston CBS affiliate KHOU. The defendants are The Methodist Hospital, the Methodist Hospital System, and Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital. The people in charge of those entities responded to the litigation by saying the plaintiffs are but a small minority of voices among 26,000 employees and that it is “legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines.”

The sharply worded 56-page complaint argues that the COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market were authorized merely as “emergency” measures and, thus, are not fully “approved” vaccines. At the top of the document are words attributed to David Bernard, the CEO of Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital: “100% vaccination is more important than your individual freedom. Everyone [sic] of you is replaceable. If you don’t like what your [sic] doing you can leave and we will replace your spot.” Those alleged words did not sit well with the plaintiffs. “For the first time in the history of the United States, an employer is forcing an employee to participate in an experimental vaccine trial as a condition for continued employment,” the lawsuit argues.

The document continues by alleging that the defendant hospital “became the first major health care system in the country to force it [sic] employees to be injected with an experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection (‘experimental vaccine’) or be fired.” “Methodist Hospital is forcing its employees to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment,” the lawsuit’s opening paragraph also says. The Washington Post on May 14 reported that the coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S. are no longer considered “experimental” because they have “completed clinical trials and have been authorized for emergency use.” The same report quotes a bevy of experts who asserted that the current vaccines are safe while noting that millions of Americans have been vaccinated without serious harm.

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You can be the healthiest person in the world, but it makes no difference.

Vaccine Passports For Cross-Border Travel Take Off In Europe (RT)

Greece and Denmark have become the first to launch Covid-19 vaccine passports for travel within the EU, as the bloc pushes for all member states to adopt the system and US officials say they’re considering the idea. The two countries rolled out the new passes on Friday in separate press conferences, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis calling them a “fast lane to facilitate travel” in Europe and help “restore freedom of movement.” While some EU states, including Denmark, had already implemented their own internal vaccine certificates, the new passports can be used for cross-border travel, in line with a March proposal by the European Commission.

The Greek and Danish passports are managed through a smartphone app that shows a user’s vaccination status and the last time they were tested for coronavirus. Both also use a scannable QR code to quickly relay the information, though paper versions will also be made available. The EU has pressed for all 27 of its member states to adopt a bloc-wide passport by July 1, agreeing to the plan in principle last week ahead of the summer tourism season. The push comes after the bloc called for an easing of the travel restrictions imposed at the height of the pandemic, recommending that members allow foreign visitors if they are fully vaccinated. While the European Parliament has yet to formally approve the passport scheme, several countries have already moved ahead.

In addition to Greece and Denmark, Ireland also announced plans on Friday to adopt an international Covid pass by July 19, while the UK’s National Health Service recently updated its digital passport app for cross-border travel. The passports will also be valid in non-EU nations Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, according to the European Commission. As the passes gain traction across Europe, US officials have said they are also eyeing the concept for foreign travel, with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief Alejandro Mayorkas telling ABC on Friday that the Biden administration is “taking a very close look at that.” A DHS spokesperson later clarified, however, that there would be no “federal mandate” for any kind of vaccine pass, adding that the government would help Americans only to meet entry requirements in other countries.

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“The Biden administration has previously said multiple times that it will not require vaccine passports, or proof of vaccination, on the federal level. However, the administration is working with private companies to set guidelines for passport systems.”

DHS Walks Back Claim US Taking “Close Look” At Vaccine Passports (ZH)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday walked back comments made by the agency’s chief, who suggested earlier in the day that the federal government was “taking a very close look” at the idea of requiring vaccine passports to enter or leave the United States. “Looking ahead to summer, Europe and other countries are going to open up. Could we see vaccine passports to travel internationally either into or out of the U.S.?” an ABC “Good Morning America” host asked Alejandro Mayorkas, head of the DHS. “We’re taking a very close look at that,” Mayorkas responded. But DHS said Mayorkas was only talking about how Americans will need to use such passports to enter other countries.

“We’ve always said we’re looking at how we can ensure Americans traveling abroad have a quick and easy way to enter other countries. That’s what the secretary was referring to; ensuring that all U.S. travelers will be able to easily meet any anticipated foreign country entry requirements,” an agency spokesperson told news outlets. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” the department also said. The White House had responded to Mayorkas’ statement by saying the same thing. Asked to explain his comments, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One:

“Again, the U.S. government recognizes that other countries have or may have foreign-entry requirements. We will be monitoring these and helping all U.S. travelers meet those, but we will not be—there will be no federal mandate requiring anyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.” The Biden administration has previously said multiple times that it will not require vaccine passports, or proof of vaccination, on the federal level. However, the administration is working with private companies to set guidelines for passport systems. A variety of groups have raised concerns about vaccine passports, arguing it would be an overreach of government authority to require vaccination proof. A number of states have banned requiring of passports, such as Georgia, and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) announced Friday they were introducing a bill that would ban them.

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Bit confusing?!

Masks Achieve Nothing In Terms Of Spread (Guerra)

Latest analysis shows yet again – yet again – what we already knew from 40 years of published research. And also empirically from simply glancing over the past year’s real-world data. Masks don’t work! Our main finding is that mask mandates and use are not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 spread among US states. 80% of US states mandated masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandates induced greater mask compliance but did not predict lower growth rates when community spread was low (minima) or high (maxima). We infer that mandates likely did not affect COVID-19 case growth [15], as growth rates were similar on all days between actual or modeled issuance dates and 6 March 2021. Higher mask use (rather than mandates per se) has been argued to decrease COVID-19 growth rates [11].

While compliance varies by location and time, IHME estimates are robust (derived from multiple sources [17]) and densely sampled (day-level precision). Higher mask use did not predict lower maximum growth rates, smaller surges, or less Fall-Winter growth among continental states. Mask-growth rate correlation was only evident at minima. This may be an artifact of faster growth at fewer normalized cases, as well as regional differences in case prevalence early in the pandemic. States in the high mask quintile grew at similar rates as states in the low mask quintile after maxima (when interstate total case differences were smaller than before minima). In addition, mask use did not predict normalized cases at minima, and low mask growth curves trailed those of high mask (particularly Northeast) states before minima.

Growth maxima and Fall-Winter surges did not differ between Northeast and other states. Northeast states exhibited the highest seroprevalence up to at least July 2020 [24] and constituted 80% of the top quintile of mask use, which may explain their comparatively lower Summer growth. Overall, mask use appears to be an intra-state lagging indicator of case growth. There is inferential but not demonstrable evidence that masks reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Animal models [25], small case studies [6], and growth curves for mandate-only states [16] suggest that mask efficacy increases with mask use [11]. However, we did not observe lower growth rates over a range of compliance at maximum Fall-Winter growth (45-83% between South Dakota and Massachusetts during maxima) [17] when growth rates were high.

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“..you must use very large amounts of the substance in order to get enough of it where you want it and the unwanted part can and does cause problems in other parts of the body.”

The Basic Foolishness With The Path (Denninger)

Moderna, for example, is not a new company. They have repeatedly tried to get their mRNA technology to be taken up preferentially by parts of the body that have some disease or disorder and thus attempt to treat that. It has never worked, because while some preference can be expressed for the particular particles injected too much of it winds up in other places where it’s not wanted and causes problems. Let me repeat this for emphasis: Nobody has managed to come up with an injected, complex substance such as “nanoparticles” that are only taken up by the tissues desired and not by any of the others. This in turn means you must use very large amounts of the substance in order to get enough of it where you want it and the unwanted part can and does cause problems in other parts of the body.

This is why Moderna, despite ten years of trying, has never before had a successful therapy licensed anywhere. We were told that this sort of thing does not happen with these shots. But there was zero proof of this; in fact, quite to the contrary, there was ten years of evidence by this company’s trials itself that said it was the exact opposite; specificity simply could not be guaranteed and too much would spill over into other places. We now know it happens with the mRNA shots as well, both directly and indirectly. The second pillar of the development of these vaccines was the claim, which the CDC still makes by the way, that the spike protein alone is harmless. Thus, even if some of the material was taken up in the wrong place (not the muscle and the lymph system) it was ok because it wouldn’t hurt you.

Unfortunately we now know that’s false as the spike alone is not inert and harmless; the first indications of that in scientific papers came in September of 2020 and development was not halted until the risk could be characterized. The CDC is knowingly lying in their public statements; that the spike portion of the virus is “harmless” is simply not subject to reasonable scientific support at this point in time. Yes, inducing antibodies in the circulation is what you want to happen. Causing spike protein components and the intact spike protein to be found in the circulation, however, you definitely do not want to happen because we now know, on the body of evidence, that both S1 standing alone and the whole spike are pathogenic — that is, they cause disorders in the body.

Indeed the evidence is quite strong that when you get hammered by Covid the reason you get hammered is that the infection becomes systemic and the part of the virus that causes the systemic problem is the spike when it gets into the circulation and then is disseminated through the body’s systems. We now know that the spike protein alone is capable of producing abnormal clotting absent the rest of the virus — that is, the entire virus isn’t necessary to do it and it’s not the virus infecting cells and replicating in them that causes it; it is the spike alone that induces the body to inappropriately produce blood clots where they do not belong.

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We don’t see much virus news from China.

Travel Restrictions & Partial Lockdown Imposed In Guangzhou (RT)

Border control and a partial lockdown have been imposed in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, after a cluster of the Indian variant of the coronavirus was discovered there. People leaving Guangzhou, a provincial capital of 15.3 million, must test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours before the trip. Roughly 520 flights were canceled at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, one of the world’s busiest air travel hubs, as of 11:40am local time on Monday, CNA news agency reported, citing aviation data provider VariFlight.


Authorities earlier announced stay-at-home orders for residents of several streets in the city’s Liwan District, where the first infected patient was discovered on May 21, and restricted travel on the subway and buses. Large gatherings were banned across Guangzhou, while indoor venues were told to operate at limited capacity and targeted mass-testing programs were launched. Chen Bin, the deputy chief of the provincial health commission, was cited by Xinhua as confirming on Sunday that all locally transmitted cases found in Guangzhou since May 21 were linked to the B.1.617 coronavirus strain, also known as the Indian variant.

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200 is a lot.

Over 200 Republicans Press Pelosi To Back COVID-19 Origin Probe (ZH)

More than 200 House Republicans are putting pressure on their Democrat counterparts to get down to the COVID-19 origins and hold the Chinese regime accountable for the pandemic coverup. “We request that you instruct the appropriate Democrat committee chairs to immediately join Republican calls to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its role in causing the global COVID-19 pandemic,” stated a May 28 letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The effort was led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), Minority Whip Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Rep. Elise Stefanik, the chair of the House Republican Conference and joined by 209 House Republicans.

The lawmakers said Pelosi had “falsely claimed” that “questions about the CCP’s liability” were a “diversion” – likely referring to Pelosi’s remarks from last May describing then-President Donald Trump’s blame on China as an “interesting diversion.” “There is mounting evidence the pandemic started in a Chinese lab, and the CCP covered it up. If that is the case, the CCP is responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 Americans and millions more worldwide,” they stated in the letter. “[E]very American family that lost someone deserves answers about the origin of this terrible virus,” they continued, adding that “House Democrats’ ongoing refusal to allocate investigative resources to get those answers is an affront to them.” “China can’t get away with this. Americans deserve answers,” Scalise wrote in a May 28 tweet.

The lawmakers cited a growing pile of evidence that the virus may have escaped from a Wuhan lab, an idea that many media outlets and scientists had initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. A State Department fact sheet, released during the final days of the Trump administration, suggested researchers with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), located in the vicinity of the seafood market initially thought to be the outbreak’s origin, fell ill with COVID-19 like symptoms in autumn 2019. Recently, an undisclosed intelligence report also surfaced saying three WIV staff were sick enough to seek hospital care that November.

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What is Merkel going to do about Denmark? Her anger over having her phone spied on sure went away fast.

Denmark Helped NSA Spy On EU Leaders, Snowden Says Biden ‘Deeply Involved’ (RT)

The US National Intelligence Agency received support from Denmark in spying on European politicians, according to a new joint media report, something President Joe Biden is well-informed to answer for, says Edward Snowden. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank Walter-Steinmeier are among those who were spied on by the NSA with the cooperation and help of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE), according to the European media investigation. The US spying on not only its own citizens, but also leaders in foreign countries is an accusation that came to light in 2013, mostly thanks to documents leaked by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower – though he remains a fugitive in the US – Edward Snowden. Snowden’s leaks specifically revealed Merkel’s private cell phone had been monitored by US authorities.

The new revelations come as a result of multiple European news outlets – including Danish state broadcaster DR, German NDR, Swedish SVT, Norwegian NRK and French Le Monde among others – obtaining access to internal reports and information from Danish Secret Service sources. According to the investigation, politicians in Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, France and even Danish finance industries were also targeted by the NSA with the help of Danish spies. The Danish government has reportedly known about the cooperation for years and forced FE leadership to step down in 2020 after discovering the full extent of the relationship following an internal investigation. They did not, however, report the findings to any European Union allies.

The spying was primarily done through hijacking Danish electronic communications systems as the country has landing stations for subsea internet cables between numerous countries, such as Germany and Sweden. By using politicians’ and officials’ phone numbers, authorities were able to pull texts and phone calls, while those being spied on were none the wiser. Snowden, who made his revelations about the NSA while Biden was vice president, says the current president is “well-prepared” to answer the accusations and that there should be a requirement of “full disclosure” from both Denmark and the US. “Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around,” he tweeted. “There should be an explicit requirement for full public disclosure not only from Denmark, but their senior partner as well.”

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“Overall, they paid $219bn in income tax over the past decade, 3.6% of their total revenue of more than $6tn.”

‘Silicon Six’ Tech Giants Accused Of Inflating Tax Payments By $100bn (G.)

The giant US tech firms known as the “Silicon Six” have been accused of inflating their stated tax payments by almost $100bn (£70bn) over the past decade. As Chancellor Rishi Sunak called on world leaders to back a new tech tax ahead of next week’s G7 summit in the UK, a report by the campaign group Fair Tax Foundation singled out Amazon, Facebook, Google’s owner, Alphabet, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft. It said they paid $96bn less in tax between 2011 and 2020 than the notional taxation figures they cite in their annual financial reports. . The six firms named handed over $149bn less to global tax authorities than would be expected if they had the paid headline rates where they operated, Fair Tax Foundation said.

Overall, they paid $219bn in income tax over the past decade, 3.6% of their total revenue of more than $6tn. Income tax is paid on profits, but the researchers said the Silicon Six companies deliberately shift income to low-tax jurisdictions to pay less tax. Based on companies’ regulatory filings, the report found that Amazon, the internet retailing and cloud services provider run by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, collected $1.6tn of revenue, reported $60.5bn of profit and paid $5.9bn in income taxes this decade. Amazon would have been expected to pay $10.7bn in taxes on those profits based on international tax rates, the report said. The tax paid as a percentage of profit was just 9.8% over the period 2011-20, the lowest of the so-called “Silicon Six”.

An Amazon spokesperson disputed the calculations as “extremely misleading”. “Amazon is primarily a retailer where profit margins are low, so comparisons to technology companies with operating profit margins of closer to 50% is not rational,” the company said. “Governments write the tax laws and Amazon is doing the very thing they encourage companies to do – paying all taxes due while also investing many billions in creating jobs and infrastructure. Coupled with low margins, this investment will naturally result in a lower cash tax rate.”

Read more …

Don’t pay taxes, get bailed out instead.

Senate Preparing $10 Billion Bailout Fund For Jeff Bezos Space Firm (IC)

Now that Jeff Bezos’s space flight company Blue Origin has lost a multibillion contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Congress is prepping the ground for Bezos to win a contract anyway, ordering NASA to make not one but two awards. The order would come through the Endless Frontier Act, a bill to beef up resources for science and technology research that’s being debated on the Senate floor this week. An amendment was added to that legislation by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to hand over $10 billion to NASA — money that most likely would go to Blue Origin, a company that’s headquartered in Cantwell’s home state.


Cantwell’s amendment is no sure bet though: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a last-minute amendment Monday to eliminate the $10 billion. “It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America,” Sanders told The Intercept Tuesday. The Bezos space company had been competing against SpaceX for a contract to put astronauts on the moon, the first such trips since 1972, but lost the bidding process with a price tag twice that of SpaceX. NASA announced the award to the Elon Musk-owned company last month.

Read more …

“My brother Julian Assange has effectively been a prisoner for over a decade because he published evidence of war crimes..”

Julian Assange’s Father and Brother Announce US Tour (CD)

The father and brother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are planning a nationwide tour of the United States next month to advocate for the release of the detained journalist and for the Biden administration to drop its extradition effort—and to highlight the broader implications that his prosecution has for global press freedom. John and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s father and brother, will kick off the #HomeRun4Julian tour in Miami on June 6, then travel to over a dozen U.S. cities for the rest of the month, wrapping up in Washington, D.C. in July. Some events will be live-streamed, and the pair plans to meet with activists, journalists, and policymakers along the away. “My brother Julian Assange has effectively been a prisoner for over a decade because he published evidence of war crimes,” said Gabriel Shipton in a statement Thursday. “The U.S. government wants to make an example out of him to deter journalists and whistleblowers.”

Read more …

 

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May 282021
 


Brassaï Couple on a bench, Paris 1932

 

Suppressing Data On Ivermectin Cost ‘Half A Million Lives’ – Kory (WT)
Inhaled Nanobodies Could Be New Secret Weapon Against Severe Covid (RT)
US Sitting On ‘Raft’ Of Unexamined Virus Intel (ZH)
Fort Detrick Base Is Full Of Suspicions – China (RT)
Rand Paul: “Fauci Cannot Investigate Himself; Get Him Under Oath” (SN)
California Launches Largest US Covid Vaccine Lottery Yet (G.)
Facebook Now Banning Anyone Who Says Virus Wasn’t Created In Wuhan Lab (BBee)
Bezos Weaponizes The Washington Post Homepage (DP)
Biden’s Budget Assumes a Massive Retroactive Capital Gains Tax (Mish)
Socialism for 1% Capitalism 99% (Braund)
CNN Hires Trump As News Anchor To Recover Lost Viewers (BBee)

 

 

Just how crazy is this? You can say that the vaccines are not approved, but not that they haven’t been appropriately tested?

 

 

Hodkinson

 

 

“It’s literally criminal.”

