Apr 252022
 


Andy Warhol Ingrid Bergman 1984

 

US Announces New Military Aid To Ukraine After Blinken, Austin Visit (DW)
Putin Has ‘Lost Interest’ In Diplomacy (ZH)
NATO Provocation Looms in Ukraine (PK)
Where Will Azov Regroup? (George Webb)
Russia Investigates Media Report on British SAS Special Forces in Ukraine (R.)
EU Says Pay for Russian Gas in Euros to Avoid Breaching Sanctions (R.)
EU’s Borrell: Not Enough Support For Total Embargo On Russian Oil, Gas (R.)
Innate Immune Suppression By SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccinations (SD)
SARS-CoV-2 vAccination Can Elicit a CD8 T-cell Dominant Hepatitis (SD)
Trudeau Government Targets Grain Growers As Worst Emissions Offenders (TNC)
Ratcliffe: Still-classified Documents Will Blow Durham Inquiry Wide Open (WE)
Joe Biden Met With Hunter Biden Business Partner At The White House 19 Times (NYP)
Wikipedia Kills Entry for Hunter Biden’s Investment Company (Turley)
Are Democrats and Joe Biden Up To Their Old Election Tricks? (Devine)
Twitter Board ‘Seriously’ Starts Considering Musk’s Bid Offer (WG)

 

 

Genius IQ test:

fi yuo cna raed tihs yuo hvae a graet mnid too. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulacity uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt. Yuo’er a gneius too.

Lvoe yuo, Kim

 

 

500,000 people

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, Austin was on the board of Raytheon until recently…

US Announces New Military Aid To Ukraine After Blinken, Austin Visit (DW)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a press conference following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Russia has been “failing” when it came to its war aims in Ukraine, while Kyiv is “succeeding.” “Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate to totally subjugate Ukraine,” Blinken said. “That has failed.” Blinken said that Russia’s military was underperforming and its economy was “in shambles” due to sanctions and a mass “exodus” from the country. “A sovereign, independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin’s on the scene,” Blinken said, adding that US support for Ukraine will continue until Kyiv sees “final success.” Blinken said that Washington was committed to the return of American diplomats to Ukraine starting next week, and that US President Joe Biden intended to nominate a new ambassador to the country.

[..] The United States will provide Ukraine with $322 million in foreign military financing and has approved a $165 million sale of ammunition to the war-ravaged country. The announcement came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Sunday. It was the highest-level visit by an American delegation since the start of the war. The US officials also pledged further assistance worth $713 million in foreign military financing for Ukraine and 15 allied and partner countries, with the $322 million earmarked specifically for Kyiv. The new money brings the total amount of US military assistance to Ukraine to $3.7 billion since the invasion, officials said. The two returned overland to Poland after their meeting. While Blinken was returning to Washington, Austin would head to Ramstein in Germany, for a meeting Tuesday of NATO defense ministers and other donor countries.

[..] The European Union is preparing “smart sanctions” against Russian oil imports, the UK newspaper The Times reported. Quoting the European Commission’s executive vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis, the paper reported that the precise details of the oil sanctions had not yet been agreed but could include a gradual phasing-out of Russian oil or imposing tariffs on imports beyond a certain price cap. “We are working on a sixth sanctions package, and one of the issues we are considering is some form of an oil embargo. When we are imposing sanctions, we need to do so in a way that maximizes pressure on Russia while minimizing collateral damage on ourselves,” Dombrovskis said.

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The FT article cited tells me nothing about Putin, but a lot about FT. Not sure Tyler should present it in this way.

Putin Has ‘Lost Interest’ In Diplomacy (ZH)

Vladimir Putin is no longer open to diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine, which suggests he’s focusing on a ‘land-grab’ strategy instead, according to the Financial Times, citing three people briefed on conversations with the Russian President. The Russian president was said to have been seriously considering a peace deal in the wake of several battlefield setbacks last month. Early peace talks faltered following a meeting in Istanbul in late March, after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Kremlin of committing war crimes against civilians in Mariupol and Bucha. According to Putin, peace efforts were at a “dead end,” and was particularly upset over the sinking of the Russian Black Sea flagship, Moskva, according to two of FT’s sources.

“There was hope for a deal. Putin was going back and forth. He needs to find a way to come out of this a winner,” said one source, who added that when the Moskva sank, “Putin was against signing anything. [ . . . ] after the Moskva he doesn’t look like a winner, because it was humiliating.” According to a relatively new narrative, Putin has a ‘distorted’ view of the war due to his own generals, and Russian television, painting a victorious picture – which has led the Russian president to insist that civilians were not targeted during the attacks. “Putin sincerely believes in the nonsense he hears on [Russian] television and he wants to win big,” said one source.

Intermediaries such as Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, European Council president Charles Michel and billionaire Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich have been trying to convince Putin to meet Zelensky in hope they can break the deadlock. Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have placed most other issues on the back burner while trying to thrash out a deal on guarantees for Kyiv’s security if it declares neutrality and abandons its drive to join Nato. But Putin told Michel in a call on Friday that the talks had run aground because Ukraine “put up a wall” and said it “was not the right time” to meet Zelensky, according to a person briefed on that conversation. -FT

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Expect it soon.

NATO Provocation Looms in Ukraine (PK)

Having lost to Moscow’s SMO — along with failed sanctions war — the empire of lies and NATO vassals intend to falsely accuse Russian forces of using chemical, biological and/or tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. On Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained the diabolical plot, saying: “Information by the Russian Defense Ministry published today clearly proves” the following: Hegemon USA “in close coordination with (its subservient) NATO (vassals) moved on to a final stage of plotting provocations in Ukraine which should convince the global community that ‘Russia is using poisonous combat substances and biological agents,’ ” adding: Initial plans to make Russia’s economy scream “didn’t work out.”

“Now (the empire of lies) is moving on to involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD)…” “If this happens, there will be uncountable victims.” “And each one of them (will be) on the conscience of (Biden regime) strategists in the White House, the State Department…the Pentagon, (the CIA), and on the conscience, if there is anything left of it, of their puppets in Kiev.” Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) explained the diabolical plot as follows, saying: The empire of lies prepared 3 scenarios: Most probable Scenario No. One: A false flag — what Merriam-Webster calls a “deliberate gross distortion of the truth used especially as a propaganda tactic.” Their use has been a US tradition since at least the mid-19th century. 9/11 was the mother of all US false flags to that time — until all things flu/covid way surpassed its pure evil intent with mass extermination in mind worldwide.

Scenario Two: “(C)overt use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in small volumes.” Least probable Scenario Three: “(O)vert use of (WMDs in) a combat area” with intent to produce mass combatant and civilian casualties. Developed, locked and loaded, Russia’s MOD has clear evidence of the plot, what could happen at any time anywhere in Ukraine where Russia’s SMO is ongoing. Zakharova also explained “shocking details of illegal cooperation between the US and (Kiev) in the field of creating bacteriological weapons” — what’s “been revealed to the world,” adding: “And (knowing the) inevitability detect(ing) their criminal activities,” the empire of lies “began to prepare in advance” to counter indisputable facts when revealed.

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“The key question now will be will the Russians find evidence of bioagents in the weapons cache.”

Where Will Azov Regroup? (George Webb)

When armies are out of ammunition, they usually flee or surrender. When they have a monstrous amount of ammunition, and they still flee, that means things aren’t going well. If you recall, I said Igor Kolomoisky’s Kramatorsk steel plant was the most likely forward operating base for the ethnic cleansing of the Dombas in the last eight years of war. Recently, I was a guest on Canadian television Justice TV where I stated the strategic capture point would be the forward base at Kramatorsk. I turned out to be exactly correct a week ago when the fight did indeed pivot to Kramtorsk. The gigantic ammunition depot was recently captured by the Russians near Kramatorsk soon after this strategic objective was taken. With no place to hide, there is no way to resupply without giving away the ammo dump.

Apparently, the Russian have suspected Balakliya as a weapons depot for a long time, hitting the same location in 2017. The key question now will be will the Russians find evidence of bioagents in the weapons cache. Barbara Cloutier of DTRA and General Cloutier of NATO were suspected of storing bioagents in Azovstal, the Ukrainian Billionaire Ahkmetov’s steel plan to the south. So far, no evidence of bioagents at Balakliya, but we will keep you posted on the Russian findings. We believe there are bioagents secrets still to be revealed in Ukraine with the Cloutiers and NATO. One thing we know for sure, is that top Azov Battalion leaders have fled the country, and they are going somewhere to regroup.

A3OB

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Is NATO getting involved directly?

Russia Investigates Media Report on British SAS Special Forces in Ukraine (R.)

Russia’s top state investigative body said on Saturday it was looking into a Russian media report alleging that sabotage experts from Britain’s SAS special forces have been deployed to western Ukraine. The Special Air Service is an elite military force trained to conduct special operations, surveillance and counter-terrorism. Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency on Saturday quoted a Russian security source as saying about 20 SAS members had been sent to the Lviv region. In a statement, the Investigative Committee said it would follow up the report that they had been sent in “to assist the Ukrainian special services in organizing sabotage on the territory of Ukraine.”


A spokesperson for the British Ministry of Defence said: “We do not comment on Special Forces.” Britain said it sent military trainers to Ukraine earlier this year to instruct local forces in using anti-tank weapons but the British government said on Feb. 17 – a week before Russia’s invasion – that it had pulled out all troops except those needed to protect its ambassador. It was not clear what steps the Investigative Committee planned to take in response to any SAS involvement in Ukraine. But the fact of the investigation into the possible presence of forces from a NATO country is significant, given that Russia has issued warnings to the West not to get in the way of its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

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From the top article: The European Union is preparing “smart sanctions” against Russian oil imports.

Is this the “smart” part of it?

EU Says Pay for Russian Gas in Euros to Avoid Breaching Sanctions (R.)

EU companies may be able to work around Russia’s demand to receive gas payments in roubles without breaching sanctions if they pay in euros or dollars which are then converted into the Russian currency, the European Commission said on Friday. The companies would also need to seek additional conditions on the transactions, such as a statement that they consider their contractual obligations complete once they have deposited the non-Russian currencies. Moscow has warned Europe it risks having gas supplies cut unless it pays in roubles. In March it issued a decree proposing that energy buyers open accounts at Gazprombank to make payments in euros or dollars, which would then be converted to roubles.

The Commission said companies should continue to pay the currency agreed in their contracts with Gazprom – 97% of which are in euros or dollars. “Companies with contracts stipulating payments in euros or dollars should not accede to Russian demands. This would be contrary to the sanctions in place,” a Commission spokesperson said. In an advisory document sent to member states on Thursday, the Commission said Russia’s proposal risked breaching EU sanctions since it would put the effective completion of the purchase – once the payments are converted to roubles – into the hands of the Russian authorities.

However, Moscow’s decree does not necessarily prevent a payment process that would comply with EU sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict, the Commission said. Brussels said in the document that there were options that could allow companies to continue lawfully paying for gas. “EU companies can ask their Russian counterparts to fulfil their contractual obligations in the same manner as before the adoption of the decree, i.e. by depositing the due amount in euros or dollars,” the document said.

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“Russia is Europe’s biggest oil supplier, providing just over a quarter of EU oil imports in 2020..”

EU’s Borrell: Not Enough Support For Total Embargo On Russian Oil, Gas (R.)

There is insufficient support from European Union member states for a complete embargo or punitive tariff on Russian oil and gas imports, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell was quoted as saying by German newspaper Die Welt on Monday. “At the moment, we in the EU do not have a unified position on this question,” Borrell told the newspaper. Oil exports are the Kremlin’s main source of foreign currency and many within the EU have called for an end to oil payments because they effectively finance the war in Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation”. Some EU countries are pushing for a sixth sanctions package on Russia and Brussels is preparing a full impact assessment of an oil ban as part of possible further measures.


Russia is Europe’s biggest oil supplier, providing just over a quarter of EU oil imports in 2020, according to data from the bloc’s statistics office Eurostat. Borrell said the topic will be discussed at the next EU summit due at the end of next month and that he did not expect any decision on the matter before then. “A final proposal for an embargo on oil and gas is not yet on the table,” he said. The EU Commission will probably make proposals for a sixth package of sanctions to the member states this week, Die Welt said, without citing sources.

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“We believe a comprehensive risk/benefit assessment of the mRNA vaccines questions them as positive contributors to public health.”

Innate Immune Suppression By SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccinations (SD)

Abstract: The mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were brought to market in response to the public health crises of Covid-19. The utilization of mRNA vaccines in the context of infectious disease has no precedent. The many alterations in the vaccine mRNA hide the mRNA from cellular defenses and promote a longer biological half-life and high production of spike protein. However, the immune response to the vaccine is very different from that to a SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this paper, we present evidence that vaccination induces a profound impairment in type I interferon signaling, which has diverse adverse consequences to human health.


Immune cells that have taken up the vaccine nanoparticles release into circulation large numbers of exosomes containing spike protein along with critical microRNAs that induce a signaling response in recipient cells at distant sites. We also identify potential profound disturbances in regulatory control of protein synthesis and cancer surveillance. These disturbances potentially have a causal link to neurodegenerative disease, myocarditis, immune thrombocytopenia, Bell’s palsy, liver disease, impaired adaptive immunity, impaired DNA damage response and tumorigenesis. We show evidence from the VAERS database supporting our hypothesis. We believe a comprehensive risk/benefit assessment of the mRNA vaccines questions them as positive contributors to public health.

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Lots of reports of hepatitis in children (and others).

SARS-CoV-2 vAccination Can Elicit a CD8 T-cell Dominant Hepatitis (SD)

Background & Aims: Autoimmune hepatitis episodes have been described following SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination but their pathophysiology remains unclear. Here, we report the case of a 52-year-old male, presenting with bimodal episodes of acute hepatitis, each occurring 2-3 weeks after BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination and sought to identify the underlying immune correlates. The patient received first oral budesonide, relapsed, but achieved remission under systemic steroids.

Methods: Imaging mass cytometry for spatial immune profiling was performed on liver biopsy tissue. Flow cytometry was performed to dissect CD8 T cell phenotypes and identify SARS-CoV-2-specific and EBV-specific T cells longitudinally. Vaccine-induced antibodies were determined by ELISA. Data was correlated with clinical labs.

Results: Analysis of the hepatic tissue revealed an immune infiltrate quantitatively dominated by activated cytotoxic CD8 T cells with panlobular distribution. An enrichment of CD4 T cells, B cells, plasma cells and myeloid cells was also observed compared to controls. The intrahepatic infiltrate showed enrichment for CD8 T cells with SARS-CoV-2-specificity compared to the peripheral blood. Notably, hepatitis severity correlated longitudinally with an activated cytotoxic phenotype of peripheral SARS-CoV-2-specific, but not EBV-specific CD8+ T cells or vaccine-induced immunoglobulins.

Conclusions: COVID19 vaccination can elicit a distinct T cell-dominant immune-mediated hepatitis with a unique pathomechanism associated with vaccination induced antigen-specific tissue-resident immunity requiring systemic immunosuppression.

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With world hunger predicted, impeccable timing.

Trudeau Government Targets Grain Growers As Worst Emissions Offenders (TNC)

A Trudeau government report is putting farmers next on the carbon emissions chopping block, using UN data that accuses Canadian grain growers of producing crops with the highest “emissions intensity” in the world. A new “discussion document” released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada titled “Reducing emissions arising from the application of fertilizer in Canada’s agriculture sector” singles out wheat, barley and other cereal producers for emission reductions. The report outlines a framework to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2020 climate plan target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture sector by 30% below 2020 levels within ten years.

“The fertilizer target’s objective is to contribute to lower GHG emissions from the agriculture sector, building on and leveraging public and private programs and initiatives,” Agriculture Canada writes. “The target applies to both direct (following fertilizer application) and indirect (from nitrogen leached from fields and volatilized to the atmosphere as ammonia) emissions from the application of fertilizer.” Agriculture Canada goes on to accuse cereal farmers of having “one of the highest levels of emissions intensity” among exporting countries. The claim refers to data gathered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that puts Canada at the top of the list. “Available data show that Canadian cereal production likely has one of the highest levels of emissions intensity (amount of GHGs emitted per unit of product) amongst major exporting countries,” Agriculture Canada claims.

“Canada’s emission intensity for cereals in 2017 is higher than those reported for the United States, the European Union and (other regions).” Industry leaders including President of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Gunter Jochum have disputed the federal government’s claim about the greenhouse gas output of farmers. In an interview with True North, Jochum questioned the validity of the data, saying there has yet to be any reliable measurement of emissions on fertilizer use by farmers in Canada. “I would like to know where they got their facts from,” said Jochum. “I believe those facts were entirely made up because in Canada we don’t even have a baseline as to what the true emissions are.”

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“Durham has obtained only a single guilty plea..”

Ratcliffe: Still-classified Documents Will Blow Durham Inquiry Wide Open (WE)

A great deal more Russiagate intelligence remains shrouded from public view and will stun the nation, according to former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. The Trump-era spy chief expounded upon his expectation that there will be many more indictments in special counsel John Durham’s criminal inquiry into the origins and conduct of the Russia investigation. “I expect there to be a lot more indictments to be forthcoming from John Durham besides the ones that have trickled out so far. And that’s based upon documents, some of which — many of which are not yet declassified,” Ratcliffe said during a recent episode of the Charlie Kirk Show.

Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman from Texas who oversaw the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies in the latter part of the Trump administration, announced in October 2020 that he had handed over nearly 1,000 pages of materials to the Justice Department to assist Durham, who is revealing more secrets as he takes people to court. Durham has two active prosecutions, including a case against the main source for British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier and a case against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, whose trial is scheduled to begin next month. Durham has obtained only a single guilty plea, which came from former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted to altering an email about a Trump campaign aide under government surveillance.

“The coordinated effort here that took place in 2016 was wide and broad. I think it involved folks in the Clinton campaign, in the Democratic national party, elected officials, media officials, folks that coordinated — intelligence community officials, and on down the line,” Ratcliffe said. “I’m not saying that every single one of those folks have criminal liability or exposure. I’m just saying this was a very coordinated effort and the more and more the public finds out about the things that I’ve seen that remain classified, they’ll be more and more appalled by those efforts in 2016.”

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“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings..”

Joe Biden Met With Hunter Biden Business Partner At The White House 19 Times (NYP)

Hunter Biden’s closest business partner made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015, including a sitdown with then-Vice President Joe Biden in the West Wing. Visitor logs from the White House of former President Barack Obama reviewed by The Post cast further doubt over Joe Biden’s claims that he knew nothing of his son’s dealings. Eric Schwerin met with Vice President Biden on November 17, 2010 in the West Wing, when he was the president of the since-dissolved investment fund Rosemont Seneca Partners. The logs also reveal that Schwerin met with various close aides of both Joe and Jill Biden at key moments in Hunter’s life when he was striking multi-million dollar deals in foreign countries, including China.


Yet President Biden has long insisted he had no involvement in his son’s foreign affairs. “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” he said in 2019. ”Not everyone gets to meet the Vice President of the United States in the White House. The press should be asking why Hunter Biden’s business associates — like Eric Schwerin — had that privilege and were given access to the Obama White House,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin). “This is additional evidence that Joe Biden lied when he said he never discussed Hunter’s foreign business dealings. It’s well past time for the corporate media to demand the truth from Joe Biden. The corruption of Biden Inc. must be exposed.” Of all Hunter Biden’s business associates, Schwerin had the most intimate access to the vice president’s personal finances.

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For pete’s sake!

Wikipedia Kills Entry for Hunter Biden’s Investment Company (Turley)

Wikipedia editors are under fire this week for removing the entry for Rosemont Seneca Partners, the investment company connected to Hunter Biden and his alleged multimillion dollar influence peddling schemes. The site bizarrely claimed that the company was “not notable.” The timing itself is notable given the new disclosure that Hunter Biden’s business partner, Eric Schwerin, made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015. That included a meeting with then-Vice President Joe Biden despite Biden’s repeated claim that he knew nothing about his son’s business dealings. Schwerin was the president of Rosemont Seneca. Wikipedia has been accused of raw bias in removing the entry at a time when interest in the company is at its peak, including the possibility of an indictment of Hunter Biden over his financial dealings.

Rosemont Seneca is one of the most searched terms for those trying to understand the background on the Biden business operations. Yet, an editor known only as “Alex” wrote that the company was simply “not notable” — an absurd claim reminiscent of the recent claim by Atlantic Magazine’s writer Anne Applebaum that she did not cover the scandal because it simply was “not interesting.” Alex wrote: “This organization is only mentioned in connection with its famous founders, Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz.” That itself is an odd statement. It is mentioned as one of the key conduits of alleged influence peddling money. Alex added that “keeping it around” ran the risk of the page becoming “a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.”

Any Wikipedia page could be a magnet for conspiracy theories, including the page on Hunter Biden himself. The fact is that this is a real company with real dealings that are the subject of a real criminal investigation. Indeed, various Republican members have already pledged to conduct investigations into this and other companies if they secure either house of Congress after the midterm elections. So Wikipedia killed it just as a United States Attorney is drilling down on financial dealings of Hunter Biden, including money received from foreign sources through Rosemont Seneca. The bias in the reference to the “conspiracy theories” is glaring. While some clearly misstate the facts of the Hunter Biden dealings (on both sides of the controversy), the central role of the company in these dealings is no conspiracy theory.

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Seems a bit repetitive, perhaps, but there’s a “new” element. Mules. “True the Vote bought three trillion geo-location signals from cellphones that were near drop boxes and also near election nonprofits..”

Are Democrats and Joe Biden Up To Their Old Election Tricks? (Devine)

There were lots of ways Democrats tried to tilt the playing field in their favor, some more successfully than others. Their pals in Big Tech censoring The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop coverage before the election was one triumph. Now pesky evidence is starting to emerge of systematic schemes to subvert the electoral process — which must not be allowed to happen again if we are to restore faith in elections. The most compelling evidence to date has emerged in “2000 Mules,” the upcoming documentary by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who draws on research by election integrity group True The Vote to expose suspicious ballot harvesting.

Using cellphone geotracking and surveillance video, it shows a network of “mules” in battleground states busily collecting ballots from get-out-the-vote NGOs and stuffing them, a few at a time, into multiple drop boxes in the dead of night. The extent of the operation is jaw-dropping. True the Vote bought three trillion geo-location signals from cellphones that were near drop boxes and also near election nonprofits, from Oct. 1, 2020, through to the election on November 3. In Georgia the end date covered the Jan. 6, 2021, run-off. Then they went searching for “mules,” operatives who picked up ballots from election NGOs — such as Stacey Abrams’ outfit, “Fair Fight Action” — and then carried them to different drop boxes, depositing between three to 10 ballots in each box before moving to the next.

Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, chose the term “mule” because “it felt a lot like a cartel, it felt like trafficking . . . This is in its essence ballot trafficking . . . You have the collectors. You have the stash houses, which are the nonprofits. And then you have the mules that are doing the drops.” Data analyst Gregg Phillips set a threshold for each mule to visit at least 10 drop boxes within a defined area and at least five visits to one or more NGOs. For example, in the Atlanta-metro area they drew a line around 309 drop boxes and bought all the cellphone data of people that had been near those drop boxes and NGOs. That narrowed the search to 2,000 mules.

Then they went looking for public surveillance camera footage of those drop boxes. In all they found 4 million minutes across the country. The results are stunning. When a mule is matched with video, you can see the scheme come to life. A car pulls up at a drop box after midnight. A man gets out, looks around surreptitiously, approaches the box, stuffs in a handful of ballots and hightails it out of there. Then he goes to the next box, again and again. After Dec. 23, 2020, Phipps noticed mules in Georgia started wearing gloves. He pinpoints the change to an indictment for ballot stuffing handed up in Arizona on December 22. “The way the FBI nailed them was fingerprints.” After that, mules started wearing gloves.

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Shareholders complained. They fear losing billions.

Twitter Board ‘Seriously’ Starts Considering Musk’s Bid Offer (WG)

“Never say never,” they say. Well, it doesn’t take time for people to change their minds. Usually, the revelation of a new perspective does the trick. However, at times, external pressure triggers a stance flip. As a matter of fact, something similar has been happening in the Musk-Twitter saga. While it was initially perceived that Musk’s bid to acquire Twitter would not see sunlight, latest developments show that the doors remain to be wide open. Per recent reports, Twitter kicked off deal negotiations with Elon Musk on Sunday after he “wooed” many of the social media company’s shareholders with financing details on his $43 billion acquisition offer. In fact, per Wall Street Journal, they could finalize a deal as soon as this week itself.

Per Reuters, the company’s decision to engage with Musk does not essentially give the surety that it would accept his $54.20 per share bid. It just means that, the microblogging and social networking platform is now exploring whether or not a sale of the company to Musk is feasible on attractive terms. Well, it wouldn’t be wrong to claim that Musk is a people’s person. Time and again he has voiced out his opinion on n number of subjects on social media. Over the past few days, however, the Tesla exec has has been meeting Twitter shareholders, seeking support for his bid IRL. As a result, many shareholders have reached out to the company after Musk chalked out a detailed financing plan for his bid on Thursday and urged it not to let the opportunity for a deal slip away.


Per Reuters, Musk’s insistence that his bid for Twitter is his “best and final” has emerged as a hurdle in the deal negotiations. The report added, “Nevertheless, Twitter’s board has decided to engage with Musk to gather more information on his ability to complete the deal, and potentially get better terms… The company has not yet decided if it will explore a sale to put pressure on Musk to raise his bid” Here it is also worth noting that the social media giant wants to know more about any active investigations by regulators into Musk that could potentially be a risk to the deal. It is simultaneously also looking into whether regulators in any of the major markets it operates would object to Musk owning the company.

