Jul 112021
 
 July 11, 2021  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


John Swope Trees in fog (Chile) 1939

 

Things To Know Before You Allow Your Child To Get The Covid-19 Vaccine (Con.)
Well-Deserved Consequences (Denninger)
Ivermectin. WHO Scientist Faces Death Penalty (Observateur)
Can Long Covid Be Cured By A Monthly Dose Of The Vaccine? (DM)
1/4-Dose Of Moderna Covid Vaccine Still Rouses A Big Immune Response (Nature)
Annexin A2 Deficiency (Lee)
Greece’s Coronavirus Predictions Show Worsening Epidemiological Picture (GR)
Don’t Fool with the Diversity of Mother Nature (McCullough)
Rand Paul To Introduce Bill To End Mask Mandate On Planes (JTN)
OPCW Report On Navalny Makes Contradictory Claims (RT)
Say Hello To The Diplo-Taliban (Escobar)
China: Fragile Giant (Jim Rickards)

 

 

 

 

Dr. Martin on DaszaK

 

 

LIES.

Things To Know Before You Allow Your Child To Get The Covid-19 Vaccine (Con.)

COVID-19 for children IS LESS THAN A FLU. This is a very well known fact among the experts, and yet, it’s been systematically hidden in mainstream Media. Still, if you follow mainstream Media, you’ll get the impression that there’s a need to get children vaccinated anyhow, based on three premises:

1) Children need to be vaccinated to help to avoid infection of adults
2) These new vaccines have no long term adverse effects
3) There is consensus in the scientific community about the safety of these new therapies

1) Children need to be vaccinated to help to avoid infection of adults IT IS A LIE that children need to take part in the effort to reduce transmission by getting inoculated, BECAUSE IT IS ADMITTED BY the manufacturers that it doesn’t prevent transmission, it only reduces symptoms. You can find that admission in the documents of the trials and on the manufacturer’s websites. Whenever you hear that “transmission is cut by these therapies”, it comes from scientists (which are really LOBBYISTS, once you take the time to research their conflicts of interest). You will never find an assertion about these vaccines granting immunity BY THE COMPANIES THEMSELVES. The simple fact is that the TRIALS WERE EXPRESSLY DESIGNED only to try to “search for” reduction of symptoms, which clearly means no immunity was found: otherwise that would have been the focus of their research. And to top all of this, the number of cases of vaccinated patients dying with COVID-19 shows, if anything, that transmission is not halted by the injections.

2)These new vaccines have no long term adverse effectsIT IS A LIE that these new “vaccines” have no long term effects, for the simple reason that it’s an assertion that’s impossible to certify without time passing by. The mere fact that somebody would guarantee that no long term effects are possible SHOULD RAISE YOUR CONCERNS regarding the trustworthiness of that official. And yet that’s what you hear from most of them. Usually you also get some of them even saying that mRNA vaccines have decades of research. EXACTLY! That doesn’t mean decades of guaranteed safety. On the contrary, mRNA vaccines had never been approved before, EXACTLY BECAUSE OF SAFETY ISSUES.

3)There is consensus in the scientific community about the safety of these new therapies IT IS A LIE that there is consensus in the scientific community around the safety of the new vaccines. You are led to think that, because the ones raising the alarms are systematically censored and not invited on TV. Find the thousands of doctors saying otherwise and you’ll easily prove that CONSENSUS IS THE BIGGEST LIE OF THEM ALL. Please, don’t take these accusations against mainstream Media lightly. Confirm by yourself that actually, for whatever reason, Media has been “protecting” the reputation of what actually are their main sponsors. As such, it is cautious to—in the very least—postpone the vaccination of your child for a year so and see how it goes. The vaccine adverse reporting systems in United States and Europe have registered several cases of heart problems developed among young people.

No matter how low the risk of this is, don’t you think that your children deserve the opportunity to decide for themselves ONCE THEY’RE ADULTS if they want to join a trial for an experimental therapy? Because YES: the manufacturers have been granted with an Emergency Use Authorization only, and it is as such that they state that their “products” are strictly on trial phase until the end of 2022. TECHNICALLY & PRACTICALLY, these vaccines, no matter how beneficial they can be, are an experiment performed on humans on the largest scale ever witnessed. We all hope the end results are good, but under no circumstance it’s reasonable to bet on that when the future health of our children is at stake. This is absolutely not about vaccine hesitancy. This is about responsible parenthood.

Read more …

Long essay by Karl.

Can’t repeat this often enough these days:

“..80% of all people had pre-existing resistance and, absent severe co-morbid issues that could kill them literally at any time were never at material risk..”

Well-Deserved Consequences (Denninger)

Going back to the start of Covid-19 there were several things that were apparent: Not everyone was susceptible to a serious or fatal outcome irrespective of age or medical status. Diamond Princess proved this conclusively. It was ignored. We later conclusively and scientifically proved that approximately 80% of all people had pre-existing resistance and, absent severe co-morbid issues that could kill them literally at any time were never at material risk. If you let the virus into nursing homes it will kill a lot of people. Kirkland proved that conclusively. We not only ignored that we called the employees of said places “heroes” and did not demand they isolate away from the general population, paying them whatever we had to in order to get them to do it, even when we had a wild excess of hotel space in which we could have as we had (foolishly) locked down basically all travel and leisure activity.

Children and young, healthy adults are at little or no risk. It’s not zero, but it’s less than the flu. We now know fewer than 400 people under age 18 have been killed by Covid in the US and virtually all of those who died had unrelated life-threatening medical issues (such as childhood cancers.) For older, more-morbid people it’s another story entirely; they have 1,000x as much danger or more. So what did we do? We closed schools and forced 60 million healthy kids to wear masks. In other words we made children pay for other people’s risk, and we did it by force, screwing all those kids out of months to a year or more of schooling and treating them as plague rats who were responsible for killing their grandmother. Most of the morbid conditions that put you at particular risk are voluntary. Specifically, Type II diabetes and obesity.

We not only lied to kids about their risk we forced children and young adults to bear the cost of voluntary adult behavior. This is particularly monstrous and massively compounds the above point. We allowed the demonization of drugs that had been used safely for decades for other conditions and in fact let them be effectively banned. Was there proof that they worked? Not early on, but so what? The so-called “right to try” that was much-ballyhooed and paraded around for over a decade disappeared instantly under force by every single social media company. Who remembers all the crying mothers in front of Congress and elsewhere begging for access to unproved but possible treatments for their children with rare diseases and the attendant and relentless GoFraudMe cry-room campaigns?

Abortion, a purely-elective procedure undertaken by millions and considered a sacred civil right with its need arising in nearly every case from voluntary adult (irrespective of age) conduct has a higher risk of death than Ivermectin. Where the hell did all those screaming for access to unproven therapies go and why did not that same principle apply here, especially for consenting adults? Lupus and RA patients have taken HCQ as a maintenance drug on a daily basis for over a decade and the safety profile and its contraindications are well-known.

[..] Why didn’t Trump’s HHS — or Biden’s — do it the other way around? You get your $13,000 bonus if the patient walks out of your hospital under his or her own power. If he or she dies the hospital gets nothing. Want to take a bet on how much Ivermectin, Budesonide and HCQ would have been used had the government done that? [..] Here’s reality whether you wish to admit it or not: If 5%, 10% or 50% of the population decides they’ve had enough of this robbery and death then it stops. One hopes the demand is enough. It should be enough, but you have to be willing to back it up just like the Minutemen were on April 19th of 1775.

Read more …

Google translation has some “woke” problems with he/she/they. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan is a woman.

Ivermectin. WHO Scientist Faces Death Penalty (Observateur)

On May 25, the Indian Bar Association (IBA) filed a lawsuit against Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist, accusing him of causing the deaths of Indian citizens by deceiving them about the ivermectin. The WHO scientist is accused of making a misleading tweet on May 10, 2021 against the use of ivermectin which resulted in the state of Tamil Nadu removing ivermectin from the protocol the following day. He had just declared this treatment effective against Covid-19. If Dr Soumya Swaminathan is found guilty, then she could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment. Attorney Dipali Ojha, senior lawyer for the Indian Bar Association, threatened Dr Swaminathan with criminal charges “for every death” caused by his acts of commission and omission.

The brief accused Dr Swaminathan of wrongdoing in using his position as health authority to serve the special interests of the lucrative vaccine industry. Ivermectin is an inexpensive drug that is prescribed as an antiparasitic. It has gained popularity for the prevention of covid-19. The WHO and the FDA do not approve ivermectin, but many doctors and scientists believe it to be effective. Some claim that states in India that used ivermectin had much better results and significantly fewer deaths from covid than states in India that did not use ivermectin. In the regions of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa cases fell by 98%, 97%, 94% and 86% respectively. In contrast, Tamil Nadu who chose not to use ivermectin, the number of cases exploded and became the highest in India. Deaths in Tamil Nadu have increased tenfold.

In a test of over 4,000 people in India (over 3,000 took ivermectin) and over 1,000 did not. The results showed that 2% of people who took ivermectin had a covid confirmed by a PCR test and that 11.7% of people who did not take ivermectin had a covid confirmed by a PCR test. The specific charges include conducting a disinformation campaign against ivermectin and posting statements on social and mainstream media to falsely influence the public against the use of ivermectin despite the existence of large amounts of ivermectin. clinical data showing its profound efficacy in the prevention and treatment of covid-19.

Read more …

First: something to take monthly doesn’t meet even the most flexible defiition of “vaccine”. Second, why not find out what the problem is before injecting more of the stuff?

Can Long Covid Be Cured By A Monthly Dose Of The Vaccine? (DM)

Even as Covid cases continue to climb, the Government’s plan to lift all remaining restrictions in a matter of days is still on track for a single reason: the vaccine has severely weakened the link between infections, hospitalisations and deaths. Yet, amid the optimism, another concern has cast a shadow – the rising diagnoses of long Covid, the debilitating condition that leaves sufferers battling symptoms for months after being infected. More than a million Britons are said to be living with lingering problems, from breathlessness to brain fog, and that figure could double by the end of the summer, say experts. With no effective drug treatments yet discovered, there has been little hope for those living with the worst difficulties – until now.

In a world first, British scientists are set to explore giving long Covid patients monthly doses of the Covid vaccine, in an effort to combat the chronic condition. The first stage of the study was given the green light on Friday: later this year, 40 long Covid sufferers will be offered at least two extra jabs. Funding has been offered by several of the major vaccine developers, and if the pilot is successful the scientists involved have been told they can recruit thousands more patients. Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, Dr David Strain, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, who will lead the trial, says the manufacturers are interested in funding the study after early research showed that long Covid symptoms were significantly reduced after patients had a jab.

Dr Strain said: ‘Many saw a dramatic improvement within days of their jab. Their fatigue disappeared, they were able to walk further without feeling breathless. ‘Some said it was the closest to normal they’d felt since they first caught Covid. ‘In an earlier study we saw this lasted for about a month after the first dose, but then symptoms return. ‘The same pattern was seen when people went for their second jab. We want to find out whether, over time, offering regular doses can make this change permanent.’

Read more …

A monthly dose of that then? ha ha.

1/4-Dose Of Moderna Covid Vaccine Still Rouses A Big Immune Response (Nature)

A little bit of coronavirus vaccine goes a long way towards generating lasting immunity. Two jabs that each contained only one-quarter of the standard dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine gave rise to long-lasting protective antibodies and virus-fighting T cells, according to tests in nearly three dozen people1. The results hint at the possibility of administering fractional doses to stretch limited vaccine supplies and accelerate the global immunization effort. Since 2016, such a dose-reduction strategy has successfully vaccinated millions of people in Africa and South America against yellow fever2. But no similar approach has been tried in response to COVID-19, despite vaccine shortages in much of the global south.

“There’s a huge status quo bias, and it’s killing people,” says Alex Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. “Had we done this starting in January, we could have vaccinated tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions more people.” In the earliest trial of Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccine, study participants received one of three dose levels: 25, 100 or 250 micrograms3. The top dose proved too toxic. The low dose elicited the weakest immune response. The middle dose seemed to offer the best balance: it triggered strong immunity and had acceptable side effects. That 100-microgram dose ultimately became the one authorized for mass use in dozens of countries. But Moderna scientists later showed that a half-dose seemed to be just as good as the standard dose at stimulating immune protection4.

To find out whether a low dose might offer protection, scientists analysed blood from 35 participants in the original trial. Each had received two 25-microgram jabs of vaccine 28 days apart. Six months after the second shot, nearly all of the 35 participants had ‘neutralizing’ antibodies, which block the virus from infecting cells, the researchers reported in a preprint published on 5 July1. Participants’ blood also contained an armada of different T cells, both ‘killer’ cells that can destroy infected cells and a variety of ‘helper’ cells that aid in general immune defence. Levels of both antibodies and T cells were comparable to those found in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

“It is quite remarkable — and quite promising — that you can easily detect responses for that long a time,” says Daniela Weiskopf, an immunologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) in California and a co-author of the study, which has not yet been peer reviewed. Corine Geurts van Kessel, a clinical virologist at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who was not involved in the study, agrees. “It’s rather good news,” she says. “Even with a low dose, you can prime your own immune system in quite a nice way.”

Read more …

Twitter thread.

Annexin A2 Deficiency (Lee)

Our study explaining the pathophysiology of acute COVID has been published by ERJ, the flagship scientific journal of the European Respiratory Society @ERSpublications. Here, we describe how severe COVID-19 is NOT a viral pneumonia, but a post-viral autoimmune attack of the lung. The target of this autoimmune attack is Annexin A2, a phospholipid-binding protein, which acts as a cofactor for tPA, ensuring integrity of the pulmonary vasculature and promoting lung elasticity. Antagonism of Annexin A2 would cause lung blood clots, pulmonary edema, and ARDS. In essence, anti-Annexin A2 would cause all the hallmark pulmonary pathology already identified on autopsy among severe cases of acute COVID-19. Autoantibodies to this lung protective protein were already identified among hospitalized SARS patients.

Furthermore, Annexin A2 is also expressed in the vasculature of the brain. Therefore, antagonism of Annexin A2 can cause microvascular stroke and damage to the blood-brain barrier, which would result in neuro-inflammation and long-term neurological injury. The implications for acute COVID-19 are enormous. Not only would it explain why steroids work in this disease, but it would suggest that we should be treating the disease more like other autoimmune diseases of the lung. We have misdiagnosed severe cases of acute COVID-19 as a viral pneumonia, which disregards the established evidence that shows viral load of SARS-CoV-2 is markedly diminished by the time patients develop the respiratory distress that only occurs in second stage of the disease.

We are also misdiagnosing Long COVID, which is also characterized by lung perfusion deficits, pulmonary fibrosis, and various neurologic sequelae. Our next studies will establish whether these autoantibodies are also present among patients with persistent post-COVID symptoms. While we are just beginning to establish this evidence, prothrombotic antiphospholipid antibodies have already been well described by @jasonsknight @RayZuoMD and @YogenKanthi. Anti-Annexin A2 is a known “non-criteria” APL antibody that causes thrombosis.

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“Almost everyone who is unvaccinated will catch the coronavirus

Really? As well as everyone who IS vaccinated?

Greece’s Coronavirus Predictions Show Worsening Epidemiological Picture (GR)

Experts warned the public on Friday that predictions of how the coronavirus will develop in Greece over the next couple months are very worrying. The most optimistic forecast for the month of August shows that Greece will diagnose 3,000 new cases of the coronavirus daily. A professor of pulmonology, Nikos Tzanakis, appeared on SKAI TV on Friday to warn the public of the likelihood that coronavirus cases will continue to rise sharply through August and the coming months. “In August we may have 3,000 cases of coronavirus per day in the most favorable scenario, 4,000 cases is the most probable — but there is even the possibility of 6,000 cases a day in the worst case scenario,” Tzanakis outlined, showing the full range of predictions for the development of the coronavirus in Greece.

“Almost everyone who is unvaccinated will catch the coronavirus. It is mathematically certain that a child who returns from summer camp will infect all of the relatives it comes in contact with in a matter of minutes,” continued the professor, illustrating how severe the situation is and the increased transmissibility of the delta variant of the virus. “In order for summer camps to function safely, they must be turned into social bubbles, health measures must be tightened and visits must be completely banned,” Tzanakis said of the popular children’s pastime. He continued by analyzing why it is so important that summer camps do not receive any visitors. According to pulmonologist, if a single asymptomatic adult visits and gives coronavirus to their child, 100 more children will likely come down with the virus.

This concept of a “social bubble” can and should also be applied to adult activities over the summer, said Tzanakis. If an individual visits an island and stays with their friend group, it is unlikely that they will catch the coronavirus according to the expert. By sticking to a “social bubble,” and not going large parties, people can stay safe from the virus while still having fun. The fact that Greece’s coronavirus predictions are so disheartening is likely due to the delta variant and the country’s vaccination campaign, which is slowing down despite new incentives being introduced for young people to get the vaccine.

Read more …

Novavax.

Don’t Fool with the Diversity of Mother Nature (McCullough)

In a report from Niesen and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic, a worrisome finding has been reported. Among populations that were > 25% vaccinated, there was a reduced genetic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 strains. While the authors appeared to imply this was a good finding, other experts disagree. Anytime diversity is reduced in biological systems, it leads to instability in ecological systems. It can be the breeding ground for large evolutionary changes, including large mutations and more aggressive variants. Niesen also found that there was a much greater degree of immunity or “epitopes” on B-cells and T-cells among those unvaccinated, implying that immunity was far more robust than those vaccinated.

Fears about the Niesen findings were confirmed in a paper by Acevedo from Santiago Chile, who reported on the Lambda variant outbreak in Peru, which looks like it clearly occurred as a result of indiscriminate vaccination using the whole killed SARS-CoV-2 Sinovac (Coronovac) vaccine. The Lambda variant, while causing a small outbreak, is notable for having seven mutations in the spike protein – two of which are in the receptor-binding domain and allow complete escape from vaccine immunity. These papers, in aggregate, suggest that mass vaccination into a pandemic is “fooling with mother nature” in a manner that could be catastrophic if the indiscrimination program continues to be forced on the population.

The good news is that on June 30, 2021, in the New England Journal of Medicine, Heath et al. presented the Phase III trial results from Novavax. This antigen-based vaccine does not rely on genetics and should not have the organ toxicities seen with Pfizer, Moderna, and JNJ, and appears to have ~90% vaccine efficacy rates and much better safety data than the genetic vaccines. However, the injection site pain and reactions cannot be minimized. With this as a backdrop, we continue to have a need for early multidrug treatment for COVID-19 for both the vaccine breakthrough cases and the de novo patients.

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“Enough! Time to stop this farce and let people travel in peace!”

Rand Paul To Introduce Bill To End Mask Mandate On Planes (JTN)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he intends to introduce legislation to scuttle the ongoing federal mask mandate for air travel once the Senate resumes its next session. “When the Senate returns to session, I will be introducing an immediate repeal of the mask mandate on planes,” Paul wrote on Twitter this week. “Enough! Time to stop this farce and let people travel in peace!” The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is enforcing a widespread mask mandate “across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems,” at least through Sept. 13.

Read more …

OPCW is like Bellingcat: NATO fact checkers.

OPCW Report On Navalny Makes Contradictory Claims (RT)

The latest OPCW report containing data on its response to the ‘poisoning’ of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has glaring inconsistencies, Moscow says, adding that the chemical weapons watchdog has failed to explain them. Russia will seek clarification from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on its findings, the country’s envoy to the chemical weapons watchdog Aleksandr Shulgin has announced. The document, presented at the 97th session of the organization’s executive council earlier this week, contains information on the body’s reaction to Navalny’s poisoning back in August 2020.

In it, the OPCW states that its secretariat “deployed a team to perform a technical assistance visit” related to the suspected poisoning of a “Russian citizen” at Germany’s request on August 20. The problem is that on that day, Navalny was only flying from the Russian Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. It was on that flight that he first felt ill and was then rushed to a hospital in another Siberian city, Omsk, following the plane’s emergency landing. Russia demanded that the OPCW explain “how this is even possible” and why the organization had previously told the participating states that its team was only sent to Germany in early September, Shulgin said.

“So, what do we have here? When Navalny first felt unwell while still onboard a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, the OPCW experts were already waiting for him in Berlin?” According to the Russian envoy to the OPCW, the technical secretariat of the chemical weapons watchdog has so far failed to provide any answer to these questions. According to Shulgin, Russia has “lots of questions” for the OPCW and will seek “clear answers” to every last one. The revelations also elicited a reaction from the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova. She said the glaring inconsistencies in the OPCW report only show that some Western nations, together with Navalny himself, are “going down” with their whole “chemical weapons poisoning story.”

Read more …

Russia’s problem now. Wonder what that will mean for the poppy trade.

Say Hello To The Diplo-Taliban (Escobar)

A very important meeting took place in Moscow last week, virtually hush-hush. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, received Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s national security adviser. There were no substantial leaks. A bland statement pointed to the obvious: They “focused on the security situation in Afghanistan during the pullout of Western military contingencies and the escalation of the military-political situation in the northern part of the country.” The real story is way more nuanced. Mohib, representing embattled President Ashraf Ghani, did his best to convince Patrushev that the Kabul administration represents stability. It does not – as the subsequent Taliban advances proved.

Patrushev knew Moscow could not offer any substantial measure of support to the current Kabul arrangement because doing so would burn bridges the Russians would need to cross in the process of engaging the Taliban. Patrushev knows that the continuation of Team Ghani is absolutely unacceptable to the Taliban – whatever the configuration of any future power-sharing agreement. So Patrushev, according to diplomatic sources, definitely was not impressed. This week we can all see why. A delegation from the Taliban political office went to Moscow essentially to discuss with the Russians the fast-evolving mini-chessboard in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban had been to Moscow four months earlier, along with the extended troika (Russia, US, China, Pakistan) to debate the new Afghan power equation.

On this trip, they emphatically assured their interlocutors there’s no Taliban interest in invading any territory of their Central Asia neighbors. It’s not excessive, in view of how cleverly they’ve been playing their hand, to call the Taliban desert foxes. They know well what Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been repeating: Any turbulence coming from Afghanistan will be met with a direct response from the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In addition to stressing that the US withdrawal – actually, repositioning – represents the failure of its Afghan “mission,” Lavrov touched on the two really key points: – The Taliban is increasing its influence in the northern Afghanistan border areas; and – Kabul’s refusal to form a transitional government is “promoting a belligerent solution” to the drama. This implies Lavrov expects much more flexibility from both Kabul and the Taliban in the Sisyphean power-sharing task ahead.

And then, relieving the tension, when asked by a Russian journalist if Moscow will send troops to Afghanistan, Lavrov reverted to Mr Cool: “The answer is obvious.”

Read more …

One child comes back to bite.

China: Fragile Giant (Jim Rickards)

President Xi Jinping could quickly lose what the Chinese call, “The Mandate of Heaven.” That’s a term that describes the intangible goodwill and popular support needed by emperors to rule China for the past 3,000 years. If The Mandate of Heaven is lost, a ruler can fall quickly. Even before the crisis, China has had serious structural economic problems that are finally catching up with it. China is so heavily indebted that it’s at the point where more debt does not produce growth. Adding additional debt today slows the economy and calls into question China’s ability to service its existing debt. China also confronts an insolvent banking system and a real estate bubble. Up to half of China’s investment is a complete waste.

It does produce jobs and utilize inputs like cement, steel, copper and glass. But the finished product, whether a city, train station or sports arena, is often a white elephant that will remain unused. The Chinese landscape is littered with “ghost cities” that have resulted from China’s wasted investment and flawed development model. Essentially, China is on the horns of a dilemma with no good way out. China has driven growth with excessive credit, wasted infrastructure investment and Ponzi schemes. The Chinese leadership knows this, but they had to keep the growth machine in high gear to create jobs for millions of migrants coming from the countryside to the city and to maintain jobs for the millions more already in the cities.

The two ways to get rid of debt are deflation (which results in write-offs, bankruptcies and unemployment) or inflation (which results in theft of purchasing power, similar to a tax increase). Both alternatives are unacceptable to the Communists because they lack the political legitimacy to endure either unemployment or inflation. Either policy would cause social unrest and unleash revolutionary potential. China also has serious demographic challenges that will limit future growth… In 1980, China instituted a one-child policy in an effort to control population growth. But the 1980 announcement was really a matter of formalizing an existing policy. The Chinese have a cultural preference for boys over girls. So, when the one-child policy was implemented, the Chinese used pre-natal tests to determine sex and then aborted the girls.

At a more crude level, families kept buckets of water next to birthing beds so that if a girl was born she could be drowned immediately. It is estimated that between 20 million to 30 million baby girls were killed this way, resulting in an equivalent surplus of men over women. These excess men will never find wives in China. Since women can be selective about husbands, it follows that the 30 million excess men will be the least talented and poorest in Chinese society. This cohort is highly prone to antisocial behavior, including alcohol and drug abuse and violence. The demographic time bomb is now detonating. The missing children from thirty or forty years ago are the missing prime age workers of today.

Read more …

 

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May 232021
 
 May 23, 2021  Posted by at 9:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  66 Responses »


Edvard Munch Separation 1894

 

160+ Experts Slam Covid Vaccines As ‘Unnecessary, Ineffective And Unsafe’ (LSN)
Second And Last Reply To M. Yeadon (Van Den Bossche)
The Danger Of Claimed ‘Statistics’ (Denninger)
Daily US Covid Cases Lowest In A Year, Pandemic Worsens In Latin America (F.)
No 10 ‘Tried To Block’ Data On Spread Of New Covid Variant In UK Schools (O.)
Fauci Faces Drop In Confidence From 40% Of Americans Over Past Year (RT)
The Disintegrated States Of America (Escobar)
The New “Rush Hour” (ZH)
Lithuania Pulls Out Of China’s 17+1 Bloc In Eastern Europe (Pol.eu)

 

 

Yeadon

 

 

Michael Yeadon’s group.

160+ Experts Slam Covid Vaccines As ‘Unnecessary, Ineffective And Unsafe’ (LSN)

In their letter earlier this month, Doctors for COVID-19 Ethics emphasized serious health implications of the vaccines for both the healthy and ill, saying that the shots “are not safe, either for recipients or for those who use them or authorize their use.” They pointed to risks of “lethal and non-lethal disruptions of blood clotting including bleeding disorders, thrombosis in the brain, stroke and heart attack,” “antibody-dependent enhancement of disease,” autoimmune reactions, and potential effects of “vaccine impurities due to rushed manufacturing and unregulated production standards.”

