Mar 162022
 
 March 16, 2022  Posted by at 9:42 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Henri Rousseau The sleeping gypsy 1897

 

Ukraine Will Not Join NATO, Says Zelenskiy (G.)
Zelenskiy Says Russia’s Position In Negotiations Becoming ‘More Realistic’ (G.)
West Made A ‘Terrible Mistake’ Letting Putin Annex Crimea: Boris Johnson (F.)
Thirsty Macron Jealous of International Media Fawning Over Zelenskyy (CTH)
World Economy Braces For Supply Chain Chaos As COVID Closes China (ZH)
Saudi Arabia May Accept Yuan Instead Of Dollars For Chinese Oil Sales (JTN)
Safe and Effective? (Malone)
Senate Votes To Repeal CDC’s Mask Mandate For Airline Passengers (JTN)
Several States Mulling Lawsuit To End Biden Mask Mandate On Airlines (JTN)
Dr. Flavio Cadegiani On How Pfizer Corrupts Science (Kirsch)
These 6 Republicans Voted Against Ousting Fauci (DW)
From 15 Days to Two Years (Kelly)
A Closer Look at the Gatekeepers of Medical Research (NBW)

 

 

 

 

Alexa

 

 

The two most powerful people in US politics are well past their best before date. How is that not scary? These shaky fingers are on red hot buttons.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1503798141669285895

 

 

One demand down, two to go. No. 2 is recognition that Crimea is Russian territory. Since Crimeans have voted on this, why contest it? Third is the status of the Donbass. That’s tricky, Putin won’t want to leave any questions over this. And allegedly, Ukraine was planning large scale bloodshed there in early March. Zelensky will have to sell out the Azov batallion. But that could cost him his life.

Ukraine Will Not Join NATO, Says Zelenskiy (G.)

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has acknowledged that Ukraine will not become a Nato member, in a significant concession on a day when Kyiv was pounded by Russian shells and missiles and the invading force tightened its grip on the capital. At least five people were killed in the latest artillery barrage on Kyiv, prompting its city hall to impose a 35-hour curfew from Tuesday night amid further signs that the focus of the Russian campaign has shifted to the destruction of residential areas and civilian infrastructure. Zelenskiy made his remarks about Nato while addressing leaders from the new Joint Expeditionary Force, a UK-led initiative bringing together 10 north Atlantic countries to create a capability for responding rapidly to crises.

“It is clear that Ukraine is not a member of Nato; we understand this,” the Ukrainian president said. “For years we heard about the apparently open door, but have already also heard that we will not enter there, and these are truths and must be acknowledged.” One of Vladimir Putin’s demands before unleashing his offensive on Ukraine was that its membership of Nato should be ruled out indefinitely. However, the size of the invasion force Putin amassed and his own justifications for the attack, have been widely seen as evidence he would have settled for nothing less than regime change and Russia’s unchallenged dominance of its smaller neighbour.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Joe Biden would travel to Europe next week to attend an extraordinary Nato summit on 24 March “to discuss ongoing deterrence and defence efforts” in the face of the Russian invasion, and also join a scheduled European Council summit. There were reports Biden would also visit eastern Europe on the same trip.

 

 

Children Donbass
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503696563230724097

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Zelesky preparing the world for the concessions he’s about to make. Carefully chosen wording.

Zelenskiy Says Russia’s Position In Negotiations Becoming ‘More Realistic’ (G.)

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said he sees possible room for compromise in talks with Russia ahead of a fresh round of discussions, despite Moscow’s stepped up bombardment Kyiv and as fears for the port city of Mariupol deepened. “The meetings continue, and, I am informed, the positions during the negotiations already sound more realistic. But time is still needed for the decisions to be in the interests of Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said in a video address early on Wednesday. “Efforts are still needed, patience is needed,” he said. “Any war ends with an agreement.” Top Ukrainian negotiator, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, said there were “fundamental contradictions” between the two sides but added that “there is certainly room for compromise.”


Another aide to Zelenskiy, Ihor Zhovkva, said the negotiations had become “more constructive” and that Russia had softened its stand by no longer airing its demands that Ukraine surrender. Talks were set to resume via video link on Wednesday. As the war approached its third week and heavy shelling of Ukraine’s cities continued, US president Joe Biden signed off on $13.6bn in aid. Zelenskiy thanked president Joe Biden and “all the friends of Ukraine” for the new support. An update from the Ukraine ministry of defence on Wednesday said the “worst situation remains in the area of Mariupol, where the opponent tries to block the city in the western and eastern outskirts of the city.” It came as the Associated Press reported Russian troops had seized a hospital in Mariupol and took about 500 people hostage during another assault on the southern port city late Tuesday, regional leader Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

 

 

Refugees Donbass
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503765994547855367

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Boris trying to be relevant.

West Made A ‘Terrible Mistake’ Letting Putin Annex Crimea: Boris Johnson (F.)

The West made a “terrible mistake” by letting Russian President Vladimir Putin “get away” with invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea in 2014, wrote the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Telegraph newspaper Monday. He added the West “intensified” economic ties with Russia afterwards and took “more Russian gas than ever before,” leaving it dependent on the “goodwill of Putin” and more exposed to fluctuations in global gas and oil price. Johnson said the West must break its “addiction” to Russian hydrocarbons, which has “emboldened” Putin to invade Ukraine and subject the world to “continuous blackmail.” Johnson acknowledged that it will be “painful” for the world to give up Russia’s vast fossil fuel reserves but said it is the “only way to force Putin to cease his aggression.”


The U.K. has pledged to phase out Russian oil imports by 2023 and the U.S. has banned Russian oil and gas. The European Union, which imports a significant amount of fuel from Russia, has vowed to end its use of Russian hydrocarbons as soon as possible. Green, renewable energy sources “are the quickest and cheapest route to greater energy independence,” Johnson said. “They are invulnerable to Putin’s manipulations.”