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Rednecks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

Apr 242022
 


René Magritte The conquerer 1926

 

Top US Officials To Meet Zelensky On First Wartime Visit To Kyiv (F24)
A West-mandated Russian “Default”: Who Wins And Who Loses? (Vilches)
Urgent Briefing from the Russian MOD re new provocations (Saker)
Minsk II: Two Words You’ll Never Hear on Mainstream News (Antiwar)
Energy Rationing & The Pivot From Ukraine To Climate (OffG)
1788. China to Make Electric Tumbrils (Reed)
The Drive to Vaccinate the World Against Covid Is Losing Steam (NYT)
Have People Been Given the Wrong Vaccine? (Kulldorff)
Pfizer Docs: 3.7% Death Rate From Vaccine, Many More Serious Injuries (EV)
Dissecting Canada’s All-cause Mortality (Rebel)
Covid Vaccines Increase Risk of Severe Heart Inflammation Up to 120-Fold (DS)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Macgregor

 

 

Putin subservient

 

 

 

 

US food supply

 

 

The MSM spouts only Ukraine propaganda. They have very few people on the ground, so they just parrot whatever -extravagant- claims Zelensky et al make. Lazy? You bet. Journalism? Hell, no.

Top US Officials To Meet Zelensky On First Wartime Visit To Kyiv (F24)

The United States’ top diplomat and defence chief were Sunday set to make their first wartime visits to Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago, with fierce battles raging in the east of the country. The trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin comes as the war enters its third month with thousands dead and millions displaced. A series of European leaders have already travelled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky and underscore their support, but the United States – a leading donor of finance and weaponry – has yet to send any top officials. In his daily video address Saturday night, Zelensky said he was preparing for “tomorrow’s important talks with American partners”.

The State Department declined to comment on the highly sensitive trip by two of President Joe Biden’s top cabinet members. Their visit comes as Russian forces show no sign of easing their attacks and after a missile strike on the southern city of Odessa that Ukraine said killed eight people, including an infant. “Among those killed was a three-month-old baby girl. How did she threaten Russia? It seems that killing children is just a new national idea of the Russian Federation,” Zelensky said. He also accused Russia of being a terrorist state and of acting like Nazis in the shattered port city of Mariupol, which has been devastated by weeks of intense bombardment.

“New facts about the crimes of the occupiers against our Mariupol residents are being revealed. New graves of people killed by the occupiers are being found. We are talking about tens of thousands of dead Mariupol residents,” he said. The latest of many attempts to evacuate civilians from Mariupol failed Saturday, and an embattled unit of Ukrainian fighters holed up in tunnels under a sprawling steel mill there appeared in increasingly desperate straits. Zelensky also issued a new call Saturday for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “to end the war.”

“I think that whoever started this war will be able to end it,” Zelensky said, adding he was “not afraid” to meet the Russian leader, who attended an Orthodox Easter service in Moscow. But he again stressed that Kyiv would abandon talks with Moscow if its troops in Mariupol were killed. Zelensky also criticised a decision by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to visit Moscow on Tuesday, before heading to Kyiv. “There is no justice and no logic in this order,” he said. “The war is in Ukraine, there are no bodies in the streets of Moscow. It would be logical to go first to Ukraine, to see the people there, the consequences of the occupation,” he said.

Ukraine ‘absolutely sure’ it will win war against Russia

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The US and NATO are not the ‘global stage’.

A West-mandated Russian “Default”: Who Wins And Who Loses? (Vilches)

Russia is currently “defaulting” or — in the best of cases — on a very direct and firm path to an inevitable “default”. Or at least this seems to be what the Western press and international rating agencies are pushing and rooting for, same as specialized academia, think-tanks, the political-financial-military establishment… and pretty much the whole Western Hemisphere including the US and Europe + South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. And it can reasonably be assumed that the above is most probably due to the fact that Western governments have officially and unequivocally dictated that it is not only “fair” but also wise to

(1) freeze and/or eventually “arrest” Russia´s reserve currency stockpiles held in international banking accounts (2) force Russia to pay its international financial obligations from abundantly solvent banks within Russia (3) declare that Russian payments in rubles instead of US dollars or euros or yens or GBP are not valid (4) declare Russia to be “defaulting” on its obligations by not following the above mandates (5) in case of doubt, Western governments remind us that Russia’s mandated “default” will necessarily be contested in UK Courts… which of course will always decide fully against Russia… undoubtedly and conveniently leaving aside whatever could be left of the once-traditional British “fair play” of yore.

And the West does not beat around the bush regarding this official policy with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell walking out of the recent G-20 meeting as soon as the mike was switched over to the Russian representative. The staged move was also well coordinated with multiple “unfriendly” finance ministers and central bank governors while others present virtually shut off their cameras immediately after the Russian official uttered his first word. And leaving no room for any doubt, White House Press Secretary Jen Saki tweeted in no uncertain terms that “We support her (Janet Yellen´s) steps, and it’s an indication of the fact that President Putin and Russia have become pariahs on the global stage”. By the way, with some notable exceptions, for the same “Ukranian reasons” many of the above have openly proposed to kick Russia out of the G-20 group ASAP.

So, to make a long story short, for all practical purposes Russia will necessarily “default” soon enough per the Western strategy of “we won’t let you pay but you must pay”… or thereabouts.

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“The biological weapons programs in the USSR were completely phased out in 1972.”

“..the Russian Federation completely destroyed its chemical arsenal on September 27, 2017, which is confirmed by an OPCW certificate..”

Urgent Briefing from the Russian MOD re new provocations (Saker)

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation held an urgent briefing, detailing a provocation against the Russian Federation prepared by the USA and NATO with the accusation of using nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation possesses the information related to the preparation of provocations by the United States of America in order to accuse the Russian Armed Forces of using chemical, biological or tactical nuclear weapons.


There are three scenarios to be applied in order to accuse the Russian Federation.
The first one is a ‘staged incident under a false flag’ that is the most probable.
The second one refers to a ‘Maximally covert use of weapons of mass destruction in small volumes’ for neutralising the will power and the capacity to resist within the fulfilment of a particular operational task.
The third and the least probable one is the ‘overt use of weapons of mass destruction at a combat area’.

[..] We would like to recall that the Russian Federation completely destroyed its chemical arsenal on September 27, 2017, which is confirmed by an OPCW certificate. In turn, the United States, with its strong financial, economic and technical potential, is the only country party to the Chemical Weapons Convention that still possesses an impressive arsenal of chemical warfare agents (672.5 tons). CIA Director Burns’ statement about Russia’s possible use of tactical nuclear weapons is absurd. With the current level of technical equipment of the international nuclear test monitoring system, it is impossible to conceal the use of such weapons. If the CIA director does not understand this, then he is either unprofessional, or he is being misled. The biological weapons programs in the USSR were completely phased out in 1972. At the same time, the number of U.S. biological laboratories is incomparable to other countries. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Washington controls 336 laboratories in 30 countries, which is of great concern.

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“Ukraine had an off ramp from civil war early on in the form of the Minsk and then the Minsk II agreements in 2014 and 2015..”

Minsk II: Two Words You’ll Never Hear on Mainstream News (Antiwar)

Minsk II was the 2015 agreement hammered out by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany to end the civil war in Ukraine between the pro west, ultra nationalist government and the pro Russian Ukrainians in the eastern Donbas provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk. Why a civil war in Ukraine? Historically, Ukraine was cobbled together first by the Russian Empire, then the Soviet Union over 4 centuries, containing disparate peoples. The main ones were the Western leaning, Ukrainian speaking people in the north and west, and the Russian speaking in the east and south. Their relationship was always toxic, but under Soviet rule relative peace prevailed. Once freed from Soviet rule in 1999, the tension between the two disparate groups resurfaced.

Fifteen years on the U.S. essentially blew up whatever chance for peaceful resolution by aiding a coup which violently removed Russian leaning President Yanukovych, replacing him with an ultra nationalist government under Petro Poroshenko. Thus began the civil war in the Donbas that has killed over 14,000 Ukrainians in Kiev’s effort to subjugate and marginalize the hated Russian leaning Ukrainians. And leading the carnage for the past 3 years is current president Volodymyr Zelensky. Calling him the new Churchill doesn’t quite fit. But Ukraine had an off ramp from civil war early on in the form of the Minsk and then the Minsk II agreements in 2014 and 2015. The latter called for autonomy for the breakaway provinces Donetsk and Lugansk, amnesty to the combatants and representation in the Ukraine government.

But goaded by the US and the ultra nationalists with the real power, both post coup presidents Poroshenko and Zelensky opted to continue the civil war to both retake the breakaway provinces and recapture the Crimea, seized by Russia after the 2014 coup threatened their naval base at Sebastopol in the Crimea. In the months leading up to Russia’s criminal war, Ukraine, with the help of weaponry and training by Uncle Sam, dramatically increased its criminal shelling of the Donbas, even massing a hundred thousand troops for a possible invasion predicted for March. Did that, and the threat of NATO’s encroachment in Ukraine up to Russia’s borders make Russia’s invasion legal or necessary for Russia’s national defense? Of course not. But expecting Russia would sit back and do nothing made their invasion virtually inevitable.

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“It’s interesting that “operation thermostat” should be announced on April 22nd – Earth Day – despite having zero to do with climate change.”

Energy Rationing & The Pivot From Ukraine To Climate (OffG)

Italy is officially becoming the first country to start rationing energy after cutting their supply of Russian gas and oil. From next month, until at least March 2023, public buildings across the nation will be banned from running air conditioning at lower than 25 degrees, or heating higher than 19 degrees. The plan, termed “Operation Thermostat” in the press, is being sold as a way for ordinary people to show “solidarity” with the people of Ukraine, with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi saying: “Do we want to have peace or do we want to have the air conditioning on?” I’m not exactly sure how adjusting your thermostat is going to achieve ‘peace’, but hey we’re living in the age of sentimental manipulation over reason, so – just believe.

For example, the Guardian is illustrating the story with pro-peace artwork allegedly done by Italian schoolchildren (in English, for some reason). There’s no talk yet of this kind of energy-rationing rule extending to private businesses or homes, but a marker has been set down. Expect other nations to follow suit. After that of course will come the opinion pieces asking questions like “we rationed gas to fight Putin, why not climate change?”, and headlines saying that “Europe-wide gas rationing was good for the planet” or something similar. …Oh wait, it’s already happening. Honestly, when I originally wrote the above paragraph I had no idea the New Yorker had published this opinion piece for Earth Day, headlined: “This Earth Day, We Could Be Helping the Environment—and Ukraine”

It argues that rationing energy to fight Putin is just like digging for victory to fight Hitler, and – just as I predicted – would also be good for the planet: “During the Second World War, victory demanded more oil […] In the wars dominating the globe today — Putin’s land grab in Ukraine, and the global land grab caused by rising sea levels and spreading deserts — victory demands getting off fossil fuels as fast as we possibly can.” It even hints at a quasi-lockdown – this time for the sake of beating Putin and combating climate change: “Everyone who can work from home could continue to do so, at least on, say, Mondays, knocking a day off the national commute. Carpools could be organized, taking special advantage of the fact that there are now two million electric cars on the road. More bike paths could be made available, and, when air-conditioning season begins, Americans could turn their thermostats up a degree.”

Remember lockdowns were marketed as planet-saving almost from the moment they were put in place, despite it making almost zero sense. The agenda was pretty obvious right from the start. It’s interesting that “operation thermostat” should be announced on April 22nd – Earth Day – despite having zero to do with climate change. It’s also noteworthy that climate protests groups have piggy-backed on the idea to call for an EU-wide boycott of Russia’s fossil fuels.

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Left field?!

1788. China to Make Electric Tumbrils (Reed)

The media, a salt mine in which I once labored, are an embarrassment, utterly partisan, ranting and howling about Russia. OK, in war it is usual to cut the public off from information and to keep them stirred up with accounts of rape, human shield, “genocide,” chemical war, massacres, torture, a rule of television being to get a woman to cry and fill the frame. In Vietnam the media ran all over the country and actually reported what was happening, which eventually ended the war. This error is not being repeated. {what bothers me is the apparent lack of curiosity, of doubt of official sources. Contrary to belief in some quarters, reporters are not given orders to adopt a particular point of view, though they know better than to contradict the publication’s line. No scribbler at the Washington Post will discuss racial differences in intelligence. But they are herd animals.}

Violeta, whose cynicism toward government—anybody’s government—would peel paint from a wall, watched a video clip purportedly of a Russian tank crushing a car occupied by Ukrainians. She noticed after research that the Russian tank was black without markings, like Ukrainian tanks, instead of green with markings, like all other Russian tanks. OK, maybe it was an undercover Russian tank. She also noticed in some of the Russian-destruction video, street signs are blurred out. Uh…, why dat? Anyone want to guess? Why do reporters not pay attention? First, again, they are creatures of the pack. They live in the Beltway Terrarium, talk to each other, read each other, and so know they are right. Don’t their colleagues all say so?

Second, they are painfully ignorant of matters military, knowing chiefly the bureaucracies involved in policy, contracting, and so on. This includes those for the WaPo, whom I knew—Gerge Wilson, Molly Moore, etc. [..] Why did Russia attack? Anyone who can read a map can see that since 1991 the US has been trying, with considerable success, to encircle Russia militarily. Russia has said over and over that it was not going to have American missiles on its border in the Ukraine any more than America would allow Chinese missiles in Tijuana. I encountered no one in DC who had even heard of this, though it has been going on for years. This is journalism? Yes.

All things end, except those that don’t. On a cold rainy predawn morning we caught an Uber to Reagan National, returning to a country that has just left the Third World to one energetically returning to it. A stewardess aboard read the boilerplate about have a wonderful flight. She didn’t explain just how that laudable goal might be achieved. Remember, cometh the guillotine. Kachunk. Kachunk. Kachun.

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“Africa’s vaccination rate remain the most dismal. Fewer than 17 percent of Africans have received a primary Covid immunization.”

The Drive to Vaccinate the World Against Covid Is Losing Steam (NYT)

Countries in different parts of the world, including some in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, have seen their vaccination rates stagnate in recent months at a third or less of their populations. But Africa’s vaccination rate remain the most dismal. Fewer than 17 percent of Africans have received a primary Covid immunization. Nearly half of the vaccine doses delivered to the continent thus far have gone unused. Last month, the number of doses injected on the continent fell by 35 percent compared to February. W.H.O. officials attributed the drop to mass vaccination pushes being replaced by smaller-scale campaigns in several countries. Some global health experts say the world missed a prime opportunity last year to provide vaccines to lower-income countries, when the public was more fearful of Covid and motivated to get vaccinated.

“There was a time people were very desperate to get vaccinated, but the vaccines were not there. And then they realized that without the vaccination, they didn’t die,” said Dr. Adewole, who wants to see countries continue to pursue the 70 percent target. What momentum remains in the global vaccination campaign has been hindered by a shortfall in funding for the equipment, transportation and personnel needed to get shots into arms. In the United States, a key funder of the vaccination effort, lawmakers stripped $5 billion meant for global pandemic aid from the coronavirus response package that is expected to come up for a vote in the next few weeks. Biden administration officials have said that without the funds, they will be unable to provide support for vaccine delivery to more than 20 under-vaccinated countries.

Some public health experts point to reasons for optimism that the global vaccination campaign still has steam. Despite the drop off from the February peak, the number of Covid vaccinations being administered each day in Africa is still near a pandemic high. And Gavi earlier this month drew a significant new round of funding pledges, securing $4.8 billion in commitments, although it fell short of its $5.2 billion goal. There is also hope that a global Covid summit the White House plans to co-host next month could be an opportunity to generate momentum and funding. But the drop in public demand has led some health officials and experts to quietly, and in some cases outright, question whether the 70 percent vaccination target is feasible or even sensible.

WHO

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Should anyone at all have been given any hardly tested substances at all?

Have People Been Given the Wrong Vaccine? (Kulldorff)

Randomized controlled trials show all-cause mortality reduction from the Covid adenovirus-vector vaccines (RR=0.37, 95 percentCI: 0.19-0.70) but not from the mRNA vaccines (RR=1.03, 95 percentCI 0.63-1.71). That is the verdict from a new Danish study by Dr. Christine Benn and colleagues. Have people been given vaccines that don’t work (Pfizer/Moderna) instead of vaccines that do work (AstraZeneca/Johnson & Johnson)? Let’s put this study into context and then delve into the numbers. In medicine, the gold standard for evidence is randomized controlled trials (RCT), as they avoid study bias for or against the vaccine. Moreover, the key outcome is death. Do these vaccines save lives? Hence, the Danish study answers the right question with the right data. It is the first study to do so.

When the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that decision was based on RCTs. The RCTs submitted to the FDA showed that the vaccines reduce symptomatic Covid infections. By recruiting mostly younger and middle-aged adults, who are unlikely to die from Covid no matter what, the studies were not designed to determine whether the vaccines also reduce mortality. That was assumed as a corollary, although it may or may not be true. Neither were the RCTs designed to determine whether the vaccines reduce transmission, but that is a different story for another time. The vaccines were developed for Covid, but to properly evaluate a vaccine, we must look at non-Covid deaths as well.

Are there unintended adverse reactions leading to death? We do not want a vaccine that saves the lives of some people but kills an equal number of other people. There may also be unintended benefits, such as incidental protection against other infections. For a fair comparison, that should also be part of the equation. While each individual RCT was unable to determine whether the Covid vaccine reduced mortality, the RCTs recorded all deaths, and to increase sample size, the Danish study pooled multiple RCTs. There are two different types of Covid vaccines, adenovirus-vector vaccines (AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik) and mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), and they did one pooled analysis for each type. Here are the results:

There is clear evidence that the adenovirus-vector vaccines reduced mortality. For every 100 deaths in the unvaccinated, there are only 37 deaths among the vaccinated, with a 95 percent confidence interval of 19 to 70 deaths. This result comes from five different RCTs for three different vaccines, but it is primarily driven by the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. For the mRNA vaccines, on the other hand, there was no evidence of a mortality reduction. For every 100 deaths among the unvaccinated, there are 103 deaths among the vaccinated, with a 95 percent confidence interval of 63 to 171 deaths. That is, the mRNA vaccines may reduce mortality a little bit, or they may increase it; we do not know. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contributed equally to this result, so there is no evidence that one is better or worse than the other.

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1 in 27 dies.

“..with 100M people vaccinated in the United States, there have been almost four million deaths and millions beset with life-altering injuries.”

Pfizer Docs: 3.7% Death Rate From Vaccine, Many More Serious Injuries (EV)

According to documents released through court order, 3.7% of the cases Pfizer looked at for ‘adverse events’ died, and Pfizer prevented all the data being released – so at this time it is impossible to tell the exact death rate – the bottom line is this is a mass murder event. Dr. Naomi Wolf has been going through the tens of thousands of pages of documents a Federal court forced Pfizer to release from its FDA submission for Covid-19 mRNA vaccine approval. She released the data on War Room Pandemic this morning.


Shockingly, the initial data showed a death rate of 3.7% with a much higher rate of serious injury. In other words, with 100M people vaccinated in the United States, there have been almost four million deaths and millions beset with life-altering injuries. The amount of vaccines shipped by Pfizer was redacted in the documents. This is the government, Pfizer, and the CCP working to commit mass murder against the America people. There is no denying this now.

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“In certain areas of the country almost twice as many people are dying than what we would expect in those young ages and it’s not COVID.“

Dissecting Canada’s All-cause Mortality (Rebel)

All-cause mortality data for 2021 is starting to trickle out in Canada and it’s showing some concerning trends. Accidental COVID data analyst and financial investor Kelly Brown has been a leader in analyzing official Government COVID data for the better part of two years. He began sounding the alarm bells on the post-vaccination myocarditis risk in young males and has continued this unpaid work ever since. After discovering loopholes in the government messaging and clear indications of harm using Governments’ own data, Kelly now finds himself doing deep dives into other statistical analyses. Using data published by Canada’s national statistics office, Statistics Canada, Kelly has dissected all-cause mortality and excess mortality. He notes that Alberta (AB) and British Columbia (BC) have the most robust data and it shows that the actual number of excess deaths exceeds the predicable baseline by nearly double!


Referring to this as a “tsunami of death” as deaths in BC and AB exceed expected levels by nearly 70%. Using historical averages, Kelly can only explain approximately 30-50% of these deaths by drug overdose. After a rapid acceleration in July 2021, the 0-44 age group saw a catastrophic 25% weekly excess death rate for approximately three months that “cannot be explained by suicides, overdoses, cancers, etc.” When referring to this chart that overlays daily doses (either 1st or 2nd) with excess mortality, Kelly asserts that it not up to us to investigate this looming safety signal, “there’s something at play here that Public Health needs to investigate. This is a real public health emergency. In certain areas of the country almost twice as many people are dying than what we would expect in those young ages and it’s not COVID.”

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These studies come far too late.

Covid Vaccines Increase Risk of Severe Heart Inflammation Up to 120-Fold (DS)

Covid vaccination increases the risk of severe heart inflammation up to 120-fold, a major study from Scandinavia published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has found. The study looked at over 23 million patient records covering the over-12s populations of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden from the start of the vaccine rollout in December 2020 to October 5th 2021. For young males aged 16-24 years within 28 days of a second dose the study found severe myocarditis (requiring inpatient hospital admission) around five times more common after Pfizer and 14 times more common after Moderna.


This corresponded to six events per 100,000 people after Pfizer and 18 events per 100,000 after Moderna. A second dose of Moderna given after a first dose of Pfizer came with even higher risk: a 36-fold increased risk, corresponding to 27 events per 100,000 people. The Moderna vaccine has three times the dose of mRNA of the Pfizer vaccine, which the authors suggest lies behind the increased risk. One oddity is that the study can’t seem to decide how many severe myocarditis events there actually were in total. In Table 2 below, in the left hand column, it indicates there were 85 + 34 + 53 = 172 events following a second dose.

In the text, however, it says: “During the 28-day risk period, we observed 105 myocarditis cases following administration of the first dose of BNT162b2 [Pfizer] and 115 myocarditis cases following the second dose. We also observed 15 myocarditis cases following administration of the first dose of mRNA-1273 [Moderna] and 60 myocarditis cases following the second dose.” That gives 115 + 60 = 175 events following the second dose. Yet lower down we get a third figure: “Of the 213 myocarditis cases in the 28-day risk window after a second dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination, 135 events occurred within the first week.” So how many cases of severe myocarditis were there within 28 days of a second mRNA vaccine dose – 172, 175 or 213?


Using the larger figure, the authors observe that with 135 of 213 occurring within the first week – more than half – the risk in that week is greatly elevated. Among males aged 16 to 24 years, the risk was around 13-fold greater during the week after a second dose of Pfizer and 38-fold greater after a second dose of Moderna. For a second dose of Moderna where the first dose was Pfizer the risk was 120-fold greater.

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Ali

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philantrophy


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Mar 082022
 
 March 8, 2022  Posted by at 9:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Jean-François Millet The Gleaners 1857

 

The Biggest Global Food Crisis That Any Of Us Have Ever Seen (Snyder)
The American Empire Self-Destructs (Michael Hudson)
Pity the Nation (Scott Ritter)
A Proposed Solution to the Ukraine War (Mello)
US Secretary Of Defense Orders 500 Additional Us Troops Deploy To Europe (CNN)
Ukraine Fighter-jet Deal Appears Doomed (Axios)
Blinken Invokes Putin’s Dead Brother (ABC)
Ukraine’s Top Negotiator Says Kiev Open to ‘Non-NATO Models’ (Antiwar)
Nowhere Left to Hide (Kunstler)
Australia Targets Hardcore Putin Extremists Spreading Hate About Ukraine (DM)
Florida Department of Health to Advise Against COVID Vax for Healthy Kids (NW)
Leaders Who Got Covid Wrong Must Admit It And Apologize (NYP)
From Sore Arms To Sudden Death (Eugyp)
Los Angeles Suing Monsanto For Chemicals In Waterways (Y!)

 

 

“And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”
– George Orwell, 1984

 

 

 

 

Biden 1997

 

 


Nickel price


Spain electricity prices

 

 

India

 

 

Famines loom.

The Biggest Global Food Crisis That Any Of Us Have Ever Seen (Snyder)

By the end of 2022, we are going to witness very serious shortages of food in many parts of the globe. In fact, World Bank President David Malpass is openly admitting that we are now facing “a huge supply shock” as a result of the war in Ukraine. Of course we were already moving into a global food crisis even before the war erupted. According to the UN, worldwide food prices in February 2022 were 20.7 percent higher than they were in February 2021, fertilizer prices have gone absolutely nuts, crop production is down all over the planet due to crazy weather patterns, and supply chain problems caused by the pandemic continue to create ongoing headaches. But now World War 3 has erupted, and that is going to push this rapidly growing global food crisis to a level that none of us have ever seen before.

Under normal conditions, Ukraine exports tremendous amounts of food and is considered to be one of the most important “breadbaskets” on the entire planet. Unfortunately, everything has changed now, and this has pushed the global price of wheat up 55 percent since a week before the invasion happened… “Ukrainian farmers have been forced to neglect their fields as millions flee, fight or try to stay alive. Ports are shut down that send wheat and other food staples worldwide to be made into bread, noodles and animal feed. And there are worries Russia, another agricultural powerhouse, could have its grain exports upended by Western sanctions. While there have not yet been global disruptions to wheat supplies, prices have surged 55% since a week before the invasion amid concerns about what could happen next. If the war is prolonged, countries that rely on affordable wheat exports from Ukraine could face shortages starting in July, International Grains Council director Arnaud Petit told The Associated Press.”

I really don’t like that “shortages starting in July” part. That definitely sounds rather ominous. Right now, the global price of food is the highest that it has ever been, and Russia and Ukraine normally account for “nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports”. Now that exports from Russia will be greatly reduced and exports from Ukraine will be virtually non-existent, some countries will almost immediately be facing extreme stress. [..] Things are going to be very challenging in Europe as well, because Ukraine normally provides almost 60 percent of the corn that Europeans use… “Ukraine supplies the EU with just under 60% of its corn and nearly half of a key component in the grains needed to feed livestock.” Meanwhile, crops all over the world are in surprisingly poor shape because weather conditions have been so strange.

Earlier today, I was stunned to learn that it is being projected that China’s winter wheat crop could be “the worst in history”… “The condition of China’s winter wheat crop could be the “worst in history”, the agriculture minister said on Saturday, raising concerns about grain supplies in the world’s biggest wheat consumer.” And the USDA is reporting that a whopping 71 percent of all winter wheat in the United States has been affected by drought… “A limited supply of soft white wheat, the primary type of wheat grown in the Inland Northwest, has helped lead to a six-year low for wheat exports from the United States. That’s according to the USDA wheat report for February. The report also states that 71 percent of U.S. winter wheat is being hit by drought in 2022.”

