Oct 192021
 


René Magritte The song of love 1948

 

 

Just this morning, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Czechia, UK and New Zealand announced record or near-record numbers of positive Covid numbers and/or deaths. Yes, here we go again. Sadly, all of it is completely preventable, and all of us choose to not prevent it, because most have never been told this. Once again, an overview.

 

 

In the UK, a report came out last week about the country’s Covid approach, written by politicians, from the government’s own party nonetheless. It’s titled “Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date”, which is kind of ironic, because the one thing WE learn, at least from the press coverage of it, is that not a single lesson has been learned. BBC:

Covid: UK’s Early Response Worst Public Health Failure Ever

The 150-page document, “Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date”, is from the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee, and MPs from all parties.


[..] Conservative MPs Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, who chair the committees, said the nature of the pandemic meant it was “impossible to get everything right”. “The UK has combined some big achievements with some big mistakes. It is vital to learn from both,” they said. Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay said scientific advice had been followed and the government had made “difficult judgements” to protect the NHS. He said the government took responsibility for everything that happened – saying the government would not shy away from any lessons to be learned at the full statutory public inquiry, expected next year.

What were those big mistakes, according to those 150 pages? These:

[..] the UK was not as open to different approaches on earlier lockdowns, border controls and test and trace as it should have been.

And the “big achievements”?

But their report highlighted successes too, including the vaccination rollout. It described the approach to vaccination – from the research and development through to the rollout of the jabs – as “one of the most effective initiatives in UK history”.

I kid you not, the biggest mistakes these politicians could come up with was that the UK should have locked down, shut its borders and start testing and tracing healthy people earlier. That’s it. But none of those come close to being the biggest mistakes. And that after 20 months they all still don’t appear to understand that is a sad, saddening and deadly “mistake” all by itself.

The real biggest mistake is the complete denial, and ignoring, of the crucial role prophylactics and early treatment could and should have played. And since neither plays such a role even today, yes, it will continue to be very deadly. The pharmaceutical industry prevents the use of -most- pharmaceuticals, and allows only the use of some of the newest and -therefore- most profitable ones. The promised “full statutory public inquiry” won’t change that.

 

But first, let’s look at the “big achievements”. Vaccination, “one of the most effective initiatives in UK history”, has resulted in the following picture:

 

“Cases” are, let’s say, “stubbornly high” again (they average about 45,000 recently, and on Monday reached almost 50,000):

 

Hospitalizations are high too, compared to other countries. Which is odd, since the vaccines were supposed to stop severe cases in every country, we were told. After the claims that they stop infection and transmission became untenable:

 

Deaths appear to have normalized a little more in the UK, but what’s worrisome in this graph is the “Other excess deaths”. What are they? Are they vaccine deaths? Hard not to think they may very well be. But also hard to know because information on this is so scarce. In any case, they appear to outnumber Covid deaths. Which is no surprise, but still “good” to see in a graph:

 

 

 

The UK is presently about 65% vaccinated, according to Our World In Data, after “one of the most effective initiatives in UK history”. 65%? How effective have other “initiatives” been? On the bright side, the unvaccinated 35% may well turn out to be the lucky ones.

 

But why were (and are) the “big mistakes” made? A clue is that lockdowns, closed borders, test and trace, and facemasks, are all non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI’s). Any and all things pharmaceutical have been ignored from the get go. And not just ignored: there have even been – and still are- extensive coordinated campaigns against ivermectin (IVM), hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), and recently even aspirin.

Never has there been any advice for people to boost their vit. C and D levels, or zinc and quercetin. Aspirin and melatonin are never mentioned. Still, it’s widely known that these substances can provide protection from Covid in their various ways. So how can it be that all those highly paid medical experts and scientists that advise their governments never seem to talk about them?

Perhaps you need to look at how the field is laid out. The pharmaceutical industry has the by far largest lobbying departments in the world (and you thought it was Big Oil). In Washington alone there are hundreds of lobbyists working for Big Pharma. Who not only support the politicians’ election campaigns, they also pay huge amounts to the same medical experts that advise the same politicians. Moreover, lobbyists often even write the laws for the politicians, who are not experts. Sort of a symbiotic relationship, if you will.

 

The problem that I have with this, and these people apparently don’t, is that this has cost enormous amounts of suffering and deaths. For no apparent reason at all. The UK, and any other -western- country, could have promoted vitamin D -and C-, plus zinc and quercetin, and added on ivermectin and/or HCQ, perhaps doxycycline, and only a fraction of the present victims would have died and/or been incapacitated.

And this is not a story about the past either: it continues to this day. There are no protocols for protecting people, and none for early treatment. It’s still: go home and wait till you get so sick you need a ventilator. What doctor signs up for that? Well, most of them do. Screw Hippocrates. 95% of the deaths and misery could have been prevented with cheap, available, run-of-the-mill pharmaceuticals. And your doctors refused to provide them for you.

We’ve all seen the horse dewormer campaign against ivermectin that especially outlets like CNN, and even Rolling Stone, have put so much energy in recently. But the real story of IVM is completely different. Here are a few countries and states, and their experiences with it.

 

 

 

Puerto Rico:

 

Uttar Pradesh:

 

Tokyo:

 

And Indonesia:


Indonesia ramped up ivermectin production and the government assured national distribution and fair prices. IVM is considered by the government a COVID medicine.

 

 

Good thing we didn’t take that horse dewormer. We were smart, we listened to “The Science”, and spend billions on vaccines. It’s too early to oversee the harm these substances have done and will do, and there’s a lot of pressure not to make it public, but we can get an idea from two countries that were initially spared much of what we experienced. They were genuine Covid success stories, like New Zealand was. Until they started vaccinating. Here’s Taiwan and Singapore.

 

Taiwan:

 

And here is Singapore, bit of a strange graph because the timeline is split in two, but obvious enough:

 

And now we’re sitting here without ivermectin, because it’s been banned in many places, but with increasing pressure to get jabbed with substances that look very suspect. And increasingly without the freedom to choose what we think is best for us and our families.

But you can still choose to boost your immune system with vitamin D, without which it can’t properly function, and vitamin C. Be careful with zinc, but do consider it; it keeps the virus out of your cells. And it works better with quercetin. And do tell your doctor that you would like a prescription for ivermectin -if only to see the reaction- or HCQ. Ask about melatonin. Get some low dose aspirin. Inform yourself.

Since I am not a doctor (I just listen to them a lot), let me close with an old favorite I haven’t used in a long time: This information is for entertainment purposes only.

PS: Oh, and no, these things are not mistakes. Mistakes are not deliberate.

 

 

 

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Jul 272021
 


Emil Nolde Half Moon Over The Sea 1945

 

 

This is a double list from longtime Automatic Earth regular commenter TAE Summary , posted in yesterday’s Debt Rattle thread. It’s too useful, and nice, and well-done, to leave it there, it should -and deserves to- be seen by more people. Who will all recognize something here, but not all the same. Good! Now we’re talking!

 

 

TAE Summary:

 

The Mainstream Narrative

– It is not known where Covid 19 originated but the most likely origin is the transmission from an animal to humans

– Covid 19 has killed 600K people in the US

– Trump botched the Covid 19 response costing many lives

– Many deaths were preventable if we’d tested, masked, tracked and locked down better

– Vaccines are good and have eradicated polio, measles, whooping cough and other diseases

– Vaccines against Covid 19 are safe and effective and have saved many lives with only minor, acceptable adverse reactions

– There are no effective treatments for Covid 19 besides the vaccines

– Covid is spread by droplets and aerosols from infected people, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, and can be spread through momentary casual contact both indoors and outdoors

– Children and young adults are at risk form Covid 19 and can spread the disease and should take the same precautions and measures as adults

– We need to do whatever it takes to defeat Covid 19 including frequent testing, mass vaccination, continued lockdowns and wearing masks

– The best information comes from the CDC, FDA and NIH

– The mainstream media warns us of the dangers of Covid 19 but unfortunately many do not take these warnings seriously

– As usual, conspiracy theorists and nut-jobs abound

– Antivaxxers are against all vaccines and now also against the Covid 19 vaccines

– Antivaxxers have believed phony information disseminated by scurrilous, right wing charlatans

– These people cost many lives and are the reason Covid still spreads and mutates

– They are responsible for continued lockdowns and the further decimation of the economy

– They are selfish, evil and anti-science

– The Covid 19 response is all about trying to get us back to normal as quickly as possible

 

 

The Counter Narrative

– Covid 19 was most likely created in a lab in China or the US

– Covid 19 kills people but far fewer than the official count

– Almost all officials in government have botched the Covid 19 response, costing many lives

– Most deaths were preventable if we had investigated and deployed early treatments including vitamin D, zinc, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin

– Vaccines are good and have eradicated polio, measles, whooping cough and other diseases

– The Covid 19 vaccines however are not actually vaccines but gene therapy and have not been adequately tested

– The Covid 19 vaccines have serious side effects including death and other as yet unknown consequences which are not being investigated and are suppressed by the media

– We need to defeat Covid 19 and the best way to do this is through early outpatient treatment with known, effective drugs and known drug protocols for hospitalized patients

– Covid 19 is primarily spread by aerosols from symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people, mostly in indoor situations with poor ventilation where peoples spend a long time together

– Children and young adults are at low risk from Covid 19 and need take fewer precautions and measures but should be treated with drug protocols if infected

– Masks, distancing and lockdowns are mostly ineffective

– The best information comes from front line doctors who actually treat patients and experienced researchers who have no financial interest in big pharma

– The CDC, FDA and NIH are largely compromised because of their association with and funding by drug companies

– The mainstream media is also compromised by their association with big pharma and the government

– The truth about Covid 19 is suppressed and labeled conspiracy theory in order to support the mainstream narrative

– People who insist that the vaccines are the only way to fight Covd 19 have believed lies told to them by the MSM from big pharma and a corrupt medical establishment

– The vaccine narrative has cost many lives and ineffective vaccines are responsible for the continued spread and mutation of Covid 19

– The fallacious mainstream narrative is responsible for all lock downs and the decimation of the economy

– The people who push the mainstream narrative are evil and anti-science; The people who believe this narrative are naive, dogmatic and anti-science

– The Covid 19 response is all about money, power and control

 

 

 

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Jun 272021
 


Henri Matisse The pink studio 1911

 

Vaccines: Reasons for Concern (Alex Berenson)
European Union Reports 1.5 Million Vaccine Injuries, 15,472 Deaths (TN)
The ‘Big Lie’ Of Jabs Comes Unglued (Denninger)
Singapore’s Surprising New Plan To ‘Live With Covid’ (News.com.au)
J&J To Stop Selling Opioids In US, Reaches $230 Million Settlement (MSN)
A “Leap” toward Humanity’s Destruction (Whitney Webb)
United States Ranks Last In Media Trust (Turley)
US Food Banks Warn Soaring Prices Will Affect Distributions (ZH)
Stella Moris Says She Plans To Marry Julian Assange In Belmarsh Prison (RT)
Key Witness In Assange Case Admits To Lies In Indictment (Stundin)

 

 

 

 

McCullough: early treatment can’t be stopped

 

 

Why is the R rate highest in the most vaccinated countries?

 

 

Part 2: Why does the CDC keep calling post-Covid vaccine heart problems in young men “rare” and “mild” when they are neither?

Vaccines: Reasons for Concern (Alex Berenson)

At [Wednesday’s CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)] meeting, CDC scientists presented horrendous data. It showed that even without accounting for underreporting, a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could increase the risk of problems up to 200-fold in young men. But the scientists then went on to suggest the vaccines should still given – even to kids already suffering from heart problems. The CDC’s focus yesterday was on two illnesses, myocarditis and pericarditis, forms of heart inflammation that can occasionally progress to heart failure and even death. The CDC and many reporters insist on calling the cases mild. In fact 95 percent of the 300+ post-vaccination cases the CDC has reviewed have led to hospitalization.

Keep in mind cases are continuing to come in, and the agency hasn’t reviewed all the cases it has already received. This issue is part of a bigger problem, which is that the volume of side effects reports that the CDC has received on the Covid vaccines has overwhelmed its monitoring system. To give you a sense of the problem: In all of 2019, the CDC’s voluntary vaccine side effect reporting system received about 48,000 reports for ALL vaccines. So far in 2021 it has received at least seven times that many for Covid vaccines alone. Also keep in mind that heart inflammation is only ONE potential problem the vaccines may cause. The CDC and journalists generally like to compare each individual vaccine side effect to ALL the risks of Covid, a slight-of-hand that has the effect of making the vaccines seem safer. In fact, the CDC’s own data shows that for every 100,000 vaccines given to young people, more than 25,000 will have temporary side effects that prevent them from “normal activities,” 700 will require medical care and 200 will be hospitalized.

In contrast, the CDC estimates that only about 50 out of 100,000 adolescents have EVER been hospitalized for Covid-related illness.

Of course, not everyone has gotten Covid – the CDC estimates that about 1/3 of Americans have. (Most never had a positive test, and many never even knew.) Thus, if EVERYONE got Covid, it is reasonable to assume the 50 Covid hospitalizations out of 100,000 adolescents rate might be about three times as high – or 150 per 100,000. But even the 150 per 100,000 rate is LOWER than the 200 per 100,000 rate of adolescents who are hospitalized in the first week after being vaccinated. In other words, even if vaccinations stopped every case of Covid in 12-17 year olds forever, and even if they never had side effects after the first week, it is hard to see how the risk-benefit ratio supports vaccination.


That’s especially true for healthy teens. Most Covid hospitalizations occur in people with other illnesses, including diabetes or chronic lung conditions. But in its presentation Wednesday, the CDC instead claimed that the rate of hospitalization in adolescents was roughly 400 out of 14,000 cases, or close to 2,900 per 100,000 – almost 20 times what its own data shows. (Estimating three deaths out of 14,000 adolescent cases is even less credible.) And it did not look at the combined rate of all post-vaccine hospitalizations, only those related to myocarditis.

Read more …

“From the total of injuries recorded, half of them (753,657) are serious injuries..”

European Union Reports 1.5 Million Vaccine Injuries, 15,472 Deaths (TN)

A subscriber from Europe recently emailed us and reminded us that this database maintained at EudraVigilance is only for countries in Europe who are part of the European Union (EU), which comprises 27 countries. The total number of countries in Europe is much higher, almost twice as many, numbering around 50, although there are some differences of opinion as to which countries are technically part of Europe. So as high as these numbers are, they do NOT reflect all of Europe. The actual number in Europe who are reported dead or injured due to COVID-19 shots would be much higher than what we are reporting here. The EudraVigilance database reports that through June 19, 2021 there are 15,472 deaths and 1,509,266 injuries reported following injections of four experimental COVID-19 shots:
COVID-19 MRNA VACCINE MODERNA (CX-024414)
COVID-19 MRNA VACCINE PFIZER-BIONTECH
COVID-19 VACCINE ASTRAZENECA (CHADOX1 NCOV-19)
COVID-19 VACCINE JANSSEN (AD26.COV2.S)


From the total of injuries recorded, half of them (753,657) are serious injuries. “Seriousness provides information on the suspected undesirable effect; it can be classified as ‘serious’ if it corresponds to a medical occurrence that results in death, is life-threatening, requires inpatient hospitalisation, results in another medically important condition, or prolongation of existing hospitalisation, results in persistent or significant disability or incapacity, or is a congenital anomaly/birth defect.” A Health Impact News subscriber in Europe ran the reports for each of the four COVID-19 shots we are including here. This subscriber has volunteered to do this, and it is a lot of work to tabulate each reaction with injuries and fatalities, since there is no place on the EudraVigilance system we have found that tabulates all the results.

Read more …

“Fortunately there are enough un-vaccinated people that the Marek’s Disease sort of disaster will not happen so long as enough people refuse..”

The ‘Big Lie’ Of Jabs Comes Unglued (Denninger)

Here it is folks… “According to multiple sources, two unvaccinated NC State players tested positive for COVID-19 this week, prompting the NCAA to test the entire roster, including vaccinated players. Four positive tests came back from that round of testing, prompting the no-contest ruling. All four of the latest positive tests came from vaccinated individuals who were in the dugout for Friday’s game against Vanderbilt, per multiple sources.”

So in other words: 1. The team members originally subject to testing were only subject to testing because they refused to risk having their heart destroyed by the jabs (along with the risk of occlusive strokes and similar.) Thus the NCAA demanded they, and only they, have swabs shoved up their nose. 2. This shoving of swabs “disclosed” (such as it is, knowing the PCR false-positive and not-infectious-but-positive problems) two “infections”, neither of which were in obviously-ill people. 3. That prompted the testing of those who were coerced into taking the risk of heart failure via the jabs and when they were tested, all of whom were allegedly immune which is the claimed outcome of such jabs and the claimed reason to let someone give you them, it was disclosed they were in fact not immune at all and four of those people were also positive.

In other words the shots are worthless to prevent acquisition and propagation of the disease; their failure rate in doing so is enormous and their efficacy in that regard is nowhere near the percentages claimed by all the *******s involved, including Vanderbilt, the CDC, TNDOH and others. There are 35 players on a D1 roster by NCAA rules so at best the jabs failed to prevent acquisition and propagation of the virus more than 11% of the time and it likely is worse than that since the odds are high a third or more of the players had pre-existing immunity via prior infection, most without knowing it, before they got jabbed. This in turn means that the likely actual failure rate for sterilizing immunity is probably somewhere between 30-50% while the science thus far for infection-conferred sterilizing immunity (study out of the Cleveland Clinic) is nearly 100%.

IT IS NOW CONCLUSIVELY PROVED THE JABS DO NOT WORK TO PREVENT ACQUISITION AND PROPAGATION OF THE VIRUS SO SHUT THE **** UP SCREAMING KAREN. Of course nobody sequenced all six of these people to figure out whether one of them was the index. It would be wildly embarrassing to find out that one of the vaccinated players was in fact the index, so that will not be looked at, deliberately, because to find and report that would instantly destroy any and all argument of alleged “community protection” from said shots.

[..] This garbage continues today in that this incident proves that the shots do not provide sterilizing immunity even among immuno-competent individuals which is arguably presumptive in someone in good enough physical condition to be competitive in D1 collegiate baseball. It is always true that an immune-compromised person may not get sterilizing (or any) immunity for a vaccine because their immune system is not working properly but the lack of sterilizing immunity on a broad basis in immune-competent individuals is what produces recombination and ultimately mutation. Fortunately there are enough un-vaccinated people that the Marek’s Disease sort of disaster will not happen so long as enough people refuse, as if the mutation produced by all the idiots who took the jabs is more-virulent it still leads to shunning as soon as it finds an unvaccinated host and thus loses the genetic lottery.

Ivermectin in media lockdown

Read more …

“The bad news is that Covid-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst..”

Singapore’s Surprising New Plan To ‘Live With Covid’ (News.com.au)

A country that has been one of the world’s most successful at combating Covid-19 has announced it will soon fundamentally change how it manages the pandemic. The city state of Singapore has stated covid will be treated like other endemic diseases such as flu. There will be no goals of zero transmission. Quarantine will be dumped for travellers and close contact of cases will not have to isolate. It also plans to no longer announce daily case numbers. But you may need to take tests to head to the shops or go to work. Senior Singaporean ministers have said it is the “new normal” of “living with covid”.

“The bad news is that Covid-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst,” wrote Singapore’s trade Minister Gan Kim Yong, finance minister Lawrence Wong and health minister Ong Ye Kung said in an editorial in the Straits Times this week. “It means that the virus will continue to mutate, and thereby survive in our community.” Like most countries, Singapore had an initial peak of cases last year, topping out at 600 cases a day in mid-April. Following a smaller wave in August, Covid-19 hasn’t flared up since. However, the nation of 5.7 million, slightly larger than Sydney, has had a steady undercurrent of around 20-30 cases every day. The nation has recorded 35 deaths in total.

Singapore has strict border controls in place with most countries including tests on arrival, hotel quarantine and stay at home orders. It’s not dissimilar to Australia, but Singapore varies the demands on travellers depending on the risk in the location where they last visited. But all that would be eventually done away with under the plan put out by ministers Kung, Yong and Wong who make up Singapore’s Covid-19 multi-ministry task force. “Every year, many people catch the flu. The overwhelming majority recover without needing to be hospitalised, and with little or no medication. But a minority, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities, can get very ill, and some succumb.

Read more …

Will pay the settlement from vaccine profits…

J&J To Stop Selling Opioids In US, Reaches $230 Million Settlement (MSN)

Johnson & Johnson, one of the pharmaceutical giants accused of fueling the deadly US opioid crisis, has reached a settlement with the state of New York for $230 million and confirmed it will stop making or selling opioids in the United States. The agreement announced Saturday allows Johnson & Johnson to resolve litigation over its role in the epidemic, which has killed more than half a million people since 1999, according to a statement from New York attorney general Letitia James. For its part, in a separate statement J&J said the settlement allowed it to avoid a trial that was scheduled to begin Monday, and said the group had “made the business decision in 2020 to discontinue all of its prescription pain medications in the United States.”