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Macron acting a comedian. And it’s actually funny.

Thirsty Macron Jealous of International Media Fawning Over Zelenskyy (CTH)

As the international media fawn over their latest social media star, the “Churchill in a T-shirt”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the former darling of EU media, French President Emmanuel Macron is apparently feeling slighted. Western PR teams have been working diligently to maintain the “better story,” as they advance the beatification of pop star Zelenskyy. The producers and directors for Volodymyr’s scruff and edgy leadership have kept his fans updated on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as Ride of The Valkyries echos as a background theme while team-Z dodge cruise missiles on their way to the local Starbucks. However, all of this unilaterally focused adoration does not sit well with King Macron of Paris.

In an effort to combat the rugged warlike appeal of St. Zelenskyy of Kyiv, the thirsty French president called for immediate poses of him in a series of similarly scruffy press shots. Thanks to social media adoration, Zelenskyy, the modern EU trendsetter, is making beatnik great again. There are already rumors of a run on vintage jeans, sneakers and T-shirts within Brussels, as several NATO leaders dispatch their aides looking for the hot, new and modern authentic war look. A daily series of live-streamed war summits are likely in the works as NATO leadership start catching up to the pop-optics by organizing burning barrels of diesel fuel in the background of their zoom calls. With resources allocated, thirsty Macron is going to climb back on top.

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Ukraine will soon be a small problem. Because this will not.

World Economy Braces For Supply Chain Chaos As COVID Closes China (ZH)

The global economy is in disarray as the war in Ukraine unleashed a commodity shock with increasing risks of stagflation. Adding to the turmoil is an outbreak of COVID-19 in China that may unleash another supply chain crisis. News from China over the last day shows a new outbreak of the highly contagious omicron variant has infected more than 5,000 people, the most since the early days of the pandemic in early 2020. China’s zero-tolerance approach has shuttered factories and placed some 51 million people into some form of lockdown. Lockdowns have forced factories to idle production and risk snarling production from Apple iPhones to Amazon Echo & Alexa devices to Toyota SUVs to smart television to all sorts of other electronic devices. Disruptions to exports may induce shortages and drive up inflation, just as the Federal Reserve embarks on hiking interest rates to control inflation at four-decade highs.

A Bank of America Corp. survey of fund managers published on Tuesday showed confidence in global growth this year is the lowest since July 2008, and stagflation expectations have jumped to a whopping 62% of respondents. “You take all these little paper cuts and you start to add them up and you could be looking at a potential significant slowing of the global economy,” said Jay Bryson, chief economist at Wells Fargo & Co. China’s zero-tolerance policy has reminded us that supply chains are still subjected to massive disruptions. The lockdowns couldn’t come at a worse time, as spring tends to be one of the busiest shipping seasons of the year.

Shenzhen’s 17.5 million residents were placed under lockdown on Sunday. The city resides in Guangdong, a coastal province of southeast China known for its manufacturing hub and ports, which account for about 11% of China’s economy. The province accounted for 23% of China’s shipments in 2021. Bloomberg Economics warns that a prolonged lockdown in Shenzhen could unleash supply chain disruptions worldwide. “The forceful action to contain the worst COVID-19 outbreak since early March will deal a direct hit to the production and consumption sides of a province that accounts for 11% of GDP. Previous steps to contain virus flareups left manufacturing unscathed for the most part. This lockdown will hit output in key industries such as tech and machinery that feed into global supply chains,” Chang Shu, chief economist for Asia, said.

“Given that China is a major global manufacturing hub and one of the most important links in global supply chains, the country’s Covid policy can have notable spillovers to its trading partners’ activity and the global economy,” said Tuuli McCully, head of Asia-Pacific economics at Scotiabank. According to Stephanie Loomis, vice president of International Procurement, the global impact of lockdowns could roil supply chains once more. “If they don’t let any of these guys go to factories and produce goods, then nothing will move,” Loomis said. “It’ll just stop.”

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Biden really pissed off MBS.

Saudi Arabia May Accept Yuan Instead Of Dollars For Chinese Oil Sales (JTN)

Saudi Arabia and China are in discussions to price some oil sales in yuan instead of U.S. dollars in a slap to the Biden administration that would decrease the dominance of the American currency in the international petroleum market, sources told The Wall Street Journal. While Beijing and Riyadh have been in discussions on and off for several years about yuan-priced oil contracts, talks have accelerated recently due to U.S. security policies under President Joe Biden, people familiar with the issue told the newspaper. The Saudis are angry with the United States for not assisting in their intervention in Yemen’s civil war, started by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in 2014. The Kingdom is also upset over the Biden administration’s efforts to enter a nuclear deal with Iran.


Saudi officials also have expressed disapproval over Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. “I don’t know which word to use, whether incompetence, carelessness, bad management — it was all a combination of those things,” Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal told CNBC last year. Saudi Arabia exports 6.2 million barrels of crude oil a day and has traded in dollars exclusively since 1974 when President Richard Nixon struck a deal with the kingdom by guaranteeing security. China buys more than a quarter of all Saudi oil exports, according to the WSJ. If the sales are priced in yuan, it would be a major boost to China’s currency as 80% of all global oil sales are done in dollars. Beijing introduced yuan-priced oil contracts in 2018, but has been unable to successfully beat the dollar in the global oil market.

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“warm base manufacturing”

Safe and Effective? (Malone)

There is another important element in the national vaccine program, which is the requirement to keep the vaccine production facilities up and running. These facilities are producing a biological product; they must be kept in production or the process for re-licensure is onerous, if not impossible. In the case of seasonal flu, one of the justifications for the yearly vaccine is to keep the manufacturing plants running and ready for business in case of a truly severe strain of flu or some other, unknown pathogen become a threat. If those facilities are moth-balled, they can’t be brought back on line quickly. Bet you did not know that. One major reason for pushing annual influenza vaccines is to maintain influenza vaccine manufacturing capacity.