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“But nobody thought that it would happen this fast.”

The American Empire Self-Destructs (Michael Hudson)

Empires often follow the course of a Greek tragedy, bringing about precisely the fate that they sought to avoid. That certainly is the case with the American Empire as it dismantles itself in not-so-slow motion. The basic assumption of economic and diplomatic forecasting is that every country will act in its own self-interest. Such reasoning is of no help in today’s world. Observers across the political spectrum are using phrases like “shooting themselves in their own foot” to describe U.S. diplomatic confrontation with Russia and allies alike. For more than a generation the most prominent U.S. diplomats have warned about what they thought would represent the ultimate external threat: an alliance of Russia and China dominating Eurasia. America’s economic sanctions and military confrontation has driven them together, and is driving other countries into their emerging Eurasian orbit.

American economic and financial power was expected to avert this fate. During the half-century since the United States went off gold in 1971, the world’s central banks have operated on the Dollar Standard, holding their international monetary reserves in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, U.S. bank deposits and U.S. stocks and bonds. The resulting Treasury-bill Standard has enabled America to finance its foreign military spending and investment takeover of other countries simply by creating dollar IOUs. U.S. balance-of-payments deficits end up in the central banks of payments-surplus countries as their reserves, while Global South debtors need dollars to pay their bondholders and conduct their foreign trade. This monetary privilege – dollar seignorage – has enabled U.S. diplomacy to impose neoliberal policies on the rest of the world, without having to use much military force of its own except to grab Near Eastern oil.

The recent escalation U.S. sanctions blocking Europe, Asia and other countries from trade and investment with Russia, Iran and China has imposed enormous opportunity costs – the cost of lost opportunities – on U.S. allies. And the recent confiscation of the gold and foreign reserves of Venezuela, Afghanistan and now Russia, along the targeted grabbing of bank accounts of wealthy foreigners (hoping to win their hearts and minds, along with recovery of their sequestered accounts), has ended the idea that dollar holdings or those in its sterling and euro NATO satellites are a safe investment haven when world economic conditions become shaky. So I am somewhat chagrined as I watch the speed at which this U.S.-centered financialized system has de-dollarized over the span of just a year or two.

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“..the soul of a nation that once was defined by the life and works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, Lenin, Stalin, Sakharov, and Gorbachev was distilled into a shallow caricature of one man — Putin..”

Pity the Nation (Scott Ritter)

In the past few months, the United States has undergone a kind of transformation that one only reads about in history books — from a nation which imperfectly, yet stolidly, embraced the promise, if not principle, of freedom, especially when it came to that most basic of rights — the freedom of expression. Democracies live and die on the ability of an informed citizenry to engage in open debate, dialogue and discussion about difficult issues. Freedom of speech is one of the touch-stone tenets of American democracy — the idea that, no matter how out of step with mainstream society one’s beliefs might be, the retained right to freely express opinions thus derived without fear of censorship or repression existed. No more.

In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russophobia which had taken grip in the United States since Russia’s first post-Cold War president, Boris Yeltsin, handed the reins of power over to his hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, has emerged much like the putrid core of an over-ripe boil. That this anti-Russian trend existed in the United States was, in and of itself, no secret. Indeed, the United States had, since 2000, pushed aside classic Russian area studies in the pursuit of a new school espousing the doctrine of “Putinism,” centered on the flawed notion that everything in Russia revolved around the singular person of Vladimir Putin.

The more the United States struggled with the reality of a Russian nation unwilling to allow itself to be once again constrained by the yoke of carpetbagger economics disguised as “democracy” that had been prevalent during the Yeltsin era, the more the dogma of “Putinism” took hold in the very establishments where intellectual examination of complex problems was ostensibly transpiring — the halls of academia which in turn produced the minds that guided policy formulation and implementation. Outliers like Jack Matlock, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Cohen were cashiered in favor of a new breed of erstwhile Russian expert, led by the likes of Michael McFaul, Fiona Hill and Anne Applebaum. Genuine Russian area studies was supplanted by a new field of authoritarian studies, where the soul of a nation that once was defined by the life and works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, Lenin, Stalin, Sakharov, and Gorbachev was distilled into a shallow caricature of one man — Putin.

[..] As a former chief weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-1998, I was uniquely positioned to comment on the veracity of the claims made by the United States that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction capability in violation of its obligation to be disarmed of such. When my stance was deemed convenient to a narrative attacking a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, I was readily embraced. However, when my fact-based narrative ran afoul of the regime-change policies of Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, I was cast aside as a pariah.

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Greg Mello is the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group.

A Proposed Solution to the Ukraine War (Mello)

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, what was a regional conflict has become a global hybrid war with ever-greater stakes, not least the risk of nuclear war. Perhaps the greatest danger lies in the difference of motives between parties, which is also the fundamental cause of this war: Russia seeks security, while the U.S. and its NATO allies have been using Ukraine to deny that security — to “break Russia,” in Henry Kissinger’s 2015 phrase. The U.S. does not want peace, unless it be the peace of a conquered Russia. That is why there is no obvious end to the escalations and counter-escalations. The U.S. and NATO see opportunity in the war they have been trying so hard to provoke.

The tragedy is that few people seem to understand that at the root of the Ukraine crisis is a specific strategy known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine, named after Paul Wolfowitz who, as under secretary of defense in the administration of George H. W. Bush, was one of the authors of a 1992 document that laid out a neo-conservative manifesto aimed at ensuring American dominance of world affairs following the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Our first objective,” stated the document, “is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival [to the United States], either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere. … This is a dominant consideration underlying [a] regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

The Wolfowitz Doctrine triggered the post-Cold War use of NATO as an instrument of bloody aggression against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It declared, in effect, that diplomacy was dead and that American power ruled by violence if necessary. A resurgent Russia led by Vladimir Putin was next, and on the horizon, a risen China. The 2014 Washington-engineered coup in Ukraine that removed an elected leader who sought to reinforce his country’s relationship with neighboring Russia, was a product of the 1992 Doctrine and the extremism it represented. Victoria Nuland, a neo-conservative ideologue and President Barack Obama’s “point person” in Ukraine, has played the same role in President Joe Biden’s State Department.

The 1992 Doctrine is elaborated in an infamous RAND study on how to overextend and, in Kissinger’s words, “break Russia.” This is U.S. foreign policy today: a fact well understood by the Russian leadership who regard their country as effectively under siege by the United States. The potential of American missiles pointed at Moscow from former Soviet satellite countries, together with NATO troop deployments, is the reality they see. A militarized and virulently anti-Russian Ukraine being used as a tool by the U.S., with an expressed wish for nuclear weapons, on the brink of invading Russian-sympathizing provinces on the Russian border — all that was too much for Russia. What, do you suppose, the U.S. would do if such a situation arose in Mexico or Canada?

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Enablers.

US Secretary Of Defense Orders 500 Additional US Troops Deploy To Europe (CNN)

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered additional troops and US military assets to be deployed to different parts of Europe amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine to further support the US’s NATO allies, a senior US defense official told reporters on Monday. The Defense Department will send a total of 500 troops in this new deployment, the official said. The deployment will include sending KC-135 refueling aircraft to Greece, but the official could not say how many aircrafts would be sent or where in the US they will be coming from. An air support operation center will be deployed to Poland and Romania, and an ordinance company and a maintenance company will be sent to Germany, the official said.

The ordinance and maintenance companies will provide “additional logistic support to the first armored brigade combat team, third infantry division” in Germany which is already deployed there, the official said. “It’s only 500, small units, enablers, we said at the get-go of deploying forces that we would not rule out additional forces to include enablers, and these units are very much in support of forces that were already sent forward,” the official said. With these additional deployments, the US now has about 100,000 US military personnel either on rotational or permanent orders stationed in Europe right now, the official said. The decision to send these troops and military assets were “based on conversations that the secretary had with the chairman and with Gen. (Tod) Wolters,” the commander of US European command, “that these additional enablers would be useful for the forces that are already” in Europe, the official said.

The additional deployment “were already kind of queued up to go, and again fully in support of our efforts to help defend NATO airspace if needed,” the official added.

CIA in Ukraine – Douglas Valentine

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“..the U.S. would be in “no way opposed” to Poland’s “sovereign decision” to transfer its planes..”

Ukraine Fighter-jet Deal Appears Doomed (Axios)

Efforts to push the Biden administration into supporting the transfer of Russian-made fighter jets to Ukraine appear doomed for both technical and geopolitical reasons. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for the jets on Saturday during a Zoom call with more than 300 members of Congress, saying they were badly needed if NATO wouldn’t establish a “no-fly” zone. Those jets would likely be Soviet-era MiG-29s possessed by Poland, which Ukrainian pilots are capable of operating. The U.S. would, in turn, backfill Poland’s fleet with American-made F-16s. White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Monday the U.S. would be in “no way opposed” to Poland’s “sovereign decision” to transfer its planes but stressed there are a number of logistical hurdles.


Those include how the planes would actually enter Ukraine’s heavily contested airspace, as well as how to accelerate the years-long U.S. procurement process for “serious weapon systems” like the F-16. The Russians have also been bombing Ukraine’s airports, raising the specter of the planes having to be based in Poland or other NATO territory — increasing the risk of a Russian attack on soil that would have to be defended by the alliance. Zelensky’s appeal produced an immediate and bipartisan groundswell of support. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) sent a letter on Monday calling on the Biden administration to “do everything we can to compensate countries that heed Ukraine’s desperate call for fighter jets to defend their homeland.” His Republican counterpart, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), tweeted: “There is absolutely no reason we can’t supply airplanes to Zelensky and the Ukrainians. Our allies are willing and able to provide them, the admin needs to get out of the way.”

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1501024225854902273

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This will now define any further communications.

Blinken Invokes Putin’s Dead Brother (ABC)

As Russian forces continue to advance across Ukraine, the U.S. is accusing the Kremlin of “starving” besieged Ukrainian cities, in the words of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who on Monday appealed directly to Russian leader Vladimir Putin to “end the war, end it now.” Blinken even appealed to Putin’s family history, comparing the Kremlin’s siege of Ukrainian cities to Nazi Germany’s siege of Russian cities during World War II, which killed Putin’s one-year-old brother Viktor. But amid calls like his, the Ukrainian government, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is urging U.S. and Western leaders to do more — beyond condemnations and the historic amount of defensive aid and provide warplanes, missile defense systems, and a no-fly zone. U.S. allies in the Baltics are increasingly nervous about Putin’s advances in Ukraine, with Lithuania’s president warning Monday that the strongman leader “will not stop.”


[..] These sieges echoed Nazi Germany’s siege of Leningrad, Blinken said, where Nazi forces “systematically starved and intentionally destroyed” the city, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths, Blinken said. “That siege affected millions of Russian families, including President Putin’s, whose one-year-old brother was one of the many victims. Now, Russia is starving out cities like Mariupol. It is shameful. The world is saying to Russia stop these attacks immediately. Let the food and medicine in. Let the people out safely, and end this war of choice against Ukraine,” he said. Putin’s older brother Viktor died of diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad before Putin was born.

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But NATO is not.

Ukraine’s Top Negotiator Says Kiev Open to ‘Non-NATO Models’ (Antiwar)

In an early sign of compromise following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine late last month, a senior member on Kiev’s negotiation team said his country is open to remaining outside of the NATO military bloc – a key security concern raised by Moscow time and again. Speaking to Fox News’s Nana Sajaia about the progress of the talks on Saturday, Ukraine’s chief negotiator David Arakhamia said little had been accomplished so far. With another meeting set for Monday, however, he outlined certain tradeoffs Kiev is willing to make, including its membership in the North Atlantic alliance. “We are ready to discuss some non-NATO models. For example, there could be direct guarantees by different countries like the US, China, UK, maybe Germany and France,” Arakhamia said. “We are open to discuss such things in a broader circle, not only in bilateral discussions with Russia, but also with other partners.”


The negotiator went on to state that, currently, the bloc’s leading members are “not ready to even discuss having us in NATO, not for the closest period of five or 10 years,” despite repeated assurances that Ukraine would be admitted – a promise first made in 2008 but reiterated as recently as last summer. While closing the door on Ukrainian NATO membership could be a step in the right direction and signal flexibility ahead of the next round of talks, it is unlikely to satisfy all of Russia’s demands. In addition to concerns over NATO expansion, Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that Kiev cede its claims to the Crimean Peninsula and the breakaway Donbass region, where separatist forces have been under siege by the Ukrainian military for eight years. “I don’t think that we have a choice now to even discuss some models where we would recognize those territories [as independent],” he said. “Our position is firm. We are ready to discuss any other dynamic options, but not recognition of those territories.“

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“..cutting off your leg to punish yourself for walking into harm’s way..”

Nowhere Left to Hide (Kunstler)

Time, they say, is nature’s way of making sure that everything doesn’t happen at once. If that’s so, then maybe time has stopped because all of a sudden everything seems to be happening at once. Three things, actually: 1) a Russian military operation in Ukraine that a lot of people in America want to turn into World War Three; 2) an epic crack-up of the world financial system; and 3) the breakdown of the fishy Covid-19 affair and especially the story behind its holy avatar: the mRNA vaccine. In a sane society, that might be enough to trip the institutional reality-test apparatus, but we are not a sane society these days, so we plunge ever-deeper into a hurly-burly of wrongful endeavor vectoring toward self-destruction. The immediate problem is a nation (us) that is powerfully bamboozled, led by a figurehead nobody believes in, backed by a hidden coterie of actors who appear to hate our country enough to try to sink it.

Forgive me for re-stating the premise of the Ukraine situation but one must counter the propaganda emitted like poison gas by a perfidious news media: Russia objected to the expansion of NATO to its very border, based on long-standing prior agreements about it. “Joe Biden” had every chance to formally recognize that reality and stupidly demurred. The Ukrainian government, ditto. Our side (the USA) had already created enough mischief there in mounting the 2014 coup against a government friendly with Russia, and then arming its replacement to harass Ukraine’s own citizens in its easternmost provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk. Two weeks ago, Russia moved in to forcefully correct all that. After all, Ukraine had been a part of Russia since they wrested it from the Ottoman (Turkish) empire in the 1700s, and in any other sense Ukraine is within Russia’s sphere-of-influence, as such things are defined in geopolitical history.

The US-led response to the Russian op was an attempt to dismantle the complex interbank payment systems of the global economy in order to punish one region (Russia) of the global economy — that is, cutting off your leg to punish yourself for walking into harm’s way. The result of that now is mayhem in the financial markets and in currencies, with global commodities like grain, oil, and ores acting as hostages. This hostage-taking has far-reaching effects because the nations of the world can’t operate without food, energy, and stuff to make products out of. Interfere with the rational distribution of them and you’ll get chaos and death.

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How to embarrass your entire country.

Australia Targets Hardcore Putin Extremists Spreading Hate About Ukraine (DM)

Australia will impose a fresh round of sanctions against Russia, targeting people who disseminate propaganda and disinformation about the invasion of Ukraine. Ten Putin supporters will be sanctioned for encouraging hostility towards Ukraine and driving false claims that a genocide was taking place against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. The men targeted are journalists, authors or Putin’s press officers. In addition, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said financial sanctions will be imposed on Russia’s armed forces, as well as six senior military commanders responsible for attacks on Ukraine. ‘Together with partners, we will drive Russia out of our economies, supply chains and airwaves,’ she said in a statement released on Tuesday.


The invasion of Ukraine has been accompanied by a widespread disinformation campaign within Russia. Putin has claimed he invaded to ‘de-nazify’ the country, which the West rejects as a false justification. ‘Tragically for Russia, President Putin has shut down independent voices and locked everyday Russians into a world characterised by lies and disinformation,’ Senator Payne said. ‘The addition of sanctions on those responsible for this insidious tactic recognises the powerful impact that disinformation and propaganda can have in conflict.’ The foreign minister said Australia was working alongside major social media companies to help remove propaganda from their platforms. ‘The assertion that there is a genocidal action happening in Ukraine against Russia, that there is a ‘denazification’ required in Ukraine, is an obscene suggestion,’ Senator Payne told Sky News.

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But Newsweek picks the CDC.

Florida Department of Health to Advise Against COVID Vax for Healthy Kids (NW)

The Florida Department of Health will now tell parents not to give their children the COVID-19 vaccine if they are healthy. Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo made the announcement Monday during a roundtable discussing “failures” of the COVID-19 response in the state. The announcement goes directly against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which strongly recommends vaccination in children ages 5 and older. The CDC claims that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has become “one of the top 10 causes of death” for young unvaccinated children. The move, which will be the first taken in any state in the country, has not been officially announced by the Florida Department of Health. However, Ladapo was confident in its future.

“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” he said. “We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids, in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit.” More than 12 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in children since the beginning of the pandemic, accounting for 19 percent of all U.S. infections, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The week ending on February 24 saw children make up 26.2 percent of COVID-19 infections in the country. However, health experts have begun pushing back against the potential recommendation.

When asked by Newsweek for comment, the CDC reiterated how children need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, citing its previous research. It is not only the CDC affirming the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market, but Florida-based healthcare professionals, as well. “The data [is] clear,” UF Health professor Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, who studies epidemiology and pediatrics, told Newsweek in an email, “the benefits of COVID-19 vaccine in children outweigh the very small risks associated with it.”

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Is there anyone left who thinks that would be enough?

Leaders Who Got Covid Wrong Must Admit It And Apologize (NYP)

You, Rochelle Walensky at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowed Weingarten to craft absurd, unscientific policies that kept kids out of school. You let her block the schoolhouse door because you were on the same political team. You broke the trust Americans had in their health agencies and we will all suffer the repercussions of that for a long time. Apologize to the children whose lives you’ve stunted and who may never recover from the educational loss. Apologize to the kids who received speech therapy through masks because you refused to acknowledge that masking had been pointless in stopping COVID-19 spread. You may have permanently damaged these children because you refused to admit that you had been wrong for so long. Apologize.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, you fell in love with your own image and could not stay off the TV even as it caused us all harm. In November 2021, you said that people who were criticizing you were “really criticizing science, because I represent science. That’s dangerous.” What’s dangerous is if you really believe that. You frequently got things wrong on TV or reversed your previous comments with no explanations. The science hadn’t changed, you made political calculations to support the diktats of the Biden administration. You actually argued for the passage of the stimulus bill as if you were some kind of lobbyist and not the director of one of our national health agencies. Worst of all, you shut down dissenting opinions from other scientists because you knew yours could not withstand scrutiny. You have been a disaster for this country in leading us through the pandemic. Apologize. Then exit stage left and let us never hear from you again.

You fearful, quiet politicians who let extended lockdowns destroy businesses, fray the fabric of our cities and cost us all so much: We saw you maskless, at concerts and parties, while our 2-year-olds stay masked to this day. We know that you didn’t actually think masking was important like you implored us it was. You loved your power and nothing else mattered. Apologize. And you, compliant media, the disaster of the last two years is at your feet. You created heroes out of people like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose nursing home directive cost thousands of lives, while demonizing Gov. Ron DeSantis, who used all of his political capital to correctly force schools open, a decision everyone now pretends was easy but certainly was not. You ran stories about high case numbers in Florida “as schools open” to project that schools were somehow unsafe. You were incurious and did not ever challenge the corrupt health care agencies. You let us down.

Don’t apologize, we don’t believe you anyway.

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“Rough calculations from VAERS data suggest that they’re at least several hundred times more dangerous than flu shots.”

From Sore Arms To Sudden Death (Eugyp)

It is undeniable: The Corona vaccines cause a wide array of adverse events, not all of them understood. Right now it’s hard to assess their population-wide impact, but it is no longer reasonable to doubt that they’re substantially more dangerous than ordinary vaccines. Rough calculations from VAERS data suggest that they’re at least several hundred times more dangerous than flu shots. In addition to acute vaccine reactions – fever, myalgia, swollen lymph nodes and injection site soreness in the days following vaccination – many of you also discussed an array of more disturbing symptoms, including serious tinnitus, heightened blood pressure, chest pains, irregular menstrual bleeding and shortness of breath.

I also had many letters describing shingles and Bell’s Palsy following vaccination; and of more puzzling and potentially more serious neurological problems, from vertigo to muscular tremors to seizures. For the most part, milder acute symptoms disappeared in days, but some you report sore arms and tinnitus lasting many months. Among the severe reactions, myocarditis and stroke have a prominent place in your reports; I had fewer reports of miscarriages, but they were also present. Consistent with internet discussion elsewhere, some of you also report the sudden development or resurgence of cancer following Corona vaccination. Broadly speaking, dose 3 seems to have been worse than dose 2, and dose 2 worse than dose 1. Many, many of the vaccinated among you caught Corona following vaccination.

There are the preponderance of infections in the week following the first and third doses, which we already knew about, but these are but a fraction of post-vaccine infections overall. Probably a big thing that has stalled the political momentum driving mass vaccination, is the prevalence of bad booster reactions followed by breakthrough infection. Another point that emerged from your letters, is the generally high threshold for obtaining an exemption from further vaccination following an adverse reaction. It was disturbing to read several stories of people who were essentially vaccinated to death – dying after dose 3, following a rough reaction to dose 1 and a near-miss with dose 2.

Finally, almost all of you were vaccinated under duress. Some of you accepted vaccination simply to end the medical surveillance or to win back some freedom of movement. That was surprisingly uncommon, though; those who gave in to the petty harassments of the vaccinators generally said they didn’t appreciate the risk of the vaccines, or the outrageousness of the legal regime surrounding them, until later. Most often, people gave in to keep their jobs or to appease insistent family members. Some parents accepted vaccination so that they could attend school events involving their children; other people wanted to see elderly relatives in hospital or care homes.

It looks like death
https://twitter.com/i/status/1500633804830121984

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“.. the company knew as early as the 1950s that PCBs were harmful to humans, ordering staff not to eat near the chemicals.”

Los Angeles Suing Monsanto For Chemicals In Waterways (Y!)

Chemical company Monsanto found itself in the horns of yet another lawsuit Monday, as Los Angeles sued the firm for allegedly knowingly polluting waterways in one of the biggest cities in the United States. The suit — filed last week against three companies including Bayer, the German agro giant that now owns Monsanto Company — comes after a raft of legal action over weedkiller Roundup. The latest legal filing claims Monsanto polluted waterways in Los Angeles with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) up until 1979. PCBs — a toxic chemical that does not break down easily — were used in paint, ink, paper products, fireproofing products, hydraulic fluids and industrial equipment. “It’s time for Monsanto to clean up and pay up,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.

“The health and environmental impacts of PCBs — impacts the city has been working hard to reduce in waters throughout LA — are just jaw dropping.” “We allege Monsanto knew decades ago that PCBs are toxic and inevitably would cause widespread contamination,” he charged. “It’s infuriating that Monsanto continued to manufacture and sell them — and, we allege, deceive the public about them.” The lawsuit says exposure to PCBs can lead to cancer, as well as to damage to the liver, thyroid and eyes. It says the chemical can hamper brain development and impact birth weight. City officials, who are seeking payment from Monsanto to clean up waterways, say the company knew as early as the 1950s that PCBs were harmful to humans, ordering staff not to eat near the chemicals.

The lawsuit names three companies that Monsanto spun off in the 1990s: Monsanto Company, now owned by Bayer; Solutia Inc., now owned by Eastman Chemical Company; and Pharmacia LLC., now owned by Pfizer.

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Marketing genius

 

 

 

 

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May 212021
 
 May 21, 2021  Posted by at 9:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  52 Responses »


Herri met de Bles Landscape with Saint Christopher 1535 – 1545

 

Israel-Palestinian Ceasefire Comes Into Force (Y!)
Celebrations In Gaza As Ceasefire Takes Hold (AlJ)
US Arms Makers Make a Killing Off of Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza (MPN)
Existing Cheap Drugs Could Rapidly Reduce Covid-19 Cases, Deaths In India (ToI)
Why Big Pharma’s Arguments Against Patent Waivers Don’t Add Up (CP)
If You Try To Bite Russia, We’ll Knock Out Your Teeth – Putin (RT)
Koch Funded Eviction Push While Buying Real Estate Stakes (DP)
US No Longer Wants To Buy Greenland, Blinken Confirms (G.)
The Squad Enables Pelosi’s Massive Capitol Police Spending Bill (Greenwald)
The Largest Iceberg on Earth Has Just Broken Off of Antarctica (Vice)
Lazy Entitled Boomers Told To Get A Jab (Chaser)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not the US. Not Putin. Egypt.

Israel-Palestinian Ceasefire Comes Into Force (Y!)

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip, came into force early Friday after 11 days of deadly fighting that pounded the Palestinian enclave and forced countless Israelis to seek shelter from rockets. Celebrations were heard on Gaza streets in the minutes after the truce began as cars honked their horns and some guns were fired in the air, AFP journalists said, while in the occupied West Bank, joyful crowds also took to the streets. With no alerts sounding in Israel to warn of incoming Hamas rockets, the ceasefire appeared to be holding in the early hours of Friday. The truce brokered by Egypt, that also included Gaza’s second-most powerful armed group, Islamic Jihad, was agreed following mounting international pressure to stem the bloodshed which erupted on May 10.

US President Joe Biden welcomed the deal. “I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I’m committed to working toward it,” Biden said at the White House, hailing Egypt’s role in brokering the agreement. A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendation of all of the security officials … to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual ceasefire without pre-conditions”. Hamas and Islamic Jihad also confirmed the ceasefire in statements. “This is the euphoria of victory,” said Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas figure, in front of a crowd of thousands of Palestinians who had gathered in the streets to celebrate.

The Israeli statement said its aerial campaign had made “unprecedented” achievements in Gaza, a territory it has blockaded since 2007, the year of Hamas’s takeover. “The political leadership emphasises that it is the reality on the ground that will determine the future of the operation,” it added. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday he would be “prepared at any time to go to Israel, to the Middle East, if that would serve the purpose of moving beyond the violence and helping to work on improving lives for Israelis and Palestinians alike”.

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“At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in the Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.”