“Contrary to claims that blood disorders post-vaccination are ‘rare’, many common vaccine side effects (headaches, nausea, vomiting and hematoma-like ‘rashes’ over the body) may indicate thrombosis and other severe abnormalities,” the experts said. “Clotting events currently receiving media attention are likely just the ‘tip of a huge iceberg.’” “Due to immunological priming, risks of clotting, bleeding and other adverse events can be expected to increase with each re-vaccination and each intervening coronavirus exposure,” Doctors for COVID-19 Ethics added. “Over time, whether months or years, this renders both vaccination and coronaviruses dangerous to young and healthy age groups, for whom without vaccination COVID-19 poses no substantive risk,” they argued.

“Just as smoking could be and was predicted to cause lung cancer based on first principles, all gene-based vaccines can be expected to cause blood clotting and bleeding disorders, based on their molecular mechanisms of action,” they said. “Consistent with this, diseases of this kind have been observed across age groups, leading to temporary vaccine suspensions around the world.” “Since vaccine roll-out, COVID-19 incidence has risen in numerous areas with high vaccination rates. Furthermore, multiple series of COVID-19 fatalities have occurred shortly after the onset vaccinations in senior homes,” the doctors said. “These cases may have been due not only to antibody-dependent enhancement but also to a general immunosuppressive effect of the vaccines, which is suggested by the increased occurrence of Herpes zoster in certain patients.”

“Regardless of the exact mechanism responsible for these reported deaths, we must expect that the vaccines will increase rather than decrease lethality of COVID-19,” they continued. The group stressed that the jabs remain technically experimental – a fact that legally precludes mandatory vaccination in many cases: “The vaccines are experimental by definition. They will remain in Phase 3 trials until 2023. Recipients are human subjects entitled to free informed consent under Nuremberg and other protections, including the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s resolution 2361 and the FDA’s terms of emergency use authorization.”

Read more …

Van Den Bossche has problems with Yeadon. I’m not going to pretend I understand his every word here. But I’d like to know what everybody thinks.

Second And Last Reply To M. Yeadon (Van Den Bossche)

Michael Yeadon’s rhetoric that mass vaccination campaigns do not have the potential to promote circulation of more infectious immune escape variants and that more infectious variants are not problematic are not based on sound immunological grounds at all. This will be my second but last reply to his erroneous and misleading interpretations. I hate to do this since this may leave the public with the opinion that people like me have nothing else to do than to focus on their own ego, although nothing is less true. However, when the most compelling arguments for my warning about the potentially disastrous consequences of mass vaccination are wiped from the table with scientifically hollow and invalid arguments, one has no choice but to react.

Now, more than ever before, criticism is indispensable to build and consolidate a consensus on why mass vaccination campaigns (using the current vaccines in the heat of a pandemic caused by a highly mutable virus) are highly problematic. However, it doesn’t help when people bring to the table arguments that are scientifically incorrect. Yeadon is basically not understanding the difference between viral escape from protection-blocking immunity and viral escape from infection-/ transmission-blocking immunity. His rhetoric about conserved T cell epitopes and long-lived cross-reactive MHC cl I-restricted responses to those, relate to protection against clinical disease but not against infection!

Yeadon doesn’t seem to understand the mechanism of S-directed immune selection, let alone adaptation of variants to conditions of suboptimal, S-directed immune pressure, which become increasingly prevalent upon mass vaccination. I can barely believe that someone who claims to be a skilled expert in immunology doesn’t see the parallel to serial in vitro cell culture passage of a mutable virus in the presence of suboptimal antibody (Ab) concentrations. In case of CoV inoculated on permissive cells, one would incubate the inoculated cell culture in the presence of suboptimal S-specific Abs to place infectious pressure on viral infectiousness. Provided you harvest the viral progeny and use it to repeat this procedure a number of times, you’ll manage to progressively enrich the viral progeny with naturally occurring S variants that have been selected to overcome the immune pressure placed on the S protein and which are, therefore, more infectious in nature.

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“If you’re offered some type of lottery-style prize to do a potentially dangerous thing — run.”

The Danger Of Claimed ‘Statistics’ (Denninger)

Let’s say that a “bad thing” is likely to happen to 50 in 100,000 people, that is, 0.05%. This is quite rare. Let’s say you do something with 30,000 people. You’d expect to see 15 bad things to happen. Well, let’s say you see three bad events. How confident are you that you just reduced the risk by 80%? If your answer is “not very” you’re wise. If you go cheering in the streets you’re stupid. Now might you try that thing that appears to be 80% effective? Sure, provided the risk of it doing something else that’s bad (which you don’t want to have happen) is also vanishingly small. But it’s one thing to try, and other to rely or make public policy based on those numbers. Remember that for any individual you are a trial of one; you’re not a trial of 100,000 or 330,000,000.

That is the roulette-wheel statistical fallacy and every single casino on the planet uses it to entice you to place a bet that in fact has no better or worse odds than the next table down the row! Assuming that there is no cheating going on and the wheel and ball are in fact “fair” (that is, the ball is round and balanced, and all of the spaces on the wheel have the same characteristics) each roll of the ball has exactly the same odds of landing on a given number on the wheel as every other roll of the ball. The distribution of former outcomes on that board is pure random chance and so is the next throw of the ball. So if the odds are in fact 0.05% of the bad thing then whether 10, 100 or 10,000 people all didn’t have it happen — or some did have it happen — prior to you doing it makes no difference whatsoever.

That five blacks all came up in sequence does not make either black or red (or green for that matter) more or less likely on the next throw of the ball. Your throw is a trial of one and so if the true odds are 0.05% then they are irrespective of all the other trials before. In addition be very careful that risks you think are not related are truly unrelated. For example the risk of being killed in a car accident is approximately 1 in 8,000 per year for a person in the United States. But that’s across everyone; your personal risk, if you drive while intoxicated, is likely quite a bit higher. How much higher? Don’t know, but I bet it’s higher. At the same time if you never take your vehicle outside of city limits where the speed limit is 25mph I bet it’s quite a bit lower. Not your risk of smashing the car, mind you, but your risk of dying due to a car smash.

This becomes quite important when we start talking about actions that have inherent risk to try to reduce a related risk. For example let’s say you take a drug for a given condition. The condition is dangerous and could kill you. The drug could kill you too; all drugs have some risk of doing bad things. Be careful assuming the risk of the drug is the same in everyone because it probably isn’t, just as the risk of the condition is probably not the same in everyone too. If the condition is more-dangerous in certain people for some reason and you know it’s more dangerous in you then you need to be extremely careful to find out whether the risks from the drug scale and, if they do, is their scaling more, equal or less than the factors for the condition. The best situation of course is that whatever makes the condition more-dangerous makes the drug less-so, but this is rare. That the two correlate is common, and that the two are uncorrelated is less-common, but certainly possible.

By the same token the reasonable risk from the drug depends greatly on the hazard from not using it, and instead employing all other known and available countermeasures that may exist. This is why companies look for cancer drugs, incidentally — it’s not just the money to be made but also the degree of risk that is acceptable. If you are searching for a drug that treats ordinary headaches it has to be extremely safe because headaches don’t kill people. Therefore the risk of not using the drug is zero and as a result the risk of using the drug has to be extremely small. But if you’re attempting to find a drug that cures pancreatic cancer then a risk of 1 in 100 or even 1 in 50 of the drug killing you outright looks very reasonable since at present pancreatic cancer is almost-always fatal even with the best of existing treatment.

One final point: If you’re offered some type of lottery-style prize to do a potentially dangerous thing — run.

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“In Russia, confirmed cases have fallen to 8,000 from almost 24,000 in early January. In Africa, daily confirmed cases have fallen to under 10,000 from 38,000 in early January.”

Daily US Covid Cases Lowest In A Year, Pandemic Worsens In Latin America (F.)

The seven-day average of new Covid cases in the U.S. fell to 27,815 on Friday, the lowest level since last June, but the pandemic is gathering strength in Latin America, where the number of virus-related deaths has passed 1 million, with almost half of them in Brazil, while the virus is spreading to rural parts of India from urban centers. A report from the Biden Administration released Friday showed that the number of U.S. counties with “high” levels of Covid transmission has been cut in half since mid-April to 694 But the Covid pandemic is worsening in some of the most heavily populated countries in Latin America, which accounted for 31% of global Covid deaths in May, while representing only 8.4% of the global population.

The seven-day moving average of confirmed Covid cases has risen in Brazil to more than 78,000 from about 57,000 in early May, and in Argentina to almost 37,000 from 5,760 in early February, according to Johns Hopkins. In India, the seven-day moving average of confirmed cases has fallen to about 265,000 from 382,000 a week ago, but health officials warn the pandemic has spread to rural areas amid a second wave. The U.S. is currently averaging about 552 Covid-related deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins data, the lowest level since last July. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects that the number of daily deaths will fall to under 120 by early September, down sharply from 5,500 in early January.

In South America, only 15% of people have received at least one vaccination dose, versus 28% in Europe, while Asia and Africa have even lower rates of 5% and 1%, respectively, according to the website Our World in Data through May 19. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world reported infection rates are generally declining. Daily new infections in Europe have dropped to about 86,000 from 116,000 in early April, according to the Reuters tracker, while newly reported deaths have plunged to under 2,000 from almost 7,000 in late January. In Russia, confirmed cases have fallen to 8,000 from almost 24,000 in early January. In Africa, daily confirmed cases have fallen to under 10,000 from 38,000 in early January. In East Asia, Japan’s daily confirmed cases have jumped to about 5,250 from 1,530 in mid-March, while in South Korea, confirmed new cases have dropped to about 650 from 840 in early January.

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What a bunch of amateurs.

No 10 ‘Tried To Block’ Data On Spread Of New Covid Variant In UK Schools (O.)

Downing Street leaned on Public Health England not to publish crucial data on the spread of the new Covid variant in schools, documents seen by the Observer have suggested. Scientists, union officials and teachers said that the lack of transparency was “deeply worrying”. The focus of their anger concerns the pre-print of a PHE report that included a page of data on the spread of the India Covid-19 variant in schools. But when the report was published on Thursday 13 May, the page had been removed. It was the only one that had been removed from the pre-print. Days later, the government went ahead with its decision to remove the mandate on face coverings in English schools. Evidence seen by the Observer suggests No 10 was directly involved in the decision not to publish it.


The prime minister’s office acknowledged it was in correspondence with PHE officials about presentation of the data but vigorously denied this constituted “interference” or “pressure”. Data on the spread of the new variant in schools has still not been published, despite calls from union officials and scientists who say teachers and families are being put at risk. In hotspots such as Bolton, cases involving the variant are rising fastest among school-age children. Information seen by the Observer reveals that 164 cases of the new variant were linked to schools up to 12 May, or 13% of a total of 2,111 cases. Since then, the number of total cases of the new variant has risen to 3,424 cases, a rise of 160%. The number of cases now linked to schools is unknown.

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He’s just another politician.

Fauci Faces Drop In Confidence From 40% Of Americans Over Past Year (RT)

A new poll has found that over 40% of Americans have lost confidence in White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci in the past year. When asked whether their confidence in Dr. Fauci has gone up or down over the past year, 42% of respondents said their confidence had either “decreased significantly” or just “decreased.” The past year thrust the infectious disease expert into the national spotlight as he became a leader in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Fauci’s support of lockdown measures and seeming flip-flops on issues like the safety of masking have earned him plenty of critics, however, especially among conservatives, which shows in the poll from Trafalgar Group. Among Republicans, 66% said their confidence in Fauci has waned.


Only 20% of Democrats said they were less confident in the health expert, and 34% even said they now have more confidence in the man. A YouGov and Yahoo News poll released last week reflected similar party-line results, as nearly 80% of Democrat respondents said Fauci was doing an excellent or good job, while less than 20% of Republicans described his job performance as either good or excellent. Over half of Republican respondents (55%) believed Fauci was doing a poor job. In the same poll, over 60% of Republicans said Fauci had actually “hurt” the US during the pandemic. Overall, 46% of participants said the doctor has “helped.”

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Changes. Greatly underappreciated in the West.

The Disintegrated States Of America (Escobar)

Here, Martyanov, in meticulous detail, analyzes the imperial decline thematically – with chapters on Consumption, Geoeconomics, Energy, Losing the Arms Race, among others, composing a devastating indictment especially of toxic D.C. lobbies and the prevailing political mediocrity across the Beltway. What is laid bare for the reader is the complex interplay of forces that are driving the political, ideological, economic, cultural and military American chaos. Chapter 3, on Geoeconomics, is a joy ride. Martyanov shows how geoeconomics as a field separate from warfare and geopolitics is nothing but an obfuscation racket: good old conflict “wrapped in the thin shroud of political sciences’ shallow intellectualism” – the stuff Huntington, Fukuyama and Brzezinski’s dreams are made of.

That is fully developed on Chapter 6, on Western Elites – complete with a scathing debunking of the “myth of Henry Kissinger”: “just another American exceptionalist, mislabeled a ‘realist’”, part of a gang that “is not conditioned to think multi-dimensionally”. After all they’re still not capable of understanding the rationale and the implications of Putin’s 2007 Munich speech that declared the unipolar moment – a crude euphemism for Hegemony – dead and buried. One of Martyanov’s key assessments is that having lost the arms race and every single war it unleashed in the 21st century – as the record shows – geoeconomics is essentially a “euphemism for America’s non-stop sanctions and attempts to sabotage the economies of any nation capable of competing with the United States” (see, for instance, the ongoing Nord Stream 2 saga). This is “the only tool” the US is using trying to halt its decline.

On a chapter on Energy, Martyanov demonstrates how the US shale oil adventure is financially non-viable, and how a rise in oil exports was essentially due to the US “pickin up’ quotas freed chiefly as a result of Russia and Saudi Arabia’s earlier cuts within OPEC + in an attempt to balance the world’s oil market”. In Chapter 7, Losing the Arms Race, Martyanov expands on the key theme he’s the undisputed superstar: the United States cannot win wars. Inflicting Hybrid War is another matter entirely, as in creating “a lot of misery around the world, from effectively starving people to killing them outright”. A glaring example has been “maximum pressure” economic sanctions on Iran.

But the point is these tools – which also included the assassination of Gen Soleimani – that are part of the arsenal of “spreading democracy” have nothing to do with “geoeconomics”, but have “everything to do with the raw power plays designed to achieve the main Clausewitzian object of war – ‘to compel our enemy to do our will’”. And “for America, most of the world is the enemy”. Martyanov also feels compelled to update what he’s been excelling at for years: the fact that the arrival of hypersonic missiles “has changed warfare forever”. The Khinzal, deployed way back in 2017, has a range of 2,000 km and “is not interceptable by existing US anti-missile systems”. The 3M22 Zircon “changes the calculus of both naval and ground warfare completely”. The US lag behind Russia in air-defense systems is “massive, and both quantitative and qualitative”.

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More changes.

The New “Rush Hour” (ZH)

With everybody moving out of cities and into the suburbs to work from home during the pandemic, there’s officially a “new rush hour”. Gone are the days of waiting on the interstate to get in and out of your local metro area around the edges of the nine to five workday. Here now are the days of a different kind of rush hour: one where running errands in the afternoon, while working from home, has suburban streets filling up. Afternoon traffic has “come roaring back” while traditional rush hour times across the U.S. still show traffic below pre-pandemic levels. Marjorie Crosbie, profiled in a new Wall Street Journal article, experienced this change firsthand. The 10 mile trip to pick up her daughter at an after-school program recently took her 45 minutes instead of the usual 22-23 minutes.


Crosbie works as a senior finance manager for PwC and has been working from home full time since the pandemic. In her area, Tampa, afternoon vehicle trips are at 105% of levels they were at pre-pandemic. “In more than 40 of the 100 biggest U.S. metros, roads are more congested on weekday afternoons than they were pre-pandemic,” the report notes. Tim Rivers, Florida market director for commercial real-estate firm JLL, told the Journal: “People are working from home, so the suburbs have tremendous traffic. They’re going out for a morning coffee at Starbucks to take their Teams or Zoom call, or going for a workout midday.” Traffic in the afternoon has come back quicker in metro areas that have reopened earlier, the report notes. 7 of the top 10 trafficked areas have been in Florida, with notable upticks in areas like Fort Myers and Sarasota. In places like San Francisco, New York and Detroit, afternoon weekday trips are still below 80% of pre-pandemic levels, the report notes.

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Why would China care about Lithuania? Eurovision?

Lithuania Pulls Out Of China’s 17+1 Bloc In Eastern Europe (Pol.eu)

Lithuania has dropped out of China’s “17+1” group and urged other EU countries to follow suit, the Baltic state’s foreign minister told POLITICO. “There is no such thing as 17+1 anymore, as for practical purposes Lithuania is out,” Gabrielius Landsbergis said in an email, referring to Beijing’s decade-old initiative to engage Central and Eastern European countries, most of which are from the ex-Soviet bloc. The Lithuanian foreign minister called on other EU countries to also abandon the initiative. “From our perspective, it is high time for the EU to move from a dividing 16+1 format to a more uniting and therefore much more efficient 27+1,” Landsbergis said. “The EU is strongest when all 27 member states act together along with EU institutions.”

“Vaccination rollout, tackling pandemics are just [a] few recent examples of the EU27 united in solidarity and purpose. Unity of [the] 27 is key to success in EU’s relations with external partners. Relations with China should be no exception,” he added. A spokesman for the Chinese Mission to the EU said China was “not aware” of Lithuania’s move, adding: “China-CEEC [Central and Eastern European countries] cooperation mechanism is a cross-regional cooperation mechanism jointly initiated by China and Central and Eastern European countries. It meets the desire of all parties to seek development together. “Rather than being dominated by China, the mechanism involves all parties in cooperation based on voluntarism, extensive consultation, joint contribution, openness and inclusiveness.

“China-CEEC cooperation has been very fruitful in the past nine years since its inception. It has brought tangible benefits to the nations involved and added a new dimension to China-EU relations,” he said. Lithuania’s move is the latest indication of an increasingly shaky relationship between China and the European Union. On Thursday, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to freeze the legislative process for ratifying the EU’s investment pact with China, unless Beijing lifts sanctions against EU lawmakers that were imposed after the 27 EU countries slapped Xinjiang officials with sanctions over mass internment of the Uyghur minorities.

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Apr 272021
 
 April 27, 2021  Posted by at 9:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


Hieronymous Bosch The Haywain Triptych c.1516

 

India’s “Covid Crisis” Has Been Hijacked (DE)
China To Mobilise Its Private Companies To Help India Fight Covid-19 (SCMP)
US To Export AZ Vaccine As India Battles ‘Heartbreaking’ Covid Surge (Y!)
Bill Gates Says No To Sharing Vaccine Formulas With Global Poor (Salon)
Isreali Health Body Report On COVID Vax ‘Deadly’ Impacts (PSI)
Pakistan Deploys Troops To Help Authorities Cope With Covid-19 Infections (RT)
Germany’s New Lockdown Law Sparks Constitutional Court Complaints (RT)
The United States: Hardly A Recovery (Lacalle)
Biden Sees Majority Approval After 100 Days, But The Numbers Don’t Add Up (RT)
Biden’s Stimulus Checks “Wreck Labor Pool” As People Get Paid To Stay Home (ZH)
Joe Biden Declares War on Tax Havens – in Europe, Too (Spiegel)
US Pledges $300mn To Fund Massive Global Anti-China Media Machine (Fowdy)
US Deploying 650 Additional Troops to Afghanistan (Antiwar)
Chinese Experts To Join Fukushima Wastewater Working Group (RT)

 

 

Gun sales rise 35% in Q1 to a record 12,452,319

 

 

Yes, the media inevitably makes a spectacle out of it, fear sells. But even if “on the record breaking day for new infections in India just 0.02% of the population tested positive for Covid-19”, that’s still a lot of people. Who in many places live more closely together than westerners would be comfortable with, an ideal breeding ground for a virus. They wouldn’t be comfortable with a health-care system like India’s either. There are many sides to this story.

India’s “Covid Crisis” Has Been Hijacked (DE)

The Sun newspaper even released a video back at the end of January 2020 which was a compilation of people collapsing on the streets of Wuhan. The headline was ‘DISASTER ZONE – Coronavirus leaves Wuhan a ‘zombieland”. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we can now be 100% certain this was done to deceive the public and whip up fear. The Guardian newspaper also released an article at the end of January 2020 of which the headline was ‘A man lies dead in the street: the image that captures the Wuhan coronavirus crisis’. How many people have you seen drop dead in your street due to having the alleged Covid-19 disease? We bet the answer is zero. So isn’t it curious to find that after over a year of nobody dropping dead in the street throughout the world, suddenly the public are being told it is happening again in India.

Curious because according to official figures the pandemic is no longer raging throughout the United Kingdom. Curious because according to official figures excess deaths in the UK have now dropped below the five-year average. Curious because authorities will still not grant the British people their former rights and freedoms even though it is no longer justified. So what better way to justify the continuation of medical tyranny than ramping up the fear of a new variant hitting the shores of the United Kingdom. Because make no mistake that is exactly what the authorities and mainstream media are doing right now with the constant propaganda on the “dire” situation in India and the potential threat of the new Indian variant. ‘Why India’s worsening Covid crisis is a dire problem for the world’ – this is another headline to an article released by ‘The Guardian’ newspaper.

Here’s the opening paragraph of the article – “The catastrophe unfolding in India appears to be the worst-case scenario that many feared from the Covid-19 pandemic: unable to find sufficient hospital beds, access to tests, medicines or oxygen, the country of 1.4 billion is sinking beneath the weight of infections.” That very paragraph alone is enough for us to uncover the barefaced lies within the current narrative that is being portrayed in the mainstream media. Let’s start with the fact that India has a population of 1.4 billion people. If we look at the number of daily positive tests for SARS-CoV-2 we can see that on the 24th April 2021, India recorded 349,691 positive tests. This equates to just 0.02% of the entire population of India testing positive for Covid on the 24th April 2021.

The 24th April has also been the highest day on record in India for the number of positive test results for SARS-CoV-2. Yet the mainstream media have said that “the country of 1.4 billion is sinking beneath the weight of infections”. They’re lying. The second thing to take into account is that India, for some strange reason has decided to ramp up its testing, and not just of people with symptoms either. They’re carrying out asymptomatic testing. Which test are they using? The PCR test of course. PCR tests look for genetic matter from the new coronavirus using amplification cycles. However, the number of amplification cycles that was needed to detect genetic matter from the virus, which is referred to as the cycle threshold, typically isn’t included in test results sent to doctors and patients.

Many coronavirus tests have fairly high cycle thresholds, with most set at 40 and some set at 37. That means a number of people who aren’t carrying much of the new coronavirus are still testing positive, even though they may not be contagious. You can read our full breakdown on the PCR test here. This means that there will be a huge number of false positives across India, even despite the fact more tests equals more cases. But we’ll say it again, on the record breaking day for new infections in India just 0.02% of the population tested positive for Covid-19.

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“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced on Saturday that it was waiving import duties on vaccines, oxygen and related equipment.”

Say what?

China To Mobilise Its Private Companies To Help India Fight Covid-19 (SCMP)

China has vowed to encourage its private companies to help India in its battle against a drastic surge in Covid-19 cases which has seen repeated daily global records of new infections and local media reports that patients are dying because of a lack of oxygen supplies. Wang Xiaojian, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in India, said the country had the firm support of China’s government and its people in the fight against the pandemic. “We will encourage and guide Chinese companies to actively cooperate with India to facilitate acquiring medical supplies, and provide support and help according to India’s need,” he said, in an embassy statement on Monday night.

In separate remarks, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China and India were in communication over the pandemic response, and that Beijing would provide materials, if requested by New Delhi. He also called on India’s fellow members of the Quad security alliance – Australia, the US and Japan – to provide assistance to the stricken country. “I hope these nations can jointly provide India and related countries with support and assistance within their capacity to fight the epidemic, and fulfil their due international responsibilities and obligations,” he said. Zhu Yongbiao, a professor of international relations at Lanzhou University, said China’s assistance was likely to include medical equipment, vaccine, prevention and treatment plans, depending on the Indian government’s request and the pandemic situation.

“China may also encourage and support Chinese-funded companies in India to provide assistance through non-governmental ways.” Chinese diplomatic missions to Sri Lanka and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific announced on Twitter that some 800 oxygen concentrators were delivered from Hong Kong to Delhi, with 10,000 more to be delivered in a week, following a statement from the Indian cargo airline SpiceXpress which airlifted the consignment. In a bid to boost supplies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced on Saturday that it was waiving import duties on vaccines, oxygen and related equipment.

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Did the FDA approve authorize it yet?

US To Export AZ Vaccine As India Battles ‘Heartbreaking’ Covid Surge (Y!)

The United States committed Monday to releasing up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, as India grapples with a catastrophic new surge in infections and severe medical shortages, with hospitals overwhelmed and crematoriums at capacity. The South Asian giant of 1.3 billion people recorded 352,991 new infections and 2,812 deaths on Monday – its highest levels since the pandemic began – as its Hindu-nationalist government comes under fire for allowing mass gatherings such as religious festivals and political rallies in recent weeks. But with its health system completely overwhelmed, Western countries are rushing to India’s aid – including the United States, which has come under fire for hoarding supplies including of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as other countries battle sprawling outbreaks.


“U.S. to release 60 million Astra Zeneca doses to other countries as they become available,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the White House on Covid response. It was not immediately clear how many doses are ready to be shipped or where they will go, with Slavitt adding “at this time there are still very few available.” But President Joe Biden held a telephone call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, pledging his country’s “steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases.” The United States “is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials and therapeutics,” Biden told Modi, according to a statement.

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“It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines.”

Uh, yes, there are many such facilities. The WHO has entire lists of them.

