Jan 182024
 


Jean-Léon Gérôme Slave market 1866

 

World Wants More US Intervention – Blinken (RT)
World on ‘Escalation Spiral’ Towards War (Sp.)
BRICS and Global South Challenge ‘Globalist Elites’ With Multipolar World (Sp.)
Reviving ISIS: A US weapon Against The Resistance Axis (Cradle)
UK Working To Prevent Peace – Zakharova (RT)
Britons Mock Warmongering Lecture by UK Defense Secretary (Sp.)
West Cannot Let Russia Win – Macron (RT)
Germany To Double Defense Aid For Ukraine This Year (RT)
How US Coerces France & Germany to Fund Zelensky’s Failing Conflict (Sp.)
Poland’s Decision To Host German Troops Will Not Go Unanswered – Moscow (RT)
Brussels Starts ‘Screening’ Ukrainian Laws (RT)
Judges Smack Down Jack Smith for Violating Trump’s Executive Privilege (PB)
A Gun Pouch Covered In Cocaine Shows Hunter’s Defense Is Ridiculous (Turley)
Supreme Court to Hear Potentially Historic Chevron Case (Turley)
Trump Vows To “Never Allow” A Central Bank Digital Currency (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Michael Moore must see
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747630445838131401

 

 

Meister
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747336776614564316

 

 

Vivek Trump

 

 

Tucker

 

 

Tucker Haley

 

 

Watters

 

 

ICJ

 

 

 

 

How crazy is that? “I’m hearing from virtually every country: They want the United States..”

World Wants More US Intervention – Blinken (RT)

Geopolitical turmoil and conflict around the globe have made the world’s nations hungrier than ever for diplomatic intervention from Washington to help deal with their crises, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed. “There’s a greater premium than there’s ever been on our engagement, on our leadership, in partnership with others,” Blinken told an audience on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He added that Washington needs to “reimagine” its geopolitical partnerships to resolve global challenges, such as the Israel-Hamas war. The top US diplomat made his comments as Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip triggers escalating tensions in the Middle East and the Russia-Ukraine conflict nears its 24th month. He claimed that many governments see Washington as key to finding solutions.

“I’m hearing from virtually every country: They want the United States,” Blinken said. “They want us present, they want us at the table, they want us leading.” When Washington fails to tackle a major issue, he added, it is either handled by another nation – probably to the detriment of US interests – or no one else takes the lead. When other nations see the domestic investments that US President Joe Biden is making, such as funding of major infrastructure projects and “climate technology,” they realize that “we’re actually serious about ourselves, despite some of the dysfunction that may be seen on the front pages,” Blinken said. Biden also has pressed for re-engagement with US allies and the building of new coalitions to address specific challenges, he added.

“On some of the really big issues of the day – whether it’s how to deal with China, how to deal with Russia – we have more convergence than we’ve had at any time in recent memory between us, key partners throughout Europe, throughout Asia, and even in other parts of the world, about how to manage these problems,” the secretary said. The Israel-Hamas war has reportedly left more than 24,000 people dead in the Palestinian enclave. The conflict began on October 7, when Hamas militants killed more than 1,100 people – mostly civilians – in southern Israeli villages and took hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. Asked about the disparity in casualties, Blinken denied that the US places a higher value on Jewish lives than Palestinian lives. “What we’re seeing every single day in Gaza is gut-wrenching,” the diplomat said. “And the suffering we’re seeing among innocent men, women and children breaks my heart.”

He claimed that US engagement in the crisis had helped to minimize civilian casualties and get more humanitarian aid into the enclave. Blinken said he sees no near-term prospects for a negotiated settlement to end the bloodshed in Ukraine. He argued that peace talks can only go forward when Russian leaders are willing to negotiate “in good faith,” respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russian officials have accused Western leaders of derailing a potential peace deal in April 2022 and prolonging the conflict by providing massive military aid to Kiev. Moscow also has claimed that US insistence on a negotiated settlement being based on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s demands, which it calls detached from reality, leaves no chance for a ceasefire in 2024.

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747606360458412185

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“Foreign policy in the Middle East will become hostage to American domestic politics, which is very dangerous..”

World on ‘Escalation Spiral’ Towards War (Sp.)

The likelihood of global military confrontation is increasing according to analyst Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center. Sayigh made the assessment during an interview with Chinese media that touched on Israel, the crisis in the Red Sea, and the United States’ so-called “pivot to Asia” policy. Commenting on tensions between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East, Sayigh offered sobering insight on the potential for events to escalate beyond world leaders’ control. “I think the risk of a wider war is obviously increasing,” said Sayigh. “However, at the same time, I think that the key parties will not go beyond a certain point into direct confrontation. At the same time, they have already started what we call an escalation spiral.”

“The US is in a very risky situation, and it increasingly looks as though it is entering the war on the side of Israel as well,” the analyst noted. “[Biden] has already, in a way, signaled military deterrence that encouraged Iran to use military deterrence. Biden, in a way, started this escalation spiral from the beginning with his immediate deployment of military assets to the Mediterranean.” Sayigh employed the metaphor of World War I to explain how events could lead towards war even without world leaders consciously seeking to initiate conflict. World War I was famously set into motion by the murder of Austro-Hungarian heir apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But Sayigh argued the key factor in the war’s outbreak was not the killing itself, but rather the greater zeitgeist of global tension created by previous events.

“By 1914, the world was ready for war,” said the historian. “Global tensions had reached a point where it was the assassination that was the trigger, but it might have been something else. It could have been sinking a boat at sea. It could have been anything.” Part of what makes the current moment so perilous are the set of incentives created by domestic politics, Sayigh argued. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces corruption charges, as well as an Israeli public likely to hold the longtime leader accountable for Hamas’ October 7 attack. Netanyahu has an interest in the continuation of military conflict to prevent either of those things threatening his political career. But domestic politics also alters the calculations of US President Joe Biden, the analyst argued. Previously Biden showed signs of returning to former President Barack Obama’s policy of detente with Iran, resisting many neoconservatives’ call for war on the Middle Eastern country. Now, domestic support for Israel makes it harder for Biden to pursue reconciliation with the country’s fierce enemy.

“It [the Biden administration] no longer calculates foreign policy purely on the basis of strategic and global stability, as it was previously doing by improving relations with Iran or at least defusing tensions with Iran,” Sayigh explained. “That was when it was thinking globally. However, now the administration has to consider domestic politics, and the calculation there is different.” “Foreign policy in the Middle East will become hostage to American domestic politics, which is very dangerous,” he warned.

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“..it is a process made of deconstruction and chaos, of divide and control, an illusion of democracy so they can ultimately control absolutely everything..”

BRICS and Global South Challenge ‘Globalist Elites’ With Multipolar World (Sp.)

BRICS and the Global South are offering “a new world order” to the “Western-centric”, Angelo Giuliano, a Hong Kong-based political and financial analyst, told Sputnik. The vision is “strong opposition” to that of the Western-dominated World Economic Forum, suggested the analyst.”The rest of the world, BRICS and the Global South… is opposing the values of a Western-centric world controlled by the very few, the old powerful families and the likes of Blackjacks and other banksters,” Giuliano noted. “What the rest of the world is offering is an option of a multipolar world where differences of cultures and values are respected, an idea of coexistence, of live and let live, respect of sovereignty. Seeking mutual prosperity, mutual respect and maybe also putting the human being at the center of the preoccupation. A world of purpose as opposed to a world of profit,” he stated.

The West, however, takes its directions from multinational corporations, underscored the pundit. “Globalist elites are the real ones in charge in the West. The same globalist elites select Western leaders and give the directions that they want the world to take, it is a process made of deconstruction and chaos, of divide and control, an illusion of democracy so they can ultimately control absolutely everything, for a central digital currency, to ownership, privacy and ultimately to people’s minds,” said the Hong Kong-based political analyst. Earlier, speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan offered up the Biden administration’s vision for the era ahead.

“Major powers are vastly more interdependent than at any time during the Cold War. But we’re also in stiff competition about the type of world we want to build,” Sullivan said in his remarks. “We are moving into a new era, the post-Cold War era has come to a close. We are at the start of something new, we have the capacity to shape what that looks like, and at the heart of it will be many of the core principles, core institutions of the existing order, adapted for the challenges we face today,” he added later, talking with Børge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum and former minister of foreign affairs of Norway.

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“.. fresh blood, money, and weapons are being pumped into the ISIS organization’s arteries again..”

Reviving ISIS: A US weapon Against The Resistance Axis (Cradle)

According to intelligence reports reviewed by The Cradle, at its height, ISIS consisted of more than 35,000 fighters in Iraq – 25,000 of these were killed, while more than 10,000 simply “disappeared.” As an officer of one Iraqi intelligence agency recounts to The Cradle: “Hundreds of ISIS fighters fled to Turkey and Syria at the end of 2017. After the appointment of Abdullah Qardash as the leader of ISIS in 2019, following the death of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new Caliph began to restructure the organization, and ordered his followers to return to Iraq. The organization exploited the long border with Syria, the security disturbances, and the diversity of forces on both sides of the border to infiltrate the Iraqi territory again.” Imprisoned ISIS officials admit that infiltrating that border is not an easy task, because of the strict control imposed by the Iraqi Border Guards and the use of modern technologies, such as thermal cameras.

It therefore became necessary for the terror group to identify intermediaries capable of breaking through or bypassing these fortifications to transport its fighters across borders. An Iraqi security source, insisting on anonymity, tells The Cradle that the US plays a vital role in enabling these border violations: “[There are] several incidents that confirm the American assistance in securing the crossing route for ISIS members – mainly, by shelling Iraqi units on the border, especially the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), to create gaps that allow ISIS fighters to cross the border.”

[..] In a speech on 5 January, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah warned that the US was supporting an ISIS revival in the region. The Cradle obtained security information monitoring the new activity of extremists in Lebanon, communications between these elements and their counterparts in Iraq and Syria, and suspicious money transfer activities among them. Lebanese Army Intelligence also recently arrested a group of Lebanese and Syrians who were preparing to carry out security operations. Importantly, this surge in terror activities comes at a time when the Lebanese resistance is engaged in a security and military battle with Israel, which may expand at any moment into open war. It is also notable that renewed ISIS activity is concentrated in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran; that is, in the countries that support the Palestinian resistance politically, militarily, and logistically.

On 4 January, ISIS officially claimed responsibility for two bombings in the Iranian city of Kerman that targeted memorial processions on the anniversary of the assassination of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani by US forces. The dual explosions killed around 90 people and injured dozens, in an unprecedented attack targeting the biggest US-Israeli adversary in West Asia – just one day after Tel Aviv killed top Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut. Before that, on 5 October 2023, ISIS drone-attacked an officers graduation ceremony at the Military College in the Syrian city of Homs, killing about 100 people. These attacks, and others in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Africa, indicate that fresh blood, money, and weapons are being pumped into the ISIS organization’s arteries again.