The industry term used is “warm base manufacturing”. Of course, this results in a very nice annual “cash cow” for the vaccine industry, one which gets annually milked for a tidy guaranteed profit. The term “rent seeking behavior” applies. The same is true of the various “biodefense” vaccines and products which are maintained in the “strategic national stockpile”. In the context of Smallpox, these include ACAM2000. These products have half lives, which is to say that even though they are (hopefully) not used, they still have to be replaced every few years. Again, nice predictable profit. The corporation “Emergent Biololutions” has become particularly adept at exploiting this “market opportunity”, and has managed to monopolize many of the biodefense-related vaccines and products which the US Government purchases for the Strategic National Stockpile, including ACAM2000.

So, there is more than one reason to vaccinate the entire population on a regular basis, and the government basically props up the entire vaccine industry with what are functionally major annual subsidies. Once a policy decision is made to acquire a vaccine product or establish a “standard of care” involving a vaccine, it is never re-evaluated. Any politician or government administrator that even considers rethinking whether a vaccine policy makes good sense is confronted by the specter of being blamed for any outbreak or cases of that disease that may arise – regardless of how (in)effective or risky that vaccine product may be.

[..] To bring this topic home: Is avoiding COVID-19/Omicron worth taking the known and unknown risks of serious adverse events? In some age categories, it might be. In most age categories, it is not worth much risk. For young people, it is not worth any risk, and for children, the risks of the Covid vaccine far outweigh the risks of Covid. The US Government had relentlessly promoted that “The vaccines are safe and effective,” the same words used for the modern smallpox vaccine. In both cases, safety is a matter of opinion and semantics – not science. Clearly, safety is relative, such as the precautions one might take when skydiving or riding a motorcycle (e.g., having a second parachute, wearing a helmet) – in order to reach the point that an activity is acceptably safe, all the while knowing it’s safer to just skip the activity.

If I proposed a person drink some potion, and said “This potion is safe, unless you are from a family with a history of heart problems,” few people would want the drink. If I added “Oh yeah, and the Mayo Clinic says the risk of side effects from this potion are too high to justify you drinking it, I’d have even fewer takers. Mandates, which are rigid by definition, seem a bad match for assessments of personal safety, which are, by our nature, flexible and variable. Since the word safe and the idea of safety means different things to different people, such decisions are best left to those who would be most affected by, in this case, vaccination.

The smallpox vaccine shows us what the CDC means when they say something is “safe,” and it isn’t what most people using the word would mean. With risk must come choice. This is the bedrock foundation of modern bioethics and medicine. After all that we have been through over the last two years, and the admission the the CDC has been withholding data from all of us for political reasons and to avoid “vaccine hesitancy” (which is another way of saying if you knew what the data really show you would not accept the product), who are you going to trust? Your own lying eyes and brain, or what the CDC, HHS, legacy media and the “factchecking” industry tell you?

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“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may not even allow the House to vote on the measure.”

Senate Votes To Repeal CDC’s Mask Mandate For Airline Passengers (JTN)

The Senate voted Tuesday to repeal the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 mandate requiring masks on public transportation, including airplanes. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced the resolution that received bipartisan support with a 57 to 40 vote. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican to vote against the measure. Eight Democratic senators voted in support of the resolution: Michael Bennet, Jacky Rosen, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Maggie Hassan, Mark Kelly, Joe Manchin, Kristen Sinema and Jon Tester. The resolution, which was first introduced in February, expresses disapproval of the CDC’s mask mandate.

The resolution still faces significant challenges to become law. It did not receive enough votes to override the veto that President Joe Biden has threatened to do. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may not even allow the House to vote on the measure. “Today, the Senate said enough is enough, and sent a message to unelected government bureaucrats to stop the anti-science, nanny state requirement of travel mask mandates,” Sen. Paul wrote in a press release after the vote. “Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science.’ But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals travelling on public transit and airplanes,” the senator, who is also a doctor, wrote.

Sen. Paul has fought against what he sees as an abuse of power from White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. “As the entire world is learning to live with COVID, the federal government still uses fear mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates, rather than giving clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness,” Paul said. “That is why, I forced this vote, and I applaud the Senate for rejecting this nonsense.”

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“There are a lot of boxes you have to check before you jump on a lawsuit..”

Several States Mulling Lawsuit To End Biden Mask Mandate On Airlines (JTN)

Several states are considering a lawsuit to end one of the Biden administration’s last COVID-19 mandates requiring airline passengers to wear masks, Indiana Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita told Just the News. “We are having discussions about that right now,” Rokita told the Just the News TV show on Real America’s Voice on Tuesday night, saying Florida is taking the lead on the idea. The Transportation Security Administration last Thursday extended its mask mandate on public transportation through April 18 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced relaxed mask guidance at the end of last month.


“I know that several states may be filing very, very soon, maybe being led by the state of Florida,” Rokita told Just the News Editor-in-Chief John Solomon and co-host Amanda Head. Indiana is currently “examining” if they can join the lawsuit, Rokita said. “It’s just not as easy as when I was in Congress, just to jump on a lawsuit like we’re jumping on a bill,” the former congressman said. States must show that they have legal standing and actual injury before joining a lawsuit, the Rokita explained. “There are a lot of boxes you have to check before you jump on a lawsuit,” he added. A group of 16 Republican lawmakers on Monday filed a lawsuit against the CDC for what they said was an “illegal mask mandate for individuals traveling on commercial airlines,” Newsweek reported.

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Flavio Cadegiani is a doctor in Brasilia, capital of Brazil.

“Dr. Cadegiani reveals an astonishing statistic on the number of vaccine injured: 85%.”