The settlement “is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the company,” it said, noting that other nationwide legal proceedings are underway, including a trial in California. The prosecutor’s statement said the company would spread the payments over nine years. J&J could also pay an additional $30 million in the first year if the state enacts new legislation creating an opioid settlement fund. “The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communities across New York state and the rest of the nation, leaving millions still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids,” James said in the statement. “Johnson & Johnson helped fuel this fire, but today they’re committing to leaving the opioid business — not only in New York, but across the entire country,” she added.

Read more …

Medical surveillance.

A “Leap” toward Humanity’s Destruction (Whitney Webb)

The world’s richest medical research foundation, the Wellcome Trust, has teamed up with a pair of former DARPA directors who built Silicon Valley’s skunkworks to usher in an age of nightmarish surveillance, including for babies as young as three months old. Their agenda can only advance if we allow it. A UK nonprofit with ties to global corruption throughout the COVID-19 crisis as well as historical and current ties to the UK eugenics movement launched a global health-focused DARPA equivalent last year. The move went largely unnoticed by both mainstream and independent media.

The Wellcome Trust, which has arguably been second only to Bill Gates in its ability to influence events during the COVID-19 crisis and vaccination campaign, launched its own global equivalent of the Pentagon’s secretive research agency last year, officially to combat the “most pressing health challenges of our time.” Though first conceived of in 2018, this particular Wellcome Trust initiative was spun off from the Trust last May with $300 million in initial funding. It quickly attracted two former DARPA executives, who had previously served in the upper echelons of Silicon Valley, to manage and plan its portfolio of projects.

This global health DARPA, known as Wellcome Leap, seeks to achieve “breakthrough scientific and technological solutions” by or before 2030, with a focus on “complex global health challenges.” The Wellcome Trust is open about how Wellcome Leap will apply the approaches of Silicon Valley and venture capital firms to the health and life science sector. Unsurprisingly, their three current programs are poised to develop incredibly invasive tech-focused, and in some cases overtly transhumanist, medical technologies, including a program exclusively focused on using artificial intelligence (AI), mobile sensors, and wearable brain-mapping tech for children three years old and younger.

This Unlimited Hangout investigation explores not only the four current programs of Wellcome Leap but also the people behind it. The resulting picture is of an incredibly sinister project that poses not only a great threat to current society but to the future of humanity itself. An upcoming Unlimited Hangout investigation will examine the history of the Wellcome Trust along with its role in recent and current events.

Read more …

“It will not publish a column from a Republican senator on protests in the United States but it will publish columns from one of the Chinese leaders crushing protests for freedom in Hong Kong.”

United States Ranks Last In Media Trust (Turley)

For years, we have been discussing the decline of journalism values with the rise of open bias in the media. Now, a newly released report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford has found something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The United States ranked dead last in media trust among 49 countries with just 29% saying that they trusted the media. The most tragic aspect is that it does not matter. The media has embraced the advocacy journalism and anyone questioning that trend risks instant cancellation. The result is a type of state media where journalists are bound to the government by ideology rather than law. The plunging level of trust reflects the loss of the premier news organizations to a type of woke journalism.

We have have been discussing how writers, editors, commentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. Even journalists are leading attacks on free speech and the free press. This includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. Likewise, the University of North Carolina recently offered an academic chair in Journalism to New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones. While Hannah-Jones was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her writing on The 1619 Project, she has been criticized for her role in purging dissenting views from the New York Times pages and embracing absurd anti-police conspiracy theories.

Even waiting for the facts is viewed as unethical today by journalism professors who demand that reporters make political or social declarations through their coverage. One of the lowest moments came with the New York Times’ mea culpa for publishing an opinion column by a conservative senator. The New York Times was denounced by many of us for its cringing apology after publishing a column by Sen. Tom Cotton (R, Ark.). and promising not to publish future such columns. It will not publish a column from a Republican senator on protests in the United States but it will publish columns from one of the Chinese leaders crushing protests for freedom in Hong Kong. Cotton was arguing that the use of national guard troops may be necessary to quell violent riots, noting the historical use of this option in past protests. This option was used most recently after the Capitol riot.

Read more …

Now add record heat in the west.

US Food Banks Warn Soaring Prices Will Affect Distributions (ZH)

Soaring food prices aren’t just impacting financially strapped families and the working poor. They’re also affecting the mission of US food banks who are spending a lot more on food than ever before. “We’re already spending a lot more on food than we have in years past,” said Greg Trotter, a spokesman for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a large food bank, who spoke with VOA News. “Our food purchasing budget has doubled this year.” In the coming weeks and or months, food banks across the country may experience a surge in food demand from millions of folks who are set to have their stimmy checks expire. At least 25 states are ending federal unemployment benefits.

The perfect storm of factors (soaring food costs and unemployment benefits expiring) may stress food banks even further. “The high prices are costing us more to feed a family in need,” said Alison Padget, development and outreach director at Food for Others. “We’ll have to rethink our purchasing decisions because economists say the prices are going to be high for at least a year.” In Phoenix, Arizona, Jerry Brown, director of public relations at St. Mary’s Food Bank, told VOA that food banks could face severe difficulty once federal money dries up. It seems the problem has already begun at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, which covers a large portion of the state. Impact leader Triada Stampas said the food bank serves more people than ever because of out-of-control prices at grocery stores.

According to Father English Food Pantry officials in Paterson, New Jersey, the food bank is already experiencing financial strain. Kelly Mott, external affairs director at the Mississippi Food Network, said, “We already see the price changes will affect us soon, adding that “we are in the process of buying turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday in November. And since they are so expensive, we won’t be able to purchase as many as we usually do, especially for the families with children who rely on us.”

Read more …

“The most likely thing is that we’ll get married in the prison and then we’ll have another kind of wedding celebration with friends and family once he’s free.”

Stella Moris Says She Plans To Marry Julian Assange In Belmarsh Prison (RT)

Stella Moris, the partner of Julian Assange, has said that she and the WikiLeaks co-founder will tie the knot while he is in Belmarsh prison, and expressed hope he will be released soon so that there can be a proper celebration. Moris, a lawyer who began her relationship with Assange during the years he spent claiming political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, told German news agency DPA that the couple has been engaged since 2016 and will press ahead with their wedding plans, even if it means getting married in the maximum-security London prison. Moris and Assange have two sons, aged four and two and a half.


She acknowledged, however, that the “bureaucratic process” to obtain permission for the ceremony would take time, and that the ceremony has been further complicated by Covid-19 restrictions. Apart from needing to obtain relevant documents from their respective home countries, there is concern that the marriage could be hampered by the fact that Assange’s UK visa has expired. It’s also unclear if any guests would be allowed to attend the prison ceremony due to the health crisis. In theory, Assange could be let out of Belmarsh for a day so that he could get married, but there is already a large backlog of delayed weddings due to the country’s lockdown. “[I]f we get married in the prison, then I don’t think that will be the only celebration,” Moris told the outlet. “The most likely thing is that we’ll get married in the prison and then we’ll have another kind of wedding celebration with friends and family once he’s free.”

Read more …

Problem is, we’ve known for years that Thordarson is a convicted pedophile and a serial liar. But his “testimony” is still there.

Edward Snowden @Snowden: “This is the end of the case against Julian Assange.”

“If Biden continues to seek the extradition of a publisher under an indictment poisoned top-to-bottom with false testimony admitted by its own star witness, the damage to the United States’ reputation on press freedom would last for a generation. It’s unavoidable.”

Key Witness In Assange Case Admits To Lies In Indictment (Stundin)

A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history with sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution. The man in question, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his.

In fact he had volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization. Julian Assange was visiting Thordarson’s home country of Iceland around this time due to his work with Icelandic media and members of parliament in preparing the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a press freedom project that produced a parliamentary resolution supporting whistleblowers and investigative journalism. [..] The court documents refer to Mr Thordarson simply as “Teenager” (a reference to his youthful appearance rather than true age, he is 28 years old) and Iceland as “NATO Country 1” but make no real effort to hide the identity of either. They purport to show that Assange instructed Thordarson to commit computer intrusions or hacking in Iceland.

The aim of this addition to the indictment was apparently to shore up and support the conspiracy charge against Assange in relation to his interactions with Chelsea Manning. Those occurred around the same time he resided in Iceland and the authors of the indictment felt they could strengthen their case by alleging he was involved in illegal activity there as well. This activity was said to include attempts to hack into the computers of members of parliament and record their conversations. In fact, Thordarson now admits to Stundin that Assange never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs. His new claim is that he had in fact received some files from a third party who claimed to have recorded MPs and had offered to share them with Assange without having any idea what they actually contained.

He claims he never checked the contents of the files or even if they contained audio recordings as his third party source suggested. He further admits the claim, that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers in order to find any such recordings, is false. Nonetheless, the tactics employed by US officials appear to have been successful as can be gleaned from the ruling of Magistrate Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser on January 4th of this year. Although she ruled against extradition, she did so purely on humanitarian grounds relating to Assange’s health concerns, suicide risk and the conditions he would face in confinement in US prisons. With regards to the actual accusations made in the indictment Baraitser sided with the arguments of the American legal team, including citing the specific samples from Iceland which are now seriously called into question.

Read more …

 

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Jun 222021
 


Giorgio de Chirico The Archaeologists 1927

 

 

This is kind of a sequel to Let’s Save Some Lives , published here on June 6, when I said “All we can do is hope our immune systems are strong enough to fight off the vaccines.” and quoted Michael Yeadon, former Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer, as saying: “Ivermectin is an off-patent drug that is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, and we know it is able to reduce Covid-19 symptoms at any stage of the disease by about 90%, so there is no need for vaccines.”. We’ll just keep on going.

 

 

It’s mighty cute that Matt Taibbi gets some coverage after writing Why Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word? , just like it was cute that Michael Capuzzo got some when he wrote The Drug that Cracked Covid a few weeks ago. Question is, where have all these people, the writers and their readers, been in the past year? As I wrote two days ago:

Taibbi should ask not only “WHY Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word?” but also “WHEN Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word?”. And then apologize to his readers for completely missing the story for a year, or at least the half year it’s been since Kory’s Senate testimony -which he talks about- was deleted by YouTube.

It’s also cute that the American Journal of Therapeutics recently published:

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection

Therapeutic Advances: Meta-analysis of 15 trials found that ivermectin reduced risk of death compared with no ivermectin (average risk ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.19–0.73; n = 2438; I2 = 49%; moderate-certainty evidence). This result was confirmed in a trial sequential analysis using the same DerSimonian–Laird method that underpinned the unadjusted analysis. This was also robust against a trial sequential analysis using the Biggerstaff–Tweedie method. Low-certainty evidence found that ivermectin prophylaxis reduced COVID-19 infection by an average 86% (95% confidence interval 79%–91%).


[..] Conclusions: Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.

And The Journal of Antibiotics did the same with:

The Mechanisms Of Action Of Ivermectin Against SARS-CoV-2

Although several drugs received Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 treatment with unsatisfactory supportive data, Ivermectin, on the other hand, has been sidelined irrespective of sufficient convincing data supporting its use. [..]

Real-time data is also available with a meta-analysis of 55 studies to date. As per data available on 16 May 2021, 100% of 36 early treatment and prophylaxis studies report positive effects (96% of all 55 studies). Of these, 26 studies show statistically significant improvements in isolation. Random effects meta-analysis with pooled effects using the most serious outcome reported 79% and 85% improvement for early treatment and prophylaxis respectively (RR 0.21 [0.11–0.37] and 0.15 [0.09–0.25]).

The results were similar after exclusion based sensitivity analysis: 81% and 87% (RR 0.19 [0.14–0.26] and 0.13 [0.07–0.25]), and after restriction to 29 peer-reviewed studies: 82% and 88% (RR 0.18 [0.11–0.31] and 0.12 [0.05–0.30]). Statistically significant improvements were seen for mortality, ventilation, hospitalization, cases, and viral clearance. 100% of the 17 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) for early treatment and prophylaxis report positive effects, with an estimated improvement of 73% and 83% respectively (RR 0.27 [0.18–0.41] and 0.17 [0.05–0.61]), and 93% of all 28 RCTs.

Those numbers are clear enough, I bet you if you get an honest report on the vaccines none can compete, but for these science journals the same question must be asked: where were you over the past year? You really had no idea? We did at the Automatic Earth, but our reach is limited; we’re lucky if we convinced a few thousand people to obtain ivermectin, if they could get it in the first place. Which is great, don’t get me wrong.

There are a number of parties to this: there’s the vaccine manufacturers, aka Big Pharma, there’s politicians including governments, there’s the experts the latter derive their knowledge from, and there’s the media. And they’re all a year late when it comes to ivermectin and HCQ and other repurposed drugs. And at some point it will become clear that there was no need to be late, and it cost an enormous amount of misery and deaths and overwhelmed health care systems and lockdowns and facemasks.

They will do what they can to keep it from becoming clear, but it’s too obvious by now. Big Pharma simply says its products are superior, and suppresses research into ivermectin etc. Politicians hide behind their experts, who claim they go with what science journals publish. And the press hides behind the experts: “See, there’s no research”, without asking why there isn’t. There is, by the way, there is a lot of research:

 

 

It’s a closed club that all say the same thing. And put the onus on the -prospective- patients. Whereas if common sense had prevailed, and we had all given everybody enough vitamin D to bring those levels to an acceptable height, and we had given them ivermectin either as a prophylactic or an early cure, this pandemic would likely never have happened.

But if we had done that, the mRNA vaccines would never have gotten Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) , we couldn’t have locked everyone down, and there wouldn’t have been any reason for the huge-scale bailout programs. Sure, a few really old and/or really obese people, both with comorbidities, might have died, even with vitamin D and ivermectin, but they might have anyway. And we don’t know, because they never got that support.

That is the story that needs to be told today. Not why ivermectin today has a bad name, but why it got one a year and change ago. Why Capuzzo and Taibbi are so late to this game, and why politicians today are pushing vaccine passports while if they had acted a year ago, there would not have been a pandemic of anything the present size. Who are these people listening to, who controls the narratives?

Meanwhile the stories about the vaccines keep on piling up. Along the lines of: why is myocarditis among young men such a problem, if they mostly recover from it? Or: why are 10s of 1000s of spontaneous abortions among young America women a issue, when they can simply have another child? The benefits outweigh the problems, we hear it every single day.

It’s sort of funny, if the effects weren’t so ghastly, that both ivermectin and the vaccines were never tested, even though the WHO says: “Vaccines are safe and effective and have been tested extensively”. The first because that would have made the second ineligible for EUA, the second because some parties really wanted to push our bodies into becoming spike protein factories, to see how these gather in our brains and ovaries and testes, and watch what happens.

So who’s going to pay the price for the full year delay, which is ongoing -there’s still no ivermectin distribution campaign other than in parts of India and a few South American and African nations-, who’s going to take the blame for all the deaths and misery? Or will the system remain closed to the public’s eyes?

 

 

 

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Jun 022021
 
 June 2, 2021  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Paul Klee In the Houses of Saint Germain 1932

 

Fauci Emails Reveal Damage Control Scramble After ZeroHedge Article (ZH)
What Did I Say? (Denninger)
Fauci Continues Cult Of Personality With A New ‘Life Philosophy’ Book (RT)
So Now It’s Admitted, What Else Did You Do? (Denninger)
COVID-19 Antibodies May Last a Lifetime (HE)
Echoes Of Russia Reversal In Intel Community’s Covid Origins Probe (JTN)
Boris Johnson Says No Evidence To Delay England Reopening (G.)
Big Pharma’s EU Ties Could Stymie Vaccine Waivers (DP)
How Independent Were The US And British Vaccine Advisory Committees? (BMJ)
No, Obama Wasn’t Mad About Bailing Out His Wall Street Donors (DP)
JBS Shutters All US Meat Plants As Cyber Attack Jeopardizes Food Supply (ZH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

What an incredible mess.

Fauci Emails Reveal Damage Control Scramble After ZeroHedge Article (ZH)

In January, 2020, when the World Health Organization insisted that COVID-19 wasn’t transmissible between humans, and Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the risk to the American public from the virus was “low,” officials at the National Institutes of Health were scrambling to perform damage control after a controversial – and now withdrawn – study suggested that there were HIV-like ‘insertions’ included in SARS-CoV-2. The study, “Uncanny similarity of unique inserts on the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag,” posited that segments of the virus’s RNA had no relation to other coronaviruses such as SARS, and instead appeared to be closer to HIV. Specifically:

“To further investigate if these inserts are present in any other corona virus, we performed a multiple sequence alignment of the spike glycoprotein amino acid sequences of all available coronaviruses (n=55) [refer Table S.File1] in NCBI refseq (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) this includes one sequence of 2019-nCoV[Fig.S1]. We found that these 4 insertions [inserts 1, 2, 3 and 4] are unique to 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses analyzed. … We then translated the aligned genome and found that these inserts are present in all Wuhan 2019-nCoV viruses except the 2019-nCoV virus of Bat as a host [Fig.S4]. Intrigued by the 4 highly conserved inserts unique to 2019-nCoV we wanted to understand their origin. For this purpose, we used the 2019-nCoV local alignment with each insert as query against all virus genomes and considered hits with 100% sequence coverage. Surprisingly, each of the four inserts aligned with short segments of the Human immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) proteins.”

The now-withdrawn paper piqued the interest of several journalists, including Zero Hedge (whose account Twitter banned one day after we updated our coverage of the article, claiming we ‘doxed’ a Chinese scientist in an earlier report). Thanks to a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Fauci’s emails, we now know that the National Institutes of Health was not only aware of the Indian report, but were actively discussing how to handle it. A January 31 email from AFP’s Issam Ahmed asks NIH immunologist Dr. Barney Graham for comment: “I was told by a contact you may be willing to give an opinion of this paper that has just gone live. It suggests the new Coronavirus has four inserts similar to HIV-1 and this is not a coincidence,” reads the email.

Graham immediately forwards the correspondence to the Office of Communications and Government Relations (OCGR), saying “This is one we don’t want to answer without high-level input, but wanted you to know about the rising controversy.”

That same Sunday morning, Fauci is looped in – with Sir Jeremy Farrar forwarding Zero Hedge’s article after mentioning how World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom and the organization’s cabinet chief were in ‘conclave’ – ostensibly on how to manage the narrative – noting “If they do prevaricate [bullshit the public], I would appreciate a call with you later tonight or tomorrow to think how we might take forward.” “Do you have a minute for a quick call?” Fauci replies, after having called the Indian paper “really outlandish.”

Read more …

“We killed 300,000 Americans for the express purpose of getting EUAs issued for vaccines..”

What Did I Say? (Denninger)

On 12/7/2020 I put forward that we had scientific evidence on how to slam the door on Covid-19’s transmission. We knew in October from the study I cited that there was a simple and near-zero cost way to do it. In mid-October the death count in the US stood at about 200,000. We did nothing. Why did we do nothing? Because if we admitted to the existence of this study, which was registered formally on the government’s clinical trial site, and followed what it told us to do, there would be no EUAs for vaccines. They would have been illegal. The FDA knew this, the NIH knew this and the CDC knew this since the trial database in question is run by the US Government. All three were fully-aware that there was a cheap, easy and immediate way to slam the door on transmission of Covid-19 and had been tested in a health-care setting – that is, where people are around folks who are known infectious all the time.

Our government, medical and political systems deliberately ignored the scientific evidence and a formal clinical trial which our government had registered and for which results posted in October of 2020. We did this and as a direct result more than 300,000 additional people died. We now know they died and the virus spread as a direct result of that willful and intentional act. We know this because now there is a further study that proves not only did the drug work to cut fatalities it also cuts off viral transmission dramatically and almost-immediately when used, which means had we used it the case rate would have never surged in the winter at all and a huge percentage of the people who died would have never got the virus at all.

In a multivariable logistic regression model, the odds of a negative test at day 6 was 2.62 time higher in the ivermectin group (95% CI: 1.06 to 6.45). Cultures at days 2 to 6 were positive in 3/23 (13.0%) of ivermectin samples vs. 14/29 (48.2%) in the placebo group (p=0.008). If the culture is negative you cannot transmit the virus to someone else because whatever you have in your body cannot grow in that person or any other person. Forward transmission capability within two days of administration of this cheap drug went from 48% -> 13%, a 73% reduction. Cutting off transmission within 48 hours of administering the drug would have stopped the winter spike from occurring.

Offering Ivermectin to all who tested positive and everyone in their household would have slammed the door instantly on forward transmission and ended the pandemic in the United States before the winter surge occurred. We now know this at a scientific level of certainty. [..] We killed 300,000 Americans for the express purpose of getting EUAs issued for vaccines. Leaving aside whether the vaccines are safe, and giving them full credit for being effective the fact still remains that our government and health care system killed 300,000 people by refusing to follow the science, that refusal was intentional and undertaken for financial reasons, and as a direct result a genocide-level manslaughter took place.

Read more …

The guy’s soon 80 years old. Why do it?

