Apr 222022
 


Hayami Gyoshu Tea bowl and fruits 1921

 

Biden Brags About Sending Weapons at ‘Record Speed’ to Ukraine (Celente)
The Collective West Is Stumbling Towards Nuclear Armageddon (Doctorow)
New World Disorder (Charai)
Why So Many Middle-Aged Deaths in 2021? (Briand)
Poking Holes In The Brain-blood Barrier. Is That Such A Good Idea? (Girardot)
A Moratorium on mRNA ‘Vaccines’ is Needed (Byram Bridle)
Fauci Complains About ‘Dangerous Precedent’ of Mask Mandate Ruling (TH)
Tulsi Gabbard Releases Cease And Desist Letter To Mitt Romney (JTN)
Destroying Democracy To Save It? (Turley)
Barack Obama Outlines Perils Of Unregulated Big Tech (G.)
Big Tech’s ‘Cancel Culture’ Love Affair (Pepe Escobar)
Feds Subpoenaed Hunter Biden Paternity Documents, Including Tax Returns (CBS)
Black Lives Don’t Matter To BLM (Blaze)
Elon Musk To Collect $23bn Bonus As Tesla Beats Targets (G.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Webb

 

 

 

 

Medvedev

 

 

Am I the only one who thinks they’re too eager to get all these people into the US?

President Biden: “I’m announcing a program, Unite for Ukraine, a new program to enable Ukrainians seeking refuge to come directly from Europe to the United States.”

 

 

And not a word about peace.

Biden Brags About Sending Weapons at ‘Record Speed’ to Ukraine (Celente)

President Joe Biden on Thursday took to Twitter to inform Americans that his administration will send another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine to “further augment” Kyiv’s ability to counter the Russian offensive in the eastern region of the country. No mention of peace. Just more war. Biden, who called Putin a killer and war criminal, bragged that the new package will include heavy artillery weapons, dozens of howitzers, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and tactical drones. “In the past two months, we have moved weapons and equipment to Ukraine at record speed. The United States alone has provided 10 anti-armor systems for every one Russian tank that is in Ukraine,” he posted.

Biden has sent $3.4 billion in less than two months to Ukraine. He also announced that he will send a supplemental budget request to Congress to get the funding for the weapons. He also plans to send $500 million more in direct economic aid to Ukraine and accept more refugees. Biden said the war is at a critical point and about to enter its “next phase” (which only means more weapons). The weapons will go “directly to the front lines of defending freedom,” he said. [..] John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said the new weapons batch will include 72 tactical vehicles to tow the howitzers, 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones—a new weapon rapidly developed by the Air Force for the Ukrainians, according to Defense One. Biden also announced that $500 million more is being provided to Ukraine.

Biden, who earlier held a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, said Americans should take pride in providing the weapons and intelligence that “beat back Putin’s savagery.” “Putin has failed to achieve his grand ambitions on the battlefield. After weeks of shelling Kyiv. Kyiv still stands,” he said.

Scott Ritter

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“..overcome with pure hatred for the West brought on by the sanctions, by the rampant Russophobia that is now public policy in Europe and the USA..”

The Collective West Is Stumbling Towards Nuclear Armageddon (Doctorow)

[Mosfilm general director Karen] Shakhnazarov expressed amazement and deep worry that Western leaders have literally ‘lost their minds’ by pursuing measures to destabilize Russia in the hope of precipitating the overthrow of Vladimir Putin and maybe even the disintegration of Russia in a way similar to the dissolution of the USSR in late 1991. Shakhnazarov remarked that total absence of common or any other sense in Joe Biden is to be expected because of his health (read: senility). But his jaw dropped when he heard that the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, declared a couple of days ago that “Russia must not be allowed to win this war!” Where are his brains? Shakhnazarov asked rhetorically.

The point of Shakhnazarov’s reasoning is as follows: Russia is the world’s leading power in terms of nuclear arms. An overthrow of Putin would lead to chaos, and very likely to genuine radicals assuming power. Their aggressive inclinations for policy to the West would be underpinned by the vast majority of the Russian population, which, in Shakhnazarov’s view, is now overcome with pure hatred for the West brought on by the sanctions, by the rampant Russophobia that is now public policy in Europe and the USA. If the conflict should escalate to use of tactical nuclear missiles and beyond, then Russia would no longer limit its strikes to military installations but will happily target all capitals and population centers in Europe and, we may assume, in North America. In a word, Shakhnazarov equates destabilization of Russia with nuclear Armageddon.

I repeat, these are the fears of a highly responsible and publicly visible Russian general manager in the arts. Is anybody in the West with comparable standing even beginning to imagine the coming catastrophe let alone speak out about it? Before closing, I redirect attention to a major newsworthy development in Russia yesterday afternoon which even our Western media have reported on this morning: the test launch of Russia’s new Sarmat ICBM, which sets new records for speed, distance, destructive force of its MIRV warheads and, surely most important, imperviousness to all known and projected anti-missile systems in the West. Part of the invulnerability of the Sarmat is a function of its range, which extends to every point on planet Earth. Sarmat’s trajectory can be set as best suits its undetectability.

For example, it can hit the USA by approach via the South Pole, thereby evading American tracking systems, which look to attack from the Northwest. The Sarmat’s 7 or 15 nuclear warheads can each also evade ABM systems and head for target at hypersonic speeds. Starting in September, the Sarmat will be installed in silos till now housing the world’s most powerful ICBM, the Voevoda, which will be gradually retired and redeployed as launchers for commercial satellites.

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“The view from the rubble of Kyiv’s suburbs isn’t hopeful.”

New World Disorder (Charai)

The latest battle zone in the Russia-Ukraine war was in the quiet, mostly mannerly halls of the United Nations. There, in the UN’s iconic New York headquarters, the world voted on Russia’s largest invasion since World War II — revealing fractures and fissures in global support for democracy. Suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council was technically the issue put before the delegates. But every diplomat knew it was really a vote on Russia’s assault on Ukraine. The consensus for democracy and self-determination was fragile: only 93 states (out of 193) voted for removing Russia from the UNHRC, and therefore condemning its actions against its smaller, weaker neighbor. Another 24 nations (including China) voted with Russia.

Most worrisome, 58 countries abstained, refusing to take sides in what many see as a duel between the great powers. Others feared that energy, food, and fertilizer prices might continue to climb if the conflict escalates. (Both Russia and Ukraine are major producers of oil, gas, wheat, and fertilizing petrochemicals — all of which are a matter of life and death for developing nations.) Fear and food are more important to many developing nations than democratic ideals. American and European policy makers will have to face a hard truth: while Russia is diplomatically isolated, it is not entirely alone, and many countries do not side with Ukraine and its democratic hopes. The view from the rubble of Kyiv’s suburbs isn’t hopeful.

Ukraine’s democratically elected leaders know that they could be captured, wounded, or killed. And they also know that the history of sanctions, the weapon of choice of the Western coalition, shows that they almost always fail to tame invaders. All of these facts were known to the UN delegates. Indeed, they would have heard them directly from Ukrainian diplomats. But high ideals and real desperation didn’t move them.

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“..a 45-54 years old death peak in September is unheard of.”

Why So Many Middle-Aged Deaths in 2021? (Briand)

Martin Kulldorff recently wrote: “For the mRNA vaccines, the big question that needs an urgent answer is whether they cause an increased risk of heart attack and/or other serious heart problems. There are many anecdotal reports, especially among young male athletes, and many VAERS reports. [..] Public health officials face a temptation to summarily dismiss anecdotal vaccine injury stories and people concerned about the publicly available VAERS reports, but in public health, we cannot do that. We must take people’s concerns seriously. What’s an economist’s reaction to anecdotal evidence? A friend recently asked me about the statistical relevance of anecdotal evidence. My answer to him was the following. The sum of life experiences by the many leads to a picture of the whole, while a picture of the whole hides unique and varied life experiences.

No “anecdotal evidence” should be dismissed a priori, just because it has been observed over a small and/or unique sample. The questions are the same, whether about “anecdotal evidence” or “evidence over a larger sample or population”: Have we really observed a change in the pattern in our data? What kind of inferences, if any, can we make from our observations? I have never paid much attention to athletes (no offense to the athletes), but I have recently paid attention to U.S. deaths. Using publicly available CDC data, I simply plotted monthly U.S. deaths, from 1999 to 2021. To my surprise, deaths due to suicides do not show an increase in 2020-21. But we thought they did, didn’t we? Does this mean we were not paying attention to suicides before, but recent events made us more attune to the suffering of others?

Or does it mean deaths of despair are found in other cause of death categories? Deaths due to accidental poisoning and exposure to noxious substances (which include accidental drug and alcohol overdose) have increased. Deaths due to homicide, and deaths due to liver diseases, have too. Some thought April 2020 deaths were too high and justified putting our lives on hold, but January 2021 numbers were worse—the percentage death rate in 2021 is the same as it was in 2020. Why the increase in January 2021 deaths? Continued upward trend in deaths due to the increase and aging of the US population? Deaths of despair? Increased deaths due to untreated conditions in 2020? Deaths due to COVID or one of its variants? Vaccine deaths?

In 2021, death numbers have peaked at unprecedented levels, in September, for the 45-54, 35-44 and 25-34 years old. September 2021 deaths for the 65-74 and 55-64 years old were also higher than their April 2020 numbers. Ok, so why is that significant? Let’s take the 45-54 years old group for example. Seasonal variations in deaths for this group has always been less pronounced than for the 85 years and older group, but whatever peaks they had, they still occurred mostly in January for both groups—so a 45-54 years old death peak in September is unheard of.

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“As long as the brain-blood barrier is leak-proof, very limited quantities of lipid nanoparticles – or pseudo-virus vectors – will penetrate the brain.”

Poking Holes In The Brain-blood Barrier. Is That Such A Good Idea? (Girardot)

Utilising 20% of the body’s energy, the humain brain contains ~650 kilometers of blood vessels, roughly 6 times the lungs’ own vascular system. As such it would be natural that the brain would face the most endothelial risk in the human body. When the data about the LNP distribution came out last year, most of us naturally focused on the organs where most of the nanoparticles seemed to be principally localised: liver, spleen, ovaries, heart, lungs … Strangely, the brain seemed relatively untouched with a peak estimate at 2 million nanoparticles in the brain, whereas the lungs seem to retain 6 times more vaccine particles… an inverted proportion.


Chart 1 – Lipid Nanoparticle Estimate for Pfizer Vaccine based on Mouse Model

There’s an acute difference between the brain and other organs: As a vascular system, the brain-blood-barrier (BBB) is a much tighter assembly of specialised endothelial cells than the rest of the circulatory system. The BBB controls what penetrates the brain much more tightly and rigourously. In other words, vaccine particles can come in and out freely in most organs, not in the brain. As long as the brain-blood barrier is leak-proof, very limited quantities of lipid nanoparticles – or pseudo-virus vectors – will penetrate the brain.

As we have witnessed with the escape from the injection point, it doesn’t mean necessarily that tissues are favourable to transfection…so a significant proportion of cytotoxic LNPs accounted for in Chart 1 aren’t necessarily synonymous with severity. Indeed, they might leak back into the lymphatic system and the blood stream later on. What I am trying to say is that it might seem from Chart 1 that the brain is not so much at risk, but effectively it probably is. Simply the brain isn’t storing LNPs in the tissue the way muscles or the heart might…and therefore the 2 million LNPs accounted for in the brain are likely transfected BBB endothelial cells !

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Too late already?

A Moratorium on mRNA ‘Vaccines’ is Needed (Byram Bridle)

Do you remember when public health and government officials assured everyone that the mRNA ‘vaccines’ function like traditional vaccine technologies? …meaning that they largely remain in the shoulder muscle where they are injected, with some portion going to the draining lymph nodes where an immune response is initiated. Well, back in May 2021, I, along with some international colleagues, looked at a document that Pfizer had submitted to the Japanese health regulatory agency. It was a pre-clinical biodistribution study. This means it was an experiment done with an animal model to predict where the vaccine formulation might go when injected into people. What I saw was startling. Most of Pfizer’s vaccine spread throughout the body instead of staying at the injection site.

This also meant there was the potential for toxicities that would never occur with traditional vaccines that largely remain at or close to the injection site. To ensure people could make a fully informed decision about whether to take the jab I went public with this information in a radio interview. I wasn’t surprised by the systemic distribution of the vaccine per se. Being a vaccinologist, I knew that lipid nanoparticle delivery systems were originally designed to spread far and wide throughout the body with the hopes they could be a vehicle for gene therapy and/or drug delivery. Instead, my surprise came from the fact that the data confirmed my historical understanding and contradicted public health messaging that the mRNA jabs behaved like traditional vaccines.

Public statements by health officials made me assume the lipid nanoparticles had somehow been modified to stay at the injection site, which was news to me. This highlights one of the first rules of thumb when practicing science. Transparently presented raw and/or peer-reviewed data are the cornerstones of objective science; not personal proclamations or data disseminated via media releases. In May 2021 I realized two things: 1. There was a lack of transparency about data supporting COVID-19 inoculations. 2. Incorrect messaging was being relayed to the public. As an academic public servant with relevant expertise, I spoke up when enquiries came from the public. I spoke the truth then and continue to do so.

Ryan Cole Cancer and T cells

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Fauci declares himself above the law. And the courts should stay out of it.

Fauci Complains About ‘Dangerous Precedent’ of Mask Mandate Ruling (TH)

After Fauci himself acknowledged that the rise in cases of this new variant may not lead to increased hospitalizations, he claimed that “it was perfectly logical for the CDC to say ‘wait a minute, we were planning on ending this mandate on a certain date, let’s wait a period of time until May 3” and also tried to convince that that “was a very sound public health decision.” He continued to complain about Judge Mizelle’s ruling, saying that “for a court to come in, and interfere in that, is really unfortunate. It’s unfortunate because it’s against public health principles, number one, and number two is because that’s no place for the courts to do that, this is a CDC decision, and that’s very bad precedent when you have courts making a decision and looking at what the basis of the decision, it was not sound.”

What? Is the CDC accountable to no one? Also, when it comes to waiting until “a certain date,” plenty of us remember the powers that be at the time telling us, over two years ago now, that we just needed two weeks to stop the spread. Such exchanges certainly highlight an entitlement that Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and the Biden administration all have when it comes to their authority in handling the Wuhan coronavirus. It’s all on these members of the mainstream media for throwing Biden such softball questions. These remarks came after Dr. Fauci just recently, during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” acknowledged that “this is not going to be eradicated … Each individual is going to have to make their [risk] calculation.”


Fauci has hardly been the only one to denigrate Judge Mizelle though, with other liberals going after her, including to do with her age and her qualifications, as Spencer and our friends at Twitchy highlighted. When it comes to Fauci’s sense of entitlement, he may need to be reminded that the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have found that the CDC overstepped its authority before when it comes to the pandemic. Last August, in a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled against the CDC’s eviction moratorium, which even President Joe Biden had acknowledged was likely unconstitutional, though he issued it regardless.

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And Keith Olberman. But nobody takes him serious anymore.

Tulsi Gabbard Releases Cease And Desist Letter To Mitt Romney (JTN)

Former Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has sent Sen. Mitt Romney a cease-and-desist letter over the Utah Republican’s recent accusation that she has told “treasonous lies.” The letter, which Gabbard posted to her social media, accuses Romney of making “false and defamatory statements” and encourages him to enter into a settlement with her before the process reaches the litigation stages. “Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda,” Romney tweeted March 13 about the ex-Hawaii congresswoman, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was roughly two weeks old. “Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.” The senator and former Massachusetts governor and 2016 GOP presidential nominee did not offer specifics.