Dr. Flavio Cadegiani On How Pfizer Corrupts Science (Kirsch)

Dr. Cadegiani just published a new research paper (“Pfizergate 2.0 – Active actions against competitive anti- COVID drugs? The case of the anti-androgens.”) that shows that there is no rational explanation for the corruption of clinical trial results other than deliberate sabotage by Pfizer to ensure that there are no viable competitors to Pfizer’s products. I interviewed him just minutes before he published the paper. In the video, he talks about Proxalutimide, an anti-androgen drug he tested that is effective against variants prior to Omicron. But his main issue is in the trials of enzalutamide (another anti-androgen) and how it was conducted. At the very end, Dr. Cadegiani reveals an astonishing statistic on the number of vaccine injured: 85%.

 

 

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Rand Paul keeps pushing.

These 6 Republicans Voted Against Ousting Fauci (DW)

Six Republican senators voted against an amendment Tuesday that would eliminate the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) position, which is held by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senators voted on Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s amendment to replace the NIAID with three separate national research institutes on Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C. Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Jerry Moran of Kansas each voted against the amendment. “We’ve learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator-in-chief,’” said Paul when he introduced the amendment Monday, adding, “No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans.”


“This will create accountability and oversight into a taxpayer funded position that has largely abused its power, and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senator continued. Paul and Fauci have repeatedly sparred in Senate hearings over Fauci’s insistence on restricting the American public throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and the Kentucky Republican has called many times for Fauci to be ousted from his position. When Fauci suggested on “CBS This Morning” that Republicans — and former President Donald Trump — have a “misplaced perception about people’s individual right to make a decision that supersedes the societal safety,” Paul said that his comments showed a “casual disregard for what this country was founded upon.”

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“They want people stripped of wealth, isolated, and terrified.”

From 15 Days to Two Years (Kelly)

On Saturday morning, my daughter in college texted me: “I got sent home two years ago today. Feels like a dream.” After I responded, she sent an uncharacteristically brief reply: “Sad.” To say the least. In March 2020, once-free citizens around the world surrendered their liberty and livelihoods in a futile attempt to “stop” a virus. The most technologically advanced civilization in the history of mankind quickly adopted medieval fixes that bordered on quackery, sold by snake oil salesmen in the credentialied class and news media, codified through executive fiat by elected leaders of both parties. “Just 15 days,” we were told on March 16, 2020, “to slow the spread.” Do your part to promote the “common good”—the historical rallying cry of every wannabe despot—or be branded a heartless heretic.

And it worked, far better than the original architects probably anticipated. On the same day my daughter left her college dormitory in upstate New York, not to return to a normal campus life for two years, I posted this on Twitter: This is what the Left wants. They want people stripped of wealth, isolated, and terrified. They want sources of joy—church, sporting events, vacations, large social gatherings—eliminated. This is how they get control. And it’s far scarier than any virus. To say that was a very unpopular view at the time would be an understatement. But having covered the climate change movement for years, I recognized a familiar approach to the spread of COVID-19 hysteria: use flawed data to whip up a public frenzy and shut down all debate in fealty to “science!”

Any disagreement over the data, no matter how unreliable or untested the data happened to be—and in the early months, the only available data came from China—made you a “science denier,” or worse. This time around, sadly, the hysteria wasn’t pushed solely by lefty environmental activists but also by President Donald Trump, Republican governors, and “conservative” influencers throughout the media. Once that buy-in was made, all hope was lost. Trump’s catastrophic decision to acquiesce to the demands of Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx—the former a charlatan, the latter a dunce—and shut down the country two years ago this week was by far the worst moment in his presidency and rivals the worst moment in any presidency. As usual, however, Trump’s first instinct (the one he suppressed to appease those demanding we honor The Science™) was the right one.

The cure should not be worse than the disease, he fretted. He knew it, but he listened to the quacks anyway. The cure, of course, got worse. Emboldened by their success in forcing Trump to authorize the first 15-day shutdown, the then-adored Fauci and Birx took it a step further. With two dubious projection models in hand, the pair went to the White House at the end of March 2020 and convinced Trump to extend the lockdowns another month. The decision sealed his electoral fate; the booming economy he helped build entered a death spiral.

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“..viruses are worth A LOT of money (and will continue to appreciate exponentially for obvious reasons).”

A Closer Look at the Gatekeepers of Medical Research (NBW)

First, it is necessary to understand where the majority of funds go for health research. For this, we’ll rely on an article published in Health Research Policy and Systems titled The 10 largest public and philanthropic funders of health research in the world: what they fund and how they distribute their funds. According to the researchers, in 2013, the National Institute of Health (NIH) granted $4.8 billion dollars towards infectious disease research (including $113 million towards respiratory infections and $2.8 billion to HIV/AIDS research). They also gave grants to research involving cardiovascular disease ($1.9 billion), lung cancer ($208 million) and mental health ($2.1 billion). The European Commission, Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Trust also direct the majority of their grants towards research involving infectious diseases.

A paper published in The Lancet, titled UK investments in global infectious disease research 1997–2010: a case study found that between 1997-2010, virology was the highest funded category of infectious disease research and the largest funders of such research in the UK were the Wellcome Trust (£688 million) and the MRC (£673 million). The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation also direct the majority of their “philanthropical” efforts towards combating infectious diseases, with less than 3% of their budget being directed towards non-communicable disease. So what does all this mean? Well, it means that viruses are worth A LOT of money (and will continue to appreciate exponentially for obvious reasons).

Perhaps this explains why the claim that Sars-Cov-2 doesn’t exist is treated with such ardent censorship and disdain compared to the germ-friendly “lab-leak” theory which has now wormed its way into the mainstream narrative, supported even by those on the more alternative side. Whether true or untrue, what many people fail to consider is the extent to which this theory favours the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, not only does it favour Big Pharma, it favours the WEF hoaxsters by strengthening the “deadly virus” narrative, it favours vaccine manufacturers, it favours virologists, it favours the Western powers, it favours the bankers, it favours Hollywood, it favours the CDC, and it favours the WHO!