Fauci Continues Cult Of Personality With A New ‘Life Philosophy’ Book (RT)

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s celebrity status has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and he’s continuing to cash in on his cult of personality with a new “life philosophy” book. Fauci has been the face of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic in the US through two incredibly different administrations. Considering the fact that he has been in that position through such uncertain times, one would assume he’d be a trusted, beloved figure, and he is – to some. Take a scroll through social media or look at recent polling on the man, and it’s clear he is as divisive as the politicians he stands next to. One poll last month found that the majority of people who identify as Republicans say he has “hurt” the US more than helped during the pandemic. Democrats remain much more faithful to the man, with a separate poll finding that 80% of them feel the infectious disease expert is doing a good or excellent job.


Fauci has been undeterred by this mixed response and simply leaned in on his celebrity status. While so many have struggled through the pandemic, Fauci’s smiling face could be seen in numerous cable news interviews, almost daily, at press conferences, throwing first pitches at baseball games, on magazine covers – he’s been treated as the “American hero” Jill Biden recently described him as. Now, we are subjected to the latest extension of his celebrity with an upcoming book entitled, ‘Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward’. Compiled through “hours of interviews,” Fauci will give us his personal “life philosophy” through the read, as well as “universal advice to live by.” It is set to hit shelves on November 2, and you can bet Fauci will be making the media rounds to promote it.

Read more …

“..the case rate was collapsing by the end of the month, down by more than 50% over those two weeks, yet not a single person was immune by virtue of vaccination on January 1st 2021. Not one.”

So Now It’s Admitted, What Else Did You Do? (Denninger)

How about early treatment and intervention? HCQ/Doxycycline/Zinc? Ivermectin? Budesonide? Others? All have shown some efficacy. Remdesivir, on the other hand, only usable in a hospital, has shown none in a very large trial (Solidarity.) Whadda ‘ya mean there are no studies? What do you call those three links above and why were they not offered to patients every single time? Why doesn’t the person who has a disease get to choose? There is highly-credible evidence behind early treatment which began in the first few months of the outbreak; Florida near Palm Beach with Ivermectin, Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital System with HCQ, a doctor in Texas with Budesonide, a confirmatory study on that run out of Australia and then very large populations that have used them such as India and Mexico City with several nations and provinces within nations telling the ghouls to stuff it over the last few months when the other path, relying on vaccines and expensive on-patent drugs like Remdesivir in the hospitals, did not stop the infections and death.

You want to know why Twitter doesn’t like people talking about those things? Ever look at their ads on their mobile app? Half of them are from pharma companies advocating this or that brand new, expensive drug. Gee, no problem there, right? Watch TV? How many pharma ads do you see there? Ever see an ad for an off-patent, cheap drug for something? You never have and never will — there’s no money in it.

[..] It takes 2 weeks after the second dose before you’re “protected.” The peak was on January 8th. The first doses went into arms on December 14th, so zero people had received two doses by the 8th of January and had it become effective, and more-damning was the beginning of actual vaccination in real people on a national basis was right around that time — yet no vaccine is effective instantly. The peak here in this county for cases was in fact on the 14th of December. A literal zero persons had been vaccinated before that day; the case rate was collapsing by the end of the month, down by more than 50% over those two weeks, yet not a single person was immune by virtue of vaccination on January 1st 2021. Not one. What’s the truth about epidemics like this — respiratory viruses — all through history?

Never has one been trouble in any material size for more than a handful of years – like two, occasionally with a “gap” in the middle. All are characterized by two waves or less, the second frequently more-severe. 1889-92, which looks to have been HCoV-OC43 (unproved), also a coronavirus, was two waves. 1918 was two waves. The 1957 pandemic was two waves, both roughly equally severe. 2009 H1N1 was two waves but, contrary to expectations, was mild. There is no evidence — zero — for any of the ten for which reasonably-contemporary records exist showing any deviation from this pattern. Every single one for which such records exist has burned itself out within two years and/or two phases or waves. Repeat: Covid-19 was over in the United States in December before the first stab went into the first arm. The first wave was in early 2020 and the second came in the winter which peaked before anyone could be vaccinated.

Read more …

“After a new infection, short-lived cells – called plasmablasts – are an early source of antibodies. But, they disappear soon after the body fights off the virus, and other longer-lasting cells make the antibodies.”

COVID-19 Antibodies May Last a Lifetime (HE)

If you’ve had COVID-19, you’ve likely been told that your antibodies last a few weeks, or months, at the maximum. However, new research suggests that many will make antibodies against the virus for most of their lives. Researchers have identified long-lasting cells, which produce antibodies, in the bone marrow of people who have recovered from the virus, per Nature. The study provides evidence that immunity will last longer than once thought. “The implications are that vaccines will have the same durable effect,” Menno van Zelm, an immunologist at Monash University in Australia, said. Antibodies are the key to immune defense, as they essentially serve as a block for the virus. After a new infection, short-lived cells – called plasmablasts – are an early source of antibodies.


But, they disappear soon after the body fights off the virus, and other longer-lasting cells make the antibodies. “A plasma cell is our life history, in terms of the pathogens we’ve been exposed to,” Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis who led the study, said. Ellebedy’s team tracked antibody production in 77 people who recovered from mild cases of COVID-19. Indeed, antibodies plummeted in the four months after the infection, but the decline slowed and up to eleven months after infection, antibodies were still present. While this is critical information, it remains unclear what antibody levels will look like in the long term. “We’re early in the game,” said Rafi Ahmed, an immunologist at Emory University. “We’re not looking at 5 years, 10 years after infection.”

Read more …

“The only people rejecting the proper course of conduct was the mainstream media, aided by the clown show that is Adam Schiff.”

Echoes Of Russia Reversal In Intel Community’s Covid Origins Probe (JTN)

When President Biden recently revealed a schism in the intelligence community over the origins of the COVID-19 virus — with some now seeing it plausible a lab leak caused the pandemic — he did far more than just order a 90-day review. He acknowledged implicitly that the prevailing assessment of America’s spy agencies during the last year of Donald Trump’s presidency — that the virus evolved in nature – was now fully in question. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, went a step further and revealed some U.S. intelligence analysts believed the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology much earlier but their views were suppressed from policymakers.

The COVID origins evolution echoes in some respects the deeply flawed Russia collusion probe, when the FBI dove headfirst into an election-year dossier funded by Hillary Clinton and opened a probe of Trump adviser Carter Page even as the CIA warned Christopher Steele’s intelligence was Moscow-fed disinformation and Page was one of the Agency’s own assets. The parallels have some questioning whether the intelligence community can still operate with clear eyes and give policymakers a 360-degree view of issues, including dissenting analysis, in this hyper-partisan era of America. “Our intelligence community doesn’t need another 90 days to assess the origins of the coronavirus,” said Fred Fleitz, a longtime intelligence analyst and former chief of staff to the National Security Council.

“There has long been enough open-source information to conclude with high confidence that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Fleitz said the intelligence community ombudsman has already concluded that spy agencies “deliberately played down and omitted intelligence” that China tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election because they did not want to produce analysis that supported President Trump’s policies. “I believe it is very likely the same thing happened with the IC’s analysis of the coronavirus origin and the Chinese coverup,” he said.

Kash Patel, a former National Security Council adviser to Trump, said the failure to properly report on the origins of COVID-19 is the latest episode showing the intelligence community and the mainstream media taking positions contrary to Trump’s for reasons other than facts. “Every single time President Trump had the intelligence correct and based policy decisions in sound reasoning,” Patel said. “The only people rejecting the proper course of conduct was the mainstream media, aided by the clown show that is Adam Schiff.” While Biden has given American spy agencies 90 days to give the latest assessment, there is growing proof that the U.S. intelligence community had access to contrary evidence when it gave its first assessment in April 2020 that COVID-19 likely evolved from nature.

“The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” the ODNI said on April 30, 2020. President Trump and his advisers vehemently disagreed with the assessment, continuing to insist the most likely source of the virus was a lab leak.

Read more …

“Scientists say UK faces ‘perilous moment’ as Delta Covid variant now makes up 75% of cases..”

Boris Johnson Says No Evidence To Delay England Reopening (G.)

Downing Street believes early data shows England can forge ahead with the 21 June unlocking despite a chorus of warnings from scientists about rising case rates linked to the Delta variant first identified in India. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said there were encouraging signs vaccines were breaking the link between infections and hospitalisations as Public Health England announced zero daily reported Covid deaths for the first time since last summer. Boris Johnson is understood to be optimistic about the current data but a No 10 source said the next few days would be crucial to assess the impact of the unlocking that took place from 17 May – though early data did not show significant cause for alarm. “There is obviously concern about case numbers but we still need to see if that is translating to hospitalisations and deaths or if the vaccine is breaking that link,” the source said.


“At the moment we do not have evidence that definitively suggests we should delay.” The business minister Paul Scully also expressed “cautious optimism”. He told Times Radio the government did not want to have to roll back restrictions again. “One thing that we saw last year, before Christmas, was the stop-start nature just didn’t work for businesses and cost them more. So we’ve got to get it absolutely right. People’s jobs and livelihoods depend on it.” However, the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Prof Sir Mark Walport, said on Tuesday it was “not impossible” that the country was in the foothills of a new wave as the Delta variant takes over, accounting for three-quarters of new cases. “It is a quite perilous moment, but we’ve just got to keep our fingers crossed that the measures work,” he said. A series of other scientists have echoed his concerns.

Read more …

“Macron’s position depends on the time of day or what’s in the newspaper that morning,”

Big Pharma’s EU Ties Could Stymie Vaccine Waivers (DP)

The Biden administration’s newfound support for waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines could prove to be a turning point in the fight against the pandemic and a major step forward for health care access in the Global South. But before that, the effort needs to overcome a hefty roadblock: hostility from the European Union. Any legally-binding suspension of global patents on vaccines requires unanimous support from the World Trade Organization’s commission on IP rights, better known as the TRIPS Council, slated to meet June 8-9 in Geneva. While the United States said in May that it was finally interested in negotiating a proposal to do just that, signs suggest the European Commission — the executive branch of the EU, which has forged close ties with the pharmaceutical industry — will likely continue to oppose a proposed waiver on vaccines.

Pharmaceutical interests have become one of the biggest lobbying forces in Europe, according to spending disclosures reviewed by The Daily Poster. “Internationally, there’s a real risk that the European Union could make this drag out, that their actions in Geneva and at the World Trade Organization could lead to a serious delay,” says Kenneth Haar, a researcher at the Corporate Europe Observatory, a watchdog tracking corporate influence in the EU. “That’s a huge problem because time is of the essence.” [..] While at least two European governments, that of Spain and Poland, have publicly thrown their support behind a waiver since Washington’s about-face, the EU’s twin power brokers have yet to come around.

Despite some initial enthusiasm from French President Emmanuel Macron following Biden’s announcement, his government has yet to endorse a waiver of IP rights, while Germany hasn’t appeared to budge at all from its opposition. “With France, you never know, Macron’s position depends on the time of day or what’s in the newspaper that morning,” says Haar. “But officially, the French position is not in favor and they’re backing Merkel on this.”

Read more …

It’s a small world.

How Independent Were The US And British Vaccine Advisory Committees? (BMJ)

In the wake of lightning fast authorisations of covid-19 vaccines in the UK and the US, public health officials have worked hard to maintain confidence in these new products. British and American officials have emphasised the independence of the experts who authorise vaccines and those who issue advice on them. But an investigation by The BMJ has found that some of these experts have significant industry ties that government agencies do not always disclose. [..] In some cases, an expert has made a disclosure but the committee has not deemed it a conflict. For example, in the case of the UK’s JCVI, the chair of the covid-19 meeting is Wei Shen Lim, a professor at the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, who JCVI says has “no registered conflicts of interest.” The same document, however, further states that Lim’s “institution has received unrestricted investigator-initiated research funding from Pfizer for a study in pneumonia in which Professor Lim is the chief investigator (non-vaccine related).” And in a preprint published only months before the JCVI’s December meeting, Lim reported this Pfizer grant.

[..] For example, Open Payments reported that Arnold Monto, professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and acting chair for the FDA s covid vaccine authorisation meetings, had received over $24, 000 in payments from drug companies in 2019. That same year, Open Payments reports that Myron Levine, a panellist from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, received about $30, 000, mostly in consulting fees. In 2019, Open Payments reports, Robert Schooley of the University of California at San Diego received over $25,000 in payments. It also reports that Ofer Levy at Boston Children’s Hospital received $5500 in mostly travel expenses from GSK. And in a 2020 publication Levy disclosed that he was a named inventor on several patent applications related to vaccine adjuvants.

[..] Joel Lexchin of York University in Toronto, who publishes research on conflicts of interest, says, “Twelve months is really quite short. I think that’s not acceptable.” He also suggests that government agencies should publish everything that experts disclose to them, instead of picking and choosing what to make public. “The best policy is disclose everything,” he says. “Second best, pretty far down, is to have clear rules about why certain things don’t need to be disclosed.” Schooley explains that the various time windows required by different disclosure policies can make it appear that an academic has reported financial interests in one case but not in another. More consistent disclosure policies are needed, he says—and universities, agencies, and journals should come together to normalise standards. “If all of this were harmonised, it would improve transparency and reduce the time required for all involved,” he wrote to The BMJ. “In the meantime, we can try to answer each request as best we can based on how we interpret each query.”

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“Then, Obama held a White House meeting with bank CEOs to tell them “help me help you.”

No, Obama Wasn’t Mad About Bailing Out His Wall Street Donors (DP)

Former President Barack Obama wants you to now believe that he was actually mad about giant Wall Street handouts that he voted for, then arm twisted lawmakers to expand — and then rescinded when some of the money might have gone to help homeowners. Obama’s foray into pure fiction is not only absurd — it is a reminder that history can repeat itself if we allow reality to be memory-holed. Obama’s comments came in a new interview with the New York Times’ Ezra Klein. “When we came into office, the economy was in a free fall,” the former president said. “We had to scramble and do a bunch of stuff, some of which was inherited, some of which we initiated to stabilize the financial system. People hated it. It’s hard to just underscore how much the bank bailouts just angered everyone, including me.”

Obama had an odd method of expressing his alleged rage. During the 2008 campaign, he made a public spectacle of leaving the campaign trail to cast a Senate vote for the no-strings-attached bank bailout. A few months later, Politico reported: “Not yet in the White House but working the phones as if he were, Barack Obama won a crucial Senate vote Thursday clearing the release of $350 billion more in bailout funds from the Treasury Department’s controversial financial rescue program. For the incoming president, the 52-42 roll call represented a first major test of strength, and Obama threw himself into the fight, reaching out to senators on both sides of the aisle and making calls until he had won all but one of the seven Democratic freshmen elected in November.”

Then, Obama held a White House meeting with bank CEOs to tell them “help me help you.” He used his bully pulpit to stop his own party’s efforts to prevent the bailout from subsidizing massive bonus payouts to AIG. And when some of that bank bailout money might have been redirected into helping homeowners who were getting thrown out of their homes, Obama signed legislation to rescind his own authority to spend the cash on such a priority. Official Washington then pretended the bailouts were actually paid back, even though that self-serving talking point is complete bullshit.

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Looks vulnerable.

JBS Shutters All US Meat Plants As Cyber Attack Jeopardizes Food Supply (ZH)

Update (2002 ET): The USDA has released an important update about the Biden administration’s steps to mitigate potential supply constraints and price surges following JBS’ ransomware attack.

As noted earlier today by the White House, USDA is aware of the ransomware attack against JBS, which is affecting the company’s operations, including its facilities in the United States. USDA continues to work closely with the White House, Department of Homeland Security, JBS USA and others to monitor this situation closely and offer help and assistance to mitigate any potential supply or price issues. As part of that effort, USDA has reached out to several major meat processors in the United States to ensure they are aware of the situation, encouraging them to accommodate additional capacity where possible, and to stress the importance of keeping supply moving.

USDA has also been in contact with several food, agriculture and retail organizations to underscore the importance of maintaining close communication and working together to ensure a stable, plentiful food supply. USDA will continue to encourage food and agriculture companies with operations in the United States to take necessary steps to protect their IT and supply chain infrastructure so that it is more durable, distributed and better able to withstand modern challenges, including cybersecurity threats and disruptions.

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Born in 1832 (5 years prior to the coronation of Queen Victoria), Jonathan the Tortoise is due to turn 190 years old in 2022. That makes him the oldest-known land animal alive today

 

 

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Apr 142021
 


Edgar Degas Leaving the paddock1866
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, the single largest art theft in the world. Never recovered

 

Nearly A Quarter Of Registered Covid Deaths Are Not Caused By The Virus (DM)
More Brands Are Putting Money And Clout Behind Covid-19 Vaccine Ads (F.)
Big Pharma Uses Big Tobacco’s Strategy To Defeat Ivermectin (DR)
How Bill Gates Impeded Global Access to Covid Vaccines (TNR)
Russia Accuses US, NATO Of Moving Troops To Its Border (AA)
Biden Urges Russia To De-Escalate Ukraine Tensions In Call With Putin (G.)
Russia Warns US Warships To Stay Far Away From Crimea “For Their Own Good” (ZH)
Biden To Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan By September 11 (G.)
Joe Biden Is Proceeding With Donald Trump’s Biggest Arms Deal (HuffPo)
The Absentee Vote Logic of the New York Times (RCI)
CNN Staffer Admits Network’s Focus Was To ‘Get Trump Out Of Office’ (Fox)
Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies May Be Coming, Warns Kraken CEO (RT)
Republican Antitrust Bill Would Block All Big Tech Acquisitions (TC)
Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling (WS)
Airborne Plastic Pollution ‘Spiralling Around The Globe’ (G.)

 

 

 

 

The indoctrination is so deep that educated people think they’re being objective.
– Noam Chomsky

 

 

We will never ever know the real numbers.

But 50% of under 25s having antibodies doesn’t seem to point to lockdowns as the main “success” factor.

Nearly A Quarter Of Registered Covid Deaths Are Not Caused By The Virus (DM)

Nearly a quarter of registered Covid-19 deaths are now people who are not being killed by the virus, new official figures show as Boris Johnson comes under renewed pressure from Tory backbenchers to end the third lockdown sooner than planned. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that 23 per cent of coronavirus deaths which are registered are now people who have died ‘with’ the disease rather than ‘from’ an infection. This means that the person who has died will have tested positive for Covid-19 at some point, but that the disease was not recorded as the victim’s primary cause of death on their death certificate. Even though just 23 deaths were announced yesterday, the Prime Minister is continuing to resist calls from his own party to lift all coronavirus curbs ahead of schedule as he warned that cases will rise in the coming weeks as people meet with friends and family in pubs and parks.

Outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail reopened on Monday under the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Thousands of people rushed to high streets to splurge their cash on drinks, haircuts and clothes as economists predict a mini-boom fuelled by pent-up demand. However, in his downcast interview with Sky News, Mr Johnson even appeared to dismiss the efficacy of the vaccines his government has been busily rolling out this winter, as he claimed the shutdown – not jabs – had reduced the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths. ‘It is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers – in hospitalisations and in deaths and in infections – has not been achieved by the vaccination programme,’ he said.

‘People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing. So yes of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.’ Conservative backbenchers led by Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Research Group of Tory MPs, have mounted a campaign to get the country opened up sooner than planned.

Boris
https://twitter.com/i/status/1381922550154981377

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A giant PR campaign for Pfizer, that’s all it is, paid for by the state.

More Brands Are Putting Money And Clout Behind Covid-19 Vaccine Ads (F.)

As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, well known companies ranging from tech giants to beer brands are rolling out public service announcements to encourage people to get their shot. This past week, The Boston Beer Company debuted a new Sam Adams campaign promoting the vaccine featuring the brand’s “Cousin From Boston” character. The ad—created by the advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners—shows the “Cousin” getting vaccinated by a real healthcare worker at Fenway Park’s mega site. But right before getting his jab, he passes out from his fear of needles and dreams of the day he can once again meet up with friends at a bar. (Sam Adams is also offering $7 toward a celebratory beer to the first 10,000 people to share proof of vaccination with the hashtag #ShotForSam on social media.)

According to GS&P cofounder Jeff Goodby—the legendary creative behind the iconic “Got Milk” campaign and countless Super Bowl ads—humor is a good way to reach younger audiences, especially after a year as emotionally draining as 2020. “You know what humor did for me is it puts this in perspective,’ Goodby says. “It’s just an inoculation. We’ve had a million of them in our lifetime, and this one is actually for the good of the community around you as well as for yourself and I think we tried to get that across. And it leads to a certain liberation and togetherness. And beer of course, is central to togetherness. One of the great things about getting inoculated is you can drink beer with people.” While Sam Adams went with humor, it wasn’t without first testing the ad to make sure it would be well-received, despite the serious nature of the topic, says Boston Beer Company CMO Lesya Lysyj.