Celebrations In Gaza As Ceasefire Takes Hold (AlJ)

A ceasefire came into force in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Friday morning after Egypt brokered an agreement between Israel and Hamas to halt 11 days of conflict. A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendations to accept an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional … ceasefire.” Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad then confirmed the ceasefire in a statement, saying it would come into force at 2:00am on Friday (23:00 GMT on Thursday). Thousands of people in Gaza and the Palestinian territories poured onto the streets to celebrate the ceasefire, waving flags and flashing ‘V’ signs for victory. At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in the Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.

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US tax dollars pay Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin.

US Arms Makers Make a Killing Off of Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza (MPN)

As diplomatic powers and regional players meet behind closed doors for ceasefire talks, Israel continues showering Gaza with missile fire. Israeli airstrikes have so far killed at least 230 Palestinians, including 65 children, and injured 1,710 others. The heavy bombardment has also wiped out entire residential buildings and houses, leaving 72,000 people homeless, and has destroyed media offices, schools, libraries and charities. According to the Israeli Air Force (IAF), on Wednesday night Israel fired 120 missiles in the span of 25 minutes. The most recent attack hit the city of Khan Yunis in Gaza, killing one and injuring eight. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) could not provide an exact number of how many bombs are being dropped on Gaza per hour. The IAF did not respond to press inquiries.

The Times of Gaza, however, reported that more than 100 airstrikes occurred in a 30 minute period on May 14. Amid the rubble, Palestinians in Gaza have found unexploded missiles with writing indicating these bombs were manufactured in the United States. The use of American-made weaponry in Israel’s latest assault on Gaza is renewing discussions on U.S. foreign assistance to Israel and U.S. complicity in Israeli state violence. [..] Boeing makes the F-15 fighter jets and Lockheed Martin manufactures F-16 and F-35 warplanes. But these are not the only American corporations involved in the production of Israel’s military aircraft.

General Electric produces the engines for F-15 and F-16 jets. Raytheon Technologies creates the missiles used to arm F-15 and F-35 planes. According to the American Friends Service Committee’s Investigate Database, Northrop Grumman manufactures “approximately 35% of the Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft, including its center fuselage, radar, avionics, electro-optics, navigation, communications and identification subsystems, and mission systems and mission-planning software.” The arms manufacturer has also partnered with the Israeli military industry to build the LITENING targeting pod, a weapons laser navigation system used on F-16 warplanes.

Military sales to Israel generate massive profits for these American corporations. Boeing secured a $2.4 billion sale to Israel from the U.S. State Department last year. In February, the aerospace behemoth scored a whopping $9 billion deal with Israel’s Ministry of Defense. In the last decade, Raytheon’s contracts to Israel have totaled more than $4 billion. Lockheed Martin’s most recent sale to Israel is estimated at more than $2 billion. In 2016, General Electric obtained part of a $300 million sale to Israel. Northrop Grumman is less transparent about its international sales. Out of Northrop Grumman’s reported $36.8 billion in sales in 2020, 14 percent were international.

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India has its back against the wall.

Existing Cheap Drugs Could Rapidly Reduce Covid-19 Cases, Deaths In India (ToI)

The COVID-19 humanitarian calamity unfolding in India is on a scale not seen in this pandemic. This is an extraordinary situation – and it may benefit from an extraordinary response. There exist affordable, readily available and minimally toxic drugs approved for non-COVID-19 use which show remarkable promise in preventing or treating the new coronavirus. Deploying these drugs in India is likely to rapidly reduce the number of COVID-19 patients, reduce the number requiring hospitalization, supplemental oxygen and intensive care and improve outcomes in hospitalized patients. Some of these drugs are being tested in large-scale randomized clinical trials in the US and abroad but in most cases, definitive efficacy data is pending. With the current COVID-19 situation in India, we do not have time to wait for results of these studies.

Importantly, currently available safety and outcomes data on these drugs is strong enough that it is time to incorporate them into national practice guidelines. Indian authorities should issue such guidelines on the most promising drugs for each stage of COVID-19. By so doing, physicians will be encouraged to use these interventions. The resulting real world data from a few healthcare settings in select cities should be tracked in real time and guidelines suitably revised. If such measures were adopted, we could see effects in 3-4 weeks. This strategy might be unusual but it is not unheard of: France has the Temporary Recommendation for Use, a “regulatory instrument which aims to allow, on a temporary basis, the use of a medicinal product to allow its effectiveness to be evaluated on the basis of its use.”

The choice of drugs is critical. We have worked closely with personnel at the Food and Drug Administration and have connected with the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the merits of repurposed drugs. Based on a mechanistic rationale, data in animal models, human retrospective analyses, clinical trials (some randomized, others not) and anecdotal human data, we created a prioritized list of interventions that hold the greatest promise and that could be deployed at scale. For instance, there is strong data from a randomized trial and a real-world study that administering fluvoxamine sharply reduces the need for hospitalization in COVID-19 outpatients. Moreover, anecdotal unpublished data in over 400 acutely ill COVID-19 patients from several community practitioners suggests that administering fluvoxamine and ivermectin together may be even more efficacious.

Intervention as early as possible after symptom onset is key. Ivermectin is already listed as a “MAY DO” on the ICMR and Indian government guidelines for treatment of acute mild COVID-19 and we suggest that fluvoxamine be added in this category. Also, ivermectin in the prophylactic setting merits serious consideration. For the hospitalized, there are treatments currently used for other conditions that might reduce the need for ventilator support and lower the risk of death. These include inhaled adenosine, cyproheptadine and dipyridamole. For ideas for which there is rather limited human data, the government should offer pre-approved pilot protocols and funding for rapid implementation in select centers rather than issue a recommendation for use.

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It’s Bill Gates again.

Why Big Pharma’s Arguments Against Patent Waivers Don’t Add Up (CP)

Days after he publicly opposed the waiving of patents for lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates had a change of heart. He released a statement saying, “No barriers should stand in the way of equitable access to vaccines, including intellectual property, which is why we are supportive of a narrow waiver during the pandemic.” His statement came after President Joe Biden, in a surprising move, and in contrast to his European allies, backed a temporary waiver on COVID-19 vaccine patents. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement saying, “extraordinary circumstances… call for extraordinary measures.” Immediately, the big drugmakers’ share prices fell, and they shot back in anger with a litany of dire predictions.

Gates had been singing a different tune just a few weeks earlier, expressing opposition to vaccine patent waivers when he said in an interview, “The thing that’s holding things back in this case is not intellectual property. There’s not like some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines.” Gates’ initial opposition echoes the pharmaceutical industry’s staunch resistance to waiving the intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccine technology. In a letter to the Biden administration, members of an industry group called Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) wrote, “Eliminating those protections would undermine the global response to the pandemic, including ongoing effort to tackle new variants, create confusion that could potentially undermine public confidence in vaccine safety, and create a barrier to information sharing.”

The signatories added, “Most importantly, eliminating protections would not speed up production.” Walden Bello, co-founder of the advocacy organization Focus on the Global South and an international adjunct professor at SUNY Binghamton, told me in an interview from Manila, Philippines, that “these arguments are really quite spurious.” Bello had penned an opinion column in the New York Times saying, “A short-term Trips waiver would allow developing nations to quickly ramp up vaccine production and save lives at an affordable cost.” The demand for vaccine patent waivers originated in October 2020 when the governments of India and South Africa proposed a temporary suspension of the World Trade Organization’s 1995 TRIPS agreement. Now, more than 100 nations support the call. TRIPS stands for the “Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights,” and for years has been a boon to corporations that have manufactured products with the help of public investment and reaped massive profits through the 20-year monopolies that the agreement grants them.

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“As one of our emperors said, ‘Our enormity terrifies everybody,’” Putin added..”

If You Try To Bite Russia, We’ll Knock Out Your Teeth – Putin (RT)

President Vladimir Putin has issued a fiery rebuke to those who, he says, are intent on bringing about the breakup of the world’s largest country, insisting that Russia will defend itself from potential interference from overseas. In a speech on Tuesday to the ‘Victory’ organizing committee, which is responsible for memorializing those killed in the Second World War, the Russian leader claimed that “everyone wants to bite us somewhere, or to bite something off of us.” If or when this happens, he said the country will “knock out the teeth” of those who try. He said that Russia’s size and its natural resources meant that rivals would always find reasons to attempt to clip its wings as it grew stronger. “As one of our emperors said, ‘Our enormity terrifies everybody,’” Putin added. The full quote, attributed to Tsar Alexander III, claims this is the reason that “Russia has no friends.”


The president went on to criticize those who claim that the country’s natural resources – much of them in lumber, minerals and energy reserves in the vast expanses of Siberia – should not belong to one country alone. “It’s strange to hear these things, especially in public, but they sometimes come up,” he said. Russian officials have repeatedly attributed a quote to former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, in which she purportedly claimed that “the colossal natural resources of Siberia should not belong to Russia alone.” However, there is no clear evidence that Albright said this, and she herself has denied that these were her words. However, the idea that Russia could disintegrate or be broken up has been a longstanding concern within the country, with some Western analysts arguing in favor of the idea.

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“..since 2012, “its affiliated funds have acquired and operated more than 30,000 homes.”

Koch Funded Eviction Push While Buying Real Estate Stakes (DP)

Billionaire Charles Koch’s foundation has bankrolled three conservative legal groups leading the court battle to eliminate prohibitions against tenant evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, Koch’s corporate empire has suddenly stepped up its real estate purchases during the pandemic — including making large investments in real estate companies with a potential financial interest in eliminating eviction restrictions. In the last few months, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Pacific Legal Foundation, and the New Civil Rights Alliance have been pushing federal courts to strike down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium, which is designed to protect millions of Americans from being thrown out of their homes during the pandemic. The groups have so far won two rulings.

Between 2017 and 2019, the Charles Koch Foundation contributed almost $7.7 million to those three conservative organizations, according to the foundation’s tax returns reviewed by The Daily Poster. Koch has been among the biggest financiers of conservative advocacy groups and political causes, and he is one of the wealthiest people on the planet thanks to his stake in Koch Industries, which is the nation’s second-largest privately held company and best known for its investments in fossil fuels. But since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Koch Industries has been plowing money into real estate. In March this year, The Wall Street Journal published a report headlined “Charles Koch Is Betting Big on Distressed Real Estate.”

The paper reported that the billionaire’s corporate conglomerate “is emerging as a major real-estate investor during the pandemic, using its robust cash reserves to buy properties at beaten-down prices and betting on a longer-term recovery.” Last April, a month into the pandemic, Koch Real Estate Investments made a “$200 million preferred-equity investment in Amherst Holdings LLC’s single-family rental business,” according to the corporate law firm Jones Day, which said it advised the Koch Industries subsidiary on the deal. Amherst says that since 2012, “its affiliated funds have acquired and operated more than 30,000 homes.”

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Must have been a very slow news day.

US No Longer Wants To Buy Greenland, Blinken Confirms (G.)

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has confirmed that America no longer wants to buy Greenland. Blinken visited the Danish autonomous territory as he ended a four-day trip that included a meeting of the foreign ministers of countries bordering the Arctic. “I am in Greenland because the United States deeply values our partnership and wants to make it even stronger,” Antony Blinken told reporters on his final stop of the Arctic tour. He stressed that he was not there to buy the country, signalling a change in policy from the Trump administration. Asked whether the US had definitively ruled out any plans to buy Greenland, Blinken replied with a smile: “I can confirm that’s correct.”

Former US President Donald Trump announced in August 2019 that he was considering buying the land mass, which is a quarter of the size of the US. “Denmark essentially owns it,” he said at the time. “We’re very good allies with Denmark, we protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly I’d be.’ Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No1 on the burner, I can tell you that.” The purchase would be “essentially a large real estate deal”, he said at the time. Trump’s proposal, described as “absurd” by the Danish government, caused a diplomatic kerfuffle.

Last year, the US reopened a consulate in Greenland’s capital Nuuk, and pledged $12m in aid for civilian projects. While he spoke of potential additional funding, Blinken was vague about new US projects, even though the new Greenlandic local government had floated the idea of a free trade agreement earlier in the week. “We would like to find ways to strengthen even more the commercial relationship,” Blinken said.

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“Three Squad members — all of whom recently chanted “Defund the Police” – all had the power to kill a $1.9 billion increase in Capitol Police and security spending. Instead, @AOC, @JamaalBowmanNY and @RashidaTlaib ensured its passage.”

The Squad Enables Pelosi’s Massive Capitol Police Spending Bill (Greenwald)

By a margin of one vote, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that allocates $1.9 billion to intensify security and increase policing at the U.S. Capitol. Among other things, the bill would boost armed security for members of Congress, fortify security protections at the Capitol, provide funds in “reimbursement” to the National Guard, and increase funding for the Capitol Police. A small portion of it would provide counseling services to Capitol Police officers dealing with trauma. The 213-212 vote was a party line vote with six exceptions. All Republicans voted against it. All Democrats voted for the bill except for six. Three members of the left-wing faction of the House known as the “Squad” joined their GOP colleagues to vote against the bill: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

But the other three members of the Squad — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — voted neither “yes” nor “no” but rather “present.” All six had previously told activist groups that they opposed the bill. Had any of these three Squad members voted “no” instead of “present,” then the bill would have been defeated. In other words, this faction of the Squad had the power fully in their hands to block passage of a bill that would increase police funding and enhance the power of the security state to prevent the public from entering the U.S. Capitol: a bill they claimed to oppose. But they chose not to use that power and instead allowed this pro-police, pro-security-state bill to pass the House.

It now heads to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has vowed to bring it to a floor vote, though it remains uncertain if they will be able to find ten Republican Senators needed for it to pass the Senate and be sent to the White House for signing. There are several amazing aspects to this episode. To begin with, all three Squad members who abstained today on this bill — which effectively ensured its passage — have spent the last year chanting and tweeting that the police should be defunded. [..] In the summer of 2020, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez left no doubt about what she favors when she invokes this mantra: “Defunding police means defunding police,” she said. The Congresswoman was criticizing cuts to New York City’s police budget as insufficient and the byproduct of accounting tricks rather than real defunding efforts.

And yet, what do we have today? When it comes to their own security, these three Squad members are evidently eager for close to $2 billion to be spent in additional funds to increase the police presence around them and fortify the armed guards and other security state mechanisms that protect them. This is always a key point of “Defund the Police” campaigns.

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70 times the size of Manhattan.

The Largest Iceberg on Earth Has Just Broken Off of Antarctica (Vice)

The largest iceberg on Earth, measuring over 100 miles across 15 miles wide, has just broken off of Antarctica. Named A7-6, the gigantic iceberg was calved from the southern continent’s Ronne Ice Shelf and is now floating across the Weddell Sea. The huge chunk of ice was first spotted by Keith Makinson of the British Antarctic Survey last week, and has been imaged from space by the Copernicus-Sentinel-1 mission, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). A-76 has a rectangular shape similar to Manhattan Island, though it is about 70 times bigger.


The structure has snatched the mantle of the world’s largest iceberg from A-23A, its neighbor in the Weddell Sea, which is about 10 percent smaller. Icebergs are named after their quadrant of origin, in this case A, and then given sequential numbers. These enormous floating ice structures break off of Antarctic ice sheets as part of a natural seasonal cycle, and scientists have not linked the birth of A-76 directly to climate change. However, warming global temperatures may accelerate the collapse of some of Antarctica’s ice sheets in the future.

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”Put down the avocado toast, be a grown up and get a vaccine!”

Lazy Entitled Boomers Told To Get A Jab (Chaser)

Young people around the country have been seen telling Boomers to put down the avocado toast, stop being so entitled and go out and get a jab. This comes after research suggests nearly 30% of Australians are now hesitant to get the life saving vaccine over a blood-clotting risk potentially high as 0.0017%, which has led to the Boomer generation to be way to ‘choosy’ about which vaccine to have. Now young people have had enough and have told the lazy Boomers to ‘go out an get a vaccine, any of the vaccines are better than nothing.’ “Have you bothered to go get a vaccine yet?” said Mike a 26 year old after getting home from trying to find an entry level job that doesn’t require 5+ years of experience in the field and a degree.

“All you do is sit around watching tv. Put down the avocado toast, be a grown up and get a vaccine! I don’t care if it isn’t your dream vaccine, it is at least a vaccine that works. Go now, it’s for your own good.” “Classic old people they are just so entitled these days,” said Lauren a 20 year old full time-student who also has 2 jobs so she can pay her bills, “they just expect everything to be handed to them. They have been spoiled their entire lives and now they refuse to do anything for themselves. Growing up with these cheap houses meaning rent money is just handed to them, it’s made them so selfish and lazy. You know in my day, we have to go out and find a roommate to be able to afford rent in a run-down 1 bedroom apartment, but we do because we know what is important.”

“First the housing market and now vaccines, they just hoard everything for themselves even if they don’t actually want to use it. What a selfish and rude generation they are!”

Read more …

 

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May 202021
 
 May 20, 2021  Posted by at 8:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Amedeo Modigliani Nu allongé 1917

 

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)
Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)
Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)
Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)
Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)
Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)
Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)
Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)
Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)
Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)
European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

 

 

 

 

Plasma: vaccines wipe out antibodies

 

 

Shocking claims from French Nobel prize winner Luc Montagnier…

 

 

“Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now.”

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)

According to Dr. Peter McCullough, vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and known for being one of the top five most-published medical researchers in the United States, COVID-19 vaccines are killing “huge numbers” of people and the government is simply ignoring it. In a video interview with investigative journalist and founder of Liberty Sentinel, Alex Newman, McCullough says the U.S. government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and health agencies around the world have all committed to vaccinating the global population while sitting on data showing the COVID-19 “vaccines” are turning out to be the most lethal vaccines ever created. [..] During a recent Texas state Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, McCullough noted that, according to available data, early treatment could have prevented up to 85% of COVID-19 deaths. Early at-home treatment also minimizes the spread, as the amount of time you’re infectious can be reduced from two weeks to about four days.

Yet, despite being inexpensive and readily available, early treatments have all been censored and suppressed, apparently in order to secure this global mass vaccination campaign. In fact, as McCullough notes, there’s been no clarified guidance on COVID treatment at all, not even hospital protocols. The entire focus of our health agencies has been on masking, lockdowns and waiting for a gene therapy “vaccine.” The results have been devastating. Five months into the mass vaccination campaign, more than 10,000 in the U.S. and European Union have already died after getting the shots. Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now. For example, in 1976, the U.S. government vaccinated 45 million people against pandemic swine flu. The entire program was canceled after reports of just 53 deaths, according to Fox News. Note: The number of deaths reported after the 1976 inoculation program varies from three to 53, depending on the source.

Now, health authorities are shrugging off more than 3,800 deaths after COVID-19 vaccination as either coincidental or inconsequential. Think about that. Five months into the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we’re looking at a death toll that is 7,000% greater than during the swine flu vaccination campaign, which was canceled after the vaccine was deemed too risky. The COVID-19 “vaccine” is also on a level of magnitude more dangerous than the seasonal flu vaccine. As reported by McCullough, on average, there are 20 to 30 deaths reported following the seasonal flu vaccine, which is given to about 195 million Americans each year. Compare that to these novel COVID-19 gene therapies. So far, an estimated 124 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the death count is already at 3,837, as of April 30, 2021.

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“Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir?”

Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)

Just three weeks after adding Ivermectin, Delhi now leads India out of the deadly second surge of the COVID pandemic. Cases that had peaked at 28,395 on April 20 plummeted nearly 80% to just 6,430 on May 15. Deaths peaked May 4, and now they are also down 25%. On May 10, the Indian State of Goa adopted an even more ambitious policy of preemptive Ivermectin for all adults in the state. The Chief Minister of Goa is Dr. Pramod Sawant, a progressive 49-year-old physician persuaded by science. In particular, he read Dr. Pierre Kory’s Dr. Tess Lawrie’s and Dr. Andrew Hill’s robust meta-analyses. As a direct result, Goa has seen a drop in cases from 3,124 the day after the announcement to 1,314 five days later.

Meanwhile, three other Indian states have followed Goa’s lead in adding Ivermectin: Uttarkhand, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. And, as expected, they have seen a drop in new daily cases as well, with Uttar Pradesh down nearly 75% from a peak of 37,944 just four days after they began following the April 20 AIIMS guidance to just 10,505 on May 16. The tragic story in all this is that the Indian state of Tamil Nadu installed a new leader on May 7, 2021. He suddenly reversed their state’s decision to adopt Ivermectin. Readers of my book all know about Peruvian President Sagasti’s fateful decision to outlaw Ivermectin. Before taking power, the COVID deaths had dropped 14 fold to almost nothing with Ivermectin use. However after Sagasti was elected, Ivermectin was stopped, and deaths roared back at 13 fold.

Peru paid the price in skyrocketing cases and 78,000 preventable deaths. Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, MK Stalin, also chose to forgo Ivermectin. Instead, he ordered tens of thousands of doses of Remdesivir, a drug that sells for 3,000 dollars per dose. So now Tamil Nadu’s cases are rocketing as well. In contrast to Goa’s young physician Chief Minister who had read the latest science on Ivermectin’s dramatic effect on reducing COVID death, MK Stalin is a 68-year-old non-physician socialist and atheist who is towing the party line by forbidding Ivermectin.

Stalin now requests allocations for some 20,000 daily doses of Remdesivir for the Tamil Nadu citizens despite the science that shows no reduction in COVID death with this drug. [..] Twenty thousand doses of Remdesivir cost 60 million dollars, while 20,000 doses of Ivermectin go for a few hundred. Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir? Why is their leader throwing away a cheap drug, Ivermectin, that has saved lives in other countries? ”

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Remdesivir is the worst choice.

Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)

The Indian government, on Wednesday, claimed it has ramped up the production of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug prescribed for treating moderate-to-critical Covid patients, by 10 times. From 1 million vials per month in April, the Centre claims it will produce 10 million vials this month, as it has increased the number of plants manufacturing Remdesivir from 20 to 60. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Remdesivir may soon be dropped from the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Covid treatment protocol, as experts have questioned its effectiveness in Covid treatment. The news comes just days after plasma therapy was dropped from ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol.

The last few weeks saw a severe shortage of Remdesivir injections across the country, along with an acute shortage of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders, leading to a record rise in Covid fatalities. The Centre said it is monitoring the supply of drugs such as Remdesivir, Ivermectin and Favipiravir, essential for treating moderate to critical Covid patients. The Centre said it had ramped up production of these drugs and imported them in large quantities to ensure uninterrupted supply. A couple of days ago, the Indian government said it had received 530,000 Remdesivir vials as foreign aid from various countries such as the US and France, to help combat the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The availability of these drugs is being monitored by implementing a three-pronged strategy of supply chain management, demand side management and affordability,” the Centre said in a statement. The drugs whose supply is being monitored include those in ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol, such as Remdesivir, Enoxaparin, Dexamethasone and Ivermectin, and non-protocol drugs such as Favipiravir, Amphotericin and Apixaban. The Centre added that it will increase the production of Ivermectin, a Covid protocol drug, by five times, from 15 million 12 Mg tabs last month to 77 million this month.

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London, Ontario. AI scans.

Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)

There won’t be any music festivals in London this summer, but there will be road hockey. Jones Entertainment Group says it is again postponing Start.ca Rocks the Park until 2022 but will go ahead with HockeyFest — Game On, a three-on-three street hockey tournament, June 25-27. London will be the first of nine cities to play host to the tournament, which will be held across Canada and in parts of the U.S. The London tournament will be at Westmount Shopping Centre and Saunders secondary school. New technology, similar to metal detectors common at airports, will be used to scan all participants for COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone showing symptoms will be tested for the coronavirus to determine whether they can play, coach, referee or watch the games.

“It’s cutting-edge, world-class technology, one more thing to lead the charge into somewhat normal activities,” said Brad Jones, president of Jones Entertainment Group and HockeyFest. “What a better place to start than our own hometown of London? This will be a game-changer in getting back to some sort of normalcy in the sports and entertainment industry.” The new artificial intelligence (AI) technology, called Safe Entry Stations, was developed by Toronto-based Predictmedix and built by another Toronto firm, Juiceworks. It can identify symptoms of infectious diseases and can also be used to detect alcohol or marijuana use.] Predictmedix co-founder and chief operating officer Rahul Kushwah said the new technology was used successfully at this year’s Super Bowl and may become as common as metal detectors at airports, including at work places.

They can be permanently installed or a mobile unit can be leased for events such as concerts. “It’s about creating safe environments, whether it’s a concert or a workplace,” Kushwah said, noting the new technology has a 95% success rate identifying symptoms. “It’s going to help open up our cities. Walking through one of these is analogous to a triage when you walk into a hospital.” Those hockey players who test negative are given a wristband. Those who test positive for symptoms will be given a Covid-19 test and, if positive, will not be allowed to play and will be instructed to leave along with anyone who travelled with them to the tournament.

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Putin for the win.

Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)

It is true that Trump, like Obama before him, spoke of the potential to partner with Russia rather than viewing it as an enemy, just as it is true that both presidents imposed sanctions on Moscow. And it is also true, and understandable, that Moscow likely favored a Trump victory rather than having supreme war hawk Hillary Clinton in the White House (the same reason Ukraine worked in 2016 to help Hillary win). But over and over, Trump undermined, not advanced, core Russian objectives. As Obama himself said in 2016, it is hard to imagine doing anything more provocative and harmful to Russian vital interests than sending lethal arms to Ukraine — exactly what Obama refused to do, despite bipartisan pressure. Yet the Trump administration quickly did exactly that: bizarre behavior for a Kremlin asset, to put that mildly.

Trump found one thing even more threatening to the Kremlin’s vital interests than arming Ukrainians: namely, doing everything possible to destroy Russia’s ability to complete construction of its new underwater natural gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2. That new pipeline is designed to double Russian sales capacity to an EU addicted to cheap Russian natural gas, producing massive revenue for the Russian economy and giving Moscow greater leverage when dealing with its European neighbors. But it provides an even more important benefit: it allows Russia to bypass Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, thus avoiding costly transit fees and the risks of political instability or anti-Russian manipulation by outside forces, including the U.S. government.