Bill Gates Says No To Sharing Vaccine Formulas With Global Poor (Salon)

Bill Gates, one of the world’s richest men and most powerful philanthropists, was the target of criticism from social justice campaigners on Sunday after arguing that lifting patent protections on COVID-19 vaccine technology and sharing recipes with the world to foster a massive ramp up in manufacturing and distribution — despite a growing international call to do exactly that — is a bad idea. Directly asked during an interview with Sky News if he thought it “would be helpful” to have vaccine recipes be shared, Gates quickly answered: “No.” Asked to explain why not, Gates — whose massive fortune as founder of Microsoft relies largely on intellectual property laws that turned his software innovations into tens of billions of dollars in personal wealth — said: “Well, there’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines.

“And so moving something that had never been done — moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India — it’s novel — it’s only because of our grants and expertise that that can happen at all.” The reference is to the Serum factory in India, the largest such institute in the country, which has contracts with AstraZeneca to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccine, known internationally as Covishield. The thing that’s holding “things back” in terms of the global vaccine rollout, continued Gates, “is not intellectual property. It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines. You know, you’ve got to do the trial on these things. Every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way.”

Critical advocates for robust and immediate change to intellectual property protections at the World Trade Organization when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines, however, issued scathing indictments of Gates’ defense of the status quo. Nick Dearden, executive director of Global Justice Now, one of the lead partner groups in an international coalition calling for WTO patent waivers at a crucial meeting of the world body next month, characterized Gates’ remarks — and the ideological framework behind them — as “disgusting.” “Who appointed this billionaire head of global health?” asked Dearden. “Oh yeah, he did.”

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“..a high rate of massive vaginal bleeding, neurological damage, and damage to the skeletal and skin systems [..] Hypercoagulability (infarction), Myocardial infarction, stroke, miscarriages, impaired blood flow to the limbs, pulmonary embolism.”

Isreali Health Body Report On COVID Vax ‘Deadly’ Impacts (PSI)

The Israeli People Committee (IPC), a civilian body made of leading Israeli health experts, has published its April report into the Pfizer vaccine’s side effects.* The findings are catastrophic on every possible level. Their verdict is that “there has never been a vaccine that has harmed as many people.” The report is long and detailed. I will outline just some of the most devastating findings presented in the report. “We received 288 death reports in proximity to vaccination (90% up to 10 days after the vaccination), 64% of those were men.” Yet the report states, “according to data provided by the Ministry of Health, only 45 deaths in Israel were vaccine related.” If the numbers above are sincere then Israel, which claimed to conduct a world experiment, failed to genuinely report on its experiment’s results.

We often hear about blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. For instance, we learned this morning about 300 cases of blood clots in of Europe. However, if the IPC’s findings are genuine, then in Israel alone the Pfizer vaccine may be associated with more deaths than AstraZeneca’s in the whole of Europe. “According to Central Bureau of Statistics data during January-February 2021, at the peak of the Israeli mass vaccination campaign, there was a 22% increase in overall mortality in Israel compared with the previous year. In fact, January-February 2021 have been the deadliest months in the last decade, with the highest overall mortality rates compared to corresponding months in the last 10 years.”

The IPC finds that “amongst the 20-29 age group the increase in overall mortality has been most dramatic. In this age group, we detect an increase of 32% in overall mortality in comparison with previous year.” “Statistical analysis of information from the Central Bureau of Statistics, combined with information from the Ministry of Health, leads to the conclusion that the mortality rate amongst the vaccinated is estimated at about 1: 5000 (1: 13000 at ages 20-49, 1: 6000 at ages 50-69, 1: 1600 at ages 70+). According to this estimate, it is possible to estimate the number of deaths in Israel in proximity of the vaccine, as of today, at about 1000-1100 people.” Again, if this statistical analysis is correct then the numbers reported by the Israeli health authorities are misleading by more than 22-fold.

[..] “There is a high correlation between the number of people vaccinated per day and the number of deaths per day, in the range of up to 10 days, in all age groups. Ages 20-49 – a range of 9 days from the date of vaccination to mortality, ages 50-69 – 5 days from the date of vaccination to mortality, ages 70 and up – 3 days from the date of vaccination to mortality.” The IPC also reveals that the “the risk of mortality after the second vaccine is higher than the risk of mortality after the first vaccine.” But death isn’t the only risk to do with vaccination. The IPC reveals that “as of the date of publication of the report, 2066 reports of side effects have accumulated in the Civil Investigation Committee and the data continue to come in.

These reports indicate damage to almost every system in the human body.…Our analysis found a relatively high rate of heart-related injuries, 26% of all cardiac events occurred in young people up to the age of 40, with the most common diagnosis in these cases being Myositis or Pericarditis.” “Also, a high rate of massive vaginal bleeding, neurological damage, and damage to the skeletal and skin systems has been observed. It should be noted that a significant number of reports of side effects are related, directly or indirectly, to Hypercoagulability (infarction), Myocardial infarction, stroke, miscarriages, impaired blood flow to the limbs, pulmonary embolism.”

Read more …

Pakistan is like India in many ways.

Pakistan Deploys Troops To Help Authorities Cope With Covid-19 Infections (RT)

As rising Covid-19 infections threaten to collapse Pakistan’s healthcare system, Islamabad has deployed troops across the country, with particular attention to 16 major cities, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Soldiers “will go to every corner of Pakistan to ensure the protection of citizens,” military spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told reporters on Monday, adding that the primary purpose of the deployment “is to help civil institutions and law enforcement agencies.” “In this testing time, the Pakistan Army will use all its capabilities to take every possible step for the protection of citizens and their lives.”

According to General Iftikhar, there are presently around 90,000 cases of Covid-19 in the country, with 4,300 people in critical condition, including 570 people on ventilators. Pakistan has been registering around 5,500 cases and 130 deaths per day, similar to the figures during the peak of the first wave in June 2020. Pakistan has around 220 million residents. The rate of positive tests has risen to “dangerous levels” of more than 5% in 51 cities, and even higher in 16 cities that will receive “enhanced deployment” of troops. Among these is the capital Islamabad, as well as Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Gujranwala in Punjab; Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh; Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Charsadda and Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Quetta in Balochistan; and Muzaffarabad in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Doctors across the country hailed the move, with some even going so far as demanding arrests for those who fail to follow the prescribed measures. “Presently, we need strict enforcement of the precautionary measures as the hospitals, it seems, would soon be overwhelmed by patients,” said Dr. Javid Ali of the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, who called the army deployment the “right step at the right time.”

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Hard to understand why not much more of this is happening globally.

Germany’s New Lockdown Law Sparks Constitutional Court Complaints (RT)

Germany’s new law granting Berlin sweeping powers when it comes to imposing harsh Covid-19 restrictions has sparked a wave of indignation and prompted dozens of complaints filed with the Constitutional Court. A total of 65 complaints have been filed against the so-called Infection Protection Act to date, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe confirmed to the German media. A court spokesman also admitted that the real number of lawsuits could be higher since new ones are filed “all the time” and the court is not always able to process them in time. Some complainants also filed urgent motions asking the court to suspend the law, which came into force just two days ago, until a final decision is made.

Some suits were directed against the entire package of measures envisaged by the new law, while others focused on specific restrictions like the nighttime curfew that many Germans apparently see as unconstitutional. Most claims were reportedly filed by individual complainants, including several German MPs. One of them is Florian Post, a member of the Social Democratic Party – a junior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government coalition. Others include a Green MP, Canan Bayram, and a member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, whose identity was not revealed. The Liberal Free Democrats also lodged a complaint against the law with the Constitutional Court on Monday afternoon.

The usually business-friendly party argued that the measures imposed by the law, such as the curfew and “other encroachments on fundamental rights,” are disproportionate and sometimes ineffective. It is not known when the court will pass its judgement on the issue. It is also unclear whether the claimants should first reach out to some lower-ranking courts before filing the lawsuits directly in Karlsruhe. The controversial law imposes binding restrictions on all German states and even individual communities as soon as they exceed a seven-day average infection rate of 100 cases per 100,000 people. The rules once again put severe limitations on private and public gatherings, as well as demanding that Germans stay home between 10pm and 5am [..]

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“It seems that governments want to convince us that they have saved the world when the reality is that the misguided lockdowns were the cause of the economic debacle and lifting them is the main cause of the recovery.”

The United States: Hardly A Recovery (Lacalle)

There is an overly optimistic consensus view about the speed and strength of the United States’ recovery that is contradicted by facts. It is true that the United States recovery is stronger than the European or Japanese one, but the macrodata shows that the euphoric messages about aggregate GDP growth are wildly exaggerated. Of course GDP is going to rise fast, with estimates of 6 percent for 2021. It would be alarming if it did not after a massive chain of stimuli of more than 12 percent of GDP in fiscal spending and $7 trillion in Federal Reserve balance sheet expansion. This is a combined stimulus that is almost three times larger than the 2008 crisis one, according to McKinsey. The question is, What is the quality of this recovery?

The answer is: extremely poor. The United States real growth excluding the increase in debt will continue to be exceedingly small. No one can talk about a strong recovery when industry capacity utilization is at 74 percent, massively below the level of 80 percent at which it was before the pandemic. Furthermore, labor force participation rate stands at 61.5 percent, significantly below the precovid level and stalling after bouncing to 62 percent in September. Unemployment may be at 6 percent, but it is still almost twice as large as it was before the pandemic. Continuing jobless claims remain above 3.7 million in April. Weekly jobless claims remain above 500,000 and the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs—state and federal combined—for the week ending March 27 decreased by 1.2 million to 16.9 million.

These figures must be put in the context of the unprecedented spending spree and the monetary stimulus. Yes, the recovery is better than the eurozone’s thanks to a fast and efficient vaccination rollout and the dynamism of the United States business fabric, but the figures show that a relevant amount of the subsequent stimulus plans have simply perpetuated overcapacity, kept zombie firms that had financial issues before covid-19 alive, and bloated the government structural deficit and mandatory spending.

Would the United States economy have recovered as fast as it has without the deficit-spending stimulus plans? Maybe. I believe so because the entire recovery, both in markets and the economy, has been driven by the vaccine news and the process of inoculation. Most of the programs that have been implemented have had a small impact compared to the reopening of the hospitality sector and the vaccinations. The entire economic crisis came from the lockdowns and the virus and the entire recovery is the reopening and the vaccinations.

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“Only Trump, with 42% approval, and Gerald Ford, with 48%, scored lower.”

Biden Sees Majority Approval After 100 Days, But The Numbers Don’t Add Up (RT)

A majority of Americans approve of Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, and the president has been treated to glowing media coverage. But behind the poll numbers might be a different story. Biden’s first 100 days in office have been busy. A slew of executive orders did away with nearly all of Donald Trump’s policies as the Democratic president opened up the country’s Mexican border, launched a bid for gun control and banned key fossil fuel projects. The coronavirus vaccine rollout continues at home, while internationally, Biden has hit Russia with economic sanctions and strained relations with Turkey by recognizing the Armenian genocide.

A majority of Americans agree with his progress thus far, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll published on Sunday, which found that 52% of adults say they approve of the job Biden is doing, while 42% disapprove, a near reversal of Trump’s ratings after his first 100 days. Biden scored highly – 63% – on his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and averagely – 52% – on his management of the US economy. However, 53% of respondents disapproved of his performance on immigration, as unprecedented numbers of illegal immigrants pour across the Mexican border. With the public apparently onside, some mainstream media outlets have taken to celebration. AP, for example, cheered on his efforts to “wrestle the country away from the legacy and agitations of President Donald Trump,” and praised his “unabashedly liberal” agenda.

Biden’s personality was celebrated too. “The temperature is lower. The drama is less. And the persona is fundamentally different,” AP wrote. Behind the media’s praise and the apparently positive poll figures, however, is a different story. Biden’s approval rating may be 10 points above Trump’s at this time in 2017, but it’s the third-lowest since Gallup began tracking approvals during the Harry S. Truman administration. Only Trump, with 42% approval, and Gerald Ford, with 48%, scored lower. [..] the poll oversampled Democrats by nine points. Some 33% of respondents identified as Democrats, 24% as Republicans, and 35% as independents. The remainder were either unsure or identified with minor parties. Previous research has found that political independents generally favor Democrats by four points, so with all of this taken into account, Biden’s true approval rating could be several points lower.

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Maybe the problem is that “entry-level pay” continues for many years in many fields.

Biden’s Stimulus Checks “Wreck Labor Pool” As People Get Paid To Stay Home (ZH)

There are new concerns that President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is already harming the labor market recovery. While job openings and postings are increasing, there is an issue with the number of applications as labor participation currently stands at 61.4%, with an unemployment rate of 6.2%. People are not applying for jobs as they should be as they collect stimulus checks and enjoy a work-free lifestyle, all on the backs of taxpayers. There are many jobs available in manufacturing, trade and transportation, logistics, and the professional sector. But employers have difficulty sourcing workers. The latest comments from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City provide a chilling insight this month into the labor shortage developing at manufacturing firms across Denver, Oklahoma City, and Omaha:

“Stimulus and increased unemployment money are wrecking the labor pool. Lower-level employees are quitting to make just as much not working.” So, lower-level employees are making more money collecting stimulus checks and other handouts under the Biden administration. This was very similar when former President Trump dished out helicopter money during the early days of the pandemic. What this creates are more bottlenecks for the supply chain as labor becomes scarce. “It is very difficult to handle the increased business with supply chain issues across all materials and finding anyone who wants to work. The federal government has incentivized people to stay home and not be productive.”

Other employers report: “Unemployed workers have no incentive to return to work given the COVID bonus payments.” What this means is that entry-level pay will have to increase to get low-level workers off the couch. This will create more cost pressures for companies that will either be absorbed or pass onto the consumer. The Biden administration effectively destroys the labor market, resulting in significant repercussions for the real economy, such as a labor shortage that could stall the recovery.

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How can Joe avoid hurting his sposors?

Joe Biden Declares War on Tax Havens – in Europe, Too (Spiegel)

If you want to know why a company should have its headquarters in Ireland these days, the best place to ask is IDA Ireland, the government’s foreign direct investment agency based in Dublin. The Emerald Isle, their lobbyists rave, has a “great density of data centers.” It advertises the country’s large pool of young talent with above-average qualifications as well as international and innovative companies, ranging from Microsoft and Facebook to German corporations such as Allianz, Zalando and SAP. But when asked if perhaps the real attraction for investors is the extremely low corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, the IDA declines to answer. For that, the agency says, it is best to contact Paschal Donohoe, the Irish finance minister and chair of the Eurogroup.

The man currently finds himself facing a problem that has become a concern for all of Europe. Since U.S. President Joe Biden presented his groundbreaking proposal for a global minimum tax on corporate profits, old rifts have ripped open again on the Continent. Whereas large member states such as Germany approve of the move, it would hit smaller EU members like Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia hard. For years, they have lured international corporations into their countries with the promise that they will be largely spared from the grasp of the domestic tax authorities. If the U.S. gets its way, that could be the end of it. Numerous EU countries would not only have to reckon with revenue losses in the billions, but also with the loss of corporate headquarters and thousands of jobs.

Countries like France or Italy, on the other hand, would feel vindicated. Out of anger with corporations like Amazon that have barely paid any taxes at all in Europe in recent years, they enacted their own digital taxes – and drew the ire of Donald Trump by doing so. The former U.S. president even threatened retaliatory tariffs on German cars, Italian cheese and French handbags. Now, the U.S. has performed a spectacular about-face – and raised difficult questions for the Europeans: How seriously must pledges from Brussels to fight tax evasion be taken? Would it just be the tax havens that have to reckon with losses or would they also be painful for large exporting countries like Germany? And, more importantly: Will the Europeans manage to find a common line with the U.S. in the tax negotiations that have been going on for years in the OECD club of industrialized nations?

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United States of Propaganda.

US Pledges $300mn To Fund Massive Global Anti-China Media Machine (Fowdy)

Chinese- and Russian-funded journalism is ‘disinformation,’ but when Washington spends millions on ‘independent’ news outlets and buying journalists to get favourable coverage of its policies, it’s called ‘spreading information.’ The US Senate last week passed a bumper anti-China bill titled the “Strategic Competition Act”. Backed by Chuck Schumer (Dem – New York) as one of his biggest priorities since becoming the Majority leader, the 270+ page document contains scores of recommendations and provisions on formalizing America’s “geopolitical competition” against Beijing, including in the fields of military, diplomacy, technology, trade and more. There’s little question it will be passed into law, having already cleared the Senate and with the anti-Chinese sentiment in Washington being routinely bipartisan.

The bill also notably pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in various capacities for media focused initiatives against China. This includes up to $300 million in an openly described effort to spread information on the “negative impact” of China’s $1 trillion-plus Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in participating countries, “anti-Chinese influence” programs, a scheme to “train journalists” with the goal of countering Beijing, and millions more in funding for Radio Free Asia to expand its coverage in the specified languages of Mandarin, Cantonese, Tibetan and Uighur. In short, it’s a mammoth propaganda push.

All the time, we hear so much about “Chinese/Russian propaganda,” “disinformation,” etc, and often its impact is depicted in highly threatening or sensational ways, yet rarely, if ever, is it reported how the west actively and openly engages in psychological warfare with the goal of changing politics and governments in targeted countries, all the while playing the perpetual victim. Here it is in the new US bill in black and white, as clear as crystal, yet few will balk or take notice at the explicitly ambitious effort to attempt to destabilize various regions of China, to promote unrest and, ideally, to “balkanize” the country. This, of course, is not new; it’s what America has always done.

[..] The US has a long history of such psychological warfare, both explicit and implicit. One of the most famous instances is what was revealed as Operation Mockingbird, where the CIA secretly infiltrated the mainstream media at home and abroad, collaborating with journalists to push US foreign-policy interests. Many journalists – including Pulitzer Prize winners – joined the CIA’s payroll, writing fake stories to disseminate the agency’s agitprop, and many were given falsified or fabricated information in support of the CIA’s mission. This was during the Cold War, but the program has never been officially discontinued, and why would it stop today in the wake of a new Cold War with China? The Strategic Competition bill clearly illustrates that Washington places primary importance on dominating the “global discourse” in accordance with its interests, and it is arguably very good at doing this through a multitude of methods.

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“US military leaders also want to maintain the ability to bomb Afghanistan and are eyeing repositioning forces in neighboring countries.”

US Deploying 650 Additional Troops to Afghanistan (Antiwar)

The US is deploying additional forces to Afghanistan over fears of Taliban attacks during the withdrawal process. Pentagon officials told CNN that the US is preparing to send about 650 troops to Afghanistan as part of the extra forces. The officials said the ground troops will mainly come from the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and will be deployed with transport planes and aircraft that can provide air support such as AC-130 gunships. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved sending the Rangers last week along with the deployment of long-range B-52 bombers, two of which have already arrived in Afghanistan. He also ordered the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to stay in the Gulf region.

President Biden put US troops at risk of getting attacked by extending the May 1st deadline that was set by the US-Taliban peace deal. February 8th marked the first full year that no US troops died in combat in Afghanistan since the war started. Last week, the Taliban said it was “too early” to know if they will start attacking US and NATO forces after May 1st. Biden said he will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11th. On Sunday, Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said “local action” to prepare for the withdrawal has started and said the US will gradually hand over military bases to the Afghan government.

While Biden says he plans to leave, the US seems keen to maintain some sort of military presence in Afghanistan. It’s still not clear if contractors working for the Pentagon will leave with US combat troops. The US plans to continue supporting the Afghan military, which is almost entirely reliant on Pentagon contractors to maintain their equipment. US military leaders also want to maintain the ability to bomb Afghanistan and are eyeing repositioning forces in neighboring countries.

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“..the supposedly treated water still contains “dangerous levels of carbon-14,” a radioactive substance that has the “potential to damage human DNA.” The water is also known to contain radioactive tritium.”

Chinese Experts To Join Fukushima Wastewater Working Group (RT)

The Chinese foreign ministry has said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed to Beijing that it will be inviting its experts to join a working group on Japan’s disposal of nuclear waste into the ocean.
Speaking on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing would continue to urge Japan to engage with the international community before dumping more than a million tons of nuclear wastewater from the defunct Fukushima power plant. “China will fully support the organization’s follow-up work, and Japan should earnestly meet the concerns of China and other stakeholders and the international community before launching the discharge of nuclear contaminated water,” Wang stated.


The spokesman said that the IAEA had confirmed to Beijing that it would be inviting Chinese experts to take part in a technical working group on the disposal of the supposedly treated wastewater. “China maintains close communication and coordination with the IAEA in this regard, and the agency is actively preparing for the establishment of related technical working groups,” he added. China and its neighbors have been highly critical of Tokyo after it was announced that wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant would be dumped into the ocean within a couple of years. The safety of the water has been questioned on many occasions despite years of treatment. Last year, Greenpeace reported that the wastewater from the plant was more dangerous than the Japanese government had suggested. The organization’s publication claims the supposedly treated water still contains “dangerous levels of carbon-14,” a radioactive substance that has the “potential to damage human DNA.” The water is also known to contain radioactive tritium.

Read more …

 

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Apr 192021
 


Theodoros Vryzakis The Reception of Lord Byron at Missolonghi 1861

 

How Pfizer Became the Status Vax (Slate)
Michigan Now Requires Masks For 2-Year-Olds (JTN)
Trial To Study Effect Of Immune System On Covid Reinfection (G.)
Biden’s Sanctions Binge The High-Water Mark Of The ‘Putin Whisperers’ (Ritter)
Escobar: So Who Wants A Hot War?
Russia Tells 20 Czech Diplomats To Leave By Monday Night (RT)
Black Leaders Warn Of Fallout If Derek Chauvin Acquitted (F.)
3 Kids Or More: Chinese Researchers Call To Abandon Birth Limits (RT)
China Calls Bitcoin An ‘Investment Alternative’ In Major Shift In Tone (CNBC)
UK House Prices Surge As High Demand Meets Record Shortage (G.)
Gates Unhinged: Dystopian Vision for the Future of Food (Todhunter)
Lord Byron’s £4,000 Cheque That Helped Create Modern Greece (G.)

 

 

BioNTech SEC Filing, November 2020:

“mRNA therapies have been classified as gene therapy medicinal products”
“Currently, mRNA is considered a gene therapy product by the FDA.”

 

 

UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights

Article 6 – Consent
1. Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned. “The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.”

 

 

VAERS injury report #1074247 caused by Pfizer vaxx:

Symptoms: Death
Life threatening: No

 

 

 

 

Madness in all its glory.

How Pfizer Became the Status Vax (Slate)

Last week, on a phone call with Tom Cox, a former representative in the Kansas state Legislature who now works in government relations, I told him I was soon to get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. “Welcome to the ruling class,” he replied. Cox had also gotten the Pfizer shot, and with it, he has lately developed—facetiously, he swears—a sense of Pfizer superiority. It started after he, his closest friends, and his immediate family all happened to get the Pfizer vaccine. “We started calling ourselves ‘double-dosed Pfizer elites,’ ” Cox said. “I will refer to anyone who’s had one dose as a ‘one-doser.’ Like, ‘Oh, you’re a one-doser? OK, well, you’ll reach this enlightened plane soon enough.’ ”

“One of my cousins got Moderna, and I was like, ‘That’s OK. We need a strong middle class. We can’t all be CEOs.’ ” Cox is likely not the first Pfizerphile you’ve heard sing his vaccine brand’s praises. Pro-Pfizer sentiment is all over TikTok, where you can find skits of bros bonding over their shared Pfizer status, or one creator declaring that the name itself “Sounds rich. Decadent. Luxury!” Olajide Bamishigbin, a psychology professor in California, was on a similar wavelength recently when he tweeted a GIF of SpongeBob SquarePants dressed in a top hat and monocle alongside the words, “Me when somebody says they got any vaccine other than Pfizer.”

The Pfizer superiority complex is at once a joke and a real phenomenon. But is it affecting the vaccine rollout? “Even though I think that we have this instinct that’s out there”—the belief that Pfizer is the elite shot—“it still feels more playful than really driving outcomes,” said Manuel Hermosilla, a professor of marketing at Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School who studies the pharmaceutical industry. He said he thinks people understand that getting whatever vaccine you can should trump any brand preference—though it’s unclear how this week’s news about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could change that equation. On Tuesday, U.S. health agencies recommended a pause in administration of the J&J vaccine, after six women developed a rare blood clot disorder within weeks of receiving the shot. In all likelihood, this pause will be temporary.

With the blood clot scare in the news, it may seem an uncouth time to be a Pfizer snob. Objectively, the Pfizer vaccine may have the best numbers, with an efficacy rate originally reported as 95 percent. But with a 94 percent efficacy rate, the Moderna vaccine was right behind it, and J&J’s efficacy rate of 66 percent was actually quite good, if you understand what the numbers mean. And the J&J shot has one big advantage on the other two, which is that it can be administered in one dose instead of two. Once you’re able to get it again.

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Utter madness.

Michigan Now Requires Masks For 2-Year-Olds (JTN)

The Michigan state government this week directed state residents as young as two years old to begin wearing masks in the hopes that doing so will help bring down the state’s coronavirus numbers. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release on Friday that the state will expand its COVID-19 response — what the state DHHS calls “the strongest public health order in the Midwest” — to apply its masking requirement “to children ages 2 to 4” in order to “further protect the state’s residents.” “Expanding the mask rule to children ages 2 to 4 requires a good faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps,” the announcement says, adding that the order “follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.”

Read more …

Also brought to you by Pfizer?

Trial To Study Effect Of Immune System On Covid Reinfection (G.)

The immune response needed to protect people against reinfection with the coronavirus will be explored in a new human challenge trial, researchers have revealed. Human challenge trials involve deliberately exposing healthy people to a disease-causing organism in a carefully controlled manner, and have proved valuable in understanding and tackling myriad conditions from malaria to tuberculosis and gonorrhoea. The first human challenge trials for Covid began this year, with the study – a partnership led by researchers at Imperial College London among others – initially looking at the smallest amount of virus needed to cause infection among people who have not had Covid before.

Now researchers at the University of Oxford have announced that they have gained research ethics approval for a new human challenge trial involving people who have previously had coronavirus. Recruitment is expected to start in the next couple of weeks. “The point of this study is to determine what kind of immune response prevents reinfection,” said Helen McShane, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, and chief investigator on the study. McShane said the team would measure the levels of various components of participants’ immune response – including T-cells and antibodies – and then track whether participants became reinfected when exposed to the virus.