Before introducing the “Cousin” last year, Sam Adams had been taking a more serious tone, even before the pandemic began. “We felt like it was important to show him showing it since he’s so relatable,” Lysyj says. “And if that guy can do it, anybody can do it . . . We did feel like you could put yourself in the shoes of this guy.” Sam Adams isn’t alone in its messaging. In fact The Ad Council—a nonprofit with a long history of collaborating with marketers to create PSAs for a variety of causes—has raised more than $50 million to fund Covid-19 PSAs and other related initiatives with a goal of appealing to a wide audience. To promote mask-wearing, it teamed up with Warner Media and the CDC in February for “Mask Up America,” a PSA featuring characters—from Harry Potter to the Joker to hobbits from Lord of the Rings—all wearing face masks in iconic scenes.

And in March, it released a vaccine PSA featuring former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush. Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s chief campaign officer, says the Covid-19 vaccine effort is the most complicated initiative undertaken by the organization, which also led polio vaccine efforts in the 1950s. “The amount of change can happen so quickly as the medical community learns more about the efficacy of vaccines and making sure that all of our messages and the content we’re creating is really where the science is because it can get very confusing for people with the flip of a switch,” she says.

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It’s about your money, not your health.

Big Pharma Uses Big Tobacco’s Strategy To Defeat Ivermectin (DR)

The Marlboro Man, as Dr. Mukherjee wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies, was the most successful smoking icon by 1955. Dr. Mukherjee describes how the Tobacco Industry fought back by twisting science against the public, first by arguing that an association does not prove cause and effect, and later by offering to perform the studies. The tobacco scientists argued that lung cancer was caused by genetics: if you were born with cancer genes, you developed cancer, and if you weren’t, you didn’t get it. Cigarettes might be associated with cancer, but they argued that more studies were needed if one were to actually “prove a causal link” between cigarettes and cancer. The actual cause of lung cancer, the tobacco scientists concluded, was faulty genetics and not cigarettes.

To assist with these studies, the generous Big Tobacco even offered to fund the research by founding the Tobacco Industry Research Committee. The TIRC is described further in The Emperor of All Maladies, a book I strongly recommend everyone read. The author writes how this ingenious strategy kept the tobacco companies in business and record-breaking profits for the next 50 years despite causing many millions of lung cancer deaths. Blurring or confusing the facts as a tactic proved remarkably effective. But by far, the craftiest ruse was for the Tobacco Industry to pretend to embrace the research and set up their own studies. Because by controlling the study design, they could control the outcome. The same strategy is now used against the public in this pandemic.

Their first victim was Hydroxychloroquine, which proved easy to discredit given that Donald Trump sounded unhinged in his praise for the drug. Later studies seemed to reinforce the belief that HCQ was ineffective; however when academic misconduct was found, it threatened to expose the effort. Big Pharma successfully distanced itself when the fraudulent articles were retracted and blamed on lone scientists acting by themselves. Dr. Tess Lawrie is a highly-respected and independent research consultant to the World Health Organization and NHS. Her work is routinely relied upon in the formation of International Practice Guidelines. She has found HCQ to have an effect against the coronavirus. Most tellingly, when Dr. Tess Lawrie performed her independent review of the data on Ivermectin, she removed the Fonseca study, which purported to show no benefit against COVID with Ivermectin use.

Dr. Lawrie explained, “They (The Fonseca Group) didn’t find that much of a difference between Ivermectin and the control arm. But the control arm received HCQ. So basically, there’s a comparison between two fairly active treatments.” Dr. Lawrie explained that there were many reasons to consider HCQ active against the virus. Thus, two patient groups were compared in Fonseca, both of which received effective drugs against COVID-19, and this was not considered a valid controlled trial of Ivermectin. Therefore the study was eliminated from the meta-analysis.

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Stay away from Bill.

How Bill Gates Impeded Global Access to Covid Vaccines (TNR)

In April [2020], Bill Gates launched a bold bid to manage the world’s scientific response to the pandemic. Gates’s Covid-19 ACT-Accelerator expressed a status quo vision for organizing the research, development, manufacture, and distribution of treatments and vaccines. Like other Gates-funded institutions in the public health arena, the Accelerator was a public-private partnership based on charity and industry enticements. Crucially, and in contrast to the C-TAP, the Accelerator enshrined Gates’s long-standing commitment to respecting exclusive intellectual property claims. Its implicit arguments—that intellectual property rights won’t present problems for meeting global demand or ensuring equitable access, and that they must be protected, even during a pandemic—carried the enormous weight of Gates’s reputation as a wise, beneficent, and prophetic leader.


How he’s developed and wielded this influence over two decades is one of the more consequential and underappreciated shapers of the failed global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Entering year two, this response has been defined by a zero-sum vaccination battle that has left much of the world on the losing side. Gates’s marquee Covid-19 initiative started relatively small. Two days before the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced something called the Therapeutics Accelerator, a joint initiative with Mastercard and the charity group the Wellcome Trust to identify and develop potential treatments for the novel coronavirus. Doubling as a social branding exercise for a giant of global finance, the Accelerator reflected Gates’s familiar formula of corporate philanthropy, which he has applied to everything from malaria to malnutrition.

In retrospect, it was a strong indicator that Gates’s dedication to monopoly medicine would survive the pandemic, even before he and his foundation’s officers began to say so publicly. This was confirmed when a bigger version of the Accelerator was unveiled the following month at the WHO. The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT-Accelerator, was Gates’s bid to organize the development and distribution of everything from therapeutics to testing. The biggest and most consequential arm, COVAX, proposed to subsidize vaccine deals with poor countries through donations by, and sales to, richer ones. The goal was always limited: It aimed to provide vaccines for up to 20 percent of the population in low-to-middle-income countries. After that, governments would largely have to compete on the global market like everyone else. It was a partial demand-side solution to what the movement coalescing around a call for a “people’s vaccine” warned would be a dual crisis of supply and access, with intellectual property at the center of both.

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“Over 40,000 people and 15,000 units of military equipment and weapons will be deployed on Russia’s western border in the near future..”

“In the spring of this year, the joint armed forces of NATO began the largest exercise in the last 30 years, Defender Europe 2021..”

Russia Accuses US, NATO Of Moving Troops To Its Border (AA)

The US is moving its troops to Russia’s borders, a top Russian official said on Tuesday. Over 40,000 people and 15,000 units of military equipment and weapons will be deployed on Russia’s western border in the near future, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said in a video conference with other military chiefs in the northern city of Severodvinsk. “In Poland and the Baltic states, US forces are being reinforced … the intensity of aerial reconnaissance has been doubled compared to last year, and the intensity of naval reconnaissance has increased by one-and-a-half times,” he said.


The minister accused the US and its allies of carrying out active military activities “with a clear anti-Russian orientation,” including up to 40 major military training events in Europe every year. “In the spring of this year, the joint armed forces of NATO began the largest exercise in the last 30 years, Defender Europe 2021,” he said. According to Shoygu, Russia redeployed two army and three airborne units to its western border “to counter the threat.”

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This is propaganda theater. It’s very obviously NATO that’s escalating tensions.

Biden Urges Russia To De-Escalate Ukraine Tensions In Call With Putin (G.)

In a phone call with Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden has called on Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and proposed a summit between the two leaders amid growing concern over a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border. The president emphasized the United States’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and expressed concern about Russia’s military buildup, the White House said. “President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with US interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.” Biden expressed concern about Russia’s military buildup in the Crimea region of Ukraine and on Ukraine’s border, the White House said in a statement.


It said Biden also made clear that the United States will act “firmly” to defend its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference. Biden also proposed holding a summit with Putin in a third country in coming months. The phone call came hours after Nato’s secretary general called on Russia to halt its military buildup around Ukraine, describing it as “unjustified, unexplained and deeply concerning”. Flanked by Ukraine’s foreign minister at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Nato’s Jens Stoltenberg said Russia had moved thousands of combat troops to Ukraine’s borders in “the largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014”.

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“The trend in the behavior of the Ukrainian side creates the risk of a resumption of full-scale military action.”

Russia Warns US Warships To Stay Far Away From Crimea “For Their Own Good” (ZH)

At a moment the United States appears poised to send its warships near Ukraine as a strong ‘deterrent message’ against Russian forces built up near the east Ukrainian border, Russia on Tuesday warned that US vessels better stay away from Crimea “for their own good”. A Kremlin statement further called the new US deployment into the Black Sea a serious “provocation” which serves no other purpose but to test Russia’s “strength” and “nerves”. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov issued the Tuesday warning as follows: “There is absolutely nothing for American ships to be doing near our shores, this is purely a provocative action. Provocative in the direct sense of the word: they are testing our strength, playing on our nerves. They will not succeed.”

“We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good,” he added. It was late last week that Turkey’s foreign ministry confirmed that it’s granted permission for US warships to use the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to enter the Black Sea. The Pentagon has downplayed the deployment by keeping mostly mum about it, only saying that it’s “routine” for US warships to patrol the Black Sea. The Kremlin has warned that it’s Kiev’s own actions and initial troop build-up in and near Donbass that is risking “broader war” in the region. Days ago Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The trend in the behavior of the Ukrainian side creates the risk of a resumption of full-scale military action.”

Russia’s newest warning that US ships better not come near Crimea likely also have in mind Joe Biden’s first words addressing the long-simmering Ukraine crisis issued early in his presidency. He said in a February 26 statement that the US “will never” recognize Russia’s claims over Crimea: The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts. We will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and aggression in Ukraine.

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Trump wanted to do it but got obstructed by the Pentagon. So Biden can get all the glory. On 9/11, no less. Oh boy.

“The president has judged that a conditions based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

No, seriously, that’s not about Trump, it’s about Biden. Don’t try to make this up at home, they have professionals to do it for you.

Biden To Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan By September 11 (G.)

Joe Biden will withdraw all the remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a senior administration official has confirmed. The president is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday. There are currently about 2,500 US troops in the country, serving alongside 7,000 other foreign troops as part of a Nato coalition. Most, if not all, Nato allies are likely to withdraw in coordination with the US. “We will remain in lockstep with them as we undergo this operation. We went in together, adjusted together and now we will prepare to leave together,” a US official said. The drawdown of US troops will begin by 1 May, the withdrawal deadline the Trump administration agreed with the Taliban last year, and will be completed by the 9/11 anniversary.

“We went to Afghanistan to deliver justice to those who attacked us on September 11th and to disrupt terrorists seeking to use Afghanistan as a safe haven to attack,” a senior administration official said. “We believe we achieved that objective some years ago. We judge the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan to be at a level that we can address it, without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban.” The only remaining US military presence after September 11 this year will be security for the US embassy, a task normally carried out by marines. The Biden administration has said it will negotiate with the Afghan government over the precise security arrangements for the diplomatic mission in Kabul.

About 800,000 US soldiers and other military personnel have served at least once in Afghanistan since the US invasion in 2001, launched in the wake of the September 11 attacks. More than 2,300 have been killed, and 20,000 wounded. The US military orthodoxy until recently has been that any withdrawal from Afghanistan would have to be “conditions based”, meaning it was dependent on the security situation and the threat posed by the Taliban to the democratic and social gains of the past 20 years. The senior US official briefing reporters on the decision said: “The president has judged that a conditions based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

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“$23.4 billion in sophisticated weaponry”, but only after commitments to human rights.

Joe Biden Is Proceeding With Donald Trump’s Biggest Arms Deal (HuffPo)

President Joe Biden is advancing controversial Trump-era plans to transfer $23.4 billion in sophisticated weaponry to the United Arab Emirates, a State Department spokesperson told HuffPost on Tuesday – despite concerns from influential lawmakers and progressive activists, as well as the Biden administration’s promise to review the package. The news came amid an ongoing lawsuit by a nonprofit group called the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs, which echoed criticism of the deal as potentially destabilizing for the Middle East. “While we will not comment on ongoing litigation, we can confirm that that the Administration intends to move forward with these proposed defense sales to the UAE, even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have developed mutual understandings with respect to Emirati obligations before, during, and after delivery,” the spokesperson said.

Last December, nearly all Senate Democrats voted to try and block the sale, citing President Donald Trump’s rushed attempt to push it through and the UAE’s alarming violations of human rights at home and around the region. Biden put the deal – which would give the UAE the F-35 fighter jet, armed drones and associated bombs and missiles — under review shortly after becoming president. The administration has since been vague about that process. The transfers are incredibly complex and will take years to complete, so it was clear that they were not occurring yet. In January, an official told the Wall Street Journal that the UAE sales “were not frozen while they are being examined” – in contrast to Trump-era arms deals for Saudi Arabia, a UAE ally which has also faced growing criticism in Washington.

Still, many observers believed there was an effective pause on the deal and that at some point the administration would offer a public explanation of how it would handle the agreement. Democratic lawmakers and activists, who opposed to the deal because of the UAE’s aggressive activities across the Middle East, wanted to ensure the Biden administration was serious about the review, to the extent of possibly shrinking the package to pressure the Emiratis to respect human rights standards. U.S. officials will continue raising rights and geopolitical concerns with the Emiratis, the State Department spokesperson told HuffPost. “The estimated delivery dates on these sales, if implemented, are scheduled for after 2025 or later. Thus, we anticipate a robust and sustained dialogue with the UAE to [ensure] any defense transfers meet our mutual strategic objectives to build a stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partnership,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

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“..what of the Times’s cautions over decades that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting?”

The Absentee Vote Logic of the New York Times (RCI)

To pass a law limiting the use of absentee ballots, as Georgia recently did, is no longer to choose a side in a legitimate debate over how to balance ballot integrity and ease of voting. Instead, to express concern about the risk of election fraud is seen as being engaged in a different sort of fraud — an illegitimate effort to disenfranchise the poor and minorities. The New York Times has aggressively insisted the last several months that worries over absentee and mail-in ballots, in particular, are dishonest violations of voting rights. Times staff opinion editor Spencer Bokat-Lindell wrote late in October that “[t]he effort to discredit and discourage mail-in voting” was the “culmination of a decades-long disinformation campaign by the Republican Party and others to suppress votes, especially those cast by Black and Latino Americans.”

Spencer Bokat-Lindell: Times opinion editor: Efforts to discredit mail voting are aimed at suppressing votes, “especially those cast by Black and Latino Americans.” Then what of the Times’s cautions over decades that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting? But what of the Times itself, which for over two decades has warned readers that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting? As recently as September, Times reporters Stephanie Saul and Reid Epstein quoted Richard Hasen, who teaches election law at the University of California, Irvine, saying that “[e]lection fraud in the United States is very rare, but the most common type of such fraud in the United States involves absentee ballots.”

In 2018 operatives working for the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District seat, falsified absentee ballots. Times reporters Alan Blinder and Michael Wines told readers that the state’s long history of election fraud was “under a spotlight.” They quoted lawyer Bill Gilkeson saying that “absentee ballots” were “where the fraud really happens.” In 2019 Blinder wrote, “The Ninth District controversy ranks among the highest-profile examples of modern election fraud,” one that “underscores how absentee ballots remain susceptible to abuse.”

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What comes below fake news on the scale?

CNN Staffer Admits Network’s Focus Was To ‘Get Trump Out Of Office’ (Fox)

A staffer for CNN spoke candidly to an undercover journalist about the political motivations the network had during the 2020 presidential election, boasting the left-leaning outlet helped defeat former President Donald Trump and even calling his own employer “propaganda.” In the first installment of what’s billed as a three-part #ExposeCNN campaign from the right-wing guerilla news outlet Project Veritas, network technical director Charles Chester shed light on how the network wanted to remove its nemesis from the White House and help now-President Biden. “Look at what we did, we got Trump out,” Chester said in a celebratory tone. “I am 100% going to say it. And I 100% believe it that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out.”

While similar videos are sometimes deceptively edited and taken out of context, many comments made by Chester throughout the video are longer clips that feature him speaking in clear, complete sentences. In a series of sitdowns with an undercover journalist over the past month, Chester — who bragged he was “one step down” from a director — claimed CNN was “creating a story” that questioned Trump’s health that “we didn’t know anything about,” calling it “propaganda” to help remove Trump from office. “Trump was, I don’t know, like shaking his hand or whatever… we brought in like so many medical people to like all tell a story that, like, it was all speculation that he was like neurologically damaged, that he was losing it, he’s unfit to, you know, whatever,” Chester said. “We were creating a story that we didn’t know anything about.”

While Chester claimed CNN wanted to help remove Trump from office, he also said the network wanted to promote the health and fitness of Biden. “We would always show shots of him jogging… him in his aviator shades and like you paint him as a young geriatric,” Chester said of Biden, before dismissing concerns that he wouldn’t make it a full term because he’s a fan of Vice President Kamala Harris. “I think we got him through this term,” Chester said “He’s not going to f—–g die, but I’m OK with that. [Harris] probably could be like a b—-h in like a board meeting and you’d hate her as a boss, but she’s f—–g real and better than what we got regardless.”

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“It would certainly send a message that the government sees this as a superior alternative to their own currency.”

Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies May Be Coming, Warns Kraken CEO (RT)

Governments around the world could start clamping down on the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to Jesse Powell, the chief executive of the Kraken exchange. “I think there could be some crackdown,” the CEO told CNBC, adding that regulatory uncertainty around crypto isn’t going away anytime soon. Powell’s words follow a recent anti-money laundering rule proposed by the US government that would require people who hold their cryptocurrencies in a private digital wallet to undergo identity checks if they make transactions of $3,000 or more. “Something like that could really hurt crypto and kind of kill the original use case, which was to just make financial services accessible to everyone,” Powell said.


He expressed hopes that “the US and international regulators don’t take too much of a narrow view on this,” noting that “Some other countries, China especially, are taking crypto very seriously and taking a very long-term view.” The chief executive said he feels the US is more “shortsighted” than other nations and is “susceptible” to the pressures of incumbent legacy businesses – in other words, the banks – that “stand to lose from crypto becoming a big deal.” “I also think it might be too late,” Powell added. “Maybe the genie’s out of the bottle and just trying to ban it at this point would make it more attractive. It would certainly send a message that the government sees this as a superior alternative to their own currency.

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The CIA will stop it. Big Tech=Big Intel.

Republican Antitrust Bill Would Block All Big Tech Acquisitions (TC)

There are about to be a lot of antitrust bills taking aim at Big Tech, and here’s one more. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) rolled out a new bill this week that would take some severe measures to rein in Big Tech’s power, blocking mergers and acquisitions outright. The “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act” would ban any acquisitions by companies with a market cap of more than $100 billion, including vertical mergers. The bill also proposes changes that would dramatically heighten the financial pain for companies caught engaging in anti-competitive behavior, forcing any company that loses an antirust suit to forfeit profits made through those business practices.

At its core, Hawley’s legislation would snip some of the red tape around antitrust enforcement by amending the Sherman Act, which made monopolies illegal, and the Clayton Act, which expanded the scope of illegal anti-competitive behavior. The idea is to make it easier for the FTC and other regulators to deem a company’s behavior anti-competitive — a key criticism of the outdated antitrust rules that haven’t kept pace with the realities of the tech industry. The bill isn’t likely to get too far in a Democratic Senate, but it’s not insignificant. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who chairs the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee, proposed legislation earlier this year that would also create barriers for dominant companies with a habit of scooping up their competitors. Klobuchar’s own ideas for curtailing Big Tech’s power similarly focus on reforming the antitrust laws that have shaped U.S. business for more than a century.

The Republican bill may have some overlap with Democratic proposals, but it still hits some familiar notes from the Trump era of hyperpartisan Big Tech criticism. Hawley slams “woke mega-corporations” in Silicon Valley for exercising too much power over the information and products that Americans consume. While Democrats naturally don’t share that critique, Hawley’s bill makes it clear that antitrust reform targeting Big Tech is one policy area where both political parties could align on the ends, even if they don’t see eye to eye on the why.

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“In Mexico City, the local government has proposed a law that would ban the sale, delivery and distribution of packaged foods with a high caloric and energy content and sugary drinks to children..”

Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling (WS)

Since Mexico’s government has passed one of the strictest food labeling laws on the planet in October last year, all soft drinks cans and bottles, bags of chips and other processed food packages must bear black octagonal labels warning of “EXCESS SUGAR”, “EXCESS CALORIES”, “EXCESS SODIUM” or “EXCESS TRANS FATS” — all in big bold letters that are impossible to miss. Many states have also introduced legislation making it much more difficult for retailers to sell junk food and sugary drinks to children. Evidence from other countries suggests that warning labels can be effective. Chile started requiring them in 2016. It also limited cartoon food packaging, prevented schools from selling unhealthy foods, restricted TV adverts, and banned promotional toys.

Over the next two years, sugary drink sales in Chile plunged by 23%. According to one study, the labels reduced the likelihood of people choosing sugary breakfast cereals by 11% and sugary juices by almost 24%. A nightmare for the companies affected. The prospect of something similar transpiring in Mexico, a country almost seven times larger than Chile and that consumes more processed food than any other country in Latin America, unnerved global food and beverage companies. The United States, EU, Canada and Switzerland, home to some of the world’s biggest food companies, tried to derail the new legislation. But to no avail. The arrival of Covid-19, which has proven to be particularly lethal to people with three comorbidities — obesity, diabetes, and hypertension — has strengthened the government’s case and resolve.