The “lab-leak” hypothesis favours just about every organization or group associated with the Covid scamdemic. And let’s not forget that theories of mutant viruses escaping from laboratories certainly favour any researcher who could benefit from the massive amounts of money sloshing around in the kitties of the world’s medical gatekeepers. But who are these gatekeepers who control, direct and manipulate medical research for control and profit? That is the main subject of this article.

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Most of the time they do.

 

 

US biolabs and pathogens
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503682999887581191

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

 

 

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

 

 

 

Feb 062022
 


Giuseppe Arcimboldo Four elements – Air 1566

 

99% of All Covid Prior Infections Resulted in ‘Natural Immunity’ (BN)
Pentagon Responds to Claim of Spiking Post-Vaccine Disease Rates (ET)
This Medical Data From The US DoD Is Explosive (Kirsch)
Strictly Regular Use Of Ivermectin As Prophylaxis For Covid-19 (RG)
Ivermectin, A Potential Anticancer Drug Derived From An Antiparasitic Drug (PMC)
The Power of Protest (Tucker)
Prosecutors Gear Up As GoFundMe ‘Redirects’ Convoy Donations (RT)
Retaking Crimea By Force ‘Impossible’ – Ukraine (RT)
‘Without Russia, We Won’t Stop A Full-on Ukrainian Offensive’ (RT)
Joe Rogan Apologizes As Podcasts Disappear From Spotify (RT)
Joe Rogan Apologizes for Being Joe Rogan, Begs Woke Forgiveness (CTH)
Man Being Devoured By Hungry Sharks Tries Apologizing To Them (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Good speaker

 

 

 

 

Reuters

 

 

Füllmilch

 

 

“..for three different types of important antibodies, about 95% of people with prior infections retained all three..”

99% of All Covid Prior Infections Resulted in ‘Natural Immunity’ (BN)

Johns Hopkins university this week dropped a quiet bombshell of a study that went widely ignored in the mainstream media. Dr. Marty Makary, spearheading a team at Johns Hopkins to do the work that the CDC and NIH refuse to do, showed that 99% of unvaccinated people known to have Covid infections had robust “natural immunity” that did not diminish for at least 650 days. The charts included in the study reveal the story. As you can see, for three different types of important antibodies, about 95% of people with prior infections retained all three. 99% had the anti-RBD positive type of antibody.

Most importantly of all, this is clear indisputable evidence that natural immunity is far more durable than vaccinated immunity: The Covid protection lasted for 650 days with no noticeable decline.

As Becker News reported in October, Dr. Makary was leading a study that would force the CDC and NIH to do their jobs and not merely act as vaccine salesmen. “The NIH should be doing a long-term study of natural immunity instead of torturing thousands of beagle puppies, including cutting their voice box to avoid barking sounds (sick),” he said. “All taxpayer funded. All our health agencies need fresh new leadership.” “My Johns Hopkins research team is leading a long-term study of natural immunity because the NIH and CDC are not doing it,” he added. “They have $50 billion and 30,000 employees and yet can’t seem to conduct one of the most important studies we need done to inform the public.”

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The military is actively trying to tone down the data now.

Pentagon Responds to Claim of Spiking Post-Vaccine Disease Rates (ET)

Three United States military doctors have blown the whistle on documents allegedly from The United States Department of Defense (DoD) that they had access to, which show “skyrocketing rates of disease” since the introduction and mandating of the CCP virus vaccines in armed forces, human rights attorney Leigh Dundas told The Epoch Times. Dundas was recently approached by Dr. Samuel Sigoloff, Special Forces flight surgeon Lt. Col. Peter Chambers, and Aerospace occupational medicine specialist Lt. Col. Theresa Long. They handed documents to Dundas, who appeared recently with attorney Tom Renz in a five-hour hearing organized by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) titled “COVID-19: Second Opinion.” Renz shared some of the numbers related to medical disorders in the U.S. military data with The Epoch Times.

The whistleblowers, who are represented by Renz, gave him the data “under penalty of perjury,” he said during the hearing. Renz intends to submit the information to the courts, he told Johnson. The DoD responded that the DMED (Defense Medical Epidemiology Database) data from 2016 to 2020 that the whistleblowers brought up was erroneous and incomplete, and is currently under review. “DHA’s Armed Forces Surveillance Division (AFSD) conducted a complete review of the data contained in the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) and found that the data was incorrect for the years 2016-2020,” Maj. Charlie Dietz, a spokesperson for the DoD, told The Epoch Times. “DMED is a web-based tool to query de-identified active component personnel and medical event data contained within the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS).

“Comparing the DMED database to the source data contained in DMSS, AFHSD discovered that the total number of medical diagnoses from 2016-2020 that were accessible in DMED represented only a small fraction of actual medical diagnoses for those years. In contrast, the 2021 total number of medical diagnoses were up to date in DMED. Comparison of 2021 to 2016-2020 resulted in the appearance of significant increased occurrence of all medical diagnoses in 2021 because of the under-reported data for 2016-2020. AFHSD has taken DMED offline to identify and correct the root-cause of the data corruption,” Dietz said. Renz responded: “The DoD has claimed that the DMED data from the years 2016-2020 was incorrect. This is absurd.

We spend millions of dollars per year on DMED and people monitoring DMED which is one of the premier epidemiological databases in the world. Accuracy in this database is critical as it is used to monitor for health issues in our troops. “The DoD would have us believe that the DMED database was wrong from 2016-2020 but then magically was corrected in 2021 despite the fact that they had not noticed it was wrong until we pointed it out in our testimony before Senator Johnson. Further, we are asked to believe that in 2020, the year of what they claim to be the greatest pandemic since 1918, and despite the fact that it is documented that the CDC was also watching this database, no one noticed an error of 20 million-plus injury/disease codes per year,” Renz told The Epoch Times.