Participants must be healthy, at low risk from Covid, aged between 18 and 30, and must have been infected with the coronavirus at least three months before joining the trial. As well as having previously had a positive Covid PCR test, they must also have antibodies to Covid. Given the timing criteria, McShane said it was likely most participants would have previously been infected with the original strain of the virus. The first phase of the trial will initially involve 24 participants split into dose groups of three to eight people who will receive, via the nose, the original strain of coronavirus. The idea is to start with a very low dose and, if necessary, increase the dose – up to a point – between groups.

“Our target is to have 50% of our subjects infected but with no, or only very mild, disease,” said McShane, adding that once the dose required to achieve this is determined it will be administered to 10-40 other participants to confirm the dose. The second phase of the study – expected to start in the summer – will involve a new group of participants and will study closely their immune response before and after exposure to the virus, as well as the level of virus and symptoms in those who become reinfected. Should reinfection be confirmed, or symptoms develop, in either phase of the trial, participants will be given a monoclonal antibody treatment. Participants will be reimbursed just under £5,000 for the full study, as each volunteer will need to quarantine for at least 17 days during the trial, and be followed up for 12 months.

Read more …

Must read by Scott Ritter, history lesson. I still wonder why Yeltsin appointed Putin. People say it’s because he thought he’d be pliable. But did he not maybe regret having sold out his country, and knew very well who and what Putin was?

Biden’s Sanctions Binge The High-Water Mark Of The ‘Putin Whisperers’ (Ritter)

Joe Biden has announced a new wave of sanctions against Russia and signalled the potential for more. Biden’s mouth is writing checks the US can’t cash, and his latest tantrum is likely the last gasp of failed anti-Russia strategy. Back in the Cold War, the US and Soviet Union wore “big-boy pants” – they understood the realities of the world they lived in and accepted the consequences of their respective actions like adults. Espionage was a given; when you succeeded, you kept your mouth shut, and when you were caught, you took your lumps in silence. What underpinned this approach was the kind of begrudging respect that professionals of equal stature afford to one another – each side had a job to do, and they got on with it.

Both sides were engaged in active propaganda, some overt, much of it covert. This ideological combat was waged in the battlefield of the minds of intellectuals and activists, who were entrusted to decide for themselves which brand of idealism they would embrace. The CIA underwrote such notable literary journals such as The Paris Review and Encounter, while Soviet efforts to infiltrate the Black Civil Rights movement and the anti-war movement of the 1960’s are well documented. And yet, throughout this war of words, Kennedy somehow met with Khrushchev, Nixon and Carter with Brezhnev, and Reagan with Gorbachev. We opposed the Soviets, but we also respected them as worthy opponents. This attitude changed, almost overnight, with the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, and the end of the Cold War.

The successor to the once mighty Soviet Union was the Russian Federation, which had been transformed from a world power capable of dictating global outcomes to a regional train wreck, in desperate need of foreign assistance to keep it from falling apart. Inside the CIA, the once all-powerful Office of Soviet Analysis (SOVA), the largest and most prestigious fiefdom within the Directorate of Intelligence, was dissolved, replaced by the more generic sounding “Office of Slavic and Eurasian analysis”, and later, the Office of Russian and European analysis. Old-time analysts who had spent decades studying the Soviet Union were dismissed or reassigned, replaced by a new breed, who viewed Russia not as an adversary to be respected, but a victim to be exploited.

Moscow Station – the CIA operation inside the Soviet Union – was likewise gutted, transforming overnight from the premier posting for the agency’s most capable case officers into a backwater where new officers were sent to cut their baby teeth and old officers to retire. The CIA’s approach to Russia in the 1990’s was one of negligent incompetence, where analysis was lazy and operations virtually non-existent. The demand for high quality intelligence simply did not exist in an environment where the Russian government, in the form of an alcoholic president named Boris Yeltsin, had completely subordinated himself to the will of his American masters, and the Russian national security establishment was more than happy to sell its secrets to anyone willing to pay a price.

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“Now listen to the sound of Stoltenberg yappin’: We pledge “unwavering support” to Ukraine. Woof woof. Now go back to play in your sandboxes.”

Escobar: So Who Wants A Hot War?

Zelensky’s warmongering script comes directly from MI6’s Richard Moore. Russian intel is very much aware of all the fine print. Glimpses were even carefully leaked to a TV special on the Rossiya 1 channel. I confirmed it with diplomatic sources in Brussels. British media also got wind of it – but obviously was told to further distort the mirrors, blaming everything on, what else, “Russian aggression”. German intel is practically non-existent in Kiev. Those NATO advisers remain legion. Yet no one talks about the explosive MI6 connection. Careless whispers in Brussels corridors swear that MI6 actually believes that in the case of a volcanic but as it stands still preventable hot war with Russia, continental Europe would burn and Brexitland would be spared.

Dream on. Now back to the circus. Both Little Blinken and NATO straw man Stoltenberg parroted the same script in Brussels after talking to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister. That was part of a NATO “special meeting” on Ukraine – where some Eurocrat must have told a bunch of extra clueless Eurocrats how they would be carbonized on the spot by Russian TOS-1 Buratino’s terrifying explosive warheads if NATO tried anything funny. Listen to the sound of Blinken yappin’: Russian actions are “provocative”. Well, his staff certainly did not hand him a copy of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu examining step by step the deployment of the annual US Army DEFENDER-Europe 21: “The main forces are concentrated in the Black Sea and Baltic region.”

Now listen to the sound of Stoltenberg yappin’: We pledge “unwavering support” to Ukraine. Woof woof. Now go back to play in your sandboxes. No, not yet. Little Blinken threatened Moscow with “consequences” whatever happens in Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov’s infinite patience is nearly Daoist. Sun Tzu’s Art of War, by the way, is a Daoist masterpiece. Peskov’s answer to Blinken: “It is simply not necessary for us to go around forever proclaiming: ‘I am the greatest!’ The more one does this sort of thing, in fact, the more people doubt it…” When in doubt, call the irreplaceable Andrei Martyanov – who always tells it like it is. The Crash Test Dummy gang in D.C. still does not get it – although some Deep State pros do.

Here’s Martyanov: As I am on record constantly – the United States never fought a war with its Command and Control system under the relentless sustained fire impact and its rear attacked and disorganized. Conventionally, the United States cannot win against Russia in Europe, at least Eastern part of it and Biden Admin better wake up to the reality that it may, indeed, not survive any kind of escalation and, in fact, modern Kalibrs, 3M14Ms, as a matter of fact, have a range of a 4,500 kilometers, as well as 5,000+ kilometer range of X-101 cruise missiles, which will have no issues with penetrating North American airspace when launched by Russia’s strategic bombers without even leaving the safety of Russia’s airspace.

Read more …

Can’t get over that crazy story of the same guys and fake passports being used in 2014, and then again in the 2018 Skripal case. How stupid does MI6 think we all are?

Russia Tells 20 Czech Diplomats To Leave By Monday Night (RT)

Twenty Czech diplomats have been declared personae non-gratae and must now leave Russia before the end of April 19, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday, a day after Czech officials expelled 18 diplomats to Moscow. Earlier on Sunday, the Czech ambassador to Moscow, Vítezslav Pivonka, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, which expressed a “strong protest” over Prague’s actions this weekend. Citing allegations of the involvement of the Russian intelligence in a 2014 blast at a military depot in the Czech Republic, which was initially thought to be an accident, the Czech government ordered 18 Russian diplomats out of the country. The decision was announced on Saturday by Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek.

The envoy was also informed that 20 staff members of the Czech embassy in Moscow would have to leave Russia by the end of Monday, April 19. Reports in the media on Saturday cited diplomatic sources as having said that a proportionate retaliation from Moscow would effectively shut down the embassy, but it was not immediately clear how severely the work of the diplomatic mission has actually been affected. Notably, the diplomatic scandal rocked Czech-Russian relations on the eve of FM Hamacek’s scheduled visit to Moscow, where he was to have discussed the possible purchase of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The breakdown in relations has also disrupted Russian-Czech cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.

On Sunday, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlicek said Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, would likely be barred from tendering for renovating the Czech Republic’s Dukovany nuclear power plant. Also on Saturday, Czech police said they were looking for two Russian citizens who were in the area of the military depot at the time of the blast, apparently implying their involvement without directly saying so. The news was met with much ridicule in Russia, as the suspects are the same men who were accused by London of the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018 – an allegation denied by Moscow. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov have previously denied any links to Russian intelligence, claiming they were businessmen and complaining that Britain’s unsubstantiated accusations had ruined their lives.

Read more …

These people don’t appear to have much faith in the US justice system. But how is this not an attempt at jury tampering? Dangerous. “If you don’t find him guilty, there’ll be riots”. What happened to everyone has a right to a fair trial?

Black Leaders Warn Of Fallout If Derek Chauvin Acquitted (F.)

As a verdict nears in the trial of Derek Chauvin amid renewed outrage over police killings, multiple Black leaders involved in calls for reform are emphasizing the necessity that the former Minneapolis Police officer be convicted for George Floyd’s death—and warning of the fallout if he is not. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the families of Floyd and Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old fatally shot by Minnesota police last week, told ABC News’s “This Week” the American legal system will have “once again … broken our hearts” if Chauvin is acquitted on murder and manslaughter charges.

“We cannot condone this inhumanity America, we cannot condone this evil that we saw on that video [of Floyd’s arrest],” Crump said during the Sunday morning interview, warning that if the trial’s outcome doesn’t set a new precedent, “people are going to continue having these emotional protests.” Also speaking during a Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who has been working on a bipartisan policing reform bill, said she’s anticipating outrage if Chauvin is acquitted on all three counts, adding: “We’ve seen people get off with minimal sentences” in “too many of these cases.” “I don’t think anyone in Minneapolis, frankly anyone in the U.S., and over a good part of the world, would understand any verdict other than guilty,” Bass said.


This comes after fellow Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters (D), speaking at a Saturday night rally in Brooklyn Center, where Wright’s shooting has sparked nearly a week of protests, urged demonstrators to “get more active” and “more confrontational” if Chauvin isn’t found guilty of murder. “We cannot let these killings continue,” Waters told a crowd of protesters. “If nothing does not happen, we know we’ve got to not only stay in the streets but we’ve got to fight for justice. But I am very hopeful… that we will get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty. If we do not, we will not go away.”

Maxine Waters

Read more …

What a difference a generation makes. But the effects of the one child policy will reverberate for many generations. If only because everyone wanted their one child to be a boy.

3 Kids Or More: Chinese Researchers Call To Abandon Birth Limits (RT)

China must “fully liberalize” its birth-control policy to increase its labor force in the upcoming decades and compete with such countries as the US economically, a paper published by the People’s Bank of China says.
Beijing should pay close attention to the fact that the country’s birth rate is declining, while its population is aging fast, the researchers argued. The research, which was published this week by China’s central bank as part of its working paper series, suggests that the country’s main economic rival, the US, is undergoing “favorable changes” in working population rates, largely through mass immigration. Based on statistics and forecasts by the United Nations – which might even overestimate China’s reproduction rate, according to the researchers – the report suggests that in the next three decades, China’s population will decrease by some 32 million people.

At the same time, US may add 50 million people to its population by 2050. Furthermore, the researchers warned that China’s labor force is set to shrink, while the US will see an expansion. And unlike China, the US will have the benefit of “skilled immigration.” While China had 70.6% of its population in the labor force as of 2019, compared with the US rate of 65.2%, that advantage is predicted to drop to 3.2 percentage points from 5.4 percentage points by 2035, the paper said. By 2050, the US will swing to a 1.3 percentage-point advantage over China in the labor-force rate, the authors predicted, adding: “For [China] to narrow the gap with the United States in the past four decades, it relied on cheap labor and huge numbers of people… What will we rely on in the next 30 years? This is worth our thoughts.”

[..] The authors argued that China’s government must quickly change its family-planning policies: “Our country must clearly recognize the changes in the situation… firmly seize the precious time window, change concepts, comprehensively implement policies, and respond effectively.” Beijing “must fully liberalize childbirth” allowing “three births and above,” the paper said. In fact, women should be encouraged to have more babies, the researchers added, calling on both the government and society to create a “good reproductive environment,” improving childbirth, healthcare and school systems.

Read more …

Xi concedes defeat?

China Calls Bitcoin An ‘Investment Alternative’ In Major Shift In Tone (CNBC)

China’s central bank is now calling bitcoin an “investment alternative” — marking a significant shift in Beijing’s tone after a crackdown on cryptocurrency issuance and trading nearly four years ago. Industry insiders called the comments “progressive” and are watching closely for any regulatory changes made by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). “We regard Bitcoin and stablecoin as crypto assets … These are investment alternatives,” Li Bo, deputy governor of the PBOC, said on Sunday during a panel hosted by CNBC at the Boao Forum for Asia. “They are not currency per se. And so the main role we see for crypto assets going forward, the main role is investment alternative.”


[..] China was once one of the world’s largest buyers of bitcoin. But in 2017, China banned so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs), a way to raise money for crypto companies by issuing digital tokens. That same year, authorities shut down local cryptocurrency exchanges. The moves were prompted by concerns about financial stability. As investment alternatives, “many countries, including China, are still looking into it and thinking about what kind of regulatory requirements. Maybe minimal, but we need to have some kind of regulatory requirement to prevent … the speculation of such assets to create any serious financial stability risks,” Li said. He added that the central bank will keep its current regulations on cryptocurrencies.

Read more …

They’re just sucking even more people into overpriced “properties”, wage slaves for life. PredaTORY.

UK House Prices Surge As High Demand Meets Record Shortage (G.)

A frenzy of activity has driven UK property prices to a record high this month, just as the government launches a mortgage guarantee scheme to help people with small deposits on to the housing ladder. Online property portal Rightmove said the average asking price jumped by 2.1% in April to a new all-time high of £327,797, an increase of £6,733 from March. The surge was driven by a shortage of houses on the market, at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is driving many families to search for more spacious properties away from the cities, following the shift to working from home. Some potential sellers are holding off until they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, agents say, adding to a dearth of properties available. From Monday, several banks and building societies will begin offering mortgages covering 95% of a purchase price under the government guarantee scheme.


Announced in March’s budget, it will allow lenders to buy a guarantee on the portion of the mortgage between 80% and 95%. The government will then cover losses on that slice of debt if a borrower gets into financial difficulty and their property is repossessed. Ministers say it will provide an affordable route to home ownership, with Lloyds, Santander, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest launching mortgages under the scheme on Monday. “Every new homeowner and mover supports jobs right across the housing sector, but saving for a big enough deposit can be hard, especially for first-time buyers,” said the chancellor, Rishi Sunak. “By giving lenders the option of a government guarantee on 95% mortgages, many more products will become available, boosting the sector, creating new jobs and helping people achieve their dream of owning their own home.”

Read more …

“There is no global shortage of food.”

Gates Unhinged: Dystopian Vision for the Future of Food (Todhunter)

There is no global shortage of food. Even under any plausible future population scenario, there will be no shortage as evidenced by scientist Dr Jonathan Latham in his recent paper ‘The Myth of a Food Crisis’. However, new gene drive and gene editing techniques have now been developed and the industry is seeking the unregulated commercial release of products that are based on these methods. It does not want plants, animals and micro-organisms created with gene-editing to be subject to safety checks, monitoring or consumer labelling. This is concerning given the real dangers that these techniques pose. Many peer-reviewed research papers now call into question industry claims about the ‘precision’, safety and benefits of gene-edited organisms and can be accessed on the GMWatch.org website.

It really is a case of old wine in new bottles. And this is not lost on a coalition of 162 civil society, farmers and business organisations which has called on Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans to ensure that new genetic engineering techniques continue to be regulated in accordance with existing EU GMO standards. The coalition argues that these new techniques can cause a range of unwanted genetic modifications that can result in the production of novel toxins or allergens or in the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes. The open letter adds that even intended modifications can result in traits which could raise food safety, environmental or animal welfare concerns.

The European Court of Justice ruled in 2018 that organisms obtained with new genetic modification techniques must be regulated under the EU’s existing GMO laws. However, there has been intense lobbying from the agriculture biotech industry to weaken the legislation, aided by the Gates Foundation. The coalition states that various scientific publications show that new techniques of genetic modification allow developers to make significant genetic changes, which can be very different from those that happen in nature.

In addition to these concerns, a new paper from Chinese scientists, ‘Herbicide Resistance: Another Hot Agronomic Trait for Plant Genome Editing’, says that, in spite of claims from GMO promoters that gene editing will be climate-friendly and reduce pesticide use, what we can expect is just more of the same – GM herbicide-tolerant crops and increased herbicide use. The industry wants its new techniques to be unregulated, thereby making gene-edited GMOs faster to develop, more profitable and hidden from consumers when purchasing items in stores. At the same time, the costly herbicide treadmill will be reinforced for farmers.

Read more …

What a life. What a man. And what a poet.

Lord Byron’s £4,000 Cheque That Helped Create Modern Greece (G.)

Racked by fever, prone to fits of delirium, consumed by his last great passion – the liberation of Greece – Lord Byron lay on his sickbed. It was 18 April 1824. The great Romantic poet would be dead the next day. “I have given her [Greece] my time, my means, my health,” he is recorded as saying in a moment of lucidity. “And now I give her my life! What could I do more?” Byron’s death in Missolonghi, the malaria-ridden town where he had spearheaded the Greeks’ revolt against Ottoman rule, induced instant shock, convulsing the English-speaking world. The man who was “mad, bad and dangerous to know”, a celebrity of his day who was loved and loathed in equal measure, had spent a mere 100 days in the land whose freedom he had championed so vociferously.


“The loss of this illustrious individual is undoubtedly to be deplored by all Greece,” its provisional government declared hours after the news filtered through. “But it must be more especially a subject of lamentation at Missolonghi, where his generosity has been so conspicuously displayed.” As Greece celebrates the bicentenary of its war of independence, a banknote unearthed by the Observer in the country’s state archives sheds new light on the poet’s fabled generosity. It also offers indelible proof of his commitment to the Greek cause. In the cheque Byron stipulates that £4,000 – roughly £332,000 today – be paid to Giovanni Orlando, a representative of the provisional government that, alarmed by the way the war was going, had approached the British peer for funds.


Note of exchange for £4,000 signed by Lord Byron. Photograph: General State Archives of Greece

The money was to go towards emergency needs – notably financing a fleet to defend Missolonghi from besieging Ottoman Albanians. Both sides agreed it would be repaid against a much bigger loan to be raised in London where Orlando was headed.[..] Byron agreed to the loan in Kefalonia, part of the British-run Ionian Islands where the poet and his coterie of fellow travellers had stopped on their way to Greece. The cheque, subsequently cashed in Malta, was taken in the form of silver Spanish dollars and transported in trunks to Missolonghi by the poet. The money was then used to fund fighting ships run as a commercial enterprise by profit-minded Greek islanders. “The demand came from the legislative body,” wrote Pietro Gamba, the Italian count who was with Byron throughout the ill-fated expedition and had witnessed the exchange in Kefalonia in November 1823. “A squadron of 14 vessels, nine Hydriot and five Speziot, would then immediately put to sea.”

Read more …

 

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


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

 

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 1

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

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

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

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 2

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

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

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

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 3

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


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

And Scott Ritter has it right:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Mar 072021
 
 March 7, 2021  Posted by at 10:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  29 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Red Vineyards at Arles 1888

 

American Rescue Plan Could Set Stage for $4 Trillion of Debt (CRFB)
Yellen Coddles Up to Powell on Rising Long-Term Yields (WS)
Italy’s Government Is Outsourcing Its Economic Strategy To McKinsey (Jac.)
US Covid Cases Continue To Decline After Brief Plateau (JTN)
Connecticut Lifting All Covid-19 Capacity Restrictions On Businesses (F.)
The Nightingale Alternative (Gillian Dymond)
Trump Sends Legal Notice To GOP To Stop Using His Name (Pol.)
Congressmen Demand Twitter’s Internal Docs Regarding Trump Censorship (JTN)
Is China Hacking Random Servers To Put Itself Into A Bad Light? (MoA)
Bitcoin Could Soon Run Head First Into US Money Laundering Laws (ZH)
The Dark Side Of “Eating Lower On The Food Chain” (Turchin)
Mobile Devices Alter Children’s Minds, Change How They Perceive The World (JTN)

 

 

 

 

Jack Posobiec: Trump sent $1800 stimulus out, Biden sent $1400 but if you look closely you may start to notice the media being slightly biased about this story.

Kevin Gosztola: Jobless benefits were $600/week for 4 months in the COVID-19 relief that passed under Trump in March 2020. Biden and Senate Democrats are cutting jobless benefits for citizens in crisis to $300/week for same period—half of what passed in GOP-controlled Senate.

 

 

 

 

Already, people will get $1,400 checks, while the rescue will cost them some $5,700 each.

American Rescue Plan Could Set Stage for $4 Trillion of Debt (CRFB)

The American Rescue Plan Act is estimated to cost over $1.9 trillion through 2031, but the ultimate price tag could be twice as high if some of the policies in the bill are extended beyond their current expiration dates. The bill includes several extensions of tax credits that supporters have previously proposed on a permanent basis and several temporary economic relief measures that are slated to end before the economy has fully recovered. If the tax credits were made permanent and these relief measures were extended for the duration of the crisis, it would raise the total cost of the bill to $3.8 trillion through 2031, or $4.1 trillion with interest.

Several measures in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that provide temporary relief are likely to be extended past their expiration dates. Most significantly, expanded unemployment benefits would expire at the end of August (though that may soon be changed to September), after which all unemployed workers would lose the benefit supplement and many would lose benefits entirely. In addition, a 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would end in September, after which benefits would immediately snap back to their previous level. Other smaller relief efforts also end abruptly. Extensions of these policies are likely in our view. While the actual cost would depend on the length and nature of those extensions, we believe a reasonable extension and phase-out scenario could cost roughly $300 billion.

More substantially, the American Rescue Plan Act includes one- or two-year versions of several longstanding policy priorities of President Biden’s or Congressional Democrats’. It includes over $100 billion for a one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which increases the credit from $2,000 to $3,000 (or $3,600 for children under age 6) and makes it fully refundable. The bill also includes a $15 billion, one-year expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers that many have been seeking for years, and an $8 billion expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), which closely matches President Biden’s campaign proposal to increase the maximum credit from $2,100 to $8,000 and from covering 35 percent of expenses to 50 percent of expenses. Finally, the legislation includes a $35 billion, 2-year increase in Affordable Care Act premium subsidies that closely matches a similar proposal in President Biden’s campaign plan and $10 billion in small Medicaid expansions that last five years.

Making the expanded CTC permanent would cost an additional $1.1 trillion, assuming the expiring provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which boosted the credit from $1,000 to $2,000 and eliminated the dependent exemption, are eventually extended or the policy is modified after 2026. Relative to current law, we estimate this would cost more like $1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, making the EITC and CDCTC extensions permanent would cost over $200 billion, and making the health care provisions permanent would cost about $250 billion. Altogether, we estimate these potential extensions would cost $1.9 trillion before interest, boosting the overall cost of the bill to $4.1 trillion when interest is included.

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“The Wall Street crybabies are clamoring for this because massive highly leveraged bets on Treasury securities are producing massive losses.”

Yellen Coddles Up to Powell on Rising Long-Term Yields (WS)

It seems to be a rare sight that a Treasury Secretary and a Fed Chair color-coordinate their comments about rising long-term yields. On Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in an interview on PBS NewsHour echoed what Fed Chair Jerome Powell had said on Thursday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. When Yellen was asked about the rising long-term yields that the crybabies on Wall Street are getting so nervous about, Yellen said in her quiet manner: “Long term interest rates have gone up some, but mainly I think because market participants are seeing a stronger recovery, as we have success with getting people vaccinated and a strong fiscal package that’s going to get people back to work.” “Rising interest rates don’t concern you?” she was then asked.


“I think they’re a sign that the economy is getting back on track, and market participants see that, and they expect a stronger economy,” Yellen said. “And instead of inflation lingering below levels that are desirable for years on end, they’re beginning to see inflation get back to a normal range of around 2%.” And inflation may rise more than that, but it’s going to be transitory, she said. So on Friday, the Treasury 10-year yield rose to 1.57%, still ludicrously low, given the outlook on inflation, and given the Fed’s insistence that it will let inflation run over 2% – as measured by “core PCE,” the inflation measure that nearly always produces the lowest inflation readings in the US. But that 1.57% was nevertheless the highest since February 14, 2020:

The spread between the Treasury 2-year yield (0.14%) and the 10-year yield (1.57%) widened to 1.43 percentage points. By this measure, the yield curve is the steepest since November 2015:

This rise in the 10-year yield has set off clamoring among the crybabies on Wall Street for the Fed to do something to bring them down. They have already outlined the remedies, including prominently another “Operation Twist,” where the Fed sells Treasury securities with short maturities and buys Treasury securities with long maturities. This concentrated buying of long-dated Treasuries would raise their prices and thereby push down their yields. The Wall Street crybabies are clamoring for this because massive highly leveraged bets on Treasury securities are producing massive losses.

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This must be crossing some line.

Italy’s Government Is Outsourcing Its Economic Strategy To McKinsey (Jac.)

Upon its formation last month, Mario Draghi’s new government was heralded by almost all Italian and international media as a rescue operation. Where the former European Central Bank (ECB) chief Draghi had “saved the euro” in the 2010s, most outlets gushed over “Super Mario” and his plan to “save Italy” by splashing a mooted €209 billion in European recovery fund cash while “reforming” its lackluster economy. The kind of “reforms” this meant went unmentioned — and after all, this government bears no relation to voter decisions, or the coalitions that ran in the last general election. But for the fourth time since the 1990s, a president called on a technocrat from the world of finance and banking to form a cabinet, halfway through a parliament. Eight of Draghi’s twenty-three ministers are unelected technocrats, in a so-called government of experts.

If these figures are not party-political, they have similar backgrounds and instincts. Economy minister Daniele Franco is a former Bank of Italy official who drafted the famous 2011 ECB letter instructing the government to implement privatizations and cut back collective bargaining. Former Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao — today innovation and digital transition minister — is a former partner at private consultants McKinsey & Company. Now, it has been revealed that McKinsey is going to be tasked with writing Italy’s economic plan for the coming period, to be submitted for review by the European Commission at the end of next month. Notorious for its role in the Enron scandal as well as the 2008 financial crisis — as it promoted the boundless securitization of mortgage assets — and the botched vaccine rollout in France, the firm is now being called on to shape the Draghi government’s “reform” agenda.