Over a dozen of Mexico’s 36 state governments have banned or are in the process of banning the sales of soft drinks and junk food to children. In Mexico City, the local government has proposed a law that would ban the sale, delivery and distribution of packaged foods with a high caloric and energy content and sugary drinks to children. The law will also ban the presence of soft drink vending machines in schools. Mexico’s Senate also recently passed a law that will compel educational authorities to prohibit the sale of foods with low nutritional value and high caloric content in the vicinity of school facilities while promoting the establishment of healthy food outlets. There are also moves afoot to restrict the advertising of foods high in fat, salt, sugar and saturated fats on children’s television channels.

These moves have raised concerns that the government is overstepping its bounds. The business lobby group Coparmex said that banning the sale of junk food and sugary drinks to minors represents a frontal attack on commercial freedom and freedom of choice. It will also have serious economic consequences for businesses in the retail sector. But those consequences are dwarfed by the economic and health impact of widespread obesity. This is particularly true in the time of Covid when the risk of death from the virus is about 10 times higher in countries where more than half of the population is overweight, according to a report released in March by the World Obesity Federation.

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Either our bodies find a way to incorporate plastics, or we’re doomed.

Airborne Plastic Pollution ‘Spiralling Around The Globe’ (G.)

Microplastic pollution is now “spiralling around the globe”, according to a study of airborne plastic particles. The researchers said human pollution has led to a global plastic cycle, akin to natural processes such as the carbon cycle, with plastic moving through the atmosphere, oceans and land. The result is the “plastification” of the planet, said one scientist. The analysis calls plastic pollution one of the most pressing environmental issues of the 21st century. It indicates that the billions of tonnes of plastic discarded into the oceans and land and being broken down into tiny pieces are being thrown back into the air by road traffic and winds over seas and farmland. People are already known to breathe, drink and eat microplastics and the other research suggests levels of pollution will continue to rise rapidly.

The scientists said this “raises questions on the impact of accumulating plastics in the atmosphere on human health. The inhalation of particles can be irritating to lung tissue and lead to serious diseases.” Prof Natalie Mahowald, at Cornell University in the US and part of the research team, said: “What we’re seeing right now is the accumulation of mismanaged plastics just going up. Some people think it’s going to increase by tenfold [per decade]. “But maybe we could solve this before it becomes a huge problem, if we manage our plastics better, before they accumulate in the environment and swirl around everywhere.” She said clearing up ocean plastic could help reduce the amount that gets thrown back up into the atmosphere, and that more biodegradable plastics could be part of the solution.

The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined airborne microplastics, which have been far less studied than plastic in oceans and rivers. The team had more than 300 samples of airborne microplastics from 11 sites across the western US, the best dataset available globally. These were the basis for atmospheric modelling that estimated the contribution from different sources, the first such study to do so. Virtually none of the airborne microplastics came directly from plastic being discarded in cities and towns, the scientists found, but were the result of road traffic and winds across oceans and farmland whipping up plastic particles already in the environment. “We thought population centres would be a much better source, obviously, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Mahowald said. “Resuspension [of microplastics] makes the most sense with this set of data.”

[..] Microplastic pollution has been detected across the planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. The revelation in December of small plastic particles in human placentas was described by scientists as “a matter of great concern”.

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Mick Jagger’s take on Covid. Easy Sleazy. With Dave Grohl.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Mar 042021
 


Francisco Goya The Dog 1819-23

 

Biden Slams “Neanderthal-Thinking” Over Texas, Mississippi COVID Policy (ZH)
16 States Are Now Following The Science (Schachtel)
The War on ‘Misinformation’ Claims Two Victims (Pfeiffer)
Brazil’s Covid Outbreak Is Global Threat, Opens Door To Lethal Variants (G.)
Vaccines Tweaked For Covid Variants Fast-Tracked Safely – UK Regulator (G.)
Injuries Reported to CDC After COVID Vaccines Climb by 4,000 in One Week (CHD)
34 Spontaneous Miscarriages, Stillbirths After COVID-19 Vaccination (ET)
Danger of mRNA Vaccines To Elderly: 16 Deaths In Switzerland (GT)
Half Of French Care Home Workers Don’t Trust Vaccine (R.)
Dutch Health Council: “Too Early” For Advice On Vitamin D Against Corona (AD)
Drug Lobby Asks Biden To Punish Countries Pushing For Low-Cost Vaccines (IC)
How the NATO Alliance Is Fighting Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine (Helmer)
Finland Had a Patent-Free COVID-19 Vaccine Nine Months Ago – But.. (Jac.)
Covid-19 Virus Origin: The Mojiang Miners (SPR)
New York Rolls Out ‘Covid Passport’ At Event Venues (RT)
Giving Kids A Break Is The Best Way For Them To ‘Catch Up’ (G.)
Self Harm Claims Among US Teenagers Increased 99% During Pandemic (F.)

 

 

A bit overloaded today, so two separate Rattles. For all non-Covid news, check Debt Rattle March 4 2021.

 

 

 

 

He should perhaps try and keep the country together….

Biden Slams “Neanderthal-Thinking” Over Texas, Mississippi COVID Policy (ZH)

President Biden has slammed Texas and Mississippi for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, calling it “Neanderthal thinking.” “I think it’s a big mistake…It’s critical, critical, critical that they follow the science…” said Biden.
Newly minted CDC Director Rochelle Walensky wants residents of Texas and Mississippi to continue wearing face masks despite the governors there lifting COVID-19 restrictions amid a decline in cases. “I think we, the CDC, have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions,” said Walensky during a White House pandemic briefing in response to a question about reopening Texas. “Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what states decide.”


On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott enraged the left after announcing that the state would lift its mask mandate and reopen businesses next week, while also banning counties from fining or jailing people who disregard local measures. Effective March 10, all businesses will be allowed to open at 100% of capacity, Abbott said during a media briefing in Lubbock on Tuesday. His executive order allows county judges to reinstate anti-virus rules should hospitalizations surge. “Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities; too many small-business owners have struggled to pay their bills,” the Republican governor said. “It is now time to open Texas 100%.”

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…because people see things in different ways:

16 States Are Now Following The Science (Schachtel)

It took an entire year, but lockdowns and mask mandates are officially incredibly unpopular with half of the country, to the point that governors are rapidly making sweeping changes to their year-long COVID-19 policies. Jumping onto the coattails of pro-individual freedom leaders like governors Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) and Kristi Noem (R-SD), the governors of Mississippi and Texas decided Tuesday to announce an end to business restrictions and statewide mask mandates. Both Tate Reeves (R-MS) and Greg Abbott (R-TX), who had long taken a nanny state approach to the COVID-19 crisis, acted almost simultaneously to announce the end of statewide restrictions. The centrally planned solutions to COVID-19 have failed spectacularly, and the American people have taken notice of this reality.

Hundreds of millions have now been through a full year of government-imposed tyranny on both a federal and state level. Whether it was a travel ban, an endless series of lockdowns, mask mandates, countless emergency orders, business closures, and the like, not a single top-down order from the federal or state level did anything productive for the wellbeing of Americans. None of it worked. All of it served as a net negative. The people have noticed. Now that their constituents have had enough, politicians on the Right are fast departing from the COVID tyranny, and attempting to secure what is left of their political aspirations. Abbott and Reeves are not the only GOP governors moving fast in ending the restrictions, several other governors have recently acted to roll them back.

On February 12, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte lifted his statewide mask mandate. On February 8, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds lifted Iowa’s statewide mask mandate along with several other restrictions. On February 22, North Dakota took it a step further. Its legislative body took the bold step in voting to make mask mandates illegal. As of March 2, there are now 16 states that no longer have statewide mask orders. However, across the political divide, there remains no end in sight to the corona madness. Much of the Left continues to embrace and root on endless COVID-19 restrictions, and the hijacking of individual rights in the name of a virus. Governor Gavin Newsom of California took to Twitter in describing the end of restrictions as “absolutely reckless.” It took long enough, but it’s now official: Governors who continue to impose lockdowns and mask mandates are fast becoming as popular as Red Sox fans in the Yankee Stadium bleachers, at least in half of the country.

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Vit. D, ivermectin, HCQ get heavily censored on social media.

The War on ‘Misinformation’ Claims Two Victims (Pfeiffer)

The effort to manage COVID treatment information has its roots, in part, in a sad chapter in American science and journalism: The Trump endorsement last spring of hydroxychloroquine. In an instant, early treatment was turned into a right-wing myth of interest only to Fox News. The rest of the press was merciless in repeating assertions that a reliable pharmaceutical workhorse used for several diseases was dangerous for COVID. Multiple studies have since refuted that and shown effectiveness in early illness, something most people do not know. Dr. Mobeen Syed was among the first last March to explore HCQ’s potential in a YouTube video that went viral and landed him in a love-it/hate-it, right/left firestorm. “I started getting so many threats,” he said, prompting him to take the piece down himself.

After that, however, YouTube itself decided what the 250,000 subscribers to Drbeen Medical Lectures should see, removing videos willy-nilly, it seemed, on Vitamin D, remdesivir and, what others said was frequently censored, ivermectin. Among other examples of this new censorship trend: On Jan. 31, Facebook removed a page called Ivermectin for MDs Team, with 10,200 members from more than 100 countries. The last straw was a post on the Slovak Ministry of Health’s decision to allow use of ivermectin, which Facebook censors “believe is harmful to physical integrity,” the administrator wrote. Facebook also ruled that news of ivermectin approval by a southern state in Brazil violated its standards. Put another way, the social media giant did not like two independent government decisions and thought it knew better.

On Jan. 12, Twitter ruled a tweet by the Brazilian Ministry of Health — 1.2 million followers — was “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information.” Why? It urged people with COVID symptoms to “go to a Health Unit and request early treatment.” More egregious, YouTube recently expunged two videos posted by a U.S. Senate committee on Dr. Kory’s ivermectin testimony. Further, it purged a video in which a scientist discussed his review of ivermectin as part of a project for a World Health Organization-hosted agency called Unitaid. YouTube even removed a video on its censorship of ivermectin. In a hint at how vast the censorship is, Facebook asserted proudly in a Feb. 8 website post that it had “removed more than 12 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram containing misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm.”

Seven of my posts, on an article I wrote with multiple links to the science of ivermectin, were stricken with that label. (I got off on a 14-hour posting ban.) My efforts were fruitless to get Facebook, Twitter or Google, which owns YouTube, to explain the methodology it uses to censor. In a public post, YouTube says it disallows information that “contradicts local health authorities” and the World Health Organization. Twitter maintains it culls “content that is demonstrably false or misleading and may lead to significant risk of harm.” But who actually decides on a video or post? Are algorithms by technicians making the decisions or scientists and doctors? Should government guidelines be the ultimate yardstick when these are evolving — and sometimes wrong?

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“This is about the world. It’s global.”

Brazil’s Covid Outbreak Is Global Threat, Opens Door To Lethal Variants (G.)

Brazil’s rampant coronavirus outbreak has become a global threat that risks spawning new and even more lethal variants, one of the South American country’s top scientists has warned as it suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic. Speaking to the Guardian, Miguel Nicolelis, a Duke University neuroscientist who is tracking the crisis, urged the international community to challenge the Brazilian government over its failure to contain an epidemic that has killed more than a quarter of a million Brazilians – about 10% of the global total. “The world must vehemently speak out over the risks Brazil is posing to the fight against the pandemic,” said Nicolelis, who has spent most of the last year confined to his flat on the westside of São Paulo. “What’s the point in sorting the pandemic out in Europe or the United States, if Brazil continues to be a breeding ground for this virus?”

Nicolelis said the problem was not simply Brazil – whose far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has repeatedly spurned efforts to combat a disease he calls a “little flu” – being “the worst country in the world in its handling of the pandemic”. “It’s that if you allow the virus to proliferate at the levels it is currently proliferating here, you open the door to the occurrence of new mutations and the appearance of even more lethal variants.” Already, one particularly worrying variant (P1) has been traced to Manaus, the largest city in the Brazilian Amazon, which suffered a devastating healthcare breakdown in January after a surge in infections. Six cases of that variant have so far been detected in the UK. “Brazil is an open-air laboratory for the virus to proliferate and eventually create more lethal mutations,” warned Nicolelis. “This is about the world. It’s global.”

The alert came as Brazil hurtled into the most deadly chapter of its year-long Covid crisis, with hospitals around the country collapsing or on the verge of collapse and the average weekly death toll hitting new heights. A record 1,726 fatalities were reported on Tuesday, the highest number since the pandemic began. “It’s a battlefield,” a doctor in the southern city of Porto Alegre told local television after his hospital’s intensive care unit and mortuary ran out of space. Nicolelis said Bolsonaro’s failure to halt the outbreak and launch an adequate vaccination campaign had created a domestic tragedy from which Latin America’s most populous nation was unlikely to emerge until late 2022.

“We’ve now gone past 250,000 deaths and my expectation is that if nothing is done we could have lost 500,000 people here in Brazil by next March. It’s a horrifying and tragic prospect but at this point it’s perfectly possible,” he said, predicting a traumatic month as public and private hospitals buckled. “My forecast is that if the world was appalled by what happened in Bergamo in Italy and what happened in Manaus a few weeks ago, it’s going to be even more shocked by the rest of Brazil if nothing is done.”

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What does that even mean when the first ones were never properly tested?

Vaccines Tweaked For Covid Variants Fast-Tracked Safely – UK Regulator (G.)

Coronavirus vaccines tweaked to deal with variants will be fast-tracked without compromising on safety or effectiveness, the UK’s regulator has said. The approach will be similar to the regulatory process for the modified flu vaccine, to deal with new strains each year, with a brand new approval not required. Scientists have previously said a Covid-19 variant resistant to the current crop of vaccines is likely to emerge at some point, but vaccines can be adapted quickly. The guidance states coronavirus vaccine manufacturers will need to provide robust evidence that the modified jab produces an immune response. However, lengthy clinical studies are deemed not to add to the regulatory understanding of their safety, quality or effectiveness and will not be needed.


The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said researchers are in a better position to measure protection by looking at antibodies in the blood after vaccination, reducing the need to wait and see whether people in a trial become infected with the virus. It said this will “significantly reduce” the length of time it takes for the modified vaccine to be ready. The guidance from the Access Consortium – a group made up of regulatory authorities from the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland – requires that, as well as evidence on immune response, the modified vaccines must be shown to be safe and of the expected quality. It says data from the original clinical trials and ongoing studies on real-world use in millions of people could be used to support any decision by the regulators.

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Harmless?

Injuries Reported to CDC After COVID Vaccines Climb by 4,000 in One Week (CHD)

The latest data made public by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) on deaths and injuries reported after COVID vaccines are in line with trends that have been emerging since the first data were released in December. Between Dec. 14, 2020 and Feb. 18, 2021, 19,907 reports of adverse events have been reported to VAERS, including 1,095 deaths and 3,767 serious injuries. About a third of the deaths reported occurred within 48 hours of vaccination, and 48% of the people who died became ill within 48 hours of being vaccinated. About 21% of the deaths were cardiac-related. As The Defender reported last month, Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, a pediatric rheumatologist, warned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December that mRNA vaccines like those developed by Pfizer and Moderna could cause inflammation of the brain and heart, and other injuries in ways not assessed in safety trials.

Of the reported deaths, 966 were reported in the U.S. and 129 outside the U.S. The average age of the deceased was 77.8, the youngest was 23. Of those who died, 53% were male, 46% female and 1% of the reports did not include gender. Of those who died, 56% received the Pfizer vaccine, and 43% got the Moderna vaccine. The number of serious adverse events reports increased by 641 this week, to a total of 3,767 between Dec. 14, 2020, and Feb. 18. Adverse reaction reports from the latest CDC data include: • 160 reports of adverse reactions affecting pregnancy, including 47 miscarriages/preterm births • 1,135 anaphylactic reactions, 64% of which were reported after a Pfizer vaccine and 35% after the Moderna vaccine • 257 reports of Bell’s palsy (Pfizer 71%; Moderna: 29%)


By comparison, during the same time period — Dec. 14, 2020 – Feb. 18, 2021 — VAERS received reports of 83 deaths following flu vaccines. According to the VAERS website, “it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established … VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.” VAERS is the primary mechanism in the U.S. for reporting adverse vaccine reactions. Reports submitted to VAERS require further investigation before a determination can be made as to whether the reported adverse event was directly or indirectly caused by the vaccine.

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Or not harmless?

34 Spontaneous Miscarriages, Stillbirths After COVID-19 Vaccination (ET)

Thirty-four cases of pregnant women experiencing spontaneous miscarriages or stillbirths after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine have been submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is a passive reporting system that allows people to submit a report of an adverse event after vaccination and is run by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Research funded by the CDC has shown that fewer than 1 percent of reactions from vaccinations are being reported on VAERS. Reports made to VAERS do not necessarily mean that a vaccine may have caused the event or reaction. Miscarriages are labeled as spontaneous abortions or abortions in the reporting system.

Many cases of spontaneous miscarriages occurred in the first trimester, or the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy, with 25 occurrences after being immunized with a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. While the four cases of stillborns occurred in either the second (weeks 13-27) or third trimester (weeks 28-40). According to Verywell Health, an online resource on health-related issues: “Research suggests that between 10% and 20% of women with a medically confirmed pregnancy will end in miscarriage. Eighty percent of these will occur during the first trimester.”

[..] Dr. Shelley Cole, MD, an OB-GYN and a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, says it’s concerning that a vaccine still in an experimental phase is being recommended to pregnant and lactating women and that science is no longer protecting them. “As an obstetrician-gynecologist, it is a concern,” Cole told The Epoch Times. “We’re [now] throwing science and the scientific medicine method out the window and jeopardizing pregnancies and future pregnancies.” “It concerns me that the CDC says that there are no studies, but it’s okay to get it and you don’t even need to discuss it with your doctor,” Cole added. “I mean this is the opposite of everything that the scientific models and methods, and standard of care has been for a century.”

[..] The politicization of the drug continues to overshadow studies that show hydroxychloroquine is safe and effective in treating COVID-19. According to c19study.com that tracks clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine around the world, all 27 hydroxychloroquine studies on early treatment reported a “positive effect and an estimated reduction of 65 percent in the effect measured (death, hospitalization, etc.)” However, the drug is “not effective when used very late with high doses over a long period.”

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They all go out of their way to claim there is no proof of a direct link between deaths, and “other adverse reactions”, and vaccines. But it’s a bit much.

Danger of mRNA Vaccines To Elderly: 16 Deaths In Switzerland (GT)

The deaths of 16 elderly people in Switzerland after being inoculated with Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines underscore the potential danger of mRNA vaccines to the age group, Chinese vaccine experts said, further calling for caution. At least 16 people died after receiving vaccines in Switzerland, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) was quoted as saying by Sputnik in a report on Saturday. The agency said it had obtained about 364 suspected adverse drug reactions, with 199 incidents linked to the vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and 154 to Moderna’s drug, said the report. Swissmedic said the average age of the deaths was 86 and most of them had pre-existing diseases, adding there was no evidence to suggest that the vaccines were the cause of death.


Chinese experts said the incidents should be assessed cautiously to understand whether the deaths were caused by the vaccines or other preexisting conditions in these individuals. Previously, Norway reported 23 deaths in connection with vaccinations, all of whom were over 80 years old. The COVID-19 vaccines from BioNTec/Pfizer and Moderna were used in Norway. A Chinese immunologist who requested anonymity told the Global Times that the large-scale use of mRNA vaccines carries the risk of causing abnormal immune dysfunction, allergy or even death, especially among the elderly and people with underlying diseases. The immunologist suggested individuals with preexisting conditions, the elderly and those with vulnerable immunity not be given vaccines.

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And neither do those in Germany and Switzerland.

Half Of French Care Home Workers Don’t Trust Vaccine (R.)

Around half of health workers in French care homes do not want to be vaccinated, according to the group of experts guiding the state’s vaccine rollout – compared to only 20% of the residents who have not been inoculated. If significant numbers of care home workers do not get the jab, they could transmit the disease to residents who are not vaccinated and at high risk of serious illness, say advocates for the elderly. One reason for the scepticism is that those recommending the vaccine are the same people – the French state – whom care home workers blame for their low pay and tough working conditions, said Malika Belarbi, a care worker and trade union official. “There’s a complete loss of trust,” she said. The issue is not unique to France. In Germany, care home operator BeneVit Group surveyed staff in November and found only 30% wanted to get vaccinated.


Peter Burri, head of ProSenectute, Switzerland’s biggest advocacy group for seniors, said at most half of nursing staff in the medical sector were willing to get inoculated. [..] Regulators around the world have repeatedly said speed will not compromise safety and vaccine developers have said they will not cut corners in testing for safety and efficacy. The quicker results have stemmed from conducting in parallel trials that are usually done in sequence and can take years. Trials for the shots developed by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have shown only temporary side-effects. France’s state drug safety watchdog has said the procedure for approving the vaccines ensures they are safe and that it monitors side-effects and has seen nothing to warrant stopping their use.