For all those reasons, few priorities were more important to Putin and the Russian economy than this new pipeline. Yet for at least the last two years of his presidency, Trump — even as he was shrilly depicted as an agent of the Kremlin — was obsessed with stopping the Russian pipeline and thus sabotaging Putin’s key geopolitical project. The Trump administration caused a halt to the project in 2019 when it imposed sanctions on companies working on it. Trump did everything he could to pressure, cajole and even threaten the Germans to pull out of the deal, warning that it would leave a winter-plagued Europe captive to Russian pressure and insisting that Berlin had the obligation to buy gas from the U.S., not Russia, given NATO expenditures to protect Germans. Trump even tried to pull close to 10,000 U.S. troops out of Germany to pressure the Merkel government, but the pro-war alliance of hawkish Democrats and Liz-Cheney-led neocon Republicans voted to defund that effort.

Any minimally rational or honest media would have taken note of these events and instantly realized that their years-long conspiracy theory about Trump being controlled by Putin was sophomoric nonsense, the opposite of the truth. That a Putin-controlled Russian asset would send lethal arms to Ukraine and do everything possible to sabotage Nord Stream 2 is so blatantly absurd that it could be ratified only by a media aggressively committed to spreading disinformation and lies. All of this became even clearer on Tuesday when President Biden reversed Trump’s blockage of the Russian natural gas pipeline. Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported that “the Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany,” which “indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline.” Swan wrote what is clearly true: “the completion of Nord Stream 2 would be a huge geopolitical win for Putin and give him substantial new leverage in Europe.”

Read more …

Bitcoin?

Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)

The operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline confirmed it paid $4.4m to a gang of hackers who broke into its computer systems. Colonial Pipeline said Wednesday that after it learned of the 7 May ransomware attack, the company took its pipeline system offline and needed to do everything in its power to restart it quickly and safely, and made the decision then to pay the ransom. “This decision was not made lightly,” but it was one that had to be made, a company spokesman said. “Tens of millions of Americans rely on Colonial: hospitals, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, airports, truck drivers and the traveling public.”


Joseph Blount, Colonial Pipeline’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal he authorized the payment because the company didn’t know the extent of the damage and wasn’t sure how long it would take to bring the pipeline’s systems back. The FBI discourages making ransom payments to ransomware attackers, because paying encourages criminal networks around the globe who have hit thousands of businesses and health care systems in the US in the past year alone. But many victims of ransomware attacks, where hackers demand large sums of money to decrypt stolen data or to prevent it from being leaked online, opt to pay. “I know that’s a highly controversial decision,” Blount said. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this.” “But it was the right thing to do for the country,” he said.

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Cyber-warriors.

Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)

The Pentagon is running a 60,000-strong secret army made up of soldiers, civilians and contractors, who travel the world under false identities embedded in consultancies and name-brand companies — without the knowledge of the American people or most of Congress — according to a report. The top-secret army was created by the Pentagon over the past 10 years as part of a program called “signature reduction,” and operates both domestically and internationally using a low-profile force of clandestine warriors who sometimes wear civilian clothes as they carry out their assignments, Newsweek reported. The force is 10 times the size of the covert elements of the CIA, comes with a cost of more than $900 million, and engages about 130 private companies in operations in locales like the Middle East and Africa, the report said.


Despite the undercover army’s size and budget, Congress has never held a hearing on it. About half of the “signature reduction” force is made up of special forces, the highly trained commandos who pursue terrorists around the world, including in Iran and North Korea. Military intelligence specialists comprise the second-largest element inside the force. But the newest and fastest-growing group in the unit is made up of cyber-warriors who use false personas and “nonattribution” or “misattribution” techniques online to disguise themselves so they can track high-value targets, collect “publicly accessible information” and engage in influence campaigns to manipulate social media.

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So much for Russiagate.

Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)

The man cast as a linchpin of debunked Trump-Russia collusion theories is breaking his silence to vigorously dispute the U.S. government’s effort to brand him a Russian spy and put him behind bars. In an exclusive interview with RealClearInvestigations, Konstantin Kilimnik stated, “I have no relationship whatsoever to any intelligence services, be they Russian or Ukrainian or American, or anyone else.” Kilimnik, a longtime employee of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, spoke out in response to an explosive Treasury Department statement declaring that he had “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” during the 2016 election. That press release, which announced an array of sanctions on Russian nationals last month, also alleged that Kilimnik is a “known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.”

Treasury’s claim came shortly after two other accusatory U.S. government statements about the dual Ukrainian-Russian national. In March, a U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment accused Kilimnik of being a “Russian influence agent” who meddled in the 2020 campaign to assist Trump’s reelection. A month earlier, an FBI alert offered $250,000 for information leading to his arrest over a 2018 witness tampering charge in Manafort’s shuttered Ukraine lobbying case, which was unrelated to Russia, collusion, or any elections. Treasury provided no evidence for its claims, which go beyond the findings of the two most extensive Russiagate investigations: the 448-page report issued in 2019 by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the 966-page report issued in August 2020 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Treasury has declined all media requests for elaboration on how it reached conclusions that those probes did not. Two unidentified officials told NBC News that U.S. intelligence “has developed new information” about Kilimnik “that leads them to believe” that he passed on the polling data to Russia. But these sources “did not identify the source or type of intelligence that had been developed,” nor “when or how” it was received. “Nobody has seen any evidence to support these claims about Kilimnik,” a congressional source familiar with the House and Senate’s multiple Russia-related investigations told RCI. Despite the absence of evidence, the Treasury press release’s one-sentence claim about Kilimnik has been widely greeted as the Trump-Russia smoking gun. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC that Treasury’s assertion about Kilimnik proved that Russian intelligence was “involved in trying to help Trump win in that [2016] election. That’s what most people would call collusion.”

Read more …

Biden to meet killer Putin?!

Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)

Top diplomats from the Biden administration and Russia in their first in-person meeting on Wednesday stressed that the former Cold War foes have serious differences in how they view world affairs but struck an optimistic tone for the talks, saying the two sides can still find ways to work together. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his first meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a veteran diplomat, said it was “no secret that we have our differences” and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries’ leaders worked together. Lavrov, speaking through a translator at the opening of the meeting in Reykjavik on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting, said Russia and the United States have “serious differences” but have to cooperate “in spheres where our interests collide.”

Senior U.S. State Department officials said there were no breakthroughs in the meeting, but described it as a “good start” to work on relations between the two countries in “weeks, months and years to come.” Blinken said Biden wanted “a predictable, stable relationship with Russia” and said the two countries could work together on tackling the coronavirus pandemic, combating climate change, dealing with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and the conflict in Afghanistan. “We think that’s good for our people, good for the Russian people and indeed good for the world,” Blinken said. The pair also discussed cyber security and Russia’s troop movements on its border with Ukraine, issues that have tested the already fraught ties this year, senior State Department officials told reporters. They repeatedly insisted that the meeting was “table setting” for future talks.

Wednesday’s meeting, the first high-level, in-person discussion between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, lasted one hour and 45 minutes, longer than the expected one hour. Lavrov told Russian state media the talks were “constructive” and that Russia was ready to discuss all issues between the two countries “on the basis of mutual respect.” The two diplomats would prepare proposals for a possible meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lavrov said. State Department officials referred questions about a presidential meeting to the White House, but said there was acknowledgment that “strategic stability” would be discussed.

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Nice headline. The Greens are set to become a force in German politics.

Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)

The Greens’ recent victories notwithstanding, their attempt at balancing highly contradictory interests in the name of ecological pragmatism has already become a strain on the party. Only through the meteoric rise of the Fridays for Future movement have the Greens been able to establish themselves as the strongest party among under-thirty-year-olds. Yet, Habeck and Baerbock have spared no efforts to improve their standing with German industry and shake their old antibusiness image. In 2019, Baerbock gained recognition with the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI), Germany’s leading federation of industrialists and corporations, for putting forward an economic agenda that is especially aggressive against China. She insisted that Germany must be part of a European economic and digital infrastructure that is independent of Chinese corporations such as Huawei.

She added that new climate regulations could actually prove advantageous for German businesses, especially if Chinese competitors who supposedly undercut these regulations were subject to extra taxation. Baerbock’s foray into a sort of Green anti-Chinese economic policy has since been praised by German business representatives. It is not hard for them to accept this — especially given that questions of union rights and worker representation are noticeably absent from this vision. Accordingly, Baerbock has commended initiatives such as Elon Musk’s new Tesla factory in Brandenburg, regardless of the fact that Musk has repeatedly made clear that he will accept neither union representation nor collective bargaining agreements in his new factory.

The Greens have also proven to be very generous partners to German industry — or rather, industrialists — in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Winfried Kretschmann has governed for ten years as the party’s first and so far only state-level prime minister. Baden-Württemberg used to be a stronghold of the CDU but has been won over by Kretschmann with an agenda which adds a green face to conservative, pro-business parties. Kretschmann has since established his party as the strongest in the state — but also continuously irritated its activist base with his stance protecting the interests of automobile manufacturers like Daimler-Benz and Porsche, and his cautious position on the transition to electric cars.

While Kretschmann’s administration has presided over a decline in public infrastructure and a rise in poverty — especially among children and pensioners — it has actively fended off social initiatives such as a popular petition for free childcare and remains committed to conservative fiscal policies. The Greens have also alienated parts of the climate justice movement, for instance when the CDU/Green government in the state of Hesse pledged its support for the controversial extension of the A49 highway and, connected to this, the clearing of the Dannenröder Forest. Protesters who tried to prevent the clearing in November 2020 were met with numerous incidents of police violence — provoking much negative publicity for Hesse’s government and its transport minister Tarek Al-Wazir, a member of the Greens.

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Hmm. Keep your enemies closer, we were told.

European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

Turkey’s accession talks for entry into the European Union were suspended on Wednesday as relations between Turkey and the bloc have become increasingly strained over the last several years. The European Parliament also called for Turkey to implement an immediate change of course regarding the rule of law and human rights as a prerequisite for the country’s accession to the EU. European lawmakers passed the proposal to suspend Turkey’s accession by 480 votes in favor, 64 against and 150 abstentions in a European parliamentary session. Today’s move came after Members of the European Parliament cited many violations of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey. Turkey is one of the countries having been through the longest negotiation process to enter the EU.


It became an official candidate for membership in 1999 at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Official accession talks started in 2005 but have been stalled since 2016. According to Nacho Sánchez Amor, who drafted the report on the country, Turkey must change course and “put expressions of good will into concrete actions. “The report is probably the toughest ever in its criticism. It reflects all that has unfortunately happened in the country in the last two years, in particular in the fields of human rights and rule of law, which remain the main area of concern for the European Parliament,” he said. The latest report adopted by the Committee of Foreign Affairs states that the Turkish government has deliberately distanced itself from European values and has led its relations with the EU to a “historic low point.”

Read more …

 

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Dogs Cat

 

 

 

 

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May 182021
 
 May 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


Gustav Klimt The Park 1909

 

Texas Reports Zero COVID Deaths 2 Months After Biden Said ‘Neanderthals’ (NW)
42% Of Russians Do Not Want To Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19 (Tickle)
Learn From History – Or Repeat It (Denninger)
The False God (Jim Kunstler)
Dutch Municipalities Spy On Citizens On Social Media (VK)
Q&A With Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)
US Blocks New Draft UN Statement On Mideast Violence (MSN)
You Are Writing History With Your Bloody Hands -Erdogan to Biden (ZH)
Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality (Nate Hagens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riddle me this, Batman.

Texas Reports Zero COVID Deaths 2 Months After Biden Said ‘Neanderthals’ (NW)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott caught heat from Democratic lawmakers when he announced on March 2 this year he would fully reopen the state by the next week. Mississippi lawmakers declared a similar reopening plan about the same time. The idea was to get more people acclimated back to normal life, including businesses at full capacity and sports arenas full of fans again. For Texas, the governor wanted businesses back at 100 percent and placed filled up again, from school halls to dance halls. President Joe Biden called such reopening plans as “Neanderthals thinking.” “I hope everybody has realized by now these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way we are able to get vaccine in people’s arms,” Biden said in the White House on March 3.

“The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters. … It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science.” Texas blazed its own path and reopened for business, and the Texas Rangers had a ballpark full of cheering fans for its home opener last month. On Sunday, just a couple of hours after a major PGA event in Dallas and the NCAA FCS college football national championship in Frisco, Abbott reported that the state had no COVID-related deaths the previous 24 hours, and that the seven-day positivity rate was the lowest it’s been since records have been taken—which was March 2020.

Biden expressed disappointment in those states that had plans to fully reopen, saying the goal was for every American adult to receive vaccinations before starting big gatherings, with a target date of July 4 for families to get together and celebrate. “We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every American, to get every adult American to get a shot,” Biden said in March. Biden was 0-for-2 against Texas when, after the Rangers baseball organization said it planned to open at full capacity following Abbott’s executive order, the president called that decision a “mistake.” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels shrugged off that comment and said he still hoped for a full venue on opening day, which he got.

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Herd immunity.

42% Of Russians Do Not Want To Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19 (Tickle)

A Russian survey has revealed that more than two-fifths (42%) of citizens do not intend to be vaccinated against Covid-19 “under any circumstances,” a result that may explain the country’s poorly performing inoculation program. Conducted by recruitment company Superjob’s research center, the survey also revealed that one-in-five (20%) unvaccinated Russians would get jabbed if it meant they could travel abroad. The poll came after Greece’s announcement that they would be willing to accept tourists vaccinated with Sputnik V. The results found that 18% of Russians yet to be inoculated plan to get the shot even without any other incentive. Some 42% said they absolutely do not want to get vaccinated, even if it is the only option for a trip to another country, and 20% found it difficult to decide.


The results from this survey may go some way to explaining why the Russian vaccination campaign has gotten off to a slow start. In late April, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said more than 11.1 million people have received the first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 6.8 million fully inoculated. The country’s authorities do not regularly release data, but the latest aggregated figures on the unofficial website gogov suggests that the current figure of people to have received both jabs is now around 9.8 million. Russia has approved three domestic Covid-19 vaccines, with Sputnik V being the most well-known. The vaccine has now been registered in 66 countries, having most recently passed tests in Ecuador.

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“That sort of cult game is how you wind up turning a nation into Jonestown.”

Learn From History – Or Repeat It (Denninger)

Adults live in reality where facts are collected, hypotheses are formed, tests are made against said hypothesis and then the results are published. Then, reasoned adults make their own decisions for themselves and their families, weighing personal risk and benefit based on those published results. Children and psychotics live in a fantasy world where they believe you snap your fingers and get what you want. When you allow either of the latter two to ascend to positions of power and influence within government your entire nation is standing on a ledge believing you can fly. There are myriad examples of this, such as believing you can replace combustion fuels with batteries and solar cells or wind turbines; this is crazy-land nonsense as nobody has figured out how to violate the laws of physics, and you just saw a small version of it with the Colonial pipeline.

There’s a virus going around, I hear, that has a near-zero death rate in children but in fantasy-land we must stab them with a dangerous drug lest they get infected with something that they may have already had and won’t hurt them anyway. We refuse to adult and admit that roughly a third of the people who died were within six months to a year of their “use by” date, living in rest homes where half of those admitted die within six months and at least three quarters of the rest who succumbed had destroyed their bodies on purpose, making themselves vulnerable to what, in almost everyone else, is a case of the flu. Rather than deal with these facts, which were known almost immediately in 2020, we instead engaged in a mass-delusional episode akin to putting magic mushrooms in the nation’s water supply, and led the public to believe they’d all die unless they walked around with diapers on their face scared of non-existent snakes coming out of the roadway that were going to spit venom in their mouth.

Worse, when people got said flu we told them there were no treatments which was a knowing lie and let a bunch of ghouls chortle at the $30,000 they were going to get for a toe-tag in a few days while your grandmother choked to death on her own spit. We’re still doing the same damn thing not just here but in fact worldwide so we can scare people into being stabbed on a subscription basis for immense profit with an unknown risk of pulling the black ball and killing a huge percentage of the public. LSD is a hell of a drug and I don’t give a crap what you do with or to yourself but the effects of same, no matter how the crazy got in one’s head, have no place near or on the levers of power. That sort of cult game is how you wind up turning a nation into Jonestown.

For half a million Americans or so over the last year Jonestown has already arrived and now we’re playing the same game without about half the population while attempting to enlist children in drinking the KoolAid. It’s grape-flavored; go ahead and take a big slug. I promise it won’t hurt. Much.

CDC admits at least 94% of Deaths from Corona Virus were wrong.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1394417021333524484

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“..insufficiently tested exotic experiments desperately employed against something that looks more and more like a bio-weapon that the government itself was complicit in creating.”

The False God (Jim Kunstler)

[..] as the time-frame for inflation compresses, the people notice that their money won’t buy what they need, and they get restless, perhaps dangerously so. In the process, the government begins to look incompetent, on top of the usual perception that it is corrupt, and before you know it, legitimacy slips through the widening cracks of the floor. Until now, the authorities have been successful in pitting citizens against each other, and the ill-will unleashed has been spectacular. But the memes of “white supremacy” are so obviously dishonest that they’ve only succeeded in hugely pissing off the substantial demographic of white people who struggle desperately to remain employed, housed, mobile, and capable of raising children who are not being driven crazy.

The coronavirus situation is not so reassuring. We are one more serious up-wave of illness from tanking whatever remains of this vaporific economy. An emerging pattern suggests that higher vaccination rates might generate new-and-improved iterations of the disease more efficiently — just as the government tries more aggressively to sell vaccination to the public. The public is also noticing the alarming statistics, and many remain unconvinced that the vaccines are even vaccines in the usual sense, but rather insufficiently tested exotic experiments desperately employed against something that looks more and more like a bio-weapon that the government itself was complicit in creating.

My state of New York is supposedly “reopening” today. Who’s not longing to get back to “normal?” But who’s not a little anxious that mixing normally with other people won’t start the whole cycle all over again? And, anyway, who doesn’t wonder whether normal is really a thing of the past now, disappearing in the rear-view mirror? Just as the hopeful meme floats over the Internet that the storm is over, we fail to see that there’s a larger storm of history whirling around us that we’re only in the eye of.

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Google translate. Spied on by nincompoops.

Dutch Municipalities Spy On Citizens On Social Media (VK)

Dutch municipalities monitor citizens on social media on a large scale. They use fake accounts for this, a method that municipalities are not allowed to use. This has emerged from research by the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and the University of Groningen on behalf of the Police and Science research program. Municipalities keep an eye on Facebook groups, Twitter profiles and other social media to gain insight into possible disturbances such as riots and demonstrations. Municipal officials are often unaware that they are breaking the law, the investigation shows. More than half do not know which rules and protocols apply. The results are based on answers to a questionnaire of 156 of the 352 Dutch municipalities.

Almost one in six of the municipalities surveyed uses fake accounts, a method that only police and intelligence services are allowed to use under strict conditions. In some cases, city officials enter private Facebook groups under false names. For example, at the time of the refugee crisis, an official writes to have secretly joined private Facebook groups to see “what’s going on”. Municipalities search online for social assistance fraud by searching for extra earnings on Marktplaats. Social media is also used to check flight stories of asylum seekers. Searching online under fake names, storing personal data and entering private groups are a serious infringement of citizens’ rights, says Bart Custers, professor of Law and Data Science at Leiden University. “It is simply prohibited. Municipalities are not allowed to play for the police or intelligence service. ”

Arbitration and serious privacy violations lurk. Custers: “If the government goes online with a fake account, it is working under cover, for example, the police must ask the judge for permission. This is not the work of municipalities. “Moreover, there is a risk that personal data will leak. “There seems to be hardly any discussion within municipalities about what is and is not allowed,” says Willem Bantema, responsible researcher and sociologist of law at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. The research shows that in about one third of the municipalities no data protection officer is involved in online monitoring, although this is required by law. According to the researchers, small and medium-sized municipalities in particular do not comply with the rules. Large cities generally have better policy in order.

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“Do you realize if an artist went into producing their art, whatever it is, literary or nonfiction or whatever, and thought about the consequences, the art would be total shit?”

Q&A With Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)

After training generations of Americans to forego personal lives and work their brains to mush in service of bigger profits, corporate leaders are waking up to find their companies staffed by people so psychologically dependent upon validation from work that they’re a net minus from a production standpoint, forcing bosses to beg them to shut up, go home, and get lives. Not many modern Americans know how to do any of those things, however, as can be seen in cases like that of Garcia-Martinez, where 2,000 employees claimed to be literally incapable of sharing a vast corporate structure with someone who once wrote a book containing passages they might have disagreed with, if they’d actually read it.

“The thought of conflating your entire political, moral, social, family, and religious being with your professional persona,” Garcia-Martinez says, “I think is extraordinarily fraught and difficult.” Another irony: despite the progressive sheen of these campaigns, Slack agitation doesn’t represent a resurgence of labor. Unions used the strength of the whole workforce to protect the rights of the individual employee, among other things insisting that management not act without due process, evidence, etc. Slack, as has been seen in cases like Antonio’s, or the oustings at the New York Times of editor James Bennet and reporter Donald McNeil, often urges companies to bypass process and act in the heat of the moment. In any case, it’s a weird kind of liberalism that tries to override management to get employees fired, but that’s where we are in the modern American workplace.

I asked Antonio about these and other issues, from his perspective: TK: You’ve had multiple careers, and clearly took writing seriously. How will episodes like this affect people who might try to write or take creative detours in their careers? Antonio Garcia-Martinez: Kat Rosenfield was tweeting about this and I love her and it’s great that she’s defending me. Do you want art? People are saying, “Well, you should have realized the consequences… I feel like saying: “Do you realize if an artist went into producing their art, whatever it is, literary or nonfiction or whatever, and thought about the consequences, the art would be total shit?”

Looking at it bigger, there’s a lot of political ideologies like Nazism and communism that thought that art should be subservient to politics, and that art can only serve a political end. Those movements did not end well. I don’t think we want that in our liberal democratic society. I think that’s a bizarre ideological way of looking at the world, from the wokesters who treat this as a quasi-religion.

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3 times now.

US Blocks New Draft UN Statement On Mideast Violence (MSN)

The United States on Monday blocked — for the third time in a week — the adoption of a joint UN Security Council statement calling for a halt to Israeli-Palestinian violence, triggering a new emergency closed-door session set for Tuesday. The text drafted by China, Tunisia and Norway was submitted late Sunday for approval Monday by the council’s 15 members, as Israeli jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip and the death toll from a week of violence passed 200. The United States indicated that they “could not currently support an expression” by the Security Council, one diplomat told AFP. The Norwegian diplomatic mission to the UN announced that the Security Council would hold a new emergency closed-door meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Tuesday — its fourth since May 10.


“The situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. Innocent civilians continue being killed and injured. We repeat: stop the fire. End hostilities now,” the delegation said on Twitter. The Security Council has held three emergency meetings on the escalating violence in the past week, the latest on Sunday, without reaching a common position — with Israel’s main ally the United States accused of obstructionism. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric underlined the importance of taking a consolidated position on the conflict. “I would really restate the need for a very strong and unified voice from the Security Council, which we think will carry weight,” he told a press conference.

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Yeah, get Erdogan some support. Well played.

You Are Writing History With Your Bloody Hands -Erdogan to Biden (ZH)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday blasted the Joe Biden administration for standing idly by while the civilian body count piles up in Gaza after one week of unrelenting Israeli airstrikes. And even more than this Turkey is outraged over new reports that Biden approved a $735 million dollar weapons sale from the United States to Israel. “You are writing history with your bloody hands,” Erdogan said in remarks addressed to President Biden. The stinging rebuke came after a meeting with this cabinet over the continuing Gaza crisis. Turkey has long been a staunch supporter of Palestinian rights, though Erdogan’s rule has in recent years seen relations with Israel reach a low-point given the hardline Islamist leanings of his Justice and Development Party.

The Hill reports of the massive US weapons sale to Israel that “A majority of the possible sale is of Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions, equipment that can make unguided bombs dropped from aircraft into guided missiles, the aide confirmed.” “The window for Congress to block this sale is for all intents and purposes closed,” The Hill wrote, also noting outrage among a handful of Democrat progressives. Following a meeting with his Cabinet, Erdogan issued a rebuke to the U.S. president, saying: “Now, unfortunately, you (Biden) are writing history with your bloody hands with this event (in which) Gaza is being attacked with seriously disproportionate force causing the martyrdom of thousands of people. You have forced us to say this.”

And specifically on the new reports of Biden-approved weapons sales to the Jewish state, Erdogan scolded further: “Today we saw Biden’s signature on weapons sales to Israel,” Erdogan said in reference to US media reports of a new arms shipment approved by the Biden administration. “Palestinian territories are awash with persecution, suffering and blood, like many other territories that lost the peace with the end of the Ottomans. And you are supporting that,” Erdogan said. This apparently marks the end of previously reported attempts of Erdogan to reach out to the administration, following warmer (despite at times tense) personal relations with Trump, given that Monday’s comments mark the harshest words Erdogan has unleashed on Biden since his January arrival in the White House.

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Good friend Nate sent this. Really, Nate, 3 hours?

Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality (Nate Hagens)

This video is a condensation of 15+ years work exploring the human predicament. This talk outlines some core myths and stories in modern culture and contrasts them to our underlying biophysical (biological and physical) realities. There will be a web portal in near future going a bit deeper on these topics for use in education and outreach on societal interventions. Here is the chronological myth order and time stamp. They can be watched in any order, but this order makes the most sense (so we decided).

Read more …

 

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“Close up of a wolf spider.”

 

 

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May 102021
 


Daniel Garber Lambertville holiday 1941

 

When You Become A Health Threat, And Removing Your Rights A Formality (CHD)
COVID-19 Rewired Our Brains (NR)
DC Mayor Bans Dancing At Weddings & Other Absurdities (Black)
Fauci Says Wearing Masks May Eventually Become ‘Seasonal’ (NYP)
Covid-19 Patient Receives Ivermectin From Elmhurst Hospital (F32)
Canadian Preacher Pawlowski Arrested For Defying Public Health Orders (ET)
Antony Blinken Lectures the World on Press Freedom (Greenwald)
Colonial Fails To Restart Hacked Pipeline, US Declares State Of Emergency (ZH)
Russian Criminal Group Suspected In Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack (NBC)
Reducing Debt Via A Modern Debt Jubilee (Steve Keen)

 

 

I’m going to trust my immune system
https://twitter.com/i/status/1391536048237420545

 

 

“..they are digging a six-foot legislative hole in which to lay freedom of movement and the concept of bodily integrity to rest..”