Suppressing Data On Ivermectin Cost ‘Half A Million Lives’ – Kory (WT)

In a recent Zoom call, Dr. Pierre Kory of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance outlined numerous details showing the World Health Organization (WHO) knowingly suppressed data on the effectiveness of ivermectin against the virus in order to benefit the vaccine interests of Big Pharma. “It’s criminal,” Kory said. “It’s literally criminal.” The drug “could have saved half a million lives this year if it had been approved.” The WHO, Kory contends, is simply taking part in the tactics of a time-worn “Disinformation Playbook.” The term was coined by the Union of Concerned Scientists 50 years ago to describe the strategies corporations have developed over decades to “attack science when it goes against their financial interests.”

It consists of five parts:
The Fake – Conduct counterfeit science and try to pass it off as legitimate research.
The Blitz – Harass scientists who speak out with results reviews inconvenient for industry.
The Diversion – Manufacture uncertainty about science where little or none exists.
The Screen – Buy credibility through alliances with academia or professional societies.
The Fix – Manipulate government officials or processes to influence policy inappropriately.

In the full Zoom call, since removed by YouTube but available on Bitchute, Kory describes how the five tactics have been deployed against the scientific findings on ivermectin. One example is the corruption of leading medical journals, whose editors refuse to allow ivermectin studies to advance to peer review. The most egregious institutional participant, however, is the WHO. Kory is the lead author of a scientific review of the studies on ivermectin worldwide, which was published in the May-June edition of The American Journal of Therapeutics. As reported on the FlCCC website, there have been a total of 56 trials involving 469 scientists and 18,447 patients. Of these, 28 were randomized control trials (RCT), the type of trial considered highly authoritative in the medical community.

Together these have shown an 85 percent improvement as a preventative against the disease when taken before exposure. There has been a 78 percent patient improvement when administered early and a 46 percent improvement when delivered late. A 74 percent improvement in mortality was found and a 66 percent improvement across multiple areas in the 28 randomized control trials. Within only 10 days of publication the paper on ivermectin was rated number 13 most-read among the more than 200,000 other scientific publications that appeared during that time, Kory reports. Out of the 17.7 million papers that have been tracked by the rating source since it began, the ivermectin study is already ranked 246.

Read more …

I’ll take ivermectin instead.

Inhaled Nanobodies Could Be New Secret Weapon Against Severe Covid (RT)

In search of ways to complement jabs or to treat patients who can’t be vaccinated, scientists have tested inhalable anti-Covid nanobodies on hamsters, saying they’re effective in fighting the virus by targeting its spike protein. The promising new findings came courtesy of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, marking the first time nanobodies have been tested for inhalation treatment of the coronavirus disease. Nanobodies are similar to monoclonal antibodies, widely used in certain cancer treatments, but are smaller in size and boast a lower cost of production, which may prove key to a global rollout should the treatment gain regulatory approval in future. The researchers previously identified some 8,000 nanobodies which they whittled down to just one highly effective or “ultra potent” version called Nb21, which they then bioengineered to better slot together with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.


Their aerosolized nanobody, named Pittsburgh inhalable Nanobody-21 (PiN-21), is said to have reduced the number of infectious virus particles in the test subject hamsters’ nasal cavities, throats and lungs by a million-fold. “We are very excited and encouraged by our data suggesting that PiN-21 can be highly protective against severe disease and can potentially prevent human-to-human viral transmission,” said co-senior author Yi Shi. The study says that hamsters who inhaled PiN-21 at the time of infection experienced no Covid-19 related weight loss, compared to the control group, which received a placebo and lost 16% of their initial body weight within a week of infection. This would be the equivalent to an adult human losing 20lbs (9kg) in one week, it said. Test subjects who inhaled PiN-21 experienced milder changes in lung structure and severely reduced inflammation following infection than the placebo group.

Read more …

‘an extraordinary amount of computer power’, ‘databases of Chinese communications, the movement of lab workers and the pattern of the outbreak of the disease around the city of Wuhan.”

US Sitting On ‘Raft’ Of Unexamined Virus Intel (ZH)

Hours after President Biden promised to release the ‘full report’ from US Intelligence community’s 90-day examination of where COVID-19 originated – unless there’s something he’s unaware of… …the New York Times reports, there’s things he’s unaware of. Namely, ‘a raft of still-unexamined evidence that required additional computer analysis that might shed light on the mystery,” according to anonymous senior administration officials. In other words, the US government has been sitting on a large collection of intelligence in perhaps the most important investigation into an economy-wrecking global pandemic, as China destroyed evidence and has refused to cooperate with international probes.

According to the report, Biden’s call for the new investigation was in response to the ‘new’ evidence. While officials declined to describe the new evidence, they are hoping to apply ‘an extraordinary amount of computer power’ to analyze what the Times speculates may be ‘databases of Chinese communications, the movement of lab workers and the pattern of the outbreak of the disease around the city of Wuhan.” Biden’s call was also meant to spur American allies and intelligence agencies to scour their own evidence, such as “intercepts, witnesses or biological evidence — as well as hunt for new intelligence,” to assess whether the Chinese government covered up what happened.

Astute readers will note that the NYT substitutes its own facts, framing any lab release as of course “accidental,” and suggesting that Biden only dismissed the lab origin theory “until the Chinese government this week rejected allowing further investigation by the World Health Organization.” In reality, plenty of evidence existed which the entire leftist establishment and their media surrogates flatly branded a ‘debunked conspiracy theory’ after then-President Trump promoted it, while the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) parroted CCP propaganda that the virus could have only emerged via ‘natural origin’ (as opposed to the Chinese lab manipulating bat coronaviruses in the same city that the pandemic started).

Read more …

Two can play that game.

Fort Detrick Base Is Full Of Suspicions – China (RT)

Beijing has called on the US to provide an explanation for a respiratory disease in northern Virginia and a large-scale outbreak of e-cigarette disease in Wisconsin after Washington launched a new probe into Covid-19’s origins. Speaking on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian asked the US to reflect on its own role in the pandemic and not “dump” responsibility on China alone. Citing the 33 million Covid-19 cases in the US and 600,000 deaths, Zhao asked “How safe is your conscience?” “I also want to emphasize that the Fort Detrick base is full of suspicions. There are more than 200 biological laboratories in the United States spreading around the world. How many secrets are there?”

The spokesman said that there was an unexplained respiratory disease in northern Virginia in July 2019 and a large-scale outbreak of e-cigarette disease in Wisconsin. “When will the US release detailed data and information on relevant cases to the international community? The United States owes an explanation to the international community.” The Maryland-based US Fort Detrick center hosts a biolab which has become a hot topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to issue a “cease and desist order” to halt operations at the germ lab over safety concerns.

Zhao’s comment comes after US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he was giving intelligence agencies 90 days to pinpoint the origins of Covid-19. Biden said his administration would continue to push China to “participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.” Reinforcing a statement from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC on Wednesday evening, Zhao called on the US to stop “ignoring facts and science” and refrain from “repeatedly clamoring to reinvestigate China.”

Read more …

Good idea.

Rand Paul: “Fauci Cannot Investigate Himself; Get Him Under Oath” (SN)

Senator Rand Paul, who has spearheaded the renewed push to investigate the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, has called for Dr Fauci to be placed under oath and made to testify about the murky ‘gain of function’ research he was involved with funding at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Paul also urged that Fauci “needs to be excluded from the investigation” because he is too deeply involved in the whole thing. Appearing on Fox News, Paul spoke about the funding that Fauci and the NIH supplied to China. “Well, sure it’s a lot. And there are some reports that it added up to millions over time. But the other thing he said was that there was no gain of function in the application. There are scientists who looked at the application and who absolutely and categorically disagree with him,” Paul noted.

“The other evidence that we have is Dr. Shi from the Wuhan lab published a paper that is clearly about gain of function and it that she thanks her group and Dr. Fauci for funding that paper. So there are a lot of contradictions going on,” Paul added. “I think Dr. Fauci should be made to testify under oath about the money that was given to the lab,” Paul said, adding “The good news is yesterday I passed an amendment on the Senate floor that says no more gain of function money can be sent to China.” “The bottom line, he cannot investigate himself. If he was responsible for giving this money. He has every incentive to cover it up and not reveal the truth about it because if the pandemic did come from the lab, he would have great culpability in this,” Paul further emphasised.

The Senator, who continues to receive death threats after being so vocal against Fauci, added that “he can’t be investigating this, nor can any of his people that he picks be investigating this. He needs to be excluded from the investigation.” “This is very important because this could happen again,” Paul warned, adding “I mean, they are experimenting with the SARS virus, which is 15 times more deadly than COVID-19. COVID-19 kills 1%… more than 3 million people. If SARS got out of the lab, that could be 50 million people. This is a very important task ahead of us. We have 11 labs in our country that do this kind of research.”

Read more …

Just how crazy is this? Does anyone find it normal?

California Launches Largest US Covid Vaccine Lottery Yet (G.)

California has become the latest state to offer a vaccine lottery to incentivize getting the coronavirus vaccine – launching the nation’s most valuable single prize draw: $1.5m. The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced on Thursday that residents will be eligible for a total of $116.5m in prize money giveaways, a windfall aimed at getting millions more vaccinated before the nation’s most populous state fully reopens next month. The state’s reopening is pegged for 15 June, and on that day a drawing will be held to award 10 vaccinated people the top prize. Another 30 people will win $50,000 each, with those drawings starting 4 June. Anyone 12 and older who has received at least one shot will be eligible. And the next 2 million people who get vaccinated will get $50 gift cards.


The state estimates about 12 million Californians 12 and older have not been vaccinated. About 63% of the 34 million eligible have gotten shots, though the pace has slowed markedly in recent weeks as infection rates have plummeted to record lows. Ohio this week announced the first $1m winner of its “Vax-a-Million” contest, as well as the first child to win a full college scholarship. The scheme saw more than 2.7 million adults register for a chance to win. Colorado and Oregon also offered $1m prizes. New York is raffling 50 full scholarships to children 12 to 17 to public universities and colleges in the state, selecting 10 winners each of the next five Wednesdays. That California is turning to cash prizes to encourage vaccinations marks a major turnaround from earlier this year, when Californians clamored for shots, with some driving or waiting in line for hours to get one.

Read more …

Babylon Bee is on a roll.

Facebook Now Banning Anyone Who Says Virus Wasn’t Created In Wuhan Lab (BBee)

Facebook has updated its community standards today, declaring that anyone who says the COVID-19 virus wasn’t developed in the lab in Wuhan will be banned for sharing fake news. Mark Zuckerberg, may he live forever, announced the change from his royal throne today to a group of reporters gathered in his royal throne room. “Hear ye, hear ye!” Zuckerberg announced. “From henceforth, anyone saying the virus wasn’t created in a lab shall be banned! While previously, those who said the virus was created in a lab were hanged, this royal decree hereby reverses the order, and now, those who deny the obvious truth that it was created in a lab shall be declared anathema and sentenced to die!”


Zuckerberg’s royal scribes then began scrubbing the old rule from the giant Community Standards tablets displayed in the throne room and chiseling the updated rule on top. “So it is written, and so it is done!” announced Zuckerberg. And the people rejoiced and began feasting upon the lamb, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies.

Read more …

Amazon as the great defender of the minimum wage. Gutsy.

Bezos Weaponizes The Washington Post Homepage (DP)

A few years after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, he said it was because it “is the newspaper in the capital city of the most important country in the world” and “has an incredibly important role to play in this democracy.” Now, with more and more legislators scrutinizing his company’s business practices, his newspaper is playing that role — as an advertising platform in defense of Amazon. On Tuesday, hours after the Washington Post reported that the D.C. attorney general is bringing an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, the front page of the Post’s website was festooned with native ads from Amazon portraying itself as a devoted supporter of a higher federal minimum wage.

The Post ads, which appeared almost like editorial content, are part of a broader campaign by Amazon highlighting its support for a $15 minimum wage. Left unsaid: Amazon only begrudgingly agreed to a higher wage for its own workers after serious public shaming. The company has also continued to bankroll corporate lobbying groups that are leading the fight against a minimum wage hike, and the Washington Post editorial board has campaigned against a $15 wage. Amazon’s ad spending with the newspaper is nothing new: The company has disclosed spending $40.5 million with the Washington Post since 2013 on advertising and digital content, including $8.1 million last year, according to its proxy statements.

The company’s latest ad on the Post homepage was designed to make the tech giant look progressive in advance of the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday and the news that it’s acquiring legendary film studio MGM. If you were casually glancing at the Post page Tuesday, you may not have realized the Amazon language was an advertisement, since portions of it were included in the Washington Post masthead banner. Text boxes in the banner said: “Since 2018, Amazon has paid at least $15/hour. It’s time to raise the $7.25 federal minimum wage.” Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, noted Tuesday that “these ads aren’t clearly marked as ads, and that crosses a line.”

[..] Of course, as the Washington Post headline noted when Amazon announced it would raise its minimum wage to $15, it did so “following criticism” — most prominently from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., who launched a petition to Bezos in August 2018, demanding that he pay his workers “a living wage and improve working conditions at Amazon warehouses all across the country.” Sanders also introduced the “Stop BEZOS Act,” legislation to put a 100-percent tax on government benefits received by workers at large companies, after a report by the New Food Economy found that thousands of Amazon workers were on food stamps.

Read more …

“His budget and tax hikes are headed to the gutter. Beyond infrastructure, it’s unclear if Biden can pass anything.”

Biden’s Budget Assumes a Massive Retroactive Capital Gains Tax (Mish)

Biden seeks to hike the top rate on capital gains to 43.4% from 23.8% for households with income over $1 million. He also wants to make the increase retroactive and force capital gains realization at death as well. The WSJ reports Biden’s Budget Said to Assume Capital-Gains Tax Rate Increase Started in April. • Leaders of six biggest U.S. banks, testified to Congress Thursday warning against a retroactive change. • Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), wants to maintain a lower tax rate for capital gains than for ordinary income. • Lawmakers from farm states, including Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) and Rep. Cindy Axne (D., Iowa) have objected to the changes on capital gains at death. Biden wants to make it retroactive so that millionaires cannot accelerate gains now. And he wants to make gains taxable at death to prevent heirs from holding.

In short, Biden wants his tax hikes now and later too. He continues to appease the Progressives. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the budget is sustainable because long-term yields are below the rate of inflation, conveniently held there by the Fed. The budget also assumes no recession for at least another 9 years despite the fact they happen about every 5 years on average. Finally, Biden’s budget not only assumes retroactive tax hikes but those hikes will bring in more money than the nonpartisan congressional budget office assumes. Meanwhile, Enough is Enough, a Democratic Governor Courageously Says “No More Taxes”

There is bipartisan support for about $900 billion in infrastructure spend, far short of the $2.3 trillion Biden seeks. There is no bipartisan support for tax hikes. Moreover, Biden cannot afford to lose a single Democrat Senator on any issue, but the net impact of all his tax and budget proposals suggests he has lost at least 3 Senators. His budget and tax hikes are headed to the gutter. Beyond infrastructure, it’s unclear if Biden can pass anything.

Read more …

“Banks can continue to lend money at interest in order to cover their costs, and make a reasonable profit, but they should not be permitted to create new money at interest..”

Socialism for 1% Capitalism 99% (Braund)

Banks create money by making loans to their customers. This method accounts for around 97 per cent of the money in circulation. Nearly all money is created as debt, repayable at interest. This means that all loans have to be repaid with money also created as debt and loaned at interest. No wonder the economy struggles, when the system of money creation heaps cost upon unnecessary cost. And no wonder the banks generate such enormous profits. This system, known as fractional reserve banking, is an integral part of the nexus of unearned wealth: Banks’ shareholders earn dividends from the super-profits extracted by the process of money creation; banks loan money to their own investment arms to finance speculative activities which undermine the real economy and then pay themselves unwarranted bonuses from the proceeds; and money issued as debt helps drive up asset prices, especially land, through the housing market and the market for commercial property.

Not only does the system of money issue skew the economy in favour of the already wealthy, it places an unnecessary burden on genuine entrepreneurs by charging them for the use of money. Money is not wealth, but it is required to pay for land, labour and capital. Why should enterprising businesspeople pay a premium for the use of money, when without it business is impossible? It gets worse: Through the activities of credit card companies, banks try to cover up their economic misdemeanours by lending money for consumption to those unable to earn enough to get by. This creates an impression that the economy is in good health because people keep spending. In fact, UK personal debt, at £1,452bn is roughly equivalent to the country’s GDP.

If they are to remain in private ownership, banks must be obliged to work under a revised system of full reserve banking: they should only lend money which they can fund from deposits and reserves. If the money supply needs to be increased, new money can be issued through banks by a central authority. Banks can continue to lend money at interest in order to cover their costs, and make a reasonable profit, but they should not be permitted to create new money at interest, and they should be required to compete for business by offering the best possible savings and borrowing rates to their customers. The current system of money issue widens the gap between rich and poor by concentrating its lending for investment on large corporations, while charging the economically excluded exorbitant rates on borrowing for consumption. It conspires against an optimal supply of money by ensuring that the quantity of money in circulation never reflects the amount of wealth being created, thus introducing instability into the economy and driving the damaging cycle of boom and bust.

Read more …

More Babylon Bee.

CNN Hires Trump As News Anchor To Recover Lost Viewers (BBee)

In order to bring back the viewers it’s lost since the 2020 election ended, CNN is rehiring the biggest draw for its audience: former President Trump, who will host all the news segments every night on prime time.
“What we’ve discovered since the election is people only watched our station to see Trump, so we’re hiring him to anchor our programs,” said Bob CNN, owner and founder of the cable news station. “This will finally get our ratings out of the dump.” During his first night on the job, Trump simply yelled about election fraud for two hours. “Very sad, very pathetic, worst-run election in history, maybe ever! Worse than North Korea!” he said to an audience of millions, CNN’s largest in many months.

“Frankly, any ballot cast against me is suspect. You really believe that someone would walk into an election booth and look at me and Sleepy Joe and choose Sleepy Joe? No. Can’t happen. Fake news. Not good. Sad!” After this, the rest of the hosts for the night just yelled about Trump yelling about election fraud. According to Trump, the deal was “the biggest deal in the history of television, maybe ever.” Rumors indicate that Trump was given a majority share in the company, billions of dollars, and unlimited Diet Coke. According to insiders, the headquarters of CNN will also be moved to Mar-a-Lago as part of the deal. After the announcement, CNN’s ratings skyrocketed, and they’re finally outperforming the WNBA, soccer, and Saturday Night Live.