La Repubblica, the country’s leading center-left daily, gushed over the move. “Faced with a race against time,” Draghi’s government “has assumed the position of a private corporation faced with a new business opportunity that isn’t part of its core activities.” While this same paper reported on March 1 that the need for “hurry” meant Draghi himself would write the recovery plan, together with finance minister Franco, this has now been outsourced. The suggestion that this is a purely “technical” collaboration — that McKinsey’s choices will not be political — is patently absurd, not least given that this claim is also widely made for Draghi’s “technical” government itself. For decades, the imposition of neoliberal recipes in Italy has been advanced through this same procedure, with the agenda advanced by privatizers couched in the dogma of “unavoidable choices.”

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And still nobody knows why?!

US Covid Cases Continue To Decline After Brief Plateau (JTN)

Daily new COVID-19 cases in the United States have continued declining after a brief plateau following a sharp drop from the beginning of the year. Cases have declined steeply since early January, baffling scientists who are struggling to explain the unexpected drop in COVID activity, particularly after weeks of dire warnings from health officials about the potential for a post-holiday spike. That decline leveled out in late February, with daily average case numbers appearing to be on a slightly upward trajectory at one point, leading experts to warn that positive test results could be preparing to explode again.


Yet cases appear to be dropping again, according to several data sources. The COVID Tracking Project indicates that daily average case numbers began slowly decreasing again around Feb. 27 and have continued on that downward trend over the past week. Likewise, the data website Worldometers also identifies average daily case numbers beginning a new decline at right around the same day. According to COVID Tracking, COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued on a seemingly unabated downward trajectory since early January, on Friday reaching levels not seen since late October.

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Not all restrictions.

Connecticut Lifting All Covid-19 Capacity Restrictions On Businesses (F.)

Connecticut will lift all capacity limits on certain businesses including restaurants, gyms, offices and houses of worship starting March 19, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday, going further than most other Democratic-led states to roll back Covid-19 restrictions even as public health officials advise governors not to do so. Restaurants, retail businesses, libraries, personal services, indoor recreation facilities, gyms, fitness centers, museums, aquariums, zoos, offices and houses of worship will all have their capacity limits repealed. Social distancing protocols will still be in place and face masks will be required, and there will be some restrictions: theaters will remain restricted to 50% capacity, restaurants are limited to eight people per table and must close at 11 p.m. and bars that only serve beverages will still be closed entirely.


The state’s mask mandate will remain in effect. Gathering limits on social and recreational gatherings will also be increased March 19 to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors at a private residence, or 100 people indoors and 200 outdoors at a commercial venue. On April 2, the state will open outdoor amusement parks, open indoor stadiums at 10% capacity and increase occupancy at outdoor event venues to 50% capacity or up to 10,000 people. Connecticut will be one of only a few Democratic-led states to have such relaxed capacity restrictions: Virginia does not have capacity restrictions at restaurants or places of worship but does at gyms, Wisconsin’s capacity limit order has expired and Kansas’ restrictions are determined by county, with many having few or no limits.

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“..depriving us all of autonomy and of the comforting, real-world support of friends and family, and robbing the less fortunate among us of health, of livelihoods, and, in the worst cases, of life itself.”

The Nightingale Alternative (Gillian Dymond)

It is a year now since I last took a train: a short return trip, from Leamington Spa to Oxford. On the journey out, I was lucky enough to find a seat in which, for some forty minutes, I shared the air with my fellow travellers. At Oxford station I rubbed shoulders with a multiplicity of strangers as I joined the throng surging towards the exit and proceeding slowly through the congested barriers, then made my way along busy streets, brushing against other human beings on the narrow pavements. At the Ashmolean I met a friend, and together we mingled freely with the rest of the visitors at the well-frequented Rembrandt exhibition, then chatted at length over a late lunch in the museum café, where the tables – disdaining any hint of anti-social distancing – were full to capacity.

Later, after a walk through Christchurch Meadow and along the river, exchanging smiles and occasionally the odd word with those I passed along the way, I spent some time browsing the shelves of Blackwell’s in daring proximity with other booklovers before deciding on a purchase and braving the jostle of the station platform to board a packed train back to Leamington. It was a very ordinary day – a day passed without fear as I came into contact with numerous unknown people, some of whom, no doubt, were suffering from the common cold or harbouring incipient or suppressed symptoms of influenza or even of Covid-19 (which, as we now know, had already been on the loose for several, possibly many, months at that time). Not for a moment did this disturb me.

Like all those in good health and unafflicted by obsessive-compulsive disorder, I judged the hasard of stepping out boldly into the microbial soup which surrounds and permeates our existence to be a risk worth taking in exchange for the spontaneous social interaction without which human beings cannot thrive. I never guessed that this could be the last time I would be free to enjoy a day of such unexceptionable pleasures. True, rumblings of the pandemic had been growing over the previous weeks, but memories of previous damp squibs – SARS, bird flu, swine flu – which the worst-case speculations of computer-modellers had repeatedly failed to ignite encouraged me to hope that present reports from China and Italy, too, would soon fade into a penumbra of failed sensationalism.

[..] And the lockdowns, distancing and masking began. For close on a year now official statistics and figures spun out by a team of approved government experts into webs of cautionary speculation have justified rule by decree, depriving us all of autonomy and of the comforting, real-world support of friends and family, and robbing the less fortunate among us of health, of livelihoods, and, in the worst cases, of life itself. To anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of economic interdependence, the consequences of this decision to quarantine the whole nation were obvious from the start, and were uncannily favourable to the objectives of Agendas 21 and 2030, as handed down from the UN, via national administrations, to local governments throughout the world: but the people of the UK, it seemed, were convinced by the official “narrative”, thousands of them assembling on their doorsteps each Thursday evening to shake their fists at The Virus, and demonstrate solidarity with the NHS.

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Ha ha!

“As one of President Trump’s MOST LOYAL supporters, I think that YOU, deserve the great honor of adding your name to the Official Trump ‘Thank You’ Card.”

Trump Sends Legal Notice To GOP To Stop Using His Name (Pol.)

Lawyers for former President DONALD TRUMP sent out cease-and-desist letters Friday to the three largest fundraising entities for the Republican Party — the RNC, NRCC and NRSC — for using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise, a Trump adviser tells Playbook. We reported yesterday that Trump was furious that his name has been bandied about by organizations that help Republicans who voted to impeach him — without his permission. Trump, who made his fortune in licensing, has always been sensitive to how his name has been used to fundraise and support members, even while in office.

On Friday, the RNC sent out two emails asking supporters to donate as a way to add their name to a “thank you” card for Trump. “President Trump will ALWAYS stand up for the American People, and I just thought of the perfect way for you to show that you support him!” the email states. “As one of President Trump’s MOST LOYAL supporters, I think that YOU, deserve the great honor of adding your name to the Official Trump ‘Thank You’ Card.” A follow-up email was sent hours later to “President Trump’s TOP supporters” warning of a deadline of 10 hours to get their names on the card.

None of the committees returned a request for comment. But privately GOP campaign types say it’s impossible not to use Trump’s name, as his policies are so popular with the base. If Trump really wants to help flip Congress, they argue he should be more generous. His team, however, sees this differently. “President Trump remains committed to the Republican Party and electing America First conservatives, but that doesn’t give anyone – friend or foe – permission to use his likeness without explicit approval,” said a Trump adviser.

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They’ll refuse.

Congressmen Demand Twitter’s Internal Docs Regarding Trump Censorship (JTN)

Two Republican representatives are renewing a demand that Twitter hand over internal documents regarding its decisions to censor and moderate content on its platforms, accusing the tech company of harboring significant bias against a large part of its user base. Reps. Jim Jordan and Ken Buck claimed in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week that Twitter itself has played “a leading role in silencing and censoring political speech of conservative Americans.” The letter repeats a request that Jordan lodged last summer with which Twitter reportedly did not comply.


“In recent months, Twitter throttled the dissemination of a mainstream newspaper article critical of then-candidate Joe Biden’s son,” they wrote in the letter, “and later took the unprecedented step of de-platforming the sitting President of the United States. If Twitter can do this to the President of the United States, it can do it to any American for any reason.” The politicians demanded that Twitter hand over “an accounting of all content moderation decisions made by Twitter over the past year for users located within the United States, including which Twitter rule or policy the user allegedly violated and the content of the moderated tweet,” as well as “all documents and communications” related to its decision to censor several of then-President Donald Trump’s tweets last year.

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“Why would a state sponsored hacking campaign, especially from China, actually want that? Why would China want to attract more negative news about its country?”

Is China Hacking Random Servers To Put Itself Into A Bad Light? (MoA)

In January 2021, through its Network Security Monitoring service, Volexity detected anomalous activity from two of its customers’ Microsoft Exchange servers. Volexity identified a large amount of data being sent to IP addresses it believed were not tied to legitimate users. A closer inspection of the IIS logs from the Exchange servers revealed rather alarming results. … Through its analysis of system memory, Volexity determined the attacker was exploiting a zero-day server-side request forgery (SSRF) vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange (CVE-2021-26855). The attacker was using the vulnerability to steal the full contents of several user mailboxes. This vulnerability is remotely exploitable and does not require authentication of any kind, nor does it require any special knowledge or access to a target environment. The attacker only needs to know the server running Exchange and the account from which they want to extract e-mail.

The hackers used four different zero-day security holes in Exchange Server products. A zero-day security hole is one that was previously unknown and has never been used before. To find new zero-day security holes is difficult and expensive. But after they are found and made operational they are often easy to use. Whoever did this hack has invested quite some effort. Besides extracting emails the hackers also installed backdoors that give them remote access to the hacked Exchange systems. On March 2 Microsoft released patches for the four security holes. In its release it accused China of being behind the hack:

“Today, we’re sharing information about a state-sponsored threat actor identified by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) that we are calling Hafnium. Hafnium operates from China, and this is the first time we’re discussing its activity. It is a highly skilled and sophisticated actor. Historically, Hafnium primarily targets entities in the United States for the purpose of exfiltrating information from a number of industry sectors, including infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks and NGOs. While Hafnium is based in China, it conducts its operations primarily from leased virtual private servers (VPS) in the United States.”

[..] The attribution Microsoft makes is in light of the above quite weak. The direct attacks came from rented virtual private servers within the U.S. These were, says Microsoft, operated through machines in China. But how does Microsoft know who has actually control over those machines in China? Could they not be hacked too? Couldn’t the real actors sit anywhere on this planet and access them through the Internet? Microsoft also says that its attribution is “based on observed victimology, tactics and procedures”. The victims are described as “infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks and NGOs”.

For a state sponsored campaign, especially one that burns four expensive zero-days, that victimology is unusually wide. It practically guaranteed that the attack would be detected fairly soon. “Tactics and procedures” are something that is even harder to attribute than the code used in the attack. Microsoft details some of these: “HAFNIUM has previously compromised victims by exploiting vulnerabilities in internet-facing servers, and has used legitimate open-source frameworks, like Covenant, for command and control. Once they’ve gained access to a victim network, HAFNIUM typically exfiltrates data to file sharing sites like MEGA.

This hack used legitimate open source tools that are widely available and are also used by many cybercrime organizations and secret services. What then are the specific ‘tactics and procedures’ which attribute this to China? Microsoft won’t say. There is also a fact that the hackers have gone into overdrive as soon as Microsoft released the patches. They now infect any system they can find. That surely will result in an extreme amount of international publicity. Why would a state sponsored hacking campaign, especially from China, actually want that? Why would China want to attract more negative news about its country? Could there be some other country that has an interest in pushing public accusations against China by linking it to massive global hacking campaign?

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Governments and central banks want control.

Bitcoin Could Soon Run Head First Into US Money Laundering Laws (ZH)

Among the challenges in regulating bitcoin will be the Biden administration’s handling of recent anti-money laundering laws put into place by the Trump administration pertaining to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The rules, implemented at the last-minute by the Trump administration, seek requirements for financial services firms to report identities of cryptocurrency holders, according to Bloomberg. The point of the rules is to stop attempts to use crypto as a means of transferring money illicitly. Lobbying against the regulations are “heavyweights from both K Street and Wall Street”, according to Bloomberg, including Fidelity and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce has said the rule would have “unintended long-term consequences” on the virtual currency industry.

Also lobbying against the rule have been “Republican lawmakers, including former Representative Cynthia Lummis, who is now a Wyoming senator; Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii”. The rules were implemented by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN, after President Trump lost the 2020 election. The move drew criticism and even the threat of lawsuits from pro-crypto trade groups. The rule would require filings to the Treasury every time a customer moves at least $10,000 worth of virtual currency into a wallet not hosted at an exchange. These are similar to the reports that banks already send under existing AML laws when customers take out $10,000 or more in cash.

The regulation would also require banks and exchanges to keep records of customers who send $3,000 or more of virtual currencies to someone else’s unhosted wallet. Obviously, such regulation would maim one of bitcoin’s biggest “assets”: the ability to transfer money anonymously and “outside the system”. Should Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen move forward with the rules, crypto services could wind up becoming more expensive – and some cryptocurrencies could even disappear altogether.

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Nice take.

The Dark Side Of “Eating Lower On The Food Chain” (Turchin)

Nine years ago I made one of the most consequential decisions of my life—I switched to the so-called Paleo Diet (“paleo” is a bit misleading, as I explain in the post). Had I not done so, I would certainly have contributed to the rising obesity statistics for the United States. Within six months of switching to Paleo diet I lost 20 pounds before equilibrating at my current weight. But weight is actually the least important thing. Much more important was a dramatic improvement of my general health I experienced in the months since switching. I feel better today than ten years ago, despite being (obviously enough) ten years older. The major change was eating much higher on the food chain. The only way to get protein on a purely plant-based diet is to eat grains and pulses, which means wheat and beans.

But those are precisely the foods elimination of which resulted in my health improvement. I sometimes unknowingly consume small amounts of wheat, when a restaurant chef uses flour for the sauce (despite explicit entreaties not do so). The next day I know that I had been poisoned. The other thing is that it’s not just protein deficiency. Your body doesn’t need that much protein. The biggest problem with purely plant diet is that you don’t get enough healthful fat. Instead you end up poisoning yourself with seed oils. This is why I watch with increasing alarm the current trend to “cancel” meat. Last year the town of Cambridge, home of one of two best universities in UK, banned meat. So Cambridge is now off my list of places to go to (fortunately, I visited it years ago, when it was still safe for carnivores).

I am very worried that the veganism tide will continue spreading, leaving us carnivores on reservations (or even driving people following Paleo diet to extinction). Somebody is sure to immediately accuse me that I don’t care about the environment. Au contraire. Some of the most depressing environments that I’ve seen are giant agricultural fields (e.g. driving through Iowa).

Compare it to what they looked like before:

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“..children who frequently use mobile devices are more likely to process stimuli on a “local” level, for example they “process the details” of an image first rather than the overall image itself.”

Mobile Devices Alter Children’s Minds, Change How They Perceive The World (JTN)

Researchers in Hungary this week announced the findings of studies into what effects digital devices have on young minds, concluding that the increased usage of such technology has changed how younger individuals interact with the world around them. In a press release, scientists at Eötvös Loránd University said that children of the “Alpha Generation,” or those born after 2010, “typically grow up with mobile devices in their hands” which “seems to change how they perceive the world.” Summarizing their findings, the Hungarian researchers claim that children who frequently use mobile devices are more likely to process stimuli on a “local” level, for example they “process the details” of an image first rather than the overall image itself.


The results “show that the type of experiences children meet matters much,” the release said, “because at this age the brain is very plastic, so such massive early exposure may have a significant long-term effect.” “The atypical attentional style in mobile user children is not necessarily bad,” one of the scholars commented, “but different for sure, and we cannot ignore this – for example in pedagogy.

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Mar 012021
 


Pierre-Auguste Renoir Dance at Bougival 1883

 

Guidelines To Place Children In Solitary Quarantine ‘Cruel Punishment’ (TSun)
Bill Gates Warns Post-Covid Return To Normal Could Take All 2022 (F.)
Brazil Variant May Make Foreign Summer Holidays Impossible, Ministers Told (G.)
Why “New Cases” Are Plummeting (OffG.)
Trump On 2024: ‘I May Decide To Beat Them For A Third Time’ (SAC)
Biden’s Message To Iran: The Battlefield Has Been Inaugurated (Magnier)
Cuomo Cedes Control Of Harassment Probe (JTN)
NY’s Sexual Harassment Working Group Urges Gov. Cuomo To Resign (NYP)
Democrats Demand The Firing Of The Senate Parliamentarian (Turley)
Efforts In Key Battleground States To Return Voting To Pre-2020 Rules (JTN)
China’s Fiscal Risks ‘Extremely Severe’, Former Finance Minister Warns (SCMP)
The Big “Buy & Hype” Bitcoin Casino (Wolf Richter)
Far-Right Platform Gab Has Been Hacked—Including Private Data (Wired)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrative of the state of mind the world has entered. Zero comprehension of complex systems. Everything exists in one dimension only.

Guidelines To Place Children In Solitary Quarantine ‘Cruel Punishment’ (TSun)

Peel Health has issued guidelines to parents instructing them to keep any children who have been sent home because a classmate has tested positive for COVID-19 isolated in a separate room from all other family members for 14 days. The severe guidelines, which apply even to small children who are dismissed from child care, are being criticized by experts as harmful and not supported by science. “This is cruel punishment for a child, especially for younger children, 4-10 years old,” Dr. Susan Richardson, a microbiologist and infectious disease physician who is also a professor emerita at University of Toronto, wrote in an email to the Sun. “Shutting a child off from their parents and siblings for up to 14 days in this manner could produce significant and long-lasting emotional and psychological effects.”

The handout distributed at Peel Region schools explains, “If your child does not have any symptoms: the child must self-isolate, which means stay in a separate room, eat in a separate room apart from others, use a separate bathroom if possible.” The handout also says, “If the child must leave their room, they should wear a mask and stay 2 metres apart from others.” Any other children in the household not only must be both separated from their siblings but also stay home for 14 days. “This does not seem practically possible and is highly likely to cause harm to children who would already be experiencing considerable distress with having to remain at home,” Dr. Tess Clifford, the director of the Psychology Clinic at Queen’s University, said in an email to the Sun.

Clifford said those making decisions about pandemic mitigation measures need to consider the well-being of children across multiple domains of health. “I don’t understand how any health-care professional has moved so far away from the fundamentals of public health and of doing no harm that they would think that basically incarcerating a child in a room for 14 days is in any way justified,” said Dr. Martha Fulford, an infectious diseases physician at Hamilton Health Science who focuses on pediatrics. “This is shocking,” adds Fulford, “especially when you consider this is being proposed for children who are not in any way sick.”

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There is only one truth, and Gates and Fauci control it.

Bill Gates Warns Post-Covid Return To Normal Could Take All 2022 (F.)

Fresh off a third vaccine candidate garnering U.S. regulatory approval, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates called the rapid development of vaccines “a miracle” that should help Americans return to an “almost-normal” way of life as early as fall but also warned that lawmakers aren’t doing enough globally to usher in a full return-to-normal before the end of next year. Speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, 65-year-old Gates said that autumn should bring about some normalcy for Americans with “basically every school back in session,” some level of occupancy in restaurants and sporting events all once again taking place.

“The big problem is that we’re not doing enough to end the pandemic globally,” Gates warned, adding that vaccines thus far are “just going to rich countries,” which leaves the risk that contagious variants could spread abroad and creep back into the United States. That risk–compounded by the potential wave of reinfections–means a full return to normal “could take all of 2022 unless we do a better job,” Gates said. Additional vaccine factories in nations like India could help curtail the risk of infection abroad and bring about a quicker return to normalcy, Gates suggested, pointing to vaccine-makers AstraZeneca, NovaVax and Johnson & Johnson that are already working on such projects.

Speaking to CNN earlier Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said the United States now has three “really good vaccines” that Americans should “have no hesitancy whatsoever to take”–a sentiment Gates echoed of the five candidates approved for distribution in the Western World.

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From a live blog.

Brazil Variant May Make Foreign Summer Holidays Impossible, Ministers Told (G.)

Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the home affairs committee, was on the Today programme this morning saying that ministers have repeatedly been told that the measures currently in place in England may be inadequate. She made the same points in a thread on Twitter last night with accompanying ‘I told you so’ evidence. On the Today programme she made a further point, saying that the latest development illustrated why summer holidays abroad might not be possible this year. When she was asked if she thought the government would have to ban holiday flights over the summer, she replied:


“You’re right, there is a concern about whether the government is raising expectations about summer holidays that they may not be able to meet, because this will depend on the relationship between the spread of these new variants and what happens with the vaccine, and the timetable about things like boosters for the vaccine. And we’ve been advised on the committee by scientists that these border measures, and the strength of these border measures, becomes even more important as domestic cases fall. So as our own cases fall, and as the economy and society opens up, they argue that that’s when you actually need stronger measures at the border, rather than reducing them. The trouble is at the moment the government is encouraging people to think that those summer holidays are all going to be possible and international travel is going to return.”

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As we know.

Why “New Cases” Are Plummeting (OffG.)

The decline started in mid-January, far too early for any vaccination program to have any effect. Many experts said as much: “Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said the falling case numbers can’t be attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine, because not even a tenth of the population has been vaccinated, according to the CDC.” Further, the drop is happening simultaneously in different countries all around the world, and not every country is vaccinating at the same rate or even using the same vaccine. So no, the “vaccines” are not causing the drop. Another suspect is the lockdown, with blaring propaganda stating that all the various government-imposed house arrests and “distancing” measures have finally had an impact. That’s not it either. Sweden, famously, never locked down at all. Yet their “cases” and “Covid related deaths” have been dropping exactly in parallel with the UK:

Clearly, if countries that never locked down are also seeing declines in case numbers, the lockdown cannot be causing them. So what is? Maybe for our answer, we should look at the date the decline started. Observe this graph:

As you can see, the global decline in “Covid deaths” starts in mid-to-late January. What else happened around that time? Well, on January 13th the WHO published a memo regarding the problem of asymptomatic cases being discovered by PCR tests, and suggesting any asymptomatic positive tests be repeated. This followed up their previous memo, instructing labs around the world to use lower cycle thresholds (CT values) for PCR tests, as values over 35 could produce false positives. Essentially, in two memos the WHO ensured future testing would be less likely to produce false positives and made it much harder to be labelled an “asymptomatic case”. In short, logic would suggest we’re not in fact seeing a “decline in Covid cases” or a “decrease in Covid deaths” at all.


What we’re seeing is a decline in perfectly healthy people being labelled “covid cases” based on a false positive from an unreliable testing process. And we’re seeing fewer people dying of pneumonia, cancer or other disease have “Covid19” added to their death certificate based on testing criteria designed to inflate the pandemic.

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Is it getting a bit old, or is that just me?

Trump On 2024: ‘I May Decide To Beat Them For A Third Time’ (SAC)

In his first post-White House appearance, former President Donald Trump ripped into President Joe Biden and stressed the importance of a united GOP to win future elections.. He also dropped hints about his political future at this year’s CPAC. The president told the cheering crowd that he may consider running again in 2024. It was what many in the crowd were hoping to hear as the week’s long CPAC event ended in Orlando, Florida. The 45th president spoke for roughly 90 minutes about immigration, women’s sports, and other Biden policies. “Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history… In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last,” Trump said.


Trump spoke on COVID lockdowns and the politics surrounding reopening schools. “There’s no reason whatsoever why the vast majority of young Americans should not be back in school immediately,” Trump said. “The only reason that most parents do not have that choice is because Joe Biden sold out America’s children to the teachers’ unions.” He also commented on the 2020 election, saying it was not a fair election and if it had been, it would have had a “very different” result. “This election was rigged. And the Supreme Court didn’t want to do anything about it,” he said. Trump even teased a future for his political career, saying he [thinks] a Republcian will in in the next cycle, and he asked “I wonder who that will be?”

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“Biden’s ill-considered murder of Iraqi soldiers fighting ISIS.”

Biden’s Message To Iran: The Battlefield Has Been Inaugurated (Magnier)

Several F-15’s have launched an attack against multiple targets on the Iraqi-Syrian borders against Iraqi security forces, Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces – PMF), by direct order of President Joe Biden. This is the first military action ordered by the new President and certainly not the last. So far, the US President has followed his predecessor’s steps concerning the sanctions imposed on foreign states and groups. One symbolic exception was the Yemeni Ansar Allah’s delisting from the US terrorist list without lifting the harsh sanctions on food supply, medicine, and oil. Moreover, it is not realistic to consider the US bombing of PMF positions, described by the Pentagon as “Iranian-backed militant groups”, as anything but a direct message directed to Iran in person.

The US is saying that the bombing of the Iraqi security forces means that its military option is on the table and will be used without hesitation against any threat to US interests in the Middle East, particularly those close to Iran. This is a challenge that is certainly not unexpected by Iran, which has vowed to expel all US forces from west Asia following the unlawful assassination of Soleimani. The battlefield has been inaugurated. A few days ago, President Biden contacted the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kahdimi following the rocket attacks against US bases in Kurdistan-Iraq earlier this month. Biden told al-Kadhimi that he would retaliate against the rocket attack. The Iraqi Prime Minister failed to inform the US President that the US forces mandate doesn’t allow the violation of the Iraqi sovereignty neither the bombing of its security forces deployed on the borders to prevent the “Islamic State” (ISIS) movement of the militants’ supply line and potential attacks.

Biden, like his predecessor Donald Trump, ordered the bombing of the most crucial position to Iran and its allies: Albu Kamal – al Qaem crossing. This same crossing was under ISIS control when the assassinated Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani led the attack to liberate it following the US occupation of al-Tanf crossing between Syria and Iraq. This rapid move by Iran angered both Israel and the US, who wished to impose a land siege on Syria to prevent the flow of goods from Iraq and prevent the “Axis of the Resistance” link between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut.

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Now he’s gone. Pelosi and Biden weigh in.