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“Ukraine is literally being stripped of any chance to get out of the conflict through negotiations.”

Sunak gives Zelensky a few billion, on the condition that he’ll never talk peace. US and UK want the war to continue. Germany and France follow their lead.

These are also the countries, not coincidentally, that will not criticize Israel.

In the UK, Germany and France, also not coincidentally, governments are about to be voted out. (US?!)

UK Working To Prevent Peace – Zakharova (RT)

A security agreement signed last week is further proof that London is maintaining a firm grip on the Kiev government and is working to prevent any prospect of peace, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.On Friday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) military assistance package for Ukraine – Britain’s largest to date. The two sides also signed a ten-year security guarantee, with the UK pledging “swift and sustained” aid for Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack in future. Kiev also promised to come to Britain’s defense in the event of Russian “aggression” against the country. Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova suggested that the deal was an indication that “Ukraine is literally being stripped of any chance to get out of the conflict through negotiations.”

As a result, Kiev is being turned into “a bargaining chip in the reckless ventures of the Anglo-Saxons,” she added, claiming that the UK wants to keep the country in conflict with Russia. She also ridiculed Ukraine’s commitment to defend the UK. “No sane person would believe that. The regime of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky is crying in every corner that, if not one more dollar … is transferred to it, Ukraine will cease to exist. And under these conditions, Ukraine undertakes to help Britain in the event of a military threat to the kingdom.” Russia has never closed the door on peace negotiations with Kiev despite Zelensky barring talks with the current leadership in Moscow in the autumn of 2022. This was made law after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia.

Meanwhile, both Russian and Ukrainian officials have confirmed that Moscow and Kiev were close to settling the conflict in the spring of 2022, but the process was derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who convinced Ukraine to keep fighting. One of Russia’s key demands was that Ukraine stay neutral and refrain from joining military alliances. Last week – months after the first reports of his role in the talks emerged – Johnson dismissed the allegations that he had sabotaged a peace deal as “total nonsense and Russian propaganda.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Kiev could have ended the conflict if it had ignored Johnson. Now, “Ukrainian statehood could be dealt an irreparable and very serious blow… if things carry on this way,” he warned, noting that Russian troops had regained the initiative on the battlefield after Kiev’s failed counteroffensive.

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“Wars happen when the government tells you who your enemy is. Revolution happens when you work it out for yourself.”

Britons Mock Warmongering Lecture by UK Defense Secretary (Sp.)

The United Kingdom’s Defense Secretary Grant Shapps warned of potential war with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea within the next five years in a widely mocked speech in London this week. Shapps delivered the address to promote greater investment in military spending in the UK and its European allies. “The era of the peace dividend is over,” said Shapps in remarks he also shared on his profile on the X social media platform. The so-called “peace dividend” was a proposed reinvestment of government finances toward domestic concerns after the end of the Cold War. The comment may leave many Britons wondering when exactly they enjoyed a peace dividend, as the British government has imposed a policy of economic austerity for a number of years.

The UK was also perhaps the US’ strongest ally in the so-called “War on Terror,” which led to the deaths of more than 4.5 million people across the Middle East according to some estimates. The comments come as European media is reporting on supposed “leaked documents” that allege Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to launch an attack on Germany and other NATO members in the near future. The claims were dismissed as “fake news” by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Britons greeted Shapps’ remarks with ridicule, with multiple posts by the defense minister being “ratioed” on the X platform, meaning they received more comments than likes as users piled on to jeer the jingoistic speech.

“Obviously, the best way to deter enemies and lead allies is by pouring billions of pounds into the military industrial complex,” responded one user sarcastically. “You do know we were involved in bloody and unsuccessful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?” added another. “Can you explain how British soldiers killed in Helmand or in Basra were at all beneficiaries of this so-called era of the peace dividend?” “The people need to prepare for a new era of conflict with you bastards,” wrote user John Wight, expressing widespread antipathy towards governing elites in the West. “Wars happen when the government tells you who your enemy is. Revolution happens when you work it out for yourself.”

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“According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, France has provided Kiev with €500 million ($540 million) in military aid – less than Slovakia has..”

West Cannot Let Russia Win – Macron (RT)

French president Emmanuel Macron has announced new deliveries of long-range missiles and bombs to Kiev, while insisting the West “cannot let Russia win” the conflict with Ukraine. He added that he will visit the country next month. Speaking at a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday, the French leader reiterated that his country will continue to assist Ukraine. Amid criticism that France has not been doing enough to help Kiev, Macron said Paris would send 40 SCALP air-launched cruise missiles, which have a range of more than 250km, as well as “hundreds of bombs.” Local media, citing French officials, reported that the president was referring to munitions equipped with the AASM, or HAMMER module, which transforms ordinary bombs into precision-guided weapons with a range of up to 70km. Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of using Western-supplied long-range weapons to target civilian infrastructure.

Macron added that he would visit Ukraine in February to finalize a bilateral security agreement with Kiev, similar to the one the country recently signed with the UK. The ten-year deal between the two, which was announced last week, guarantees Britain’s “swift and sustained security assistance” to Ukraine in the event of a future Russian attack, while outlining numerous other support measures. Some of France’s NATO allies, notably Poland, have criticized it for not pulling its weight in assisting Ukraine despite being one of Europe’s most powerful economies. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, France has provided Kiev with €500 million ($540 million) in military aid – less than Slovakia has. However, lawmakers in Paris have insisted that the true scale of the assistance was actually larger, blaming flawed methodology.

Ukraine has been asking for more Western aid since the start of the conflict in February 2022, recently expressing concerns about gridlock in the US Congress over approval for additional funding. On Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called on the West to do more in this regard, vowing that Ukrainians “would fight with shovels” once they run out of weapons. France first provided Ukraine with 50 SCALP missiles last year, following the lead of the UK, which sent similar weapons – Storm Shadows. Russia has since accused Kiev of using Western-supplied long-range missiles to target residential areas, causing numerous civilian casualties.

Zel

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Well, we’ve seen the farmers protest exactly this.

Germany To Double Defense Aid For Ukraine This Year (RT)

Germany will shell out more than €7 billion ($7.6 billion) on military aid for Ukraine this year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said. Late last year, Bild reported that Berlin was going to double its initial figure of €4 billion, with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius understood to have demanded a bigger contribution. Speaking at a joint press conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Luc Frieden in Berlin last Monday, the German chancellor mentioned the €7 billion contribution for Kiev in 2024. He also called on the country’s “allies in the European Union to strengthen their efforts,” lamenting that some member states had been tight-fisted in their backing of Ukraine. In a phone call with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Scholz said “Germany will support Ukraine with more than €7 billion worth of military goods in 2024,” as quoted by the chancellery.

Back in November, Bild, citing unnamed sources in the defense ministry, claimed that Germany’s original budget for 2024 had provided €4 billion in defense aid for Ukraine. According to the article, most of that sum covered projects that had already been agreed, with little resources left for any further commitments. Pistorius took issue with this, and insisted that the figure be doubled to €8 billion, the media outlet reported at the time. Berlin provided Kiev with nearly $23 billion in aid between February 2022 and November 2023, according to the Kiel Institute for World Economy (IfW), making Germany the second-largest contributor after the US. Washington confirmed last week that its assistance had “ground to a halt” due to weeks of political bickering between Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Late last year, the Biden administration asked representatives to give the green light to more than $60 billion worth of weapons and military equipment for Kiev. However, the GOP has been blocking the package, demanding that President Biden and the Democrats first agree to their plan to tighten security at the border with Mexico. Since Kiev’s summer counteroffensive fizzled out with no major gains and heavy losses, top Ukrainian officials have increasingly been pressuring their Western backers for yet more weaponry. Russia has consistently criticized Western arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing that these prolong the bloodshed unnecessarily without changing the outcome of the conflict.

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“We will put you in this situation that you will not be able to easily get out of the conflict because we have another fish to fry on the horizon..”

How US Coerces France & Germany to Fund Zelensky’s Failing Conflict (Sp.)

France and Germany announced recently they’d commit to continued support for Ukraine in 2024. As US aid has ground to a halt amidst political infighting, Washington has increasingly leaned on European powers to help make up the difference. But after the failure of Kiev’s 2023 counteroffensive, the writing is on the wall regarding the country’s slim chance of success in European capitals as well, with some savvy leaders riding to power on promises to end weapons shipments. How then is the United States managing to keep some of Western Europe’s largest economies on board for the effort? Sputnik spoke with two international affairs experts for insight. “Germany is a very interesting country,” said London-based analyst Adriel Kasonta. “Americans have a huge influence in Germany after the Second World War. And when the Americans set up their bases in Germany and decided to somehow, in one way or another, occupy Germany to stay there in order to make sure that Germany will not emerge as a superpower on the continent, they exercised a very huge influence over this country.”

“In order to meet their commitments towards the western hegemon, the United States, Germany [has] to do or show an extra effort in whatever European countries are doing,” explained the former chairman of the International Affairs Committee at the Bow Group think tank. “So if, for instance, the United States is objecting [to] the charges against Israel brought by South Africa, Germany has to be the first country to object after the United States.”“If the United States is saying that Russia is an enemy, then Germany has to be the first country in Europe to beat the same drum and beat the drum of war and to sustain the supply,” he said. Kasonta also claimed Germany benefits from the influx of Ukrainian migrants caused by the conflict, calling the country “the migrant economy.” Cheap labor from throughout the continent is crucial to Germany’s economic strength, especially as Western sanctions on Russia backfire by driving up energy costs. However, the policy does not come without consequences in the form of rising domestic opposition from the German public.

Russian affairs analyst Gilbert Doctorow also points out that the loss of Russian gas has had a “very damaging impact on the [competitiveness] of German industry and on investment in new production.”The international relations expert noted that France has a different relationship with the United States than Germany but nevertheless has its own reasons for continued support for Ukraine’s military effort.“Both are heavily invested in the Ukraine cause and in ensuring there is no Russian victory, which would be a major disaster for NATO and for the entire existing concept of European security that these countries share,” he explained. “Their control of their own domestic politics will be greatly compromised if they turn their back on the Ukraine propaganda narrative they have been promoting for the past two years,” Doctorow added. “With Europe wide parliamentary elections coming in June, they could be heavily punished at the ballot box.”

Along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron has so thoroughly committed himself to the narrative of the conflict in the Donbass as an existential battle for Europe that he would have difficulty in suddenly backing away from his country’s support. Kasonta claimed that the emergence of hostilities with Ukraine has been bad for the continent as a whole because it prevents Russia from uniting with the rest of the continent and forming a truly counter-hegemonic force.“We will use you by putting you in trouble with your closest neighbor, which is Russia,” he said, summarizing the thinking of US policymakers. “We will put you in this situation that you will not be able to easily get out of the conflict because we have another fish to fry on the horizon. And this fish to fry on the horizon is the conflict with China.”