Read more …

 

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Jan 242021
 
 January 24, 2021  Posted by at 10:19 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »


Amedeo Modigliani Elvira Resting at a Table 1919

 

EU Vaccine Delays Dog Effort To Speed Up COVID Inoculations (EN)
Delaying Second Dose Of Vaccine Increases Risk Of New Resistant Strain – Sage (Ind.)
WHO Advisor: COVID19 Pandemic Likely Started Via Lab Leak (TSun)
‘Miraculous’ Ivermectin Approved For Use In The US For COVID19 (LS)
Lancet Retracts Study That Claimed HCQ Is Ineffective (NF)
Moderate Republicans Push Back On Biden’s Economic Plan (NBC)
Rand Paul Says Chief Justice Roberts Won’t Take Trump Impeach Trial (NYP)
Seattle Police and City Attorney Take Hardline Stance Against Antifa (PM)
Grantham Sees “Spectacular” Crash In “The Next Few Months” (ZH)
Bezos, Zuckerberg $18 Billion Richer In Biden’s First Days In Office (F.)
Jeff Bezos, Amazon Refuting Mail-in Votes For Unionization (Outkick)
Eurostar Near Collapse, Asks for Bailout, Becomes Hot Potato (WS)
Indian Farmers on the Frontline Against Global Capitalism (OffG)

 

 

 

 

“Italy’s coronavirus commissioner said that vaccinations had been cut from 80,000 a day to 28,000 a day, Italian media reported. He said Italian authorities were considering taking legal action against Pfizer..”

EU Vaccine Delays Dog Effort To Speed Up COVID Inoculations (EN)

AstraZeneca’s EU vaccine shipments will be delayed, the EU’s health commissioner said, in yet another obstacle to the bloc’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. “The EU Commission and Member States expressed deep dissatisfaction with this,” Stella Kyriakides tweeted on Friday after member states heard from AstraZeneca representatives. The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is expected to receive approval from the European Medicines Agency this week, and any delay or shortage of doses could be a significant speed bump as member states race to vaccinate their populations amid a worsening COVID-19 crisis. The emergence of more transmissible variants of coronavirus has caused significant concern in Europe with the UK reporting record daily hospitalisations and deaths due to the virus mutations.

Johnson warned on Friday that early evidence showed the new variant could be more deadly as well. Countries are racing against the clock to vaccinate as many people as possible before the variants spread further. But Pfizer said just last week that fewer doses would be available in the EU in late January and early February due to quality tests at the manufacturing plant in Belgium. Some EU countries have since had to cut vaccinations amid the delays, prompting criticism of the pharmaceutical companies behind the vaccines. Domenico Arcuri, Italy’s coronavirus commissioner, said that vaccinations had been cut from 80,000 a day to 28,000 a day, Italian media reported. He said Italian authorities were considering taking legal action against Pfizer, AP reported.

Authorities in Germany’s most populous state said that due to delays in delivery of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine they would halt first vaccinations. North Rhine Westphalia had received 100,000 vaccine doses less than originally planned, the state said. Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn said that “we are currently in a phase in which the worldwide demand for corona vaccines is very high.”

Read more …

Well, that’s too bad then. Because you’ve run out.

Delaying Second Dose Of Vaccine Increases Risk Of New Resistant Strain – Sage (Ind.)

Delaying doses of coronavirus inoculations will increase the chances of a vaccine-resistant strain of Covid-19 emerging, government scientists have warned. In new reports, released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), experts also warned that resistant new variants were a “realistic possibility” driven by the virus reacting to increasing levels of natural immunity among the population. The government’s decision to delay the second dose of vaccines to 12 weeks rather than three, to try and give more people some protection from the virus, has sparked anger among frontline health workers who fear they are being left at increased risk from infections.

There have also been suggestions from Israel, that have yet to be fully validated, that the protection from a first dose could be far less than originally thought. In papers released on Friday, Sage scientists there was an “increased risk of virus replication under partial immunity after one dose than after two doses, so in the short term, delaying the second dose would be expected to somewhat increase the probability of emergence of vaccine resistance – but probably from a low base. “Is such an increase material? It is not currently possible to quantify the probability of emergence of vaccine resistance as a result of the delayed second dose, but it is likely to be small. The UK currently has more than 1,000 Covid-19-related deaths each day and has limited supplies of vaccine.

“In the current UK circumstances the unquantifiable but likely small probability of the delayed second dose generating a vaccine escape mutant must be weighed against the measurable benefits of doubling the speed with which the most vulnerable can be given vaccine-induced protection.”

Read more …

While his WHO colleagues are still in China?!

WHO Advisor: COVID19 Pandemic Likely Started Via Lab Leak (TSun)

One year after the pandemic started, World Health Organization advisor Jamie Metzl wants China to come clean about the origins of the COVID-19 virus. The Kansas City-born, New York-based Metzl, who served as Deputy Staff Director of the Foreign Relations Committee under then Senator Joe Biden (2001-2003) and before that on the National Security Council (1997-99) and the State Department (1999-01) under President Bill Clinton), theorizes it was most likely an accidental lab leak in Wuhan. “There’s no irrefutable evidence,” said Metzl, who was appointed to the WHO’s expert advisory committee on human genome editing in 2019 and is also the author of Hacking Darwin. “There’s just more evidence and as more evidence arrives, the case for accidental lab leak, in my view, increases.”

We caught up with Metzl down the line from San Miguel de Allende: What about the original theory that this all started in a wet market in Wuhan? That was a lie. And the Chinese government knew very early on that that was a lie. And so in the face of overwhelming evidence in May of last year, the Chinese government shifted its position. Do you get the idea of scary viruses being created in a lab may seem a little sci-fi? It may feel like sci-fi to people but what’s happening is sci. There is a field of study called “gain of function” research, which is highly controversial in which some scientists amplify the virility of viruses. We know that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was involved in gain of function research on bat coronaviruses.

Is it because this specifically started in China that we still don’t know how COVID-19 started? If there had been an outbreak in Congo or some country in Africa and that country, in the earliest days of the pandemic, prevented World Health Organization investigators from going onto the scene of the outbreak, for nearly a month, the world would have gone berserk. Will a change of the U.S. administration help find an answer? Biden will be tougher on China than President Trump because President Biden is very smart and strategic and he understands that American power and American strength doesn’t rest on bluster, it rests on principles, it rests on partnerships, and alliances and accountability. And the Trump administration unfortunately gave China a pass by over politicizing the question of the origin of the virus by alienating America’s partners and allies.

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So when’s the big rollout?

‘Miraculous’ Ivermectin Approved For Use In The US For COVID-19 (LS)

Following the diligent efforts of physicians associated with a group called Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has upgraded their recommendation for the “miraculous” drug ivermectin, making it an option for use in treating COVID-19 within the United States. The result comes one week after Dr. Paul Marik and Dr. Pierre Kory—founding members of the FLCCC, along with Dr. Andrew Hill, researcher and consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), presented their data before the NIH Treatment Guidelines Panel. A press release from FLCCC explains the “new designation upgraded the status of ivermectin from ‘against’ [the drug’s use] to ‘neither for nor against,’ which is the same recommendation given to monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma, both widely used across the nation.”


“By no longer recommending against ivermectin use,” the statement said, “doctors should feel more open in prescribing ivermectin as another therapeutic option for the treatment of COVID-19. This may clear its path towards FDA [Food and Drug Administration] emergency use approval.” “Ivermectin is one of the world’s safest, cheapest and most widely available drugs,” explained Dr. Kory, President of the FLCCC Alliance. “The studies we presented to the NIH revealed high levels of statistical significance showing large magnitude benefit in transmission rates, need for hospitalization, and death. What’s more, the totality of trials data supporting ivermectin is without precedent.”

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How many lives could have been saved?

Lancet Retracts Study That Claimed HCQ Is Ineffective (NF)

A leading medical journal has issued a retraction of their endorsement for a study that concluded the anti-viral drug hydroxychloroquine was ineffective against the COVID-19 virus. This retraction appears to validate the claims then-President Trump made about the medication being a frontline drug in the battle in the pandemic. The Lancet, a respected online medical journal, issued an apology to its readers in an edition last year after the retraction. “We deeply apologize to you, the editors, and the journal readership for any embarrassment or inconvenience that this may have caused,” the publishers of The Lancet said.

Compared to the significantly more expensive medications being used to treat the virus, hydroxychloroquine – a drug widely used to treat malaria – is relatively inexpensive and universally available. Hydroxychloroquine ranges in price from $0.30 to $6.63 per dose depending on location. The Lancet’s endorsement of the study was withdrawn because the Surgisphere Corporation, the company that provided data, refused to provide full access to the information it based its study on. Peer review medical journals typically engage in third-party peer review to validate the findings. The Surgisphere Corporation said it refused to release the study data because it would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements, raising questions about the study’s legitimacy.

“Based on this development, we can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources. Due to this unfortunate development, the authors request that the paper be retracted,” The Lancet said in a statement. In the now debunked study, researchers concluded that hydroxychloroquine didn’t aid in curbing the COVID-19 virus. It went on to say that the drug caused heart problems and appeared to elevate the risk of death. The study was immediately embraced by the beleaguered World Health Organization and other groups causing research into the use of the drug to combat COVID-19 to stop.

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Let the games ….. continue.

Moderate Republicans Push Back On Biden’s Economic Plan (NBC)

Key moderate Republicans in the Senate dismissed quick action on President Joe Biden’s top priority of a $1.9 trillion economic package, indicating that the $1,400 stimulus payments he requested could take months, or never arrive. Democrats need to convince 10 Republicans in the Senate, which might require asking for less funding than Biden initially requested, or bypassing the 60-vote threshold utilizing a parliamentarian maneuver. Biden’s team appears ready to mount an aggressive campaign to get Congress to act, a departure from the previous administration that largely failed to engage lawmakers on legislative priorities and did not spend political capital on getting bills passed.

Republicans who would be critical to get to the finish line said they’re open to additional money to speed up distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, but balked at Biden’s overall price tag. Some called on Biden to pare back the plan while others suggested waiting a few months to see if the economic need persists. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of the most moderate Republicans, said she’s “sympathetic” to boosting vaccine funds but doesn’t see the justification for a bill “that is so big.” “It’s hard for me to see when we just passed $900 billion of assistance why we would have a package that big,” Collins told reporters Thursday. “Maybe a couple of months from now, the needs will be evident and we will need to do something significant, but I’m not seeing it right now.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, called Biden’s request “significant,” adding that “the ink is barely dry on the $900 billion” bill. “And so it’s going to require, I think, a fair amount of debate and consideration,” she told reporters. Sen. Mitt Romney R-Utah, a conservative who has a track record of breaking with his party, told NBC News that he isn’t inclined to borrow another $1 trillion or even $500 billion for a broad economic package. “My own view is that what’s holding back the economy is Covid, not money,” he said. “I want to do everything we can to get the Covid vaccines out. But once the Covid vaccine is out and people are inoculated, I believe you’ll see the economy coming back.”

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Stretching the law.

Rand Paul Says Chief Justice Roberts Won’t Take Trump Impeach Trial (NYP)

As Democrats plunge ahead with a post-term impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, a key question remains: Will Chief Justice Roberts take the case? Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he won’t — making the exercise “a fake, partisan impeachment,” the lawmaker told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Friday. Paul claimed Roberts has “privately said he’s not supposed to come unless it’s an impeachment of the president.” According to the US Constitution, “when the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside” — a requirement not made for any other impeachment case. As lawmakers debated the legitimacy of impeachment, the Biden administration continued to keep its distance from the issue.

“Congress is going to do what Congress does,” Ashley Etienne, Vice President Kamala Harris’ communications director, told MSNBC Saturday. One thing Trump enemies in Congress appear to be doing is grasping at straws — even reaching back to a post-Civil War amendment. Several Dems have floated the idea of punishing Trump with the 14th Amendment’s rule that shuts those who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” out of elective office. “I certainly think there is a 14th Amendment avenue separate and aside from impeachment,” Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy told The Hill.

But the stricture, which was written to prevent former Confederate loyalists from regaining power as the United States struggled through Reconstruction, has not been used since — and would spark a long judicial battle if Congress attempted to invoke it, legal experts say. Meanwhile, with Trump no longer in the White House, Republicans like Paul continued to deride the impeachment as “an illegitimate procedure.” Roberts, who has not said publicly whether he will preside over the trial, has two more weeks to decide. After the House of Representatives’ impeachment managers on Monday read their articles of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot, the Senate will delay the trial until the week of Feb. 8 so that President Biden can get his administration up and running, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday.

If Trump is convicted with a two-thirds majority of the Senate, Schumer could call for a second vote, this one requiring only a simple majority, barring him from holding elective office again. But conviction will require the votes of at least 17 Senate Republicans — an increasingly remote possibility, as more party members climb aboard Paul’s argument that only a sitting president can be impeached. “It’s going to be tough to get even a handful” of GOP defectors, Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) told CNN — because “everybody has views that it’s kind of a constitutional concern.”

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The Seattle Times never mentions the term Antifa. It’s just an idea.

Seattle Police and City Attorney Take Hardline Stance Against Antifa (PM)

As Antifa militants take to Seattle’s streets on a near-daily basis following the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the city’s police and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes are responding with a promise to bring the hammer down on violent protesters. In an announcement on Saturday, the city’s interim police Chief Adrian Diaz announced that his department is coordinating with the city attorney to enact a strict new policy to arrest and prosecute protesters who destroy property during street demonstrations. Diaz said that the new enforcement policy will take effect this Saturday, when a demonstration has been planned for Occidental Square. Prosecutions will increase under the new order.

In his speech, Seattle’s top cop said that he has wanted to crack down on the violent militants for months, and that its becoming clear following Biden’s inauguration that their protests have no real cause. “They’re focused on breaking windows, and these are things we need to work on,” he said, reported Seattle Times. A spokesperson for the police said that suspects in low-level crimes were not even booked into jail last year due to coronavirus concerns, and that the policy of not booking those who commit misdemeanors is unlikely to change. However, individuals released on bail who are re-arrested will likely be prosecuted now. Diaz said that police will take a hardline approach to repeat offenders.

“We will be prosecuting these crimes from now on,” he said. “When we don’t have any form of accountability for people — and many of them are coming from outside the city — they will continue to do that activity, and we can’t have that.” In addition to the prosecutions, police will be deploying in extra numbers starting Saturday and will coordinate law enforcement efforts with the Washington State Patrol and federal agents to prevent protesters from entering freeways and federal buildings. “We would like to protect buildings from being vandalized in the first place, and don’t want to cause undue conflict. It’s safer for protesters and officers to not be drawing that line, so to speak,” said Diaz. Earlier this week, Antifa rioters vandalized and looted the historic Starbucks, a Democratic Party office, and numerous local businesses in protest of the newly inaugurated president.

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“stimmy” checks.

Grantham Sees “Spectacular” Crash In “The Next Few Months” (ZH)

Two weeks ago, investing icon Jeremy Grantham turned apocalyptic and warned that the “Bursting Of This “Great, Epic Bubble” Will Be “Most Important Investing Event Of Your Lives.” Since then the market has generally continued to melt up, yet Grantham’s conviction that all this will end in tears has only grown, and in an interview with Bloomberg today, the co-founder of GMO who correctly called the last two crashes, now predicts that Joe Biden’s economic-recovery plan will propel stocks to perilous new heights, followed by an inevitable crash. “We will have a few weeks of extra money and a few weeks of putting your last, desperate chips into the game, and then an even more spectacular bust,” the value-investing legend said in a Bloomberg “Front Row” interview.


“When you have reached this level of obvious super-enthusiasm, the bubble has always, without exception, broken in the next few months, not a few years.” Amid market euphoria the likes of which have – literally – never been seen before as the following chart from Citi shows and which prompted Citi, BofA and Goldman to all warn that a selloff appears imminent, and which was fueled by risk-taking behavior funded by the latest round of pandemic-relief checks, Grantham has “no doubt” at least some of the $1.9 trillion in federal aid Biden is seeking from Congress will end up being spent on stocks instead of food or shelter.

While that will help push stocks even higher, Grantham then sees it all ending in tears, or rather a collapse rivaling the 1929 crash or the dot-com bust of 2000, when the Nasdaq cratered 80% before recovering thanks to trillions more in Fed “stimmy” checks. And while some (increasingly fewer) investors claim that today’s valuations are justified by the growth potential of transformative technologies and new business models, Grantham, 82, dismisses that argument as fanciful, and rejects the popular theory that the Federal Reserve can cushion or even the next crash with even more QE or easing. “At the lowest rates in history, you don’t have a lot in the bank to throw on the table, do you?” he said.

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How much more stimulus do we need to keep making them richer? It will stop somewhere.

Bezos, Zuckerberg $18 Billion Richer In Biden’s First Days In Office (F.)

The world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, had a very good week. The Amazon CEO got $10 billion richer, bringing his net worth to $191.5 billion. He’s got an $8.3 billion lead over Tesla CEO Elon Musk (net worth: $183.2 billion), who briefly claimed the top spot this month before falling back to second place. Even better for Bezos? His boost this week comes in part thanks to the departure of Donald Trump, a constant critic of Amazon and the Bezos-owned Washington Post. President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday, sending tech stocks soaring on optimism over his administration’s Covid-19 vaccine and stimulus plans.


Amazon ended the week up 6.1%, Facebook gained 9.2% and Google parent Alphabet rose 9.5%, beating the S&P and Dow Jones Industrial Average’s weekly gains of 2% and 0.5%, respectively. On Inauguration Day, Amazon executive Dave Clark sent a letter to Biden offering Amazon’s resources to help distribute the vaccine. “We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination effort,” he wrote. Clark also took the opportunity to advocate prioritizing vaccinating Amazon’s 800,000 employees, most of whom are essential frontline workers.

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Ha ha ha.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Refuting Mail-in Votes For Unionization (Outkick)

Jeff Bezos — a strong Democratic supporter — and Amazon are aiming to postpone a unionization vote at one of its warehouses in Alabama, the Wall Street Journal reports. Interestingly, Amazon has requested that the National Labor Relations Board reconsider allowing mail-in voting, claiming that the mail-in voting process has “serious and systemic flaws.” Got that? Bezos and Amazon are doing all they can to prevent any shady activity when workers cast their ballots for unionization, and they are particularly concerned about the integrity of mail-in ballots. You are likely trying to figure out how that adds up, right? The Washington Post, owned by Bezos, called any claims of mail-in voter fraud by Donald Trump and his supporters dangerous and inexcusable.