Cuomo Cedes Control Of Harassment Probe (JTN)

Under fire from dual scandals, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday ceded control of an investigation into whether he sexually harassed female subordinates and admitted for the first time some of his behavior with women “may have been insensitive or too personal.” The reversal by New York’s top Democrat came as senior members of his own party called the allegations against him credible and demanded an independent probe. “The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Fox News, signaling the fallout from Cuomo’s scandals had stretched beyond Albany to Washington. “The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”

Cuomo on Saturday evening initially appointed a former federal judge to evaluate the sex harassment allegations from two state former workers, Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan. But he reversed course Sunday amid mounting criticism he was trying to control the probe. He ceded to demands that Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, control the inquiry. James said she planned to deputize an outside law firm to conduct “a rigorous and independent investigation.” Cuomo also issued an apology, saying that while he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone he may have engaged in inappropriate comments that felt like flirtation to women.

[..] The Biden White House weighed in on Sunday as well, calling for an independent review. “There should be an independent review looking in to these allegations, and that’s certainly something he supports and we believe should move forward as quickly as possible,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN’s State of the Union. Prominent Democrats, including state Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, had urged Cuomo to follow the state’s tradition and refer the probe to James. “As has become standard practice in the State of New York when allegations relate directly to the Executive, Governor Cuomo should refer the matter to the Attorney General, who should, in turn, appoint an independent investigator,” Nadler said.

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“An anti-sexual-harassment group made up of former state legislative staffers..”

NY’s Sexual Harassment Working Group Urges Gov. Cuomo To Resign (NYP)

An anti-sexual-harassment group made up of former state legislative staffers called on Gov. Cuomo to resign Saturday in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against him. “ENOUGH. New York State has now lost the talents and ambition of yet another woman, whose safety and integrity were eliminated to serve a powerful man’s desires. Andrew Cuomo must resign now,” the Sexual Harassment Working Group said in a statement, after ex-Cuomo aide, Charlotte Bennett, accused the governor of behaving inappropriately toward her last year. Bennett, 25, told The New York Times that Cuomo, 63, complained to her about being “lonely” and not being able to hug anyone during the pandemic, before pressing her on who she last hugged.


When she revealed her own history of sexual assault to Cuomo, Bennett claimed his reaction “was something out of a horror movie,” the paper reported. Cuomo allegedly kept repeating to Bennett, “‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes … It was like he was testing me,” she told a friend in a text message which was viewed by The Times. Earlier this week, the Sexual Harassment Working Group had called for in investigation of the governor after another former staffer, Lindsey Boylan, accused him of trying to kiss her on the mouth and suggesting a game of “strip poker.” “There must be an immediate independent investigation into Governor Cuomo’s workplace behavior, conducted by an entity over which Cuomo does not have any appointment or supervisory powers,” the group tweeted hours after Boylan came forward.

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“The use of a reconciliation bill was an effort to circumvent the filibuster and allow a majority vote on the hike. However, by using reconciliation, the Democrats triggered the ‘Byrd rule’..”

Democrats Demand The Firing Of The Senate Parliamentarian (Turley)

Democratic members this week attacked Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough after she (correctly) ruled that the inclusion of the $15 minimum wage hike in a reconciliation bill violated Senate rules. The response from Democratic members and many in the blogosphere was withering. Rep. Ilhan Omar called for MacDonough to be fired and others denounced her actions and called the Senate to simply overrule her — and the long-standing rules. It is not just the effort to gut or flip the “Byrd Rule” but vicious attacks on this parliamentarian that is so disconcerting. The use of a reconciliation bill was an effort to circumvent the filibuster and allow a majority vote on the hike. However, by using reconciliation, the Democrats triggered the ‘Byrd rule’ – which limits the type of provisions in the reconciliation process to taxing and spending.

The purpose is to limit an add-ons through reconciliation to measures designed to have a direct impact on the federal budget—barring the use of reconciliation to introduce “extraneous” measures. Otherwise, reconciliations could circumvent the normal legislative process and the filibuster option for the minority. The rule allows a senator to object when a reconciliation bill is brought to the floor through a Point of Order on the bill. After the Byrd Rule is raised, the Senate Parliamentarian informs the Presiding Officer on how to rule and the Presiding office conveys that to the Senate. Senators can then vote to overrule the Presiding Officer but the process protects the minority and the parliamentarian by requiring that a vote to overrule secure a three-fifths majority.

The Parliamentarian’s role is key to a system of orderly legislative process. To simply disregard such rules (and fire those who seek to maintain them) is yet another example of the rage that has replaced reason in our current politics. Byrd was famous for putting the interests of the Senate and the Constitution before his own party. This effort shows increasingly rare such institutional defenders have become in this age of rage. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of the first to balk at any rules standing in the way of reform: “I think the parliamentarian is verging on, you know, just really intruding in this legislative process in a very concerning way.” I am not really sure what that actually means. Parliamentary rules are the thing that defines the legislative process and guarantees a neutral and ordered process of deliberation and enactment.

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Too many people don’t *want* transparent elections.

Efforts In Key Battleground States To Return Voting To Pre-2020 Rules (JTN)

Significant legislative attempts are underway in multiple U.S. states, including key battleground states, to roll back major changes in voting rules and regulations to various pre-2020 status quo antes. The efforts come after an historically chaotic election process that has left millions of Americans doubtful of election fairness, security, transparency and accountability. Changes to election rules — some of them enacted prior to 2020 and others put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year — have included expansive mail-in voting, expanded early voting, relaxation of verification rules, and extensions to ballot receipt deadlines. Those rules likely contributed to a record 158,000,000-plus votes cast in the 2020 election.

But the relaxation of various voting requirements has also led to significant distrust in the election system: Nearly 40% of voters believe that U.S. elections are beset by fraud, while a similar number claim that such concerns haven’t been properly vetted by public authorities. Legislators in numerous states are angling to address some of those concerns by pushing for legislation to shore up what critics claim are the vulnerabilities created by relaxed voting rules. In Georgia — which flipped blue for Biden this year in one of several razor-thin races that went in the Democrat’s favor — the Senate passed a bill that would require voters to submit “photocopies of voter identification documents for absentee ballot applications.”

The bill would do away with the current signature-matching system currently in place for absentee voting. Critics have accused that system of being ripe for fraud and abuse, particularly after the state’s Gov. Brian Kemp agreed to activist demands last year to make it much more onerous for officials to reject disputed signatures. In Pennsylvania — which Trump lost by fewer than 100,000 votes — state lawmakers have signaled an intent to repeal the state’s “no-excuse” mail-in voting system, first implemented in 2019. State Sens. Patrick Stefano and Doug Mastriano last month said in a Senate memorandum that they “intend to introduce legislation repealing the no-excuse mail-in ballot provisions” put in place two years ago via the state’s Act 77.

“By removing the provisions of law that allow for no-excuse mail-in ballots, we can regain some trust in our elections’ integrity,” the senators argued. Stefano has also vowed to repeal Act 77’s “annual mail-in voter list” and to mandate that “only the Pennsylvania Department of State may send applications for mail in ballots to eligible voters.” “By guaranteeing that eligible voters must apply for a mail-in ballot for each election, and that only the Department of State may distribute the applications to apply for mail-in ballots,” he wrote, “we can address much of the confusion and frustration that surrounded our most recent election cycle.”

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“Lou charged that the United States was monetising its budget deficit to transfer its debt burden to the rest of the world..”

China’s Fiscal Risks ‘Extremely Severe’, Former Finance Minister Warns (SCMP)

China’s fiscal situation is “extremely severe with risks and challenges”, former finance minister Lou Jiwei has warned, citing fallout from aggressive US stimulus policies, the global economic slowdown during the pandemic, an ageing Chinese population and mounting domestic local government debt. Lou offered his sharp critique in December but the assessment has only been made public more recently, with just days to go now before China’s political elites meet for their annual legislative session to decide the details of economic policy. Among the big issues will be whether to scale back the fiscal stimulus implemented last year to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and instead focus on curbing rising debt risks.

Beijing is expected to cut back fiscal stimulus even as Washington closes in on approval for an additional US$1.9 trillion in economic stimulus proposed by President Joe Biden. Lou, who served as China’s finance minister from 2013 to 2016, warned that the country’s fiscal revenue was expected to be stuck at “a low level” in the coming five years, with no sign of the government cutting back its spending. “The fiscal difficulties are not only a near-term or short-term issue, but also will be serious in the medium term,” said Lou, who is known for his outspoken views. Lou’s remarks were contained in a speech delivered in December but only published in February by a magazine affiliated with the Ministry of Finance.

Lou charged that the United States was monetising its budget deficit to transfer its debt burden to the rest of the world, especially to developing countries like China. To finance its large and growing budget deficit, the US government has had to issue increasingly large amounts of Treasury bonds. In addition, the Federal Reserve had bought large amounts of those bonds to inject liquidity into the market – so-called quantitative easing – with the additional cash rapidly pushing up the prices of stocks and other financial assets to levels far beyond those justified by economic fundamentals, Lou said.

[..] On Thursday, US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell reaffirmed that the central bank had no plans to tighten monetary policy until it had seen a sustained improvement in employment. He expressed no concern at the prospect of rising inflation and rising asset prices. But Lou warned that the US view was short-sighted. “Once the pandemic has been brought under control and the [global] economy begins to recover, fiscal and monetary policies will make a turn that will impact on global financial stability and the economic growth of various countries,” Lou said. “Emerging market countries are facing a double blow to both their economies and finances, with the economic risk transforming into fiscal and financial risks, raising the risk of a debt crisis.”

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Nice story. Wolf will make some enemies with this.

The Big “Buy & Hype” Bitcoin Casino (Wolf Richter)

So bitcoin is trading at about 57,000 bucks at the moment. Its market cap is over $1 trillion. This glorious moment jogged my memory, so I dug up that old email. Back in August 2012, I was contacted via my website by some guy about bitcoin. At the time, bitcoin was at 10 bucks. He wanted to buy my book and pay with bitcoin. So for the paperback, which sells for about 15 bucks on Amazon, he would have had to fork over 1 and a half bitcoin. So today, the proceeds from the sale of that paperback would be around 85,000 despised fiat dollars. He called bitcoin a “monetary revolution.” He wrote, “There is a large and growing community of bitcoin users, who are migrating away from the dollar and euro, because those currencies are being inflated away to nothing.”

And he said, “The value of a bitcoin has doubled in the last 4 months.” Which is the monetary revolution, apparently, that money keeps doubling every few months. He offered me a deal. If I listed my book on a site called CoinDL, he’d buy my book, and he said he would “recommend it on the bitcoin internet forums.” And then, on my site, I would need to encourage people to buy bitcoin. I would have to post my bitcoin address, ask for donations in bitcoin, etc. to let people know that I was endorsing bitcoin, and that I held bitcoin, so that they too would pile into it. Maybe I could have sold one book to him, plus three more books to some other folks on the internet forums he frequented, four books in total, for six bitcoin in total.

Today, those six bitcoin would have amounted to 342,000 despised fiat dollars. What was striking about the deal he tried to draw me into: He offered to buy my book for bitcoin and help me sell a few more books for bitcoin, and in return I would leverage my site to hype bitcoin to my readers. Ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly how it worked universally, and even today the same principle is in effect, but now big players have jumped into it, and they quietly bought bitcoin, and then they used their global megaphones that the mainstream media amplified for all to see, and they hyped bitcoin, and it’s on the front of the mainstream media, and bitcoin has soared.

Buy and hype. This is the principle on which bitcoin has operated from day one. Everyone getting into it would become a hype artist. And there would be no metric by which its price could be judged. These two factors were the true genius behind bitcoin. So obviously, I didn’t go for the deal. I didn’t need to participate in a “monetary revolution,” where the value doubles in four months. This has nothing to do with monetary anything, but is a form of gambling that relies on ever more new gamblers entering the casino and bidding up the price, with more and more gamblers selling each other the bitcoin, all united in the singular purpose of driving up its price so that everyone could get rich.

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Gab is not a far right platform. It’s just a platform that doesn’t censor.

Far-Right Platform Gab Has Been Hacked—Including Private Data (Wired)

When Twitter banned Donald Trump and a slew of other far-right users in January, many of them became digital refugees, migrating to sites like Parler and Gab to find a home that wouldn’t moderate their hate speech and disinformation. Days later, Parler was hacked and then dropped by Amazon web hosting, knocking the site offline. Now Gab, which inherited some of Parler’s displaced users, has been badly hacked too. An enormous trove of its contents has been stolen—including what appears to be passwords and private communications. On Sunday night the WikiLeaks-style group Distributed Denial of Secrets is revealing what it calls calling “GabLeaks,” a collection of more than 70 gigabytes of Gab data representing more than 40 million posts.

DDoSecrets says a hacktivist who self-identifies as “JaXpArO and My Little Anonymous Revival Project” siphoned that data out of Gab’s backend databases in an effort to expose the platform’s largely rightwing users. Those Gab patrons, whose numbers have swelled after Parler went offline, include large numbers of Qanon conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and promoters of former president Donald Trump’s election-stealing conspiracies that resulted in the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill. DDoSecrets cofounder Emma Best says that the hacked data includes not only all of Gab’s public posts and profiles—with the exception of any photos or videos uploaded to the site—but also private group and private individual account posts and messages, as well as user passwords and group passwords.

“It contains pretty much everything on Gab, including user data and private posts, everything someone needs to run a nearly complete analysis on Gab users and content,” Best wrote in a text message interview with WIRED. “It’s another gold mine of research for people looking at militias, neo-Nazis, the far right, QAnon and everything surrounding January 6.” DDoSecrets says it’s not publicly releasing the data due to its sensitivity and the vast amounts of private information it contains. Instead the group says it will selectively share it with journalists, social scientists, and researchers. WIRED viewed a sample of the data, and it does appear to contain Gab users’ individual and group profiles—their descriptions and privacy settings—public and private posts, and passwords. Gab CEO Andrew Torba acknowledged the breach in a brief statement Sunday.

Passwords for private groups are unencrypted, which Torba says the platform discloses to users when they create one. Individual user account passwords appear to be cryptographically hashed—a safeguard that may help prevent them from being compromised—but the level of security depends on the hashing scheme used and the strength of the underlying password. Among the users whose hashed passwords appeared to be included in the data were those for Donald Trump, Republican congresswoman and QAnon-conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene, MyPillow CEO and election-conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, and disinformation-spouting radio host Alex Jones. The hacked data also includes a chatlogs.txt file that appears to contain private conversations between the site’s users. That file’s contents begin with an added note from JaXpArO: “FUCK TRUMP. FUCK COLONIZERS & CAPITALISTS. DEATH TO AMERIKKKA.”

Read more …

 

 

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Tesla

 

 

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Feb 052021
 


Winslow Homer Mending the nets 1881

 

Atlantic Council Anonymous Expose Calls for Regime Change in China (MPN)
Macron: EU Shouldn’t Gang Up On China With US (Pol.eu)
Hunger Games (Ben Hunt)
US Covid Hospitalizations Drop To Lowest Level Since Before Thanksgiving (F.)
No Special Freedoms For The Vaccinated In Germany (DW)
Trump Rejects Dems’ Request To Testify At Impeachment Trial (AP)
Incitement Is Not A Real Crime (McMaken)
Smartmatic Files $2.7 Billion Lawsuit vs Fox News, Giuliani, Powell (CNN)
Biden Withdraws Judy Shelton’s Fed Nomination (Hill)
Largest US Mall Landlord Sent Jingle Mail to Deutsche Bank (WS)
Dominant Capital Is Much More Powerful Than You Think (RWER)
Dems Are Lucy, The Football Is $2,000 (DP)
Lies, Damn Lies, And Fact Checking (DP)
The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election (Time)

 

 

Here’s what will determine US politics in the next 4 years. Lack of clickbait. War would be good for ratings.

 

 

Warmongers “R” Us. Any thoughts on Russia?

Atlantic Council Anonymous Expose Calls for Regime Change in China (MPN)

Influential D.C. think tank the Atlantic Council has printed a 26,000-word report laying out its strategy for combating China. Published anonymously, the report states that “the single most important challenge facing the United States” in the twenty-first century is China’s growth to rival their own power. To do so, the report states that the U.S. must use “the power of its military,” the dollar’s role as the global reserve currency, and American control over technology and communication to suffocate the nation of 1.4 billion people. It advises President Biden to draw a number of “red lines” past which the U.S. would directly intervene (presumably militarily). These include Chinese attempts to expand into the South China Sea, an attack on the disputed Senkaku Islands, or moves against Taiwan’s independence.

A North Korean strike on any of its neighbors would also necessitate an American response against China, the report insists, because “China must fully own responsibility for the behavior of its North Korean ally.” Any backing down from this stance, the council states, would result in national “humiliation” for the United States. Perhaps most notably, however, the report also envisages what a successful American China policy would look like by 2050: “the United States and its major allies continue to dominate the regional and global balance of power across all the major indices of power;” and that head of state Xi Jinping “has been replaced by a more moderate party leadership; and that the Chinese people themselves have come to question and challenge the Communist Party’s century-long proposition that China’s ancient civilization is forever destined to an authoritarian future.” In other words, that China has been broken and that some sort of regime change has occurred.

The Atlantic Council is a NATO-offshoot organization funded by the U.S. and other allied governments, including the Gulf dictatorships. Among its largest corporate sponsors include weapons manufacturers like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing. Its board of directors is full of high statespeople like Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice as well as senior military figures such as retired generals Wesley Clark, David Petraeus, H.R. McMaster, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Lt. General Brent Scowcroft and Admiral James Stavridis. At least seven former CIA directors are also on the board. Thus, the council could be said to represent the consensus opinion of the national security state.

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“..during a discussion broadcast by Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council..”

Macron: EU Shouldn’t Gang Up On China With US (Pol.eu)

The EU shouldn’t gang up on China with the U.S. even if it stands closer to Washington by virtue of shared values, according to French President Emmanuel Macron. “A situation to join all together against China, this is a scenario of the highest possible conflictuality. This one, for me, is counterproductive,” Macron said, speaking in English, during a discussion broadcast by Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council on Thursday. This kind of common front against China — as other European leaders have advocated given the new Biden administration’s revived openness to traditional alliances — risks pushing Beijing to lower its cooperation on issues like combatting climate change, and exacerbating its aggressive behavior in Asia, including in the South China Sea, according to the French president.


Macron also said “the coming semesters will be very critical for Chinese leaders and China,” given the Biden administration’s reengagement in multilateral frameworks like the World Health Organization. “As the U.S. is reengaging itself, what will be the behavior of China?” Macron asked. He pitched, once again, holding a summit of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — China, France, the U.S., U.K. and Russia. He had tried to hold such a summit in 2020 but it had fallen prey to Sino-American tensions and never materialized. Macron was answering questions from a handful of U.S. think-tankers, professors and former officials via video link in a 90-minute session recorded at the Elysée on Wednesday afternoon.

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“You have been told that by banding together and acting as one, you can “democratize” the stock market.”

Hunger Games (Ben Hunt)

You have been told that investing in the stock market is like betting on a sports game. You have been told that you are a SPECTATOR in the game of markets, that you are WATCHING a game being played out in front of you by lots of different companies. You have been told that you should make ‘bets’ on those companies based on how well you think those companies can play the game that you are watching. The companies will play the game and they will keep score by ‘beating’ or ‘missing’ on revenues and earnings and the like, and then that score will determine whether or not your bets pay off. You have been told that the better you are at ‘analyzing’ the teams playing this game, the more ‘due diligence’ you put into studying the teams playing this game, the more money you will make with your bets.

You have been told that everyone can win with their bets, that this is how you, too, can achieve the wealth that you deserve. You have been told that the odds are ever in your favor. You have been told this for your entire life. More and more, you suspect this is a lie. But if it is a lie … what then? What meaning exists in the stock market if this is a lie? Over the past few weeks you have been told a new story. A brave story. A story of heroes. A story of meaning. You have been told that by banding together and acting as one, you can “democratize” the stock market. You have been told that you can slough off your market oppressors who “want companies to fail”.

You have been told that you can be a PARTICIPANT in the game of markets, that you can storm the playing field of companies, that you can take matters into your own hands and rescue a promising company under unfair attack. And, yes, make some good money in the process. Why not? Seems only fair. Today, as you see the collapsing stock prices of the companies you supported, you suspect that this was a lie, as well. And you’d be right. Neither story is true. Neither story has EVER been true. Both of these stories are narratives for our very own Hunger Games, a spectacle that chews up the participants in the arena while delivering enormous profits to the networks (media, financial and political) that put them on. Media networks count their profits in eyeballs, in the attention the Games garner.

Financial networks count their profits the old-fashioned way, in the sheer volume of dollar-generating order flow the Games produce. As for politicians, they get their most valuable coin of the modern realm – an issue. The wackos on the left get to propose insane transaction taxes. The wackos on the right get to tell us how much liBeRtY we are enjoying by giving Ken Griffin all of our money. The very serious centrists get to tell us about how we need “a national conversation” about the T+2 settlement issues raised here. And what about the rest of us? What about all of us reading story after story about the “Reddit Revolution” and what it means for us? What do WE get out of the Hunger Games?

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And then come the variants.

US Covid Hospitalizations Drop To Lowest Level Since Before Thanksgiving (F.)

Coronavirus hospitalizations in the U.S. are down to their lowest level since Nov. 24, according to The COVID Tracking Project, as signs of improvement in the pandemic appear evident across essentially the entire United States. On Thursday, there were 88,668 Covid-19 patients in U.S. hospitals, which remains well above the height of the spring and summer surges of 2020 but a significant drop from the record high of 132,474 hospitalized on Jan. 6. The rate of new cases in the U.S. has been declining for weeks, and is now averaging just under 120,000 a day for the first time since Nov. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths, which lag behind increases in other metrics and have been at record levels, appear to finally be on the decline.

The 7-day rolling average for deaths has dropped every day during February, and is now below 3,000 a day, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Health officials are warning against complacency, especially with new strains of Covid that seem much more contagious, like the U.K. and South African varieties, that are spreading in the United States. “Now is not the time to let our guard down. Keep taking steps to protect each other,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Wednesday.


Vaccination efforts are continuing to ramp up in the United States. As of Thursday evening, around 36.7 million Covid shots had been administered around the U.S., according to a Bloomberg tracker, with estimated 2.3% of the population fully vaccinated with two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna shots. And more help is likely on the way. On Thursday evening, Johnson & Johnson applied for emergency use authorization with the FDA for its vaccine, which only requires a single dose. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects approval to come “within a week or so,” and the company appears on track for a March rollout.

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Vaccinated with a non-approved and hardly tested vaccin. Take ’em to court.

No Special Freedoms For The Vaccinated In Germany (DW)

The German Ethics Council on Thursday spoke out against lifting restrictions for individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Germany has been in partial lockdown since November. Bars, restaurants and cultural and sporting facilities are closed. Schools and non-essential shops were added to the list in mid-December, with rules on mask-wearing and working from home tightened in January amid concerns over new virus variants. Vaccinations started at the end of December with people over 80 and their carers front of the line. There is currently a shortage of vaccines in Germany, and it will take several months for a majority of people to be immunized and become eligible for the lifting of restrictions.

Over the past few weeks tourism agencies, event managers and some politicians had suggested allowing those who have been vaccinated to travel, eat in restaurants, attend concerts and other events which would involve close contact with a high number of other people. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was the first high-profile politician to speak out in favor of lifting restrictions. “Someone who cannot fall seriously ill with the coronavirus anymore will not need intensive care and burden the health care system. He should no longer have to suffer restrictions to his basic rights and freedoms,” he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper in January. Such proposals have been met with criticism, for example from Left party chairwoman Katja Kipping, who urged adherence to freedom and equality stipulations in the German constitution.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also ruled out special regulations this Monday. The COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory in Germany. Distinguishing between the vaccinated and those not vaccinated would be the same as a mandatory vaccination,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had warned. The ethics council on Thursday pointed out that it had to be clarified first whether vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the virus. Only if that were ruled out could any exemption from rules such as wearing masks in public places be considered. “At the present time, withdrawing state restrictions on freedoms for vaccinated people should not take place as it is not yet possible to reliably assess infectiousness,” Ethics Council head Alena Buyx told a news conference in Berlin on Thursday.

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For entertainment purposes only.

Trump Rejects Dems’ Request To Testify At Impeachment Trial (AP)

House Democrats on Thursday asked Donald Trump to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial, challenging him to respond to their charge that he incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol. A Trump adviser said the former president won’t testify. Although Democrats might not have the power to force Trump’s testimony, the request from House impeachment managers is part of their overall effort to put the violent events of Jan. 6 on the record for history and hold him accountable for his words. Democrats will look to use his refusal to testify against him as they argue that the ex-president has avoided responsibility for his actions.

Hours after the Democrats’ request was revealed, Trump adviser Jason Miller dismissed the trial as “an unconstitutional proceeding” and said the former president would not testify. Separately, Trump’s lawyers denounced the request as a “public relations stunt.” The impeachment trial starts Feb. 9. Trump, the first president to be impeached twice, is charged with inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, when a mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol to interrupt the electoral vote count. Five people died. Before the riot, Trump had told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat. Democrats have said a trial is necessary to provide a final measure of accountability for the attack. If Trump is convicted, the Senate could hold a second vote to disqualify him from seeking office again.

In the letter to the former president and his attorneys, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, one of the impeachment managers, asked that Trump explain why he and his team have disputed key factual allegations at the center of their case. He asked that Trump provide testimony about his conduct “either before or during the Senate impeachment trial,” and under cross-examination, as early as Monday, Feb. 8, and not later than Thursday, Feb. 11. The request from Raskin cites the words of Trump’s own attorneys, who in a legal brief earlier this week not only denied that Trump had incited the riot but also asserted that he had “performed admirably in his role as president, at all times doing what he thought was in the best interests of the American people.”

With that argument, Raskin said, Trump had questioned critical facts in the case “notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense.” He said Trump should be able to testify now that he is no longer president. Trump attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen responded hours later that the letter proves that Democrats “cannot prove your allegations” and that an impeachment trial is too serious “to try to play these games.”

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Not a new issue.

Incitement Is Not A Real Crime (McMaken)

[..] in an essay written for a small newspaper in the late 1960s, Rothbard explains the problem with claiming incitement is a real crime: “Suppose that Mr. A tells Mr. B: “Go out and shoot the mayor.” Suppose, then, that Mr. B, pondering this suggestion, decides it’s a darn good idea and goes out and shoots the mayor. Now obviously B is responsible for the shooting. But in what sense can A be held responsible? A did not do the shooting, and didn’t take part, we will assume, in any of the planning or executing of the act itself. The very fact that he made that suggestion cannot really mean that A should be held responsible. For does not B have free will? Is he not a free agent? And if he is, then B and B alone is responsible for the shooting.