But he purportedly was referring to comments Gabbard – a major in the Army National Guard who served two tours of duty in the Middle East – made about biolabs in Ukraine. Last month, Gabbard, also a 2020 presidential candidate, told Fox News show host Tucker Carlson that she was “deeply concerned” about the biolab issue and posted a video to her social media accounts in which she said that there are more than 25 “U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine, which if breached would release and spread deadly pathogens.” “While your tweet lacked any context, we surmise that your tweet was made in reference to a video Representative Gabbard published on Twitter that same day,” Gabbard’s attorney said about the Romney tweet.

“In her video, Representative Gabbard called for a ceasefire in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine so that any biological laboratories in Ukraine could be secured,” states the cease-and-desist document, which also argues everything Gabbard said in her video was “factually accurate.” Treason can be punishable by death, according to U.S. House code. Gabbard’s lawyer also writes: “Representative Gabbard’s loyalty to the United States is beyond reproach. You knew your claims of treason were false, or, at a minimum, you made your claims of treason with reckless disregard for the truth.” Biolabs in Ukraine are the focus of a conspiracy theory that alleges the Biden administration was funding biological weapon labs in the country now under attack from Russia.

Tucker Tulsi

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“Whether Jan. 6 was a riot or an actual insurrection remains a matter of deep and largely partisan disagreement — but the disqualification clause was written in reference to a real Civil War in which more than 750,000 people died in combat.”

Destroying Democracy To Save It? (Turley)

As the country braces for the midterm elections, the left seems to be rallying behind three D’s: Democracy, Disinformation and Disqualification. The latter effort just received a huge boost from a judge in Georgia who has allowed a challenge to knock Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) off the ballot as an insurrectionist. Nothing says “democracy” like preventing others from voting. Many of us have criticized Greene for her inflammatory rhetoric and her extreme views. No less dangerous, though, is the means being used by some of Greene’s critics to get rid of her. It is all part of a new movement to defend democracy by denying it. To paraphrase the Vietnam strategy, democracy can only be saved by destroying it through the denial of speech or the right to vote.

[..] Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was written after the 39th Congress convened in December 1865, following the end of the Civil War. At the time, many members were not pleased to see former Confederates like Alexander Stephens (D-Ga.), the Confederacy’s vice president, appear in Congress to retake the very oath they previously violated by waging war against the country. Whether Jan. 6 was a riot or an actual insurrection remains a matter of deep and largely partisan disagreement — but the disqualification clause was written in reference to a real Civil War in which more than 750,000 people died in combat. The Confederacy was a separate government with its own army, currency and foreign policy.

There is another problem: To the extent that a person can be disqualified under the 14th Amendment, it requires action from Congress, not a local board of election. Despite an otherwise long, careful opinion, Totenberg blithely set aside such details, including an 1869 decision by then-Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. The case in question challenged the right of Hugh W. Sheffey to hold a Virginia state court office, given his support for the Confederacy. Chase ruled that Section 3 did not disqualify Sheffey because “legislation by Congress is necessary to give effect to” Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, and disqualification from office “can only be provided for by Congress.” Congress later passed the Amnesty Act of 1872, which overrode the Disqualification Clause except for “Senators and Representatives of the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh Congresses.”

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that states cannot impose their own qualifications for Congress because it would “erode the structure envisioned by the Framers.” Under such an approach, partisan state election boards could simply conclude that a member is an insurrectionist and prevent voters from being able to make such choices for themselves.

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Cancel Culture. As per the Guardian.

Barack Obama Outlines Perils Of Unregulated Big Tech (G.)

Technology companies must be reined in to address the “weakening of democratic institutions around the world”, Barack Obama said Thursday, in a sweeping keynote speech on the perils of disinformation. Speaking at Stanford University in Silicon Valley, the former president made his most extensive remarks yet about the technology landscape, which he said is “turbo-charging some of humanity’s worst impulses”. “One of the biggest reasons for the weakening of democracy is the profound change that’s taken place in how we communicate and consume information,” he said. The address came as Obama has increasingly focused his post-presidential messaging on misinformation and what should be done about the largely unchecked power wielded by big tech. On Thursday, he solidified those calls, endorsing specific legislation.

“Do we allow our democracy to wither, or do we make it better?” Obama asked. “That is the choice.” Obama’s speech called attention to the grave impacts of disinformation and misinformation – including manipulation of the 2016 and 2020 elections and the rise of anti-vaccination sentiments. He was candid about regrets he had surrounding Donald Trump’s election, saying his administration had long known that Russia had incentive to manipulate US democracy but he underestimated the effectiveness of the efforts. “What still nags at me is my failure to appreciate at the time just how susceptible we had become to lies and conspiracy theories,” Obama said.

A Senate panel report in 2020 found conclusively that Russia had interfered in the 2016 elections to sway votes in favor of Trump, echoing findings from a prior report published by the Department of Justice. In addition to impacting the results of those elections, disinformation and misinformation has also caused many Americans to reject the results of democratically sound elections, Obama said – noting that the majority of Republicans doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s 2020 win. Much of these issues can be attributed to a decline in media literacy, the erosion of local news sources, and an “information overload” as we come into contact with limitless content each day. “The sheer proliferation of conflict and the splintering of information and audiences has made democracy more complicated,” Obama said.

Obama

“Despite the fact that we have now essentially clinically tested the vaccine on billions of people worldwide. Around 1 in 5 Americans is still going to put themselves at risk… rather than get vaccinated.”

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And this is where Obama’s views lead:

Big Tech’s ‘Cancel Culture’ Love Affair (Pepe Escobar)

This month, several of us – Scott Ritter, myself, ASB Military News, among others – were canceled from Twitter. The – unstated – reason: we were debunking the officially approved narrative of the Russia/NATO/Ukraine war. As with all things Big Tech, that was predictable. I lasted only seven months on Twitter. And that was long enough. Contacts in California had told me I was on their radar because the account grew too fast, and had enormous reach, especially after the start of Operation Z. I celebrated the cancelation by experiencing an aesthetic illumination in front of the Aegean Sea, at the home of Herodotus, the Father of History. Additionally, it was heart-warming to be recognized by the great George Galloway in his moving tribute to targets of the new McCarthyism.

In parallel, comic relief of the “Mars Attacks” variety was provided by expectations of free speech on Twitter being saved by the benign intervention of Elon Musk. Techno-feudalism is one of the overarching themes of my latest book, Raging Twenties – published in early 2021 and reviewed here in a very thoughtful and meticulous manner. Cancel culture is inbuilt in the techno-feudalist project: conform to the hegemonic narrative, or else. In my own case regarding Twitter and Facebook – two of the guardians of the internet, alongside Google — I knew a day of reckoning was inevitable, because like other countless users I had previously been dispatched to those notorious “jails”.

On one Facebook occasion, I sent a sharp message highlighting that I was a columnist/analyst for an established Hong Kong-based media company. Some human, not an algorithm, must have read it, because the account was restored in less than 24 hours. But then the account was simply disabled – with no warning. I requested the proverbial “review”. The response was a demand for proof of ID. Less than 24 hours later, came the verdict: “Your account has been disabled” because it had not followed those notoriously hazy “community standards.” The decision was “reviewed” and “it can’t be reversed”. [..] My hit-by-a-Hellfire missile Facebook page clearly identified for the general public who I was, at the time: “Geopolitical analyst at Asia Times”.

The fact of the matter is Facebook algorithms canceled a top columnist from Asia Times – with a proven record and a global profile. The algos would never have had the – digital – guts to do the same with a top columnist from The New York Times or the Financial Times. Asia Times lawyers in Hong Kong sent a letter to Facebook management. Predictably, there was no response. Of course becoming a target of cancel culture – twice – does not even remotely compare to the fate of Julian Assange, imprisoned for over three years in Belmarsh under the most appalling circumstances, and about to be dispatched for “judgment” in the American gulag for the crime of committing journalism. Yet the same “logic” applies: journalism that does not conform to the hegemonic narrative must be taken down.

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They’re coming for him from all sides. By definition, that means they’re coming for his dad, too, even if they don’t recognize it.

Feds Subpoenaed Hunter Biden Paternity Documents, Including Tax Returns (CBS)

Prosecutors investigating Hunter Biden subpoenaed documents from a paternity lawsuit that included tax records for the president’s son, according to documents and an attorney involved in the matter. “They wanted every record relating to Hunter Biden we had,” Clint Lancaster told CBS News. Lancaster represented Lunden Roberts, a woman who filed suit against Hunter Biden in 2019 alleging he was the father of her child. A December 2020 subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Delaware, obtained by CBS News, requested all documents “regarding [Hunter] Biden’s income, assets, debts, obligations, and financial transactions… and all personal and business expenditures.” The request specified January 2017 to the present. The subpoena also requested a wide range of tax documents pertaining to Hunter Biden.

“All federal, state, local and foreign tax documentation related to Biden,” the subpoena reads, “including but not limited to, IRS Forms 1099, income and payroll tax returns, state tax returns, and amended tax returns.” Hunter Biden’s personal and business conduct have been the subject of scrutiny — and the target of Republican political attacks — since the earliest days of the 2020 presidential campaign. The move by federal authorities to obtain these records offers a new, if narrow, glimpse into the long-running investigation into the president’s son — a probe that began as a tax inquiry several years ago. Lancaster told CBS News that in the fall of 2021, the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Delaware, Lesley Wolf, traveled to his Arkansas law office, joined by at least two federal agents, one from the FBI and the other an IRS enforcement agent.

Lancaster said he and his client spent about half a day answering questions about Hunter Biden and his business practices. Lancaster said that in the meeting, investigators asked for information about several companies affiliated with Hunter Biden, including Rosemont Seneca Partners, a firm where he worked for several years. The line of questioning tracks with a separate 2019 federal subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Delaware. The subpoena, obtained by CBS News, sought “all records, documents and accounts pertaining to all financial/banking transactions” between 15 business entities and Hunter Biden, the president’s brother James, as well as two business partners dating back to 2014, when Joe Biden was vice president.

Lancaster said that during the paternity suit Hunter Biden had supplied an “affidavit of financial means,” which detailed his finances through income statements and a breakdown of monthly expenses. Lancaster said the tax records he and his client supplied overlapped with the time period of Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. Roberts testified before a Delaware grand jury in February of this year, according to her lawyer. An Arkansas court filing from November 2019 states, “DNA testing has established with scientific certainty” that Hunter Biden is the father of Roberts’ child. The child is believed to be around 3 years old today. The paternity case was settled in 2020. Some of the records in the case are under seal.

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Defund.

Black Lives Don’t Matter To BLM (Blaze)

It had even more corporate and cultural support than the vaccines and Ukraine. It was the greatest juggernaut in politics that even ensnared many Republican politicians. Yet never have we seen a movement that accomplished the opposite of what it was purported to do in such a short time frame. It turns out that as a result of the BLM-induced crime wave, reversing a generation-long trend of reduced crime, there were thousands of excess black homicide victims, a body count that is still climbing. Hannah Meyers, director of the policing and public safety initiative at the Manhattan Institute, told Fox News’ Emma Colton that there were nearly 2,500 excess black murders in 2020 over the previous year and the 10-year average. Here is a breakdown of the data from Fox:

In 2019, at least 7,484 Black Americans were murdered. That number shot up to at least 9,941 murders in 2020, meaning there was an increase of 2,457 Black Americans murdered over the previous year. The number of Black murders was also far higher than White murders in 2020. The FBI data shows there 7,043 White people murdered that year, meaning 2,898 more Black people were killed compared to Whites. Between 2010 and 2019, there was an average of 5,954 White murders, which is roughly 16% lower than the 10-year average of Black murders. During that same time period, an average of 6,927 Black Americans were murdered each year, meaning Black murders shot up by 43% in 2020 compared to the previous 10-year average.

What is evident from this analysis is that there were two periods of abnormal increases in black homicides: one in 2015 after Ferguson and Freddie Gray and then a much sharper increase in 2019 with George Floyd. In other words, every time they promote the anti-police and anti-incarceration message, it backfires, and black people are harmed the most. Preliminary numbers from 2021 show an even greater increase in homicides. And given that major cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia set new records, it’s very likely that black victims accounted for an even greater share of the excess.

Republicans stupidly squandered the Trump years trying to outflank the Democrats on de-incarceration in an effort to pander to the black vote. They wrongly focused on the fact that blacks are disproportionately incarcerated, even though that is an unfortunate reflection of the crime rate. What they should have focused on is that black victims of crime are disproportionately affected by jailbreak policies. Despite composing just 13% of the population, they account for the majority of the homicide victims. Releasing career criminals ensures that the body count goes up.

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“Tesla today has a market value of $1.1tn, following a 1,300% rise in its share price since the target was set in January 2018..”

Elon Musk To Collect $23bn Bonus As Tesla Beats Targets (G.)

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla and the world’s richest person, is set to collect a $23bn bonus after the Californian electric car company’s first-quarter results exceeded performance targets. Musk, who is already sitting on an estimated $249bn fortune, is in line for the bonus share payout after Tesla hit share price and financial growth milestones in its earnings on Wednesday night. Tesla made an adjusted profit of $5bn on revenue of $18.8bn in the first quarter of the year – an 81% increase on the same period a year earlier. The results, combined with the growth in Tesla’s share price performance, mean Musk has hit targets that should lead to a bonus share payout worth about $23bn.

The company outlined an extraordinary deal for Musk in 2018 that would pay him an unprecedented $55.8bn bonus if he built the business into a $650bn company within a decade. He achieved that milestone early, in January 2020. Tesla today has a market value of $1.1tn, following a 1,300% rise in its share price since the target was set in January 2018. It means Musk, who collects no salary, should now have unlocked the final three parts of the 12-tranche bonus scheme. Each tranche gives Musk the right to buy 8.4m Tesla shares at $70, a huge discount on the current $977 share price. His profit on each tranche could be $7.7bn or a combined value of $23bn. The payments need to be signed off by the board, and he must hold on to the shares for five years before selling.

Musk, who is attempting to buy Twitter for more than $43bn, said he was not in talks with Tesla’s board over a new bonus scheme after completing the 2018 deal early. “There are no discussions underway about incremental compensation for me,” he said on the company’s earning call. “The future is very exciting,” Musk said in the call with investors. “I’ve never been more optimistic or excited about the future of Tesla than I am right now.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinton campaign ad, October 15, 2016.

 

 

Haney suicide

 

 

Greeks eat lamb for Easter

 

 

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

 

 

 

Mar 142022
 


Alfred Eisenstaedt The kiss (V-J Day in Times Square) 1945

 

US Farmers Hit Hard By Price Increases, Fertilizer Costs (JTN)
“Media Isn’t Warning You” That US Careening Towards Food Crisis (ZH)
Russian Default On Debts No Longer ‘Improbable’, Says IMF Head (G.)
India Is Mulling Rupee-Ruble Payments System for Trade with Russia (Scofield)
The US Is Still Not Trying Diplomacy With Putin Over Ukraine (Antiwar)
Russia Seeking China’s Military Help In Ukraine, US “Sources” Say (ZH)
The West’s Cancel Culture Targets All Things Russian (JTN)
Responses to the Invasion of Ukraine (Pankaj Mishra)
Deaths Represent 1.3% Of Side Effects Reported For Covid Vaccines (JTN)
How Does It Feel To Be Vindicated? (Malone)
Drs. Walensky and Offit: It’s All in Good Fun (Harrington)
Julian Assange To Marry Fiancee Stella Moris In Belmarsh Prison March 23 (DM)

 

 

 

 

Some day we’ll assess this moment with clear heads
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503265313474977793

 

 

 

 

Veritas FDA
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503264527642775553

 

 

“The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas..”