Amazon even banned Parler from its servers, in part to ensure no one could claim voter fraud occurred from mail-in ballots back in November. But stop trying to make it make sense. It is not supposed to add up. In this case, mail-in voting is disadvantageous for Bezos and his e-commerce behemoth. Therefore, they now consider mail-in voting seriously flawed. An Amazon spokesperson tells CNN the company is seeking a “valid, fair and successful election” and suggests that only in-person voting can ensure that. Hmm, interesting perspective. Amazon has, thus far, fended off unions in the United States. If a majority of ballots vote in favor of unionization, hourly Amazon workers would send an L right up to Bezos’ office.

Bamazonunion.com explains that a union at Amazon would “give us the right to collectively bargain over our working conditions including items such as safety standards, training, breaks, pay, benefits, and other important issues that would make our workplace better.” The NLRB says, “A mail ballot election will enfranchise employees who cannot enter the voting location for health reasons or due to positive COVID tests.” Fearing an unfavorable outcome, however, Amazon now insists that current COVID outbreaks aren’t dangerous enough to warrant this NLRB decision.

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In a train in a tunnel with COVID. No thanks.

Eurostar Near Collapse, Asks for Bailout, Becomes Hot Potato (WS)

Eurostar, the company that operates the cross-Channel train service that connects the UK with France, Belgium and the Netherlands, is on the brink of collapse, the company’s management warned this week. With passenger numbers down 95% in the final quarter of 2020 and revenues down over 80% over the course of 2020, it is now “on a drip” and in desperate need of extra cash, says Christophe Fanichet, a senior executive of France’s state SNCF railways, which is the majority shareholder of Eurostar. “I’m very worried about Eurostar. The company is in a critical state, I’d even say very critical,” he said.

In 2019, Eurostar shuttled 11 million passengers — including many businessmen and women — from London St Pancras to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. While generally more expensive than budget air fares, it is quicker, more comfortable, and drops off passengers in the center of their chosen city of destination. But like the airlines, its whole business model has been upended by the virus crisis. At present, the company is operating only two services a day, a far cry from the two trains an hour it used to operate during peak times before the pandemic. And most of those trains are less than a quarter full. More than 90% of its workers have been furloughed.

It’s a similar story across Europe’s railway sector. Passenger numbers have plunged between 70%-90% as lockdowns, social-distancing rules, and concerns about the risks of using public transport have taken their toll. The industry is estimated to have racked up losses of €22 billion in 2020, according to CER, a Brussels-based commerce group representing passenger and freight prepare operators. That’s similar to the total losses accrued so far by Europe’s airlines. Thousands of workers are on government-subsidized furloughs. “It’s a totally extraordinary situation,” said Libor Lochman, CER’s executive director. “There is no comparison for it, and it can and will lead to the bankruptcy of a number of companies, unless there is the political will to prevent it”.

Just as happened last Spring, travel restrictions are tightening across Europe and borders are closing as countries try to counter the spread of new strains of the Covid-19 virus. France announced on Thursday that visitors from the UK, which is no longer part of the EU, will need to observe a seven-day quarantine and undertake a PCR test on their arrival. The UK already has a quarantine system in place for travelers from the EU. These latest travel restrictions have compounded Eurostar’s woes. It could run out of money by April, according to industry sources. To stave off that fate, the company is asking for government support of the kind already doled out to many airlines. Eurostar has already tapped shareholders for €200 million and is apparently loath to do so again, particularly given the recent tightening of travel restrictions.

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Monsanto.

Indian Farmers on the Frontline Against Global Capitalism (OffG)

In the above short video on the empirediaries.com YouTube channel, a protesting farmer camped near Delhi says that during lockdown and times of crisis farmers are treated like “gods”, but when they ask for their rights, they are smeared and labelled as “terrorists”. He, along with thousands of other farmers, are mobilising against three important pieces of farm legislation that were recently forced through parliament. To all intents and purposes, these laws sound a neoliberal death knell for most of India’s cultivators and its small farms, the backbone of the nation’s food production. The farmer says: “Corporates invested in Modi before the election and brought him to power. He has sold out and is an agent of Ambani and Adani. He is unable to repeal the bills because his owners will scold him. He is trapped. But we are not backing down either.”

He then asks whether ministers know how many seeds are needed to grow wheat on an acre of land: “We farmers know. They made these farm laws sitting in air-conditioned rooms. And they are teaching us the benefits!” While the corporations that will move in on the sector due to the legislation will initially pay good money for crops, once the public sector markets (mandis) are gone, the farmer says they will become the only buyers and will beat prices down. He asks why, in other sectors, do sellers get to put price tags on their products but not farmers: “Why can’t farmers put minimum prices on the crops we produce? A law must be brought to guarantee MSP [minimum support prices]. Whoever buys below MSP must be punished by law.”

The recent agriculture legislation represents the final pieces of a 30-year-old plan which will benefit a handful of billionaires in the US and in India. It means the livelihoods of hundreds of millions (the majority of the population) who still (directly or indirectly) rely on agriculture for a living are to be sacrificed at the behest of these elite interests. Consider that much of the UK’s wealth came from sucking $45 trillion from India alone according to renowned economist Utsa Patnaik. Britain grew rich by underdeveloping India. What amount to little more than modern-day East India-type corporations are now in the process of helping themselves to the country’s most valuable asset – agriculture.

According to the World Bank’s lending report, based on data compiled up to 2015, India was easily the largest recipient of its loans in the history of the institution. The World Bank thus exerts a certain hold over India: on the back of India’s foreign exchange crisis in the 1990s, the IMF and World Bank wanted India to shift hundreds of millions out of agriculture. In return for up to more than $120 billion in loans at the time, India was directed to dismantle its state-owned seed supply system, reduce subsidies, run down public agriculture institutions and offer incentives for the growing of cash crops to earn foreign exchange. The plan involves shifting at least 400 million from the countryside into cities.

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Sep 152020
 
 September 15, 2020  Posted by at 9:37 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »


Otto Dix The Triumph of Death 1934

 

Scientists Discover Antibody That ‘Neutralizes’ Coronavirus (Fox)
Research From 23andMe Strengthens Link Between Blood Types And COVID19 (STAT)
Vitamin D Supplements ‘Could Keep COVID19 Patients Out Of Intensive Care’ (DM)
Cuba Punches Above Weight With ‘White Coat Army’ During Pandemic (R.)
Convergence of Quandaries (Jim Kunstler)
Stop The Coup! (TAM)
Poll Claims Debunked Atlantic Story Changed Voters’ Minds About Trump (BPR)
Trump Connects The Generals And The Military-Industrial Complex (AC)
Inequality Robs $2.5 Trillion From U.S. Workers Each Year
Bezos Doubles Wealth as Amazon Essential Product Prices Rise 1000% (MPN)
Time Is Ripe For China To Free Up Controls On Yuan’s Convertibility (SCMP)
Merkel Calls For EU Support For Greece Over Moria (K.)
Germany Plans To Take In 1,500 Refugees From Greek Islands (R.)
Australia Politics, Media Silent On Sadistic British Assange Show-Trial (WSWS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do we turn this into the biggest possible profit?

Scientists Discover Antibody That ‘Neutralizes’ Coronavirus (Fox)

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have isolated “the smallest biological molecule” that “completely and specifically neutralizes” SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the novel coronavirus. The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, and has been used to create the drug Ab8, shared in the report published by the researchers in the journal Cell on Monday. The drug is seen as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2. According to the report, the drug has been “highly effective in preventing and treating” the SARS-CoV-2 infections in mice and hamsters during tests. The drug also reportedly does not bind to human cells, which suggests it will not have negative side-effects in people.


“Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said co-author John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC. “Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.” [..] According to the report, the team at University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases and Galveston National Laboratory tested Ab8 and found it blocked the virus from entering cells. In mice trials, those treated with Ab8 had 10-fold less of the amount of infectious virus compared to those that were untreated.

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“A little more than 11% of the people in 23andMe’s studies said they were Latino; less than 3% said they were Black.”

Research From 23andMe Strengthens Link Between Blood Types And COVID19 (STAT)

A forthcoming study from genetic testing giant 23andMe shows that a person’s genetic code could be connected to how likely they are to catch Covid-19 — and how severely they could experience the disease if they catch it. It’s an important confirmation of earlier work on the subject. People whose blood group is O seemed to test positive for Covid-19 less often than expected when compared to people with any other blood group, according to 23andMe’s data; people who tested positive and had a specific variant of another gene also seemed to be more likely to have serious respiratory symptoms. The study, which was released on a preprint server and which has not yet been peer-reviewed, could extend and confirm earlier work on the subject; 23andMe’s study relied on a larger dataset than earlier work and included a more diverse set of participants, the company said.

Experts who aren’t affiliated with 23andMe praised the study design and the work. “They clarify further what our data could only vaguely hint at,” said Tom Hemming Karlsen, a physician at Oslo University Hospital who published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on genetic links with Covid-19 severity in June, and who was not associated with 23andMe’s work. But the outside experts also cautioned that the research won’t change treatment decisions. “It doesn’t have practical implications. There’s no treatment decisions that will be made from it — it’s just an interesting finding,” said Jennifer Lighter, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at NYU Langone who was not involved in the research. Unlike the study Karlsen and his colleagues ran, which only included people with severe Covid-19 symptoms, 23andMe included people who had both mild and severe cases — which allowed them to draw stronger conclusions, Karlsen said.

The company’s study participants are also more diverse than Karlsen’s, which only studied people in Spain and Italy. However, the 23andMe study’s demographics still don’t fully reflect the population of the United States. A little more than 11% of the people in 23andMe’s studies said they were Latino; less than 3% said they were Black. (Latinos represent about 16% of the U.S. population, while Black people account for about 13% of the population.) Both Karlsen and 23andMe’s team found that the genes that code for a person’s blood type seemed to be linked to whether a person would test positive for Covid-19; another section of chromosome 3 — referred to in both papers as chr3p21.31 — seemed to be linked to how severe a person’s response would be to a Covid-19 infection.

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Disregard the dissing of HCQ. Just take your Vit. D.

Vitamin D Supplements ‘Could Keep COVID19 Patients Out Of Intensive Care’ (DM)

Treating coronavirus patients with high doses of vitamin D supplements could help keep them out of intensive care, a study has suggested. Researchers gave high doses of calcifediol – a type of vitamin D supplement – to 50 patients hospitalised with Covid-19 in Spain. They were given 100 micrograms of the supplement over the course of a week, with 55mcg on the first day and then two booster doses of 27mcg on days three and seven. The dose was higher than the 70mcg weekly limit recommended by the NHS. Scientists compared the participants’ health with 26 volunteers in a control group who were not given the tablets, which are normally prescribed to patients with thyroid or kidney problems.

Just one patient given calcifediol fell ill enough to be admitted to intensive care, whereas half of the participants in the control group were taken to ICU and two died. There were no deaths among volunteers receiving the vitamin and all 50 patients were eventually discharged by the end of the study. Experts now believe Covid-19 causes a catastrophic build-up of a chemical called bradykinin, which makes blood vessels leaky and drives up the risk of inflammation. Calcifediol is one of the few hormones which regulates the bradykinin and it can also prevent the immune system from going into overdrive. Researchers have been divided over whether a vitamin D deficiency, which is vital to the immune system, can raise the risk of dying of Covid-19.

Some scientists suggested that it may be one of the reasons black people face a higher risk of dying from the illness, because they do not produce as much of the vitamin naturally. Taking too much vitamin D can cause bone and organ damage over time, however, and scientists discouraged people from trying to self-medicate. For the study, researchers from the University of Cordoba in Spain and research university KU Leuven in Belgium monitored 76 hospital patients with Covid-19. Fifty of the patients were randomly assigned to have calcifediol tablets, along with normal care. Twenty-six volunteers were put in a control group who only received standard care, to compare the treatment to. Because the study was conducted several months ago, the standard care for coronavirus in Spain was hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. These two drugs have since been proven ineffective at treating the virus.

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I think maybe this is exactly Cuba’s weight.

Cuba Punches Above Weight With ‘White Coat Army’ During Pandemic (R.)

At the start of Togo’s coronavirus outbreak, the small West African nation welcomed a team of 12 Cuban healthcare workers to tend to sufferers of the virus, boost its laboratory testing and help improve its hospital protocols. While the virus was overwhelming healthcare systems worldwide, the Communist-run Caribbean island boasted a rare resource: a surplus of doctors trained in deploying abroad and battling infectious disease. And it was willing to dispatch them all over the globe to nations requesting help. “As scientific and medical circles groped in the dark, Cuban medicine, strong from past experiences, brought appropriate answers,” said the head of cooperation at Togo’s foreign ministry, Charles Azilan.

Nearly 40 countries across five continents have received Cuban medics during the pandemic, as the island nation – home to just over 11 million inhabitants – has once more punched far above its weight in medical diplomacy. Since its 1959 leftist revolution, Cuba has dispatched its “army of white coats” to disaster sites and disease outbreaks around the world in the name of solidarity. In the last decade, they have fought cholera in Haiti and Ebola in West Africa. Not that its brigades are purely altruistic. Cuba has exported doctors on more routine missions in exchange for cash or goods in recent decades, making them its top source of hard currency. While some countries have received the medics for free during the pandemic, others are paying: a slight boon to Cuba’s economy struggling with the coronavirus-induced collapse in tourism.

[..] With financial aid from its former ally the Soviet Union, Cuba built up a healthcare system that was the envy of the developing world under the leadership of the late Fidel Castro. Some of those advances have been lost since the communist bloc collapsed. Many hospitals are run down, medicines are in short supply and Cubans complain about a decline in the quality of medical training. Still, Cuba has one of the highest ratios of physicians per capita in the world and even before pandemic struck, had some 28,000 medics deployed globally. It has since dispatched a further 4,000.

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“The country is now out of its mind… echoes of France, 1793… a rhyme, not a reprise.”

Convergence of Quandaries (Jim Kunstler)

The orgy of political hysteria, insane thinking, and violence is a psychotic reaction to the collapsing techno-industrial economy — a feature of it, actually. When all familiar social and economic arrangements are threatened, people go nuts. Interestingly, the craziness actually started in the colleges and universities where ideas (the products of thinking) are supposed to be the stock-in-trade. The more pressing the practical matters of daily life became, the less intellectuals wanted to face them. So, they desperately generated a force-field of crazy counter-ideas to repel the threat, a curriculum of wishful thinking, childish utopian nostrums, and exercises in boundary-smashing. As all this moved out of the campuses (the graduation function), it infected every other corner of American endeavor, institutions, business, news media, sports, Hollywood, etc. The country is now out of its mind… echoes of France, 1793… a rhyme, not a reprise.


The US economy began a slow and insidious collapse because its petroleum energy base became unaffordable. The reality of that was obscured by paradoxical appearances: the shale oil miracle goosed up US oil production from under five million barrels-a-day in 2007 to thirteen million barrels-a-day in 2019. Pretty awesome. Seemed like we were awash in oil. The problem was the companies producing shale oil couldn’t make money at it, and the loans that went into staging the shale oil “miracle” went bad… and then the companies couldn’t get new loans… and went bankrupt. So, the crash of US oil production is a self-reinforcing feedback loop that is sure to continue and will make things worse. Now, less than a year after reaching that majestic 13 million barrels-a-day, production has fallen to around 10 million a day — quite an impressive drop.

Further obscuring the actual dynamic in play, gasoline prices at the pump are quite low — under $2.50-a-gallon where I live, compared with $4-plus a couple of years ago — and most citizens consider the price of gasoline their sole index of how things are going in the oil industry. The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated and accelerated the damage from that by shutting down much of small business across America since March. The businesses and people who owned them have suffered terribly. That and the public lockdowns have greatly depressed the demand for oil products, driving the price-per-barrel down and reducing the cash flow of the oil companies. That also aggravated worsening relations with our principal trading partner, China, the net effect of which threatens the supply chain for all sorts of critical parts and products needed to keep our complex systems running.

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“Oh, but one more thing: America needs to understand that while it might very well look like Trump won on election night, due to our new rules votes will be counted for weeks afterward and then our candidate will probably win.”

Stop The Coup! (TAM)

Michael Anton’s new article “The Coming Coup?” went viral almost as soon as we posted it a week ago today. This is not simply because figures like Lara Logan, Mollie Hemingway, Newt Gingrich, Dan Bongino, and the editors of the New York Post took note. It spread because concerned citizens began sharing it throughout the nation. We could tell it was especially effective because so many in the mainstream media maintained studious radio silence. But hyperventilating ruling-class supporters of the Biden/BLM/Antifa coalition did predictably lash out. The epitome of these reactions is an article in New York magazine’s Intelligencer, by political columnist Ed Kilgore, entitled “Trump Backers Make Case for Stealing Election, Before Biden Gets the Chance.”

The title itself reveals the stubborn simplicity of the Democratic Party’s coup narrative. Their elites have worked themselves and their base into a frothing lather of existential fright. In article after article, liberal intellectuals and activists have been talking for months about how Trump could steal the election or refuse to leave the White House even if he loses. But if the Right dares to point out that Democrats are actually changing the rules of the electoral process and actually speaking publicly about refusing to concede even if they lose, well, this only proves that the Right is going to steal the election and refuse to concede if they lose! In reality, of course, Anton and others are simply trying to shine a light on what Democrats are now openly declaring in public.

Kilgore frames Anton’s essay as part of an effort among conservatives to spread the craaaazy idea that Democrats’ obsessive focus on mail-in voting is part of a panicky effort to throw the election, not a good-faith scheme to protect people from coronavirus. Let’s leave aside the fact that no less an establishment authority than the Atlantic admits the voting booth is as safe as the grocery store. In fact, says Kilgore, echoing the new establishment narrative, so many legitimate Biden votes may come flooding in by mail after the in-person voting is through that the election will turn around all on its own. Every major media outlet is now full of supposed expert authorities – even Mark Zuckerberg recently got into the act – telling the American people that the rule changes Democrat apparatchiks are pushing throughout the nation are totally normal.

But as elections expert Hans Von Spakovsky pointed out in these pages, “what is clear from all of these lawsuits is that the Democrats and these organizations are trying to change the rules governing the administration of the November election” midstream while Republicans are trying to “preserve the status quo.” (If you want to understand what the Democrats are up to, give Spakovsky’s “Democrats Versus the Vote” a close read.) Kilgore likes to present himself as a reasonable man. But how are voters supposed to respond when the message from the Democrat Party is “our lawsuits to change the way we’ve always voted in the middle of a tumultuous election season are not part of a partisan cheat. Oh, but one more thing: America needs to understand that while it might very well look like Trump won on election night, due to our new rules votes will be counted for weeks afterward and then our candidate will probably win.”