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Google translate

“It seems as if we don’t care that people come to the hospital and die in the meantime.”

10 micrograms= 400 IU. Useless.

Dutch Health Council: “Too Early” For Advice On Vitamin D Against Corona (AD)

Based on the current state of science, according to the Health Council, it is “impossible to assess” whether taking vitamin D can contribute to the prevention of corona. “There is still too little useful research available on this,” said the government’s advisory body. According to the advisory board, sufficient research is available into the prevention of other acute respiratory infections. The chance of respiratory infections is about 10 percent lower if you take vitamin D. But the Health Council sees no reason in this to adjust the existing advice for taking vitamin D. Children up to four years old, women over 50 and men over 70 and pregnant women are already advised to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

This also applies to people who produce too little vitamin D in the skin because they get little sunlight or have dark skin. According to the Health Council, many people are not aware of the advice to these groups to take vitamin D. The council wants more attention to be paid to this. In October, several professors of immunology, scientists and doctors called on everyone via this site to take vitamin D. According to those experts, the chance that you will contract a corona infection is smaller and if you do become ill, the disease can be less serious. As a result of this attention to a possible role of vitamin D in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, the State Secretary of Health, Welfare and Sport has asked the Health Council for advice.

However, according to the Health Council, it is “still too early” for an opinion, because there is still too little research of sufficient quality. The scientists are aiming at studies in which vitamin D has been compared with a placebo. At least six such studies are currently underway, the first results of which are expected this spring. Sufficient research is available on vitamin D and the prevention of other acute respiratory infections not related to covid-19. There is some evidence that vitamin D supplements can help prevent these types of respiratory infections, especially in children between the ages of 1 and 16. But the council sees insufficient reason to advise everyone to take preventive vitamin D.

A large group of renowned experts expressed all their anger in December about the government’s wait-and-see attitude about vitamin D. More and more studies show, they say that vitamin D can reduce the chance of getting corona and that the infection is milder. . The wait-and-see attitude of governments goes down the wrong way with scientists. It “frustrates”, for example, professor of immunology at Wageningen University Huub Savelkoul. “There are more and more studies showing the benefit of vitamin D. I think it’s a kind of arrogance that the government wants to wait for a meta-study first. It seems as if we don’t care that people come to the hospital and die in the meantime. You should be careful with that comment, but that’s where my frustration is. “”

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Moral standards.

Drug Lobby Asks Biden To Punish Countries Pushing For Low-Cost Vaccines (IC)

President Joe Biden’s administration is being asked to punish Hungary, Colombia, Chile, and other countries for seeking to ramp up the production of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics without express permission from pharmaceutical companies. The sanctions are being urged by the drug industry, which has filed hundreds of pages of documents to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative outlining the alleged threat posed by any effort to challenge “basic intellectual property protections” in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The drug industry has sharply criticized any attempt to share vaccine patents or the technological knowledge needed to manufacture them, despite global need.

According to one estimate, wealthy countries representing just 16 percent of the world’s population have already secured more than half of all Covid-19 vaccine contracts. And current projections show that much of the middle-income and developing world will not achieve widespread vaccinations for years. Some projections predict that low-income countries such as Mali, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe may not achieve significant levels of vaccination until early 2024. The delay will undoubtedly cost countless lives and risk future, potentially dangerous mutations of the Covid-19 virus. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, initial tests showed, is far less effective against the Covid-19 variant that has spread rapidly through South Africa, for example. A prolonged pandemic will also threaten to extend and exacerbate a global economic downturn.

In response, governments around the world are considering a temporary exemption to traditional intellectual property rights in order to rapidly produce coronavirus treatments at low cost, a demand intensely opposed by American lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry. The push by foreign governments to unilaterally set the price and pace of production of coronavirus vaccines, drug lobbyists with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, or BIO, argued, will place “American jobs and the workers who rely on them at risk, and impede scientific advances from reaching society.”

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, another drug lobby group, requested that the Biden administration “pursue a variety of enforcement initiatives” and “use all available tools and leverage to ensure America’s trading partners” do not suspend traditional intellectual property rights in the fight against the coronavirus. BIO and PhRMA represent the largest drug firms in the world, including Pfizer, Gilead Sciences, and Johnson & Johnson. The two groups collectively spent more than $38 million lobbying federal officials last year, and member companies maintain extensive ties to prominent think tanks, lawmakers, and academics active in shaping the policy response to the pandemic.

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“The anonymous familiarity formula is a standard practice for anti-Russian fabrications by FT reporters; Bloomberg and Reuters too.”

How the NATO Alliance Is Fighting Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine (Helmer)

When the organ claiming to be the world’s leading financial newspaper conceals the large price subsidy for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by the NATO allies, in order to accuse Russia of price gouging the poor, you can be sure you are watching an information warfare attack. And when the concealment of the vaccine subsidy operation run by GAVI and COVAX hides the fact that the UK, US, and the Bill Gates (lead image, right) and Melinda Gates Foundation are paying 92% of the $10 billion scheme, then you realise that Covid-19 vaccines are a weapon of war. A war, not only against Russia, but also against China.

GAVI stands for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Originally established with $750 million from the Gates Foundation in 1999, it is based in Geneva and Washngton, DC, and directed by an epidemiologist, Seth Berkley (lead image, centre). He’s an American doctor whose previous jobs were also funded by Gates and several NATO governments, and before that by the Rockefeller Foundation.COVAX is an acronym, created by GAVI, to stand for a multinational scheme of financing Covid-19 vaccine development in Europe and the US; then funding sale and distribution of these vaccines to low-income countries around the world. GAVI claims the scheme “is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.” Read more of GAVI’s version here.

Think of COVAX as a bank created by GAVI from money deposited by the NATO governments and either granted or loaned to client government which meet the bank’s eligibility criteria. GAVI’s website publishes a weekly update on what it calls the “Covid-19 vaccine race”. The best known of the 11 vaccines on the GAVI list and marked as medically approved are Moderna, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson (US); AstraZeneca (UK); Pfizer (Germany); Sinovac (China); and Gamaleya’s Sputnik V (Russia). The American and British vaccines are being promoted and funded by the GAVI-COVAX scheme; the Chinese and Russian vaccines are not.

Last Thursday, on February 25, the Financial Times, a Japanese-owned, London-based, and Lebanese-edited publication, claimed the cost price of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to the poorest of African Union (AU) country members was “three times more than the price of the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines, according to people familiar with the procurement process.” The anonymous familiarity formula is a standard practice for anti-Russian fabrications by FT reporters; Bloomberg and Reuters too.

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“The Finnish vaccine provides a striking case study of the many ways in which the contemporary patent-based funding model has slowed down vaccine development..”

“And typically, the choice is based on what applications they have a patent on, whether it’s the best option or not.”

Finland Had a Patent-Free COVID-19 Vaccine Nine Months Ago – But.. (Jac.)

We felt it was our duty to start developing this type of alternative,” says professor Kalle Saksela, chair of the Department of Virology at the University of Helsinki. “Back in the spring, I still thought that surely some public entity will get involved and start pushing it forward. Turns out that no situation is urgent enough to compel the state to start actively pursuing something like this.” Saksela’s team has had a patent-free COVID-19 vaccine ready since May 2020, which they dubbed “the Linux of vaccines” in a nod to the famous open-source operating system that also originated from Finland. The work is based on publicly available research data and predicated on the principle of sharing all new findings in peer-reviewed journals.

The research team includes some of Finland’s scientific heavyweights, such as Academy professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala of the A. I. Virtanen Institute, a former president of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, and academician Kari Alitalo, a foreign associated member of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. They believe their nasal spray, built on well-established technology and know-how, is safe and highly effective. “It’s a finished product, in the sense that the formulation will no longer change in any way with further testing,” Saksela says. “With what we have, we could inoculate the whole population of Finland tomorrow.” But instead of exploring the potential of intellectual property–free research, Finland, like other Western countries, has continued to follow the default policy of the last several decades: to lean fully on Big Pharma.

In the mainstream narrative, the first-generation COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca are typically presented as an illustration of how markets incentivize and accelerate vital innovation. In reality, the fact that the profit motive is the overriding force shaping medical research has been devastating — particularly in a global pandemic. The Finnish vaccine provides a striking case study of the many ways in which the contemporary patent-based funding model has slowed down vaccine development, and how it currently hampers the possibility of conducting effective mass-inoculation campaigns. [..] “Different biotech firms would slap the spike protein onto some type of delivery mechanism, whether it was RNA technology or something else,” Saksela explains. “And typically, the choice is based on what applications they have a patent on, whether it’s the best option or not.”

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” It can explain most or all of the unusual properties of SARS-CoV-2, including its very strong binding to human ACE2 cell receptors and its rather low mutation rate, even without having to assume “gain of function” research (i.e. genetic engineering) — although the hypothesis doesn’t exclude this, either.”

Covid-19 Virus Origin: The Mojiang Miners (SPR)

Virologist Jonathan Latham and geneticist Allison Wilson have proposed a new hypothesis for the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been known since February that a bat virus called RaTG13, collected by the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in 2013, is the closest known relative of SARS-CoV-2. It has been known since May (to some) that RaTG13, previously known as BtCoV/4991, was found in bat feces in a mineshaft near Mojiang in southwest China, after six miners fell ill with Covid19-like pneumonia and three of them eventually died. The WIV itself didn’t disclose this link, however. On the contrary, in a March 2020 interview the famous WIV “bat woman” Shi Zhengli falsely claimed “a fungus” had caused the miners’ illness.

It is also known that RaTG13, despite its 96% similarity, cannot be the direct ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, as natural mutations in the environment would have taken at least several decades. But it has been shown computationally that RaTG13 can already infect human lung cells to some extent. Finally, it is known that the sick Mojiang miners, exhibiting severe Covid19-like pneumonia, were hospitalized for up to four months before being either discharged or dying back in 2012. Latham and Wilson now propose that the Mojiang miners were originally infected by RaTG13 and/or similar coronaviruses during their up to two week stay in the mineshaft inhaling aerosols from bat feces. RaTG13 then turned into SARS-CoV-2 (or a precursor virus) through mutations and/or recombinations in the lungs of the miners during their up to four month stay in the hospital.

Thus the infected lungs of the miners may have served as a ‘human incubator’ enabling RaTG13 to adapt to both the human ACE2 cell receptor and the human immune system in just four months instead of several decades as would have been expected in a natural (animal) environment. The Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2012/2013 received tissue and blood samples of the surviving or dead miners that may already have included SARS-CoV-2 (or a precursor). WIV virologists may then have been waiting five more years, until the completion of their BSL-4 (high security) lab in 2017/2018, before beginning to do research on what is now known as SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 may then have escaped, in autumn 2019, from the WIV lab, perhaps through an infected lab worker or animal cadaver, initiating what is now a global coronavirus pandemic.

This, in short, is the Latham-Wilson Mojiang Miners Passage (MMP) hypothesis. It can explain most or all of the unusual properties of SARS-CoV-2, including its very strong binding to human ACE2 cell receptors and its rather low mutation rate, even without having to assume “gain of function” research (i.e. genetic engineering) — although the hypothesis doesn’t exclude this, either.

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The “Excelsior Pass”… Whenever you see things like this, remember:

“..all we know about the vaccines is that they will very effectively reduce your risk of severe disease. We haven’t seen any evidence yet indicating whether or not they stop transmission.”

New York Rolls Out ‘Covid Passport’ At Event Venues (RT)

New York has launched a new Covid-19 ‘passport’ program at major event venues, with spectators asked to use a phone app to prove they’ve been vaccinated, as mandated under state guidelines, or else be barred entry. The “Excelsior Pass” was tested for a second time at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday during a New York Rangers game, functioning like a mobile boarding pass that conveys attendees’ vaccine and testing status. While it made its debut at the Barclays Center late last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the project in an announcement this week, insisting the data on the pass would be kept “completely confidential.”

“The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal,” he said, stressing that participation is “voluntary” for now. As an alternative to the mobile app, residents can also present a paper version of the pass to gain entry to events, both using a QR code linked to their health information. The code does not pass any sensitive medical data to event venues, but merely alerts when a pass is invalid. While it has only been tried at two locations, the state government hopes to expand the program further after the testing period.

As of February 23, New York’s pandemic restrictions require venues with more than 10,000 seats to ensure all staff and spectators receive either a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of an event, or to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated against the illness. The guidelines also force organizers to “collect contact information from all those in attendance to help inform contact tracing efforts,” though that is done separately from the new Excelsior Pass.

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Maybe you should question the way education is organized in the first place.

Giving Kids A Break Is The Best Way For Them To ‘Catch Up’ (G.)

Across the UK schools are again preparing for a phased or full return of pupils to the classroom. Most weary parents, compassionate teachers and lonely kids will be delighted to see this day come, but concerns remain about the effect that protracted school closures have had on our children and young people. Much of the debate has focused on how to help pupils “catch up” on their “lost learning”. This narrative is profoundly unhelpful and potentially damaging, due to the psychological pressure it places on children and young people. It’s our national obsession with summative assessment that makes children feel that they have “fallen behind” if they haven’t learned certain things at certain times. But in every year group, pupils are at various stages of cognitive, physical and emotional development.

There is no such thing as “behind”, there is only where children are at. Besides, if we truly believe that everyone can be a lifelong learner, then a few months of parents struggling to teach phonics is a brief bump on their educational journey. When I read recently of measures being planned to help children make up for lost school time through extended school days, tutoring and summer schools, my first instinct was that we should do the exact opposite. Pre-Covid research from the US has been referenced in support of extending school days, but studies have not provided evidence of positive impact on attainment. Research by the Education Endowment Foundation has highlighted limited evidence of small group tutoring benefiting learners who are “falling behind” and some small benefits of summer schools.

Whether the small gains seen in these studies could be replicated on a larger scale post-pandemic is as yet untested, and open to debate. Given limited time and resources, rather than hoping for a slight boost in standardised attainment scores, educators and government should focus instead on addressing the immediate impact of the crisis, with an eye to what interventions will help children most in the long term. Emotional wellbeing is fundamental and foundational for academic attainment. A stressed, anxious child will have difficulty learning anything. On the flip side, promoting wellbeing can boost academic outcomes. A meta-analysis of 213 school-based, social and emotional learning programmes demonstrated an 11% boost in results in standardised achievement tests.

The impact of lockdown on child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing is clear from research on previous school closures, within the health service, and in our own experiences as parents. Social isolation has exacerbated disadvantage and pre-existing vulnerability. It’s vital that long-term planning includes improving the availability and accessibility of therapeutic support for those who need it. Right now, we need to emotionally regulate before we educate.

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Is it the school closures, or is it banning them from meeting?

Self Harm Claims Among US Teenagers Increased 99% During Pandemic (F.)

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the mental health of teenagers in the United States, according to an analysis of medical records and insurance claims conducted by non-profit FAIR Health, which found that overdoses, intentional self-harm claims, substance use disorders and claims for depression and anxiety disorders all increased substantially in 2020 compared to the prior year. FAIR Health analyzed data from over 32 billion private healthcare claim records, tracking month-by-month changes from January to November 2020 compared to the same timeframe in 2019. The most significant spikes were discovered early on in the pandemic, as the overall number of insurance claims for mental health issues among young people aged 13-18 in March and April of 2020, as a percentage of all medical claim procedures, was nearly double compared to the prior year.

Specifically, claims related to overdoses among that age group jumped up 119% in April 2020 versus April 2019, while claim reports for generalized anxiety and major depressive disorders rose 94% and 84%, respectively. Claims for intentional self-harm as a percentage of all medical claim rpeorts in the 13-18 age group increased 99.8% during that time frame. According to the study, these claims remained elevated through November. “We know that teenagers already have high rates of mental illness,” Dr. Jess Shatkin of the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center told MedPage Today. “Now [with the pandemic], their parents are starting to struggle, with relationships, jobs, food security. It just ups the ante. We already see vulnerability, and this just makes them more vulnerable.”

While confirmed cases of Covid-19 and related fatalities can clearly be tracked, the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of human beings is not as easily quantifiable. The FAIR Health study’s authors cite infection-related fears, grief, economic instability, and social isolation as contributing factors that have triggered and intensified mental health issues. The numbers in the study align with previously reported data on this subject. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last summer found that the prevalence of depression in June 2020 was approximately four times higher than in the second quarter of 2019, with anxiety about three times higher as well. Several other studies have also shown that young people have been particularly vulnerable to mental health issues due in large part to school closures, which have left them isolated from friends and teachers.

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Nov 242020
 
 November 24, 2020  Posted by at 10:08 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Claude Monet Impression Sunrise 1872

 

What Could be Better Than a Drug That Can Stop Covid? (CP)
Successful Not-for-Profit Oxford Vaccine Threatens Big Pharma Profit (MPN)
Oxford Covid Vaccine Hit 90% Success Rate Thanks To Dosing Error (G.)
Analyst Warns AstraZeneca Vaccine Efficacy “Embellished” (ZH)
Trump Tells GSA To Allow Biden Transition To Proceed (ZH)
President-Elect Biden Is A Machiavellian’s Dream (GM)
The Germans Are Back! (CJ Hopkins)
Home Alone Thanksgiving (Jim Kunstler)
Bond Defaults Show Bailouts Over For China’s State-Owned Enterprises (Caixin)
OED Says 2020 Has Too Many Potential Words Of The Year (G.)
Work From Home Until April If Possible, PM Tells England’s Workers (G.)
Walmart Thanks Government For Completely Obliterating Small Business (BBee)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“How could some be making billions off the horror that’s killing millions?”

What Could be Better Than a Drug That Can Stop Covid? (CP)

Who doesn’t like a race? A grand global race, like the competition to run the first mile under four minutes. Or the race to scale the world’s highest mountain. Or be the first to walk on the moon. Now we find ourselves in a race of much greater import: the dash to develop an effective vaccine for Covid-19. The world now watches with that fabled bated breath. Pfizer, a Big Pharma behemoth, is running neck-in-neck with Moderna, a lavishly funded corporate upstart. Pfizer, first to announce trial results, reports 90 percent effectiveness rates for its pandemic-stopper. Moderna, not to be outdone, reports 95 percent success rates. We actually hit that brass ring, too, retorts Pfizer. And ours even works with older people! What a race! How exciting! More to the point: How lucrative!

This race is minting billionaires. The founder of Pfizer’s partner company, BioNTech, achieved billionaire status earlier this year. Earlier this month, that founder and his two top investors saw their personal fortunes leap a combined $2 billion. At Moderna, three top players, including the CEO Stéphane Bancel, have become billionaires so far this year. Various other pharmaceutical industry movers and shakers — like the hedge fund behind Vaxart, a San Francisco concern — have made hundreds of millions. “Every day, Americans wake up and make sacrifices during this pandemic,” says Ben Wakana, the executive director at Patients for Affordable Drugs. “Drug companies see this as a payday.” The headlines that trumpet coronavirus boondoggles have become, in effect, the rain on our yes-we-now-have-a-vaccine! parade.

How could some be making billions off the horror that’s killing millions? The biggest tragedy of all: Things don’t have to be this way. Over a half-century ago, we conquered polio, and no one became fabulously rich in the process. We could have done the same with Covid-19.

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Was the AstraZeneca stock price under presssure yesterday because investors figured this out?

Successful Not-for-Profit Oxford Vaccine Threatens Big Pharma Profit (MPN)

The world is abuzz today after a team of medical researchers from Oxford University in the United Kingdom announced that advanced trials of their experimental coronavirus vaccine were a roaring success, with the vaccine possibly being rolled out before Christmas. Testing was done on 24,000 volunteers in the U.K, Brazil, and South Africa, with an average effectiveness of over 70%. However, when the vaccine was administered as a half dose, then patients were later given a full one, effectiveness increased to 90%. Encouragingly, there were no serious side effects registered among any of the volunteers, none of whom had to go to the hospital as a result of being immunized. The U.K. government has already ordered 100 million doses.

Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the experiment, was delighted, stating that: “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 percent effective, and if this dosing regimen is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply. Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard working and talented team of researchers based around the world.”

Even better news is that the Oxford team developed the breakthrough vaccine with the explicit intention of supplying it around the world on a not-for-profit basis, meaning that the poorest nations on the planet will not have to worry about being shut out of a cure due to lack of funds. This was certainly not the case with other solutions developed by the likes of Moderna or Pfizer. Indeed, the world’s richest countries had already bought up the majority of their COVID-19 vaccines, whose secrets were being closely guarded, rather than shared widely to help the rest of humanity.

Large scale manufacturing of the vaccine has already begun in ten countries, according to a press release from the University of Oxford. “Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic. This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” said Pascal Soriot of AstraZeneca, a bioresearch company that partnered with the 924-year-old educational institution on development and testing. “Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval.”

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“Scientists said they still could not fully explain why the half dose gave better protection, but said it may be that it triggers the immune system differently.”