“..we are not really going to see those impacts until this coming summer.”

US Farmers Hit Hard By Price Increases, Fertilizer Costs (JTN)

Goods and services around the country are becoming increasingly more expensive, but farmers may be among the hardest hit as inflation, supply chain issues, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are expected to send food prices soaring even higher. That impact is being felt by farmers around the country. “The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas,” said Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron. “It would be unbelievable if I hadn’t seen it for myself as I priced fertilizer for our farm in southern Indiana. Fertilizer is a global commodity and can be influenced by multiple market factors, including the situation in Ukraine, and all of these are helping to drive up costs.” Ukraine is a significant supplier of both crops and fertilizer materials, adding to the concern that the invasion will likely lead to shortages and price increases.

Fertilizer prices for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, called NPK, have exploded since December 2020. “Because of the seasonal aspects of … this agriculture industry, it takes about six to nine months for the impacts felt in the impact market to really work its way through the supply chain and reach the consumer,” said Nathon Carson, head of supply chain operations for Chemical Dynamics, a multi-million dollar fertilizer supplier based in Florida servicing 12 states. “The crazy thing is, fertilizer prices for NPK, especially nitrogen, the most important nutrient, went up by about … doubled essentially in Q4 of 2021, which means we are not really going to see those impacts until this coming summer.” That fertilizer price increase is one of several factors expected to push food prices up even higher this year.

“Food prices are going to continue to go up dramatically,” Carson said. “I was expecting food prices to go up about 10% in the U.S. before midterms, so around August, another 5 or so percent to follow by the end of the year … You could see 20% food price inflation by the end of the year in the U.S. That is a possibility. You won’t see famine in the U.S. Our food system is very, very resilient, but you will see shortages. You won’t have the same product selection that you’re used to.” These food price issues have only been egged on by runaway federal spending, which has helped send inflation soaring in the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the Consumer Price index, a leading marker of inflation, rose 7.9% in the past 12 months. BLS said that the food price index rose 8.6% over the last 12 months, the largest 12-month spike since April 1981.

Read more …

”Buy a 2nd freezer, and stock it. Soon.”

“Media Isn’t Warning You” That US Careening Towards Food Crisis (ZH)

Two weeks after the Russia-Ukraine crisis began, the world is quickly moving toward a food crisis that could affect millions of people. A spillover of the crisis could soon spark agricultural mayhem in the US. The curtailment of agricultural exports from Russia and Ukraine will have dramatic knock-on effects on global food supplies. Both countries are known as the ‘breadbasket of the world’ and are responsible for a quarter of the international wheat trade, about a fifth of corn, and 12% of all calories traded globally. Another major problem is access to fertilizers, as Russia has banned exports of the nutrients. It’s not whether or not there will be a food crisis. It’s how big that crisis will be.

We’ve already noted a handful of emerging market countries to monitor as the Russian invasion is choking off grain exports to them and causing prices to rise, which may result in social unrest. Even in the Western world, agricultural markets have not been immune, and higher prices have stung consumers. A tweet from Douglas Karr, the founder of the businesses blog Martech Zone, made the point the “media isn’t even warning you” a food crisis in America is emerging. Karr said he spoke with numerous folks in the food industry who said farmers in the South and Midwest are having trouble procuring fertilizer to grow crops ahead of planting season. He said farmers in the “Midwest are switching,” likely referring to crops that need fewer nutrients because they “can’t get nitrogen nor fertilizer.”

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the global food system was strained. Snarled supply chains and adverse weather conditions in top growing regions of the world resulted in low crop yields and rising prices. The supply shock of Ukraine will amplify the crisis as the UN warned global food prices could jump 8%-20% from here (prices are already at record highs). Responding to Karr’s viral tweet, some people said they were buying a freezer to panic hoard food supplies as the worst food crisis has yet to come. “Likely getting a 2nd chest freezer soon and stuffing it with meats/frozen vegetables/etc. Also, it looks like “preppers” who were dismissed or made fun of last decade are about to be set on being right,” one person said. Another person said, “Read this and then understand why in the last 6 months several publications have been grooming us to accept eating bugs. All of this was planned. Buy a 2nd freezer, and stock it. Soon.”

Read more …

“Siluanov said on Sunday that it would be “absolutely fair” for Russia to make sovereign debt payments in roubles until its foreign exchange reserves were unfrozen..”

Russian Default On Debts No Longer ‘Improbable’, Says IMF Head (G.)

A Russian default on its debts after western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine is no longer “improbable”, but would not trigger a global financial crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday. The Washington-based fund’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, said the sanctions imposed by the United States and other nations were already having a “severe” impact on the Russian economy and would trigger a deep recession there this year. The war in Ukraine will also drive up food and energy prices, leading to hunger in Africa, she added. Georgieva told CBS’s Face the Nation programme: “In terms of servicing debt obligations, I can say that we no longer think of Russian default as an improbable event. Russia has the money to service its debt, but cannot access it.

“What I’m more concerned about is that there are consequences that go beyond Ukraine and Russia.” Last week, the World Bank’s chief economist, Carmen Reinhart, warned that Russia and its ally Belarus were “mightily close” to default. Asked whether a Russian default could trigger a financial crisis around the world, Georgieva said: “For now, no.” The total exposure of banks to Russia amounted to around $120bn, an amount that while not insignificant, was “not systematically relevant”, she said. Last week, she said the IMF would downgrade its previous forecast for 4.4% global economic growth in 2022 as a result of the war. Separately, Russia said on Sunday that it was counting on China to help it withstand the blow to its economy from sanctions, but the US has warned Beijing not to provide that support.

The Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said Moscow was unable to access $300bn of its $640bn in gold and foreign exchange reserves, but still held part of its reserves in the Chinese currency, the yuan. “And we see what pressure is being exerted by western countries on China in order to limit mutual trade with China. Of course, there is pressure to limit access to those reserves,” he said. “But our partnership with China will still allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved, and not only maintain, but also increase it in an environment where western markets are closing.” Russia is due to make two interest payments on 16 March. However, it will have a 30-day grace period to make the coupon payments. Siluanov said on Sunday that it would be “absolutely fair” for Russia to make sovereign debt payments in roubles until its foreign exchange reserves were unfrozen, according to Interfax.

Read more …

Can’t pay in rubles, IMF? Not so fast…

India Is Mulling Rupee-Ruble Payments System for Trade with Russia (Scofield)

India is discussing how to set up a rupee-ruble payment mechanism to enable it to trade with Russia, to circumvent the U.S. sanctions regime. India abstained from voting on the March United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution demanding an end to Russian offensive in Ukraine (General Assembly resolution demands end to Russian offensive in Ukraine). Since its Independence, India has tried to steer a neutral course between the U.S. and Russia (and previously, the USSR). During the 1950s, India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a prime architect behind the Non-Aligned Movement, under which developing countries tried to pursue their national interests without binding themselves to either the U.S. or Soviet bloc. India, Indonesia, and Yugoslavia were mainstays of that movement, which today includes 120 member states, 18 observer states, and 10 international organisations.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, India developed closer relations with the United States. Most recently, under prime minister Narendra Modi, India’s policy tilted even more decisively in a pro-U.S. direction. Modi and Trump shared a strong affinity, and Modi even travelled to the U.S, to host massive rallies intended to galvanize Indian Americans in support of Trump. See this BBC account for further details, What did the Trump-Modi ‘bromance’ achieve? During the last several months, several considerations have prompted the Modi government to rethink the wisdom of putting all its eggs in the U.S. basket. Instead, India is returning to a more balanced approach, assessing its national interests vis-a-vis those of other countries and acting accordingly.

Two developments this summer caused India to question the reliability and integrity of the U.S. as an ally. The first was the manner of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, which had External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar wondering about the value of U.S. security guarantees. Washington’s Ukraine policy is only increasing those misgivings. The United States was willing to push Ukraine to take actions that many – including Henry Kissinger, George Kennan, and Noam Chomsky – warned Russia couldn’t abide. But then when the shooting started, the United States wasn’t willing to get in line of fire. And in the second, in September, the U.S. stunned many when it announced a new Australia/United Kingdom/United States security grouping (AUKUS), as part of which Australia would receive American nuclear submarines.

Read more …

They must be enjoying the situation…

The US Is Still Not Trying Diplomacy With Putin Over Ukraine (Antiwar)

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, there is still no sign that the Biden administration is attempting high-level diplomacy with Moscow as a way to possibly end the fighting. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Biden administration doesn’t see the conflict ending anytime soon and that its current strategy is to impose economic pain on Russia and support Ukraine’s military “in its effort to inflict as many defeats on Russia as possible.” It’s clear at this point that the Western sanctions were factored into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine as they haven’t done anything to deter him. But US officials still say they are in no rush to engage directly with Putin.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that in the months leading up to the invasion, the US gave Putin “possible off-ramps.” But during the negotiations, the US ignored Putin’s key demands. Putin wanted a guarantee that Ukraine wouldn’t ever join NATO, and even though President Biden said Kyiv wouldn’t be joining the military alliance anytime soon, the US refused to make the promise. Now, Russia has said it will stop its assault if Ukraine declares neutrality, recognizes Crimea as Russian territory, and recognizes the independence of the breakaway Donbas republics. Instead of supporting negotiations on these terms that could lead to a potential ceasefire, the US is working with its NATO allies to flood weapons into Ukraine.

Blinken said on Wednesday that the Biden administration expects “a strategic defeat” of Russia in Ukraine despite Moscow’s “short-term” gains. “We’ll accomplish this by backing Ukrainians in their fight, by remaining united in holding Russia accountable through the devastating sanctions, the diplomatic isolation and other measures,” Blinken said. While Blinken says the US expects a Russian defeat in Ukraine, Biden officials told the Post that they don’t see a “clear end to the military phase of this conflict,” meaning the US expects a long, bloody insurgency in Ukraine, and is willing to support it.

Read more …

Russia attacks Yavoriv because of weapons deliveries. There are no US miilitary left there.

Russia Seeking China’s Military Help In Ukraine, US “Sources” Say (ZH)

According to Reuters, when asked about claims that Russia is requesting military help from China, the spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington responded “I’ve never heard of that.” The spokesperson, Liu Pengyu, said China’s priority was to prevent the tense situation in Ukraine from getting out of control. “The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting,” he said in an emailed response to a query from Reuters, adding that “the high priority now is to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control.” Earlier when commenting on what’s been reported as “significant progress” made in Russia-Ukraine talks, we noted that “It remains to be seen if this is the start of a peaceful resolution to the war or just another false dawn.”

Well, just a few hours later the false dawn has arrived via a bombshell FT report citing anonymous Biden administration officials who say that Russia has issued a formal request from China for military support in its invasion of Ukraine. This was followed minutes later with similar Washington Post and New York Times stories in what looks like a US “coordinated leak” effort to send a message and warning to China. “Russia has asked China for military equipment to support its invasion of Ukraine, according to [anonymous] US officials, sparking concern in the White House that Beijing may undermine western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country,” FT writes.

[..] The fresh attack on Yavoriv is being taken also as a clear warning to Washington, again given it was a well-known site which previously housed US military trainers engaged in short-term missions to support Ukrainian national forces prior to the invasion began. Training was going on up until earlier in February. Setting the stage for a potential major escalation with Western and NATO powers, the Kremlin warned on Saturday that the Russian military is prepared to target Western arms shipments that are continuing to pour into Ukraine. Russia’s Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov said on state TV that Washington had been informed in the last days that Moscow will see weapons supply convoys entering Ukraine as “legitimate targets”.

“We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Ryabkov said in the remarks, which served as a severe warning to the West.

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“There tends to be a lot of virtue signaling in how people behave these days, and to take it out on a business like this is unfortunate.”

The West’s Cancel Culture Targets All Things Russian (JTN)

In New York City, despite many owners of Russian restaurants opposing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — or even being Ukrainian themselves — they have experienced canceled reservations, bad reviews and social media campaigns, unusually low turnout, and vandalism, The New York Times reported. Even as some restaurants have plastered signs in support of Ukraine on their doors, they are still dealing with backlash from customers. Some patrons, however, are showing support for the restaurants as they struggle to cope with the commercial fallout from the invasion, according to the Times. “We just thought Russian businesses are probably being unfairly treated, and it would be the right thing to do to have dinner here,” a customer at Russian Samovar told the Times last week. “There tends to be a lot of virtue signaling in how people behave these days, and to take it out on a business like this is unfortunate.”

[..] Daily Wire podcast host and bestselling author Matt Walsh compared the treatment of Russians to other forms of bigotry, tweeting on Monday: “There was so much concern about potential ‘Islamophobia’ after 9/11, and ‘anti-Asian’ backlash after China unleashed covid on the world, and yet it seems to be open season on Russians right now. It’s almost like bigotry is okay as long as the targets are perceived to be white.” [..] On Thursday, a Meta spokesperson confirmed that Facebook and Instagram would allow users in some countries to violate the company’s rules and call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers with regard to the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement, “we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

Author and columnist Larry Taunton retweeted an article on the Meta announcement, saying, “And people wonder how we ended up with Japanese internment camps.” [..] American grocery stores Kroger, Publix, and Food Lion have all said they removed Russian vodka from their shelves, according to Business Insider. Some bar owners are also dumping out their Russian vodka. However, “[l]ess than 1% of vodka consumed in the United States is produced in Russia,” CNN reported, noting that more than half of all vodka in the U.S. is American-made. “If you’re posting the Ukrainian flag and boycotting Russian vodka but you’re still going to vote for Democrats and you still won’t support oil production in the United States,” Walsh tweeted, “kindly shut the hell up you ridiculous virtue signaling phony.”

Read more …

From London Review of Books. Many authors, Mishra is one.

“..while an infotainment media works up citizens into a state of paranoid patriotism, a service class of intellectuals talks up the American Revolution and the international liberal order.”

Responses to the Invasion of Ukraine (Pankaj Mishra)

Foreigners have long envied the way the American system, built by and for slave-owners and programmed to boost oligarchies and dynasties, secures mass consent: while an infotainment media works up citizens into a state of paranoid patriotism, a service class of intellectuals talks up the American Revolution and the international liberal order.

Hyper-patriotic media have emerged in India, China and Russia over the last decade, together with pseudo-thinkers who have upgraded national self-images by hailing the glories of Hindu civilisation, Russian empire and Confucian harmony. As the hacks, trolls and conspiracy theorists of digital media cemented these ideological ecosystems in place, dissent was condemned to impotence. Today, the news and analysis received by the vast majority of people in India and China as well as Russia is – in the words of the head of the Levada Centre, Russia’s independent public opinion research organisation – a compendium of ‘lies and hatred on a fantastical scale’. And so Modi’s brutalising of Kashmir, Putin’s annexation of Crimea and Xi’s herding of Uighur Muslims into concentration camps faced as little domestic challenge as America’s endless wars and killings in Asia and Africa.