[..] “The international community and especially people in Western Europe formed their own opinion about what is happening,” he added. “They formed the opinion about their own governments. They felt betrayed by their governments for a long time before the conflict in Ukraine started. But I think that the conflict in Ukraine is the final nail in the coffin of the current neoliberal establishment in the West.” “As I’ve said, either way, the governments in the West have failed.”

Putin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747423612309553489

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How much longer does Duda have?

Poland’s Decision To Host German Troops Will Not Go Unanswered – Moscow (RT)

Warsaw’s announcement that it is prepared to invite German military units, in addition to already existing NATO forces in the country, demonstrates the West’s anti-russian agenda and desire to increase tensions in Europe and will not go unanswered, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Her comments come after Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejn stated on Monday that Warsaw was willing to host German troops on its territory for the first time since World War II in order to further strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. It’s unclear if Germany has any actual plans for such deployments. During a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova recalled that there are currently about 10,000 US troops already stationed in Poland, as well as a multinational NATO combat tactical group which includes military personnel from the US, the UK, Romania and Croatia.

The spokeswoman pointed out that calls to deploy even more foreign forces to Poland were “not necessary if these countries are peace-oriented,” and can only be interpreted as a desire to further escalate tensions in Europe and prolong the collapse of pan-European security, which she said has been completely undermined by NATO. Zakharova also recalled that late last year, Germany had signed an agreement with Lithuania to increase the size of the Bundeswehr contingent in the Baltic republic to a brigade, and suggested that Polish leaders were trying not to “lag behind their neighbors in demonstrating loyalty to their older brothers from Berlin and Washington.”

“The increased activity and the strengthening of NATO’s military capabilities near the borders of Russia and the Union State of Russia and Belarus is provocative and is leading to the complete degradation of the European security architecture,” Zakharova said, stressing that “such steps will, of course, not be left without an appropriate response from the Russian side.” The spokeswoman also pondered how Poland intended to finance the potential deployment of German troops on its territory and whether it would seek compensation from Berlin, given the fact that Warsaw is already demanding $1.3 trillion in WW2 reparations from Germany. The reparations demands were put forward under the former PiS government which was ousted from power last month. Poland’s new government, led by former European Council President Donald Tusk, has stated that it will continue to seek these compensations from Berlin, but would work with Germany to find “a favorable and fair solution.”

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US coerces EU towards provoking Russia.

Brussels Starts ‘Screening’ Ukrainian Laws (RT)

Brussels has announced launching a “screening process and putting together the negotiating framework” as part of negotiations with Ukraine on its ambition to join the EU. Some member states previously said Kiev was years away from achieving its goal. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the new phase during a Wednesday speech before the European Parliament. Von der Leyen mentioned the new phase during a speech before MEPs. She mused that when the formal accession process was launched last year, “hearts of millions of Ukrainians were filled with hope and joy” and claimed that Ukrainian lawmakers had made strides in adopting required reforms.

Earlier this week, von der Leyen met Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His office said the screening of national legislation was discussed there and will move Ukraine towards full membership. The EU leadership resorted to unusual political maneuvering when it pushed the start of accession talks through the Council of Europe in December. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a vocal critic of Brussels’ approach to Kiev, left the meeting when the vote was cast. This allowed the EU requirement for unanimous approval to be technically met without him explicitly supporting the decision. Both Kiev and von der Leyen urged member states to ensure continued funding of the Ukrainian government with European taxpayers’ money. During the same session of the Council, Orban vetoed a Commission proposal to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) over four years to support Kiev. Budapest wants any funding to be done on an annual basis pending review and be done outside of the joint EU budget.

EU leaders will discuss both issues during an extraordinary summit on February 1. Longterm “stable and substantial financing to Ukraine” is needed to “support the daily functioning of the state, to stabilize the economy, and to bring it closer to our Union,” the Commission head said in her address. Hungary is not alone in its skepticism about Ukraine’s candidacy. French President Emmanuel Macron, for instance, told domestic media that the EU was “very far” from accepting it as a new member, commenting on the outcome of the December summit. Meanwhile, the new government in Slovakia has sided with Hungary in its attitude towards Ukraine. Prime Minister Robert Fico called Budapest’s conditions for funding Kiev “rational and sensible” during a visit to Hungary on Tuesday.

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There seems to be a rat in here somewhere.

Judges Smack Down Jack Smith for Violating Trump’s Executive Privilege (PB)

Special Counsel Jack Smith has been excoriated by a panel of four appellate court judges for his unprecedented search of a former president’s private communications. The judges condemned Smith’s violation of executive privilege by searching former President Donald Trump’s Twitter files. “Holy sh*t: 4 judges on DC appellate court just delivered a scorching smack down of Special Counsel Jack Smith, Judge Beryl Howell, and Judge Florence Pan for search of Trump’s Twitter file,” reported Julie Kelly. “The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and bypassed any assertion of executive privilege and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act,” she added while citing a user named @FamilyManAndrew.

The court document states: “This case turned on the First Amendment rights of a social media company, but looming in the background are consequential and novel questions about executive privilege and the balance of power between the President, Congress, and the courts.” “Seeking access to former President Donald Trump’s Twitter/X account, Special Counsel Jack Smith directed a search warrant at Twitter and obtained a nondisclosure order that prevented Twitter from informing President Trump about the search,” the judges added. “The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act. The district court and this court permitted the arrangement without any consideration of the consequential executive privilege issues raised by this unprecedented search.”

“We should not have endorsed this gambit,” the judges added. “‘Any court completely in the dark as to what Presidential files contain is duty bound to respect the singularly unique role under Art. II of a President’s communications and activities’ by affording such communications a presumptive privilege,” the judges added, citing the legal precedent in United States v. Haldeman. Julie Kelly provided additional commentary on the case. “This by Judge Naomi Rao is a withering condemnation of Judge Howell (district court) and Judge Pan (*this court*) about their decisions to brazenly circumvent normal exec privilege litigation process to give Jack Smith what he demanded,” Kelly reported. “Rao continues her thrashing of former chief judge Howell—even noting Howell’s snarky comment to Twitter’s lawyer during sealed hearing as to why Twitter fought nondisclosure order,” she added. “Keep in mind, Howell and Smith also suggested Trump was a “flight risk” as reason to keep search warrant concealed from Trump.”

“And Florence Pan, who upheld Howell’s order, is the idiot who brought up ‘Seal Team Six’ hypothetical last week in appellate hearing on presidential immunity,” Kelly remarked. The Daily Mail, however, reported that the court nonetheless rejected Twitter’s appeal to have the case reheard, but the case is now free to move to the Supreme Court. “A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Special Counsel Jack Smith can have access to former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, as he investigates the former president for 2020 election interference,” the report noted. “The full U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., rejected a petition from Twitter to rehear the case after a three-judge panel ruled against the social media company in July,” it continued. The Daily Mail noted more gripes from the appellate court.

“Without a presumption for executive privilege, new questions will invariably arise, particularly because nothing in the panel’s opinion is limited to a former President,” the judges said. “What if, in the course of a criminal investigation, a special counsel sought a warrant for the incumbent President’s communications from a private email or phone provider? Under this court’s decision, executive privilege isn’t even on the table, so long as the special counsel makes a showing that a warrant and nondisclosure order are necessary to the prosecution,” they continued. “And following the Special Counsel’s roadmap, what would prevent a state prosecutor from using a search warrant and nondisclosure order to obtain presidential communications from a third-party messaging application?” the judges went on. “And how might Congress benefit from this precedent when it seeks to subpoena presidential materials from third parties in an investigation or impeachment inquiry?” Rao and the other judges asked.

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“..It’s not the government portraying Hunter as Tony Montana from “Scarface,” it’s Hunter himself. He’ll have a tough time changing that story now..”

A Gun Pouch Covered In Cocaine Shows Hunter’s Defense Is Ridiculous (Turley)

Hunter Biden’s counsel Abbe Lowell has faced a series of legal blows in his defense of Hunter Biden, but not quite as literal or lethal as what came this week in his client’s gun prosecution. After Lowell sought to dismiss the federal indictment as a trumped-up political prosecution, the Justice Department lowered the boom and revealed that Hunter’s gun was found in a pouch covered in cocaine. The disclosure is devastating for a defense that Lowell just rolled out late last year. In October, Lowell argued that Hunter had not lied on ATF Form 4473 that he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, narcotics. “At the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering,” he said. It was a curious shift, since Hunter, the President, and the media have repeatedly used his addiction to forgive everything from corruption to influence peddling.

Hunter released a book that had laid the foundation of that defense and “Beautiful Things” was heralded by many in the press. Reviews gushed about “an astonishingly candid and brave book about loss, human frailty, wayward souls, and hard-fought redemption.” The image of a clear, redemptive soul is strikingly out of sync with a gun pouch that the officers who found it said was covered in coke. In the Special Counsel’s filing, the court was informed that “an FBI chemist subsequently analyzed the residue and determined that it was cocaine. To be clear, “investigators literally found drugs on the pouch where the defendant had kept his gun.” Hunter bought and possessed the Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver for 11 days between Oct. 12 and Oct. 23, 2018. That possession ended when his sister-in-law Hallie Biden was tossed into a dumpster in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hallie, the widow of Hunter’s deceased brother, had begun a sexual relationship with him and she apparently became concerned about what he might do with the gun. According to Hunter’s own memoir, that would make the window of sobriety a mere blink in time for a defense. The defense will likely challenge the admissibility of police testing due to the gun being tossed into the dumpster. Of course, Lowell can now argue that Wilmington dumpsters are so saturated with cocaine that any item would come out covered in coke. It is more likely that they will cite the break in the chain of custody as making the test unreliable and prejudicial.

What is clear is that the sobriety defense seems not so much risky as implausible. The government could argue that it should be able to use the testing as circumstantial evidence to rebut the claim or even impeach Hunter if he takes the stand (which seems unlikely). Hunter wrote about being a crack addict and alcoholic throughout this period, writing in his book that at some points he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.” It’s not the government portraying Hunter as Tony Montana from “Scarface,” it’s Hunter himself. He’ll have a tough time changing that story now.

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Chevron Case: The 1984 Supreme Court ruled “that judges should defer to the reasonable interpretation of agencies in administering ambiguous federal laws.”

Dereliction of duty by 1984 SCOTUS. The results were easy to see comimg.

Supreme Court to Hear Potentially Historic Chevron Case (Turley)

Today, the Supreme Court will hear two of the most important cases of the term. At issue is the continued meaning (or even viability) of the Chevron doctrine, the 40-year-old doctrine granting deference to federal agencies in regulations carrying out federal laws. This massive doctrine, blamed for the dominance of the administrative state, could be brought down by the diminutive herring. The cases are Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council that judges should defer to the reasonable interpretation of agencies in administering ambiguous federal laws. That deference continued to grow in later years to the point that some of us have warned of the emergence of a type of fourth branch of government.