Oxford Covid Vaccine Hit 90% Success Rate Thanks To Dosing Error (G.)

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine trials reached 90% efficacy by accident thanks to the “serendipity” of an error that led to some participants receiving half doses, it has emerged. On Monday scientists revealed that the Oxford vaccine had an overall efficacy of 70%, but could be around 90% effective when administered as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later. “The reason we had the half dose is serendipity,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals research and development at AstraZeneca. When university researchers were distributing the vaccine at the end of April, around the start of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s partnership, they noticed expected side effects such as fatigue, headaches or arm aches were milder than expected.

“So we went back and checked … and we found out that they had underpredicted the dose of the vaccine by half,” said Pangalos. Instead of restarting the trial, he said researchers decided to continue with the half dose and administer the full dose booster shot at the scheduled time. About 3,000 people were given the half dose and then a full dose four weeks later, with data showing 90% were protected. In the larger group, who were given two full doses also four weeks apart, efficacy was 62%. Scientists said they still could not fully explain why the half dose gave better protection, but said it may be that it triggers the immune system differently.

Prof Sarah Gilbert from Oxford University, who led the research, said: “It could be that by giving a small amount of the vaccine to start with and following up with a big amount, that’s a better way of kicking the immune system into action and giving us the strongest immune response and the most effective immune response.”

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How wrong was this analyst?

Analyst Warns AstraZeneca Vaccine Efficacy “Embellished” (ZH)

AstraZeneca’s announcement that its adenovirus-vector vaccine is roughly 70% effective (which followed an announcement claiming the vaccine is safe and effective in the elderly) failed to impress investors, as Astrazeneca shares tumbled on the news in premarket. But AZ shares took a second leg lower on Monday when a health-care analyst dropped some damning commentary that has caught the market’s attention. SVB Leerink analyst George Porges said Monday that the company is likely to be roundly criticized for publishing its results without enough data on safety and other factors. The vaccine’s (known formally as ChAdOx1) safety disclosure simply stated that “no serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed”, as well as for its results, which the company “tried to embellish” by highlighting a reported 90% efficacy in the relatively small sub-set of subjects in the study who received the modified initial vaccination followed by the “full dose” four weeks later.

Porges believes that this product will never be licensed in the US due to the design of the company’s trials, which don’t appear to match the FDA’s minimum criteria, and the occurrence of severe safety events that resulted in the extended clinical hold on enrollment in the US (remember when the US put the AZ-Oxford trial recruitment on hold for a month). The findings, according to Porges, confound his original thesis that “all spike protein vaccines are created equal”, which is manifestly not the case now. This raises questions about other adenovirus-vector vaccines, including the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

On the other hand, Porges said “we remain optimistic about the outlook for adjuvanted protein sub unit vaccines such as those in development at Novavax and GSK/SNY, and these engineered synthetic virus vaccines may have a role long term in boosting, but it appears that the occurrence of pre-existing or post-vaccination immunity to the vector has a significant dampening effect on the efficacy of the vaccines (and may confer risk as well) and for this reason we believe these products are likely to be regarded as relatively marginal suppliers in the COVID vaccine market of the future.”

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“Murphy also said that she had received “threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets..”

Trump Tells GSA To Allow Biden Transition To Proceed (ZH)

In what is the closest words yet to a concession, President Trump agreed to let GSA proceed with the Biden administration transition. In a pair of tweets, Trump noted: “I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA.” Trump added that while the election litigation battle continues… “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” … He will allow the transition to proceed: “Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

[..] Trump’s tweets follow a letter from Emily Murphy (see below), the General Services Administration chief, in which she told Biden that “because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, I have determined that you may access the post-election resources and services described in Section 3 of the Act upon request,” which includes some $6.3 million in funding and other government resources, as well as access to current agency officials and briefing books. The biggest change now is that the Biden transition team will be able to flood federal agencies with officials focused on preparing the way for his administration. They will have access to agency staff and briefing books assembled earlier this year.

Until today’s GSA letter, the Biden transition team had worked informally to establish a new administration, including assembling a coronavirus task force and consulting with public health officials outside of the federal government, mimicking the approach former Vice President Dick Cheney took during the disputed 2000 election. In the letter, Murphy also said that she had received “threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely.” She added that she was not “directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official” into the making or timing of a decision on the presidential transition.

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“This country, for what it is, takes itself too seriously. Have you ever considered the possibility that America has always been a joke? I’m sure most historians have.”

President-Elect Biden Is A Machiavellian’s Dream (GM)

Though I did not put this in writing, not from responsibility but just out of cowardice, I did go around telling people IRL that my preferred outcome was “it looks like Trump wins, then it looks like Biden steals it from him.” Some mistook this for an “accelerationist” stance. It was only Machiavellian. I would also tell Trumpists that I was “so pro-Trump, I wrap all the way around to pro-Biden.” This did not raise many hackles and was also quite true. In any case I am delighted to hail, perhaps prematurely but I doubt it, the election of this elder statesman, this American Nestor, always a bridesmaid and now a bride, “China” Joe Biden. If the big guy ever needs to pull an Augustus, he knows who to call. (President-elect Biden has in fact kissed my own mother, not in a sexual way I think. My stepfather, a former Biden staffer from the ‘80s, is a gentleman of honor. So I hear only good things about America’s new cynosure. His teeth sure are looking great.)

It is useless to speculate on the details of a Philadelphia election. One need only say the words, “Philadelphia election,” and anyone on or near the grave of Mark Twain will experience a little earthquake. Has Philadelphia ever had a free and fair election? (This country, for what it is, takes itself too seriously. Have you ever considered the possibility that America has always been a joke? I’m sure most historians have.) The fundamental purpose of a democratic election is to test the strength of the sides in a civil conflict, without anyone actually getting hurt. The majority wins because the strongest side would win. Better to measure that by counting heads, than knocking heads; and counting heads produces a reasonable guess as to who would win a head-knocking contest. Same outcome, fewer concussions: a Pareto optimization.

But this guess is much better if it actually measures humans who are both willing and able to walk down the street and show up. Anyone who cannot show up at the booth is unlikely to show up for the civil war. This is one of many reasons that an in-person election is a more accurate election. (If voters could be qualified by physique, it would be even more accurate.) My sense is that in many urban communities, voting by proxy in some sense is the norm. The people whose names are on the ballots really exist; and almost all of them actually did support China Joe. Or at least, preferred him. The extent to which they perform any tangible political action, including physically going to the booth, is very low; so is their engagement with the political system. They do not watch much CNN.

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”..these protesters were all “Corona Deniers,” “far-right extremists,” “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” “neo-Nazis,” and so on, so they probably got what they deserved.”

The Germans Are Back! (CJ Hopkins)

Break out the Wagner, folks…the Germans are back! No, not the warm, fuzzy, pussified, peace-loving, post-war Germans … the Germans! You know the ones I mean. The “I didn’t know where the trains were going” Germans. The “I was just following orders” Germans. The other Germans. Yeah…those Germans. In case you missed it, on November 18, the German parliament passed a law, the so-called “Infection Protection Act” (“Das Infektionsschutzgesetz” in German) formally granting the government the authority to issue whatever edicts it wants under the guise of protecting the public health.

The government has been doing this anyway — ordering lockdowns, curfews, travel bans, banning demonstrations, raiding homes and businesses, ordering everyone to wear medical masks, harassing and arresting dissidents, etc. — but now it has been “legitimized” by the Bundestag, enshrined into law, and presumably stamped with one of those intricate official stamps that German bureaucrats like to stamp things with. Now, this “Infection Protection Act,” which was rushed through the parliament, is not in any way comparable to the “Enabling Act of 1933,” which formally granted the government the authority to issue whatever edicts it wanted under the guise of remedying the distress of the people.

Yes, I realize that sounds quite similar, but, according to the government and the German media, there is absolutely no equivalence whatsoever, and anyone who suggests there is is “a far-right AfD extremist,” “a neo-Nazi conspiracy theorist,” or “an anti-vax esotericist,” or whatever. As the Protection Act was being legitimized (i.e., the current one, not the one in 1933), tens of thousands of anti-totalitarian protesters gathered in the streets, many of them carrying copies of the Grundgesetz (i.e., the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany), which the parliament had just abrogated. They were met by thousands of riot police, who declared the demonstration “illegal” (because many of the protesters were not wearing masks), beat up and arrested hundreds of them, and then hosed down the rest with water cannons.

The German media — which are totally objective, and not at all like Goebbels’ Ministry of Propaganda in the Nazi era — dutifully reminded the German public that these protesters were all “Corona Deniers,” “far-right extremists,” “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” “neo-Nazis,” and so on, so they probably got what they deserved.

Read more …

“We’ll dare to have seven at the table here, and therefore not have to eat some reincarnation of turkey for three weeks afterward.”

Home Alone Thanksgiving (Jim Kunstler)

One result of these final innings in the contest will be the delegitimizing of Ol’ White Joe Biden as president, should his forces finally prevail. Half of America will not only refuse to buy it, but it will incite a counter-resistance on the right as determined as Hillary’s pussyhat brigades and bureaucrat activists of the post-2016 era, and possibly more bloodthirsty, especially if the left makes a move to confiscate guns. The prospect of Joe Biden functioning as president is a joke, anyway. Have you forgotten his non-campaign campaign? The empty parking lots with the white circles? The pitiful gaffes? And lurking in this fog of war is the all that odious monkey business selling influence abroad involving crack-head son Hunter and the rest of the Biden family. Think that’s going away?

What you’d actually get with a Biden “victory” is a Deep State junta of malicious, coercive, and vengeance-crazed characters such as John Brennan, Andrew Weissmann, Nancy Pelosi, Susan Rice, and Adam Schiff, with Barack Obama hovering somewhere backstage, commanding this-and-that — even if President Ole White Joe is shoved aside on account of mental incompetence, leaving Kamala Harris in the Oval Office to giggle through the next four years while she orchestrates junior-high-school style mean girl campaigns against the enemies of Wokesterism. The DC “blob” has demonstrated that it doesn’t need no steenkin’ president to work its wicked will.

Meanwhile, have a lovely Home Alone Thanksgiving, if you are dutifully following the orders of Governors Cuomo, Pritzker, Whitmer, Murphy, and Newsom. We’ll dare to have seven at the table here, and therefore not have to eat some reincarnation of turkey for three weeks afterward. As a holiday bonus, I leave you with a little burlesque submitted by a reader wishing to remain anonymous for your amusement, as follows….

Read more …

Wonder why Xi is allowing it.

Bond Defaults Show Bailouts Over For China’s State-Owned Enterprises (Caixin)

“This might be a historic credit crisis,” a debt investor told Caixin, referring to a recent series of bond defaults by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The bond market veteran’s employer holds AAA-rated bonds of two state-owned defaulters in the crisis: Brilliance Auto Group Holdings Co., a Shenyang-based automaker with links to BMW AG, and Yongcheng Coal and Electricity Holding Group Co. Ltd., a major coal mining company in Henan province. He has been trudging between Shenyang in the northeast and Zhengzhou in central China trying to collect the debts. Both bond issuers are profit-making companies backed by local governments, so their defaults caught investors off guard and set off a chain reaction affecting other debt issuers and local government financing vehicles.

Such bondholders counted on government bailouts to reduce the risk of default by SOEs. But amid a national policy change to shift risk to markets, local governments have been unresponsive. They are now coming under criticism for allowing SOEs to default and avoiding their own responsibility for debt taken on by government-backed businesses. “Default by SOEs is not a terrible thing,” one bond market participant said. “What we fear is that the government allows SOEs to evade repayment of debts in the name of marketized default.” Now the biggest challenge for the government is how to push forward the marketization restructuring of SOEs while avoiding local credit collapses that could spark a domino effect and weigh on the economic recovery.

Since China launched a massive deleveraging campaign in 2015 to curb excessive borrowing by local governments, financial institutions and businesses, private companies’ credit risks have been relatively fully exposed. That means even a large wave of defaults by private companies wouldn’t disturb the market. But the risks related to borrowing by SOEs have been largely an iceberg under the water, a senior bond market participant said. “Once the SOEs default their debt, it would turn the market upside down,” he said. The sell-off of corporate bonds triggered by the defaults of Brilliance Auto and Yongcheng has caused 60 billion yuan ($9.15 billion) of losses for bond investors, according to one brokerage estimate.

Many energy companies canceled or delayed bond issuance plans over the past two weeks. A coal mining enterprise in Shanxi had to pay a 5% coupon rate for an ultra-short-term bond issued Nov. 18, 1.1 percentage points higher than an earlier bond from the same issuer. As the default rate for Chinese private companies rose sharply to 5.34% in 2018 from 1.83% in 2017, defaults by SOEs amounted to only 0.02%, according to a calculation by Huatai Securities.”The deleveraging is like a storm that has drenched everyone,” one fund manager said. “How can only private firms get wet while SOEs get away with it?”

Read more …

New riches.

OED Says 2020 Has Too Many Potential Words Of The Year (G.)

For the first time, the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen not to name a word of the year, describing 2020 as “a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single word”. Instead, from “unmute” to “mail-in”, and from “coronavirus” to “lockdown”, the eminent reference work has announced its “words of an ‘unprecedented’ year”. On Monday, the dictionary said that there were too many words to sum up the events of 2020. Tracking its vast corpus of more than 11bn words found in web-based news, blogs and other text sources, its lexicographers revealed what the dictionary described as “seismic shifts in language data and precipitous frequency rises in new coinage” over the past 12 months.

Coronavirus, one of its words of the year, is a term that dates back to the 1960s, although it was previously mainly used by scientists. By March this year it was one of the most frequently used nouns in the English language. “Covid-19”, first recorded on 11 February in a report by the World Health Organization, quickly overtook coronavirus in frequency of use, noted the dictionary. One of the year’s most remarkable linguistic developments, according to the OED, has been the extent to which scientific terms have entered general discourse, as we have all become armchair epidemiologists, with most of us now familiar with the term “R number”. “Before 2020 this was a term known mainly to epidemiologists; now non-experts routinely talk about ‘getting the R down’ or ‘bringing R below 1’.

Other terms that have become much more common in everyday discourse this year include ‘flatten the curve’ and ‘community transmission’,” said the dictionary. Use of the phrase “following the science”, it added, has increased in frequency more than 1,000% compared with 2019. Other coronavirus-related language cited by the OED includes “pandemic”, which has seen usage increase by more than 57,000% this year, as well as “circuit breaker”, “lockdown”, “shelter-in-place”, “bubbles”, “face masks” and “key workers”. The revolution in working habits has also affected language, with both “remote” and “remotely” seeing more than 300% growth in use since March. “On mute” and “unmute” have seen 500% rises since March, while the portmanteaus “workation” and “staycation” increased by 500% and 380% respectively.

Other news events have also been reflected in language. In the early months of 2020, there were peaks in usage of “impeachment” and “acquittal”, and “mail-in” has seen an increase of 3,000%. Use of “Black Lives Matter” and “BLM” also surged, as did the term “QAnon”, up by 5,716% on last year. The phrase “conspiracy theory”, meanwhile, has almost doubled in usage between October 2019 and October 2020. Use of “Brexit”, however, has dropped by 80% this year.

Read more …

The impact on society, communities will be huge. A Great Reset.

Work From Home Until April If Possible, PM Tells England’s Workers (G.)

The government has told all workers in England they should work from home if possible until April 2021 as part of a move to a stricter tier system that is likely to be a further blow to businesses reliant on commuters in city centres. Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed that under every tier of new restrictions, workers in England who can work from home should continue to do so. The rules under the new three-tier system will last until at least the end of March if voted through by parliament. The government’s 64-page Covid-19 winter plan suggested that working from home was one of the three key areas highlighted by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). The other policies apparently suggested by Sage included closing pubs that do not serve food in tier 2 areas and closing all hospitality venues in tier 3 areas.

The guidance said: “The previous tiered system had an impact on viral transmission, but Sage advised that stronger measures would be needed in some areas to prevent the epidemic from growing. The tiers therefore need to be strengthened to keep the virus under control.” England’s larger cities, such as Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester, and Scottish cities such as Glasgow have lagged behind their smaller counterparts in recovering from lockdowns because of their reliance on workers, according to the Centre for Cities, thinktank. Smaller cities are more reliant on leisure footfall, a disadvantage in normal times that has been flipped on its head by the pandemic. Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at the thinktank, said: “The prospect of them having to hang on to April may mean when city centre workers go back, their favourite restaurant or coffee bar may not be there.”

Central London has been particularly hard hit because of the vast number of people who previously commuted into it from other parts of the city or beyond. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, told the Observer on Sunday that there was “potentially an existential threat to central London as we know it” because of the curbs on office workers. The City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile, which also advocates for the financial services sector, said UK ministers needed to provide a plan for a return to offices before a vaccine. “What we also urgently need from the government is a clear plan to allow office workers to return to Covid-secure workplaces in order to get as much of the economy operating as possible,” said Catherine McGuinness, the corporation’s policy chair. “This is vital to protect livelihoods.”

Read more …

Not even funny anymore.

Walmart Thanks Government For Completely Obliterating Small Business (BBee)

In an open letter addressed to state officials, Walmart leadership expressed gratefulness to the government for inflating their sales and stock price while completely pulverizing their small business competition. “Yeah, we know 2020 has been tough for the little people,” said one board member while shoveling piles of cash into his vault. “But it’s been super great for us! No longer do we have to worry about the baker down the street or the family-owned hardware store next door taking away some of our business. The government just blew them up! We didn’t even ask them to! Can you believe it? What luck!”


According to reports, Americans are really looking forward to giving all their business solely to giant mega-corporations like Walmart, Amazon, and McDonald’s until all local culture has disappeared. “This is my dream come true!” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “Within 10 years, everyone will be wearing the same identical futuristic grey jumpsuit and eating Amazon-issued food cubes, just like in the movies! That will be so cool.” Sources indicate most powerful corporations are advocating at least one more year of lockdowns to make sure small business competition stays dead. “We have to make sure those uppity business owners never threaten us again,” said Bezos while sitting in a massive chair and stroking a white cat.

Read more …

 

 

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Sep 262020
 
 September 26, 2020  Posted by at 5:42 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


Dora Maar Model in swimsuit 1936

 

 

I’ll try one more time, if only to show you that me heart’s in the right place. Yes, lockdowns work, and so do facemasks. But that doesn’t mean all lockdowns or facemasks or requirements for either work all the time. The UK was very late with its first lockdown, and let in a million people through their airports without testing them. After they did lock down, another 100,000 came in, no testing.

And now people there say lockdowns don’t work. Have you seen this report, or that report? Sorry, but I don’t have to. A virus spreads by jumping from host to potential host. Keep them apart and it can’t spread. I don’t need a “scientific” probe to figure that one out. The principle of a lockdown works, but that’s still only half the story.

The facemask thing is a little more complex perhaps. But it’s complicated only because various governments have neglected to do the one thing they should have: make sure they have the best facemask ready for everyone, the one mask that is proven to be effective, preferably mass-produced in their country/state/territory. But have you seen N95 facilities being erected where you are?

Now the entire world is walking around with masks that they all can see offer little protection, and mostly where they have little effect. Moreover, I see lots of people here in Athens who washed them with their underwear and wear them again the next day, because they’ve been told they have to cover their face with something anything. But that’s not how this works. What little protection those blueish masks that are everywhere offer, is gone once you wash them. What’s left is merely symbolic.

And as for the well-meaning crowd that make their own masks, stop trying, those things don’t do a thing and they make you look stupid. There are actually norms and data and whatnot for this, and putting your panties on your face does not comply with any science whatsoever. It’s just scaring people, and we have enough of that, thank you. Non-woven masks work best, that mean anything to you?

The droplets that the virus hitchhikes on to get from one host to another are way too small to be stopped by granny getting creative with her bathroom curtains. But it’s not you, it’s your government which should have had an N95 mask production facility in place months ago.

They should also have mass-produced vitamin D, and zinc, because these cheap elements would have decreased the new cases, and the severity of them, by probably half. But no western government that I know of has even mentioned the role of these cheap supplements in the COVID story.

How odd is that? It appears to be in line with the hydroxychloroquine story, which went from “It will kill you!” when Trump first mentioned it in public, to “It’s not effective” in Fauci’s terminology. But medical doctors I’m talking to still maintain it works, and perhaps more importantly, continue to treat their infected patients with it.

Sort of the same thing goes for the western Big Pharma attempts to get a vaccine, there were 239 of those trials last time I counted. But there’s never been a vaccine for any of the many coronaviruses, and not for lack of trying. Unless you count the Russian Sputnik V, developed in a fundamentally different way from the western ones, but that wouldn’t make Big Pharma any profits, so we all choose to just ignore and discard it.

 

It’s “funny” to see how all those politicians like the power to tell people what to do, lock them down etc., but when their measures don’t work, and that’s the case all over Europe, they blame their people and never themselves. I haven’t seen even one say, I’m sorry, I failed, I step down. Instead they all talk about doing more of what didn’t work. More lockdowns. Hey, you failed, move over!