Humiliation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at home by Trump, demoralised the exporters of democracy and capitalism. But Putin’s atrocities in Ukraine have now given them an opportunity to make America seem great again. The Russian bear has long guaranteed, more reliably than ‘Islamofascism’ or China, income and identity to many in the military-industrial and intellectual-industrial complex. An ageing centrist establishment – battered by the far right, harangued by post-Occupy and post-BLM young leftists, frustrated by legislative stalemate in Washington – seems suddenly galvanised by the prospect of defining themselves through a new cold war.

As Russian troops attacked a nuclear reactor, George Packer wrote in the Atlantic that ‘for the first time in decades, an American president is showing that he, and only he, can lead the free world.’ The New York Times exulted over the new-found resolve of the free world: ‘Nato has been revitalised, the United States has reclaimed a mantle of leadership that some feared had vanished in Iraq and Afghanistan.’ Boris Johnson claimed that he had never seen such a stark ‘dividing line between right and wrong’. More remarkably, Hillary Clinton called on MSNBC for a rerun in Ukraine of the ‘very motivated’ and ‘armed insurgency’ that ‘basically drove the Russians out of Afghanistan’.

Read more …

CDC numbers.

Deaths Represent 1.3% Of Side Effects Reported For Covid Vaccines (JTN)

Deaths following mRNA vaccination against COVID-19 represented 13 out of every 1,000 reports (1.3%) to the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), the CDC’s Atlanta-based researchers said Monday. Another 66 reports out of every 1,000 (6.6%) were categorized as “serious,” resulting in “inpatient hospitalisation, prolongation of hospitalisation, permanent disability, life-threatening illness, congenital anomaly or birth defect,” according to their study published in The Lancet, the U.K-based medical journal. VAERS is often dubbed a passive surveillance system because it accepts reports from anyone. The CDC previously told Just the News that most reports come from manufacturers or healthcare providers, who have mandatory reporting requirements.

But the researchers said they also consulted an “active” smartphone-based voluntary monitoring system, v-safe, created in 2020. The data show that “most reported adverse events were mild and short in duration,” with 18-49 year-olds representing a plurality (45%) and females a supermajority (75%). Mainstream media uncritically ran with the CDC’s framing, with USA Today touting researcher David Shay’s assurance that the death rate was expected given the elderly population studied. About a quarter of reports were from ages 65 and up. A large subset of young people was almost entirely excluded, however: minors. The study only reviewed the first six months of emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, covering 340,000 reports and 299 million doses.

That time period ends just a month after Pfizer’s vaccine was authorized for 12-15 year-olds and predates its EUA for children 5-11, while Moderna’s vaccine remains unauthorized for anyone under 18. The study’s youngest age range is 16-17, representing 2% of all reports. “Why the cut-off at six months? There are now data that extend for 14 months, and those data include children,” Robert Malone, the mRNA vaccine pioneer-turned-critic, wrote in his newsletter. Health authorities worldwide have recognized young people, particularly males, as having a higher risk for heart inflammation following mRNA vaccination, especially after the second dose. That was the FDA’s rationale to indefinitely pause consideration of Moderna’s vaccine for adolescents.

Read more …

The biomedical world that I thought I was living in has been revealed to be a sham.”

How Does It Feel To Be Vindicated? (Malone)

I have been getting the question “How does it feel to be vindicated?” Dr. Jill (Glasspool-Malone) keeps noodling me to write a piece describing my feelings on this topic. Personally, I dislike focusing on the psychology of how these last two years have impacted on me (and us). Much as I am very wary of the “cult of personality” aspect of my newfound fame. I have not spoken out because I sought attention, I have done this because it was the right thing to do, and I seemed to have a unique widow of opportunity to speak for those whose voices were so actively suppressed. But I certainly have had to take hits for it. The slander, defamation, gaslighting, and globally coordinated character assassination have been non-stop. But as time has gone by, and more and more has been revealed about the hidden hands that seek to manage what we are allowed to hear, see, and think, I have been transformed.


The biomedical world that I thought I was living in has been revealed to be a sham. The legitimacy of the industry and discipline that I have committed my entire professional life to is in shambles. I am now embarrassed to call myself a vaccines and biodefense expert, because the fundamental corruption inherent in those domains has been so clearly revealed. I cannot unsee what I have seen. I cannot recapture all of those years spent in a profoundly corrupt academic system, spent supporting a deeply compromised discipline which appears primarily driven by financial interests rather than by what I had naively believed was a commitment to saving lives. I chose to not pursue the careers of my father and father in law, which were spent building weapons of war. Only to find that I had inadvertently played a significant role in enabling one of the most tragic medical follies in the history of man.

Read more …

“And while she was exonerating herself, she made time to give the masses a little bitty sermon on the nature of science itself. Remember science?”

Drs. Walensky and Offit: It’s All in Good Fun (Harrington)

A few days back Rochelle Walensky was invited to give an interview at her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. The first part of the discussion pivoted around softball questions which allowed her to pontificate on her decidedly race-infused views of public health. It was more than halfway into the interview before her interlocutor finally got around to asking her about where she and the CDC might have gone wrong in their management of the Covid epidemic. Here is what followed. First, she told of how pleased she was when she heard (from a “CNN feed” no less) about the “95% effectiveness” of the vaccines because, like all of us, she just wanted to get the pandemic behind us. And then she expresses, between chuckles, her shock upon learning that the vaccines might diminish in effectiveness over time “Nobody said waning…Nobody said what if the next variant…what if it’s not as potent against the next variant?”

You see, even though a humanities professor like me with no scientific training knew —thanks to my readings of the Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen EUAs and from reading numerous scientific papers on vaccine effectiveness and safety and listening to people like Sucharit Bkahdi, Geert Vande Bossche and Michael Yeadon— by very early 2021 that the vaccines probably would not prevent transmission and might actually promote new resistant varieties of the virus, none of this was conceivable or knowable to the Director of the CDC. Like the human hologram she apparently is, we are led to believe that she was there, but she was not really there. She was responsible, but really someone else was. “No one could have known,” she exclaims, except, of course, the hundreds of thousands of us amateurs who did, in fact, know, and were censored and called science-hating anti-vaxxers for our troubles.

And of course, holograms don’t do guilt or responsibility. Did she express any sympathy for the people that were forced out of jobs over their refusal to take what we now know, and she admits, were largely ineffective vaccines? Nope, again even though she was in the chair, it was, of course, all beyond her control. And as a powerless spectator—cue the folksy music—just like you and me, she was disappointed and surprised. Mistakes were made. She meant well. Her only real faults, as she said in the same talk, were the clearly well-intentioned ones of having “too little caution and too much optimism.” And while she was exonerating herself, she made time to give the masses a little bitty sermon on the nature of science itself. Remember science?

Read more …

How happy can we afford to be for them?

Julian Assange To Marry Fiancee Stella Moris In Belmarsh Prison March 23 (DM)

Julian Assange’s fiancée has spoken of her joy at being allowed to marry the WikiLeaks founder despite restrictions being placed on their wedding. Stella Moris, 38, will marry the 50-year-old in Belmarsh Prison, south east London on March 23, just weeks before the third anniversary of his dramatic arrest when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in the capital in April 2019. He has been held in the high-security jail ever since as he fights extradition to the United States, where he is wanted over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He has always denied wrongdoing and has won support for his case from human rights organisations and journalist groups across the world.


Ms Moris said that just four guests and two witnesses will be allowed to attend the ceremony, as well as two security guards. Dame Vivienne Westwood is designing Ms Moris’s wedding dress, and a kilt for Assange, whose parents are of Scottish extraction. The guests will have to leave immediately after the event, even though it is being held during normal visiting hours. The couple are still waiting to hear if they will be allowed a photographer. Ms Moris said: ‘Obviously we are very excited, even though the circumstances are very restrictive. ‘There continues to be unjustified interference in our plans. Having a photographer for an hour is not an unreasonable request. [..] Julian is looking forward to the wedding because it is finally happening, many months after we first made the request.’

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Guardiola is a Catalan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503007813873848333

 

 

Pelosi

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t me
https://twitter.com/i/status/1502234046809657355

 

 

22 years

 

 

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

 

 

 

Feb 092022
 


René Magritte L’éternité 1935

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

India’s ambassador

 

 

 

 

Calgary police officer

 

 

She loves school

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Full immunity, but not from investors.

Pfizer Quietly Adds Language Warning On Data (ZH)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tucker More & more people dying in the prime of life

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Blue Stack Strikes Back (Jilani)

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

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

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

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

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Nothing much changed so far.

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

First Canadian Provinces Scrap Covid Mandates (RT)

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

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

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

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

Towing Companies Refuse to Move Freedom Convoy Trucks (TC)

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

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

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

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Curious.

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

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


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

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Long ago.

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

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


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

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Sleep.

Scientists Divulge Easy Way To Lose Weight (RT)

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

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

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

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Fear sells, not just negative news.

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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Google translation from Dutch.

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

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

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

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

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

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Brand/Taibbi

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mar 132021
 
 March 13, 2021  Posted by at 9:41 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Times Square, New York 1954

 

DeSantis to Biden: Thought of Reinstating COVID-19 Restrictions ‘Insane’ (Hill)
Lockdowns Wrecked Democracy around the World (AIER)
3 Million Masks Used Globally Every Minute: Environmental Catastrophe (JTN)
More Countries Suspend AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine (USN)
US And Pacific Partners To Flood Asia With Vaccines (Pol.)
EU’s Green Pass Will Only Be Valid With EMA-Approved COVID Vaccinations (EN)
Europe’s COVID Vaccine Rollout Faces Even More Delays (ZH)
Previews of Coming Attractions (Kunstler)
OPCW Chief Must ‘Find The Courage To Address’ Douma Coverup Allegations (RT)
Andrew Cuomo’s Hilarious ‘Cancel Culture’ Excuse (NYP)
The Sovietization of the American Press (Taibbi)
Criticizing Public Figures is Not Harassment or Abuse (Greenwald)
A Green New Deal Is More Expensive Than Joe Biden Realizes (Mises)
Boris Johnson Says UK ‘Legally’ Obtained Elgin Marbles, Won’t Return Them (RT)

 

 

The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I’ll make it
– James Baldwin

 

 

UK: By end of January 88% of over 80s had been vaccinated. By end of February 95% of over 80s had been vaccinated. In that time, 75,000 over 80s died. 75% of them had been vaccinated by the time they died.

 

 

 

 

“We’re gonna continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain anything of the sort.”

DeSantis to Biden: Thought of Reinstating COVID-19 Restrictions ‘Insane’ (Hill)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday blasted President Biden’s warning that the U.S. could need to reinstate certain coronavirus restrictions if the public does not stay “vigilant” about defeating COVID-19. “To even contemplate doing any type of lockdown, honestly it’s insane,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Florida, touting the state’s efforts to administer vaccines to the elderly and other populations. “That’s not gonna happen in the state of Florida,” the governor continued, referring to reinstating restrictions. “We’re gonna continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain anything of the sort.”


Biden has repeatedly vowed to not lock down the country but warned in a prime-time address Thursday night that some restrictions may have to be revisited if current downward trends change and the virus resurges. He emphasized, though, that his administration is focused on helping the nation return to normal. “Even if we devote every resource we have, beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity,” Biden said. “And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington, what the loudest voices say on cable or online. Unity is what we do as fellow Americans. Because if we don’t say vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track.” “And, please, we don’t want to do that again,” he added.

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“The logic of these policies is that we must be locked down for ever simply because the world is a dangerous place.”

Lockdowns Wrecked Democracy around the World (AIER)

While the number of fatalities attributed to Covid-19 is carefully tracked by governments, few people have recognized how pandemic-spurred crackdowns have devastated democracy around the world. Emergency proclamations have entitled presidents and other government officials to seize vast new powers previously forbidden to them. Government bureaucrats became a new priesthood that could sanctify unlimited sacrifices merely by invoking dubious statistical extrapolations of future perils. In October, Freedom House issued a report, Democracy under Lockdown – The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Freedom, which warned that since the pandemic started, “the condition of democracy and human rights has worsened in 80 countries.”

Sarah Repucci, co-author of the report, warned that “governments’ responses to the pandemic are eroding the pillars of democracy around the world.” Abuses of power have been propelled by a presumption that government officials are entitled to all the power they claim to need to keep people safe. When the pandemic arrived in America, governors in many states responded by dropping the equivalent of a Reverse Neutron Bomb – something which destroys the economy while supposedly leaving human beings unharmed. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set the standard when he effectively declared that he was entitled to inflict any burden on his state’s residents to “save just one life.” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer prohibited anyone from leaving their home to visit family or friends.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti banned people from walking or bicycling outside. More than ten million jobs were lost thanks to lockdowns, a major reason why life expectancy in the United States last year had its sharpest plunge since World War Two. Australia imposed some of the most heavy-handed restrictions. In August, the state of Victoria dictated an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for the Melbourne area and prohibited people from venturing more than three miles from their residence. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews decreed: “Where you slept last night is where you’ll need to stay for the next six weeks.” Melbourne has been hit by repeated lockdowns since then. Britain unleashed some of the most absurd restrictions. In June, it prohibited couples who live in different homes from having sex indoors. The Independent (U.K.) noted, “People who have sex outside can be punished under pre-existing laws on outraging public decency and indecent exposure.”

Steve Watson reported in January for Summit News that British cabinet ministers “ have privately debated preventing people from talking to each other in the street and in supermarkets, and even preventing people from leaving home more than once per week, and introducing curfews.” British vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi fretted, “I’m worried about some of the pictures I’ve seen of social interactions in parks, if you have to exercise you can go out for exercise only.” Apparently, a national vow of silence is necessary to fight Covid. Summit News noted, “Police are also demanding new powers to force entry into the homes of suspected lockdown violators.” Former British Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption complained last month, “Foreign travel is being prohibited, turning us into a hermit island on the basis we cannot know what mutations may be lurking out there. The logic of these policies is that we must be locked down for ever simply because the world is a dangerous place.”

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“129 billion face masks [are] being used globally every month” to achieve, according to the CDC, a 1.32% reduction in virus spread.

3 Million Masks Used Globally Every Minute: Environmental Catastrophe (JTN)

Researchers are warning that heavy mask usage over the course of the coronavirus pandemic could be contributing to a looming environmental disaster, with millions of masks being used every minute and many of them polluting local ecosystems in the process. Researchers in the U.S. and Denmark estimated in a study in Frontiers in Environmental Science that “an astounding 129 billion face masks [are] being used globally every month,” a number that works out to three million every minute. “Most are disposable face masks made from plastic microfibers,” the researchers note.


With mask usage skyrocketing to unprecedented highs over the past year due to beliefs that masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19, the scientists note that “there is no official guidance on mask recycle, making it more likely to be disposed of as solid waste.” “When not properly collected and managed, masks can be transported from land into freshwater and marine environments by surface run-off, river flows, oceanic currents, wind, and animals,” they warn. The researchers note that, due to the likelihood of COVID-19 becoming an endemic disease among the global population, “It is imperative to launch coordinated efforts from environmental scientists, medical agencies, and solid waste managing organizations, and the general public to minimize the negative impacts of disposal mask, and eventually prevent it from becoming another too-big-to- handle problem.”

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Bad PR.