The court went even further in Arlington v. FCC in giving deference to agencies even in defining their own jurisdiction. In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts warned: “It would be a bit much to describe the result as ‘the very definition of tyranny,’ but the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state cannot be dismissed.” When I testified at the confirmation hearing of Neil Gorsuch, I noted that Chervon would likely be part of his legacy given his opposition to its use. Justice Gorsuch wrote in a 2022 dissent from denial of certiorari in Buffington v. McDonough that what he called “the aggressive reading of Chevron has more or less fallen into desuetude.” He added:

“At this late hour, the whole project deserves a tombstone no one can miss. We should acknowledge forthrightly that Chevron did not undo, and could not have undone, the judicial duty to provide an independent judgment of the law’s meaning in the cases that come before the Nation’s courts.” The cases today concern federal requirements that commercial fishermen pay for at-sea monitors. Herring fishermen in New Jersey and Rhode Island are challenging the law in a case with a long list of amicus filings on both sides from groups, politicians, and businesses. The fishermen say that the monitors could put them out of business, costing up to 20 percent of their annual revenues in a business that is already marginal for profits. They argue that the government wants monitors (which they do not necessarily oppose) but lacked the funds.

The decision was made to shift the costs to the fishermen and then citing Chevron to curtail judicial review. One of the lead counsel is my friend and former colleague Columbia professor Philip Hamburger, a brilliant academic who believes that the doctrine has fundamentally distorted our tripartite constitutional system. In both lower court cases, Chevron carried the day for the agency. In addition to the New Jersey case, the court added the second, nearly identical one from Rhode Island to its calendar — presumably because Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was recused in the New Jersey matter after serving on the appeals court panel that initially reviewed it before her elevation to the Supreme Court.

Chevron
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747645275605172307

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A big task: “130 countries – representing over 98% of global gross domestic product – are exploring or developing CBDCs..”

Trump Vows To “Never Allow” A Central Bank Digital Currency (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed to never allow the use of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), as it would “give the government absolute control over your money.” “This would be a dangerous threat to freedom – and I will stop it from coming to America. We are also going to put in place strong protections to stop banks and regulators from trying to de-bank you for your political beliefs. That will never happen while I am your president,” Trump told a crowd in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – as first reported by The National Pulse. Trump’s comments come hours after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) revealed that federal agencies have been flagging financial transactions using politically sensitive words such as “MAGA” and “Trump” in yet another egregious example of the establishment targeting political rivals.

As we’ve reported for years, CBDCs – touted by globalists such as French Central Bank deputy governor Denis Beau as “the catalyst for improving cross-border payments by enabling the build-up of a new international monetary system” – are in fact the ultimate tools of oppression. Even Fed Governors know ‘this way lies danger’: “In thinking about the implications of CBDC and privacy, we must also consider the central role that money plays in our daily lives, and the risk that a CBDC would provide not only a window into, but potentially an impediment to, the freedom Americans enjoy in choosing how money and resources are used and invested,” Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman told a Harvard Law School Program on International Financial Systems last year.

Central bank digital currencies are part of a broader “war on cash.” A cashless society is sold on the promise of providing a safe, convenient, and more secure alternative to physical cash. We’re also told it will help stop dangerous criminals who like the intractability of cash. But there is a darker side – the promise of control.The elimination of cash creates the potential for the government to track and control consumer spending. Digital economies would also make it even easier for central banks to engage in manipulative monetary policies such as negative interest rates. But they seem to be an inevitability, as according to data from the Atlantic Council CBDC Tracker, 130 countries – representing over 98% of global gross domestic product – are exploring or developing CBDCs, marking an outsized increase from just a few years ago.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

GVB Vaccines will be banned from medicine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747421038860808465

 

 

Milei
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747635083521998960

 

 

Balloon

 

 

 

 

Best friends
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747733727076347993

 

 

Bald eagle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747562077831512236

 

 

 

 

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May 112021
 


John French Sloan A Woman’s Work 1912

 

57 Top Scientists And Doctors Demand Immediate Stop to ALL Vaccinations (EnV)
Feds Demonizing Covid-19 Treatments In Order To Promote Vaccine (WND)
Norway Health Board Rejects J&J, AZ Vaccines Over Side Effects (RT)
Doctor Warns Allowing Hugs ‘Might Be A Mistake’ (Mirror)
US Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine For 12-15 Year Olds (Y!)
Unthinkable Thoughts (Mitteldorf)
US Gas Stations Running Out Of Fuel (DM)
Free Speech Inc. (Turley)
Chevron’s Prisoner (Bragman)
Civil War Is Brewing In France And You Know It: French Military To Macron (RT)
Agent Orange Complaint vs Monsanto, Dow Chemical Rejected By French Court (RT)

 

 

 

 

Not everyone’s asleep yet.

57 Top Scientists And Doctors Demand Immediate Stop to ALL Vaccinations (EnV)

Vaccines for other coronaviruses have never been approved for humans, and data generated in the development of coronavirus vaccines designed to elicit neutralizing antibodies show that they may worsen COVID-19 disease via antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) and Th2 immunopathology, regardless of the vaccine platform and delivery method [9-11]. Vaccine-driven disease enhancement in animals vaccinated against SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV is known to occur following viral challenge, and has been attributed to immune complexes and Fc-mediated viral capture by macrophages, which augment T-cell activation and inflammation [11-13].

In March 2020, vaccine immunologists and coronavirus experts assessed SARS-CoV-2 vaccine risks based on SARS-CoV-vaccine trials in animal models. The expert group concluded that ADE and immunopathology were a real concern, but stated that their risk was insufficient to delay clinical trials, although continued monitoring would be necessary [14]. While there is no clear evidence of the occurrence of ADE and vaccine-related immunopathology in volunteers immunized with SARS-CoV-2 vaccines [15], safety trials to date have not specifically addressed these serious adverse effects (SAE).

Given that the follow-up of volunteers did not exceed 2-3.5 months after the second dose [16-19], it is unlikely such SAE would have been observed. Despite errors in reporting, it cannot be ignored that even accounting for the number of vaccines administered, according to the US Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System (VAERS), the number of deaths per million vaccine doses administered has increased more than 10-fold. We believe there is an urgent need for open scientific dialogue on vaccine safety in the context of large-scale immunization. In this paper, we describe some of the risks of mass vaccination in the context of phase 3 trial exclusion criteria and discuss the SAE reported in national and regional adverse effect registration systems. We highlight unanswered questions and draw attention to the need for a more cautious approach to mass vaccination.

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“..the National Institutes of Health issued a guideline recommending physicians not treat COVID-19 until a patient needs oxygen..”

Feds Demonizing Covid-19 Treatments In Order To Promote Vaccine (WND)

“Something has gone off the rails” in the world’s approach to the novel coronavirus pandemic, with health authorities in the U.S. and abroad suppressing safe, cheap and effective treatments while promoting experimental vaccines that have received only emergency use authorization, contends Dr. Peter McCullough. McCullough, a renowned cardiologist who testified to the U.S. Senate last fall on COVID-19 treatments, pointed out in a lengthy interview with Tucker Carlson’s Fox Nation show “Tucker Carlson Today” that the National Institutes of Health issued a guideline recommending physicians not treat COVID-19 until a patient needs oxygen. “This document will go down in history as the most nihilistic medical guidance as Americans are suffering,” said McCullough, the vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Asked to explain why such guidance would be issued, McCullough said it could be “fear driven,” but it’s not in his “moral DNA” to “let people die with no treatment.” Around the world, physicians are finding success using treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, but there is no regulatory support in the United States for treating COVID-19 at all, as there would be for any other disease, he said. In November, McCullough was among the physicians who in Senate testimony decried the politicization hydroxychloroquine, invermectin and other treatments. McCullough has 600 peer-reviewed publications to his name. Many have appeared in top-tier journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet.

He is the president of the Cardiorenal Society of America, the co-editor of Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine and associate editor of the American Journal of Cardiology and Cardiorenal Medicine. He has led monitoring safety boards in major drug trials. “I have seen things in the last year that I cannot explain as a doctor,” he told Carlson. “Why are other doctors not helping, with a simple [treatment] these patients avoid hospitalization and death?” He noted three cases in which families have had to go to court to force physicians to administer the common antiparasitic drug ivermectin. In each case, the court sided with the family and the patient survived.

[..] Meanwhile, a new peer-reviewed study published by the American Journal of Therapeutics concludes that ivermectin can end the COVID-19 pandemic. Reviewed by a team that includes three top U.S. government senior scientists, the research finds the drug significantly reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 when used regularly. In February, a study published in the U.S. journal Frontiers of Pharmacology found ivermectin reduces COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths by about 75%. In more than 30 trials around the world, the drug causes “repeated, consistent, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes’ at all stages of the disease,” according to the study.

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Experts contradicting each other is another curious aspect of Covid.

Norway Health Board Rejects J&J, AZ Vaccines Over Side Effects (RT)

The Institute of Public Health in Norway has recommended against the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, adding to a recommendation of permanently avoiding the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab over side effect fears. In a press release on Monday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) advised the government against the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 jab, following guidance from a government-appointed commission. The committee also supported an earlier recommendation by the NIPH not to use the AstraZeneca shot. “We do not recommend that the vaccines be used in the national vaccination program due to the serious side effects that have been seen,” Lars Vorland, chair of the expert committee, said at a press conference on Monday.

In its statement, NIPH formally published the recommendation not to use the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 jab. “Our goal is to protect as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, to reopen society and get everyday life back. It is therefore a difficult decision to recommend that one of the Covid vaccines not be used actively in the program.” NIPH recommends that the Johnson & Johnson shot be kept in emergency storage in case the vaccine supplies of the mRNA jab should fail. They add that it is particularly suited to being an emergency vaccine, as it only requires one dose and can be stored for a long time.

[..] Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference that “the government will use this as basis for its decision, together with recommendations from the Institute of Public Health, on whether to use these vaccines.” In April, NIPH recommended that the government stop using the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after a lengthy review of the jab. Oslo suspended the vaccine’s use on March 11 following reports of potentially fatal rare blood clots. The blood clotting concerns have already led to limitations in the distribution of the vaccine in multiple countries. Five healthcare workers, all aged between 32 and 54, were hospitalized after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in Norway. Three of them died.

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Nowhere near the biggest mistake here.

Doctor Warns Allowing Hugs ‘Might Be A Mistake’ (Mirror)

Dr Hilary Jones had his say on reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson may allow hugging in England from next Monday, with him urging caution. The Good Morning Britain doctor told of the benefits of hugging, but warned there was a greater risk of coronavirus transmission if people started touching everybody. Hilary said that with coronavirus still spreading in the UK and around the world, with new variants detected, it could be a “mistake” to start allowing such close contact. While it is yet to be confirmed, Johnson is tipped to announce hugging will be allowed from Monday May 17 when the lockdown rules change again in England.