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Can the media keep itself from making Biden look like he’s winning? Wouldn’t that make people less likely to vote?

Poll Claims Debunked Atlantic Story Changed Voters’ Minds About Trump (BPR)

A new poll from Left-wing Yahoo News and YouGov says that a discredited story by The Atlantic earlier this month claiming that President Donald Trump disparaged American war dead and “misled” about COVID-19 has changed peoples’ minds about supporting him in November. Now, allegedly because of the “bombshell” revelations in the story, some voters have shifted their support to Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden. “Donald Trump has fallen further behind Joe Biden following bombshell reports that the president knowingly misled Americans about the dangers of COVID-19 and privately disparaged dead U.S. soldiers as ‘suckers’ and ‘losers,’ according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll,” Yahoo News reported Friday. Subsequent reporting indicates that neither of those claims are true.

Several current and former White House officials who were with the president during a 2018 visit to France — when the reported disparaging of American World War I dead was alleged to have happened — disputed Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg’s story. Included on that list is former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is no fan of the president. As to the claims about coronavirus, while President Trump reportedly told Washington Post correspondent and author Bob Woodward he tried to downplay the severity of COVID-19 so as not to cause panic, he nevertheless warned Americans early on the disease was serious and took several measures — including shutting off most travel to and from China, where the virus originated — very early on.

That said, according to Yahoo News, support for Trump has allegedly tanked: “The survey, which was conducted from Sept. 9 to 11, shows Biden leading Trump by 10 percentage points among registered voters, 49 percent to 39 percent. The previous Yahoo News/YouGov poll found Biden ahead by just 6 points immediately after the Republican National Convention. The results suggest that a week of unrelenting and unflattering revelations about Trump — from the Atlantic report on his alleged contempt for Americans wounded or killed in war (which appeared on Sept. 3) to Bob Woodward’s recordings of Trump admitting he downplayed the deadliness of COVID-19 (released on Sept. 9) — has damaged the president’s standing with voters.”

The survey itself is suspect. For one, it polled “registered voters,” which are less accurate than “likely voters” and tend to skew towards Democrats, according to FiveThirtyEight. In fact, the Yahoo News/YouGov poll skewed heavily towards Democrats. On the issue of favorable views towards Biden and Trump, pollsters oversampled Democrats to Republicans, 366 to 220, respectively. The poll’s claims about which candidate has more respect for the military seems suspect as well. “Asked which candidate shows more respect for the military, 50 percent of registered voters name Biden, compared to 39 percent for Trump. By the same margin, voters say Biden would do a better job leading the military than the current commander in chief,” Yahoo News reported.

Biden runs for reelection

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Smedley Butler.

Trump Connects The Generals And The Military-Industrial Complex (AC)

Once again, the whispers of phantoms masquerading as administration officials have attempted to put Donald Trump on the defensive only two months before the fall election. And in typical fashion, the roused president has gone on an immediate rhetorical offensive. Trump has doubled down on his affirmations towards the U.S. military and the American soldier, while simultaneously confronting the class of generals who command them. “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me—the soldiers are,” Trump said at a Labor Day press conference. “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

This is a dramatic shift in perspective from the man who spent the first two years of his presidency surrounding himself with top brass like Michael Flynn, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster, and James Mattis (along with almost being beguiled into nominating David Petraeus as Secretary of State). Perhaps Trump learned the hard way that the generals of the forever wars don’t measure up to the twentieth-century soldiers he adulated growing up. For instance, when George Marshall oversaw the deployment of 8.3 million GIs across four continents in World War II, he did so with the assistance of only three other four-star generals. In retirement, Marshall refused to sit on any corporate boards, and passed on multiple lucrative book deals, lest he give the impression that he was profiting from his military record. As he told one publisher, “he had not spent his life serving the government in order to sell his life story to the Saturday Evening Post.”

[..] General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, in between his forced retirement from the Marine Corps and appointment as Secretary of Defense, joined the board of General Dynamics where he was paid over a million dollars in salary and benefits. Returning to public life, Mattis then spent two years cajoling President Trump into keeping the U.S. military engaged in places as disparate as Afghanistan, Syria, and Africa. “Sir, we’re doing it to prevent a bomb from going off in Times Square,” Mattis told his commander-in-chief. Left unsaid was that a strategic withdrawal would also lead to a precipitous decline in Mattis’ future stock options, which he regained after he rejoined General Dynamics following his December 2018 resignation.

That resignation might have been premature, however. It was only a matter of weeks before Trump’s announced withdrawal from Syria, the impetus for Mattis’ departure, was reversed. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers continue to illegally occupy the north-east of the country. That’s in addition to the thousands of Americans still kicking dust in Iraq and Afghanistan, contrary to the president’s “America First” pledge. And Trump is as guilty as any of his subordinates when it comes to coddling the military-industrial complex, gushing over billion dollar arms deals and their manufactured jobs numbers. It remains to be seen whether his latest announcement of a partial withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the month will turn out as phony as the others.

Trump’s language more closely resembles that of Major General Smedley Butler, who at the time of his death was the most decorated marine in U.S. history. “The professional soldiers and sailors don’t want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms,” Butler wrote in his 1935 book War is a Racket. To eliminate this corrupting influence, Butler advocated an egalitarian price control to prevent the arms industry—and their pet generals—from profiting off the blood of American boys. “Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted—to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.”

How do you spin war?

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A study on inequality from the RAND Corporation. No irony at all.

Inequality Robs $2.5 Trillion From U.S. Workers Each Year

Every few months, some group of socially conscious number crunchers will remind Americans that a tiny elite is binge-eating the nation’s economic pie while the rest of us plebeians fight over table scraps. Journalists will then aggregate eye-popping statistics and edifying charts, progressives will share these over social media, adorned with red-faced (and/or guillotine) emoji — and the moral arc of history will carry on bending toward neofeudalism. So, in the present moment of booming stock markets and child hunger, you might be feeling too inured to America’s grotesque levels of inequality to summon much interest in yet another report testifying to the one percent’s total victory in the 50 Years Class War.


But a new study from the Rand Corporation, in partnership with the Fair Work Center, illustrates the impact of a half-century of upward redistribution in bracingly concrete terms: If income had been distributed as evenly over the past five decades as it was in 1975, the median full-time worker in the U.S. would enjoy annual earnings of roughly $92,000 a year. As is, that worker makes just $50,000. It’s no secret that wage and productivity growth began decoupling in the 1970s. Charts like this one from the Economic Policy Institute have been ubiquitous in progressive economic policy debates since the Great Recession:

But RAND’s innovative methodology — which involved constructing a new metric for inequality that compares income growth to GDP, and then using that metric to gauge changes in the income distribution across every U.S. business cycle since 1975 — allowed it to translate the abstractions of macro-level income shares into something much more tangible. Between the mid-1970s and 2018, per capita GDP growth in the U.S. increased by 118 percent. Had income growth on every rung of America’s class ladder kept pace with those gains, annual earnings at the bottom would be nearly twice as high as they are now. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of U.S. earners would collectively take home $2.5 trillion more in income each year.

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“there is no place for price gouging on Amazon..”

Bezos Doubles Wealth as Amazon Essential Product Prices Rise 1000% (MPN)

A new report from advocacy group Public Citizen details how retail giant Amazon “misled the public, law enforcement, and policymakers about price increases during the pandemic,” raising their prices on essential products “to levels that would be considered violations of price gouging laws in many states.” The prices of many products in high demand during the pandemic jumped by over 1,000 percent when compared to this time last year. As accusations of price gouging began, Amazon blamed “bad actors,” declaring in an official statement that, “there is no place for price gouging on Amazon,” committing itself to “working vigorously” to ensure fair pricing, and “collaborating with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies” to “hold price gougers accountable” and to protect the interests of their customers. Yet Public Citizen’s report found that “Amazon is engaged in price gouging on products it sells directly” itself, through its Amazon Essentials line. Disposable face masks and corn starch were the most inflated prices, jumping elevenfold from earlier in the year.

Below is a list of ten Amazon Essential products tracked, including the percentage the items increased in cost. Similar price rises were tracked among third party sellers on the platform as well.
Disposable face masks — 1,000%
Hand sanitizer — 48%
Disinfectant spray — 87%
Antibacterial soap — 470%
Disposable nitrile gloves — 336%
Toilet paper — 528%
Paper towels — 303%
Flour — 425%
Sugar — 520%
Corn starch — 1,010%

While there is no federal law protecting the public from the practice, price gouging is illegal in 35 states, with some states deeming that increasing prices by just 10 percent constitutes breaking the law. Thanks in no small part to increased profits from sales, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has seen his wealth almost double during the pandemic, from $113 billion in March to $206 billion today, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, who calculated that America’s billionaire class of 467 plutocrats have seen their wealth spike by nearly a trillion dollars since lockdown began on March 18. Much of this has been down to an enormous tax break for the ultra-wealthy that the Trump administration snuck into its first coronavirus relief bill. Bezos, who retook the title of the world’s richest individual from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates late last year, has said that he is so rich that he can only imagine spending his wealth by plowing it into space travel.

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I don’t believe it for a second.

Time Is Ripe For China To Free Up Controls On Yuan’s Convertibility (SCMP)

For the last five years, China’s central bank has been fighting to defend two key numbers: seven and three. Seven refers to the exchange rate between yuan and the US dollar – if the yuan weakens too much beyond seven to the US dollar, it would be regarded as a dangerous sign. Three refers to the level of China’s stockpile of foreign exchange reserves – if reserves dip below US$3 trillion, it would be seen as a sign of weakness. The context for the unannounced campaign to defend the two key figures is a deep concern over the rapid capital exodus that occurred after the sudden change in perceptions about China’s financial health and economic robustness following a devastating stock market rout in the summer of 2015, and Beijing’s subsequent clumsy steps to devalue the yuan by nearly 2 per cent.

As a result, Beijing changed its approach to outbound capital flows overnight – from a stance of tolerance and encouragement, to a ruthless crackdown. The restrictions on the ability of ordinary Chinese people to access foreign exchanges increased significantly, even though, on the surface, China maintains a policy that every citizen is entitled to buy up to US$50,000 worth of foreign currencies every year. With a lopsided foreign exchange policy of encouraging inflows and discouraging outflows, China has achieved its goal of avoiding a large yuan depreciation or an exodus of funds. But after five years of this defensive posture, there are signs that the tide could turn again. The dangers of capital outflow have eased as the Chinese economy has recovered rapidly from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

As many parts of the world are still struggling to rebound, China has become a favoured destination for both portfolio and long-term investment despite tensions with the United States. With the US Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary easing policy leading to a weaker US dollar, the yuan has become a safe bet for value. The time is ripe for Beijing to free up controls on the yuan’s convertibility with other currencies.The Chinese government can never realise its ambition of making the yuan a global currency, or even a potential rival to the US dollar, if it maintains rigid control on its use. With the US threatening China with financial sanctions, Beijing has recognised that it needs to reduce reliance on the US dollar, and the best way to do that is to free up the yuan.

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Don’t call for it, do it.

Merkel Calls For EU Support For Greece Over Moria (K.)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday support for Greece on migration in light of the destruction of the country’s largest migrant camp should be pan-European. “Greece has shouldered a lot of responsibility,” she said on Monday, adding that Athens has earned support. “We will make a substantive contribution,” she added, noting more migrants will be transferred to Germany. Bild newspaper reported on Monday that Berlin is considering taking in thousands of refugees from Moria as a one-off gesture and hopes the camp can be rebuilt and run by the European Union.

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Good, now the rest. It does give one the idea that setting the place on fire paid off.

Germany Plans To Take In 1,500 Refugees From Greek Islands (R.)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer are planning to take in around 1,500 refugees from the Greek islands, German news agency dpa reported on Tuesday. Dpa cited politicians focussed on domestic policy as saying that these would be families with children. More than 12,000 people, mostly refugees from Afghanistan, Africa and Syria, were left without shelter, proper sanitation or access to food and water after a fire tore through the overcrowded Moria migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesvos last Wednesday.

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“..the WikiLeaks publisher is largely being treated as a “non-person” by the Australian political and media establishment..”

Australia Politics, Media Silent On Sadistic British Assange Show-Trial (WSWS)

From the editorial pages of the official media and the statements of leading politicians, the uninformed observer would have no idea that a world-famous Australian journalist is enduring extradition hearings that have been condemned as a legal travesty by rights’ organisations and United Nations representatives, or that he faces 175-years imprisonment for publishing evidence of war crimes. Because it is Britain that is staging the current show-trial of Julian Assange, and the US government that is seeking his destruction, the WikiLeaks publisher is largely being treated as a “non-person” by the Australian political and media establishment. Moreover, they, no less than their counterparts internationally, are committed to an agenda of militarism and escalating attacks on democratic rights, of which the persecution of Assange is a central component.

A week since British hearings for Assange’s extradition to the US resumed, his name does not appear to have passed the lips of a minister in the federal Liberal-National government or a prominent representative of the Labor Party opposition, publicly, at least. And nor does it seem that they have been asked by any members of the “fourth estate” about their silence. Not a single editorial in the establishment media has called for Assange to be defended. This includes outlets such as the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, and the state-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which regularly proclaim their commitment to “press freedom.” The disinterest is not because the British proceedings have been uneventful, or the attacks on Assange’s legal and democratic rights carefully concealed.

Last week’s hearings began with Assange emerging for the first time in months from Belmarsh Prison, a maximum-security facility, where he has been detained for the past year-and-a-half, even though he has not been convicted of a crime. There he has been imperiled by the coronavirus pandemic, with the authorities failing to provide him with such basic protection as a mask, as dozens of inmates and staff have contracted the potentially deadly-virus. Before the trial, Assange was “rearrested,” despite the fact that there had been no change to his incarceration. The reason was that, weeks out from the trial, a new “superseding” indictment was filed by US prosecutors. This was plainly aimed at overwhelming Assange’s lawyers with thousands of legal documents, after they had already finalised their defence case.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected a defence request that the additional material in the superseding indictment be excised. But she also dismissed a defence motion for a delay, to allow Assange’s lawyers to respond to the new allegations. Meanwhile, the US prosecutors have stated that the new material in the indictment, despite the fact that it does not contain additional charges, could itself be the basis for extradition. The US government is seeking to ensnare Assange in a Kafkaesque nightmare, where, even if extradition is blocked on the basis of the Espionage Act charges against him, he can still be dispatched to his American persecutors, based on the additional material in the new indictment, largely furnished by FBI informants, including a con-man previously convicted of impersonating Assange and stealing money from WikiLeaks.

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We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now an integral part of the process.

Thank you for your support.

 

 

The honest person isn’t the one who has never sinned. It’s the one who has never committed any sin more than once.

– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 

 

Python

 

 

The new documentary by David Attenborough, “Extinction: The Facts”, can be watched in full HERE on Periscope TV.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Feb 182020
 


Jack Delano Entrance to colored drivers’ lunchroom at truck service station on U.S. 1 (New York Avenue) 1940

 

338 Americans Flown Home From Cruise Ship, Including 14 With Coronavirus (R.)
US Breaks Cruise Ship Quarantine (ZH)
Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan (Chow)
Disease Modelers See The Future Of COVID-19 (STAT)
China Faces Back To Work Concerns As Firms Report Coronavirus Infections (SCMP)
Apple Unlikely To Meet Revenue Guidance Due To Coronavirus Impact (R.)
American Factories In China Unable To Staff Production Lines (SCMP)
At Stake (Jim Kunstler)
Senate Braces For Fight Over Impeachment Whistleblower Testimony (Hill)
NYC Taxpayers Spend Millions on Cyber Center with Ties to Israeli Intel (Webb)
WikiLeaks Locked Out of Twitter Account One Week Before Assange Hearing (GP)
Doctors Call For End Of Assange ‘Torture’ (AAP)
Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed (John Pilger)
Amazon’s Bezos Pledges $10 Billion To Climate Change Fight (R.)

 

 

Actually saw a Reuters headline that said “Coronavirus Infections Slow In China…”, and I thought: why would you say that, the number of new cases is still above 2,000, in spite of all the measures and containment and quarantines in the country.

But it was probably because of the second part of the headline that said “…As Apple Warns Of iPhone Shortages”. That’s what it took for people to take notice, though iPhones are a poor indicator of the economic consequences of the virus; the Big Hurt won’t be in the biggest firms. Look around your home and your stores and see how much stuff come from China. iPhones are but a blip on that radar.

Obviously, another matter people notice is the evacuation of Americans and other people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama. If only because it allows CNN and BBC to endlessly lament the “terrible ordeal” their compatriots have endured. As entire families in Wuhan have been wiped out, and people are banned from any social activities.

 

• Cases 73,433 (+ 2,103 from yesterday)

• Deaths 1,873 (+ 98 from yesterday)

 

 

 

 

The Westerdam cruise ship unwind is even crazier than the Diamond Princess, and that’s saying something.

338 Americans Flown Home From Cruise Ship, Including 14 With Coronavirus (R.)

More than 300 Americans who had been stuck on a cruise ship affected by the coronavirus were back in the United States on Monday, flown to U.S. military bases for two more weeks of quarantine after spending the previous 14 days docked in Japan. Among those repatriated on a pair of U.S.-chartered jets were 14 people who tested positive for the fast-spreading virus, seven on each plane. The Diamond Princess cruise ship held by far the largest cluster of cases outside China, with more than 400 people infected out of some 3,700 on board. The coronavirus outbreak has killed 1,770 people in China and five elsewhere, with Chinese officials reporting another 2,048 cases on Monday, raising the total to 70,548.

Washington previously flew hundreds of Americans from China to military bases in the United States, and then arranged to bring back the 338 cruise ship passengers once their 14-day quarantines on board had expired. Another 60 Americans remained in Japan for monitoring, State Department officials said. A further 200 U.S. citizens were stuck in Cambodia, among them 92 still on board another cruise ship, the Westerdam, that was also affected by the virus. The Diamond Princess was ordered to stay under quarantine at Yokohama port on Feb. 3 after an 80-year-old Hong Kong man, who was on board from Jan. 20 to Jan. 25, developed the virus. U.S. officials previously pledged to keep infected Americans in Japan for treatment. But they said they were forced to change plans after the passengers disembarked and were on their way to the airport when Japanese officials informed them that 14 of those in transit had tested positive.