More Countries Suspend AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine (USN)

Bulgaria and Thailand join a growing list of countries that are pausing the vaccine’s rollout over health concerns, including Denmark, Iceland and Norway. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha canceled plans to publicly receive the vaccine and Thai officials have delayed the vaccine rollout while they consider the issue of any potential link between the vaccine and adverse outcomes, Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, a senior member of Thailand’s vaccine committee, said in a news conference on Friday. Officials say they will wait for the results of investigations in Denmark, which paused the vaccine’s use for two weeks, and by health organizations in Europe before making any further decisions. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has asked the European Medicines Agency to dismiss doubts about the vaccine’s safety before resuming vaccinations in the country.


“I have temporarily suspended the administration of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in Bulgaria until a written statement came from the European Medicines Agency that it is safe,” he said. “Until all doubts are dropped and experts do not guarantee that it does not pose a risk to humans, the immunization with this vaccine in our country will be stopped.” Despite the pause in some countries, Germany will continue to immunize its residents with the vaccine. “We are planning to continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca, just like an overall majority of other European countries,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Thursday. The United Kingdom, Spain, France and the Netherlands have all also said they will continue using the vaccine.

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This feels very incompetent.

US And Pacific Partners To Flood Asia With Vaccines (Pol.)

A new vaccine partnership agreed between the United States, Japan, India and Australia plans to flood Asian and Pacific island nations with “at least” 1 billion Covid vaccine doses by 2022. There’s of course a political strategy behind the humanitarianism — to outflank Chinese influence across Asia. The rhetoric is lofty: “It is the Indo-Pacific that will now shape the destiny of our world in the 21st century,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a video message launching the partnership. The early focus of the Quad alliance on “positive sum cooperation” and “public goods provision” would be a difficult narrative for China to counter, said Andrew Small, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Asia program, who suggested this might provide a model for American alliance-building during the Biden administration.

The centerpiece of the Quad Vaccine Partnership is an Indian production drive to deliver the billion extra doses by the end of 2022, building on what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called India’s “formidable vaccine production capacity.” But the Quad is joining the global vaccine diplomacy game late — China and Russia have been striking deals and delivering donated doses to more than 50 countries largely shunned by Western vaccine makers. The Quad partnership launching as a set of goals without an implementation plan — leaders promised to set up an expert group to manage the partnership — there’s a lot of catching up to do. The Quad will also need to navigate carefully with COVAX, which has begun delivering the first 300 million of a planned 2 billion doses to mostly low and middle-income countries.

While the Quad partners are all members of COVAX and insist they will work cooperatively with the project, delivering the billion extra doses may be more complicated than simply boosting Indian capacity. Officials from the World Health Organization and the Serum Institute of India have warned that an existing U.S. ban on exporting raw materials for vaccines is straining COVAX’s ability to quickly deliver the doses it has promised the world.

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Nobody wants to understand how scary this is. Freedom is a basic right.

EU’s Green Pass Will Only Be Valid With EMA-Approved COVID Vaccinations (EN)

An EU source has told Euronews that the Green Pass proposal, to be put forward on March 17th to aid free movement within the bloc, will only be valid with EMA-approved vaccinations. Why? Because the vaccinations from unapproved companies will not be covered by the EU liability clause and quality control. The source reported that EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders made it clear that member states were free to get their citizens vaccinated by other products, but they would not be allocated a licensed travel certificate unless their jab had been from an approved company, of which there are currently four. Pfizer/BioNtech, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson&Johnson.

The duration of the digital green certificate should be limited to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU source said, adding that tests and quarantine will continue to be the enablers of free movement. Thus, vaccination does not become a pre-condition for free movement. The certificate will be available in digital and paper-based format. Reynders indicated Thursday that data protection and possible discrimination remained key concerns for the European Commission working on a proposal for a COVID-19 travel certificate. But Friday’s leak shows that there is a focus on vaccination selection. Reynders is aiming to fast-track the proposal at the European Parliament, leading to a “binding instrument” for all member states before the summer.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said it would be technically possible to develop a “green pass” within about three months using data indicating whether a person has been vaccinated, tested negative, or is immune after contracting the disease, but that many political issues must first be resolved. The certificates could help smooth a return to air travel and possibly avoid another disastrous summer holiday season, as the tourism industry and broader economies suffer from restrictions. Southern European countries dependent on tourism, like Greece, Spain and Portugal, support such a system, but their northern EU partners, like Germany, have reservations over whether such certificates would work.

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There will be many more of these issues.

Europe’s COVID Vaccine Rollout Faces Even More Delays (ZH)

Earlier today, a smattering of European nations halted vaccinations for at least some AstraZeneca COVID vaccine jabs amid an investigation into whether the jabs contributed to dangerous blood clots that led to at least one death. And as if this wasn’t a big enough problem for one day, Bloomberg reports that manufacturing issues are plaguing AstraZeneca’s manufacturing facilities, creating more obstacles to distribution. And now European governments are bracing for further delays. Good thing Italy refused to send that one shipment of jabs to Australia. Here’s more from Bloomberg:

“European Union governments are bracing for further possible delays in the distribution of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine after a warning from the European Commission that the manufacturer remains a problem, according to a diplomatic note seen by Bloomberg. Astra Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said last month the company would look at tapping international supply chains to make up for some of the shortfall, including production in the U.S. It’s revised its delivery schedule multiple times, most recently committing to 40 million doses this quarter and 180 million in the second from an earlier goal of about 280 million across both periods. But at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, diplomats were told by senior EU officials that Astra continues to be “problematic.” They also heard that Johnson & Johnson, which could get market authorization from the European Medicines Agency on Thursday, has yet to provide a delivery schedule for its vaccine.”

As a result, Brussels said Thursday it plans to extend its vaccine export control mechanism to the end of June from mid-March, citing “persistent delays” in some deliveries. On the US side, President Joe Biden just ordered another 100MM jabs from JNJ, and it’s possible more might be on the way, limiting the supply available for absorption by Germany, France and the other 25 EU members. “On J&J, the EU had said in January that under the contract, the company would fill and finish a portion of its EU supply in the U.S., prompting concerns among some governments. The EU said at the time that it didn’t expect this to impact deliveries. This week the commission told diplomats that it was looking into the possibility of finding some of that fill-finish capacity in other third countries as it wasn’t readily available in the EU, according to the note of the meeting.”:

In what could be a silver lining, a UK study published Thursday showed the Novovax jab was found to offer 100% protection from “severe” COVID. At this point, the US will soon be facing a glut of supply, so Europe’s problem will likely clear up once the next round of vaccines are approved in the US.

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“Mostly what did not fly is the idea that the Covid-19 virus can still be used as a cattle-prod for herding citizens into feedlots of compliance — Americans are buffalos, not steers. ”

Previews of Coming Attractions (Kunstler)

How reassured were you by Joe Biden’s speech to the nation Thursday night? The more his managers pretend that he’s in charge of anything, the more unlikely it actually seems. So, they wound him up — Adderall would be my guess, to fortify the attention span — and rolled him out like the mummy of Amenhotep III, and one could just imagine the leaders of this-and-that foreign nation cringing (or cackling) in their seats to see this embodiment of collapsing America go through his spiritless ritual motions. Mostly what did not fly is the idea that the Covid-19 virus can still be used as a cattle-prod for herding citizens into feedlots of compliance — Americans are buffalos, not steers.

They are determined now to take care of business, and the main business of people with any initiative will be to rig up some sort of gainful occupation while the lumbering old systems break down. They will do it despite orders to operate at fifty percent capacity, or close at nine o’clock, or be handcuffed by rinky-dink regulations. They’ll have to get creative to figure out ways around all the official impediments to making a living. This group of the not-yet-undead will resist further attempts to restrict their liberty and to steal the fruits of their own enterprise to pay for other people’s failures or lack of enterprise. The federal government is one system visibly working to destroy itself with epic giveaways of money it pretends to command and the Covid-19 Stimulus bill will only accelerate its loss of credibility.

A $1,400 check won’t “solve” the problem of someone a year behind on mortgage payments or rent. It sure won’t solve the problems of their creditors and landlords. And if you think shortchanging that class of people is a good idea, you’re beating a path straight to the death of credit per se, and then of our money, the dollar, which is based on credit. Taxpayers are not so stupid that they’ll fail to notice who is being asked to bail out bankrupt states, irresponsible cities, and pension funds and there’s going to be trouble over that. The trouble will express itself both in political strife and in the further decay of the relationship between work and wealth. It means a collapsing standard of living for most people. Turning the one-shot $1,400 into a monthly Guaranteed Basic Income can only be a short-term shuck-and-jive when a loaf of bread goes from $5 to $15 to $50 — which can happen easily, and quickly, too, as lots of “free” money chases crashing productivity. Wait for it.

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And take Bellingcat down with it please.

OPCW Chief Must ‘Find The Courage To Address’ Douma Coverup Allegations (RT)

The scandal surrounding alleged manipulation of scientific data in the chemical weapons watchdog the OPCW, ignored by both the organization and the mainstream media, is only getting worse with time, a pro-whistleblower group said. A new statement from whistleblower-supporting organization the Courage Foundation complains that the leadership of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has failed to properly address accusations of a coverup involving the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018. Instead it tried to “side-step the issue” entirely by targeting directly and apparently indirectly the whistleblowers who brought their concerns about the integrity of the OPCW’s investigation of the incident into public view.

The statement was signed by almost 30 public figures, including author Noam Chomsky, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, and musician and activist Roger Waters. The list also includes multiple scientists, including four former OPCW inspectors, as well as the organization’s founding director, Jose Bustani. “We believe that the interests of the OPCW are best served by the Director General [Fernando Arias] providing a transparent and neutral forum in which the concerns of all the investigators can be heard as well as ensuring that a fully objective and scientific investigation is completed,” the group said.

Arias should “find the courage to address the problems within his organization relating to this investigation and ensure States Parties and the United Nations are informed accordingly. In this way we hope and believe that the credibility and integrity of the OPCW can be restored.” The Douma incident happened in a jihadist-controlled neighbourhood of Damascus, which was on the cusp of being captured by the Syrian government forces at the time. The predominant narrative about it in the Western media was that the Syrian army deployed chlorine gas by dropping canisters from a helicopter, killing scores of civilians as a result. The US, the UK and France launched barrages of missiles at Syrian government targets days later in retaliation for the purported atrocity.

Tucker OPCW
https://twitter.com/i/status/1370571845267681280

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I think Cuomo is going to fight till the end. That’s his mindset.

Andrew Cuomo’s Hilarious ‘Cancel Culture’ Excuse (NYP)

In keeping with his obstinate posture of denial and deflection, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come up with a new excuse for his woes: cancel culture. Yes, Albany’s tyrant, accused now by seven women of sexual harassment, the target of a federal investigation into underreporting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, asked to resign by the majority of New York house Democrats and the National Organization for Women, abandoned by the New York Times, New York magazine and other house organs of the left-leaning media, subject of a just-opened police investigation in Albany — yes, Andrew Cuomo is simply a victim of the woke mob (e.g. crazy, hysterical ladies). “People know the difference between playing to politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth,” Cuomo said Friday afternoon.

This is as laughable as his brother Chris’s claim last week that to cover his brother’s scandals would be journalistically unethical — despite Chris hosting Andrew on CNN constantly during the pandemic’s height. “Politicians who don’t know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are, in my opinion, reckless and dangerous,” Cuomo said. “The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes an opinion without knowing any facts or substance.” Says the man who demanded Eric Schneiderman immediately resign after abuse claims, no investigation necessary. Says the man who insisted that Brett Kavanaugh needed to take a lie detector test.

Clearly, Andrew Cuomo still considers himself America’s hero. Remember “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” — the quickie book he wrote in the middle of this nightmare, New York among the worst-hit in the country, pocketing a reported seven-figure advance despite dead bodies stacked in unrefrigerated trucks and buried in mass graves here? Square that circle.

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“He checks almost every box as a comic subject..”

The Sovietization of the American Press (Taibbi)

The most Soviet of the recent efforts didn’t have a classically Soviet headline. “Comedians are struggling to parody Biden. Let’s hope this doesn’t last,” read the Washington Post opinion piece by Richard Zoglin, arguing that Biden is the first president in generations who might be “impervious to impressionists.” Zoglin contended Biden is “impregnable” to parody, his voice being too “devoid of obvious quirks,” his manner too “muted and self-effacing” to offer comedians much to work with. [..] Forget that the “impregnable to parody” pol spent the last campaign year jamming fingers in the sternums of voters, challenging them to pushup contests, calling them “lying dog-faced pony soldiers,” and forgetting what state he was in. Biden, on the day Zoglin ran his piece, couldn’t remember the name of his Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and referred to the Department of Defense as “that outfit over there”:

It doesn’t take much looking to find comedians like James Adomian and Anthony Atamaniuk ab-libbing riffs on Biden with ease. He checks almost every box as a comic subject, saying inappropriate things, engaging in wacky Inspector Clouseau-style physical stunts (like biting his wife’s finger), and switching back and forth between outbursts of splenetic certainty and total cluelessness. The parody doesn’t even have to be mean — you could make it endearing cluelessness. But to say nothing’s there to work with is bananas. The first 50 days of Biden’s administration have been a surprise on multiple fronts. The breadth of his stimulus suggests a real change from the Obama years, while hints that this administration wants to pick a unionization fight with Amazon go against every tendency of Clintonian politics.

But it’s hard to know what much of it means, because coverage of Biden increasingly resembles official press releases, often featuring embarrassing, Soviet-style contortions. When Biden decided not to punish Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi on the grounds that the “cost” of “breaching the relationship with one of America’s key Arab allies” was too high, the New York Times headline read: “Biden Won’t Penalize Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi’s Killing, Fearing Relations Breach.” When Donald Trump made the same calculation, saying he couldn’t cut ties because “the world is a very dangerous place” and “our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the paper joined most of the rest of the press corps in howling in outrage.

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Some strange people at the Paper of Record.

Criticizing Public Figures is Not Harassment or Abuse (Greenwald)

One of the Paper of Record’s star reporters, Taylor Lorenz, has been much discussed of late. That is so for three reasons. The first is that the thirty-six-year-old tech and culture reporter has helped innovate a new kind of reportorial beat that seems to have a couple of purposes. She publishes articles exploring in great detail the online culture of teenagers and very young adults, which, as a father of two young Tik-Tok-using children, I have found occasionally and mildly interesting. She also seeks to catch famous and non-famous people alike using bad words or being in close digital proximity to bad people so that she can alert the rest of the world to these important findings. It is natural that journalists who pioneer a new form of reporting this way are going to be discussed.

The second reason Lorenz is the topic of recent discussion is that she has been repeatedly caught fabricating claims about influential people, and attempting to ruin the reputations and lives of decidedly non-famous people. In the last six weeks alone, she twice publicly lied about Netscape founder Marc Andreessen: once claiming he used the word “retarded” in a Clubhouse room in which she was lurking (he had not) and then accusing him of plotting with a white nationalist in a different Clubhouse room to attack her (he, in fact, had said nothing).

She also often uses her large, powerful public platform to malign private citizens without any power or public standing by accusing them of harboring bad beliefs and/or associating with others who do. (She is currently being sued by a citizen named Arya Toufanian, who claims Lorenz has used her private Twitter account to destroy her reputation and business, particularly with a tweet that Lorenz kept pinned at the top of her Twitter page for eight months, while several other non-public figures complain that Lorenz has “reported” on their non-public activities). It is to be expected that a New York Times journalist who gets caught lying as she did against Andreessen and trying to destroy the reputations of non-public figures will be a topic of conversation.