With bigger groups allowed to gather outdoors, and groups of six allowed indoors, the allowance of hugging is a late change to the earlier announced new rules. But Dr Hilary urged caution with the news, and told people to be “selective” if they are going to get close to people. Speaking on the show, he described the increased risk of transmission as “quite substantial” with close contact such as hugging. He explained: “If you are in hugging range and you’re touching somebody, and your face is right next to their’s, you are gonna be breathing the breath that they are exhaling.

“The virus is transmitted through aerosol droplets, so the risk is much higher.” He went on: “Professor Noakes, she’s part of SAGE, she’s saying that actually she’s worried, and that hugs should be selective. “They should be short, they should be selective… hug your children, hug your grandchildren, not promiscuous hugs we’re not talking about here, not hugging everybody, not getting too close for too long.” Hilary added: “It’s great, hugs actually have a benefit in health in terms of, forget the aerosol transmission of viruses for a moment, there’s all sorts of things that happen.”

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In the context of the survival rate, this makes no sense.

US Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine For 12-15 Year Olds (Y!)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old. “This is a promising development in our fight against the virus,” said President Joe Biden. “If you are a parent who wants to protect your child, or a teenager who is interested in getting vaccinated, today’s decision is a step closer to that goal.” The FDA previously granted an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to individuals aged 16 and older. “Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.


The FDA said some 1.5 million Covid-19 cases in individuals aged 11 to 17 years old have been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021. The course of the disease is generally milder in children but they can pass it on to older, more vulnerable adults. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said in March that their two-dose vaccine regimen was shown to be safe and highly effective in a trial of 2,260 12 to 15 year olds. Biden last week stressed the importance of expanding vaccinations to 12 to 15 year olds and said the authorities were “ready to move immediately” once the authorization came through. Some 20,000 pharmacies around the country were ready to begin to vaccinate adolescents, he said, and doses will also be shipped to pediatricians.

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“The most compelling evidence for a laboratory origin of COVID is that coronaviruses don’t have furin cleavage sites, and until last year, this trick has never evolved naturally.”

Unthinkable Thoughts (Mitteldorf)

The spike protein is the part of the virus structure that interfaces with the host cell. SARS 1 and SARS 2 viruses both have spike proteins that bind to a human cell receptor called ACE-2, common in lung cells but also present in other parts of the body. Binding to the cell’s ACE-2 receptor is like the wolf knocking at the door of Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. “Hello, grandmama. I’m your granddaughter. Please let me in.” The virus is a wolf wearing a red cape and hood, pretends to be an ACE-2 enzyme molecule seeking entrance to the cell.

In order to enter the cell, the virus must break off from the spike protein and leave it at the doorstep, so to speak. This is an important and difficult step, as it turns out. Unique to the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a trick for making the separation. Just at the edge of the protein is a furin cleavage site. Furin is an enzyme that snips protein molecules, and it is common in our bodies, with legitimate metabolic uses. A furin cleavage site is a string of 4 particular amino acids that calls to furin, “hey — come over here. I’m a protein that needs snipping.”

[..] One of the most credible dangers of the spike protein involves fertility. None of the vaccines were tested in pregnant women, and yet many government and other authorities are recommending it as safe for pregnant women. VAERS has reported 174 miscarriages to date after COVID vaccination. VAERS is notoriously underreported. I find the anecdotes less concerning than the fact that no one is taking this seriously, and research is being actively discouraged in the best-respected science journals. There is a credible mechanism, in that the spike protein is partially homologous to syncytin. Syncytin, in fact, was originally a retroviral protein, inserted into the mammalian genome many aeons ago, and evolved over the ages to play an essential role in reproduction, binding the placenta to the fetus.

An immune response that attacks syncytin might be expected to be impose a danger of spontaneous abortion. In any ordinary times, this would be a subject that medical researchers would jump on, with animal tests and field surveys to assess the danger. But these are no ordinary times, and the risk is being dismissed on theoretical grounds without investigation. This is especially suspicious in the context of history: a Gates Foundation vaccination program in 1995 was allegedly promoted to young women, causing infertility. (Yes, I know there are many fact-checkers eager to “debunk” this story, but I don’t find them convincing, and some of these fact-checkers are compromised by Gates funding.) Even doing what the spike protein is supposed to do — tying up ACE2 — can be a problem for our lungs and arteries, which are routinely protected by ACE2.

The most dangerous possibility, suspected but not verified, is that the spike protein causes a prion cascade. Prions are paradoxical pathogens, in that they are misfolded proteins that cause misfolded proteins. Their evolutionary etiology is utterly mysterious, so much so that it took Stanley Prusiner a decade after describing the biology of prions before the scientific community would take prion biochemistry seriously. But prions make potent bioweapons, which laboratories can design outside of natural evolutionary dynamics. The possibility of prion-like structures in the spike protein was noted very early in the pandemic based on a computational study. This recent review combines theoretical, laboratory, and observational evidence to make a case for caution. Once again, I find it disturbing that this possibility is being dismissed on theoretical grounds rather than investigated in the lab and the field.

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And not just a few of them.

US Gas Stations Running Out Of Fuel (DM)

Gas stations from Florida to Atlanta to Virginia are closing their pumps due to a fuel shortage brought on by the Colonial Pipeline hack – and a state of emergency has been declared by the governor of North Carolina. American Airlines was adding stops to two of its long-haul flights from its Charlotte, North Carolina hub, CNBC reported, as a likely effort to conserve fuel in areas where it could run short. The 5,500 mile Colonial Pipeline was shut down on Friday evening by the company when the ransomware attack was launched – seemingly by Russian-based cybercriminal group, DarkSide. Service was gradually being restored on Monday. At least 12 other companies were also affected by the ransomware attack, Bloomberg reported, and Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, called for those responsible to be executed.

The pipeline supplies 45 per cent of all the East Coast’s fuel needs, including Atlanta’s airport – the world’s busiest, by passenger traffic. The pipeline also serves 90 U.S. military installations and 26 oil refineries. On Monday evening motorists were beginning to report shortages at gas stations. A spokesman for Race Trac, which operates gas stations in the Atlanta area, confirmed the shortage to WSBTV-2. At least two gas stations in Tallahassee, Florida, were completely out of stock, Bloomberg reported. Patrick de Haan, an energy expert who runs the monitoring site Gas Buddy Tracker, said his sources showed five per cent of stations in Virginia running empty. His recommendation to motorists? ‘Conserve, conserve, conserve,’ he said.

The lack of supply could soon hit users across the country in the pocketbook. AAA already predicts that gasoline prices in the Georgia region alone could rise three to seven cents per gallon this week, and said that there also could be ‘limited fuel availability’ in places. ‘This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and price, but the impact will vary regionally,’ said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. ‘Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and prices increases as early as this week.’

[..] DarkSide, which cultivates a Robin Hood image of stealing from corporations and giving a cut to charity, said in a statement posted on the dark web that their only goal was to ‘make money’ and not create problems for society. ‘We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics,’ the statement read. ‘Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society.’ ‘From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.’ Colonial, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, has not yet said whether it has paid or is negotiating a ransom with the hackers.

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“..it sometimes seems Facebook wants to be treated like AT&T but act like the DNC.”

Free Speech Inc. (Turley)

After Facebook’s oversight board this week upheld the social media giant’s continuing ban of former President Trump, the response of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) captured the visceral joy of many on the left: She posted a series of laughing emojis. Welcome to Free Speech, Inc.: the Democratic incorporation of free speech built around the a presumption of corporate censorship (for some). Of course, Democrats insist they are not attacking free speech, just combating “disinformation.” After all, they say, private companies have every right to control speech — unless you are, say, a bakery opposed to preparing a cake for a same-sex wedding, or a company contributing to political causes. The current mantra defending Facebook’s corporate speech rights seems strikingly out of sync with years of Democrats and political activists demanding the curtailment of such rights.

When Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) denounced the bakery’s claim of free speech: “It was never about a cake — it’s about making sure no one has a license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans.” When the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations have free speech rights to participate in politics, Warren was appalled. She has long rejected the notion that corporations have the constitutional rights like individuals: “Corporations are not people. People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They cry. They dance. They live. They love. And they die.” Notably, Warren felt that one company (Masterpiece Cakeshop) can be forced to speak while another corporation (Facebook) should be able to stop others from speaking.

When Facebook barred Trump, Warren declared: “I’m glad that Donald Trump is not going to be on Facebook. Suits me.” House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also celebrated and added: “Facebook must ban him. Which is to say, forever.” When free speech concerns are raised over corporate censorship, Democrats often drop references to “free speech” violations and instead address “First Amendment” violations. Indeed, when Trump objected to the ban on Twitter as “banning free speech,” a host of media outlets ran stories like: “Fact Check: Did Twitter Violate President Trump’s First Amendment Rights?” Experts like Wayne State University law professor Jonathan Weinberg chimed in that, under the First Amendment, a company “gets to choose who it does business with and who it doesn’t.”

[..] These companies once were viewed as neutral platforms for people to exchange views — people who affirmatively “friend” or invite the views of others. If Big Tech wants to be treated like a telephone company, it must act like a telephone company. We wouldn’t tolerate AT&T interrupting calls to object to some misleading conversation, or cutting the line for those who misinform others. As a neutral platform for communications, telephone companies receive special legal and economic status under our laws. Yet, it sometimes seems Facebook wants to be treated like AT&T but act like the DNC.

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Donziger’s story is unbelievable.

Chevron’s Prisoner (Bragman)

Donziger was a human rights attorney representing indigenous peoples in Ecuador who brought a lawsuit against Texaco for rainforest pollution in the region. In 2011, Donziger and his clients won a $18 billion judgement against the fuel giant, which had since been bought out by Chevron, one of the largest judgments ever handed down against an oil company, even when that amount was later reduced to $9.5 billion. While the ruling was subsequently upheld by three Ecuadorian courts, Chevron moved its operation out of the country to avoid paying the damages and countersued Donziger in the United States under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), a former corporate lawyer, was assigned to the case and granted Chevron a temporary restraining order against the Ecuador judgment in an effort to block enforcement of it anywhere in the world. During the non-jury trial, former Ecuadorian judge Alberto Guerra, who presided over the case when it was first filed, testified that Donziger and his team had bribed him to ghostwrite the multi-billion dollar judgment against Chevron for presiding judge Nicolas Zambrano. Guerra claimed Zambrano had also been bribed and had offered him a percentage of his take. Guerra would later admit during an international arbitration that he had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Chevron and recant some details of his testimony.