“It was only when they were loaded onto these buses that we were made aware these positive results had come back from the government of Japan,” Dr. William Walters, a senior medical official for the State Department, told a news briefing. “They were then taken off the bus, moved into the aircraft and that dedicated isolation area, which was the safest place for them to get away from the rest of the passengers and give us time to make decisions,” Walters said. The infected passengers were isolated in specialized containment areas aboard the two chartered jets. They were exposed to other passengers for about 40 minutes during the bus ride.

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The US accuses Japan of utter failure, but never in those words. Main ally.

US Breaks Cruise Ship Quarantine (ZH)

[..] the Princess Cruises ship was carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew when it set sail and was quarantined after 10 cases of coronavirus were reported Feb. 4. Since then the number of cases on board has exploded, and on Monday alone, Japan announced an additional 99 infections on the Diamond Princess, raising the ship’s total number of cases to 454. And since most of the people on the ship have yet to be tested, the real number of infections may not be known for days. Where things gets problematic, is that whereas until now most of those on board the cruise ship had remained in isolation, the self-imposed quarantine is now over, and on Sunday, fourteen evacuees from the Diamond Princess were allowed to fly back to the United States Sunday despite testing positive for coronavirus, the U.S. State Department and Health and Human Services said in a joint statement.


Why were they released? Because supposedly they were not symptomatic, and in a very ominous twist, they had tested negative initially! “These individuals were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols,” the statement, published Sunday, read. The State Department was unaware the individuals had coronavirus when they were being removed from the ship; they had tested negative just a few days before, Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, said on a phone call with reporters. “If those results had come back four hours earlier before we’d started to disembark the ship and before these people were evacuees within an evacuation system, then it would’ve been a different discussion.” Dr. William Walters, director of operational medicine at the U.S. Department of State, said on the call.

In other words, the quarantine that had isolated the biggest incubator of coronavirus cases outside of Wuhan was broken simply because an initial test had given a false negative, and subsequents test confirmed that at least 14 indeed had the coronavirus. Kadlec said that individuals received multiple screenings when moving from ship to bus to plane and a more extensive medical assessment upon arrival. In any case, the Diamond Princess quarantine is now broken, and two charter flights carrying at least 14 infected passengers landed at military bases in California and Texas overnight, starting the clock on a 14-day quarantine period to ensure those passengers don’t have coronavirus. In total, approximately 380 Americans were on board the Diamond Princess ship for the duration of the cruise and quarantine at sea.


[..] Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told the USA TODAY editorial board and reporters Monday that the original idea to keep people safely quarantined on the ship wasn’t unreasonable. Yet where the entire story falls on its face is that even with the quarantine process on the ship, virus transmission still occurred. One can only hope that there are proper precaution pathways in place to prevent transmission now that at least 13 infected cruise passengers are now on US soil. “ The quarantine process failed,” Fauci said. “I’d like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed. People were getting infected on that ship. Something went awry in the process of the quarantining on that ship. I don’t know what it was, but a lot of people got infected on that ship.”

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Mild? Mildly contagious? One wonders.

Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan (Chow)

A Chinese film director and his entire family have died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Chang Kai, a film director and an external communications officer at a Hubei Film Studio subsidiary, died in hospital on Feb. 14 from the virus now called COVID-19, according to a statement from the studio. He was 55. But Chang’s death was not the first in his family—the Chinese media reported that Chang’s father and mother were infected and died one after the other. Chang and his sister, who looked after their parents at home, were both infected with the virus as a result. His sister died just hours later. Chang’s wife is also infected, still alive, and is still battling the virus in an intensive care unit.


A note written by Chang, said to be his last words, has gone viral on the Chinese Internet. Chang wrote that his father succumbed to the illness on the first day of the Lunar New Year (January 25). “My father had a fever, cough and trouble breathing. [We] tried to send him to the hospital but none of the hospitals we visited took him, because they had no more beds,” he wrote. Instead, Chang brought his father home where ha died a few days later, having passed on the virus to the other family members. Chang’s note said that he and his wife were denied the opportunity to be treated early. Wuhan built a new hospital in six days, but capacity to handle the virus remains strained. Chang bade farewell to his family, friends and his son, who is reportedly studying in the U.K.

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Too many unknowns. Too easily lost in various favorite interpretations.

Disease Modelers See The Future Of COVID-19 (STAT)

At least 550,000 cases. Maybe 4.4 million. Or something in between. Like weather forecasters, researchers who use mathematical equations to project how bad a disease outbreak might become are used to uncertainties and incomplete data, and Covid-19, the disease caused by the new-to-humans coronavirus that began circulating in Wuhan, China, late last year, has those everywhere you look. That can make the mathematical models of outbreaks, with their wide range of forecasts, seem like guesswork gussied up with differential equations; the eightfold difference in projected Covid-19 cases in Wuhan, calculated by a team from the U.S. and Canada, isn’t unusual for the early weeks of an outbreak of a never-before-seen illness.

But infectious-disease models have been approximating reality better and better in recent years, thanks to a better understanding of everything from how germs behave to how much time people spend on buses. “Year by year there have been improvements in forecasting models and the way they are combined to provide forecasts,” said physicist Alessandro Vespignani of Northeastern University, a leading infectious-disease modeler. That’s not to say there’s not room for improvement. The key variables of most models are mostly the same ones epidemiologists have used for decades to predict the course of outbreaks. But with greater computer power now at their disposal, modelers are incorporating more fine-grained data to better reflect the reality of how people live their lives and interact in the modern world — from commuting to work to jetting around the world.

These more detailed models can take weeks to spit out their conclusions, but they can better inform public health officials on the likely impact of disease-control measures. Models are not intended to be scare machines, projecting worst-case possibilities. (Modelers prefer “project” to “predict,” to indicate that the outcomes they describe are predicated on numerous assumptions.) The idea is to calculate numerous what-ifs: What if schools and workplaces closed? What if public transit stopped? What if there were a 90% effective vaccine and half the population received it in a month?

“Our overarching goal is to minimize the spread and burden of infectious disease,” said Sara Del Valle, an applied mathematician and disease modeler at Los Alamos National Laboratory. By calculating the effects of countermeasures such as social isolation, travel bans, vaccination, and using face masks, modelers can “understand what’s going on and inform policymakers,” she said.

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Said it a few times before: factories become petri dishes too, the virus loves those.

China Faces Back To Work Concerns As Firms Report Coronavirus Infections (SCMP)

Cracks have appeared in China’s eagerness to resume economic activities amid the coronavirus outbreak, with a number of work-related cases reported. Gree Electric, the country’s biggest air-conditioner manufacturer located in the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province, was forced to take emergency action last week to check and quarantine its employees after a bus driver was found to have had close contact with a suspected case, according to a notice published by the company’s labour union on its social media account. The contracted driver, surnamed Feng, had been driving employees to and from work last week until Saturday, with Gree now “intensely” checking the condition of employees who had travelled on the bus.

In addition, Feng was found to have had a meal with three colleagues last week, which was against his company’s policy concerning coronavirus control. According to the statement, Gree recommended that the contractor sack all four drivers despite the quartet, plus Feng’s son, later testing negative. The Gree statement, which was later removed, did not provide details on how many workers have been placed under quarantine. Gree was one of the first to resume production in Guangdong, with provincial party secretary Li Xi visiting the plant last week, two days after 11,000 workers – around one third of the total workforce – resumed operations, according to a report by the official Nanfang Daily.

In another case in Chongqing, more than 130 employees of Chongqing Titanium Industry, a unit of Pangang Group, had to be quarantined and the factory was again forced to halt production after two members of staff were confirmed as being infected at the start of last week, according to a notice by the local industrial estate where the plant is based. In Guangzhou, an employee tested positive for coronavirus, forcing the company to quarantine its remaining members of staff since Friday.

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This sinks the “markets”. And shows how dumb the people in them are.

Apple Unlikely To Meet Revenue Guidance Due To Coronavirus Impact (R.)

Apple warned on Monday it was unlikely to meet a sales target set just three weeks ago amid lost production and weakening demand in China from the coronavirus outbreak. The illness has killed 1,770 in China and stricken some 70,500 people, with millions of others confined to their homes and factories slow to reopen after the Chinese New Year holiday break was extended due to the virus. Manufacturing facilities in China that produce Apple’s iPhone and other electronics have begun to reopen, but they are ramping up more slowly than expected, Apple said. That will mean fewer iPhones available for sale around the world, making Apple one of the largest Western firms to be hurt by the outbreak.


Some of its retail stores in the country remain closed or are operating at reduced hours, which will hurt sales this quarter. China accounted for 15% of Apple’s revenue, or $13.6 billion, last quarter, and supplied 18% of revenue in the year-ago quarter. In late January, Apple had forecast $63 billion to $67 billion in revenue for the quarter ending in March. It did not offer a new revenue estimate nor provide a profit forecast on Monday. “The magnitude of this impact to miss its revenue guidance midway through February is clearly worse than feared,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note. Apple’s stock is expected to face a knee-jerk reaction on Tuesday, when Wall Street reopens after the Presidents Day holiday, Ives said.

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It’s irresponsible to open most of these factories.

American Factories In China Unable To Staff Production Lines (SCMP)

As China tries to put its economy back to work amid a novel coronavirus outbreak that has left swathes of the country on lockdown, American manufacturers have warned that they do not have enough staff to man their production lines. The Lunar New Year holiday was officially extended until February 10 in a bid to stem contagion, but factories begun reopening last week across the country, with differing rules applying across China’s almost 3,000 counties.
A survey of 109 companies in the manufacturing powerhouse of the Shanghai region found that while two-thirds of factories were up and running by the end of last week, 78 per cent did not have enough workers to kick-start full production. Almost half, meanwhile, said that their global operations have already been hit by the spread of the coronavirus.


Companies in the area, which includes Suzhou, Nanjing and the wider Yangtze River Delta, had to apply for permission to reopen, and of those that were granted a licence, just 58 per cent were permitted to open all of their production lines, according to the survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai between February 11 and 14. “The biggest problem is lack of workers as they are subjected to travel restrictions and quarantines, the number one and number two problems identified in the survey. Anyone coming from outside the immediate area undergoes a 14 day quarantine,” said Ker Gibbs, AmCham Shanghai president. “Therefore, most factories have a severe shortage of workers, even after they are allowed to open. This is going to have a severe impact on global supply chains that is only beginning to show up.

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A convenient list of names.

At Stake (Jim Kunstler)

I have a theory about the McCabe case: The Attorney General has taken the rinky-dink “lying to the FBI” charge off the table. It has become a liability, virtually the emblem for government misconduct, and Mr. Barr is getting rid of it in these matters. It has already caused too much mischief, insulted Americans’ sense of justice, and damaged the DOJ’s standing. Note, Andrew McCabe has been let off only on this charge, stemming from only one particular IG referral; he may well yet be liable for more serious charges-to-come. From here on, there will be no more rinky-dink lying charges against any of those implicated in the coup, only the most serious charges, and only those that add up to a solid case.

The coup has been so broad, deep, and thick that I predict cases will have to be brought under the RICO statutes in batches for different groups in separate agencies and branches of government. For instance, there is the Intel Mob, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intel (DNI) James Clapper, current Intel IG Michael Atkinson, so-called whistleblower (he that cannot be named, E*** C**********) and International Man of Mystery Joseph Mifsud. There is gang from the State Department who helped engineer UkraineGate, including former Ambassador Marie Yovanovich, former Sec’y of State John Kerry, and others. There is that big herd of rogue lawyers in the DOJ and its stepchild, the FBI, the names widely disseminated by now, Comey, Strzok, Baker, Boente, Carlin, Clinesmith, et. al.

There’s Robert Mueller and his henchpersons, Andrew Weissmann, Jeannie Rhee, et. al. There’s another a band of seditionists in Congress that includes Mark Warner of the Senate Intel Committee, the now notorious idiot Adam Schiff over in the House, and staffers who worked for both. There’s a bunch in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment that paid over a million dollars to Alternate International Man of Mystery (actually, CIA asset) Stefan Halper to run entrapment schemes against people working for Mr. Trump. There’s a swarm from Barack Obama’s White House, including Valarie Jarrett, Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, Alexandra Chalupa, former Vice-President Joe Biden and the former President himself.

And finally, there is the 800-pound-gorilla over in the Democratic Party thicket, namely Hillary Clinton, and those connected to her and her charity fraud, the Clinton Foundation, which is the real and actual predicate for the whole sordid affair — a list that includes Viktor Vekselberg of Russia’s Skolkovo Project, $25-million donor Russian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, and Dmitri Alperovich of CrowdStrike, (Russian collusion, anyone?) as well as rascally freelancers such as Christopher Steele, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, lawyer / Lobbyist Adam Waldman, and Hillary errand boys Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer. The stories behind those names are all over the web, in case you want to hjedify yourself.

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The networks are bent in a strange pretzel to justify keeping the long known identity “secret”. It’s not about the identity, it’s about having an excuse not to let him testify.

Senate Braces For Fight Over Impeachment Whistleblower Testimony (Hill)

Senators are reviving the fight over the whistleblower complaint at the center of the months-long impeachment effort against President Trump. With Trump’s trial in the rearview mirror, the Senate Intelligence Committee is quietly shifting its attention back to its investigation into the complaint process after hitting pause on the inquiry as the impeachment effort consumed Washington. The probe will force senators to decide if, and how, they speak with the whistleblower — a controversial call that could test the bipartisan reputation the Intelligence panel has maintained even amid deeply partisan fights in Congress. Asked by The Hill if he was willing to formally compel and subpoena the whistleblower to testify, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) didn’t rule out the possibility.

“I think you can rest assured that I’m prepared to do whatever we have to to interview the whistleblower,” Burr said. The renewed interest in speaking with the whistleblower comes after committee staff and lawyers for the individual hit a stalemate late last year over potential questioning. Lawyers for the individual made offers at the time to both the House and Senate Intelligence committees that their client was willing to provide written answers under oath, but Burr rejected that offer. The North Carolina senator indicated no progress had been made since then in trying to reach a deal on testimony and that while he hadn’t spoken recently with Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s lawyers, his plan is “an interview with committee staff.”

[..] A Democratic committee source said that protecting the whistleblower’s safety and anonymity “is a top priority.” “We do not expect to be asked to cooperate with any effort that might endanger his or her safety,” the source said. The prospect of calling the whistleblower to speak with the committee has been talked up most recently not by a member of the panel but by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of the president. “The Senate Intel Committee under Richard Burr has told us that we will call the whistleblower,” Graham said earlier this month during a Fox News interview. He added in a subsequent interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the “whistleblower episode needs to be investigated by Richard Burr” and in an interview with Fox News Radio that “the Intel Committee should be looking at whether or not the whistleblower had a bias.”

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Whitney with a new angle. Includes some Epstein.

NYC Taxpayers Spend Millions on Cyber Center with Ties to Israeli Intel (Webb)

Early last week, the city of New York launched — with little media scrutiny — one of two new massive cybersecurity centers that will be run by private Israeli firms with close ties to Israel’s government, the so-called “Mega Group” tied to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal and prominent pro-Israel lobby organizations operating in the United States. The centers were first announced in 2018 as was the identity of the firms who would run them: Israel-based Jerusalem Venture Partners and SOSA. As MintPress has reported on several occasions, all three of these entities have a history of aggressively spying on the U.S. federal government and/or blackmailing top American politicians, raising concerns regarding why these companies were chosen to run the new centers in the heart of Manhattan.

The news also comes as Israeli cybersecurity companies tied to Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 were revealed to have access to the U.S. government’s most classified systems and simulating the cancellation of the upcoming 2020 presidential election. The new cybersecurity centers are part of a new New York City public-private partnership called “CyberNYC” that is valued at over $100 million and officially aims to “spur the creation of 10,000 cybersecurity jobs and make New York City a global leader in cyber innovation.” CyberNYC is an initiative of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation. However, the companies that will be responsible for creating those cybersecurity jobs will benefit foreign companies, namely Israeli and most of the jobs to be created will go to foreigners as well, as media reports on the partnership have quietly noted.

Those reports also stated that, while the stated purpose of the centers is to create new jobs, the Israeli firms chosen to run them — Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and SOSA — view it as an opportunity to provide Israeli cybersecurity companies with a foothold into the American market and to see Israeli cybersecurity products adopted by both small and medium-sized American businesses, not just large corporations and government agencies. [..] the founder of JVP and former Knesset member, Erel Margalit, told the Jerusalem Post that “the center we are setting up [in New York] will assist Israeli hi-tech companies in collaborating with customers and companies in the US and around the world.”

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I think I saw it’s been restored. Twitter saying it had been compromised or something like that.

WikiLeaks Locked Out of Twitter Account One Week Before Assange Hearing (GP)

WikiLeaks has been locked out of their Twitter account just one week before Julian Assange’s extradition hearing is scheduled to begin in the UK. WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson tweeted on Monday that “all attempts to get it reopened via regular channels have been unsuccessful. It has been impossible to reach a human at twitter to resolve the issue.” A source familiar with the situation explained to the Gateway Pundit that WikiLeaks social media admins received an automated email on February 9 saying that they needed to reset their password to regain access, but were not able to do so. They were unsure about the reason for the email in the first place — whether it was a glitch from Twitter, a targeted effort, or a hack.

The source said that when the WikiLeaks admins attempted to change the password and log in they received responses from Twitter saying that they were unable to verify them as the owner of the account and that the email on file did not match the one that they were using. WikiLeaks maintains that they are indeed using the same email that has been associated with the account for years. Efforts by WikiLeaks to reach someone at Twitter, since the 9th, have been unsuccessful. Assange’s extradition hearing is scheduled to begin on February 24 at Belmarsh Magistrates Courts, which is a court under the jurisdiction of South London Magistrates Courts.

Assange faces charges under the Espionage Act in the United States for his publication of the Iraq and Afghan War Logs. If extradited and convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 175 years for the “crime” of publishing material that the US government did not want the public to know. On Monday evening, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to The Gateway Pundit that the “account was locked due to indicators it was compromised.”

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February 14 is the next hearing.