If we attribute any responsibility at all to A, we have fallen into the trap of determinism. We are then assuming that B has no will of his own, that he is then only a tool in some way manipulated by A. Now, if Person A participated in the planning of a riot or a murder, then Person A is guilty of conspiracy, not incitement. But Person A is not guilty of anything for have merely suggested to Person B that he shoot the mayor. Person B, after all, is responsible for his own actions. [..] if the will is free, then no man is determined by another; then just because somebody shouts “burn, baby, burn,” no one hearing this advice is thereby compelled or determined to go and carry the suggestion out. Anybody who does carry out the advice is responsible for his own actions, and solely responsible.

Therefore, the “inciter” cannot be held in any way responsible. In the nature of man and morality, there is no such crime as “incitement to riot,” and therefore the very concept of such a “crime” should be stricken from the statute books.” [..] Cracking down on “incitement to riot,” then, is simply and purely cracking down on one’s natural and crucial right to freedom of speech. Speech is not a crime. And hence the injustice, not only of the crime of incitement, but also of such other “crimes” as “criminal sedition” (sharp criticism of the government), or “conspiracy to advocate overthrow of the government”—in other words, planning someday to exercise one’s basic and natural right to freedom of speech and advocacy.

A decade later, Rothbard emphasized the importance of rejecting the notion of incitement as a crime in his book For a New Liberty. Under the section titled “Freedom of Speech,” he writes: “What, for example, of “incitement to riot,” in which the speaker is held guilty of a crime for whipping up a mob, which then riots and commits various actions and crimes against person and property? In our view, “incitement” can only be considered a crime if we deny every man’s freedom of will and of choice, and assume that if A tells B and C: “You and him go ahead and riot!” that somehow B and C are then helplessly determined to proceed and commit the wrongful act. But the libertarian, who believes in freedom of the will, must insist that while it might be immoral or unfortunate for A to advocate a riot, that this is strictly in the realm of advocacy and should not be subject to legal penalty.”

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Maybe you can indict them for incitement.

Smartmatic Files $2.7 Billion Lawsuit vs Fox News, Giuliani, Powell (CNN)

A voting technology company swept up in baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election filed a monster $2.7 billion lawsuit on Thursday against Fox News, some of the network’s star hosts, and pro-Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, alleging the parties worked in concert to wage a “disinformation campaign” that has jeopardized its very survival. “We have no choice,” Antonio Mugica, the chief executive and founder of Smartmatic, told CNN Business in an interview about the company’s decision to file the lawsuit. “The disinformation campaign that was launched against us is an obliterating one. For us, this is existential, and we have to take action.”

The lawsuit, filed in New York state court, accused Fox, Giuliani, Powell and hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro of intentionally lying about Smartmatic in an effort to mislead the public into the false belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. “They needed a villain,” the lawsuit said. “They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate. A story of good versus evil, the type that would incite an angry mob, only works if the storyteller provides the audience with someone who personifies evil.” “Without any true villain, defendants invented one,” the lawsuit added. “Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story.”

In a statement on behalf of the network and the named hosts issued after the lawsuit was filed, a Fox News spokesperson said, “FOX News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion. We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.” Asked for comment, Powell said in a statement, “I have not received notice or a copy of this alleged lawsuit. However, your characterization of the claims shows that this is just another political maneuver motivated by the radical left that has no basis in fact or law.” In a statement of his own, Giuliani said, “The Smartmatic lawsuit presents another golden opportunity for discovery. I look forward to litigating with them.”

Giuliani and Powell have also been sued by another voting technology company, Dominion Voting Systems, for promoting their voter fraud conspiracies. Giuliani called Dominion’s lawsuit against him an “act of intimidation” to “censor the exercise of free speech” and Powell called Dominion’s lawsuit against her “baseless.”

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Danielle DiMartino Booth: “Suggesting administration should have sway over Fed policy was error in judgment. But let’s face it, since Volcker departed, each successive administration’s influence increased. Judy just gave voice to the truth. In the end, the establishment won the war..”

Biden Withdraws Judy Shelton’s Fed Nomination (Hill)

President Biden on Thursday formally withdrew Judy Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board, closing the book on her quest to join the central bank. Shelton’s nomination was withdrawn with more than two dozen other officials nominated by former President Trump in January shortly before he left office. The Democratic takeover of the Senate in January effectively ended Shelton’s chances of confirmation, and Biden’s withdrawal of her nomination does little more than clear the way for his eventual pick to fill the final vacant spot on the Fed board. Biden has not yet indicated who he would nominate in Shelton’s place.


Trump announced in 2019 that he would nominate Shelton, a former campaign adviser, to the Fed board after Senate Republicans rejected four of his previous picks. She was formally nominated in early 2020 and narrowly approved for a confirmation vote by the Senate Banking Committee last July despite GOP concerns about her criticism of Fed independence, past support for the gold standard and inconsistent views on monetary policy. Shelton came remarkably close to confirmation in December, but coronavirus-related absences and the opposition of three Republican senators blocked her from joining the Fed. Trump renominated Shelton in January after the new Congress convened, but Republicans were unable to confirm her before losing their Senate majority.

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“Simon Property Group has washed its hands off it, letting the CMBS holders eat the losses. And the new owners, Deutsche Bank and holders of CMBS, will now get to manage the mall.”

Largest US Mall Landlord Sent Jingle Mail to Deutsche Bank (WS)

Deutsche Bank this week foreclosed on a $177.5 million mall mortgage. The mortgage had been securitized and spread over two commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) in 2012. The collateral is 560,000 square feet of retail space at the 1.2 million square-foot Town Center at Cobb, in Kennesaw, Cobb County, Georgia. The regional mall has over 170 stores, including a Macy’s, a JCPenney, and a Belk (just filed for bankruptcy). The mall was owned by Simon Property Group, the largest mall landlord and mall REIT [SPG] in America, which, in one of its acts of jingle mail, had returned the mall to the lenders. “Jingle mail” was engraved into the American lexicon during the housing bust, when homeowners voluntarily turned their homes over to lenders, presumably by mailing them the house keys.

Most home mortgages are recourse loans, and banks can drag the homeowner to court over any deficiency after the foreclosure sale – except in the 12 “non-recourse” states. But commercial real estate mortgages are non-recourse; all the lender gets is the collateral, and the owner walks away. At the time of securitization in 2012, the collateral for the loan was valued at $322 million, according to Trepp, a data firm that tracks CMBS. And everything was hunky-dory. In October 2020, the value was slashed by 60% to $130.4 million. The legal notice by Deutsche Bank of the foreclosure sale, reported by the Marietta Daily Journal on January 27, specified that the mall would be sold on February 2 “at public outcry to the highest bidder for cash before the Courthouse door of Cobb County.” The opening bid would be $130.4 million.

And this is what happened on February 2, according to the Marietta Daily Journal: “[Attorney Matthew Norton of the law firm Polsinelli] “read the legal notice in full on the southern steps of the county’s justice center, a recitation that took over half an hour to complete. The bargain hunters who attended the morning’s residential foreclosure auctions left hours before, leaving Norton to conduct the “public outcry” on the courthouse steps across the street from an empty Flournoy Park.” And there were no bids. So Deutsche Bank and other CMBS holders are now the proud owners of the mall. Simon Property Group has washed its hands off it, letting the CMBS holders eat the losses. And the new owners, Deutsche Bank and holders of CMBS, will now get to manage the mall.

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“In capitalism, capital is power, and to accumulate it differentially – i.e., relative to others – is to fortify and augment one’s organized power over others.”

Dominant Capital Is Much More Powerful Than You Think (RWER)

According to the theory of capital as power (CasP), capitalists and corporations are driven not to maximize profit, but to ‘beat the average’. Their yardstick is not an unmeasurable theoretical abstraction, but the readily observable performance of others. Their aim is not to increase their ‘material gain’, counted in fictitious utils or socially necessary abstract labour time, but to earn more money than everyone else. And the reason, we argue, has to do with power. In capitalism, capital is power, and to accumulate it differentially – i.e., relative to others – is to fortify and augment one’s organized power over others. Following Kepler’s modern notion of force, CasP sees capitalized power not as a stand-alone qualitative entity, but as a quantitative relationship between entities.

First, capitalized power is not absolute, but relational. It’s not a ‘battery’ or ‘energy’ that some entities possess and use to impose their will over others. Instead, it is the actual structure of differential relationships among capitalist owners and organizations as well as between those owners and organization and others who are subjugated to them and resist their domination. Second, capitalized power is a pure quantity. The actual institutions, structures and processes of capitalist power – from production, to finance, to government, religion, ideology, international relations, crime and what not – vary greatly. They are qualitatively different from each other and, in that sense, hard if not impossible to compare and aggregate. But in capitalism, these qualitative differences all get reduced to pure numbers: they are converted to the universal quantities of differential profit, investors’ hype and risk perceptions – and from there they get discounted to the universal quantity of differential capitalization.

The ongoing quest to beat the average and accumulate differentially goes hand in hand with CasP’s notion of ‘dominant capital’. All capitalists try to beat the average, but only some succeed and only a minority succeeds systematically, at least over a certain period. In time, this minority percolates up the hierarchies of power to formulate the cluster we call dominant capital. This cluster comprises the largest government-backed corporate coalitions at the centre of any given sector, a particular society, a group of countries and, ultimate, the capitalist world as a whole. The constituent entities of dominant capital change over time – the Alphabets and Apples of today have substituted the U.S. Steels and AT&Ts of a century ago and will likely be replaced by others in the future. But topologically, as a ruling entity, dominant capital is ubiquitous. There is hardly a capitalist setting without it.

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Why would anyone ever vote again?

Dems Are Lucy, The Football Is $2,000 (DP)

The image of Lucy and the football is a good way to understand Democrats and the promised $2,000 checks — the party promised the checks immediately, but now seems intent on pulling the ball away at the last minute, expecting Charlie Brown to laugh. But millions of struggling middle-class families who were deceived probably won’t find it funny. The Washington Post, HuffPost and Bloomberg are reporting that Democrats may limit full $1,400 survival checks to individuals earning less than $50,000 and couples earning less than $100,000. A bipartisan group of senators is also now pushing an amendment to “ensure upper-income taxpayers are not eligible” for checks. At least one Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, has said he opposes the new proposed income limits.


Biden’s original proposal would send full checks to individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 — the same income limits Congress has used for previous rounds of checks. The proposed changes, which are being discussed in the name of “targeting” payments to those who need it, could affect checks for millions of people who have previously received COVID economic impact payments. Under the new terms being debated, about four in ten Americans could be excluded or receive partial checks, according to census data. Roughly 36 percent of U.S. households earn more than $100,000 — and some of the 29 percent of American households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 are single households.

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Bezos will have more time for his hobbies soon.

Lies, Damn Lies, And Fact Checking (DP)

Jeff Bezos this week announced that he is stepping down from his job running Amazon in order to focus more on his other assets, including the Washington Post. Less than 24 hours later, his newspaper’s chief “fact checker” Glenn Kessler published a screed attacking Bezos’s highest-profile political opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, for mentioning that Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law benefited rich people and large corporations. This might seem like a simple example of a pundit knowing exactly who pays his salary, but in this case, the pundit in question has his own axe to grind. Kessler is the scion of a fossil fuel baron, which means he has an interest in defending tax cuts that were a particularly big financial windfall for oil companies, including the one linked to his family, according to Kessler’s own newspaper.

At a time when Americans’ trust in media has plummeted, Kessler is a perfect illustration of how the cottage industry of fact checking has turned itself into a system of Orwellian misinformation — one that uses fact-o-meters and Pinocchios to insist that war is peace and ignorance is strength. Rather than clarifying reality, fact checking is routinely used to hide the truth and shield the powerful from accountability — it has helped politicians hide their votes to cut Social Security; let health care industry lobbyists distort statistics about medical bankruptcies and Medicare for All; and abetted Wall Street’s efforts to downplay bank bailouts. Now, comes the crescendo: The newspaper owned by a man worth $180 billion is deploying fact checking to try to revise the entire history of the tax cuts that enriched his retail conglomerate.

And what a coincidence — the revision is happening just as the tax policy may be revisited by a new Democratic president. Not surprisingly, this particular broadside is being directed at Sanders, arguably the most prominent critic of Bezos and Amazon in all of American politics. He introduced legislation to shame the company for its labor practices, he successfully pressured the company to raise its workers’ wages and has championed legislation to tax billionaires. Bezos’s company has responded by attacking the Vermont senator — and now his newspaper is trying to reinforce those attacks under the deceptive guise of fact checking, all as it warns readers on every story that democracy dies in darkness.

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A curious celebration.

The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election (Time)

A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing. The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before Election Day, 75% of Americans voiced concern about violence. Instead, an eerie quiet descended. As President Trump refused to concede, the response was not mass action but crickets. When media organizations called the race for Joe Biden on Nov. 7, jubilation broke out instead, as people thronged cities across the U.S. to celebrate the democratic process that resulted in Trump’s ouster.

A second odd thing happened amid Trump’s attempts to reverse the result: corporate America turned on him. Hundreds of major business leaders, many of whom had backed Trump’s candidacy and supported his policies, called on him to concede. To the President, something felt amiss. “It was all very, very strange,” Trump said on Dec. 2. “Within days after the election, we witnessed an orchestrated effort to anoint the winner, even while many key states were still being counted.” In a way, Trump was right. There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.

The handshake between business and labor was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted. For more than a year, a loosely organized coalition of operatives scrambled to shore up America’s institutions as they came under simultaneous attack from a remorseless pandemic and an autocratically inclined President. Though much of this activity took place on the left, it was separate from the Biden campaign and crossed ideological lines, with crucial contributions by nonpartisan and conservative actors. The scenario the shadow campaigners were desperate to stop was not a Trump victory. It was an election so calamitous that no result could be discerned at all, a failure of the central act of democratic self-governance that has been a hallmark of America since its founding.

Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result. “The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program.

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That is one scary image…

 

 

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Feb 022021
 
 February 2, 2021  Posted by at 1:21 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  22 Responses »


Roy Lichtenstein Woman With Flowered Hat 1963

 

 

Well, Dr. D is back again. You might want to sit down for this one.

 

 

Dr. D: In my last article I wrote about cows and hay and unrealistic estimates of production of the land. But surely that is all academic. What could possibly force Americans to once again eat by the sweat of their brow?

Insider military think tank Deagel.com. The think tank that in 2015 estimated the death of 200M Americans by 2025.

Deagel – Forecast 2025

The Great Reset; like the climate change, extinction rebellion, planetary crisis, green revolution, shale oil (…) hoaxes promoted by the system; is another attempt to slow down dramatically the consumption of natural resources and therefore extend the lifetime of the current system. It can be effective for awhile but finally won’t address the bottom-line problem and will only delay the inevitable. The core ruling elites hope to stay in power which is in effect the only thing that really worries them.


The collapse of the Western financial system – and ultimately the Western civilization – has been the major driver in the forecast along with a confluence of crisis with a devastating outcome. As COVID has proven Western societies embracing multiculturalism and extreme liberalism are unable to deal with any real hardship. The Spanish flu one century ago represented the death of 40-50 million people.

Today the world’s population is four times greater with air travel in full swing which is by definition a super spreader. The death casualties in today’s World would represent 160 to 200 million in relative terms but more likely 300-400 million taking into consideration the air travel factor that did not exist one century ago. So far, COVID death toll is roughly 1 million people. It is quite likely that the economic crisis due to the lockdowns will cause more deaths than the virus worldwide.

The Soviet system was less able to deliver goodies to the people than the Western one. Nevertheless Soviet society was more compact and resilient under an authoritarian regime. That in mind, the collapse of the Soviet system wiped out 10 percent of the population. The stark reality of diverse and multicultural Western societies is that a collapse will have a toll of 50 to 80 percent depending on several factors but in general terms the most diverse, multicultural, indebted and wealthy (highest standard of living) will suffer the highest toll.

The only glue that keeps united such aberrant collage from falling apart is overconsumption with heavy doses of bottomless degeneracy disguised as virtue. Nevertheless the widespread censorship, hate laws and contradictory signals mean that even that glue is not working any more. Not everybody has to die migration can also play a positive role in this.


We expected this situation to unfold and actually is unfolding right now with the November election triggering a major bomb if Trump is re-elected. If Biden is elected there will very bad consequences as well. There is a lot of bad blood in the Western societies and the protests, demonstrations, rioting and looting are only the first symptoms of what is coming. However a new trend is taking place overshadowing this one…

Six years ago the likelihood of a major war was tiny. Since then it has grown steadily and dramatically and today is by far the most likely major event in the 2020s. The ultimate conflict can come from two ways. A conventional conflict involving at least two major powers that escalates into an open nuclear war. …

If there is not a dramatic change of course the world is going to witness the first nuclear war. The Western block collapse may come before, during or after the war. It does not matter. A nuclear war is a game with billions of casualties and the collapse plays in the hundreds of millions.” – Deagel, September 25, 2020

Now clearly this is ridiculous. Even these new, revised estimates have population drop in the U.S. to 99 Million in 4 years.

 

 

So what do we see here? A catastrophic event that hurts only very specific nations, leaving nearby neighbors untouched or even improved. That is, not a climate event or asteroid strike. It hurts a few nations most specifically, that is, Britain, U.S., Germany, Israel, France, Australia, Italy, S. Korea, Saudi Arabia.

What do these nations all have in common? They are the Western Allies, and under the Western fiat central banking system. While India and Asia prosper most, conspicuous in the list is China and Russia, presumably the Axis in any new war. China takes a massive numbers hit, but a unimportant percentage hit. Russia is unmoved. That would seem to rule out wars of food, wars of money, and wars with Russia or in Europe.

What type of singular event can kill several billion people in just 4 years, leaving some nations erased and some nations untouched? Not economic wars. Not conventional wars.

That leaves nuclear and biological war, almost certainly a first-strike surprise war. Clearly this will not be with Russia, which would take more injury in a counter attack, so a first strike surprise war from China, perhaps via close proxy North Korea, as they are the only two Axis countries that (presumably) take any damage. They are counter-attacked, but weakly. Their own allies, in SE Asia, are unharmed. Australia is depopulated and easy to conquer. As is the United States, but not Canada or Mexico. Note if they attacked India they would be nuked again and open second front in a land war in Asia against an equal power, and China leaves them alone for this round, the presumed Deagel scenario.

Now what did I just tell you a few weeks ago?

If China doesn’t conquer and colonize the United States, they die.

That seems true for Australia, or at least corollary. Here’s the same phrase: If China DOES conquer and colonize the United States, WE die.

Now why would they do that? Their people are rioting with dissent, of increased expectations that have been capped. There are more riots and protests in China than anywhere on earth, both in percentage, and sheer numbers, and riot of 250,000 is rightfully identified as a mortal threat. There are no longer any food exports worldwide. The U.S. and to some extent Australia are the only ones. China is the net food importer, having everything else. If they do not solve their food and space problem, they – or rather the CCP – are overthrown and die. If the CCP can solve the food and space problem, they are heroes, stay in power, and prosper for a generation.

Is there any reason to believe China would undertake such a unprecedented, violent act? Well, when we ask if they would murder 70% of all Americans, they are presently erasing 70% of all Uighers who are their own citizens, and in the most brutal, appalling, and mercantile ways. Taking their property. Selling their slave labor. Harvesting their live organs. Selling their women to a man-heavy population thanks to an earlier wave of murder and genocide. So if they are happy to kill 70% of their own people – who they consider inferior, not being Han, and are proud to the world about the fact – how much easier is it to kill 70% of your major rival and solve all your problems for 100 years?

It’s your Lebensraum for a Socialist State-Corporate entity, totalitarian, race-based, using the fascio of combining government, industrial, and corporate power into one. There could hardly be any difference, and are along the same timeline as 1938. They are imprisoning their own people by ethnic origin and social-credit cooperation scores, then killing them for efficiency, while the West denies this is happening and refuses to prepare or respond, or in fact gleefully cooperates with open concentration camps, buying and selling cheap misery.

Surely this is slander, from a military-complex site selling military hardware and predictions. There is nothing from the Chinese to substantiate such an attack.

“A senior Chinese general has warned that his country could destroy hundreds of American cities if the two nations clash over Taiwan.” –The Guardian This week clashing over Taiwan as China has escalated buzzing Taiwanese and American ships and airspace.

In 2005 “Major General Zhu Shin Hu, Dean of the National Defense University, Speaking at a lecture, he said “War logic dictates that a weaker power needs to use maximum effort to defeat a stronger rival. If the Americans draw their missiles and position guided ammunition on to the target zone on Chinese territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons.” And goes on to describe destroying hundreds of American cities in a nuclear war over Taiwan. 15 years ago.

=
Deputy Chief PLA Juang Won Kai, “ Americans should worry more about Los Angeles than Taipei. They will be using nuclear weapons in the Taiwan conflict.” Kai later was diplomat to the United States.

“20 years of the idyllic theme of ‘peace and development’ have come to an end, and concluded that modernization under the saber is the only option for China’s next phase. I also mention we have a vital stake overseas.”

More alarmingly, General Chi Houtian in a speech to the CCP before 2003, said, “in an online survey asking if Chinese would shoot at women, children, and prisoners of war, more than 80% answered in the affirmative. …The purpose of the survey is to…If China’s development will necessitate massive deaths in enemy countries, will our people endorse that scenario [and] be for…it?”

After highlighting the similar youth propaganda departments he says,

China is alarmingly similar to Germany back then. Both of them regard themselves as the most superior races; both of them have a history of being exploited by foreign powers and are therefore vindictive; both of them have the tradition of worshiping their own authorities; both of them feel they have seriously insufficient living space; both of them raise high the two banners of nationalism and socialism and label themselves as ‘national socialists’; both of them worship ‘one party, one state, one leader, one doctrine.’”


“We don’t have to worry about the labels of ‘totalitarianism’ or ‘dictatorship’. Whether we [the CCP] can forever represent the Chinese people depends on whether we can succeed in leading the Chinese people out of China. …Whether we can lead the Chinese people out of China is the most important determinant of the CCP”.

Lebensraum. Living space. Down the Silk Road. Expansion, conquest that – according to their own party and generals – is the only way the CCP leadership survives. Nationalist, hypermilitary expansion is the last hallmark of fascist regimes, a most grave one, as other nations therefore cannot entirely respect national boundaries and sovereignty.

How will they lead the Chinese out and conquer new lands?

“Once we open our doors, the profit-seeking western capitalists will invest capital and technology in China to assist our development so they can occupy the largest market in the world. …the most favorable environment for foreign capital, foreign technology, and advanced experience in China. …China’s economic expansion will inevitably come with significant development in our military forces, creating conditions for our expansion overseas. …China…is advancing into the world and has become unstoppable.”

“Solving the issue of America is key to solving all other issues. This makes it possible for us to have many people migrate there and establish another China under the CCP. …America was discovered by the yellow race [and] we are entitled to the possession of the land.

…The residents of the yellow race have a very low social status in the United States. We need to liberate them. After solving the ‘issue of America’, the western countries of Europe will bow to us , not to mention Japan, Taiwan…” – General Chi Haotain

Lebensraum. The master race. Liberating nations as a duty to their racial brothers. At the expense of inferior races.

“We must transcend conventions and restrictions. In history, [one] could not kill all the people in the conquered land because you could not kill people effectively [enough]. …Only by using special means to ‘clean up’ America will we be able to lead people there. This is the only choice left to us. It is not a matter of whether we are willing.


…What kind of special methods do we have to ‘clean up’ America? …We are not as foolish as to want to perish together with America by using nuclear weapons… There has been a rapid development in modern biological technology, and new bio-weapons have been developed one after the other. …We are capable of ‘cleaning up’ America all of a sudden. Lethal weapons that can eliminate mass populations of the enemy country.”

But it’s not all bad:

“From a humanitarian perspective, we should issue a warning to the American people and persuade them to leave America and leave the land to the Chinese people. Or they should at least leave half of America to be China’s colony…but if this strategy does not work, there is only one choice left…”

“That is, use decisive means to ‘clean up’ America in a moment. …Historical experience has been that as long as we make it happen, nobody in the world can do anything about us. Furthermore, if the United States as leader is gone, then our other enemies have to surrender to us.”

If the Americans do not die, then the Chinese have to die. If the Chinese are strapped to the land, a total societal collapse is bound to take place. …[Then] more than half the Chinese people will die, and that figure will be 800 million. …The Great Collapse will occur at any time and more than half the population will have to go. …The population can be reproduced. But if the Party falls, everything is gone, and forever gone.”

How very like our own Western leaders.

Cool story bro. I feel for your position. Now let me ask you a question: If you knew you were running out of food and space, why did you pave every rice paddy and poison every river? Wouldn’t you rather take 6 time zones of Russian lands which are lush, actually empty, and on your own border? And how ARE you out of space when the entire Gobi desert, or indeed much of north and western China, are as empty as the United States?

You might not have heard, but most of the United States was also considered a desert, a wasteland from Iowa to San Diego that would never be occupied by humankind, yet through hard work and imagination we created the innovation that has made our prosperity and our population possible. It only seems easy now, in hindsight, like some automatic miracle we didn’t deserve. Yet, in the most high-tech era ever recorded, I think no less of the power of men on the Silk Road or Mongolia.

So perhaps I’m asking: are you really sure you NEED to do this? Or is it just that America is big, rich, and shiny and you WANT to do this? You WANT to do to Americans what you do to the Uighurs. Because I strongly suspect the latter.

The specifics of their plan was revealed elsewhere, the “1, 3, 5, 7, 9 Plan”
1 Create a bioweapon
3 Make it available in three years (from 2017)
5 Insure effectiveness for 5 years.
7 Paralyze the 7 Western countries including Japan and India.
9 Release vaccines 9 months later to blackmail the world.

Now, is that the plan that was just attempted in 2019? Or was that a beta test for a real, upcoming attack? Was this genocide deflected, the payload of the “China Virus”, hollowed out, only narrowly missed? Or is that mere slander? Do we know? Can we tell?