In countries like Britain and Holland, they’re so busy trying not to explain how and why they still didn’t have enough PCR testing capacity 9 months into the pandemic, that they completely fail to see that PCR is the wrong testing method to use on a grand scale. Holland has “identified” 5 rapid testing options and needs until November for their “experts” to find the best one.

Meanwhile they have a “rapid test test” facility where doctors and nurses apply the tests, which should cost perhaps €1 a piece max, but which set you back a very reasonable €225. Good lord. The incompetence is not going to stop here and now, it’s engrained in the political and societal brains and structures.

And it’s not just the politicians, the “experts” also refuse to see and acknowledge that they are utter failures. They, too, blame the people. But just like they should have all secured access to 100 N95 masks for every individual, and Vit. D and zinc, and HCQ if people still get sick, they should have made rapid tests available for everyone to use at home, twice a week or so, if only just to ease the pressure. But health care has been institutionalized, so that will only happen when things get terribly out of hand.

All these failures have cost a lot of lives, and will continue to do so, and do a huge amount of damage economically and mentally. The idea of second lockdowns is insane, given that no N95 masks, no Vit. D, no zinc, no HCQ were ever made available. But the lockdowns will come regardless. Because the politicians and experts can and will blame it all on you.

In an event like this, people’s worlds get much smaller, and they only know what their “local” media tell them, and those media are in line with the respective political systems. In crisis times, you as a journalist don’t attack the leading party, no matter how badly they fail, because they will deflect any criticism right back onto you, and say it’s your critical reports that made people behave badly.

It’s circular logic at its finest. And since all these fine people in all these fine countries got it all wrong in the same way, they can use each other for cover. France can point their finger at Spain, and they at Italy, and all hail the King of Sweden. BTW, has anyone ever seen an explanation for why so many countries and states sent infected elderly people back into care homes? That one puzzles me.

 

The next threat is hidden right in that finger-pointing. Because they all want to keep their borders open, and that has consequences. Should have gotten it right the first time, guys, because Lockdown 2.0 was always going to be much harder. What you will see now is groups of people in various countries saying they will not do 2.0. While borders are open.

And what then? You’re going to lock them all up (instead of down), in virus-infected prison cells? You guys have no idea what’s coming at you. There is even talk in several places of engaging the army to make people obey. But it’s the politicians and experts who have failed, not the people who have lost faith in them. And those people have had 6 months now to educate themselves on COVID19, so they’re not so easily fooled anymore.

I still don’t believe in the big conspiracy themes. I see a sea of incompetence, of people not up to their jobs who insist on hanging on to those jobs anyway. That’s true, too, for the blunt refusal to even consider N95, Vit.D, zinc and HCQ. They’re just not smart enough. They were not selected for being smart, but for fitting into, and being servants to, the existing system. And then something unexpected happens. And they have no idea what to do.

Many people will not accept Lockdown 2.0. Not because they’re stupid, or suicidal, or they want to kill their neighbors and friends, but because they understand that what they’ve given up over the past 9 months has been of no benefit to them, or their neighbors and friends. And then on top of that they themselves get blamed for things getting worse. That’s the breaking point, right there.

Our “leaders” simply have no clothes on.

 

 

 

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Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Sep 142020
 


Edvard Munch Love and pain 1895

 

“A Harris Administration Together With Joe Biden” (AZC)
America’s Color Revolution (Paul Craig Roberts)
Biden Says Stay in Mideast, Increase Military Spending (Antiwar)
Wiped Phones Obstruction Of Justice, Worst Sort Destruction Of Evidence (RCP)
Trump Signs New, Expanded Executive Order To Lower US Drug Prices (R.)
State Dept Reported Burisma Paid Bribe While Hunter Biden Served On Board (JTN)
The Fed’s New Framework: This Time Is Different (Zentner)
Oracle Emerges As Likely US Partner For TikTok (JTN)
Beijing’s Mass Surveillance Of Australia And The World (ABC.au)
The Rise of Ultra-Processed Foods (Conv.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taleb: Retrospective bigotteering

 

 

What a most curious thing to say. Where does that come from? Is it equal to “A Pence Administration Together With Donald Trump”?

“A Harris Administration Together With Joe Biden” (AZC)

Pointing to Arizona’s high coronavirus losses, Kamala Harris urged the state’s residents to register and vote for an administration committed to its health and business needs. In a five-minute virtual speech Saturday cast as a conversation with Latina small business owners, the senator from California said she and her running mate, Joe Biden, will create manufacturing incentives, roll back tax cuts that went to the wealthy and preserve health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. “For everyone on this call, Joe and I understand that your business is the heartbeat of your community,” Harris said. “As part of our Build Back Better agenda, we will need to make sure you have a president in the White House who actually sees you, who understands your needs, who understands the dignity of your work and who has your back.”


Harris’ speech is a reminder of the key role Hispanic voters are expected to play in helping win Arizona, a battleground for the White House. The Biden-Harris ticket is expected to win most Hispanic votes, but polling suggests they are doing so in numbers smaller than Democrat Hillary Clinton did in her losing 2016 campaign. Harris said a Democratic administration, which she called “a Harris administration together with Joe Biden,” would provide $100 billion in low-interest loans and investments for minority-owned businesses, a $15,000 tax credit for first-time home-buyers and allow government-run health insurance to compete with private insurers.

Read more …

“Trump, isolated in his own government, will be cut off from Twitter, Facebook and from the print and TV media.”

America’s Color Revolution (Paul Craig Roberts)

Russiagate was a coup that failed, followed by the failed Impeachgate coup. Faced with Trump’s reelection and the realization that upon reelection Trump will be able to deal with the treason against him, the Deep State has decided to take him out with a color revolution. The evidence of a color revolution in the works is abundantly supplied by CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, NPR, Washington Post and numerous Internet sites funded by the CIA and the foundations and corporations through which it operates, all of which are committed to Trump’s ejection from the Oval Office. The American public does not realize the extent to which the institutions of a free society have been penetrated and turned against freedom. All of these media organizations are establishing the story in the mind of Americans that Trump will not leave office when he loses or steals the election and must be driven out.

Emails are arriving from readers in the UK and Europe reporting that the British and European media are at work preparing the acceptability of the CIA’s color revolution against President Trump. It is taken for granted by both media and politicians in Europe and the UK that Trump cannot win reelection because he (1) is a Putin agent, (2) abuses the power of his office, (3) represents racist “Trump Deplorables,” (4) is a womanizer—“grab them by the pussy,” (5) is responsible for America leading the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths, (6) doesn’t support NATO (a sinecure for many Europeans), (7) is an outsider and not a member of The Establishment and “is not like us,” (8) “has orange hair” (orange is considered a low class color). You can add your own to the list.

The scenarios for what the American, British, and European media assume to be a necessary color revolution to drive Trump from office are: • Trump loses the election, refuses to leave office and must be dislodged or democracy is lost. • Trump wins the election by fraud and must be dislodged or democracy is lost. The scenarios do not accommodate Trump actually winning the election by the vote of the people. That outcome is outside the possibilities. According to the media, Trump can only lose or steal the election. With Antifa and Black Lives Matter now experienced in violent protests, they will be unleashed anew on American cities when there is news of a Trump election victory. The media will explain the violence as necessary to free us from a tyrant and egg on the violence, as will the Democrat Party. The CIA will be certain that the violence is well funded.

Trump, isolated in his own government, which has failed to bring charges against the Obama regime officials who tried to frame the President of the United States and drive him from office—Barr and Durham represent The Establishment, not the President or law—will be cut off from Twitter, Facebook and from the print and TV media. All Americans and the world will hear is that Trump lost and must go or Trump won by vote fraud and must go. It will be impossible for Trump or anyone to refute the charges.

Read more …

“The priorities, as are so often the case for the US, are fighting Russia, who Biden identified as a “near-peer” power. The US spends more than ten times the amount on its military annually that Russia does, and it is unclear in what way they are a “near-peer.”

Biden Says Stay in Mideast, Increase Military Spending (Antiwar)

Former Vice President Joe Biden gave some of his first foreign policy-related positions in an interview with Stars and Stripes on Thursday, saying the “forever wars have to end” while seemingly ruling out any full-fledged withdrawals, arguing the US still has to worry about terrorism and ISIS. Biden said the ongoing US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are so complicated he can’t promise a withdrawal. He also suggested he may increase military spending even beyond its current record levels as he shifts focus to what he believes should be the military’s priorities. The priorities, as are so often the case for the US, are fighting Russia, who Biden identified as a “near-peer” power.


The US spends more than ten times the amount on its military annually that Russia does, and it is unclear in what way they are a “near-peer.” Either way, Biden intends to shift the focus toward unmanned drones and cyber-warfare, and suggests that is likely to boil down to not just a shift in where money is spent, but likely an increase in spending as well. “First thing I’m going to have to do, and I’m not joking: if elected I’m going to have to get on the phone with the heads of state and say America’s back,” Biden said, saying NATO has been “worried as hell about our failure to confront Russia.”

Read more …

Sidney Powell.

Wiped Phones Obstruction Of Justice, Worst Sort Destruction Of Evidence (RCP)

Sidney Powell, the attorney for Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, appeared on FOX Business and denounced the Mueller team for having their phones wiped before the DOJ inspector general could view their contents. “I wrote about it in an article in 2018 complaining that Rosenstein and Mueller allowed the Strzok/Page cell phones from the special counsel operation to be destroyed, and I demanded that the IG seize the other phones then and collect all the evidence off of them,” Powell said Thursday. “And then the IG lets this happen. All of those phones should have been seized while at the end of the special counsel operation while they were still doing it, and they should have nailed every one of them.”


Powell on Strzok: “Peter Strzok is a liar. Peter Strzok is the one who altered the 302 multiple times in conjunction with Lisa Page until he added statements that were not reflected in the notes of the two agents that interviewed General Flynn.” “And both agent Strzok and agent Pientka who interviewed him knew at the time he was telling them the truth. That’s why Flynn was never re-interviewed. They didn’t even warn him about a 1001 statement, and they didn’t let him look at the transcript like they do with every other witness.” “They treated him differently than anyone else they ever interviewed for anything. They schemed and planned to interview him in such a way he did not even know he was the subject of the interview or investigation and they did that deliberately, violating all the rules in the process.”

Read more …

Got to love this from Big Pharma:

“a reckless attack on the very companies working around the clock to beat COVID19.”

Trump Signs New, Expanded Executive Order To Lower US Drug Prices (R.)

President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on Sunday aimed at lowering drug prices in the United States by linking them to those of other nations and expanding the scope of a July action. “My Most Favored Nation order will ensure that our Country gets the same low price Big Pharma gives to other countries. The days of global freeriding at America’s expense are over,” Trump said in a Twitter post. The latest step, coming less than two months before the Nov. 3 presidential election, would replace a July 24 Trump executive order. It extends the mandate to prescription drugs available at a pharmacy, which are covered under Medicare Part D. The July version focused on drugs typically administered in doctors’ offices and health clinics, covered by Medicare Part B.


Specifically, it would pay a price for a drug that matches the lowest price paid among wealthy foreign governments. Medicare, the government healthcare program for seniors, is currently prohibited from negotiating prices it pays to drugmakers. It also requires issuing new federal rules, a complex process that might not be done by Election Day. Determining prices paid by other countries could be challenging as negotiations between governments and drugmakers often are kept confidential. The industry’s largest trade group – the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA – denounced Trump’s move as “a reckless attack on the very companies working around the clock to beat COVID-19.”

Read more …

Will this go away?

State Dept Reported Burisma Paid Bribe While Hunter Biden Served On Board (JTN)

Just eight months after Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter joined the board of Burisma Holdings, U.S. officials in Kiev developed evidence that the Ukrainian gas company may have paid a $7 million bribe to the local prosecutors investigating the firm for corruption, according to interviews and State Department memos. State officials believed the alleged bribe was paid between May and December 2014 and got confirmation from one prosecutor. They argued the bribe amounted to a “gross miscarriage of justice that undermined months of US assistance” to fight corruption in Ukraine, contemporaneous memos show. The concerns were eventually reported to the FBI, although it is not clear whether the allegations were ever investigated more fully, according to current and former U.S. and Ukrainian government officials.

The anecdote, buried in five-year-old diplomatic files, provides a fresh illustration of the awkward, uncomfortable conflict of interest State officials perceived as they tried to fight pervasive corruption in Ukraine under Joe Biden’s leadership while the vice president’s son collected large payments as a board member for an energy firm widely viewed as corrupt. The concerns first came to a head in January 2015, the memos show, about eight months after Hunter Biden was named to Burisma’s board and after two major corruption investigations — one in Ukraine and the other in Britain — were opened against the gas firm.

George Kent, then a State Department official newly sent to the U.S. embassy in Kiev to lead anti-corruption efforts, was concerned the bribery allegations surrounding Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema were credible enough that he sought a meeting with one of Yarema’s deputies to demand action, according to State Department memos. His concern was triggered when Yarema took action over the Christmas 2014 holidays to undercut both the British and Ukraine investigations of Burisma and its founder Mykola Zlochevsky, and the U.S. embassy received word a $7 million bribe had changed hands, State memos show. The Feb. 3, 2015 meeting involved Kent, one of Yarema’s top deputies, Anatoliy Danylenko, as well as the DOJ’s liaison in Ukraine, Jeffrey Cole, memos show. It was arranged by Andrii Telizhenko, an English-speaking mid-level Ukrainian government official long trusted by the Obama administration in Kiev and Washington to facilitate contacts between the two countries.

“No problem, works for us. I’ll get you the names soonest. Likely George and Jeff Cole. Will confirm later,” U.S. embassy official Gregory W. Pfleger wrote Telizhenko in a lengthy Jan. 31, 2015 email chain that arranged the location, date and attendees for the meeting for three days later. Pfleger had forwarded Kent’s resume to the Ukrainians since he was new to the embassy, and Telizhenko reciprocated by forwarding a biography for Danylenko, the memos show. U.S. officials familiar with the meeting, as well as one eyewitness, told Just the News that Kent strongly confronted Danylenko, insisting the U.S. had strong reason to believe that Burisma officials made a multimillion dollar bribe to Yarema’s office between May 2014 when Hunter Biden joined the board and December 2014.

[..] A few days after the meeting, Yarema abruptly stepped down Feb. 10, 2015 as the chief prosecutor of Ukraine after just a few months in the job.

Strzok believes

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From Morgan Stanley’s chief economist Ellen Zentner. I must assume these people believe in their own gibberish, as well as the Fed’s.

The Fed’s New Framework: This Time Is Different (Zentner)

On August 27, Chair Powell and the Federal Open Market Committee made history, rolling out a new inflation-targeting framework. I believe that the central bank is now more likely to achieve its desired inflation target in the current cycle. If it does, this new framework may well be Chair Powell’s legacy. The Fed replaced its old symmetric 2% inflation target with a flexible average inflation-targeting framework. It emphasizes that the Fed will target an inflation overshoot in recoveries following inflation shortfalls during downturns. This has important implications for economic and policy outcomes over the medium term. Most specifically, under Powell’s leadership the Fed has now solidified a more dovish path than in previous recoveries.

Under the new outcome-based approach, the Fed needs evidence of inflation before raising rates, rather than simply forecasting that it will rise. Had this policy framework been in place in the last cycle, with inflation and unemployment evolving exactly as they did, the Fed might have delayed lift-off to as late as 2018, with its overall policy stance more accommodative for longer. It’s not just policy outcomes that are likely to differ. A change in monetary policy dynamics is likely to feed through to inflation expectations, which are relevant to price- and wage-setting. This would make it more likely that the Fed can achieve its inflation targets over the current cycle and that average 2% inflation outcomes are attainable over time.

To be sure, the change in the Fed’s framework makes us even more confident that inflation will be structurally higher over this cycle and beyond. How quickly the output and employment gaps close in this cycle will play a major role in determining when the first rate hike comes. Moreover, we believe that to demonstrate their commitment to the new strategy, policy-makers won’t rush to raise rates at the first sign of success. The longer-term simulations we laid out in Life After Covid suggest that the kind of labor market and inflation conditions the Fed would want to see sustained could be in place for the Fed to consider raising rates by the first half of 2024, sooner should the V-shaped recovery continue to run ahead of expectations.

Long before the first rate hike, the Fed should see the necessary conditions to start taking its foot off the gas. Working backwards, we think the Fed will want to end its asset purchases around a year before the first rate hike. This suggests that asset purchases would stop in early 2023, but tapering is likely to come in mid-2022. Chair Powell has time and again displayed an affinity for long-dated forewarning of Fed action to market participants, so starting to slow the pace of asset purchases around mid-2022 means we should get guidance that tapering is on the horizon by the December 2021 FOMC meeting.

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I thought they weren’t going to sell at all?!

Oracle Emerges As Likely US Partner For TikTok (JTN)

Oracle emerged Sunday evening as the likely U.S. partner for the popular social video app TikTok after Microsoft Corp. announced its bid had been rejected by the Chinese app’s owner. “ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft,” the U.S. software maker announced in a blog post. “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. Microsoft’s rejection left Oracle as the lone remaining U.S. suitor. The Washington Post, quoting an anonymous source, reported Sunday night that ByteDance had chosen Oracle as TikTok’s U.S. technology partner.

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China emulates the CIA?!

Beijing’s Mass Surveillance Of Australia And The World (ABC.au)

A Chinese company with links to Beijing’s military and intelligence networks has been amassing a vast database of detailed personal information on thousands of Australians, including prominent and influential figures. A database of 2.4 million people, including more than 35,000 Australians, has been leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data which is believed to be used by China’s intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security. Zhenhua has the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients. Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs.

It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours. While much of the information has been “scraped” from open-source material, some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles. The company is believed to have sourced some of its information from the so-called “dark web”. One intelligence analyst said the database was “Cambridge Analytica on steroids”, referring to the trove of personal information sourced from Facebook profiles in the lead up to the 2016 US election campaign.

[..] The database was leaked to a US academic based in Vietnam, Professor Chris Balding, who until 2018 had worked at the elite Peking University before leaving China citing fears for his physical safety. “China is absolutely building out a massive surveillance state both domestically and internationally,” Professor Balding told the ABC. “They’re using a wide variety of tools — this one is taken primarily from public sources, there is non-public data in here, but it is taken primarily from public sources. “I think it speaks to the broader threat of what China is doing and how they are surveilling, monitoring and seeking to influence… not just their own citizens, but citizens around the world.” Professor Balding has returned to the United States, leaving Vietnam after being advised it was no longer safe for him to be there.

It was also a grave risk taken by the person who leaked the database to him, who contacted him as he started publishing articles about Chinese tech giant Huawei. “We’ve worked very hard to make sure that there are no links between me and that person, once I realised what had been given to me,” he said. “They are still in China. But hopefully I think they will be safe.” Professor Balding gave the database to Canberra cyber security company Internet 2.0 which was able to restore 10 per cent of the 2.4 million records for individuals. Internet 2.0’s chief executive Robert Potter said Zhenhua had built the capacity to track naval vessels and defence assets, to assess the careers of military officers and catalogue the intellectual property of China’s competitors. “This mass collection of data is taking place in China’s private sector, in the same way Beijing outsources its cyber attack capability to private subcontractors,” Mr Potter told the ABC.

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Awfully simplistic, but a good reminder that this stuff makes your body, and your immune system, much weaker. The last thing you want with a virus like this going around is chronic inflammation.

The Rise of Ultra-Processed Foods (Conv.)

Humans (and our ancestors) have been processing food for at least 1.8 million years. Roasting, drying, grinding and other techniques made food more nutritious, durable and tasty. This helped our ancestors to colonise diverse habitats, and then develop settlements and civilisations. Many traditional foods used in cooking today are processed in some way, such as grains, cheeses, dried fish and fermented vegetables. Processing itself is not the problem. Only much more recently has a different type of food processing emerged: one that is more extensive, and uses new chemical and physical techniques. This is called ultra-processing, and the resulting products ultra-processed foods.

To make these foods, cheap ingredients such as starches, vegetable oils and sugars, are combined with cosmetic additives like colours, flavours and emulsifiers. Think sugary drinks, confectionery, mass-produced breads, snack foods, sweetened dairy products and frozen desserts. Unfortunately, these foods are terrible for our health. And we’re eating more of them than ever before, partially because of aggressive marketing and lobbying by “Big Food”. [..] We found that more ultra-processed foods in the diet associates with higher risks of obesity, heart disease and stroke, type-2 diabetes, cancer, frailty, depression and death. These harms can be caused by the foods’ poor nutritional profile, as many are high in added sugars, salt and trans-fats.


Also, if you tend to eat more ultra-processed foods, it means you probably eat fewer fresh and less-processed foods. Industrial processing itself can also be harmful. For example, certain food additives can disrupt our gut bacteria and trigger inflammation, while plasticisers in packaging can interfere with our hormonal system. Certain features of ultra-processed foods also promote over-consumption. Product flavours, aromas and mouthfeel are designed to make these foods ultra-tasty, and perhaps even addictive.

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