Doctors Call For End Of Assange ‘Torture’ (AAP)

A group of 117 doctors and psychologists has called for an end to what it calls “the psychological torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange”. WikiLeaks founder Assange is being held in London’s Belmarsh Prison awaiting a hearing on February 24 which could see him extradited to the US. In a 1200-word letter published in the medical journal The Lancet, the Doctors For Assange group expresses concern over his fitness for the legal proceedings. The letter says that “Assange is in a dire state of health due to the effects of prolonged psychological torture in both the Ecuadorian embassy in London and Belmarsh Prison, where he has been arbitrarily detained according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

“Should Assange die in a UK prison, as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (Nils Melzer) has warned, he will have effectively been tortured to death,” the letter states. “Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch. The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds.” The first hearing into the United States’ request for Assange’s extradition was held on May 2, 2019. When asked by the judge if he consented to the extradition, Assange said: “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many people.”

A copy of the Doctors For Assange letter has been sent to the Australian minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, following up on a previous letter sent on December 16, calling on Ms Payne to bring Assange home to Australia for urgent medical care. A copy has also been sent to the UK Government, which the doctors accuse of violating Assange’s human right to health. The letter condemns what it calls the “torture” of Assange and “the denial of his fundamental right to appropriate healthcare”. It adds: “Politics cannot be allowed to interfere with the right to health and the practice of medicine.

“Abuse by politically motivated medical neglect sets a dangerous precedent, ultimately undermining our profession’s impartiality, commitment to health for all, and obligation to do no harm. “Our appeals are simple: we are calling upon governments to end the torture of Mr Assange and ensure his access to the best available healthcare, before it is too late.” The letter is signed by Stephen Frost, Lissa Johnson, Jill Stein and William Frost on behalf of 117 signatories.

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“..the “damage done personally to you” by Julian Assange.”

Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed (John Pilger)

WikiLeaks has informed us how illegal wars are fabricated, how governments are overthrown and violence is used in our name, how we are spied upon through our phones and screens. The true lies of presidents, ambassadors, political candidates, generals, proxies, political fraudsters have been exposed. One by one, these would-be emperors have realised they have no clothes. It has been an unprecedented public service; above all, it is authentic journalism, whose value can be judged by the degree of apoplexy of the corrupt and their apologists. For example, in 2016, WikiLeaks published the leaked emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, which revealed a direct connection between Clinton, the foundation she shares with her husband and the funding of organised jihadism in the Middle East — terrorism.


One email disclosed that Islamic State (ISIS) was bankrolled by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, from which Clinton accepted huge “donations”. Moreover, as U.S. Secretary of State, she approved the world’s biggest ever arms sale to her Saudi benefactors, worth more than $80 billion. Thanks to her, U.S. arms sales to the world — for use in stricken countries like Yemen — doubled.

[..] Revealed by WikiLeaks and published in The New York Times, the Podesta emails triggered a vituperative campaign against editor-in-chief Julian Assange, bereft of evidence. He was an “agent of Russia working to elect Trump”; the nonsensical “Russiagate” followed. That WikiLeaks had also published more than 800,000 frequently damning documents from Russia was ignored. On an Australian Broadcasting Corporation programme, Four Corners, in 2017, Clinton was interviewed by Sarah Ferguson, who began: “No one could fail to be moved by the pain on your face at [the moment of Donald Trump’s inauguration] … Do you remember how visceral it was for you?” Having established Clinton’s visceral suffering, the fawning Ferguson described “Russia’s role” and the “damage done personally to you” by Julian Assange.


Clinton replied, “He [Assange] is very clearly a tool of Russian intelligence. And he has done their bidding.” Ferguson said to Clinton, “Lots of people, including in Australia, think that Assange is a martyr of free speech and freedom of information. How would you describe him?” Again, Clinton was allowed to defame Assange — a “nihilist” in the service of “dictators” — while Ferguson assured her interviewee she was “the icon of your generation”. There was no mention of a leaked document, revealed by WikiLeaks, called Libya Tick Tock, prepared for Hillary Clinton, which described her as the central figure driving the destruction of the Libyan state in 2011. This resulted in 40,000 deaths, the arrival of ISIS in North Africa and the European refugee and migrant crisis.

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1) Be as destructive as you can and get rich off your efforts. 2) Spend 1-2% of your dirty wealth and expect to be hailed as a philantropist.

Amazon’s Bezos Pledges $10 Billion To Climate Change Fight (R.)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will commit $10 billion to fund scientists, activists, nonprofits and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change, he said on Monday. Cutting emissions will be challenging for Amazon. The e-commerce company delivers 10 billion items a year, has a massive transportation and data center footprint, and has faced criticism from within its own workforce. Bezos, the world’s richest man, is among a growing list of billionaires to dedicate substantial funds to battling the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos said in an Instagram post. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”


The Bezos Earth Fund will begin issuing grants this summer as part of the initiative. “It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals,” Bezos said. Counteracting climate change has become a popular cause for U.S. billionaires in recent years, with Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer counted among the world’s wealthiest environmental philanthropists. Last year, Bezos pledged to make online retailer Amazon net carbon neutral by 2040 – the first major corporation to announce such a goal – and to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from U.S. vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive.

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Jan 232020
 
 January 23, 2020  Posted by at 10:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »


Jack Delano Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad locomotive shops San Bernardino, CA 1943

 

Adam Schiff’s Opening Argument At Senate Impeachment Trial (Pol.)
Gabbard Suing Clinton For Defamation Over ‘Russian Asset’ Comments (Hill)
Black South Carolina Elected Official Now Backing Sanders Over Biden (AP)
Hunter Biden Ordered To Appear In Court Next Week For Contempt Hearing (ZH)
UN Demands US Probe Of Alleged Saudi Hack of Bezos’ Phone (ZH)
The Great American Shale Oil & Gas Bust (WS)
Ghislaine Maxwell’s Personal Emails Were Hacked (DM)
TEPCO Estimates It Will Take 44 Years To Decommission Fukushima No. 2 (JT)
Australia Red Cross: $11 Million ‘Administration Cost’ For Bushfire Help (7N)
Monarch Butterfly Population Critically Low On California Coast – Again (G.)

 

 

China Lunar New Year is from Jan 24-30. Hundreds of millions of Chinese traveling.

China Quarantines 11 Million In Wuhan As Virus Kills 17, With 95 Critical (RT)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has commended China’s swift response to a rapidly moving virus gripping the country, but despite a quick-climbing infection tally, the agency is reluctant to classify it a global health threat. “What they are doing is a very, very strong measure and with full commitment,” WHO director-general Tedros Ahanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, referring to Beijing’s shutdown of all public transportation in and out of the city of Wuhan, the viral epicenter. As of 10am local time, all trains, buses, railways and ferries traveling to and from Wuhan have halted operations until further notice in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, with the government calling on the city’s 11 million residents to refrain from leaving without “special reasons.”

Medical personnel were also posted at toll gates and checkpoints along major roadways to screen commuters for the illness. The comments followed an emergency WHO meeting in Geneva on Wednesday, where the health agency mulled whether to declare the novel coronavirus – now dubbed “2019-nCoV” – a worldwide emergency. Still unsure after a day of deliberation, however, WHO will meet again Thursday, with Tedros saying he took the decision “extremely seriously.” China’s National Health Commission (NHC), meanwhile, has provided the latest figures tracking the impact of the dangerous pathogen, with 131 newly confirmed infections bringing the total to 571 across some 25 Chinese provinces.

Seventeen people have died from the illness thus far, all in central China’s Hubei province, with another 95 in critical condition with severe pneumonia-like symptoms. There are also now 393 suspected infections in China – 257 of them registered on Wednesday alone – with 5,897 additional cases of “close contact,” the NHC said.

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Couldn’t find any relevant write-ups of Schiff’s marathon, so here’s the text -not sure it covers all 3.28 minutes of it. But who cares? He had nothing new and what he had, he repeated 20+ times. Including the very dead: “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

The Hunter Biden/Burisma story has not been debunked as Schiff repeats ad nauseum, what has been debunked -by Mueller- is Russiagate. But who cares?

Michael Tracey: “Counted at least 57 references to Russia or Putin in today’s impeachment trial which is why it’s a total fallacy to separate this episode from the Russiagate narrative which has dominated US politics for 3+ years. What’s happening now is just its inevitable culmination..”

Adam Schiff’s Opening Argument At Senate Impeachment Trial (Pol.)

Mr. Chief Justice, Senators, counsel for the President, and my fellow House managers: “When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’”


Those words were written by Alexander Hamilton in a letter to President George Washington, at the height of the Panic of 1792, a financial credit crisis that shook our young nation. Hamilton was responding to sentiments relayed to Washington as he traveled the country, that America, in the face of that crisis, might descend from “a republican form of Government,” plunging instead into “that of a monarchy.” The Framers of our Constitution worried then—as we worry today—that a leader could come to power not to carry out the will of the people that he was elected to represent, but to pursue his own interests. They feared that a president could subvert our democracy by abusing the awesome power of his office for his own personal or political gain. And so they devised a remedy as powerful as the evil it was meant to combat: Impeachment.

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Go Tulsi. Someone has to break the DNC, or the Democrats are finished as a party..

Gabbard Suing Clinton For Defamation Over ‘Russian Asset’ Comments (Hill)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is suing Hillary Clinton for defamation over the former secretary of State’s remarks on a podcast characterizing the Democratic presidential candidate as a Russian asset. Gabbard filed the defamation lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Gabbard’s lawyers allege that Clinton’s comments have “smeared” Gabbard’s “political and personal reputation.” “Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” Gabbard’s lawyer Brian Dunne said in a statement. “Rep. Gabbard’s presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damaged by Clinton’s malicious and demonstrably false remarks.”


Gabbard’s campaign referred all questions on the lawsuit to Dunne. In response to the lawsuit, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said “that’s ridiculous.” [..] The lawsuit claims that Clinton is a “cutthroat politician” and “sought retribution” for Gabbard endorsing Clinton’s 2016 Democratic primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Gabbard is now facing Sanders in the crowded 2020 Democratic primary. “Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s presidential campaign,” it says. Gabbard’s lawyers claim Clinton’s “peddling of this theory” has harmed Gabbard, voters and “American democracy.” “Tulsi brings this lawsuit to ensure that the truth prevails and to ensure this country’s political elites are held accountable for intentionally trying to distort the truth in the midst of a critical Presidential election,” the lawsuit says.

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No. 1 for DNC: dump Biden. He’s roadkill.

Black South Carolina Elected Official Now Backing Sanders Over Biden (AP)

A South Carolina elected official who endorsed Joe Biden last month is switching her allegiance to Bernie Sanders in the state’s first-in-the-South presidential primary, saying she had viewed the former vice president — whose support in the state is considered deep — as “a compromise choice.” Dalhi Myers told AP on Wednesday that she was making the change in part because she values what she sees as Sanders’ strength in being able to go toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump in the general election. “I looked at that, and I thought, ‘He’s right,’” said Myers, a black woman first elected to the Richland County Council in 2016. “He’s unafraid and he’s unapologetic. … I like the fact that he is willing to fight for a better America — for the least, the fallen, the left behind.”


Sanders, a Vermont senator, frequently calls out what he sees as Trump’s dishonesty, referring on the campaign trail to the president as a “pathological liar.” Biden, whose relationships in South Carolina go back decades, has led polling in the state, particularly among the black voters who make up most of the state’s Democratic primary electorate. Sanders, whose 47-point loss to Hillary Clinton in 2016 in South Carolina blunted the momentum generated in opening primary contests and exposed his weakness with black voters, has focused on strengthening his ties in the state’s black community. In December, Myers, a corporate lawyer in Columbia, was among more than a dozen South Carolina elected officials to endorse Biden, saying at the time in a release from the Biden campaign that he was “the only candidate with the broad and diverse coalition of support we need to win” against Trump in the general election.

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No, really. Dump Biden.

Hunter Biden Ordered To Appear In Court Next Week For Contempt Hearing (ZH)

Hunter Biden has been ordered to stand in front of an Arkansas judge next Tuedsay to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for failing to produce a laundry list of financial and personal information in his ongoing child support dispute with stripper Lunden Alexis Roberts. Roberts asked the court on Tuesday to hold Biden in contempt for failing to disclose financial information, contact information, and “a list of all companies he currently owns or in which he has an ownership interest,” as well as “all companies in which he has had an ownership interest in the past five years.” Also sought are a copy of Biden’s 2017 and 2018 tax returns, deeds to properties he owns, and an executed copy of a financial records release Biden has been avoiding filing unless the court allows him to do so under seal.


“The defendant continues to act as though he has no respect for this Court, its orders, the legal process in this state, or the needs of his child for support,” reads the filing, which adds “This is but another example of the defendant’s unnecessary actions to frustrate prompt adjudication of this matter and increase the plaintiff’s litigation costs.” Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer agreed, ordering Biden to appear in person to explain his failure to produce the requested information which was due in August, 2019. In November, a DNA test revealed Hunter to be the father of the unnamed child with Roberts. In order to determine what Biden can cough up, Roberts has sought extensive financial records for periods which include his time on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was the Obama administration’s point-man on Ukraine.

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Still don’t quite get this. Did MbS pose as a Nigerian prince? Will the UN get involved if your phone is hacked? Are the UN and Bezos trying to seek vengeance for Khashoggi in a roundabout way?

UN Demands US Probe Of Alleged Saudi Hack of Bezos’ Phone (ZH)

Despite the Saudi Embassy’s denial of the “absurd” claims that MbS hacked Jeff Bezos’ phone, United Nations experts have called for an “immediate investigation” by the United States. Independent experts Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions and extrajudicial killings, and David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, said in a statement Wednesday: “The information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the Crown Prince in surveillance of Mr. Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.” “The circumstances and timing of the hacking and surveillance of Bezos also strengthen support for further investigation by U.S. and other relevant authorities of the allegations that the Crown Prince ordered, incited, or, at a minimum, was aware of planning for but failed to stop the mission that fatally targeted Mr. Khashoggi in Istanbul.”


“The alleged hacking of Mr. Bezos’s phone, and those of others, demands immediate investigation by U.S. and other relevant authorities, including investigation of the continuous, multi-year, direct and personal involvement of the Crown Prince in efforts to target perceived opponents.” The U.N. experts reviewed a 2019 digital forensic analysis of Bezos’ iPhone, which they said was made available to them as U.N. Special Rapporteurs. The experts said that records showed that within hours of receipt of a video from the crown Pprince’s WhatsApp account, there was “an anomalous and extreme change in phone behavior” with enormous amounts of data from the phone being transmitted over the following months.

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Oh cut it out.

Boeing CEO Expects To Resume 737 MAX Production Before Mid-Year (R.)

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told reporters on Wednesday the U.S. planemaker expects to resume 737 MAX production months before its forecasted mid-year return to service and said it did not plan to suspend or cut its dividend. The company announced a production halt in December, when the global grounding of the fast-selling 737 MAX following two deadly crashes in five months looked set to last into mid-2020 — a timeline pushed back after Boeing endorsed new simulator training for pilots. Calhoun said the company is not considering scrapping the MAX and expects it will continue to fly for a generation.


“I am all in on it and the company is all in on it,” Calhoun said, adding Boeing will not launch a marketing campaign to get customers to get back on 737 MAX planes. The company said on Tuesday it now expects regulators to approve the plane’s return to service in the middle of the year. Calhoun said he did not see recent issues raised about wiring or software as “serious problems.” The production delay threatens to cut U.S. GDP by as much as 0.5 percentage points. President Donald Trump on Wednesday told CNBC Boeing is a “very disappointing company.” United Airlines said Wednesday it does not expect to fly the Boeing 737 MAX this summer.

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Subtitle: US Fracking Gushes Bankruptcies, Defaulted Debt, and Worthless Shares

The Great American Shale Oil & Gas Bust (WS)

Following the sharp re-drop in oil and natural gas prices in late 2018, bankruptcy filings in the US by already weakened exploration and production companies , oilfield services companies, and “midstream” companies (they gather, transport, process, or store oil and natural gas) jumped by 51% in 2019, to 65 filings, according to data compiled by law firm Haynes and Boone. This brought the total of the Great American Shale Oil & Gas Bust since 2015 in these three sectors to 402 bankruptcy filings. The debt involved in these bankruptcies in 2019 doubled from 2018 to $35 billion. This pushed the total debt listed in these bankruptcy filings since 2015 to $207 billion. The chart below shows the cumulative total debt involved in these bankruptcies since 2015.

But this does not include the much larger losses suffered by shareholders that get mostly wiped out in the years before the bankruptcy as the shares descend into worthlessness, and that then may get finished off in bankruptcy court. The banks, which generally had the best collateral, took the smallest losses; bondholders took bigger losses, with unsecured bondholders taking the biggest losses. Some of them lost most of their investment; others got high-and-tight haircuts; others held debt that was converted to equity in the restructured companies, some of which soon became worthless again when the company filed for bankruptcy a second time. The old shareholders took the biggest losses.


The Great American Fracking Bust started in mid-2014, when the price of WTI dropped from over $100 a barrel to below $30 a barrel by early 2016. Then the price began to recover, going over $70 a barrel in September and October 2018. But then it began to re-plunge. By the end of 2018, WTI had dropped to $47 a barrel. [..]

And 2020 is starting out terrible for natural gas producers. The price of natural gas has plunged to $1.90 per million Btu at the moment, a dreadfully low price where no one can make any money. Producers in shale fields that produce mostly gas, such as the Marcellus, are in deeper trouble still, because oil, even at these prices, would be a lot better than just natural gas. Producing areas with constrained takeaway capacity (it takes a lot longer to build pipelines than to ramp up production) are subject to local prices, which can be lower still. In some areas, such as the Permian in Texas and New Mexico, the most prolific oil field in the US, where natural gas is a byproduct of oil production, limited takeaway capacity has caused local prices to collapse, and flaring to surge.

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Sent to WIkiLeaks yet?

Ghislaine Maxwell’s Personal Emails Were Hacked (DM)

Ghislaine Maxwell’s personal emails have been hacked, and damaging information, including the names of individuals linked to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking case, are at risk of being publicly released. The revelation was made in a letter filed by the British socialite’s lawyers in the defamation case brought against her by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Guiffre, DailyMail.com has learned. The letter was sent by Maxwell’s attorney, Ty Gee, on December 5 to New York federal court Judge Loretta A. Preska but made public last week. The letter addresses the materials that should remain sealed or redacted in the case. It notes ‘the difficulty and complexity’ of the process as there are more than 8,600 pages, adding that it is ‘difficult-to-overstate importance to the lives of Ms. Maxwell and the non-parties’.