Ron Johnson letter

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“VAERS is severely under-reported this year relative to other years by at least a factor of 10.”

This Medical Data From The US DoD Is Explosive (Kirsch)

I spoke to a doctor in the military who confirmed the high incidence of vaccine-caused events in his practice. This doctor estimates that 85% of the military has been vaccinated, although the military official total is 93%. The doctor is responsible for thousands of service members and has dozens of significant vaccine injuries that are VAERS reportable (most of which have not been filed). This is a significant adverse event rate of more than 0.75%, i.e., nearly 1 in 100 soldiers are vaccine injured, some very seriously. It’s important to note that the soldiers are tough and don’t want anything on their medical records that could limit their responsibilities. So many simply don’t report severe symptoms. So our .75% vaccine injury rate is likely an underestimate. And remember, this is in a very healthy young population.

This doctor has zero VAERS reportable injuries in nearly two decades. So this suggests that the increased rate of reportable adverse events from these vaccines is far more than 500X. But other physicians I know with larger practices report elevated rates of from 600 to over 20,000 from the shots this year. In short, the number of adverse event reports from these vaccines is off the charts compared to other vaccines. This suggests that the 30X increase in the rate of adverse event reports in VAERS is because the vaccine is dangerous, not from reporting bias. It also suggests that VAERS is severely under-reported this year relative to other years by at least a factor of 10.

The FDA has assumed that VAERS is over-reported compared to previous years by 30, our estimate is that VAERS is under-reported compared to previous years by 30. Note that this estimate (comparing the propensity to report between years) doesn’t change our minimum 41 under-reporting factor estimate for events this year. This doctor had no doubts that the vaccine is causing these injuries. Over and over again, severe reactions (some never seen before in his/her career) all started happening shortly after after the soldier was vaccinated.

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Hospitalization rate was reduced by 100% in strict users. 90% reduction in mortality.

Strictly Regular Use Of Ivermectin As Prophylaxis For Covid-19 (RG)

This is a prospective observational study of the program mention above, that used ivermectin at a dose of 0.2mg/kg/day for two consecutive days, every 15 days. We obtained and analyzed the data regarding the accumulated dose of ivermectin use, in addition to age and comorbidities, to analyze the patterns of reduction of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates, and risk of dying from COVID-19, according to the regularity and amount of ivermectin used in a 5-month period. Following definitions of regularity, we considered as strictly regular subjects that used at least 180mg of ivermectin (180mg = 30 tablets), and as sporadic users subjects that used 60mg (= 10 tablets) or less during the 5-month period.

Comparisons between subjects that did not use ivermectin and these two levels of regularity of ivermectin use were performed. Analysis of the intermediate levels of ivermectin use are present in the supplement appendix of this study. To analyze hospitalization and mortality rates, we utilized the database of COVID-19 infections of all participants, from Itajai and outside. To analyze COVID-19 infection rate and risk of dying from COVID-19 we utilized the Itajai city database. Propensity score matching (PSM) was employed, followed by multivariate adjusted analysis for residual differences (doubly adjusted analysis). Results: Of the 7,345 cases of COVID-19, 3,034 occurred in non-users, 1,627 in sporadic users, and 289 in strict users, while the remaining cases occurred in the intermediate levels of ivermectin use.

Strict users were older (p < 0.0001) and non-significant higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. COVID-19 infection rate was 39% lower among strict users [4.03% infection rate; risk ratio (RR), 0.61; 95% confidence interval (n = 289 in each group for both comparisons; 95%CI), 0.53 – 0.70; p < 0.0001] than in non-users (6.64% infection rate), and non-significant 11% reduction compared to sporadic users (4.54% infection rate) (n = 1,627 in each group; RR, 0.89; 95%CI 0.76 – 1.03; p = 0.11). Hospitalization rate was reduced by 100% in strict users, compared to non-users and to sporadic users, both before and after PSM (RR, 0.00; 95%CI, not applicable; p < 0.0001).

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But…there’s no money in it..

Ivermectin, A Potential Anticancer Drug Derived From An Antiparasitic Drug (PMC)

Since the first report that IVM could reverse tumor multidrug resistance (MDR) in 1996, a few relevant studies have emphasized the potential use of IVM as a new cancer treatment. Despite the large number of related studies, there are still some key issues that have not been resolved. First of all, the specific mechanism of IVM-mediated cytotoxicity in tumor cells is unclear; it may be related to the effect of IVM on various signaling pathways, but it is not very clear overall. Second, IVM seems to induce mixed cell death in tumor cells, which is also a controversial issue. Therefore, this review summarized the latest findings on the anticancer effect of IVM and discussed the mechanism of the inhibition of tumor proliferation and the way that IVM induces tumor programmed cell death to provide a theoretical basis for the use of IVM as a potential anticancer drug.


As the cost of the research and development of new anticancer drugs continues to increase, drug repositioning has become increasingly important. Drug repositioning refers to the development of new drug indications that have been approved for clinical use [28]. For some older drugs that are widely used for their original indications and have clinical data and safety information, drug repositioning allows them to be developed via a cheaper and faster cycle and to be used more effectively in clinical use clinically [29]. Here, we systematically summarized the anticancer effect and mechanism of IVM, which is of great significance for the repositioning of IVM for cancer treatment.

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“What exactly were Fauci, Farrar, and Collins doing the whole of February 2020 instead of examining ways that sick people could get well? Why did they use burner phones?”