The third reason this New York Times reporter is receiving attention is because she has become a leading advocate and symbol for a toxic tactic now frequently used by wealthy and influential public figures (like her) to delegitimize criticisms and even render off-limits any attempt to hold them accountable. Specifically, she and her media allies constantly conflate criticisms of people like them with “harassment,” “abuse” and even “violence.” That is what Lorenz did on Tuesday when she co-opted International Women’s Day to announce that “it is not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I have had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life.” She began her story by proclaiming: “For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment.” She finished it with this: “No one should have to go through this.”

Notably, there was no mention, by her or her many media defenders, of the lives she has harmed or otherwise deleteriously affected with her massive journalistic platform. That is deliberate. Under this formulation, if you criticize the ways Lorenz uses her very influential media perch — including by pointing out that she probably should stop fabricating accusations against people and monitoring the private acts of non-public people — then you are guilty of harassing a “young woman” and inflicting emotional pain and violence on her (it’s quite a bizarre dynamic, best left to psychologists, how her supporters insist on infantilizing this fully grown, close-to-middle-aged successful journalist by talking about her as if she’s a fragile high school junior; it’s particularly creepy when her good male Allies speak of her this way).

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The Green New Deal is for people who don’t understand energy. Or economics.

A Green New Deal Is More Expensive Than Joe Biden Realizes (Mises)

The concept of “net energy” illustrates why replacing fossil fuels with large-scale renewable energy is often counterproductive. In Carbon Shift, a 2009 book discussing peak oil and climate change, David Hughes summarizes it like this: “A two-megawatt windmill contains 260 tonnes of steel requiring 170 tonnes of coking coal and 300 tonnes of iron ore, all mined, transported and produced by hydrocarbons. The question is: how long must a windmill generate energy before it creates more energy than it took to build it? At a good wind site, the energy payback day could be in three years or less; in a poor location, energy payback may be never. That is, a windmill could spin until it falls apart and never generate as much energy as was invested in building it.”

This life-cycle accounting of “energy return on energy invested” (EROEI) succinctly describes multiple stages of intermediate capital within a hydrocarbon-based structure of production. Hughes also hints at the basic questions facing all entrepreneurs—namely, where they should place their investments and how they should configure heterogeneous capital to recoup up-front costs plus some profit or “windfall.” Wind turbines and solar panels do enjoy a wide market in off-grid applications, such as remote farm properties and on oceangoing sailboats, where the abundance of wind and scarcity of petroleum products makes the investment a no-brainer. In sunny parts of the country, solar has reached “grid parity.”

States like Texas, however, have failed to heed considerations of both net energy and supply and demand in installing massive wind farms at great taxpayer expense where fossil fuels would be far cheaper and more reliable. Lacking price signals, the central planner is blind to the economic consequences of his grand designs. The president revealed his ignorance of the technological and economic problem at hand when he stated matter of factly, “We know what to do, we’ve just got to do it.” On the contrary, we have no idea how to create a nonpolluting electrical grid without emitting much more carbon in the process than we otherwise would have.

[..] The Green New Deal is, if anything, a formula for a new dark age. Texas’s recent power outages show the difficulty of the task facing grid managers. There, an attempt to prematurely transition to unreliable wind energy exacerbated the strain on the grid when turbines froze at the crucial moment when they were most needed. The grid managers failed to keep a maintain a sufficient buffer, even without the additional mandate of ensuring the creation of new green jobs and mitigating the discriminatory effects of climate change. It is ironic that a state and nation so rich in natural energy resources would be leading the charge to cancel fossil fuels in favor of technology that has never been proven effective, or even environmentally friendly, at a large scale.

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The Greeks should refuse to be bullied. “I legally bought them from Nazis” is nonsense.

Boris Johnson Says UK ‘Legally’ Obtained Elgin Marbles, Won’t Return Them (RT)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dashed Athens’ hopes of getting back the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles by saying that the British Museum remains their “rightful” owner following “legal” acquisition in the 19th century. The ancient sculptures that once adorned the famed fifth century BC Parthenon temple in Athens were “legally acquired” by the British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, Johnson told the Greek newspaper Ta Nea on Friday. The UK prime minister left no room for the idea of returning the ancient works of art to Greece, saying that although he “understands” the “strong feelings” of the Greeks, he still considers the commissioners of the British Museum in London to be “the rightful owners” of the Elgin Marbles.


“The British government has a firm and long-standing position” on the issue, Johnson – himself a former student of Classical Philology and Philosophy at Oxford, who once called Homer “the greatest writer of all time” and named ancient Greek statesman, Pericles, his “hero” – told Ta Nea. The row between London and Athens over the fate of the sculptures constituting roughly a half of the 160-meter frieze of the ancient temple has come to the fore in the context of post-Brexit trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. The EU demanded the return of “unlawfully removed cultural objects” while London, which quickly linked the demand to the Marbles, said they were “not up for discussion.” The sculptures were taken from Greece, which was under Ottoman Turkish rule at that time, under an agreement Elgin struck with the Ottomans. The Greeks argue they were “stolen” while the British Museum insists it was a “legal contract.”

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Mar 082021
 


Banksy

 

 

 

I can’t NOT do something with a piece my long time friend Jim Kunstler wrote recently, see below, since he so completely encapsulates the ghost of our time. I can’t, because this goes to my heart. It started out a year ago with people wanting to tear down statues, and now we have progressed to world literature, and even Looney Tunes. Jim turns to Winnie the Pooh because he’s sort of the ultimate anti-bad guy.

I mailed Jim to give him my compliments for the piece, and tell him of Automatic Earth commenter V. Arnold’s “That Kunstler piece is just…just…just…just incredibly excellent… I never in my life read such an excellent piece of literature…aimed at todays world… Kunstler rules…Thanks Ilargi…”, and he replied: “Raul – Why thank you for that lavish compliment. I felt a little insecure about the Winnie burlesque. Very reassuring to hear that it was appreciated.”

What I said about the statues “cancelling” when it happened was that it would be endless, and therefore useless. But literature is way worse. Literature, books, made me who I am, just like watching Rembrandt and van Gogh, and listening to Mozart and Bach, and yes, people may have had different views 400 or 2,000 years ago, but this is our history, this is where we come from, this is who we are. And trying to deny who we are won’t make us any less so.

I’m not particularly in favor of erecting statues of Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao, but trying to erase the worst of mankind from our memories won’t make them go away. A slaveholder will still always be the first president of the United States, and its capital will also still be named after him. And this is repeated in a million places and names around the world, and perhaps we should leave all those things and aim to do better today, instead of cancelling and erasing yesterday, because that may well increase the risk that such acts will rise again, and we’ll have nothing left to remind us.

 

But I care more about literature than I do about statues of US civil war generals. Though at the same time I do wonder what it would take to lead some people to start questioning Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci, or Rodin, and then we would be back at square one anyway, this thing is truly endless. And there’s always something that people in the past have said or thought or done that someone in 2021 can find fault with. And that may leave them to find fault in 2021, when black and brown girls and boys are still bombed into oblivion.

In essence, it’s simply a question of nobodies trying to cancel the work of geniuses, until we’re all nobodies. Art is the ultimate expression of what the human mind is capable of, other than love and compassion. What we’ve recently seen “attempting to be cancelled” are fantastic works like To Kill a Mockingbird, Odyssey, Dr. Seuss, and you wonder when they’ll get around to Shakespeare and the Bible. They will.

And yesterday we see the cancel culture targeting Pepé Le Pew. Good golly, Batman, once you start going through the Looney Tunes catalogue, it’s hard to see how any of it would survive. And how about Disney? Meanwhile, today’s kids are playing “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty”. How lost are we? Do I want my MTV, or do I want my Dostojevsky? Well, I want it all. And the classics, and the Bard.

And I don’t want you to cancel culture any of it away from me. Because it’s what made me who I am. And I know what’s good about it, and what’s not. I can think, and I don’t need or want you to think for me. This is so important to me that I find it hard to find both the rationale and the emotion to express it. Cut it out. As I said the other day, there’s no difference between book banning and book burning.

 

From his site, kunstler.com, here’s Jim Kunstler’s ultimate, brilliant take on it:

 

 

 

 

The Trial of Winnie the Pooh

 

 

A solemn silence turned collective gasp in the District of Columbia Woke Circuit courtroom as two bailiffs entered the door beside the jury box with the small cream-colored bear suspended between them, his stumpy hind legs wheeling fruitlessly to seek purchase in the unavailing air. The Queen of Hearts, presiding, banged her gavel as the little bear was seated at the table for the defense beside another rather small, darkish, furtive figure.

The Queen of Hearts peered over her half-glasses at the defendant and snarled, “State your full name and residence.”

“Winnie-the-Pooh,” the defendant said. “From the Hundred Acre Wood.”

“What is your personal pronoun?”

The bear looked perplexed. “Oh, bother,” he said. “Nobody I know has such a thing?”

“Of course they do,” the Queen said.

“Perhaps it’s ‘the’,” the bear said.

“That is a definite article, not a pronoun!” the Queen barked. “Are you an imbecile?”

 

“I’m not sure. Maybe it’s ‘dear’”—

“That’s enough out of you!” the Queen said. “And let’s have no more impertinence! Do you have counsel?”

“Why, yes,” the bear said. “Mr. Kafka, who is seated beside me.”

“You are mistaken,” the Queen said. “That is a cockroach seated beside you, and the court is displeased to see it. Bailiff, please remove that disgusting cockroach from my court.”

Mr. Kafka, gesticulating in protest with all six arms and legs, had to be dragged out.

“First witness!” the Queen screeched. “Counsel for the prosecution….”

“Calling Uncle Remus,” said the prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, famous for his exploits in the Enron case and with The Mueller Team in the old Russia collusion days.

An elderly gentleman-of-color with white beard and a kindly face limped forward and took the witness stand.

“Do you know this bear?” Weissmann asked.

“I knows a Brer B’ar,” Uncle Remus said. “But he a black b’ar. Dishyere one a white b’ar.”

“Exactly!” Weissmann said. “Dismissed.”

“Dat all?” Uncle Remus asked.

“It’s plenty,” Weissmann retorted and smirked at the jury, composed of members from the United Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Antifa, who all nodded amongst themselves.

“A white bear!” Weissmann repeated for emphasis, shaking his head. “And not a polar bear, either. A white bear. From England. Think about it…!”

The jurors emitted growls of opprobrium.

“Next witness,” the Queen cried.

“Calling N-Word Jim,” Weissmann said.

A strapping middle-aged gentleman-of-color, dressed in ragged clothes, strode to the witness chair.

“You reside in libraries all over the world, is that correct?” the attorney asked.

“Yassuh, dat is so. But I’se originally fum Hannibal, Missouri.”

“Are you acquainted with the defendant?”

“I done seen him on many a shelf ‘round de worl’.”

“How much shelf space does he occupy compared to you?”

“Well, fur as I knows, ‘bout double.”

“Does that seem fair to you?”

“Way I sees it, he in mebbe twice as minny books as me and Huck.”

“Huck! Who is this Huck?”

“White boy I done made a journey down de ribber wif one time.”

“What is your experience with white folks, Jim?”

“Well, dey runs mos’ everything, I ‘spect. Leas’ as fur as I kin see.”

“Exactly!” Weissmann argued. “Is it not white privilege to — as you say — run everything?” he added, shaking his head gravely. “Hegemonizing and colonizing literature everywhere you look.”

“Say, what…?” the witness rejoined and pulled his chin.

“You can go back to your raft, Jim,” Weissmann said. “Dismissed. Calling Mr. Christopher Robin.”

A very old man, bent and trembling, shuffled forward to the stand, leaning on his brass-headed cane.

“You’ve been acquainted with the defendant for how many years?”

“Oh, yes, many, since…let’s see… uh, nineteen hundred and twenty-six, I’d say.”

“In all those years, did he ever… touch you?”

“We held hands. And hugged frequently.”

“I see,” Weissmann sneered. “And this ‘touching’ started when you were, what? About five years old?”

“I suppose. Yes. It was a very long time ago.”

“Do you recall an incident involving the defendant, a person named Piglet, and a broken balloon?”

“Yes… yes, I do!”

“That was not really a balloon, was it, Mr. Robin?”

“At the time, I thought…”

“You thought!” Weissmann barked. “We all think, don’t we? Sometimes maybe a little too much! I’ll tell you what I think: I think the jury can see exactly what was going on between you and the defendant, this very privileged bear. And if they think the way I do — that is, as a normal person with healthy morals — they’ll think that this was depraved behavior on the part of this bear, routinely abusing a five-year-old boy, year after year after year!”

The jury members all nodded avidly and buzzed between themselves.

Christopher Robin looked up at the bench.

“Balloon, indeed!” the Queen snorted, wagging her finger at both the bear and Christopher Robin. “I think we’ve heard enough.”

“No! I have one other witness,” Weissmann said. “Calling Peter Pan….”

A figure wearing a leaf-green tunic and tights, and a feathered cap, flew across the room and landed in the witness seat.

“You’ve had occasion to work at the Disney Studios with the defendant, have you not?”

“I would see him around the lot on lunch breaks,” Pan said. “But we weren’t on the same pictures — except one time for a TV Christmas special where we all did cameos.”

“And what was your impression of this bear?”

“He made a crack about not believing in fairies. I didn’t know if he was kidding or not.”

“Were you hurt by that remark?”

“Not personally, but I saw what it did to my sidekick, Tinkerbelle. Her light almost went out.”

“Your honor, ladies, gentlemen, and non-binaries of the jury, We have definitely heard enough.”

“The defense rests!” the Queen of Hearts screeched. “Mr. Pooh, you have led a life of disgusting racism, colonialism, hate-ism, white supremacy, and depravity. I am directing the jury to find you guilty as charged and sentence you to be cancelled.” She pounded the bench with her gavel.

“Oh, bother,” Winnie the Pooh said, still perplexed and bewildered.

“Take him out, burn all those wicked books of his, and put him on top of the fire.”

“Lawks a’mercy,” Uncle Remus cried from the back of the room.

“See you up in sweet Beulah-land, Pooh, honey,” N-Word Jim said.

“Next case!” the Red Queen yelled above the commotion. “The people versus Robin Hood and his so-called Merry Men.”

Roll credits.

Fade to black….

 

 

 

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Jul 232020
 


Berenice Abbott Triple Bridge New York 1950

 

Biden Labels Trump First Racist US President (R.)
Biden Just Made A Big Promise To His Wall Street Donors (Sirota)
US House Votes To Banish From Capitol Statues Of Who Championed Slavery (R.)
America’s Problem With Policing Doesn’t Stop at the US Border (IC)
COVID19 Vaccines With ‘Minor Side Effects’ Could Still Be Pretty Bad (Wired)
Sweden Hoped Herd Immunity Would Curb COVID19 (25 Swedish Doctors, Scientists)
Richard Wolff: Capitalism May Not Survive 2020 Global Crisis (RT)
Volatility Is More Than A Number. It’s Everything (RIA)
Fake-Shaped Russophobia (RT)
She Clicked A Button On The Wells Fargo Website. Here’s What Happened (NBC)
Work-from-Home A Nightmare for Office Landlords & Surrounding Businesses (WS)
Tesla’s 1st Four-Quarter Profit Streak: Fat Payout For Musk, S&P 500 Entry (F.)
Canada Court Rules ‘Safe Third Country’ Pact With US Invalid (R.)
Twitter Says 36 Accounts Were Hacked, Including Dutch Elected Official (R.)
CIA ‘Obsessed’ With Former UK Envoy Craig Murray (CN)
Cancel Culture Takes The Fun Out Of Life – John Cleese (ZH)
Russian Zoologist Warns Polar Bears Could Be Extinct Within A Generation (RT)

 

 

Joe Biden calls Trump the first racist US president. Now people will really think he’s nuts. Did his handlers make him say that, teleprompter, or did he have a ‘lucid’ moment? Might as well put all those statues back up again then. But not the confederate ones. Focus has shifted from slaveowners to southerners now for Pelosi et al.