Despite Guerra’s admission, the tribunal ultimately sided with Chevron, finding that the multi-billion-dollar judgment had still been tainted by fraud and that the claims against the oil giant had been settled and released by the Ecuadorian government years earlier. Kaplan, the U.S. judge, also had ties to the oil company. The Clinton appointee had investments in funds with Chevron holdings, and had previously suggested in deposition hearings from a separate but related case that Chevron could have grounds to file a racketeering suit against Donziger. During the racketeering proceedings, Kaplan described the oil giant as “a company of considerable importance to our economy that employs thousands all over the world, that supplies a group of commodities — gasoline, heating oil, other fuels, and lubricants — on which every one of us depends every single day.”

Relying largely on Guerra’s testimony, Kaplan ruled against Donziger in March 2014, alleging a vast conspiracy and finding that the attorney had acquired the Ecuador judgment through “corrupt means.” A federal appeals court would later uphold Kaplan’s ruling. Donziger was later disbarred from practicing law in New York. After its legal victory, Chevron sought to recoup more than $800,000 in court costs from Donziger. The company’s lawyers demanded possession of the attorney’s personal computer and cell phone, which it claimed were necessary to enforce its monetary judgment against him. Donziger appealed and refused to turn over his electronics, arguing he would be handing over privileged materials.

Kaplan responded by holding Donziger in civil and then criminal contempt of court and slapping him with the largest state sanction in the history of New York courts. The SDNY U.S. Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case, citing a lack of resources, so in July 2019, Kaplan took the unusual step of turning the contempt case over to attorneys from the major corporate law firm Seward & Kissel LLP to act as special prosecutors. He also selected a colleague, Judge Loretta Preska, to hear the criminal case. As part of the proceedings, Preska sentenced Donziger to his ongoing home confinement in August 2019.

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Macron can’t just brush this off.

Civil War Is Brewing In France And You Know It: French Military To Macron (RT)

A group of active French military personnel has published a new open letter to the country’s president Emmanuel Macron, warning him of a “civil war” brewing in the country after all the “concessions” he’s made to Islamism. The letter, published in the conservative Valeurs Actuelles magazine late on Sunday, strikes a similar tone to the message published by the same outlet last month. Unlike the previous one, which was signed by 25 retired generals and active-duty soldiers, the new letter is anonymous and is open for signing by the general public. As of noon on Monday, it had attracted over 100,000 signatures. The authors of the letter have described themselves as active-duty French soldiers, belonging to the younger generation of the military that saw actual combat over the past years.

“We are what the newspapers have called ‘the fire generation.’ Men and women, active soldiers, of all armies and of all ranks, of all opinions, we all love our country. These are our only claims to fame. And while we cannot, by law, express ourselves with our face uncovered, it is equally impossible for us to stay silent,” the letter reads. The letter accuses President Macron of making “concessions” to Islamism on French soil, while the country’s military has been spilling its blood to fight against it in “Afghanistan, Mali, the Central African Republic or elsewhere.”

The authors have also indicated that at least some of them have taken part in the domestic Operation Sentinelle, launched after the devastating 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, and witnessed certain ethno-religious communities in France completely detached from the rest of the country. For such communities “France means nothing but an object of sarcasm, contempt or even hatred,” the letter reads. Like the previous letter, this new one warns the republic’s authorities of an impending “civil war,” with the very existence of France being at stake. “Once again, civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well,” the letter reads.

Read more …

“..the court said it did not have jurisdiction to rule over America’s wartime activities in Vietnam”

Agent Orange Complaint vs Monsanto, Dow Chemical Rejected By French Court (RT)

A Paris court has rejected a 2014 complaint brought against 14 companies involved in the production and sale of Agent Orange to the US during the Vietnam War, declaring it does not have jurisdiction to rule over the matter. The lawsuit in the French court was filed by French-Vietnamese former journalist Tran To Nga. She accused the companies – among them Monsanto and Dow Chemical – of being culpable for the injuries caused to her, her children, and others, as well as for damage to the environment. However, the case was rejected on Monday, after the court said it did not have jurisdiction to rule over America’s wartime activities in Vietnam, halting the suit seven years after it was filed.

Tran, who covered the conflict, has been supported by non-governmental organizations in her quest to hold companies responsible for manufacturing Agent Orange and providing it to the US military. Those accused in the lawsuit have denied any responsibility for the damage caused in Vietnam, arguing that they cannot be blamed for how the American military used the chemical. Had Tran been successful, the case would have set a legal precedent for millions of Vietnamese civilian victims to have claimed compensation for health effects caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Currently, only American, Australian, and Korean military veterans who were exposed to the chemical have been awarded compensation, with America’s Agent Orange Settlement Fund having paid out claims to 52,000 former service members or their survivors, averaging at around $3,800 each.

Agent Orange was deployed across Vietnam by American forces from 1961 to 1971. During a brutal chemical warfare campaign against Viet Cong guerilla fighters, 12 million gallons of herbicide were used to defoliate the ecosystem, thereby exposing the enemy and destroy crops. The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that around a million people are disabled or suffer from health problems as the result of their exposure to the chemical. Dioxin, a highly toxic element of Agent Orange, has been linked to birth defects, cancers, and other deadly diseases.

Read more …

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

“The drop CNN is experiencing is profound. On Friday, not one program broke 900K total viewers. Prime averaged less than 800K overall.

For comparison, the network averaged 2.74 million viewers in January, so we’re talking about more than two-thirds of the audience – gone.”

 

 

 


©AlanMcFadyen

 

 

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

 

May 212020
 


Charles Camoin Village Street in Collioure 1912

 

Don’t Count On Vaccine, US Scientist Warns (G.)
42% Of Recent US Layoffs To Result In Permanent Job Loss – Study (Y!)
Sweden Had Highest Coronavirus Death Rate Per Capita In Last Week (Tel.)
YouTube Censors Video In Which Medical Doctors Said HCQ Might Help (JTN)
Media Matters and its Propaganda About Hydroxycholoroquine (Attkisson)
Apple-Google Contact Tracing Tech Draws Interest In 23 Countries (R.)
Andrew Cuomo’s No Hero. He’s To Blame For New York Coronavirus Catastrophe (G.)
Senate Passes Bill On Oversight Of Chinese Companies (CNBC)
First as Tragedy, Then as Farce: The Collapse of the Sanders Campaign (AA)
Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus (Ellen Brown)
Turn Out the Lights, Russiagate is Over (Ray McGovern)
US Supreme Court Blocks Disclosure Of Mueller Grand Jury Material (R.)
FBI Offered To Pay Steele ‘Significantly’ To Dig Up Dirt On Michael Flynn (DC)
Susan Rice Email Confirms Flynn Was Targeted In Oval Office Meeting (Fed.)
Judge Orders Attorney Steven Donziger Under House Arrest Until September (IC)

 

 

• US 21,173 new cases in past 24 hrs

• Brazil 21,472 new cases, will overtake Russia for no. 2 spot this week

• Globally, over 100,000 new cases, a new record.

The virus is spreading, and often to vulnerable areas. India, Peru, Pakistan, Chile. Rising deaths numbers to follow, if properly reported

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1263196507169316864

 

 

 

Cases 5,108,869 (+ 102,194 from yesterday’s 5,006,675)

Deaths 330,082 (+ 4,762 from yesterday’s 325,320)

 

 

 

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

 

 

From Worldometer

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

“Do not listen to the politicians who say we’re going to have one by the time my re-election comes around..”

Don’t Count On Vaccine, US Scientist Warns (G.)

A top US scientist has said that people should not count on a Covid-19 vaccine being developed any time soon, as global infections passed 5 million after surges in Latin America, including Brazil, which has recorded nearly 20,000 new cases. William Haseltine, the groundbreaking cancer, HIV/AIDS and human genome projects researcher, has said the best approach to the pandemic is to manage the disease through careful tracing of infections and strict isolation measures whenever it starts spreading. He said that while a vaccine could be developed, “I wouldn’t count on it”, and urged people to wear masks, wash hands, clean surfaces and keep a distance. “Do not listen to the politicians who say we’re going to have one by the time my re election comes around,” he said.


“Maybe we will (but) I’m just saying it’s not a slam-dunk case by any means … because every time people have tried to make a vaccine – for Sars or Mers – it hasn’t actually protected.” Vaccines developed previously for other types of coronavirus had failed to protect mucous membranes in the nose where the virus typically enters the body, he said. The United States and other countries has not done enough to “forcibly isolate” people exposed to the virus, Haseltine said, but praised China, South Korea and Taiwan’s efforts to curb infections. Haseltine said the US, Russia and Brazil – which rank first, second and third for infections – have done the worst. As global infections passed 5 million, Brazil reported a record 19,951 cases on Wednesday, according to the ministry of health, taking total infections to 291,579.

Read more …

Why bailing out businesses is a bad idea.

42% Of Recent US Layoffs To Result In Permanent Job Loss – Study (Y!)

Permanent job losses are likely to be a feature of the eventual U.S. recovery, according to University of Chicago research, which estimates that 42% of recently unemployed workers will not return to their jobs amid the “profound” shock stemming from coronavirus lockdowns. The pandemic has taken a brutal toll on the world’s largest economy, with at least 36 million people thrown out of work over the last two months. With states gradually relaxing restrictions that have shut down businesses and locked workers at home, economists are forecasting at least some of those employers could rehire laid off workers. However, researchers at the U of C’s Becker Institute for Economics have painted a dour picture of the labor market reallocating those lost positions.

Calling the crisis a “major reallocation shock” across all major economic sectors, the authors found that for every 10 coronavirus-induced job losses, only 3 were created. Some employers — primarily Amazon and Walmart — have hired en masse to deal with temporary demand spikes, yet the Chicago study suggests positions created during the COVID-19 crisis are unlikely to offset the labor market’s extreme bloodletting. The lockdowns have cratered activity in an economy that consists of 70% consumer spending, while undoing all of the jobs created since the great recession ended. “Even if medical advances or natural forces bring an early resolution to the crisis, many pandemic-induced shifts in consumer demand and business practices will persist,” wrote [..] the study’s authors.

They cautioned that a litany of reasons — such as generous unemployment benefits that exceed their lost job earnings, policies to encourage companies to keep people on the payroll and other regulatory factors “will impede reallocation responses to the COVID-19 shock.” As a result, “much of the near-term reallocative impact of the pandemic will also persist, as indicated by our forward-looking reallocation measures,” they wrote, adding that “42 percent of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss.” “If the pandemic and partial economic shutdown linger for many months, or if pandemics with serious health consequences and high mortality rates become a recurring phenomenon, there will be profound, long-term consequences for the reallocation of jobs, workers and capital across firms and locations,” the U of C’s researchers wrote.

Read more …

Nobody counts for just a week. But Sweden has major problems. Their numbers are going up, not down.

Sweden Had Highest Coronavirus Death Rate Per Capita In Last Week (Tel.)