The Power of Protest (Tucker)

The great slogan is “living with Covid.” It is an implicit repudiation of everything that has happened for two years. It’s what we should have done along along. But the fanatics took over. The hysterical scream back in 2020 was that the power of the state, backed by media and corporate interests, would somehow make the virus go away. It was always ridiculously unachievable. The attempt unleashed massive abuse against the population, disrupted economies everywhere, and unleashed a tremendous amount of financial corruption that is still going on today. We are nowhere near done with this. Massive restrictions are still in place. Travel is still a disaster. The mask mandate on transportation is as awful as ever. The segregation in D.C., NYC, and Boston is morally repulsive.

Plus, so many lives have been shattered. So many businesses have closed. Public health is in shambles. The demographic disruption has been profound. There are scandals lurking everywhere. What exactly were Fauci, Farrar, and Collins doing the whole of February 2020 instead of examining ways that sick people could get well? Why did they use burner phones? And that article debunking the lab leak in Nature, the one highly criticized later. How did that come about? Mysteries abound about the vaccine trials. And wait until people have a look at the “Emergency Use Approval” documents submitted by the manufacturers. They will discover that the pharma companies never promised much at all. They certainly never said that the vaxx would stop the spread, keep people from being infected, much less end the pandemic. They never said that it would work against variants.

This is only a few of many remarkable shocks that will be pouring out over the coming years. Governments spent many trillions of dollars, most of which ended up in the pockets of well-connected elites in the corporate and banking sectors. The payoffs and graft connected with everything, from testing kits, to masks, to therapeutics will be alarming to behold. And wait until people figure out that all along we might have had solid generics that have a massive effective impact on early treatment. All wars come to an end, but governments rarely think in advance about the exit strategy. Instead, they kill and destroy until exhaustion sets in and then try to sneak away hoping that everyone will just move on. That’s pretty much how things fared with the Iraq War, and the results were devastating for the whole world.

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DeSantis is there too. And Texas.

Prosecutors Gear Up As GoFundMe ‘Redirects’ Convoy Donations (RT)

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Ohio AG Dave Yost have urged citizens who donated to the anti-vaccine mandate ‘Freedom Convoy’ in Canada to come forward, after crowdfunding site GoFundMe seized nearly $8 million in donations. Morrisey says the platform engaged in “deceptive” practices. “In [West Virginia], organizations must not deceive donors and engage in deceptive advertising practices,” Morrisey, a Republican, tweeted on Friday night. “If you’ve been victimized by a deceptive act or practice, let us know!” Ohio’s Dave Yost, also a Republican, issued a similar statement on Saturday morning, instructing duped donors to file a complaint on his website. It is still unclear what kind of legal action, if any, the AGs are preparing to take.


The ‘Freedom Convoy’, a group of truckers who have clogged up roads in the Canadian capital, Ottawa for a week now, had raised $7,964,141, before GoFundMe shut down their fundraiser on Friday. The decision was seemingly made at the behest of Ottawa’s police department, which thanked the company for “listening to our concerns as a City and a police service.” GoFundMe announced that unless donors request refunds, the site will distribute the seven-figure sum to “credible and established charities.” Even though the truckers confirmed that “funds would be used only for participants who traveled to Ottawa to participate in a peaceful protest,” the crowdfunding platform justified its decision by saying that the protest has become an “occupation” of the Canadian capital. Conservatives on both sides of the US/Canada border were outraged.

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“..the areas of the country currently under the control of separatists in eastern Ukraine. According to Danilov, capturing these areas is also impossible by military means..”

Retaking Crimea By Force ‘Impossible’ – Ukraine (RT)

Using the Ukrainian military to retake Crimea from Russia is not a realistic proposition, but it could be an option in the future, the chairman of Kiev’s National Security and Defense Council said on Thursday. Speaking to TV channel 1+1, Aleksey Danilov explained that Ukraine would not simply accept that Crimea is now a part of Russia and stated that the government would “do everything” in its power to take control of the peninsula. “Do we have a strategy to return Crimea militarily? Right now, we have a strategy to return Crimea. Whether it will be the military way, whether it will be any other way, it depends on many factors. As of today, I can say that it is impossible,” Danilov said. “What will happen tomorrow or in a year, we will see. It is not such a simple matter.”


Crimea came under the control of Moscow in 2014, when the peninsula was re-absorbed into Russia, following a referendum. The vote took place a month after the events of the Maidan, when violent street protests toppled Kiev’s democratically elected government. Ukraine, as well as most of the world, considers the referendum illegitimate and views Crimea as illegally occupied by Moscow. The national security official also spoke about the areas of the country currently under the control of separatists in eastern Ukraine. According to Danilov, capturing these areas is also impossible by military means, as it would entail a large number of casualties. Speaking last year, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would work “to help Ukraine solve the problem” of Donbass, but “Crimea is out of the discussion.”

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“Ukraine has blocked almost 90% of the water supplies flowing into Crimea, after the republic joined Russia ..”

‘Without Russia, We Won’t Stop A Full-on Ukrainian Offensive’ (RT)

“It takes time to replace a window. First, they take the measurements and then you have to wait for the window to be made. If we’re talking about just one window, everything will be done more or less fast, but a bulk order, for several families, takes more time to process, coordination takes time. We have had several cases when the customer did not live to receive the promised support. Sometimes, when we finally arrive at an old woman’s house to install a window, it is already too late. She has died, they tell us. It happened on several occasions. Once we were even treated with pastries at a funeral repast.” Vladimir does not attach much importance to the present-day escalation, nor does he believe the status of the Donbass republics is going to change.

He thinks that any offensive, limited to the Donbass – no matter if it comes from Ukraine, or the Donbass republics, or the Russians – will only bring more destruction and take more human lives. “This is an urbanized area, where both conflicting sides spent eight years in the trenches. Debaltsevo was destroyed and, after seven years, it is still in ruins. Why lose more lives, tens of thousands of lives? If Ukraine wins, it will have to address the Crimean issue and the need to restore the Donbass region it has destroyed with its own hands. If the republics get the upper hand, the war will continue, but the frontline will be moved to Mariupol and Slavyansk, instead of Gorlovka and Donetsk,” he says. “Only the Russian peacekeepers can bring this war to a close by launching a massive attack against the rear parts of the Ukrainian armed forces. This is what can help end the war in Donetsk and Gorlovka, in Mariupol and Slavyansk, and in Kharkov, in Odessa, in Kiev.