The West of course would fight such an attack. In 1994, in a world conference in San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel including H. Bush and M. Thatcher, Xin He reported, “The outstanding people of the world attendance thought that in the 21st century a mere 20% of the world’s population would be adequate to maintain the world’s economy and prosperity. The other 80% will be human garbage, unable to produce…high-tech means should be used to eliminate them gradually .”

That also sounds like our Western leaders.

Remember “Event 201”, promoted by these very same ‘outstanding people’? “ In the simulation, the virus infected the globe within six months, and killed 65 million people, triggering a global financial crisis. All of this took place just months before COVID-19 emerged.” Gee that sounds familiar. Good timing too. So good it almost defies credulity.

This goes along with the long-held rumor that the U.S. was planned and positioned to be in a war and to lose it. Many aspects, from causing unnecessary and unusual internal strife, to the complete erasure of our manufacturing and production – except for food – as well as our sale or loss of most military secrets to China, support such a hypothesis. Then there is the open exposure of Chinese agents with Feinstein for 20 years, and Swalwell, both of whom were on high-level committees.

Worse, when this was exposed, nothing was done, hinting at a much deeper level of capture, where some agents and proxies appear to be clearly covering and supporting other Chinese proxies against the interests of the people of the United States. They do not explain how they thought it remotely possible that with 20% of the population they could defend a rich, empty, unproductive West from complete, inevitable Chinese conquest. Perhaps China did not remind them.

The problem could be, it probably is, far deeper, harder, graver, and wider than we on the outside can contemplate. While I disagree – for in a democracy the people must be informed to make hard, informed decisions – we can see that many times the attempt has been made to inform people, and the facts are widely and regularly rebuffed and rejected. If you started here, where I have, the general population would say you were simply being political, ginning up for more war profits, or are simply lying and making it up simply because they haven’t heard it before. The truth has been intentionally withheld in favor of colored trinkets for 40 years. All attempts to prevent it have been shot down. That isn’t reversed in a day.

Now I’m not saying Deagel is right. Already they’ve had to update their 2015 prediction. However, we can infer from this that the present situation is far more complicated than cartoon. Far deeper and more grave than Twitter. It transcends one man, one party, or even one generation. And can help illuminate why certain positions, certain actions, certain reactions, and certain IN-actions, may have happened right now.

While I don’t personally feel this is our future, I do believe the situation as described is entirely true. There are such opinions and such plans and such weapons. Therefore it should be dealt with in our own lives, and in the actions of our country, in the firm, defensive preparations that Americans are known for. Regardless of such a war, which should naturally be avoided, a number of other responses are indicated:

1) Remove as much reliance on China as possible without crippling them either. We already learned we do not have medicines, masks, rare earths, or semiconductors here, as well as learning their steel and raw materials may be intentionally substandard and undermining. This especially includes communications infrastructure.

2) Our own nation needs much attention and support with the re-opening of our own parallel manufacturing that must also be dispersed so as not to be a single target for destruction or capture.

3) The U.S. Dollar and financial system is wholly established on financeering and imports. This comes from the too-high dollar and world reserve currency that necessitates the destruction of internal production and complete hollowing of business, culture, politics, psychology, society, and morality. Yet its reversal and replacement will be extremely disruptive, and the loss of the reserve currency will quite suddenly drop us from emperor to peer. Nevertheless, this can not be delayed or avoided.

4) The U.S. Military, with the loss of the reserve currency, must retreat home, and therefore needs to re-tool and re-position rapidly to a defensive role, while still maintaining the overwhelming deterrent effect on China, and helping allies – thus preventing China from taking over the world nation-by-nation. Defense is enormously cheaper and easier, and as an ally, not an empire, our position would be far easier and more supported. This published reality may cause other nations to take more action than we could alone. While at home we may follow the Swiss model of having every man capable of arms and the materials secretly cached and available in each town.

5) While we may not have to come back to God to have the internal sense of equality, justice, morality, and enthusiasm for self-denial and hardship this will require, historically nothing else has sufficed for the righting of the ship and return to a forgiving, cohesive unity, and not weakening, atomized discord.

6) Along with our own ports, canals, rivers, grids, and mines, we need to maintain our own food production and distribution, and counter-intuitively sell it to our own rival or enemy. First, cutting off food must cause a certain war just as the embargo of Japanese oil did in 1940. Second, and not innocently, food is a major export we already have when we are no longer an importer of exorbitant privilege. Not less, as equals, we can always promote ourselves as being a friend and thereby encourage our rivals to pass through where they are or what plans they may have in favor of a stable peace that advantages all. Or else, like Switzerland, we must be certain to communicate we will most assuredly make them wish they had for their plans will not succeed.

7) We must recognize that such weapons are a reality now that cannot be reversed but must be accounted for and avoided with new strategies and new consciousness that does not require gain at the expense of others. The experience of the U.S. in making deserts bloom with the simplest tools is a good example.

Now these are easily supported by all Americans, all except the very few who are profiting by the existing system. So should there be a war or no war, with China or no China, all these responses are good for the country, the individual, and the world.

They are also workable in our own lives. As we’ve seen recently with massive, unpredictable, and longstanding supply disruptions that are only cured with more local production, smaller businesses, and local food. We see how having far more preparation, far more resiliency, far more local support, are important, both in hardship, but in our daily lives as well. Producing more, with more meaning, and consuming less, but better, are the only ways we can exit both this peril, and our own national failings at home.

 

 

 

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Dec 292020
 


Juan Gris Portrait of the artist’s mother 1912

 

WHO Chief Scientist: No Evidence COVID Vaccine Prevents Viral Transmission (ZH)
WHO -Secretly- Changed Their Definition Of “Herd Immunity” (OffG)
UK Variant Linked To High Viral Loads, Neanderthal Gene Offers Protection (R.)
House Passes $2,000 Per American COVID19 Relief Bill Requested By Trump (RT)
Republicans Threaten To Deny $2,000 Checks To Their Own Constituents (DP)
House Overrides Trump’s Veto Of Bill That Blocked Afghanistan Withdrawal (RT)
Bernie Sanders To Delay Defense Veto Override In Bid For $2,000 Checks (Pol.)
McConnell Rushed To Save His Senators, But Left Trump Twisting In The Wind (IC)
Japan Gave Key Intel On China’s Uighur Crackdown To US and Britain (JT)
Trump Admin Bolsters Order Barring US Investment In Chinese Firms (R.)
In Darkness Visible (Jim Kunstler)
The Threat of Authoritarianism in the US is Very Real (Greenwald)

 

 

Entirely useless? Someone better do a risk/reward analysis.

WHO Chief Scientist: No Evidence COVID Vaccine Prevents Viral Transmission (ZH)

Once again, the WHO has stepped in to offer some confusing comments about the coronavirus vaccine, warning that there is “no evidence to be confident shots prevent transmission” and that people who receive the vaccine should continue wearing masks and following all social distancing and travel guidelines. The comments were made by WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan during what appears to have been a virtual press conference held Monday. A clip of the offending line has begun circulating on social media. “At the moment, I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines, to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from getting the infection and passing it on,”

WHO chief scientist
https://twitter.com/i/status/1343620091695538179

Of course, a close look at the research released by Pfizer and Moderna shows the studies haven’t actually tested whether the vaccines actually prevent transmission of the virus; the goal of the trials was to see whether vaccinated patients presented with COVID symptoms at a rate that was substantially less frequent than individuals who hadn’t been vaccinated. That’s pretty much it. Though the data might hint at lowering transmission rates, that’s still tbd, apparently. The doctor went on to explain that there’s no evidence to suggest that those who have been vaccinated wouldn’t be a risk if they traveled to a foreign country, say Australia, with relatively low COVID rates.


At this point, it might be helpful for the WHO to produce some kind of clarification that either offers substantially more context to explain this remark. But we suspect they won’t. Why? Well, perhaps because that context might undermine certain government officials’ insistence that there’s absolutely no reason to question the efficacy, and potential side effects (both long-term, and short) tied to the new COVID-19 vaccines.

Read more …

“..newspeak doublethink nonsense..”

WHO -Secretly- Changed Their Definition Of “Herd Immunity” (OffG)

The World Health Organization has changed the definition of “herd immunity” on the Covid section of their website, inserting the claim that it is a “concept used in vaccination”, and requires a vaccine to be achieved. Both of these statements are total falsehoods, which is demonstrated by the WHO’s own website back in June, and every dictionary definition of “herd immunity” you can find. To quote the WHO’s own original definition: “Herd immunity is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or a natural immunity developed through previous infection.” This definition was posted on the WHO’s website on June 9th of this year, and conforms with the general usage of the term for generations.


Then, on October 15th, we woke up to find the words on the side of the barn had changed. The definition has been altered to this: “‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached.” No explanation is offered for the change, in fact [no] note of the change is made on the website at all. Indeed all the previous versions of the website have been totally wiped from the wayback machine. A telling thing to do, in and of itself. We’re only aware of the change because screencaps of the original exist:

The new definition, aside from being inaccurate and off-handedly disposing of decades of epidemiological research, is also contradictory. It includes the phrase: “Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.” Which is newspeak doublethink nonsense. The entire point of vaccination IS “exposing” people to the virus. This revised, inaccurate and contradictory definition of “herd immunity” was first expressed in a speech by WHO Director General Thedros Adhanom on October 12th. Within three days that speech had been added, word for word, to the website. And within a month of the change, the UK had approved the first commercial vaccine for Sars-Cov-2 infection.

Read more …

Forget the vaccine, I’ll get the Neanderthal gene.

UK Variant Linked To High Viral Loads, Neanderthal Gene Offers Protection (R.)

The highly infectious COVID-19 coronavirus variant that has been circulating in Britain is linked to higher loads of the virus in the blood, according to a research report published on medRxiv on Sunday ahead of peer review. Around 35% of patients infected by the variant form had very high levels of the virus in their samples, compared to 10% of patients without the variant, study leader Michael Kidd of Public Health England and Birmingham University told Reuters. Higher viral loads have been linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes. The tests were conducted at the Birmingham Turnkey Lab. Kidd said additional study was needed to confirm or refute the findings. If confirmed, he hopes scientists will investigate how this particular variant manages to make more copies of itself in infected patients.

[..] A specific form of a protein passed down from Neanderthals protects against severe COVID-19, and medications that boost levels of this protein could potentially help treat the disease, according to a study reported on medRxiv on Thursday ahead of peer review. The protein, called OAS1, is involved in the body’s response to viruses. People with higher levels of the Neanderthal-related form of OAS1 are less susceptible to COVID-19, and if they do become infected, they are at lower risk for hospitalization, intubation and death, the researchers found. “This protective form of OAS1 is present in sub-Saharan Africans but was lost when the ancestors of modern-day Europeans migrated out of Africa. It was then re-introduced into the European population through mating with Neanderthals” who lived more than 40,000 years ago, said coauthor Brent Richards from the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University in Montreal. An earlier study linked a cluster of genes inherited from Neanderthals to higher risks of hospitalization from COVID-19. “These findings further implicate Neanderthal ancestry in COVID-19 severity,” Richards said.

[..] The speed of patients’ antibody production – rather than the volume of antibodies they produce to fight the new coronavirus – determines whether they will survive COVID-19, new data suggest. Researchers who studied more than 200 COVID-19 patients, including 179 who were hospitalized, found those who produced so-called neutralizing antibodies within 14 days of developing symptoms eventually recovered, while those who did not produce neutralizing antibodies until more than 14 days had elapsed developed higher viral loads and more severe disease. “It is unclear why antibodies generated after this time point are unable to promote viral clearance and recovery in COVID-19 patients,” the researchers said in a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review. Study leader Akiko Iwasaki of the Yale University School of Medicine tweeted on Saturday, “It’s possible that virus somehow becomes resistant by hiding in inaccessible tissues.” The new findings, she added, suggest therapy with so-called monoclonal antibody drugs – such as those from Regeneron given to U.S. President Donald Trump — is likely to work only if used soon after infection.

Read more …

Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act.

House Passes $2,000 Per American COVID19 Relief Bill Requested By Trump (RT)

The US House of Representatives has voted to raise to $2,000 the sum of the one-time direct payment to most Americans, after President Donald Trump demanded it be raised from $600 in the spending bill he signed to avoid shutdown. Dubbed the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act, House Resolution 9051 passed on Monday evening, as lawmakers lined up to cast their own and proxy votes, wearing face masks under rules instituted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California). The procedural vote requiring two-thirds majority succeeded, with 275 votes in favor. The proposal was opposed by 130 Republicans, two Democrats and two 2 independents.


The resolution now goes to the Senate for approval. Trump initially threatened to veto the nearly 6,000-page omnibus-stimulus behemoth, objecting to the $600 amount and other spending measures. On Sunday, he turned around and signed it, but demanded that the House pass a bill increasing the payout to $2,000 per individual and delete some of the other spending provisions, while asking for several other actions from the Senate as well. Democrats have refused to cut any spending, however, and the Republican-led Senate is unlikely to follow through on Trump’s demands.

Read more …

“an estimated 42 percent of Kentucky children (live) in renter households (that) were behind on rent and/or did not get enough to eat, and 20 percent of adults with children in the household reported the children weren’t eating enough because they couldn’t afford enough food.”

Republicans Threaten To Deny $2,000 Checks To Their Own Constituents (DP)

Last week, House Democrats attempted to call President Donald Trump’s bluff and increase the COVID relief bill’s survival checks to $2,000. House Republicans blocked the initial maneuver, and may today prevent the legislation from passing. If it does pass, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could kill the bill. The spectacle of Congress continuing to stall $2,000 survival checks during an economic emergency spotlights Donald Trump’s erratic behavior, Democrats’ persistent austerity ideology and the dysfunctionality of a government waiting until the last minute to hammer out 5,000-page emergency legislation in a matter of hours.

Most important, the antics of House Republicans and McConnell illustrate how — despite all of America’s paens to democracy — lawmakers ostensibly elected to represent us will routinely stomp on their own constituents. Of course, constituents are barely part of the media narrative anymore. Indeed, if you read national news, you will almost never see a mention of whom exactly these Republicans are supposed to be representing. For example, you will not see any mention of the fact that, according to research from AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer, the majority of lawmakers in the House Republican Conference come from districts in the bottom two income quintiles — meaning their constituents would particularly benefit from the $2,000 checks.

Similarly, you will see McConnell depicted only as an all-powerful Republican leader — an omniscient spectre haunting the halls of power, effectively disassociated from time, place and constituency. In this mythology, he is a phantom menace who controls everything but somehow represents nobody. You will not see much mention of the fact that McConnell actually does represent a real, live place — one that illustrates how this standoff is fundamentally a crisis of democratic accountability. McConnell’s role in this debacle cannot be overstated: Had he already signed onto the plan to increase the direct payments in the COVID deal, it would probably be a done deal — but so far he has been reticent, as millions of Americans are struggling to survive.

Among those millions struggling to survive are hundreds of thousands of people in McConnell’s own state of Kentucky — which is one of the poorest in the country. As such, it would particularly benefit from the $2,000 survival checks. As McConnell plays coy in Washington, his state is becoming a Dickensian nightmare. More than 700,000 Kentuckians live below the federal poverty line. During the COVID-19 pandemic, things have become downright dystopian: Louisville’s ABC affiliate recently reported that “an estimated 42 percent of Kentucky children (live) in renter households (that) were behind on rent and/or did not get enough to eat, and 20 percent of adults with children in the household reported the children weren’t eating enough because they couldn’t afford enough food.”

Read more …

Bring them home.

House Overrides Trump’s Veto Of Bill That Blocked Afghanistan Withdrawal (RT)

The US House of Representatives has voted for the first time to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a $740 billion annual military spending bill, which he opposed for limiting his ability to bring US troops home. After aligning with Trump to approve raising the coronavirus stimulus payments to $2,000 per American, the House also voted 322- 87 to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $740 billion military spending bill, which passed both chambers of Congress earlier this month.


Trump objected to the NDAA not addressing his concerns about Section 230 and internet platforms, trying to prevent him from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and including a Democrat proposal to rename US military bases named a century ago after Civil War generals who fought for the Confederacy. If the Senate does the same, that would make it the first – and likely the last – veto override of Trump’s administration, as Democrats are joined by a faction of Republicans all too eager to abandon the president. Amid media reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) planned to hold a vote only on the NDAA override and not the increased payments, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) vowed to hold up the vote and block the Senate from going into recess over the New Year holiday.

Read more …

How things are connected.

Bernie Sanders To Delay Defense Veto Override In Bid For $2,000 Checks (Pol.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders will filibuster an override of President Donald Trump’s defense bill veto unless the Senate holds a vote on providing $2,000 direct payments to Americans. “McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment,” Sanders said in an interview on Monday night. The Vermont independent can’t ultimately stop the veto override vote, but he can delay it until New Year’s Day and make things more difficult for the GOP. The House passed the payment boost sought by Trump and Democratic leaders on Monday evening, and Trump said the Senate has agreed to “start the process” on a stimulus checks vote when he signed the $900 billion relief bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to address the timing of such a vote. Under Senate rules, Sanders has the ability to keep the chamber in during the holiday week and likely mess with the campaign schedules of Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). Those two face Jan. 5 runoff races for control of the Senate against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who are both campaigning on the $2,000 checks. A source close to Sanders said the Senate races were a factor in his decision — part of a bid to keep Perdue and Loeffler in D.C. and focus the campaign on their position regarding the $2,000 checks. Sanders also threatened to shut down the government earlier this month if the coronavirus relief bill did not include direct payments; ultimately it included checks of up to $600 and the government stayed open, though now Trump wants to go much higher.

Though veto overrides can be filibustered, as Sanders plans to do, it is a rare procedural move because the veto override already requires 67 votes and the filibuster is simply a delay tactic, according to the Congressional Research Service. Sanders said he hopes McConnell allows a vote on the checks on Wednesday. “The American people are desperate, and the Senate has got to do its job before leaving town,” Sanders said. “It would be unconscionable, especially after the House did the right thing, for the Senate to simply leave Washington without voting on this.”

Read more …

“McConnell had the option to press the button, and he knew the button would help Trump, yet he didn’t press it.”

McConnell Rushed To Save His Senators, But Left Trump Twisting In The Wind (IC)

One of the enduring mysteries of the 2020 presidential election was Mitch McConnell’s apparent lack of interest in helping to reelect President Donald Trump. From the perspective of the White House, the political press corps, Democrats, and effectively everybody watching the race, there was one major thing they thought would go a long way to delivering four more years for Trump, and that was a major round of stimulus in the weeks before the election, complete with checks destined for voters. Given that a swing of fewer than 100,000 votes in the right states would have flipped the election to Trump, it’s fair to say that such a stimulus could indeed have turned the tide for Trump. Yet McConnell stood in the way. We now know with certainty that the Senate majority leader is well aware of the political value of stimulus checks.

“Kelly and David are getting hammered,” McConnell told his Republican flock, explaining why the party would be agreeing not just to a historic-sized piece of legislation, but also to one that included $600 checks for everybody with under a certain income. “Kelly,” of course, is Kelly Loeffler, the wife of the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, appointed to the Senate to replace the retiring Johnny Isaacson, and “David” is David Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General. Both Loeffler and Perdue are facing runoffs in January, and both have used their perch in the Senate to acquire financial information they used to profit on stock trades. But that’s not why they’re getting hammered. They’re getting hammered over checks. Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have been blasting away for weeks at Perdue and Loeffler for blocking another round of stimulus, and in particular for blocking checks.

And so McConnell bent to political reality, doing what he didn’t want to do in order to keep control of the Senate. But if it was a price he was willing to pay for Kelly and David and control of the Senate, why wouldn’t he pay the same price to keep control of the White House? The option was available to him. Even if Democratic leaders would have preferred to pass the stimulus after the election, their obstruction beforehand would either have been politically untenable or, if held firm, politically suicidal. So McConnell had the option to press the button, and he knew the button would help Trump, yet he didn’t press it. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that McConnell did not want to help Trump win.

Read more …

Six Eyes?!

Japan Gave Key Intel On China’s Uighur Crackdown To US and Britain (JT)

Japan provided intelligence to the United States and Britain last year showing evidence of China’s forceful detainment of Muslim Uighur minority on condition of keeping the source confidential, a person close to Japan-U.S. relations said Monday. Based on the information, the United States stepped up criticism against China’s alleged crackdown on Uighurs in the Xinjiang autonomous region, the source said. The move shows Japan has already been sharing key intelligence with partners behind the scenes amid calls within the government to join the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance to better respond to increasing threats by North Korea and China. The intelligence-sharing network involves Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.


Britain joined the United States in pressing Beijing over its crackdown on Uighurs, but Japan has only said it “is closely watching the situation with concern.” Japan seeks to maintain friendly ties with China — its largest trading partner — without hurting relations with its top security ally, the United States. Given that Tokyo’s relations with Beijing had been improving, it was preparing for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit as a state guest in spring 2020, although the planned visit was later postponed after the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Read more …

Interesting to see how this changes after Jan. 20.

Trump Admin Bolsters Order Barring US Investment In Chinese Firms (R.)

The Trump administration on Monday strengthened an executive order barring U.S. investors from buying securities of alleged Chinese military-controlled companies, following disagreement among U.S. agencies about how tough to make the directive. The Treasury Department published guidance clarifying that the executive order, released in November, would apply to investors in exchange-traded funds and index funds as well as subsidiaries of Chinese companies designated as owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The “frequently asked questions” release, posted on the Treasury website on Monday, came after Reuters and other news outlets reported that a debate was raging within the Trump administration over the guidance.


The State Department and the Department of Defense had pushed back against a bid by Treasury Department to water down the executive order, a source said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the announcement “ensures U.S. capital does not contribute to the development and modernization of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) military, intelligence, and security services.” “This should allay concerns that U.S. investors might unknowingly support (Chinese military-controlled companies) via direct, indirect, or other passive investments,” he added. Specifically, some media outlets reported that Treasury was seeking to exclude Chinese companies’ subsidiaries from the scope of the White House directive, which bars new purchases of securities of 35 Chinese companies that Washington alleges are backed by the Chinese military, starting in November 2021.

Read more …

“They can hear the tinkle of their lucrative perquisites shattering in the creases of their temporal lobes.”

In Darkness Visible (Jim Kunstler)

The signals from the political establishment to Donald Trump ring pretty clear now: get thee hence, thou big-bottomed orange menace to order and sanctity! Has ever a president been lonelier at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? Lincoln’s “team of rivals” in the drear winter months of 1864 seem downright chummy in retrospect and, of course, poor Richard Nixon stayed swozzled on scotch whiskey during the darkest nights of Watergate, when he reputedly wandered the West Wing halls conversing with portraits of his predecessors. The other power centers of America, especially the news media, insist that there is no evidence of fraud in the recent election and it’s time to get on with the hallowed ceremonies of transition.

The post-Christmas suspense is killing them. Mr. Trump will not be moved to declare that he lost the election — probably for the excellent reason that he really didn’t, if there had been anything like an honest tally of the ballots. They hear murmurings of martial law and the Insurrection Act, and it all sounds to them like an imperial Nightmare on Elm Street. They can hear the tinkle of their lucrative perquisites shattering in the creases of their temporal lobes. It’s said in the alt.media that the president wishes to exhaust all the formal alternatives before possibly moving onto the novelty steps of contesting this final act of the four-year coup against him, which brings us all the way to January 6, when the electoral college slates are toted up in the House chamber, Vice President Pence presiding. One popular fantasy has the Veep tossing out “certified” votes from states where irregularities were starkest in favor of alt.slates submitted by Republican-majority state legislatures — with Hieronymus Bosch-style Antifa chaos to follow all over the land.

Sounds like a low percentage deal to me, but then… what’s actually at stake here? Not to be too melodramatic, but something kind of like a Manchurian Candidate situation. How okay is it, actually, for Joe Biden, with a record of accepting large sums of money from China’s intel apparatus, to move into the Oval Office, especially after they laid the Covid-19 trip on the world? No problemo, the DNC and its vast network of apparatchiks answer. There’s no evidence of Ol’ Joe colluding for pay!

Read more …

“… and Has Nothing To Do With Trump”

The Threat of Authoritarianism in the US is Very Real (Greenwald)

The lockdowns from the pandemic have ushered in a collapse of small businesses across the U.S. that has only further fortified the power of corporate giants. “Billionaires increased their wealth by more than a quarter (27.5%) at the height of the crisis from April to July, just as millions of people around the world lost their jobs or were struggling to get by on government schemes,” reported The Guardian in September. A study from July told part of the story: The combined wealth of the world’s super-rich reached a new peak during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published by the consulting firm PwC and the Swiss bank UBC on Wednesday. The more than 2,000 billionaires around the world managed to amass fortunes totalling around $10.2 trillion (€8.69 trillion) by July, surpassing the previous record of $8.9 trillion reached in 2017.

Meanwhile, though exact numbers are unknown, “roughly one in five small businesses have closed,” AP notes, adding: “restaurants, bars, beauty shops and other retailers that involve face-to-face contact have been hardest hit at a time when Americans are trying to keep distance from one another.” Employees are now almost completely at the mercy of a handful of corporate giants which are thriving, far more trans-national than with any allegiance to the U.S. A Brookings Institution study this week — entitled “Amazon and Walmart have raked in billions in additional profits during the pandemic, and shared almost none of it with their workers” — found that “the COVID-19 pandemic has generated record profits for America’s biggest companies, as well as immense wealth for their founders and largest shareholders—but next to nothing for workers.”

These COVID “winners” are not the Randian victors in free market capitalism. Quite the contrary, they are the recipients of enormous amounts of largesse from the U.S. Government, which they control through armies of lobbyists and donations and which therefore constantly intervenes in the market for their benefit. This is not free market capitalism rewarding innovative titans, but rather crony capitalism that is abusing the power of the state to crush small competitors, lavish corporate giants with ever more wealth and power, and turn millions of Americans into vassals whose best case scenario is working multiple jobs at low hourly wages with no benefits, few rights, and even fewer options.

[..] What makes this most menacing of all is that the primary beneficiaries of these rapid changes are Silicon Valley giants, at least three of which — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — are now classic monopolies. That the wealth of their primary owners and executives — Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai — has skyrocketed during the pandemic is well-covered, but far more significant is the unprecedented power these companies exert over the dissemination of information and conduct of political debates, to say nothing of the immense data they possess about our lives by virtue of online surveillance.

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