Sweden has now overtaken the UK, Italy and Belgium to have the highest coronavirus per capita death rate in the world, throwing its decision to avoid a strict lockdown into further doubt. According to figures collated by the Our World in Data website, Sweden had 6.08 deaths per million inhabitants per day on a rolling seven-day average between May 13 and May 20. This is the highest in the world, above the UK, Belgium and the US, which have 5.57, 4.28 and 4.11 respectively. However, Sweden has only had the highest death rate over the past week, with Belgium, Spain, Italy, the UK and France, still ahead over the entire course of the pandemic. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the spokesman for Sweden’s outlier coronavirus strategy, dismissed the figures on Tuesday night, arguing that it was misleading to focus on the death toll over a single week….

Read more …

We were having a discussion in the Comments at the Automatic Earth the other day, specifically about “hemolytic anemia in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency”, a problem linked to Chloroquine (CQ), but not Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). 400 million people worldwide, and 1 in 10 African-American males in the U.S have G6PD deficiency.

It was mentioned that the closely related primaquine (not chloroquine) appears to be the drug of choice to fight malaria worldwide, and that primaquine also is problematic for G6PD-deficient patients. Though the numbers don’t reflect that: “In six decades of primaquine use in approximately 200 million people, 14 deaths have been reported.” Not a big issue. If that is what is meant by the danger imposed by hydroxychloroquine, I’ll take it.

And there was this curious line: “G6PD deficiency provides great protection from malaria infection, especially for falciparum infections. On the other hand, G6PD deficiency has been recently demonstrated to cause serious problems in fighting against malaria.

YouTube Censors Video In Which Medical Doctors Said HCQ Might Help (JTN)

YouTube on Wednesday reinstated a video it has previously censored in which several medical doctors suggested that the drug hydroxychloroquine might be useful in treating coronavirus, with the company reportedly claiming at the time of censorship that the presentation was “dangerous.” The video report, presented by Sharyl Attkisson at Full Measure News, examined the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 and the possible financial interest some parties have in downplaying the drug and promoting a separate treatment called remdesivir. One of the doctors interviewed in the video, William O’Neill, tells Attkisson, also a Just the News contributor, that there is “some value” to hydroxychloroquine and “it has to be tested.”

O’Neill, a cardiologist in Detroit, has prescribed the drug to multiple patients and “saw improvement in all of them,” Attkisson reported. At the Henry Ford Health System, where O’Neill works, officials are working with hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir. The doctor said the media campaign against the drug, which began around the time President Trump first started touting it, has left patients “scared to use the drug without any scientifically valid concern.” “We’ve talked with our colleagues at the University of Minnesota who are doing a similar study, and at the University of Washington,” he said. “We’ve treated 400 patients and haven’t seen a single adverse event. And what’s happening is because of this fake news and fake science, the true scientific efforts are being harmed because people now are so worried that they don’t want to enroll in the trials.”

Another physician, Dr. Jane Orient, the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons as well as a clinical lecturer at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, urged viewers to “look at the money” when it comes to the two drugs. “There’s no big profits made in hydroxychloroquine,” said Orient. “It’s very cheap, easy to manufacture, been around for 70 years. It’s generic. Remdesivir is a new drug that could be very expensive and very lucrative if it’s ever approved. So I think we really do have to consider there’s some financial interest involved here.” Sharyl Attkisson on Wednesday afternoon told Just the News that it wasn’t immediately clear when the video was removed

It was originally uploaded to YouTube two days ago. Attkisson said YouTube had removed the presentation with a note claiming that it was “dangerous,” without offering any explanation as to why. She said Full Measure News appealed the removal, after which YouTube subsequently reinstated it. Attkisson cited a critical report by Media Matters, published the same day as her report, as the likely cause of the removal. “These are organized efforts,” she said, arguing that politically biased parties are behind efforts to remove or censor contrarian information on social media. “They know they can use these systems to limit information. It’s very frightening because I feel like if something’s not done, in five years, we’re going to be telling our kids, ‘There was once a time we could get any information we wanted on the Internet.’ That’s changing. We can’t anymore.”

She noted recent efforts by Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to pressure social media companies to censor and downgrade “harmful” coronavirus-related material and push users instead toward information from the World Health Organization. “I don’t know why we’re allowing this,” Attkisson said. “Nobody appointed Adam Schiff to police our content on social media.”

Read more …

Sharyl Attkisson also has some personal pain.

Media Matters and its Propaganda About Hydroxycholoroquine (Attkisson)

For most thinking Americans, it is unnecessary to bother to fact check the propaganda group Media Matters. If they have heard of Media Matters at all, they typically understand it’s a smear group funded by donors with political and corporate interests whose names are kept secret. (The last big Media Matters donor whose name was publicly revealed years ago was that of liberal billionaire activist George Soros.) The problem is, too many news organizations and even journalism groups such as Poynter use Media Matters and their affiliates as if they are legitimate news sources. They are either unforgviably ignorant of Media Matters’ slants— or choose to keep readers in the dark because they agree with the slant. One major interest Media Matters and its affiliates have served over the years is that of the pharmaceutical industry. They often smear scientists and journalists who report on prescription drug and vaccine safety issues, falsely labelling them as “anti-vaccine.”


The segment mentioned both positive and negative scientific findings about hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir. It did not attempt to take a comprehensive look at all of the studies underway or completed (there are hundreds); or their methodology, limits and criticism. It was to show that some well regarded, peer-reviewed, independent, published scientists who are actually studying hydroxychloroquine, and have no financial connections to the makers of the drug, have a different opinion than what has been widely presented in the media. It was also to show that the government, academic institutions and hospitals are actively studying hydroxycholorquine as both a preventive agent and treatment for coronavirus. Further, the esteemed scientists consulted do not agree with Media Matters’ spin on the topic, and it is their prerogative to present their scientific opinion. It’s important to hear from scientists who hold differing views on matters of public health importance.

Read more …

It can be done safely, but will it?

Apple-Google Contact Tracing Tech Draws Interest In 23 Countries (R.)

Authorities in 23 countries across five continents have sought access to contact tracing technology from Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, the companies announced on Wednesday as they released the initial version of their system. But authorities would have to stop requiring phone numbers from users under the companies’ rules, one of several restrictions that have left governments fighting the novel coronavirus frustrated that the world’s top two smartphone software makers undercut the technology’s usefulness by prioritizing user privacy. Apple and Google said several U.S. states and 22 countries have sought access to their technology, but it is unclear how many will end up publishing mobile apps that use it.

Using apps to accelerate contact tracing, in which authorities identify and test people who were recently near a virus carrier, has emerged as a tool to stem new outbreaks. It could help authorities test more potentially infected individuals than they would normally be able to based on patients recalling recent interactions from memory. But some governments contend their app-based efforts would be more effective if they could track users’ locations to identify hot spots for virus transmission and notify them about possible exposure through calls or texts, rather than a generic push notification. Apple and Google have barred authorities using their technology from collecting GPS location data or requiring users to enter personal data.

“We have a collision of tech, privacy and health professionals and the Venn diagram doesn’t really have a spot where they all overlap,” said Chester Wisniewski, a principal research scientist at cybersecurity company Sophos. Australia, the United Kingdom and other countries that have sought to develop their own technology are experiencing glitches, draining device batteries and seeing limited adoption. Apple and Google have said their system will more reliably use Bluetooth connections between devices to log users who are in physical proximity for at least five minutes.

Read more …

You can say this about almost every “leader”. Incompetence.

Andrew Cuomo’s No Hero. He’s To Blame For New York Coronavirus Catastrophe (G.)

Andrew Cuomo may be the most popular politician in the country. His approval ratings have hit all-time highs thanks to his Covid-19 response. Some Democrats have discussed him as a possible replacement for Joe Biden, due to Biden’s perceived weakness as a nominee. And there have even been some unfortunate tributes to Cuomo’s alleged sex appeal. All of which is bizarre, because Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. ProPublica recently released a report outlining catastrophic missteps by Cuomo and the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, which probably resulted in many thousands of needless coronavirus cases. ProPublica offers some appalling numbers contrasting what happened in New York with the outbreak in California.

By mid-May, New York City alone had almost 20,000 deaths, while in San Francisco there had been only 35, and New York state as a whole suffered 10 times as many deaths as California. Federal failures played a role, of course, but this tragedy was absolutely due, in part, to decisions by the governor. Cuomo initially “reacted to De Blasio’s idea for closing down New York City with derision”, saying it “was dangerous” and “served only to scare people”. He said the “seasonal flu was a graver worry”. A spokesperson for Cuomo “refused to say if the governor had ever read the state’s pandemic plan”. Later, Cuomo would blame the press, including the New York Times for failing to say “Be careful, there’s a virus in China that may be in the United States?” even though the Times wrote nearly 500 stories on the virus before the state acted.

Experts told ProPublica that “had New York imposed its extreme social distancing measures a week or two earlier, the death toll might have been cut by half or more”. But delay was not the only screw-up. Elderly prisoners have died of coronavirus because New York has failed to act on their medical parole requests. As Business Insider documented: “Testing was slow. Nonprofit social-service agencies that serve the most vulnerable couldn’t get answers either. And medical experts like the former CDC director Tom Frieden said ‘so many deaths could have been prevented’ had New York issued its stay-at-home order just ‘days earlier’ than it did. On March 19, when New York’s schools had already been closed, Cuomo said ‘in many ways, the fear is more dangerous than the virus.’”

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Keeping China out of the US.

Senate Passes Bill On Oversight Of Chinese Companies (CNBC)

The Senate passed legislation on Wednesday that could ban many Chinese companies from listing shares on U.S. exchanges or raising money from American investors without adhering to Washington’s regulatory and audit standards. The bill, sponsored by Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy, would require companies to certify that “they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government.” Alibaba, an e-commerce giant based in China, saw its U.S.-listed shares fall more than 2% on the news. Though the law could be applied to any foreign company that seeks access to U.S. capital, lawmakers say the move to strengthen disclosure requirements is aimed principally at Beijing.


“The Chinese Communist Party cheats, and the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would stop them from cheating on U.S. stock exchanges,” Kennedy, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, wrote Tuesday afternoon on Twitter. “We can’t let foreign threats to Americans’ retirement funds take root in our exchanges.” Specifically, the statute would require a foreign company to certify it’s not owned or manipulated by a foreign government if the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is unable to audit specified reports because the company uses a foreign accounting firm not subject to inspection by the board. If the board is unable to inspect the company’s accounting firm for three consecutive years, the issuer’s securities are banned from trade on a national exchange.

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Things are leaking from inside the campaign, in particular accusations that Bernie was taking money from rich people. I stopped being interested when he sold out his small donors a second time.