When You Become A Health Threat, And Removing Your Rights A Formality (CHD)

Since the WHO declared a pandemic, Europe has seen the advent of two curious legal instruments: the Digital Green Certificate (DGC) and Passenger Locator Forms (PLFs). Working shoulder-to-shoulder as a draconian ‘universal framework’, they are digging a six-foot legislative hole in which to lay freedom of movement and the concept of bodily integrity to rest. Until now you have been able to travel freely. Generally, you required proof of identity and citizenship, ie a passport. Sometimes there were visa and medical requirements. Within the Schengen Zone meanwhile, European citizens didn’t even need a passport. And until now, you had command over your own body. You could choose your medicine, for example. If you got sick, generally speaking, you decided on your treatment.


You could only be imprisoned if you did something wrong. Until now you were a person, a citizen; free to move and bodily autonomous. You may have noticed that this has all changed. However you may not realise how and to what a dramatic extent this has changed, or why. It’s not that you can’t travel anymore. The State will still let you travel—in return for certain permissions. Before you can move, you will let the State do things to your body; conduct an unsanitary test or administer an experimental gene therapy for example—whether or not you are sick. Then, as you begin to move, the State will track and imprison you as it sees fit. So, to travel, you will have to give up the right to decide what happens to your body. Instead, in certain matters, you will let the State decide. Why? Because the State presumes you are a threat to public health, and you accept this.

Read more …

“One would normally expect that a variety of experts would come up with a variety of recommendations, precisely because, like everyone else, they value the risks differently.”

COVID-19 Rewired Our Brains (NR)

It’s as if a circuit has been fused. While caution and restrictive behavior can be justified by a conscience informed by the risks, the human mind can also make calculations based on superstition. And one frighteningly common one is the equation of science with truth, fear with realism, and caution with virtue. In individuals, we can easily observe these sorts of calculations, with personal tragedies large and small: people who missed out on one last comforting grasp of the hands before a loved one died, or whose marriages were wrecked by the atmosphere of fear and paranoia. But the problem is clearly social as well as political. Once the truth-caution-virtue circuit was fused, we found it much harder to introduce good news and new information. We lost the capacity to acknowledge the provisional nature of our judgments.

The fact that a huge portion of the vulnerable population in America has been vaccinated — in many counties well over 70 percent of people 65 and older are now fully vaccinated —doesn’t change behavior as fast as the news about the virus altered our behavior last spring. This is made worse because the “costs” of much mitigating behavior are mostly diffuse. They are in the depressed business environment for entertainment, food, and tourism. Or we see them in the heightened levels of depression that people experience because of prolonged social isolation. Many people who had the financial option of making their lockdown super-tight simply don’t go out enough to realize how free and sociable most people in their community have been. They have become unused to the risks and the pleasures of life that the less fearful or the more essential workers never could get away from. And this faulty equivalence of truth, fear, and caution doesn’t afflict only individuals or the environment of major cities. It afflicts our institutions.

It is why the Centers for Disease Control can get bullied by the teachers’ union into delaying its recommendation to fully reopen schools. The teachers’ unions have no public-health expertise, no special knowledge of epidemiology. What they had on their side was a pervasive reflex that more caution can never be wrong or harmful. The association of danger with permissiveness has warped the “expert class” that is supposed to inform the public. Throughout the pandemic, public-health officials have betrayed their view that they do not trust the public with good news; they seem to fear that an inch given will be a mile taken. And so, even during one of the most successful vaccine rollouts in the world, CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned of “impending doom” just a month ago. But no doom was in the offing.

And the expert class has also corrupted itself. The short circuit of the pandemic has led to a dramatic tightening of groupthink among public-health pundits. One would normally expect that a variety of experts would come up with a variety of recommendations, precisely because, like everyone else, they value the risks differently. But instead, public-health pontificators have tried to guard their authority with an ersatz sheen of unanimity. When Dr. Martin Kulldorff expressed his view that the pause of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine would do more harm than good, the CDC threw him off its vaccine-safety advisory committee. Four days later, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was made available again, but the visible dissent was too much to abide. Kulldorff had pioneered many of the processes by which the CDC detects the safety of vaccines.

But he had expressed his view that the urge to vaccinate everyone was as superstitious as being anti-vaccine. Twitter, preposterously, put a misinformation tag on this tweet, based on the superstition that there is only one valid “expert” answer — and no valid debates among experts. Kulldorff’s worst crime, apparently, was expressing his views in person in the presence of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida.

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“..the CIA’s new mission is not gathering and analyzing intelligence to defend the nation. It’s fighting back against the patriarchy. America’s enemies are shaking in their boots.”

DC Mayor Bans Dancing At Weddings & Other Absurdities (Black)

The CIA has gone full woke in an “unapologetically me” campaign designed to drive new recruits to the agency. In the video, we hear from a CIA officer who tells us, “I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cis gender Millennial who’s been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. . . I am intersectional. But my existence is not a box checking exercise.” Wait, what? If your existence isn’t about box checking, why did you literally just check off all the boxes in which you identify? Racial identity: check. Gender identity: check. Disability: check. The video goes on to showcase all the diversity and inclusion awards that the officer won during her time at the CIA. And she continues: “At 36, I refuse to internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.”

There you have it— the CIA’s new mission is not gathering and analyzing intelligence to defend the nation. It’s fighting back against the patriarchy. America’s enemies are shaking in their boots. The Mayor of Washington DC has issued a health order which demands wedding guests stay seated at wedding receptions. The order specifically notes that at weddings, “Attendees and guests must remain seated and socially distanced from each other and other household groups… Standing and dancing receptions are not allowed.” Standing… is now illegal. The real irony here is that Washington DC is one of the MOST VACCINATED cities in the US, with 631,000 vaccine doses administered out of an adult population (according to census data) of 577,000.

The Australian health department has banned travelers from entering Australia within 14 days of having been in India. The government says this order falls under the authority of the Biosecurity Act. This applies to Australian citizens as well, who could incur a fine of up to $66,600 and 5 years in prison for boarding a flight home. When asked about this insanity, the Prime Minister said, “I think the likelihood of any of that occurring is pretty much zero.” I guess that makes it OK. Of course, the likelihood would be exactly zero if his government hadn’t issued the ridiculous order to begin with.

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Not the Onion: facemasks for the flu.

Fauci Says Wearing Masks May Eventually Become ‘Seasonal’ (NYP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted Sunday that mask-wearing could eventually become “seasonal” as protection against ailments like the flu that can also be spread through the air. He said Americans over the course of the pandemic have gotten used to wearing face coverings, which “diminishes respiratory diseases.” “We’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against COVID-19,” Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“So it is conceivable that as we go on, a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you’ll spread these respiratory-borne diseases,” Fauci continued. He also predicted that we won’t see another surge in COVID-19 cases this fall if the majority of Americans get the vaccine. “The fact that we have vaccines right now … is really a game changer,” Fauci said on NBC. “I mean, if we get, which we will, to the goals that the president has established — namely if we get 70 percent of the people vaccinated by the Fourth of July, namely one single dose and even more thereafter — you may see blips, but if we handle them well, it is unlikely that you’ll see the kind of surge that we saw in the late fall and the early winter,” he said.

Experts have been warning that the country is in danger of not reaching herd immunity because of the decline in people getting inoculated. “That’s the reason … why we plead with people to get vaccinated because the larger proportion of the population that’s vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you’re going to see a significant surge,” Fauci said. “That’s the wild card that we have now that we didn’t have last fall or the last winter.”

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The woman’s in an induced coma and they still refused.

Covid-19 Patient Receives Ivermectin From Elmhurst Hospital (F32)

The first dose of ivermectin was administered by Elmhurst Hospital Monday night, three days after a judge ordered the hospital to honor a family’s request to treat their mother. Some doctors say ivermectin is a highly effective COVID treatment, but it is not approved for that use by the FDA. “[Elmhurst Hospital] basically just shut it out. They will not allow a doctor to use one of the world’s safest medicines despite the increasing amounts of evidence to show that it’s effective,” said Dr. Pierre Kory of the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FCCCA). The hospital initially refused to give 68-year-old Nurije Fype the drug, in defiance of a judge’s orders. But her daughter Desi Fype said on Monday night, they reversed course and allowed an outside doctor to come in and administer the drug to her mother.

The FCCCA has released several studies it says show overwhelming evidence that ivermectin has “large-magnitude benefits” when it comes to fighting COVID. “All independent groups of scientists, all concluding the same thing: that the evidence suggests that it should be the standard of care,” Dr. Kory said. The family attorney told FOX 32 after one dose of ivermectin Monday night, Nurije Fype is already showing signs of improvement. Desi Fype of Elmhurst fought for days to get doctors at Elmhurst Hospital to treat her mother with ivermectin. Nurije Fype is in a medically induced coma at the hospital. Late last week, a judge ordered the hospital to administer the drug to Fype, but the family and their lawyers say the hospital continued to refuse until Monday night.

“We went to court,” said Desi Fype. “We have a judge’s order, so you have to comply with that.” “I think the judge’s dismay and horror at what they’re doing matches mine. It’s inexcusable,” said Dr. Kory. “They’re behaving indefensibly when a woman’s life is in the balance.” The FDA has a page on its website titled, “Why you should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.” The page says the drug has only been approved at very specific doses to treat parasitic worms, and that it’s dangerous at large doses.

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I like Artur.

Canadian Preacher Pawlowski Arrested For Defying Public Health Orders (ET)

“Earlier today, police arrested two organizers of a church service who were in violation of a new court order obtained by Alberta Health Services (AHS) in relation to mandatory compliance of public health orders for gatherings,” said the Calgary Police Service in a statement on Saturday. His brother, David Pawlowski, was also taken into police custody. Both were charged with allegedly organizing an illegal in-person gathering as well as “requesting, inciting or inviting others” to join them, according to police. The force said that Alberta’s provincial government obtained a bench order from a court that applies to “protests, demonstrations and rallies” that imposes “new restrictions on organizers of protests and demonstrations requiring compliance with public health orders including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits.”

“It is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing,” the police service added. A video uploaded on Twitter that appeared to show his arrest on a highway included Pawlowski’s voice: “If you are watching this video, it means that they have successfully arrested me.” It included a link to a crowdfunding website for his legal defense. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pawlowski brothers have held gatherings and have denied officials’ entry into their church located in Dover, Calgary, according to reports.

Pawlowski drew headlines several weeks ago after he compared police with the Nazi Gestapo paramilitary forces and fascists. “And they did it again! Today, the Gestapo Attacked our Church Again! History is being repeated in front of our eyes! Another sad day for Freedom and democracy!” Pawlowski wrote on April 24.

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See under hypocrisy in your Thesaurus.

Antony Blinken Lectures the World on Press Freedom (Greenwald)

Continuing his world tour doling out righteous lectures to the world, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday proclaimed — in a sermon you have to hear to believe — that few things are more sacred in a democracy than “independent journalism.” Speaking to Radio Free Europe, Blinken paid homage to “World Press Freedom Day”; claimed that “the United States stands strongly with independent journalism”; explained that “the foundation of any democratic system” entails “holding leaders accountable” and “informing citizens”; and warned that “countries that deny freedom of the press are countries that don’t have a lot of confidence in themselves or in their systems.”

The rhetorical cherry on top of that cake came when he posed this question: “What is to be afraid of in informing the people and holding leaders accountable?” The Secretary of State then issued this vow: “Everywhere journalism and freedom of the press is challenged, we will stand with journalists and with that freedom.” [..] That the Biden administration is such a stalwart believer in the sanctity of independent journalism and is devoted to defending it wherever it is threatened would come as a great surprise to many, many people. Among them would be Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks and the person responsible for breaking more major stories about the actions of top U.S. officials than virtually all U.S. journalists employed in the corporate press combined.

Currently, Assange is sitting in a cell in the British high-security Belmarsh prison because the Biden administration is not only trying to extradite him to stand trial on espionage charges for having published documents embarrassing to the U.S. Government and the Democratic Party but also has appealed a British judge’s January ruling rejecting that extradition request. The Biden administration is doing all of this, noted The New York Times, despite the fact that “human rights and civil liberties groups had asked the [administration] to abandon the effort to prosecute Mr. Assange, arguing that the case . . . could establish a precedent posing a grave threat to press freedoms” — press freedoms, exactly the value which Blinken just righteously spent the week celebrating and vowing to uphold.

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Colonial transports over half of the gasoline and diesel consumed on the east coast every day..

Colonial Fails To Restart Hacked Pipeline, US Declares State Of Emergency (ZH)

The US government declared a state of emergency late on Sunday, lifting limits on the transport of fuels by road in a bid to keep gas supply lines open as fears of shortages spiked after the continued shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. “This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief,” the Department of Transportation said. White House Press Sec Jen Psaki added that “as the Administration works to mitigate potential disruptions to supply as a result of the Colonial Pipeline incident, @USDOT is taking action today to allow flexibility for truckers in 17 states.” The move lifted limits on the transport of fuels by road to ease the fallout from the continuing closure of the Colonial pipeline, which carries almost half the fuel consumed on the US East Coast, following a ransomware cyber attack on Friday.


The decision comes as the government scrambles to deal with the fallout from the closure of Colonial, the biggest refined products pipeline in the US, transporting 2.5m barrels of fuel a day from refineries on the Gulf Coast to markets such as Atlanta, Washington and New York (see more below). If the pipeline is not quickly reopened the impact on prices could become more severe in the coming days, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at data provider GasBuddy. “We’re realizing the gravity of it is maybe worse than what we’d expected,” said De Haan. “There’s still a little breathing room, we’re starting to run low on it. But Monday, Tuesday if there’s no news, you know we’re dealing with something fairly significant.”

Read more …

Yes, yes, it’s the Russians again.

Although Russian hackers often freelance for the Kremlin, early indications suggest that this was a criminal scheme — not an attack by a nation-state..

Russian Criminal Group Suspected In Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack (NBC)

A Russian criminal group may be responsible for a ransomware attack that shut down a major U.S. fuel pipeline, two sources familiar with the matter said Sunday. The group, known as DarkSide, is relatively new, but it has a sophisticated approach to the business of extortion, the sources said. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that the White House was working to help Colonial Pipeline, the Georgia-based company that operates the pipeline, to restart its 5,500-mile network. The system, which runs from Texas to New Jersey, transports 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supply. In a statement Sunday, the company said that some smaller lateral lines were operational but that the main lines remained down.

“We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations,” the company said. Raimondo said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the effort to restart the network was “an all-hands-on-deck effort right now.” “We are working closely with the company, state and local officials to make sure that they get back up to normal operations as quickly as possible and there aren’t disruptions in supply,” she said, adding: “Unfortunately, these sorts of attacks are becoming more frequent. They’re here to stay.” A White House official said Sunday that the Energy Department is leading the government’s response. Agencies are planning for a number of scenarios in which the region’s fuel supply takes a hit, the official said.

On Saturday, Colonial Pipeline blamed the cyberattack on ransomware and said some of its information technology systems were affected. It said it “proactively” took “certain systems offline to contain the threat.” The company has not said what was demanded or who made the demand. Although Russian hackers often freelance for the Kremlin, early indications suggest that this was a criminal scheme — not an attack by a nation-state — the sources said. But the fact that Colonial had to shut down the country’s largest gasoline pipeline underscores just how vulnerable the U.S. cyber infrastructure is to criminals and national adversaries, such as Russia, China and Iran, experts say.

“This could be the most impactful ransomware attack in history, a cyber disaster turning into a real-world catastrophe,” said Andrew Rubin, CEO and co-founder of Illumio, a cybersecurity company. “It’s an absolute nightmare, and it’s a recurring nightmare,” he said. “Organizations continue to rely and invest entirely on detection, as if they can stop all breaches from happening. But this approach misses attacks over and over again. Before the next inevitable breach, the president and Congress need to take action on our broken security model.”

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Note the velocity of money.

Reducing Debt Via A Modern Debt Jubilee (Steve Keen)

This paper models a Modern Debt Jubilee using Minsky, an Open Source (i.e., free) system dynamics program. Minsky’s unique feature, called a “Godley Table”, is a double-entry bookkeeping table that makes it much easier to model financial dynamics than it is in standard system dynamics programs. The key outcomes of the model are: • The Jubilee reduces overall debt levels, relative to GDP;The private debt to GDP ratio falls immediately because of the Jubilee;
Government debt rises as much as private debt falls, but the government debt to GDP ratio rises less because of the stimulatory effects of the Jubilee on GDP; The total debt to GDP ratio therefore falls immediately as a result of the Jubilee; and • Over time, the Jubilee stimulates the economy because the fall in indebtedness boosts aggregate demand, by transferring money from those who spend slowly (primarily bankers) to those who spend quickly (workers). A policy which requires an initial increase in government debt – as fiat-created money replaces credit-based money – thus ends up reducing both government and private debt relative to GDP – see Figure 6.


Figure 6: A Modern Debt Jubilee reduces both private and government debt ratios

How does this magic happen? The basic mechanism is that the Modern Debt Jubilee (MDJ) reduces the inequality that rising level of private debt have caused. A higher level of private debt, even with falling interest rates, results in a larger fraction of the economy’s money residing in the financial sector rather than the real economy – the shops and factories where physical output are produced, and profits and wages are actually generated. The Modern Debt Jubilee reverses this: by reducing private debt levels, less debt-servicing is needed, and therefore more of the existing amount of money turns up in the hands of workers, who spend much more rapidly than do bankers. Because they spend more rapidly, that money expands activity in the firm sector, causing GDP to rise. The increase in what mainstream economists call the “velocity of money” (see Figure 7) generates more GDP from the same amount of money, and debt to GDP ratios fall over time.


Figure 7: Rising velocity of money because of the Jubilee

A Modern Debt Jubilee thus reverses Fisher’s Paradox. Private debt is reduced, but the stock of money remains constant, and as a bonus, it ends up in the hands of people who spend more rapidly. So private debt falls, and GDP rises as a result, reducing the private debt to GDP ratio even further. The increase in economic activity is so great that, over time, even the government debt to GDP ratio falls as a result of the Jubilee.

Read more …

 

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Mar 202021
 
 March 20, 2021  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  26 Responses »


Gilles Mostaert Sodom and Gomorrah 1597

 

Joe Biden’s Dire Opening Chapter On The World Stage (Kimball)
Biden And Blinken’s Unprovoked Attacks On Russia And China Backfire (Ritter)
SecDef Austin Warns North Korea: US “Ready To Fight Tonight” (ZH)
Moscow Snubs Biden At UN, Only Sends Junior Diplomat To Virtual Summit (RT)
Putin Challenges Biden To Stair-Climbing Contest (BBee)
Erdogan Says Biden Comments On Putin ‘Unacceptable’ (R.)
Erdogan Fires Second Central Bank Chief In 4 Months (ZH)
Fauci Claims Babies, Toddlers Need To Be Vaccinated For Herd Immunity (SN)
Drugmakers Promise Investors They’ll Soon Hike Covid-19 Vaccine Prices
ONS Admits Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions in PCR Testing (LDS)
The ‘Independent’ Report Claiming Uyghur Genocide (CN)
UK Government Borrowing Hits February Record (BBC)
Toxic Chemicals, Plummeting Sperm Counts, Shrinking Penises (Erin Brockovich)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I am not sure whether air-sickness bags were deployed. It was Alaska, after all, so maybe they just opened the window.”

Joe Biden’s Dire Opening Chapter On The World Stage (Kimball)

Consider, to take a very recent example, the exchange between the United States secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the Chinese director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi, known to admirers and lackeys as ‘Tiger Yang’. The venue was Anchorage, Alaska, where Messrs. Blinken and Yang, along with assorted colleagues and retainers, met for a free and frank exchange of views. On the run up to the meeting, Blinken talked tough. ‘This is an important opportunity for us to lay out in very frank terms,’ he said, ‘the many concerns we have with Beijing’s actions and behavior that are challenging the security, prosperity and values of the US and our allies.’ Very frank. It was the first high-level meeting between members of the Biden administration and their Chinese counterparts. To say that it was a public relations disaster for the US is to understate the case.

Blinken and his sidekick, Jake Sullivan, a Hillary Clinton factotum who is now national security adviser, sat down to read China the riot act. It was not a success. Blinken emitted carefully polished clichés about our ‘deep concern’ over Chinas actions with regard to Hong Kong, Taiwan and other hot spots, its bullying of various European countries, and its campaign of cyber attacks against the US. This behavior, said Blinken, consulting that great compendium of diplomatic nostrums he learned in school, threatens ‘the rules-based order that maintains global stability’. I am not sure whether air-sickness bags were deployed. It was Alaska, after all, so maybe they just opened the window. Yang, speaking through a translator, shot back: ‘You can’t blame this problem on somebody else.’ Blinken went on to say that now, under Joe Biden, the United States was ‘back’ (where did it go, Tony?) and was ‘reengaging’ with its allies on the world stage.

Here’s where that short imperative I mentioned came in. The United States, said Yang, in one of the most dismissive diplomatic rejoinders I have ever heard, does not have the ‘qualifications’ to address China ‘from a position of strength’. F, my dear Blinken, you. [..] The Anchorage outrage was not an isolated incident. On the contrary, though it is early days yet in the Biden-Harris (or Harris-Biden) administration, a pattern of contempt for America and its leaders seems to be taking hold. In the course of a ‘what-flavor-is-your-milkshake’ valen- er, interview with George ‘I <3 Hillary’ Stephanopoulos, Biden was asked if he thought Russian president Vladimir Putin was a ‘killer’. He answered yes, in response to which Putin said he wished Biden the best of health and suggested they livestream a debate. Can you imagine what that would be like?

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It’s not fully impossible that they got what they wanted.

Biden And Blinken’s Unprovoked Attacks On Russia And China Backfire (Ritter)

In attacking the moral character of Russia’s president and China’s human rights record, the Biden administration opened the door for a critical examination of America’s own troubled history.President Joe Biden has defined his administration with the mantra of “America is back,” hinting at a return to what he and his supporters believe to be the halcyon days of President Barack Obama’s two-term tenure as president, as well as a sharp departure from the policies and practices of the man who usurped Hillary Clinton’s bite at the presidential apple, Donald Trump. In an effort to “build back better,” as Biden is wont to exclaim, his administration has embraced an ambitious agenda that aggressively seeks to both promote and install America as the world’s indispensable nation.

And yet, in the span of less than 24 hours, the president and his primary foreign policy advisor, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, managed to undermine the very policies they sought to promote through a combination of narcissistic posturing and plain diplomatic incompetence. By labeling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “soulless killer,” Biden put US-Russian relations in their worst posture since the Cold War. And Blinken, during the Biden administration’s initial meeting between the US and China, managed to unleash the ire and rage of Beijing by forgoing any pretense at diplomatic norms and aggressively calling out China on a host of issues which touched upon its sovereignty. The collapse of what passed for a coordinated position of diplomatically confronting both Russia and China has left the US scrambling to navigate through the detritus of its own policy shipwreck.

[..] If Biden and Psaki believed that US-Russian relations would return to square one following Biden’s undiplomatic insult, Putin quickly put that notion to bed. “The US authorities in general seek certain relations with us but only in areas the US is interested in, and on their own terms,” Putin said. “They think that we are just like them but we aren’t. Our genetic, cultural and moral codes are different. However, we know how to protect our interests. We will work with them [the US], but only in areas we are interested in and on terms we find favorable. They will have to take it into account, despite attempts to stop our development, sanctions and insults. We will be guided by our national interests when boosting relations with all countries, including the United States,” he concluded.

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The plan: Biden does Putin, Blinken does China, Austin does North Korea. Coincidence?

SecDef Austin Warns North Korea: US “Ready To Fight Tonight” (ZH)

In an unusually blunt threat and warning even for the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that US forces are ready to “fight tonight” in comments aimed at North Korea after an angry Pyongyang denounced the resumption of joint military exercises between the US and South Korea. “Our force remains ready to fight tonight, and we continue to make progress toward the eventual transition of wartime Operational Control to a [Republic of Korea]-commanded, future Combined Forces Command,” Austin said on Thursday.

He issued the words from Seoul at the tail end of his Asia trip this week alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean leaders. Secretary Blinken had continued his denuclearization of the peninsula message, saying, “We are committed to the denuclearization of North Korea, reducing the broader threat the DPRK poses to the United States and our allies, and improving the lives of all Koreans, including the people of North Korea who continue to suffer widespread and systematic abuses at the hands of their repressive government.”

Pyongyang on Thursday slammed what DPRK first vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui called a “lunatic” and “hostile” policy. The senior North Korean diplomat said of the question of denuclearization talks that there will be no contact with Washington “unless the US rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK.” She said further: “Therefore, we will disregard such an attempt of the US in the future, too.” The “new regime” in the US, she added, had only put forward a “lunatic theory of ‘threat from north Korea’ and groundless rhetoric about ‘complete denuclearisation'”. The Biden administration has reportedly been attempting to reach out to the North via various diplomatic channels since mid-February, but to no avail.

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“Russia’s diplomatic mission was the only one that did not send its top figure to greet the American president.”

Moscow Snubs Biden At UN, Only Sends Junior Diplomat To Virtual Summit (RT)

Russia was the only nation that refused to send its top UN representative to talks with US President Joe Biden on Thursday, electing instead to dispatch a junior envoy, as a diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington worsens. President Biden had invited permanent representatives from the United Nations Security Council, on which Moscow has continuous representation, to discuss his country’s “commitment to values-based global leadership.” In addition, the president called for action on crises in regions across the world, including Myanmar, Ethiopia, Syria, and Yemen. However, Dmitry Polyanskiy, second-in-command to Russia’s permanent representative, Vassily Nebenzia, confirmed on Friday that neither had attended the meeting.