Convenient. All the bad people are in the south, and all the good people are in the north. Even Americans can understand things that way. And Washington and Jefferson are safe for now. And so is Biden’s very racist friend Strom Thurmond. Oh wait, wasn’t he a southerner? I hope I’m not the only one who thinks this has fast become a really stupid conversation. Worthy of a US presidential election.

 

 

Anothe new world record.

US passes 4 million cases.

New US deaths are back to the levels of late May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topol

Ben Hunt

 

 

Did his puppeteers lose sight of him for a moment? Or was this planned?

Biden Labels Trump First Racist US President (R.)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden labeled Donald Trump on Wednesday the first racist to become U.S. president in remarks his opponent’s re-election campaign quickly rebuked. Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama, the first Black U.S. president, fielded a question at a Service Employees International Union roundtable from a healthcare worker concerned about the Republican president calling the coronavirus pandemic the “China virus.” He responded by saying it was “absolutely sickening” how Trump “deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from.”


He added: “No sitting president’s ever done this. Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, and they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.” Trump campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson fired back, calling Biden’s comments “an insult to the intelligence of Black voters” given the onetime senator’s past work with segregationist lawmakers. She said Trump “loves all people” and “works hard to empower all Americans.” A number of U.S. presidents owned slaves or supported policies including the repression of Native Americans and segregation of Black Americans. Princeton University said last month it was dropping former President Woodrow Wilson’s name from the school, citing his racist thinking and policies.

Read more …

Here’s Sirota from the Bernie camp again. Where’s Bernie though?

Biden Just Made A Big Promise To His Wall Street Donors (Sirota)

Two weeks ago, Joe Biden rightly received praise for creating policy task forces that released a package of progressive legislative initiatives. The proposals augmented Biden’s previous legislative initiatives to change corporate behavior. The task forces were meant to unify the Democratic Party after the primary and their recommendations were blared all over the world in glowing headlines promising an era of progressive change under a Biden administration. Then this past Monday, Biden told his Wall Street donors that actually, he will propose no new legislation to rein in corporate power or change corporate behavior — and this was reported exactly nowhere, even as his campaign blasted it out to the national press corps.

You don’t have to believe me, you can click here to read the full pool report that the Biden campaign distributed to the press after his teleconference fundraiser. That event was headlined by Jon Gray, a top executive at the Blackstone Group, which is a private equity behemoth at the center of the climate, health care, housing and pension crises. Blackstone executives had already donated $130,000 to the Biden campaign and $350,000 to a super PAC supporting him. Here’s the relevant section, reviewing what Biden said: “Second question, again from Mr. Gray, who noted that there are “a bunch of business leaders” on the line. “What do you think is essential to get this economy rolling again?” “I come from the corporate state of American, many of you incorporated here,” said Mr. Biden.


“It used to be that corporate America had a sense of responsibility beyond just CEO salaries and shareholders.” “Corporate America has to change its ways. It’s not going to require legislation. I’m not proposing any. We’ve got to think about how we deal people back in.” There’s an obvious contradiction here. Before making these comments, Biden had previously promised to pass legislative initiatives to change corporate behavior on everything from climate change to tax policy. He has an entire section of his website outlining promises to pass corporate accountability legislation. He has received praise for these kind of promises. But now he’s telling his donors they can rest assured that legislation to change corporate behavior is not forthcoming. Indeed, read Biden’s comment again: “It’s not going to require legislation. I’m not proposing any.”

Read more …

So now it’s about Confederates, but no longer about slaveholders? It’s hard to follow at times.

US House Votes To Banish From Capitol Statues Of Who Championed Slavery (R.)

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to remove statues honoring those who upheld slavery or joined the Confederacy from the Capitol building, which houses statues selected by all 50 states. The statues and busts include one honoring former U.S. Chief Justice Roger Taney, who authored a key decision supporting slavery. Democrats have also pointed to a statue of John C. Breckinridge, a former vice president and senator who was expelled from the body after joining the Confederate army. Democratic Representative Barbara Lee called the statues “painful symbols of bigotry and racism.” She said they did “nothing more than keep white supremacy front-and-center in one of the most influential buildings in the world.”

The bill passed by a vote of 305-113, with Republicans deeply divided. The bill must also be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate and signed by President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has not indicated whether he would bring the bill to a vote. Trump has lashed out at the idea of removing statues, accusing Democrats of wanting to erase the nation’s history. He has threatened to veto a House-passed $740 billion bill setting policy for the Pentagon because it contains language that would require the military to remove the names of former Confederate leaders from its bases.


Taney wrote the majority opinion in the 1857 “Dred Scott” case, ruling that Black Americans could not be considered citizens and that Congress could not prohibit slavery. It later was overturned by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was adopted in 1868. Representative James Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat, told reporters his party was not advocating the destruction of statues, adding they could be placed in museums “until the states that sent them up here … can come and get them.”

Read more …

It is beyond me how on earth you can write a piece like this without mentioning Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Reality Winner even once. It makes your piece worse than worthless.

America’s Problem With Policing Doesn’t Stop at the US Border (IC)

George Floyd wasn’t the first victim of state violence in the United States; law enforcement officers have killed countless people who were never properly memorialized and for whom justice was never sought. Part of what made Floyd’s murder especially cruel — setting off what may be the largest protest movement in U.S. history — is that it was a public execution that lasted for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and was broadcast online. Floyd gave a face, a story, and a video to the issue of state violence situated in white supremacy. As civil rights attorney David Lane has written, “Police brutality hasn’t increased. Videoing brutal cops has increased and white America is finally seeing it.”

Now that Floyd’s murder has forced a national conversation about policing within our country’s borders, it’s time the American public begins to reckon with the victims of our foreign policy abroad. Since waging the war on Iraq, how many Americans can name a single one of the approximately 200,000 civilian casualties of that war? Even when exposed to the gross images of torture at Abu Ghraib at the hands of members of the U.S. military, the victims’ faces remained blurred and their names unknown.

What if we knew the names, faces, and stories of the victims of Eddie Gallagher, the war criminal pardoned by President Donald Trump who, according to his colleagues, would be OK with “killing anybody that was moving” during his time in Iraq? Or the 30 pine nut farm workers in Afghanistan caught off guard by a U.S. drone in 2019? When the U.S. military chooses to publicize its actions abroad, the videos we get of drone strikes usually include little more than a sudden green haze demonstrating the might of American weaponry. We don’t hear the last cries of the unsuspecting victims. We don’t see them hold each other tight, hoping they’ll somehow be missed. We see our machinery, but never their humanity. They don’t even become hashtags: just hidden casualties.

For years, researchers have logged the details of America’s opaque drone war, a fulcrum of the war on terror that is a signature part of President Barack Obama’s legacy, now continued by Trump. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that up to 17,000 people have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia, while Airwars has tracked reports of nearly 30,000 civilians being killed by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Intercept in 2015 published a secret cache of U.S. government documents detailing the inner workings of the drone program, and a New York Times investigation in 2017 found that civilians were killed at a rate 31 times higher than that acknowledged by the anti-ISIS coalition.

Read more …

Because of this people will refuse to take the vaccines if they are ever released.

COVID19 Vaccines With ‘Minor Side Effects’ Could Still Be Pretty Bad (Wired)

More good news on progress toward an escape route from this pandemic: On Monday, vaccine researchers from Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced results from a “Phase I/II trial,” suggesting their product might be able to generate immunity without causing serious harm. Similar, but smaller-scale results, were posted just last week for another candidate vaccine produced by the biotech firm Moderna, in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health. As both these groups and others push ahead into the final phase of testing, it’s vital that the public has a clear and balanced understanding of this work—one that cuts through all the marketing and hype. But we’re not off to a good start.

The evidence so far suggests that we’re getting blinkered by these groups’ PR, and so seduced by stories of their amazing speed that we’re losing track of everything else. In particular, neither the mainstream media nor the medical press has given much attention to the two vaccines’ potential downsides—in particular, their risk of nasty adverse effects, even if they’re not life-threatening. This sort of puffery doesn’t only help to build a false impression; it may also dry the tinder for the future spread of vaccine fearmongering. If journalists don’t start asking tougher questions, this will become the perfect setup for anti-vaccine messaging: Here’s what they forgot to tell you about the risks … Back in May, a CNN report described the Oxford group as being “the most aggressive in painting the rosiest picture” of its product, so let’s start with them.

Just how rosy is the Oxford picture really? It’s certainly true that this week’s news shows the vaccine has the potential to provide protection from Covid-19. But there are flies in the ointment. After the first clinical trial for this vaccine began in April, for example, the researchers added new study arms in which people got acetaminophen every six hours for 24 hours after the injection. That’s not featured in their marketing, of course, and I saw no discussion of this unusual step in media coverage in early summer. Newspapers only said the vaccine had been proven “safe with rhesus monkeys,” and did not cause any adverse effects in those animal tests. It was a worrying signal though: How rough a ride were people having with this vaccine? Was the acetaminophen meant to keep down fever, headaches, malaise—or all of the above?

The Oxford group is also giving acetaminophen to participants in an advanced, phase III trial now underway in Brazil too. In another major study of the vaccine, involving 10,000 people in the UK, you can’t participate if you have an allergy or condition that could be made worse with acetaminophen. No mention of the extra drug, though, in the same group’s trial in South Africa. Journalists could have pressed them on this issue months ago. The first people to get vaccines are carefully picked to be the least likely to have a negative reaction. If the Oxford vaccine is knocking them around badly, it might not bode well for the rest of us. Don’t get me wrong: A day or two of pain or illness wouldn’t deter me from getting an effective Covid-19 vaccine. But I think we need to be prepared if that’s going to be the case.

Read more …

Quite the put-down.

Sweden Hoped Herd Immunity Would Curb COVID19 (25 Swedish Doctors, Scientists)

The motives for the Swedish Public Health Agency’s light-touch approach are somewhat of a mystery. Some other countries that initially used this strategy swiftly abandoned it as the death toll began to increase, opting instead for delayed lockdowns. But Sweden has been faithful to its approach. Why? Gaining herd immunity, where large numbers of the population (preferably younger) are infected and thereby develop immunity, has not been an official goal of the Swedish Public Health Agency. But it has said immunity in the population could help suppress the spread of the disease, and some agency statements suggest it is the secret goal.

Further evidence of this is that the agency insists on mandatory schooling for young children, the importance of testing has been played down for a long time, the agency refused to acknowledge the importance of asymptomatic spread of the virus (concerningly, it has encouraged those in households with COVID-19 infected individuals to go to work and school) and still refuses to recommend masks in public, despite the overwhelming evidence of their effectiveness. In addition, the stated goal of the Swedish authorities was always not to minimize the epidemic, but rather slow it down, so that the health care system wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

Several authorities, including the World Health Organization, have condemned herd immunity as a strategy. “It can lead to a very brutal arithmetic that does not put people and life and suffering at the center of that equation,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a press conference in May. Regardless of whether herd immunity is a goal or a side effect of the Swedish strategy, how has it worked out? Not so well, according to the agency’s own test results. The proportion of Swedes carrying antibodies is estimated to be under 10%, thus nowhere near herd immunity. And yet, the Swedish death rate is unnerving. Sweden has a death toll greater than the United States: 556 deaths per million inhabitants, compared with 425, as of July 20.

Sweden also has a death toll more than four and a half times greater than that of the other four Nordic countries combined — more than seven times greater per million inhabitants. For a number of weeks, Sweden has been among the top in the world when it comes to current reported deaths per capita. And despite this, the strategy in essence remains the same.

Read more …

Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Richard Wolff: Capitalism May Not Survive 2020 Global Crisis (RT)

The current global crisis triggered by Covid-19 is the third capitalist crash in this century. And governments’ incapacity to consider non-capitalist solutions threatens to keep deepening this crisis into capitalism’s worst. [..] Because capitalism’s periodic downturns (crashes, recessions, depressions, crises, business cycles, busts, etc.) occur on average every four to seven years, attributing each one to its different trigger has the effect of distracting attention from the system’s inherent instability. It also distracts from other basic problems that global capitalism has never solved. Those have now exploded together, converging on this capitalist downturn to make it extreme. Here are the five converging crises. Each country will exhibit its own mixture of some or all of them. The United States suffers them all, and this partly is why its economic crash and coronavirus pandemic are so extreme.

The first is climate change (rising air and water temperatures, floods, droughts, fires, etc.) that disrupts the world economy in multiple ways. The second is inequality. As French economist Thomas Piketty and countless others have shown, capitalism worsens inequality of wealth and income continuously unless and until the mass of impoverished revolt or threaten to. The third is racism. Many capitalist societies divide their people into portions kept relatively safe from capitalism’s recurring crashes and portions obliged to absorb them and their terrible consequences of poverty, unemployment, slum dwelling, poor education, inadequate medical care, and so on. It is simply too dangerous for capitalism’s reproduction over time to threaten its entire working class with random, periodic unemployment, poverty, etc. In the US, African-Americans have played the role of crisis shock-absorber throughout the nation’s history. In other countries, religious or ethnic minorities or immigrants play that role.

The fourth is instability, the periodic crashes that accelerate inequality and reinforce racism. And the fifth is the viral pandemic. Private profit calculations lead private corporations almost everywhere to NOT produce and stockpile the means to contain viral pandemics. Because governments pander to the idea that private, profit-maximizing capitalists are paragons of “efficiency,” they mostly failed to compensate for the private capitalists’ failure. So the pandemic was inadequately prepared-for and inadequately contained. The more each government was committed to laissez-faire capitalism, the less it offset private capitalism’s lack of preparedness for dangerous viruses, and the worst is the coronavirus pandemic. The US and Brazil are today’s glaring examples.

The five converging crises persuade me that today’s global crisis will cut deeper and last longer than most are currently predicting. The logical response to the 2020 crisis would have been to keep all workers employed doing all that was necessary to contain the pandemic. This means, for example, government rehiring those fired by private employers, massively training them to test entire populations, to take care of the sick, and to otherwise build what the society needs (infrastructure, education, housing, etc) under pandemic conditions of social distancing, masks, gloves, etc.

Read more …

I like the people at RIA. But look, if we can agree that the Fed sets prices in what were once markets, which they no longer are precisely because of that, can we perhaps agree that terms like “volatility” are then also rendered entirely meaningless?

Volatility Is More Than A Number. It’s Everything (RIA)

The assumption of a normally distributed bell curve is at the heart of finance. Embedded in that assumption is the idea that market participants are rational and markets efficient. It drives risk management, option pricing, and many economic and market theories. The problem with such analysis is that the assumption is flat out wrong. In a normal shaped curve, the S&P 500 should never move by more than five standard deviations up or down. By “never,” we mean once every 3.5 million trading days (approximately 14,000 years). Since 1970 there have been 34 such days. In March of 2020 alone, there were 7! Quite often, investors use volatility to define risk. For instance, with S&P 500 data from 1970, an investor can assume, with 95% certainty, that they will not lose more than 2.16% on any given day.