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce: The Collapse of the Sanders Campaign (AA)

The Warren rationalization also raises the question of why so many pro-Bernie commentators and publications were writing pro-Warren commentary until just a few months ago, with many of them even condemning her left-wing critics as toxic before moving in lockstep against her when it was too late. Notably, these same publications and personalities were ruthlessly hostile toward Tulsi Gabbard – a relatively minor candidate electorally speaking, but one who actually defended Sanders at critical junctures, including when he was under attack by Warren. After Liz ambushed Bernie with a far-fetched story purporting to cast him as a malevolent sexist, it was Tulsi who rose to his defense. (Sanders advisers eventually admitted that the sexism attack “inflicted permanent damage” on his candidacy.)


And when Warren mused that it might, after all, be just fine for superdelegates to thwart Sanders’s nomination even if he entered the convention with the most pledged delegates, Gabbard was the only other candidate to object. And when Sanders permitted himself to be “Russiagated” in the critical period before the South Carolina primary – appearing to accept the nonsensical premise of a Washington Post article alleging that the all-powerful Vladimir Putin was once again “interfering” in U.S. democracy, this time on Sanders’s behalf – it again fell to Gabbard to defend him more vigorously than even Sanders chose to defend himself

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Was there a problem for the banks already when the bailout was given? What will happen when people stop paying their mortgages and car loans? Endless bailouts?

Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus (Ellen Brown)

In March 2020, under cover of a national crisis, the Fed therefore flung the doors open to its discount window, where only banks could borrow. Previously, banks were reluctant to apply there because the interest was at a penalty rate and carried a stigma, signaling that the bank must be in distress. But that concern was eliminated when the Fed announced in a March 15 press release that the interest rate had been dropped to 0.25% (virtually zero). The reserve requirement was also eliminated, the capital requirement was relaxed, and all banks in good standing were offered loans of up to 90 days, “renewable on a daily basis.” The loans could be continually rolled over, and no strings were attached to this interest-free money – no obligation to lend to small businesses, reduce credit card rates, or write down underwater mortgages. Even J.P. Morgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, has acknowledged borrowing at the Fed’s discount window for super cheap loans.


The Fed’s scheme worked, and demand for repo loans plummeted. But unlike in Canada, where big banks slashed their credit card interest rates to help relieve borrowers during the COVID-19 crisis, US banks did not share this windfall with the public. Canadian interest rates were cut by half, from 21% to 11%; but US credit card rates dropped in April only by half a percentage point, to 20.15%. The giant Wall Street banks continued to favor their largest clients, doling out CARES Act benefits to them first, emptying the trough before many smaller businesses could drink there. In 1969, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi nationalized 14 of India’s largest banks, not because they were bankrupt (the usual justification today) but to ensure that credit would be allocated according to planned priorities, including getting banks into rural areas and making cheap financing available to Indian farmers. Congress could do the same today, but the odds are it won’t. As Sen. Dick Durbin said in 2009, “the banks … are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”

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Somehow I doubt it.

Turn Out the Lights, Russiagate is Over (Ray McGovern)

Given the diffident attitude the Security State plotters adopted regarding hiding their tracks, Durham’s challenge, with subpoena power, is not as formidable as were he, for example, investigating a Mafia family. Plus, former NSA Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers reportedly is cooperating. The handwriting is on the wall. It remains to be seen what kind of role in the scandal Barack Obama may have played. But former directors James Comey, James Clapper, and John Brennan, captains of Obama’s Security State, can take little solace from Barr’s remarks Monday to a reporter who asked about Trump’s recent claims that top officials of the Obama administration, including the former president had committed crimes. Barr replied:

“As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concerns over potential criminality is focused on others.” In a more ominous vein, Barr gratuitously added that law enforcement and intelligence officials were involved in “a false and utterly baseless Russian collusion narrative against the president. It was a grave injustice, and it was unprecedented in American history.” Meanwhile, the corporate media have all been singing from the same sheet since Trump had the audacity a week ago to coin yet another “-gate” — this time “Obamagate.” Leading the apoplectic reaction in corporate media, Saturday’s Washington Post offered a pot-calling-the-kettle-black pronouncement by its editorial board entitled “The absurd cynicism of ‘Obamagate”?

The outrage voiced by the Post called to mind disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok’s indignant response to criticism of the FBI by candidate Trump, in a Oct. 20, 2016 text exchange with FBI attorney Lisa Page: Strzok: I am riled up. Trump is a f***ing idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer. Strzok – I CAN’T PULL AWAY, WHAT THE F**K HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY … Page– I don’t know. But we’ll get it back. We’re America. We rock. Strzok– Donald just said “bad hombres” Strzok– Trump just said what the FBI did is disgraceful.

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Endless regurgitation.

US Supreme Court Blocks Disclosure Of Mueller Grand Jury Material (R.)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the disclosure to a Democratic-led House of Representatives committee of grand jury material redacted by President Donald Trump’s administration from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report documenting Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In a brief order, the justices put on hold a March ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the material must be disclosed to lawmakers. The order gave the administration until June 1 to formally appeal that ruling, meaning that if the justices decide to hear the case a final resolution may not be reached until after the Nov. 3 election in which the Republican president is seeking a second four-year term.


If the justices refuse to hear the appeal, the materials would need to be handed over. Mueller submitted his report to U.S. Attorney General William Barr in March 2019 after a 22-month investigation that detailed Russian hacking and propaganda efforts to boost Trump’s candidacy as well as multiple contacts between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Barr, a Trump appointee who Democrats have accused of trying to protect the president politically, released the 448-page report in April 2019 with some parts redacted. Some Democrats have expressed concern that Barr used the redaction process to keep potentially damaging information about Trump secret.

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Time for Durham.

FBI Offered To Pay Steele ‘Significantly’ To Dig Up Dirt On Michael Flynn (DC)

An FBI offer to pay former British spy Christopher Steele to collect intelligence on Michael Flynn in the weeks before the 2016 election has been one of the more overlooked revelations in a Justice Department inspector general’s report released in December. The reference to the FBI proposal, which was made in an Oct. 3, 2016, meeting in an unidentified European city, has received virtually no press attention. But it might have new significance following the recent release of government documents that show that Steele peddled an unfounded rumor that Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman in the United Kingdom. It is not clear how and when Steele came across the rumor, or if it was the result of the FBI asking him to look into Flynn.

The inspector general’s report, released on Dec. 9, 2019, said that FBI agents offered to pay Steele “significantly” to collect intelligence from three separate “buckets” that the bureau was pursuing as part of Crossfire Hurricane, its counterintelligence probe of four Trump campaign associates. One bucket was “Additional intelligence/reporting on specific, named individuals (such as [Carter Page] or [Flynn]) involved in facilitating the Trump campaign-Russian relationship,” the IG report stated. FBI agents also sought contact with “any individuals or sub sources” who Steele could provide to “serve as cooperating witnesses to assist in identifying persons involved in the Trump campaign-Russian relationship.”

Steele at the time had provided the FBI with reports he compiled alleging that members of the Trump campaign had conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. An FBI agent provided Steele with a “general overview” of the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane probe, according to the IG report. The agent told Steele about the actions of George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign aide, and said the FBI had undertaken a “small analytical effort” that centered on Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Flynn. Some FBI agents who attended the meeting questioned whether the lead agent had disclosed too much to Steele about Crossfire Hurricane, according to the IG report.

[..] In the FBI memo, the Washington Field Office proposed closing a counterintelligence investigation of Flynn because investigators found no evidence that he was acting as an agent of Russia. Peter Strzok, the deputy chief of counterintelligence, intervened at the last minute to keep the investigation open after the FBI obtained a transcript of Flynn’s phone calls in late December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Strzok helped set the “primary objectives” for the FBI meeting with Steele in October 2016, the IG report also stated.

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The story that will compete with corona this summer.

Susan Rice Email Confirms Flynn Was Targeted In Oval Office Meeting (Fed.)

Michael Flynn was personally targeted during a crucial Jan. 5, 2017 Oval Office meeting arranged by then-President Barack Obama, a newly declassified document shows. On Jan. 20, 2017, as President Donald Trump was being inaugurated, former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice sent herself a bizarre email detailing the Jan. 5 meeting between her, Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and fired former Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey. In the email, portions of which were not declassified until recently, Rice recorded that Flynn, who at the time was the incoming national security adviser for Trump, was personally discussed and targeted during the meeting with Obama.

“From a national security perspective, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.” At the time, the Obama administration was actively spying on members of the Trump team as part of its Crossfire Hurricane investigation against Trump. “Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak,” Rice wrote in a portion of the email that was only recently declassified. “Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information.”

“President Obama asked if Comey was saying the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn,” Rice continued. “Comey replied ‘potentially.’” “[Comey] added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.’” The email did not explain how it would be “unusual” for an incoming national security adviser to converse with foreign leaders ahead of a new president’s inauguration.

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Almost as insane as the Assange tale. He got a $9.5 billion verdict against Chevron. Then they went after him.

Judge Orders Attorney Steven Donziger Under House Arrest Until September (IC)

A federal judge ruled this week that environmental attorney Steven Donziger must remain on house arrest until September. The decision means that by the time his trial begins, Donziger, who represented Indigenous people and farmers in a decadeslong legal battle against Chevron and has been confined to his Manhattan apartment and required to wear an electronic ankle monitor since August, will have spent 13 months in home detention awaiting trial on charges that carry a maximum sentence of six months. In a telephone conference on Monday, District Judge Loretta A. Preska said that the trial of Donziger on contempt of court charges stemming from his refusal to give his cellphone and computer to the court will be delayed until September 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While Donziger’s attorneys requested that he be released from home confinement until then, Preska said that she believed the lawyer was a flight risk and must continue to remain confined to his home. In another significant setback for Donziger, who has been the target of an aggressive legal attack from Chevron after winning a $9.5 billion judgment against the company over environmental devastation in Ecuador, Preska also decided that the attorney was not entitled to a jury trial. While the judge had already denied Donziger’s motion requesting a jury trial in a May 7 hearing, in the phone conference this week, one of his attorneys, Andrew Frisch, said that he believed her earlier ruling had left open the possibility that Donziger could face a penalty of more than six months in prison, which would have entitled him to have his case heard by a jury. But during the phone conference, Preska made it clear that that was not the case.

It is not the first time that Donziger has tried — and failed — to get his case heard by his peers. In 2007, after Donziger and other attorneys sued Chevron over water and soil contamination resulting from oil drilling in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador, the company successfully moved to have the case heard in the Ecuadorian courts, which don’t hold jury trials. And in 2011, after Donziger’s team won an $18 billion judgment from Chevron (an award that was later reduced to $9.5 billion), Chevron filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, suit against Donziger. Although the company initially sought significant financial damages in that case, which would have entitled Donziger to a jury trial, the company dismissed the monetary claims weeks before the trial and Donziger again faced trial without a jury. Instead, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who decided the RICO case, found that the judgment against Chevron had been the result of fraud.

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