Instead, he revealed, Anna Evstigneeva, one of three more junior deputies, had joined the talks with Biden in their place. She reportedly made no remarks. RIA Novosti reports that Russia’s diplomatic mission was the only one that did not send its top figure to greet the American president. The decision comes amid a week in which Biden and his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, have traded barbs in the press. In an explosive interview with ABC earlier this week, Biden was asked whether he thought Putin was a killer. “Mmm hmm, I do,” Biden replied. On Thursday, the Russian leader responded, arguing that judging other countries is often “like looking in a mirror.” “When I was a kid, when we were arguing with each other in the playground, we used to say, ‘Whatever you say [about others] is what you are yourself,’” Putin said.

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“The winner of the contest will gain control of the other country.”

Putin Challenges Biden To Stair-Climbing Contest (BBee)

Vladimir Putin has challenged Joe Biden to a contest of wits, strength, and cunning: a stair-ascending contest. The winner of the contest will gain control of the other country. “Stair-ascending contest, me and you, right now, let’s go,” said Putin as he met with the American president. “He who wins become supreme glorious leader forever of other puny weak man.” Biden agreed to the contest, though it wasn’t clear he knew who this man was or where they were. “3… 2… 1… climb!” shouted the referee before firing off a pistol. Biden got off to a rocky start as he was startled by the gunshot and scurried off in the wrong direction. Putin, meanwhile, just walked up the stairs.


Biden started gaining on him as his handlers corralled him and pointed him in the right direction, but he kept falling over and tumbling down the stairs. It all looked good for Russia until Putin had to stop a few times to sign execution papers for journalists who criticized him, squandering his lead. Finally, Biden jumped in a stair lift and started to close the gap, but it was too little, too late, and Putin emerged at the top of the 30-step staircase victorious. Well, thanks to Biden losing the stair contest, we are now part of Russia. We also just want to say that Vladimir Putin is one fine fellow and a fantastic man, and he deserved to win and we welcome him as our new leader for life.

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Easy.

Erdogan Says Biden Comments On Putin ‘Unacceptable’ (R.)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Joe Biden’s comments about Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in which he said he thought he was a killer, were “unacceptable” and unfitting of a U.S. president. In a TV interview broadcast on Wednesday, Biden said “I do” when asked if he believed Putin was a killer, prompting U.S.-Russia ties to sink to a new low. Putin later responded that “he who said it, did it.” “Mr. Biden’s statements about Mr. Putin are not fitting of a president, and a president coming out and using such remarks against the president of a country like Russia is truly unacceptable, not something that can be stomached,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.


“In my opinion, Mr. Putin has done what is necessary by giving a very, very smart and elegant answer,” he added. Ties between Ankara and Washington, NATO allies, have been strained over a host of issues in recent years including Turkey’s record on human rights and freedoms, its acquisition of Russian defence systems and policy differences in Syria. The United States, which along with other western allies has accused Ankara of straying from NATO and the western bloc, last year imposed sanctions on Turkey over the Russian defences. Turkey called that a “grave mistake”.

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Not so easy. Erdogan still wants to control what he can’t.

Erdogan Fires Second Central Bank Chief In 4 Months (ZH)

On Thursday, moments after the Central Bank of Turkey unexpectedly hiked rates by a whopping 200bps – double the consensus expectation – to 19% from 17%, the highest rate since the country’s panicked scramble to contain the collapse of the Turkish lira during the economic turmoil of 2018, we said that “unfortunately for Turkey – whose economy will now grind to yet another halt – it had no choice: inflation had accelerated for a fifth month in February as oil rallied and the impact of last year’s lira weakness lingered, while capital outflows soared. The upward trend fueled expectations the central bank would try to rein in prices by raising interest rates… but nobody had expected a 200 bps rate hike.”

Also in our kneejerk response to the rate hike decision, we said that the relatively new CBRT head, Agbal, “was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t: on one hand the lira was plunging angering Erdogan, so he had to stabilize it… on the other the only way to do so was by hiking rates, which would anger Erdogan even more.” We also quoted from the CBRT’s decision, noting that the bank has decided “to implement a front-loaded and strong additional monetary tightening,” explicitly stating that this “statement is guaranteed to enrage Turkey’s dictator.” Bottom line: Erdogan would be furious either way.

Finally, we quoted SocGen EM strategist Phoenix Kalen who tried to justify the rate hike with some lofty sleight of logic by saying that “in a challenging context of domestic business and political pressure against further interest rate hikes, the CBRT has stepped up to the plate and delivered a resounding home run to underline its commitment to an inflation-targeting framework.” Kalen then said that the move “will go a long way toward bolstering both retail and foreign investor confidence that the CBRT under Governor Agbal will stay engaged in addressing deterioration in inflation expectations.” While we were impressed with Kalen’s attempt to make 5-D chess out of what was basically total chaos, our take was far more cynical Maybe… or maybe it will just force Erdogan to replace yet another CBRT governor.

Two days later, our cynical view proved correct again, because shortly after midnight on Saturday, and just two days after the larger than expected rate hike, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the country’s third central bank governor in less than two years and replaced him with a fan of lowering interest rates. Naci Agbal, Turkey’s former finance minister who was appointed central bank chief last November, was fired by Erdogan and was replaced with Sahap Kavcioglu, according to a decree published after midnight on Saturday in the Official Gazette. Agbal’s abrupt termination is a clear retaliation by Erodgan for last week’s unexpectedly big rate hike, one which does not fit within the absurd confines of “Erdoganomics” whereby lower rates are somehow needed to fight inflation.

Read more …

How scary would you like it?

Fauci Claims Babies, Toddlers Need To Be Vaccinated For Herd Immunity (SN)

Dr Anthony Fauci has claimed that in order for herd immunity against coronavirus to be reached in the US, children and even babies will have to be vaccinated. Speaking during a Senate hearing, the chief medical adviser to the Biden administration said “I think we should be careful about wedding ourselves to this concept of herd immunity because we really do not know precisely, for this particular virus, what that is.” “We don’t really know what that magical point of herd immunity is, but we do know that if we get the overwhelming population vaccinated, we’re going to be in good shape. We ultimately would like to get and have to get children into that mix,” Fauci added. Appearing later on CBS News, Fauci outlined plans to vaccinate children as young as six month old babies early next year.


On Wednesday, Fauci dismissed concerns that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines could impact children’s genetics. “We’re going to be looking at multiple aspects of safety,” Fauci told reporters, adding “There is really no biological reason at all to indicate or even predict that you would even see any modification of a genetic profile when you’re dealing with mRNA, which has no way of integrating into the genome of a cell.” Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are both currently running tests of their mRNA vaccines in children. Moderna has also revealed that it has a study underway in children under 12 that will eventually include those as young as six month old babies. CDC figures show that of almost 400,000 US deaths counted as from COVID-19, just 93 were children 4-years-old and younger.

Read more …

“As this shifts from pandemic to endemic, we think there’s an opportunity here for us..”

Drugmakers Promise Investors They’ll Soon Hike Covid-19 Vaccine Prices (IC)

THE U.S. pharmaceutical firms behind the approved coronavirus vaccines — Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer — have quietly touted plans to raise prices on coronavirus vaccines in the near future and to capitalize on the virus’s lasting presence. While the companies have enjoyed a boost in goodwill from the rush to develop vaccines, drug industry executives have noted, the public is still sensitive to drug pricing and the reputational risk has, so far, curtailed their ability to reap large financial rewards. But that environment, they hope, will change once the pandemic ends: a date that drugmakers themselves reserve the right to declare. Pharmaceutical officials, speaking at recent conferences and on calls with investors, say they expect the virus will linger, morphing from a pandemic into a perennial endemic.

And as Covid-19 mutations continue to spread and booster shots may be required on a regular basis, leaders from the three companies are enthusiastic about cashing in. “As this shifts from pandemic to endemic, we think there’s an opportunity here for us,” said Frank D’Amelio, the chief financial officer for Pfizer, at a conference. Additional factors, such as the need for booster shots, present “a significant opportunity for our vaccine from a demand perspective, from a pricing perspective, given the clinical profile of our vaccine.” Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have also pledged affordability for their vaccines for the duration of the pandemic but have indicated to investors that they plan to return to more “commercial” pricing as early as later this year.

The vaccines are already poised to be some of the most lucrative drugs of all time. The companies are expecting to bring in billions in profit this year alone, and all the major drugmakers with approved coronavirus vaccines received investments and backorders from government agencies. The U.S. government has fully financed the research and development of several coronavirus vaccines, including those produced by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to the tune of over $2 billion. The U.S. has also provided nearly $2 billion in payments to secure doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, which was developed in partnership with BioNTech, a company that received nearly $500 million in development assistance from the German government.

Read more …

“..it has been reporting PCR tests as positive when only a single coronavirus gene is detected..”

“Between a quarter and two thirds of positive results were affected..”

ONS Admits Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions in PCR Testing (LDS)

The Office for National Statistics has admitted that in its Covid infection survey it has been reporting PCR tests as positive when only a single coronavirus gene is detected, despite this being contrary to the instructions of the manufacturer that two or more target genes must be found before a positive result can be declared. According to a rapid response in the BMJ this week by Dr Martin Neil, a statistics professor at the University of London, targeting only a single gene in this way massively increases the risk of a false positive because of the possibility of cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses as well as prevalent bacteria or other contamination. Digging into the detail of the methods followed by the lighthouse laboratories which process the tests for the ONS, Professor Neil writes:

“The kit used by the Glasgow and Milton Keynes lighthouse laboratories is the ThermoFisher TaqPath RT-PCR which tests for the presence of three target genes from SARS-COV-2. Despite Corman et al originating the use of PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 genes there is no agreed international standard for SARS-COV-2 testing. Instead, the World Health Organisation (WHO) leaves it up to the manufacturer to determine what genes to use and instructs end users to adhere to the manufacturer instructions for use. The WHO’s emergency use assessment for the ThermoFisher TaqPath kit includes the instruction manual and contained therein is an interpretation algorithm describing an unequivocal requirement that two or more target genes be detected before a positive result can be declared.

The latest revision of ThermoFisher’s instruction manual contains the same algorithm. The WHO have been sufficiently concerned about correct use of RT-PCR kits that on January 20th 2021 they issued a notice for PCR users imploring them to review manufacturer instructions for use carefully and adhere to them fully. The ONS’s report of December 5th 2020 lists SARS-CoV-2 positive results for valid two and three target gene combinations and the report of December 21st does the same, for samples processed by the Glasgow and Milton Keynes lighthouse laboratories. However, it also lists single gene detections as positive results.” Between a quarter and two thirds of positive results were affected, Professor Neil found.

“Over the period reported the maximum weekly percentage of positives on a single gene is 38% for the whole of the UK for the week of February 1st. The overall UK average was 23%. The maximum percentage reported is 65%, in East England in the week beginning October 5th. In Wales it was 50%, in Northern Ireland it is 55% and in Scotland it was 56%. The full data including averages and maxima/minima are given in.”

Read more …

We need more questions for this narrative.

The ‘Independent’ Report Claiming Uyghur Genocide (CN)

The report relies most substantially on the “expertise” of Adrian Zenz, the far-right evangelical ideologue, whose “scholarship” on China has been demonstrated to be flawed, riddled with falsehoods and dishonest statistical manipulation. The reliance on the voluminous but demonstrably fraudulent work of Zenz is not surprising, given that the report was financed by the Newlines Institute’s parent organization, the Fairfax University of America (FXUA). FXUA is a disgraced institution that Virginia state regulators moved to shut down in 2019 after finding that its “teachers weren’t qualified to teach their assigned courses”, academic quality was “patently deficient,” and plagiarism was “rampant” and ignored.

Just days before the Newlines Institute published its “expert” report accusing China of genocide, an advisory board to the U.S. Department of Education recommended terminating recognition of FXUA’s accreditor, placing its license in jeopardy. The Newlines report presents no new material on the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Instead, it claims to have reviewed all of “the available evidence” and applied “international law to the evidence of the facts on the ground.” Rather than conducting a thorough and comprehensive review of “the available evidence,” the report restricted its survey to a narrow range of flawed pseudo-scholarship along with reports by U.S. government-backed lobbying fronts for the exiled Uyghur separatist movement. It was upon this faulty foundation that the report applies legal analysis related to the UN Genocide Convention.

Newlines’ report relies primarily on the dubious studies of Zenz, the U.S. government propaganda outlet, Radio Free Asia, and claims made by the U.S.-funded separatist network, the World Uyghur Congress. These three sources comprise more than one-third of the references used to construct the factual basis of the document, with Zenz as the most heavily relied upon source – cited on more than 50 occasions. Many of the remaining references cite the work of members of Newlines Institute’s “Uyghur Scholars Working Group,” of which Zenz is a founding member and which is made up of a small group of academics who collaborate with him and support his conclusions.

Read more …

Well, well. Get your MMT at the BBC.

UK Government Borrowing Hits February Record (BBC)

Ultimately, if it’s consistently spending much more than it has in the past, the state has to raise more money in taxes. But the key word there is “ultimately”. There is no urgency to repaying the government’s debt. More urgent are the debts of small businesses and poorer households. Ordinary households rightly fear getting into too much debt because if interest rates rise, lenders can close in and deploy lawyers and bailiffs with all the attendant unpleasantness. But it is profoundly wrong and misleading to infer that it’s like that for governments who issue their own sovereign currency. Unlike households, governments controlling their own currency can borrow without limit money that they have freshly created.


They therefore can’t go bankrupt. Because almost all of the money borrowed by the government in this financial year (by issuing gilts) will be owed to another public sector body, the Bank of England, it’s nothing like a household borrowing from a bank. And in fact, as the government tacitly acknowledged in its recent Budget, it makes sense in the midst of an economic contraction for the government to spend more, not less – not least because other parts of the economy (households and businesses) aren’t spending anything like what they normally would. Without the additional government spending the economic contraction would, without a shadow of a doubt, be worse.

Read more …

We’ll defeat ourselves yet.

Toxic Chemicals, Plummeting Sperm Counts, Shrinking Penises (Erin Brockovich)


The end of humankind? It may be coming sooner than we think, thanks to hormone-disrupting chemicals that are decimating fertility at an alarming rate around the globe. A new book called Countdown, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan’s research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045. Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn’t the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now? The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting.

Some of them, called PFAS, are known as “forever chemicals”, because they don’t breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate – doing more and more damage, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Now, it seems, humanity is reaching a breaking point. Swan’s book is staggering in its findings. “In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. “The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” writes Swan, adding: “It’s a global existential crisis.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s just science.

As if this wasn’t terrifying enough, Swan’s research finds that these chemicals aren’t just dramatically reducing semen quality, they are also shrinking penis size and volume of the testes. This is nothing short of a full-scale emergency for humanity. Swan’s book echoes previous research, which has found that PFAS harms sperm production, disrupts the male hormone and is correlated to a “reduction of semen quality, testicular volume and penile length”. These chemicals are literally confusing our bodies, making them send mix messages and go haywire.

Read more …

 

 

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Mar 192021
 
 March 19, 2021  Posted by at 7:05 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Brian Griffin Memorial to the Conquerors of Space, Moscow, Russia 1974

 

 

In the space of just 24 hours, Joe Biden and Antony Blinken managed to make Donald Trump look like a perfect diplomat. And we must wonder why that is. Why did Biden call Putin a soulless killer, and Blinken invoke a 20 minute tirade from Chinese top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Alaska? Is it just stupidity, which is quite possible, or is it orchestrated, which you might suspect given it took so little time to insult America’s alleged two biggest adversaries? Reuters:

 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and State Councilor Wang Yi in Anchorage that the U.S. side would discuss its “deep concerns” about Chinese actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as cyber attacks on the United States and economic coercion of allies. “Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” he said. …Yang hit back, accusing the United States of using its military might and financial supremacy to pressure countries and of abusing national security to threaten the future of international trade.


He said Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan were all inseparable parts of Chinese territory and China firmly opposed US interference in its internal affairs. Yang said human rights in the United States were at a low point with Black Americans being “slaughtered” and added that the United States should handle its own affairs and China its own. Yang said it was necessary to abandon a “Cold War mentality,” and confrontation and added: “The way we see the relationship with the United States is as President Xi Jinping has said, that is we hope to see no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the United States.”

It’s time that people understand Joe Biden is an entirely scripted actor. Not well-scripted, and not a good actor, but still. His comments about Putin being a “killer with no soul” are insane, they scrape the bottom of the bottom of the barrel of diplomacy, they insult not just Putin, and thereby all of Russia, and threaten world peace, but they’re not his. They were written for him. Biden keeps reminding me of Max Headroom, an early MTV thing. Cartoon character. Scripted.

The CIA, Pentagon, NATO, Boeing, Raytheon, you name them, all badly need to conserve the image of Putin as Satan, because he’s their “raison d’être”. Putin is the figurehead for why the US spends 10 times more than Russia on “defense”, and still ends up with inferior weaponry. The CIA thought they had it all won when they put Yeltsin in the Kremlin, and started to take over all resources of the country with the most natural resources on the planet.

And then Putin came, and prevented that take-over. It’s hilarious to see how that same CIA now tries to push Alexey Navalny, a virtual nobody in Russia, as “opposition leader”, just as even Amnesty take their hands off of him, and reverse their nutty “prisoner of conscience” moniker, because all of a sudden they realize he called Muslims “flies and cockroaches”. Navalny, like Yeltsin, is a CIA asset, plain and simple.

The narrative of him being poisoned with novichok, the deadliest poison in the world, which never seems to kill anyone when Russians use it on their enemies, of course goes back to the “poisoning” of father and daughter Skripal in the UK 3 years ago, who didn’t die either, but haven’t been heard from since. It’s a narrative: evil Putin poisons people. But if you look at the background, none of the people he supposedly targets are ever a threat to him. They just serve the narrative. Just like Joe Biden does. That’s his role.

Driving all this blubber are people like neocon man and wife team Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland and their ilk, the latter a driving force behind the 2014 Maidan coup in Ukraine, who were outsmarted by Putin’s peaceful and democratic take-over take-back of Crimea, and are still mightily pissed off about that. And guess what, Nuland is now back in Joe Biden’s US government.

Skripal was a Russia military intelligence officer who turned double agent and spied for Britain. That would have been enough for any country to either lock him up for a very long time or simply eliminate him, certainly in the US. It happens all the time. But Putin let him leave to live in Britain. Ergo: he can’t have been that much of a threat. And then years later they want to kill him anyway, and send two clowns who screw up the operation with the deadliest poison in the world? That theory only works if you think Russians, and Russian intelligence, are the stupidest on the planet. While ex-KGB agent Putin is in charge. Then he must be stupid too.

Who buys that? Well, Americans do. Because their media do nothing but repeat Putin is Satan messages. And corrupt too. Navalny recently had a story about some multi-billion “castle” Putin allegedly owns, western media ate it up, and then it turns out to be some empty shell, like those cardboard store fronts you see in western movies. But this is not about truth anymore. It‘s about how endless repetition makes lies “believable” to gullible people – of which America has a seemingly endless supply. They can only sell you the story about how stupid Russians supposedly are if they assume you are really stupid.

Putin won’t starve when he retires, but we have no indications that he stole billions either. That’s a narrative that’s been repeated for all twenty odd years he’s led Russia. America’s war industry needs an enemy, so they create one. It all just serves to show ever more that “US intelligence” is an oxymoron. And that Biden is a moron, period.

 

ZeroHedge is (re?)running a series of articles by US hedge fund manager Alex Krainer, who noticed how, especially in 2014 post-Maidan, the Putin stories ran in the MSM, and started looking into it. And then wrote a book about it. In 2018, he wrote 3 articles on the topic. Here are some excerpts, but do read all of it:

 

 

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 1

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis Putin declared publicly that he bore responsibility to ensure that the 1998 crisis would not repeat itself on his watch. His government also took proactive steps to limit the fallout from the crisis. In July 2008, Putin personally went to the town of Pikalyevo in Leningrad Oblast to confront the directors and owners of a large metallurgical factory. This was not long after the owners had shut the facility down, suspending without pay thousands of their workers.

Addressing the gathering, Putin excoriated them, saying that because of their unprofessional conduct and greed, thousands of families would find themselves destitute. This was unacceptable to his government and he ordered the owners to restart the facility, else the government would do it without them. He further ordered the management to immediately (“deadline today”) pay all workers’ salary arrears, amounting to more than 41 million rubles. [..]
Putin publicly chastised Oleg Deripaska, once Russia’s richest man, and other Russian businessmen at a meeting in Pikalyovo.

Putin took similar action protecting the ordinary people in another crisis situation. During his first winter as president, entire towns and villages across the far east of the country counting as many as 400,000 inhabitants, lost heating for the lack of coal. A serious crisis emerged with mines shutting down, workers out in the streets and even hospitals ceasing to function because of the cold. But the coal for heating was available in Russia, only most of it was already allotted for export. Vladimir Putin didn’t think that Russian people should suffer freezing conditions all winter in order for that coal to be exchanged for American dollars. He decreed that export of coal be stopped immediately and that all available quantities be sent back to Siberia to fuel the boiler stations.

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 2

According to his chief of security, Alexander Korzhakov, Boris Yeltsin worked about two hours per day. The rest he spent eating, drinking, playing tennis, hunting or enjoying some other pastime. Vladimir Putin reportedly works exceptionally long hours and several of his advisers and ministers have testified to working with him until very late into the night and then receiving a call from him early in the morning the next day. Exiled banker and former oligarch Sergei Pugachev described his experience: “we hardly parted company, we met on a daily basis from early morning to late evening until 3, until 4 AM, every day, every day. We naturally discussed matters of state business development, the state of the economy and so on. Putin needed someone who understood and knew those matters well. (Harding, Smith and Maynard 2015)

Some of his advisors and ministers reported meeting with him to discuss some matter within their own domain of specialty only to be startled in realizing that Putin commanded a more detailed understanding of that very matter than they themselves had. Being that immersed in and devoted to his occupation enables Vladimir Putin to hold his famous marathon press conferences when he speaks for three or four hours answering journalists questions with accurate and detailed information and without teleprompters. His 14th annual call-in marathon in 2016 lasted 3 and a half hours during which he took and answered 80 questions!

[..] I wondered if the Russians wouldn’t in the end get Edward Snowden and trade him for some big concession from their “American partners” who were clearly extremely keen on getting the renegade whistle-blower. I remember thinking that the outcome of that incident would give us an important indication of what Vladimir Putin was made of: would he do the right thing and offer Snowden asylum and protection, or would he end up trading him off? My gut feeling was that Putin would indeed do the right thing, but at the same time I cringed at the thought that I might end up disappointed. After several weeks of legal procedures, on July 31st 2013, Snowden was granted asylum in Russia.

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 3

In a speech to the Federal Assembly in 2005, Putin drew on the philosophy of Ivan Ilyin to outline the limitations of state power: “State power cannot oversee and dictate the creative states of the soul and mind, the inner states of love, freedom and goodwill. The state cannot demand from its citizens faith, prayer, love, goodness and conviction. It cannot regulate scientific, religious and artistic creation… It should not intervene in moral, family and daily private life, and only when extremely necessary should it impinge on people’s economic initiative and creativity.”


It is unusual for a politician to speak of such things as states of the soul and mind or the “inner states of love” to a gathering of other politicians but these ideas do appear to run as a theme in Putin’s conception of political leadership. At the 15th Congress of the Russian Geographical Society, he ventured the following statement: “In general, love is the whole meaning of life, of being. Love of family, of children, and of the motherland. It is such a multifaceted phenomenon that is the basis of all our actions.” To a Westerner, exposed to a relentless defamation of Vladimir Putin, this may be difficult to believe. After all, we know that he was a KGB agent, that he routinely ordered assassinations of his critics and political opponents, that he has made himself the wealthiest man in the world, and many other similarly negative “facts” about him.

And Scott Ritter has it right:

Biden’s Tough-Guy Flexing At ‘Soulless Killer’ Putin Would Be Funny If The Consequences Weren’t So Serious

[..] the likelihood of the Biden-Putin meeting occurring as described by Joe Biden is slim to none. When Biden made his trip to the Kremlin in 2011, he was fronting for the Obama administration’s “reset” with Russia. There was no opportunity, or need, for Biden’s faux machismo. The two men did meet, but as part of delegations discussing the possibility for improving relations. Not only would Biden’s insulting verbal flexing have been wildly inappropriate and inconsistent with the larger policy objectives of his visit, but it ran counter to his own feelings, expressed at the time, about Russia.

“Russia has the best engineers in the world,” Biden said in a press conference after his meeting with Putin (who was serving as Russia’s prime minister, not president, at the time.) “Russia has intellectual capital. Russia is a great nation.” These are not words one utters after telling a Russian leader in private that he has “no soul.”

Biden’s struggle with the truth is well known, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that he possibly made up a meeting with Putin. Biden has been caught plagiarizing a speech delivered by former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, lied about his academic record and accomplishments, and manufactured from whole cloth a narrative that has him participating in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Biden’s lies all have one goal in common: to make him out to be that which he is not. So, too, his apparent lie about calling Putin soulless.

Biden is desperate to be a ‘tough guy’. But for that reputation to stick vis-à-vis Putin, there had to be a ‘showdown’ moment, where the good guy faced off against the bad guy and called him out. Since no such event exists, Biden had to make one up. And, like most of his lies, Biden repeats them long enough and often enough that they take on a life of their own, embraced as fact by unquestioning journalists.

 

Joe Biden only has a veneer, a semblance, of credibility, and that’s only because US media never ask him any serious questions. Not just because he never did any press-ops after becoming president, but also because even if he did, they still wouldn’t.

Putin, on the other hand, saved his country from America, globalism, and the worst outgrowths of capitalism and neocons. The US no longer has any meaningful dialogue with Russia anymore, which is of course utterly insane (but yeah, the narrative), but the Alaska meeting does give us an insight into where this train is about to be headed next.

Biden is no match for Putin in any way shape or form, but that doesn’t matter much “back home” as long as the press reports on just one side of the situation. We could have a great relationship with Russia, mutually beneficial, but that is too much of a threat to certain forces in the country. And those forces just came back into power.

Putin’s weak point is he would like to retire, but can’t find anyone he trusts to take over. And the CIA is ready to pounce as soon as he leaves. Biden is no problem for him, but finding a successor as smart as himself, is.

And you know, do you see Joe Biden take on the entire Russian intelligence apparatus, on his own? Just saying. And asking for a friend.