By annualizing volatility, we can create measures of longer-term risks. Investors often take the relationship between volatility and risk as gospel. That mistake often leads investors to underappreciate risk. Astute investors must understand the flaws in volatility assumptions and prepare for the statistically impossible. Now forget the bell curves and complicated statistics. Let’s redefine volatility to something simpler and more practical. “Volatility is the opposite of liquidity, by definition.” – Per Todd Harrison @toddharrison. Here is what Todd means. Market A has buyers and sellers willing to execute many shares in tight price increments around the current price. Market B has few buyers and sellers willing to execute. Their bids and offers are smaller in size and in a less uniform range of increments around the current price.


A will trade up and down, penny by penny, in a somewhat orderly fashion. B will trade up and down in much larger increments as buyers and sellers must relent more on price if they want to execute at the moment. A is more liquid than market B. As a result, A will also be less volatile than B. Liquidity dynamics are fluid. If, for instance, confidence were to erode and uncertainty increases, liquidity conditions underlying Market A will deteriorate rapidly and look more like Market B. Such a situation leads to an imbalance in bids and offers, and it becomes less clear where the market-clearing price is. As a result, prices “gap” or lurch down as potential buyers step away. Desperate seller then panic to find a price to transact. In other words, volatility soars when markets are less liquid. Conversely, volatility is low and stable when markets have an equilibrium of bids and offers concentrated around a common price.

Read more …

We should force these wankers to stop blaming Russia for eveything. This has gotten dangerously out of hand. Never any proof.

Fake-Shaped Russophobia (RT)

Russian officials have dismissed a new British parliamentary report on Moscow’s alleged clandestine interference in UK politics, saying it lacks proof and is laced with Russophobia. The report by London’s Intelligence and Security Committee, released on Tuesday, has shown “nothing sensational” and is just “fake shaped Russophobia,” said Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry. The deputy chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Parliament, Aleksey Chepa, said the document attempted to blame Russia for the failures of the British government and “was not worth a penny”. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said ahead of the report’s official publication that he would bet that the document would be “just a new round of evidence-free allegations.”

Peskov noted that numerous attempts to place Russia at the centre of the outcome of elections in other countries had merely “produced negative results and failed to prove anything.” He added that Moscow never interfered in the domestic political affairs of other nations and worked hard to prevent foreign players from interfering in Russia’s own politics. The long-awaited 55-page report claimed that Moscow has been waging “influence campaigns” targeting British politics, using digital media, wealthy individuals, and other means. The MPs said national intelligence needed more legislative powers and tools to counter the “unique challenge” of Russia.


British state media also operates in Russia and covers the Russian political scene, strongly favoring opposition movements. Among other things, the report claimed that Russia had secretly had a hand in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, but said public allegations that it had influenced the 2016 Brexit referendum could not be confirmed by British intelligence. Some have pointed out that this suits the present British government which supports Brexit, but opposes Scottish independence.

Read more …

The real cancel culture?!

She Clicked A Button On The Wells Fargo Website. Here’s What Happened (NBC)

In March, Tammi Wilson was checking on her family’s mortgage online at Wells Fargo when she saw a link to information about COVID-19 on the bank’s website. After clicking through, she provided contact information so she could receive materials on programs at the bank. Days later, she said, she returned to the payment page to transmit what she and her husband, David, owed on their loan. A message popped up saying she had no active accounts and couldn’t make the payment. Wilson later learned what had happened. Without her knowledge, the bank had put her into a program that suspended payments on her federally backed loan. Known as forbearance, it is a CARES Act program that aims to help borrowers who are having trouble making their payments because they’ve been hurt by COVID-19.

Because she hadn’t asked for forbearance, Wilson continued to make all her family’s mortgage payments. She has also spent hours on the phone with Wells Fargo to get out of the program. Finally, on July 1, the bank sent her a letter confirming her request to “opt out” of the program she said she never opted into. Still, Wilson’s credit report, dated July 18 and reviewed by NBC News, shows that the family mortgage is “in forbearance” and that the April and May payments weren’t credited to the account, even though the Wilsons submitted them. While in forbearance, Wilson and her husband almost certainly can’t refinance their mortgage, because most banks won’t underwrite new loans for borrowers whose mortgage payments are suspended.

As long as the forbearance notation remains in their credit report, the Wilsons can’t take advantage of rock-bottom interest rates and are stuck at Wells Fargo. “I click this button and next thing I know, I’m getting a thing that says I’m deferred and I can’t reverse something I didn’t even want,” Wilson said in an interview. “If you’re going to help people, there is a super simple first step — just ask, ‘Do you need our help?'” Under the CARES Act, which provides help on loans backed by the government-sponsored companies Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and others, borrowers harmed by COVID-19 can ask to suspend their mortgage payments for up to a year. The amounts they owe during the period are either tacked onto the ends of the loans or paid off before. No additional fees, interest or penalties can accrue on the loans while they are in forbearance.

Last week, NBC News reported on borrowers in Chapter 13 bankruptcy whom Wells Fargo had placed, without their permission, in forbearance programs. But the bank’s practice extends beyond such specialized borrowers, some of whom contacted NBC News. Wells Fargo is one of the largest U.S. banks that underwrites and services home loans. Borrowers in at least 14 states have told courts, lawyers or NBC News that they have been forced into forbearance plans by Wells Fargo: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Read more …

And the entire car industry.

Work-from-Home A Nightmare for Office Landlords & Surrounding Businesses (WS)

This appears to be an increasingly global phenomenon. Roughly 60% of bank executives in the US said they don’t expect all of their employees to return to the office. And over 40% said they plan to reduce their real estate footprint in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey of US bank executives by Accenture Plc. Some banks are already making long-term changes. In Midtown Manhattan, French megabank BNP Paribas renewed its lease at the 787 Seventh Avenue tower. But it shrank its footprint by 38%: According to the Commercial Observer, instead of renewing the lease for the 454,200 it currently occupies at the building, it signed a lease for only 280,000 square feet.

In London, large financial institutions are the biggest tenants of the toniest commercial real estate. And they are now seriously reevaluating not only how much workspace they require but what sort of form it should take. Even allowing for physical distancing measures, such as the separation of desks, most companies now have a lot more office space than they think they’ll need, especially if they end up laying off large numbers of workers when the government’s job retention scheme comes to an end, which is scheduled to happen in September. Goldman Sachs and Nomura said over the weekend that they plan to send only 10% of their UK workforce back to their City of London offices.


Last week, the 30 biggest employers in the City of London said they only intend to bring 20-40% of their workforce back in the coming months. One of the UK’s “Big Four” banks, RBS (which was renamed “Natwest” today in yet another re-branding exercise for the scandal-tarnished lender) announced that close to 50,000 of its 63,000 workers will continue working from home, at least for the rest of this year. [..] That the British government can’t even persuade RBS — which is still 63% owned by the British State following the bailout during the Financial Crisis — to get its workers back into the office does not augur well for its efforts to halt or reverse the trend toward home working. By now, 49% of all UK workers are working from home, up from 5% just before the lockdown.

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The Fed blows bubbles.

Tesla’s 1st Four-Quarter Profit Streak: Fat Payout For Musk, S&P 500 Entry (F.)

Tesla has finally racked up four consecutive profitable quarters, a decade after the iconic electric-car maker’s IPO, ensuring that controversial CEO Elon Musk will receive a massive stock payout worth more than $2 billion and likely paving the way for it to join the S&P 500. Musk also said Tesla’s next auto-assembly plant will be built in Austin, Texas. The company reported second-quarter net income of $104 million and earnings per share of 50 cents, topping consensus expectations of an adjusted loss per share of 11 cents. Revenue was $6.04 billion, down from a year ago but beating a consensus estimate of $5.4 billion. As usual, sales of regulatory credits to other automakers were a lucrative revenue source, bringing in $428 million of free money in the quarter (and a record $732 million in the first half).

The results come after a turbulent first half in which Musk’s aggressive growth plans were thrown off track by the coronavirus pandemic that disrupted vehicle production at the company’s main plant in California. Although frustration with health officials in Tesla’s home state triggered a series of erratic tweets and threats to relocate to other parts of the U.S., production operations seemed to return to normal in the quarter’s second half. “We consider the quarter a low-quality beat,” CFRA equity analyst Garret Nelson said in a research note, as “results were boosted by an unusually high level of auto regulatory credit revenue.” The surprisingly large $428 million credit figure compares to an average of $183 million over the last four quarters, according to Nelson, who rates the shares a Sell.


“While TSLA once again managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat for earnings, we believe its share price has become decoupled from underlying fundamentals and see growing risks surrounding the story as shares increasingly appear priced to perfection.” Nevertheless, the results make it likely that Tesla’s board will certify requirements for the second tranche of Musk’s massive multiyear pay package have been met, including market capitalization averaging $150 billion over trailing 60- and 30-day periods and Tesla achieving either EBITDA of $3 billion or revenue of $35 billion over four consecutive quarters.

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Canada’s Charter of Rights.

Canada Court Rules ‘Safe Third Country’ Pact With US Invalid (R.)

A Canadian court on Wednesday ruled invalid a bilateral pact that compels asylum seekers trying to enter Canada via the American border to first seek sanctuary in the United States, saying U.S. immigration detention violates their human rights. Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), asylum seekers who arrive at a formal Canada-U.S. border crossing going in either direction are turned back and told to apply for asylum in the first country they arrived in. Lawyers for refugees who had been turned away at the Canadian border challenged the pact, saying the United States does not qualify as a “safe” country under President Donald Trump.


Federal Court Judge Ann Marie McDonald ruled that the agreement was in violation of a section of Canada’s Charter of Rights that says laws or state actions that interfere with life, liberty and security must conform to the principles of fundamental justice. McDonald suspended her decision for six months to give Parliament a chance to respond. The agreement remains in place during that time.

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Word in Holland is the official is Geert Wilders. Meanwhile, Kim Dotcom says the hackers got in through a backdoor built for US intelligence, which gives them access to everything.

Twitter Says 36 Accounts Were Hacked, Including Dutch Elected Official (R.)

Twitter said on Wednesday that the hackers who breached its systems last week likely read the direct messages of 36 accounts, including one belonging to an elected official in the Netherlands. In tweets from its support account and an updated blog post, Twitter said it had no indication that the private messages of any other elected officials were obtained. Twitter previously said the attackers tweeted from 45 “verified” accounts, including those belonging to such well-known names as CEOs Elon Musk and Bill Gates and former Vice President Joe Biden.


Asked by Reuters if the 36 accounts where messages might have been read included any verified accounts, Twitter said it would not answer. In general, someone with the ability to tweet from an account would also be able to read previously sent or received messages that had not been deleted. That would make it likely that some of the most famous people in the world had private messages read by hackers still at large. The FBI is investigating the case from its San Francisco office.

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Offered info on Assange. Mueller ignored him too. Knew it wasn’t the info he wanted to hear. Coward.

CIA ‘Obsessed’ With Former UK Envoy Craig Murray (CN)

The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange says he was the “top target” of the 24/7 surveillance of Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London by the Spanish security company UC Global, which, according to press reports and court documents, shared the surveillance with the CIA. Craig Murray said he has been contacted by an attorney in the spying case on Assange and that he will be going to Madrid to testify. The founder of UC Global, David Morales, was arrested over the surveillance (including privileged Assange-lawyer conversations) and is on trial. Murray told former CIA analyst Ray McGovern in an email, shared with Consortium News with Murray’s permission, that the CIA was “obsessed” with him.

Murray told McGovern that he had offered to give evidence to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who spent $32 million and more than two years investigating an alleged conspiracy between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, including how WikiLeaks obtained emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Mueller concluded there was no evidence of a conspiracy between Moscow and Trump, but maintained Russian agents “hacked” the emails and delivered them to WikiLeaks for publication. Murray has said that different persons with legal access to the DNC and Podesta emails were WikiLeaks’ sources.


“I wrote to Mueller offering to give evidence, never received any reply,” Murray wrote to McGovern on Wednesday. “Never had any request for an interview by any US authorities.” Murray then wrote, “BUT I received a message from the lawyer in the case in Madrid about the spying on Assange in the Embassy, contracted by the CIA, which said that I was the ‘top target’ for the contractors and the evidence shows they were ‘obsessed with’ me. I shall be going to Madrid to give evidence.” Murray added: “Just why the US security services declined my offer of free evidence yet were obsessed with spying on me is an interesting question…”

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empleomania

Cancel Culture Takes The Fun Out Of Life – John Cleese (ZH)

Former Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star John Cleese has had enough of political correctness and the cancel culture, and as for the state of the “dysfunctional world we live in,” warning that “it’s completely hopeless…” As for the sense of hopelessness he feels, Cleese blames the “power seekers.” “I believe there’s something wrong with these people. The reason they want to be powerful is that they want to control people, so that they don’t get lathered into situations that they can’t control emotionally. The one thing they fear is losing power, so they’ll do almost anything to hold on to it. If they don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re talking about, there’s no way (the world) will ever get well.”

The 80 year old comedian is as politically savvy as he is humorous as he brings his one-man-show “Why There Is No Hope” to live-stream after blasting the BBC last month as “cowardly and gutless” for temporarily taking down an episode of Fawlty Towers that made fun of Germans and World War II and also featured a character using a racial slur. Cancel culture “misunderstands the main purposes of life which is to have fun”, Cleese told Reuters, referring to the trend in which people are ostracised because of behaviour or remarks seen as objectionable. “Everything humorous is critical. If you have someone who is perfectly kind and intelligent and flexible and who always behaves appropriately, they’re not funny. Funniness is about people who don’t do that, like Trump.”


Summing the current state of the world up perfectly, Cleese says, the problem with political correctness, he added, is that comedians “have to set the bar according to what we are told by the most touchy, most emotionally unstable and fragile and least stoic people in the country”.

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Females can’t keep their babies alive anymore.

Russian Zoologist Warns Polar Bears Could Be Extinct Within A Generation (RT)

A shocking new study has found that polar bears could be made extinct by the end of the century unless decisive steps are taken to combat climate change. But a Russian zoologist believes it could happen before 2040. In an interview with news agency NCN, Russian TV presenter and prominent zoologist Nikolai Drozdov predicted that polar bears will be extinct in the Arctic within a generation. “According to my most moderate forecasts, the extinction of the species may occur even earlier than 2100. I think that it will happen in 20 years,” he said. The initial report, published in the British journal Nature Climate Change, has revealed that some polar bear populations are already on the brink of survival, due to shrinking ice cover in the Arctic Ocean. Less ice means that the bears are forced to travel a greater distance, or move inland, to find food.


The scientists behind the study calculated that if the world maintains the present high levels of greenhouse gas emissions all but a few will disappear from the wild by 2100. According to Dr. Stephen Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bears International, the survival rate of newborn polar bears will decrease as “the females won’t have enough body fat to produce milk to bring them along through the ice-free season.” The reason for Drozdov’s much more pessimistic prediction is also nutrition. According to him, male polar bears can’t find food and don’t go into hibernation, while females have offspring which need to be fed – but there’s not enough. In 2019, Russian polar bears made headlines across the planet when dozens were seen trying to enter homes on the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya. According to Russia’s World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the animals were being forced into villages to search for food.

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