Gee’s letter says that the project ‘could not be accomplished by scanning or speed-reading’ as each page had to be carefully analysed to redact, for example, ‘a surname or an email address’. He refers to details that were released in error in the 2,000 pages that were made public in August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Those filings revealed allegations that Maxwell procured underage girls for Epstein. She has denied those charges. ‘Despite the Second Circuit’s best efforts, it made serious mistakes. For example, it redacted a non-party’s name in one location but not another; so the media immediately gained access to that name,’ Gee wrote.

‘As another example, it redacted Ms. Maxwell’s email address (which linked to her own domain name) in one location but not another; shortly afterward hackers breached the host computer.’ The hack may have implications for Prince Andrew after it was revealed in December that the Duke of York exchanged emails with Maxwell in 2015 about Giuffre. In that email, revealed on Panorama, Maxwell and the British royal discussed Giuffre – despite denials from Prince Andrew that he had never met the then-teenager and that a photo of them together was a fake. ‘Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts,’ Prince Andrew wrote in an email to Maxwell. She replied: ‘Have some info – call me when you have a moment.’

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Make that 70.

TEPCO Estimates It Will Take 44 Years To Decommission Fukushima No. 2 (JT)

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. has outlined plans for the decommissioning of its Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power station, estimating that the process will take 44 years. Tepco presented the outline of decommissioning plans to the town assembly of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, one of the two host towns of the nuclear plant, on Wednesday. According to the outline, the decommissioning process will have four stages, taking 10 years for the first stage, 12 years for the second stage and 11 years each for the third and fourth stages.


Tepco will survey radioactive contamination at the nuclear plant in the first stage, clear equipment around nuclear reactors in the second, remove the reactors in the third and demolish the reactor buildings in the fourth. Meanwhile, the plant operator will transfer a total of 9,532 spent nuclear fuel units at the plant to a fuel reprocessing company by the end of the decommissioning process, and 544 unused fuel units to a processing firm by the start of the third stage.

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Like it behooves a major charity. When interviewing such a CEO, always ask what their salaries are.

Australia Red Cross: $11 Million ‘Administration Cost’ For Bushfire Help (7N)

The Australian Red Cross has admitted it may spend as much as $11 million processing the millions of dollars people from across the globe have donated to its bushfire appeal. However, in the face of public outcry, the charity has been forced to revise an earlier statement that suggested a large proportion of the $95 million raised could be quarantined for future natural disasters. The charity also pledged on Thursday to speed up the rate of its delivery of emergency funds to bushfire ravaged communities. “We’re now paying a million dollars a day and we’re keen to continue to speed that up, we know the assistance is needed now,” Red Cross’s director of emergencies, Noel Clement, told 7 NEWS.


Clement said the charity had already dispensed 700 grants of $10,000 each, totalling $7 million. He conceded however that of the revised total of $115 million donated so far – up from yesterday’s figure of $95 million – as much as $11 million could be spent on administration costs. Such a figure – roughly 10 per cent of total revenue raised – is generally considered to be the uppermost limit of acceptable administrative costs among large charitable organisations.

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1980s: 4.5 million. 2019: 29,000.

Monarch Butterfly Population Critically Low On California Coast – Again (G.)

The western monarch butterfly population wintering along California’s coast remains critically low for the second year in a row, a count by an environmental group released Thursday showed. The count of the orange-and-black insects by the Xerces Society, a not-for-profit environmental organization that focuses on the conservation of invertebrates, recorded about 29,000 butterflies in its annual survey. That’s not much different than last year’s tally, when an all-time low 27,000 monarchs were counted. “We had hoped that the western monarch population would have rebounded at least modestly, but unfortunately it has not,” said Emma Pelton, a monarch conservation expert with the Xerces Society.


By comparison, about 4.5 million monarch butterflies wintered in forested groves along the California coast in the 1980s. Scientists say the butterflies are at critically low levels in the Western US due to the destruction of their milkweed habitat along their migratory route as housing expands into their territory and use of pesticides and herbicides increases. Researchers also have noted the effect of climate change. Along with farming, climate change is one of the main drivers of the monarch’s threatened extinction, disrupting an annual 3,000-mile migration synced to springtime and the blossoming of wildflowers.


Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

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

 

Oct 112019
 
 October 11, 2019  Posted by at 9:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  10 Responses »


Balthus Girl at a window 1957

 

How the Crybabies on Wall Street Try to Force the Fed into QE-4 (WS)
After Unveiling ‘NotQE’, Fed Eases Liquidity Rules For Foreign Banks (ZH)
America’s Political Implosion (SCF)
Dems Weigh Knee-Capping A Republican Impeachment Criticism (Pol.)
US House Republicans To Seek Sanctions On Turkey Over Kurd Offensive (R.)
Syrian Kurdish Leaders Urge EU To Pull Envoys Over Turkey Offensive (RT)
Explosions Rock Iranian Tanker Near Saudi Port City Of Jeddah (RT)
GM’s Third-Quarter China Vehicle Sales Down 17.5% (R.)
What Jeff Bezos Wants (Atl.)
Facebook Paid Just £28m Tax On Record £1.6bn Earnings In UK (G.)

 

 

2 stories I couldn’t find decent pieces on: new hopes for a Brexit deal, and Giuliani’s ‘associates’ arrested. I was wondering why they were labeled his ‘associates’, but all I could find is they were ’associated’ with him. Right. Now, I always found Rudy a weird character, but these stories simply become part of the entire load of anti-Trump tales we’re doused in every day. It becomes impossible to judge what is real or not.

Meanwhile, while you weren’t looking, the Fed is busy saving Wall Street again. Got to rescue them bonuses.

How the Crybabies on Wall Street Try to Force the Fed into QE-4 (WS)

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s explanation on Tuesday and the FOMC minutes released yesterday were a bitter disappointment for the Crybabies on Wall Street – the broker-dealers and banks: They’d expected a massive bout of QE, and perhaps some of the players had gleefully contributed to, or even instigated the turmoil in the repo market to make sure they would get that massive bout of QE as the Fed would be forced to calm the waters with QE, the theory went. This QE would include big purchases of long-term securities to push down long-term yields, and drive up the prices of those bonds these Crybabies are holding or have bet on with derivatives.


This is particularly crucial to the “primary dealers” – the 24 US and foreign broker-dealers and banks that are authorized to deal directly with the US Treasury and the New York Fed. They’ve been hoarding Treasury securities with longer maturities. As of October 2, according to the most recent data from the New York Fed, they hoarded $161 billion, double the $81 billion a year ago – though that has come down from the peak in July of $219 billion. Note the top two lines (black): Less than two-year maturities amounting to $74 billion; and 11-year and over maturities amounting to $37 billion. Not included on this chart are the primary dealers’ holdings of Treasury bills, TIPS, Agency securities, and Floating Rate Notes.

Primary dealers are funding their hoard in the repo market. These funding needs were putting pressures on the repo market, the Fed already said in its minutes for the July meeting, before repo rates totally blew out in mid-September. But primary dealers could have sold a large part of those securities, if they’d wanted to. Prices were high and yields were low, a sign that there was heavy demand. But the dealers were holding out for even higher prices and even lower yields. And any heavy selling could have pushed up those yields and steepened the yield curve, very unpalatable for folks clamoring for rate cuts. So these dealers are sitting on a pile of Treasury notes and bonds whose prices they want to rise, and therefore their yields would have to fall. Massive QE, where the Fed buys these types of Treasury securities, would accomplish that.

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Why would the banks not risk going broke? They’ll be saved no matter what.

After Unveiling ‘NotQE’, Fed Eases Liquidity Rules For Foreign Banks (ZH)

Having cracked down on Deutsche Bank in the past, The Fed appears to be playing good-regulator/bad-regulator as The FT reports that Deutsche is expected to benefit most from an imminent change in The Fed’s liquidity rules. Specifically, US banking regulators have dropped an idea to subject local branches of foreign banks to tough new liquidity rules (forcing US branches of foreign banks to hold a minimum level of liquid assets to protect them from a cash crunch). As The FT further details, people familiar with his thinking say Randal Quarles, the vice-chair for banking supervision at the Fed, accepts the banks’ argument that any liquidity rules on bank branches should only be imposed in conjunction with foreign regulators.

“Without some international agreement, we could have the situation where each country is trying to grab whatever isn’t nailed down if there is another scare.” And Deutsche Bank benefits most (or rescued from major liquidity needs) since it has by far the largest assets in US branches… Why would The Fed do this? Simple, it cannot afford another Lehman-like move (or even the fear of one)…

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The whole enchilada is under threat. Time to leave the partisan trenches.

America’s Political Implosion (SCF)

The polarization in American politics has become so extreme there seems no longer to be any center ground. The political establishment is consequently imploding into an abyss of its own making. President Trump is being driven into an impeachment process by Democrats and their media supporters who accuse him of being “unpatriotic” and a danger to national security. Trump and Republicans hit back at Democrats and the “deep state” whom they condemn for conspiring to overthrow the presidency in a coup dressed up as “impeachment”. The White House is being subpoenaed, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives wants to access transcripts to all of Trump’s phone calls to foreign leaders; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blasted congressmen for “harassing the State Department” in their search of evidence to indict Trump.

Trump calls the impeachment bid a “witch-hunt”. Republican Representatives protest that the US is facing a dark day of constitutional crisis, whereby opposing Democratic party leaders are abusing their office by accusing Trump of “high crimes” without ever presenting evidence. It’s an Alice in Wonderland scenario writ large, where the gravest verdict is being cast before evidence is presented, never mind proven; the president is guilty until proven innocent. Trump, in his turn, has berated senior Democrat Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, for “treason” – a capital offense. Are federal police obliged to arrest him? Schiff is accused of colluding with a supposed CIA whistleblower in concocting the complaint that Trump tried to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.


There seems no end to this political civil war in the US. The American political class is literally tearing itself apart, destroying its ability to govern with any normal function. So-called liberal media outlets, in lockstep with the Democrats, inculpate Trump for wrongdoing, while they staunchly assert that credible reports of Joe Biden abusing his former vice presidential office to enrich his son over Ukraine gas business are false. Many Americans don’t see it that way. They see Biden as being up to his neck in past corruption; they also see a flagrant double-standard of the establishment protecting Biden from investigation while hounding Trump at every possible opportunity, even when evidence against Trump is scant.

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Curious way to phrase holding a simple vote.

Dems Weigh Knee-Capping A Republican Impeachment Criticism (Pol.)

House Democrats are grappling with whether to take more steps to formalize their impeachment inquiry and silence a chief Republican criticism of their efforts, with competing factions beginning to emerge. President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill have hammered Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not holding a vote authorizing the House’s impeachment proceedings — arguing that without a vote, the entire process is illegitimate. Pelosi has refused to cave, dismissing Trump’s demand last week and insisting it is not required under the Constitution or House rules. And allies close to the speaker say her position hasn’t changed, describing the idea as the latest “Republican canard” in a series of stall tactics the GOP will employ to protect Trump.

“It is one act after another of obstruction of justice by the White House, by the State Department, and by the attorney general. And I say, give them more rope to hang themselves,” Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), who flipped his conservative Orange County district in 2018, said in an interview. Yet some Democratic lawmakers and aides have begun to say privately — and, to a lesser extent, publicly — that the House should just vote to formalize the inquiry, robbing the GOP of its main talking point. The debate is threatening to cleave Democrats’ unified front as the White House makes the arcane procedural arguments the centerpiece of its impeachment defense. “If Nancy asked me, I would say sure, let’s have a vote. Everybody’s on record, so they’re not going to vote any differently. What’s the danger in having a vote to formalize it?” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), an early impeachment backer.


But the suggestion has provoked strong objections from some of their colleagues who say they would be abdicating their authority if lawmakers permit other branches of government to dictate their procedures. “If we allow that to happen, Congress would be completely dysfunctional,” Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) said at a recent town hall event in Glen Ellyn, Ill. “If we have to take a complete show vote, we’ll get the vote. But I find it offensive that they are basically telling us how to do our job with a misreading of the Constitution. Read the freakin’ Constitution. And then let’s honor our oath to it.”

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Will the Democrats support this?

US House Republicans To Seek Sanctions On Turkey Over Kurd Offensive (R.)

Twenty-nine of President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced on Thursday they would introduce legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey, underscoring lawmakers unhappiness about its assault on Kurdish forces in Syria. A day after Republicans and Democrats announced similar legislation in the Senate, the lawmakers – including Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Whip Steve Scalise and other party leaders – said they wanted a strong response to Ankara’s aggression. “President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria,” Republican Representative Liz Cheney, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said in a statement.


It was not immediately clear how the legislation would fare in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats. On Sunday, Trump abruptly shifted policy and said he was withdrawing U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey to launch an assault across the border. Turkey began the offensive quickly, pounding Kurdish militias, who recently were fighting alongside U.S. forces against Islamic State militants, on Wednesday and Thursday, killing dozens and forcing many thousands of people to flee.

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Erdogan has threatend to release 3.6 million refugees into Europe, so don’t hold your breath for this one.

Syrian Kurdish Leaders Urge EU To Pull Envoys Over Turkey Offensive (RT)

Kurdish leaders have called on European countries to withdraw their ambassadors from Turkey in protest at Ankara’s military operation against their forces in northern Syria. A delegation from the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) – the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – traveled to Brussels on Thursday to urge the EU to take concrete measures to punish Turkey, AFP reports. “We want an urgent intervention on this crisis, and these attacks should be stopped quickly. Air space should be closed for Turkish flights so that air attacks can be stopped,” senior SDC figure Ilham Ahmed said in Brussels. “All European states should freeze their relations by withdrawing their ambassadors from Turkey immediately.” The EU has urged Turkey to halt the assault but has not taken any action. The bloc’s foreign ministers will discuss the crisis at a regular meeting on Monday.

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Oh, lovely.

Explosions Rock Iranian Tanker Near Saudi Port City Of Jeddah (RT)

A tanker belonging to Iran’s government-owned oil corporation has been hit by two missiles and caught fire in the Red Sea, 60 miles from Saudi shores. The incident is being treated as a terrorist attack, local media says.
The tanker Sinopa, operated by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), was sailing through the Red Sea when the explosion occurred. The blast was powerful enough to damage two of its reservoirs, leading to an oil spill in the area. Local media cited unnamed Iranian “technical experts” who believe that the incident could have been caused by a “terrorist attack,” but didn’t provide any evidence to back the claim.


The tanker’s crew wasn’t hurt in the incident, which took place near Jeddah, the largest port in the Red Sea and maritime gateway to Saudi Arabia. NIOC, which once ranked second after Saudi Aramco in terms of crude oil extraction, told state-run IRNA news agency that the vessel was hit by what appears to be two missiles. That report did not expand on where the attack came from.

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Small is beautiful.

GM’s Third-Quarter China Vehicle Sales Down 17.5% (R.)

General Motors Co’s July to September vehicle sales in China fell 17.5%, as the U.S. automaker was hurt by a slowing economy amid the Sino-U.S. trade war and by heightened competition in its key mid-priced SUV segment. GM delivered 689,531 vehicles in China in the third quarter this year, according to a company statement. The drop for the quarter ended September 30 marks the fifth straight quarterly sales decline for GM in China, the world’s biggest auto market. It delivered 2.26 million vehicles in the first nine months this year, according to Reuters calculation.


As GM and Ford Motor Co’s China sales extend declines, U.S. car companies’ share of total China passenger vehicles sales fell to 9.5% in the first eight months of this year from 10.7% in the year-ago period, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Over the same period, German car makers’ share has risen to 23.8% from 21.6% and Japanese auto makers’ to 21.7% from 18.3%.

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Wasn’t he the guy who wants to live on the moon?

What Jeff Bezos Wants (Atl.)

Where in the pantheon of American commercial titans does Jeffrey Bezos belong? Andrew Carnegie’s hearths forged the steel that became the skeleton of the railroad and the city. John D. Rockefeller refined 90 percent of American oil, which supplied the pre-electric nation with light. Bill Gates created a program that was considered a prerequisite for turning on a computer. At 55, Bezos has never dominated a major market as thoroughly as any of these forebears, and while he is presently the richest man on the planet, he has less wealth than Gates did at his zenith. Yet Rockefeller largely contented himself with oil wells, pump stations, and railcars; Gates’s fortune depended on an operating system. The scope of the empire the founder and CEO of Amazon has built is wider. Indeed, it is without precedent in the long history of American capitalism.


Today, Bezos controls nearly 40 percent of all e-commerce in the United States. More product searches are conducted on Amazon than on Google, which has allowed Bezos to build an advertising business as valuable as the entirety of IBM. One estimate has Amazon Web Services controlling almost half of the cloud-computing industry—institutions as varied as General Electric, Unilever, and even the CIA rely on its servers. Forty-two percent of paper book sales and a third of the market for streaming video are controlled by the company; Twitch, its video platform popular among gamers, attracts 15 million users a day. Add The Washington Post to this portfolio and Bezos is, at a minimum, a rival to the likes of Disney’s Bob Iger or the suits at AT&T, and arguably the most powerful man in American culture.

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“Profits on social media app surged by more than 50% to £797m in latest tax year..”

Facebook Paid Just £28m Tax On Record £1.6bn Earnings In UK (G.)

Facebook’s UK operations paid £28m in tax last year despite attracting a record £1.6bn in British sales. The social media company’s latest UK accounts show that gross income from advertisers rose almost 30% last year to £1.65bn, and pretax profits surged by more than 50% from £63m to £97m. Facebook UK said the net revenues it made from advertisers rose 50% last year to £797m, meaning 12% of its sales were converted to profits. This falls far short of the company’s overall performance – last year Facebook made $25bn (£19.7bn) of profit on total sales of $55.8bn – meaning it converted 44% of its sales into profits.


Facebook’s UK operation expanded rapidly last year with staff numbers rising by more than 50%, from 1,290 to 1,965 year on year, with a total staff wages and pension bill of £431m. The company’s UK office provides marketing services and sales and engineering support to other parts of the company. Facebook said it spent £356m on research, development and engineering in the UK last year. Last month, online retail giant Amazon came under fire for paying just £14.7m in UK corporation tax last year, despite reporting sales of £2.3bn. Earlier this month, Netflix UK’s accounts showed that the streaming giant received a €57,000 (£51,000) tax rebate from the UK government last year, despite making an estimated £700m from British subscribers bingeing on fare from The Crown to Stranger Things.

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A baby Grauer’s gorilla, a critically endangered species, in the forest of Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2018, logging began in the protected area, threatening the habitat of the gorillas.