 

 

 

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Mar 192021
 
 March 19, 2021  Posted by at 8:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Camille Corot Study for “The Destruction of Sodom” 1843

 

Biden’s Tough-Guy Flexing At ‘Soulless Killer’ Putin Would Be Funny If.. (RT)
Putin Challenges Biden To A Live Public ‘Discussion’ (JTN)
Biden ‘Clearly Doesn’t Want Good Relations’ With Russia – Kremlin (RT)
A Brief List Of Official Russia Claims That Proved To Be Bogus (Taibbi)
Journalists Yesterday Spread a Significant Lie All Over Twitter (Greenwald)
US and China Publicly Rebuke Each Other In First Major Talks Of Biden Era (G.)
Covid Spiking In Over A Dozen States—Most With High Vaccination Rates (F.)
Norwegian Scientists Say AstraZeneca DID Cause Blood Clots (RT)
Your Unvaccinated Kid Is Like a Vaccinated Grandma (Oster)
How The US Military Subverted The Afghan Peace Agreement (GZ)
FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law (DO)
Without Trump, Is A “Depression In Television” Coming? (Taibbi)
Building or Unbuilding America? (Nomi Prins)
Growth Of US Homelessness During 2020 Was Devastating – HUD (NPR)

 

 

 

 

My thought exactly. He made the whole thing up. Or rather, someone did it for him.

Biden’s Tough-Guy Flexing At ‘Soulless Killer’ Putin Would Be Funny If.. (RT)

[..] the likelihood of the Biden-Putin meeting occurring as described by Joe Biden is slim to none. When Biden made his trip to the Kremlin in 2011, he was fronting for the Obama administration’s “reset” with Russia. There was no opportunity, or need, for Biden’s faux machismo. The two men did meet, but as part of delegations discussing the possibility for improving relations. Not only would Biden’s insulting verbal flexing have been wildly inappropriate and inconsistent with the larger policy objectives of his visit, but it ran counter to his own feelings, expressed at the time, about Russia. “Russia has the best engineers in the world,” Biden said in a press conference after his meeting with Putin (who was serving as Russia’s prime minister, not president, at the time.) “Russia has intellectual capital. Russia is a great nation.”

These are not words one utters after telling a Russian leader in private that he has “no soul.” Biden’s struggle with the truth is well known, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that he possibly made up a meeting with Putin. Biden has been caught plagiarizing a speech delivered by former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, lied about his academic record and accomplishments, and manufactured from whole cloth a narrative that has him participating in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Biden’s lies all have one goal in common: to make him out to be that which he is not. So, too, his apparent lie about calling Putin soulless. Biden is desperate to be a ‘tough guy’. But for that reputation to stick vis-à-vis Putin, there had to be a ‘showdown’ moment, where the good guy faced off against the bad guy and called him out.

Since no such event exists, Biden had to make one up. And, like most of his lies, Biden repeats them long enough and often enough that they take on a life of their own, embraced as fact by unquestioning journalists. In his interview with Stephanopoulos, Biden raised the findings of the DNI report, and his conversation with Putin. “He will pay a price. We had a long talk, he and I. I know him relatively well and the conversation started off [like this]: I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’”

Biden does not know Putin well at all. If he did, he would know that the last thing that would give the Russian leader pause were the fanciful tough-guy posturing of a geriatric president. There is little doubt that the Biden administration will impose additional sanctions against Russia in the days and weeks to come, citing the report as justification. There is also little doubt that these sanctions will have no impact whatsoever on the policies and practices of the Russian government. But that is not the point. Biden is not flexing for the benefit of Putin. His audience is the American people, and part and parcel of a coordinated campaign designed to drive home his mantra that “America is back.”

Read more …

Biden’s too busy.

Putin Challenges Biden To A Live Public ‘Discussion’ (JTN)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that he and American President Joe Biden engage in a live public “discussion.” The Russian leader’s proposal comes after Biden, when asked earlier this week during an ABC News interview whether he believes Putin is a killer, responded that he does believe that. A U.S. intelligence report indicates that Putin authorized influence operations related to the 2020 U.S. election, and during the interview Biden said that Putin “will pay a price.” Biden said that he told Putin: “If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.”

The intelligence report states in part: “We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.” “I’ve just thought of this now,” the Russian president told a Russian state television reporter, according to ABC News. “I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it’s called. Without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion. It seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States.”

Putin suggested that the “discussion” with Biden could be held on Friday or Monday: “I don’t want to put this off for long. I want to go the taiga this weekend to relax a little,” Putin said. “So we could do it tomorrow or Monday. We are ready at any time convenient for the American side.” When asked during Thursday’s press briefing if the idea is one that the administration would consider, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told the reporter she would need to “get back to you if that is something we are entertaining,” and noted that Biden will be busy in Georgia on Friday.

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Recalling your ambassador is a serious step.

Biden ‘Clearly Doesn’t Want Good Relations’ With Russia – Kremlin (RT)

The Kremlin has claimed that comments from American President Joe Biden, in which he said he believes his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to be a “killer,” is proof Washington isn’t serious about relations with the country. Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no precedent for the remarks in the history of the two nations. “These are very bad statements by the US president,” he added. “He clearly doesn’t want to establish a relationship with our country, and we will proceed on that basis.” In the TV interview with ABC, which aired on Wednesday, Biden was asked by chief anchor George Stephanopoulos whether he thought Putin was “a killer.” “Mmm hmm, I do,” he replied.

He added that he had warned the Russian leader that the US would take action if it found evidence of Moscow meddling in the country’s 2020 presidential election. “He will pay a price,” Biden said. “We had a long talk, he and I… I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’” A joint report by Washington’s spy agencies, published the day before, alleged that Russia was behind a campaign to “denigrate” Biden’s reputation during the campaign. The Kremlin has blasted the allegations, insisting it had not engaged in political smears against any candidates.

On Wednesday evening, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was recalled to Moscow for talks on the future of ties with Washington. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that consultations were needed “to analyze what to do and where to head in the context of relations with the US.” The remarks have sparked a wave of criticism from Russian officials. The speaker of the country’s parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, added his voice to those claiming the remarks were indicative of a diplomatic rift. The top politician argued that “this is a tantrum that comes from powerlessness. Putin is our president, attacking him is an attack on our country.”

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“We’ve spent the last five years watching as anonymous officials make major Russia-related claims, only to have those evidence-free claims fizzle.”

A Brief List Of Official Russia Claims That Proved To Be Bogus (Taibbi)

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released a much-hyped, much-cited new report on “Foreign Threats to the 2020 Elections.” The key conclusion: “We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, [and] undermining public confidence in the electoral process…” The report added Ukrainian legislator Andrey Derkach, described as having “ties” to “Russia’s intelligence services,” and Konstantin Kilimnik, a “Russian influence agent” (whatever that means), used “prominent U.S. persons” and “media conduits” to “launder their narratives” to American audiences.

The “narratives” included “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden” (note they didn’t use the word “false”). They added a small caveat at the end: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” As Glenn Greenwald already pointed out, the “launder their narratives” passage was wolfed down by our intelligence services’ own “media conduits” here at home, and regurgitated as proof that the “Hunter Biden laptop story came from the Kremlin,” even though the report didn’t mention the laptop story at all. Exactly one prominent reporter, Chris Hayes, had the decency to admit this after advancing the claim initially. With regard to the broader assessment: how many times are we going to do this? We’ve spent the last five years watching as anonymous officials make major Russia-related claims, only to have those evidence-free claims fizzle.

From the much-ballyhooed “changed RNC platform” story (Robert Mueller found no evidence the changed Republican platform was “undertaken at the behest of candidate Trump or Russia”), to the notion that Julian Assange was engaged in a conspiracy with the Russians (Mueller found no evidence for this either), to Michael Cohen’s alleged secret meetings in Prague with Russian conspirators (“not true,” the FBI flatly concluded) to the story that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress (“not accurate,” said Mueller), to wild stories about Paul Manafort meeting Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, to a “bombshell” tale about Trump foreknowledge of Wikileaks releases that blew up in CNN’s face in spectacular fashion, reporters for years chased unsubstantiated claims instead of waiting to see what they were based upon.

The latest report’s chief conclusions are assessments about Derkach and Kilimnik, information that the whole world knew before this report was released. Hell, even Rudy Giuliani, whose meeting with Derkach is supposedly the big scandal here, admitted there was a “50/50 chance” the guy was a Russian spy. Kilimnik meanwhile has now been characterized as having “ties” to Russian intelligence (Mueller), and as a “Russian intelligence officer” (Senate Intelligence Committee), and is now back to being a mere “influence agent.” If he is Russian intelligence, then John McCain’s International Republican Institute (where Kilimnik worked), as well as embassies in Kiev and Moscow (where Kilimnik regularly gave information, according to the New York Times), have a lot of explaining to do.

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“..these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan..”

Journalists Yesterday Spread a Significant Lie All Over Twitter (Greenwald)

Journalists with the largest and most influential media outlets disseminated an outright and quite significant lie on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on Twitter. While some of them were shamed into acknowledging the falsity of their claim, many refused to, causing it to continue to spread up until this very moment. It is well worth examining how they function because this is how they deceive the public again and again, and it is why public trust in their pronouncements has justifiably plummeted. The lie they told involved claims of Russian involvement in the procurement of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, The New York Post obtained that laptop and published a series of articles about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere.

In response, Twitter banned the posting of any links to that reporting and locked The Post out of its Twitter account for close to two weeks, while Facebook, through a long-time Democratic operative, announced that it would algorithmically suppress the reporting. The excuse used by those social media companies for censoring this reporting was the same invoked by media outlets to justify their refusal to report the contents of these documents: namely, that the materials were “Russian disinformation.” That claim of “Russian disinformation” was concocted by a group of several dozen former CIA officials and other operatives of the intelligence community devoted to defeating Trump.

Immediately after The Post published its first story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine that traded on his influence with his father, these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan, published a letter asserting that the appearance of these Biden documents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” News outlets uncritically hyped this claim as fact even though these security state operatives themselves admitted: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails…are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” Even though this claim came from trained liars who, with uncharacteristic candor, acknowledged that they did not “have evidence” for their claim, media outlets uncritically ratified this assertion.

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Blinken got his ass handed to him.

US and China Publicly Rebuke Each Other In First Major Talks Of Biden Era (G.)

The United States and China have clashed over human rights during their first face-to-face high-level talks since Joe Biden took office, with one senior Chinese official urging the US to address “deep-seated” issues such as racism, and accusing his American counterparts of “condescension”.Any hopes that the meeting, in Anchorage, would reset bilateral ties after years of tensions over trade and cyber security during Donald Trump’s presidency evaporated when US secretary of state Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan opened their meeting with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and state councillor Wang Yi.

After Blinken referred to rising global concern over Beijing’s human rights record, Yang said: “We hope that United States will do better on human rights. The fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the US itself,” he said in a 15-minute speech that appeared to irritate Blinken. He added that US human rights issues were “deep-seated … they did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter”. In his opening remarks Blinken had said world leaders had voiced “deep satisfaction” that the US was re-engaging with the international community after four years of Trump’s “America First” doctrine. “I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”

Blinken, who added he had heard similar sentiments during his visits this week to Japan and South Korea, said the Biden administration and its allies were united in pushing back against China’s increasing authoritarianism and assertiveness at home and abroad. In response, Yang angrily demanded that the US stop pushing its own version of democracy at a time when it was dealing with discontent among its own population. “We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” he said. “Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.” “China will not accept unwarranted accusations from the US side,” Yang said, adding that recent developments had plunged relations “into a period of unprecedented difficulty” that “has damaged the interests of our two peoples.”

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Get healthy.

Covid Spiking In Over A Dozen States—Most With High Vaccination Rates (F.)

Coronavirus cases are again spiking in 13 U.S. states, according to an analysis of trends over the past week, including some states among the highest in vaccination rates as health experts warn more contagious variants of Covid-19 will soon dominate the United States. An Axios analysis found Michigan by far leading the way in new cases, with the 7-day rolling average spiking by more than 53%. Michigan is above the U.S. average in terms of vaccination rate, according to Johns Hopkins University, but cases, positivity rate and hospitalizations are all on the rise. State health officials have placed the blame on highly contagious new variants now spreading in the state, as health experts caution national vaccination efforts are a race against the contagious strains.

Other states among the highest in vaccination rates, including West Virginia, Maine and Montana are also dealing with case spikes. Only two of the states with rising cases—Mississippi and New Hampshire—are below the U.S. average in terms of vaccination rate, according to Johns Hopkins. Top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, have said a variant that originated in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of the month. That strain is believed to be some 56% more contagious and perhaps twice as deadly than the existing dominant strain in the United States. Health experts say the country is continuing to move in the right direction as a whole, with the vaccine effort hopefully ending the pandemic this year.

But what had been a rapid national case decline starting in January has slowed significantly over the past few weeks, with the U.S. continuing to average over 50,000 new cases a day, a plateau level Fauci said “concerns me.” Top health officials and President Joe Biden are also advising against expansive reopening measures that states are putting into effect, including some that have decided to lift mask mandates.

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“The clotting in those patients was triggered by a very specific “strong immune response” likely caused as a result of the AstraZeneca jab..”

Norwegian Scientists Say AstraZeneca DID Cause Blood Clots (RT)

Norwegian scientists have linked the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots – a condition seen in some people that led countries around the world to halt its use. But British and Dutch medics say there’s no evidence for such a link. “The cause of our patients’ condition has now been found,” Pal Andre Holme, the head of a research group at the Oslo University Hospital, told Norway’s VG media outlet. He was referring to the cases of three health workers under the age of 50 who suffered from severe blood clotting after receiving the AstraZeneca jab. One of the medics then died on Monday. The clotting in those patients was triggered by a very specific “strong immune response” likely caused as a result of the AstraZeneca jab, Holme explained.

In collaboration with the University Hospital of North Norway, Holme’s team detected specific antibodies that “activate” platelets and in some cases can lead to blood clots. Asked by VG if the vaccine was the “most likely” cause of this specific immune response, Holme said he believes “there is no other thing” in the history of the three individual patients which would generate such a response. None of the three patients had a history of similar health issues before, he said. I am pretty sure it is these antibodies that are the cause and I see no other reason than that it is the vaccine that triggers them.

The professor still admitted that such side effects are likely to be very rare since “we are talking about very specific antibodies.” Norway halted the use of the AstraZeneca jab in its vaccination campaign alongside many other European nations. Some 120,000 Norwegians already received the jabs produced by the British-Swedish company. According to Norwegian media, “very few” serious side effects were reported by those vaccinated to date. [..] Norwegian scientists revealed the results of their analysis just as the British medical regulator, MHRA, said that it found no evidence that could prove the link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clotting.

“This type of blood clot can occur naturally in people who have not been vaccinated, as well as in those suffering from COVID-19,” the MHRA CEO, Dr. June Raine, said in a statement, adding that her agency’s “thorough and careful review” showed that blood clots in veins of affected persons are occurring just as often as they would “in the absence of vaccination.”

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But you still want to vaccinate all kids?

Your Unvaccinated Kid Is Like a Vaccinated Grandma (Oster)

Different vaccines yield different results, but all of the vaccines approved by the FDA (Pfizer-BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, and Johnson & Johnson’s) are very effective, which is why the CDC has indicated that vaccinated individuals can interact unmasked with other vaccinated individuals. It hasn’t yet commented on flying, but I’m guessing the CDC will relax its flying advisories for vaccinated individuals in the next few weeks. It will continue to recommend masks, for the sake of protecting the unvaccinated population, because the science on transmission by the vaccinated is still hazy. Now think about your child. The CDC has published some risk assessments by age. For comparison’s sake, I’ll phrase the findings the way I would the results of a vaccine trial:

Being a child aged 5 to 17 is 99.9 percent protective against the risk of death and 98 percent protective against hospitalization. For children 0 to 4, these numbers are 99.9 percent (death) and 96 percent (hospitalization). The central goal of vaccination is preventing serious illness and death. From this standpoint, being a child is a really great vaccine. Your unvaccinated first grader appears to have about as much protection from serious illness as a vaccinated grandmother. Comparisons are more difficult when it comes to the risk of any infection at all. An Israeli study undergoing peer review found that the Pfizer vaccine reduces infection in asymptomatic cases by about 90 percent, and in symptomatic cases by almost 94 percent.

Child case counts haven’t been well documented, in part because asymptomatic infection appears to be so common among kids. However, the available data suggest that children are less likely than adults to contract the coronavirus, but more likely to contract it than a vaccinated grandmother. (Below, I’ll address the latest thinking on variants, and research on the possible long-term effects of less-than-serious infections, which remains murky, and controversial.) This news may feel a little mixed: Yes, kids are protected from serious illness, just like their vaccinated grandparents, but they are not as protected from contracting the virus at all. Here is where the concept of herd immunity comes in to save the summer. If the Israeli Pfizer study is anywhere near right, then case rates will fall once a large share of adults are vaccinated. They are likely to fall a lot as the virus finds fewer and fewer receptive hosts.

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Must have war.

How The US Military Subverted The Afghan Peace Agreement (GZ)

In an exclusive interview with The Grayzone Col. Douglas Macgregor, a former senior advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense, revealed that President Donald Trump shocked the US military only days after the election last November by signing a presidential order calling for the withdrawal of all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. As Macgregor explained to The Grayzone, the order to withdraw was met with intense pressure from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark M. Milley, which caused the president to capitulate. Trump agreed to withdraw only half of the 5,000 remaining troops in the country. Neither Trump’s order nor the pressure from the JCS Chairman was reported by the national media at the time.


The president’s surrender represented the Pentagon’s latest victory in a year-long campaign to sabotage the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in February 2020. Military and DOD leaders thus extended the disastrous and unpopular 20-year US war in Afghanistan into the administration of President Joseph Biden. The subversion of the peace agreement with the Taliban initiated by the US military leadership in Washington and Afghanistan began almost as soon as Trump’s personal envoy Zalmay Khalilzad negotiated a tentative deal in November 2019. The campaign to undermine presidential authority was actively supported by then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

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“Critics say that the immunity law removed a key deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and victims and their families were subsequently stripped of their legal rights.”

FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law (DO)

Federal law enforcement officials are scrutinizing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial move to help his donor shield nursing home executives from legal consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report. The probe follows a Daily Poster investigative series detailing how one of Cuomo’s biggest donors, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) — a lobby group that represents hospital systems and nursing home operators — said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the corporate immunity provision. Cuomo’s administration quietly inserted the measure into his state’s budget as thousands lay dying from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes.

Critics say that the immunity law removed a key deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and victims and their families were subsequently stripped of their legal rights. Cuomo’s original executive order shielding front line health care workers from lawsuits was widely reported, but not the governor’s separate budget language extending immunity to hospital and nursing home corporations’ executives and board members. On Thursday, THE CITY disclosed that federal investigators looking into Cuomo’s handling of nursing home policy are now specifically asking questions about the immunity provision. The New York news outlet reports:

“FBI investigators probing the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic last spring are seeking information about a state budget provision that gave operators legal immunity, THE CITY has learned. In recent weeks, FBI officials have been looking to interview members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff and other state officials about the eleventh-hour addition to the state budget last March, according to three people familiar with the matter. The measure granted nursing homes and hospitals broad legal protections against lawsuits and criminal liability for care provided to residents and patients during the pandemic. FBI officials started to make house calls this month, showing up at people’s residences and leaving business cards, according to the three sources. Investigators’ questions have focused primarily on the nursing home immunity provision and how it “got in the state budget,” said one legislative source, who did not want to be named because of the ongoing probe.”

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Not coming, but already here.

Without Trump, Is A “Depression In Television” Coming? (Taibbi)

[..] the Democratic Party’s response to Trump — which involved multiple efforts to remove him, premised on the idea that every day he spent in the Oval Office was an existential threat to humanity — allowed stations to turn every day of the Trump years into a baby-down-a-well story (the baby was democracy). Between the Mueller investigation, two impeachments, the Kavanaugh confirmation, multiple border crises, the “Treason in Helsinki” fiasco, and a hundred other tales, every day could be pitched as a drop-everything emergency. Add the partisan rooting angle, and you had ratings gold. Imagine three or four dozen Super Bowls a year, each one played in the middle of a category 5 hurricane, and you come close to grasping the magnitude of the gift that Donald Trump was to MSNBC, Fox, and CNN.

Six or seven years ago, it was common to see CNN or MSNBC fall outside the top 20 rated cable networks, below titans like Disney, USA, TBS, and the History Channel. By 2020, the three top networks on cable — not just news networks, but overall — were Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. The fact that news ate away so much of the market share of the entertainment business in the Trump years raises questions about what exactly we were watching. Jump in your Dr. Who police box and go back to 2014, the last year Trump was not a major political figure. The cable news genre had what Variety described as an “overall down year.” It was a particularly grim time for CNN and MSNBC:

Total Primetime Viewers, 2014 Change
Fox News 1.779 million (even)
MSNBC 600,000 (down 8%)
CNN 528,000 (down 8%)
HLN 337,000 (down 16%)

CNN exemplified the pre-Trump dilemma. In 2011, the network’s average primetime viewership was 689,000. That dropped to 670,000 in 2012, and the year after that, in 2013, it fell all the way to 568,000, a 20-year low. Imagine the pucker factor at Time Warner the next year, when CNN’s entire 8-11 p.m. programming slate dropped 8% off that 20-year dip. 2013 was CNN’s first year under the management of Jeff Zucker, whose career arc leading into the Trump years was a dazzling study in failing upward. He was named head of NBC Entertainment in 2000, and rode the successes of a handful of shows — including, notably, The Apprentice — into a job as CEO of NBC Universal, where he presided over one of the most disastrous tenures of any TV executive in history. Under his leadership, NBC dropped to fourth behind ABC, CBS, and Fox, amid catastrophic decisions like trying to move Jay Leno into primetime.

When Zucker moved to CNN, he trumpeted a new plan to save the news. This is from Politico in 2013: “Zucker has told staff he wants to “broaden the definition of what news is,” meaning more sports, more entertainment, more human interest stories — and, at times, less politics.” That didn’t work out so well in 2014, though to be fair to Zucker, the ratings narrative started reversing at least somewhat before Trump jumped on the scene. But the first giant leap forward for the business as a whole came in 2015, when CNN’s average primetime audience soared to 730,000, a 30% increase, in significant part because it hosted two Republican debates starring Trump.

The news business had never seen anything like the Trump effect. The first Republican debate on Fox drew 25 million viewers and was the most-watched non-sports event in the history of cable, while the second debate drew 23 million and was merely the top show in the history of CNN. Taking note of all this was Trump himself, whose poll numbers were dipping a bit at the end of 2015. Some were predicting his demise. To this, Trump snapped, “I’m not a masochist,” and promised he’d pull out if his numbers worsened. However, he said, if he did, “There’d be a major collapse of television ratings,” adding a poisonous prediction: “It would become a depression in television.”

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“The cost of what we need but haven’t done to modernize our infrastructure has expanded to $5.6 trillion over the last 20 years ($3 trillion in the last decade alone)”

Building or Unbuilding America? (Nomi Prins)

During the Trump years, the phrase “Infrastructure Week” rang out as a sort of Groundhog Day-style punchline. What began in June 2017 as a failed effort by The Donald’s White House and a Republican Senate to focus on the desperately needed rebuilding of American infrastructure morphed into a meme and a running joke in Washington. Despite the focus in recent years on President Trump’s failure to do anything for the country’s crumbling infrastructure, here’s a sad reality: considered over a longer period of time, Washington’s political failure to fund the repairing, modernizing, or in some cases simply the building of that national infrastructure has proven a remarkably bipartisan “effort.”

After all, the same grand unfulfilled ambitions for infrastructure were part and parcel of the Obama White House from 2009 on and could well typify the Biden years, if Congress doesn’t get its act together (or the filibuster doesn’t go down in flames). The disastrous electric grid power outages that occurred during the recent deep freeze in Texas are but the latest example of the pressing need for infrastructure upgrades and investments of every sort. If nothing is done, more people will suffer, more jobs will be lost, and the economy will face drastic consequences. Since the mid-twentieth century, when most of this country’s modern infrastructure systems were first established, the population has doubled. Not only are American roads, airports, electric grids, waterways, railways and more distinctly outdated, but today’s crucial telecommunications sector hasn’t ever been subjected to a comprehensive broadband strategy.

Worse yet, what’s known as America’s “infrastructure gap” only continues to widen. The cost of what we need but haven’t done to modernize our infrastructure has expanded to $5.6 trillion over the last 20 years ($3 trillion in the last decade alone), according to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Some estimates now even run as high as $7 trillion. In other words, as old infrastructure deteriorates and new infrastructure and technology are needed, the cost of addressing this ongoing problem only escalates. Currently, there is a $1-trillion backlog of (yet unapproved) deferred-maintenance funding floating around Capitol Hill. Without action in the reasonable future, certain kinds of American infrastructure could, like that Texas energy grid, soon be deemed unsafe.

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Make the right to housing a law.

Growth Of US Homelessness During 2020 Was Devastating – HUD (NPR)

The nation’s homeless population grew last year for the fourth year in a row. On a single night in January 2020, there were more than 580,000 individuals who were homeless in the United States, a 2% increase from the year before. The numbers, released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday, do not reflect the impact of the pandemic. “And we know the pandemic has only made the homelessness crisis worse,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a video message accompanying the report. She called the numbers “devastating” and said the nation has a “moral responsibility to end homelessness.” Among the report’s more sobering findings: homelessness among veterans and families did not improve for the first time in many years.


Also, more than 106,000 children were homeless during the once-a-year count, conducted in most communities across the nation. While the majority of homeless children were in shelters or transitional housing, almost 11,000 were living outside. As has been the case for years, a disproportionate share of those experiencing homelessness were Black — about 39% of the total, though African Americans make up about 13% of the nation’s overall population. Twenty-three percent of those who were homeless last year identified as Hispanic or Latino. California was home to the largest number of people experiencing homelessness — 161,548 — according to the 2020 count. A quarter of all homeless individuals in the United States were living in either New York City or Los Angeles. For the first time since the government began doing the annual count, the number of single adults living outside — 209,413 — exceeded the number of individuals living in shelters — 199,478.

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