And this is when Crimea will finally get enough fresh water. [Ukraine has blocked almost 90% of the water supplies flowing into Crimea, after the republic joined Russia – RT.] And I will be able to finally ask this bunch of scum, our public officials – where is the money that was supposed to stop civilian losses? Where has it all gone, I will ask them, and I don’t care if this will make them think that I’m siding with Ukraine.” These people, who fell victim to a geopolitical conflict, do not fool themselves. They do not insist that the path they have chosen is perfect and beyond reproach. The rasputitsa that we witnessed in September 2014 when the first Minsk Protocol was signed, then again in February 2015 with Minsk II, has diverted the Donbass and the rest of Novorossiya from their path of rejoining Russia.

Dirty politics has almost succeeded in confusing millions of people, in persuading them that everything they have gone through – fighting, hardships, friends and family members killed in the war, all the defeats and victories – everything was done for the sake of something entirely different. However, every nation has a special legend they turn to in times of hardships. The Russians of the Donbass are no exception. They go on living in their native land, hoping that this period of rasputitsa triggered by hybrid politics will be over one day, and all the foul and mean things that are happening now will freeze along with the mud of the steppes. And then these people, living in the constant fear that tomorrow may never come for them, will finally get a chance to liberate their towns and themselves. Are they afraid of the “Russian invasion”? No, they are hoping for one. And they call it “humanitarian intervention.”

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Not getting any prettier.

Joe Rogan Apologizes As Podcasts Disappear From Spotify (RT)

More than 70 episodes of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ podcast have vanished from Spotify, as first reported by JRE Missing, a service that monitors the popular podcast. The episodes disappeared this week and feature a variety of guests, from commentator Michael Malice to comedian Tom Segura. News of the pulled episodes comes as Rogan has addressed controversy around his show for the second time in an Instagram video, offering an apology for some past language and jokes highlighted recently by critics calling for the comedian’s widely popular show to be censored or pulled by Spotify. Rogan addressed multiple instances of him using the N-word, as well as another podcast clip that has long been criticized where he appears to compare a black neighborhood he arrived in to the film ‘Planet of the Apes’.


On using the N-word, Rogan revealed he once would use the word “in context,” as in discussing a story or person that involved the word, like comedian Redd Foxx breaking cultural boundaries by using the word on television. Rogan says he knows today that he was wrong in his thinking that ‘context’ mattered. Addressing the ‘Planet of the Apes’ clip, Rogan explained that he acknowledges making a bad joke on the show in question and then recounts what a positive experience he had. “There’s nothing I can do to take that back. I wish I could. Obviously, that’s not possible,” Rogan said. “I certainly wasn’t trying to be racist, and I certainly would never want to offend someone for entertainment with something as stupid as racism.” Rogan ended his statement by saying he hopes this instance is a “teachable moment” to others and offering his “sincerest deepest apologies.” Neither Rogan or Spotify have offered an explanation for the new batch of missing episodes.

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“Joe Rogan stuck the fork in himself – another irrelevant notch on the belt to be forgotten..”

Joe Rogan Apologizes for Being Joe Rogan, Begs Woke Forgiveness (CTH)

This never ends well. Joe Rogan has self-flagellated while treading water in a pool of Alinsky piranhas. This never ends well. Apparently, the Lightbringer for all modern Alinsky tribal followers, Barack Obama, triggered the final thumbs down and threatened the financial mechanism that supported the embattled Mr. Rogan, Spotify Inc. With the twitch of his pinkie ring, Teh One, the bringer of all racial and progressive enlightenment, Barack Obama, forced the ashamed and humiliated Joe Rogan to kneel before the altar of wokeism and apologize for the mortal sin of using the “N” word. Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Rogan assessed his bank account, glanced at the tin cup and used Woke-Insta to profess his sins and beg forgiveness from the leftist tribe. In an effort to avoid his cancellation, Joe Rogan denounced his skin color, renounced his former shameful conduct and announced his new enlightenment.

Rogan predictably declared the oft familiar last ditch effort phrase, “this is a teachable moment.” Quickly, Joe Rogan’s newly subscribed conservative audience was warm to appreciate his humility and offer their forgiveness. However, that tribe is not the Spotify audience who manage the coliseum of his indentured servitude. Despite their protestations to the contrary, the progressive and enlightened woke tribe never relent until they have achieved their goal – the removal of all Joe Rogan flesh and death by ten thousand screaming piranha bites. For the professional and political left, apology is weakness. Weakness must be punished. The Alinsky clan bait their victims with the false promises of forgiveness; if you just cower strongly enough, bend meekly enough, apologize sincerely enough, it will be okay. But forgiveness is never provided, it is never okay.

The millions of dollars that Joe Rogan might be worth to the corporation known as Spotify are irrelevant to the swarm. Indeed, the mob view higher value as a challenge, a new height for the wokeness to achieve. Rogan just bled into the pool of that swarm. There is no exit now. The professional political left does not control media in all forms as a business proposition, for them it is a weapon. Rogan’s financial value to Spotify means naught – his cancellation is only a matter of time and contractual exit. He’s done; another sacrifice on the altar of Wokeism. Joe Rogan stuck the fork in himself – another irrelevant notch on the belt to be forgotten with hundreds, if not thousands, of previous notches. Everything now is simply a formality. We’ve seen this cancellation show too many times to pretend we don’t know how it ends.

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“Look, these creatures charging me with their blood-drenched teeth and soulless black eyes seem reasonable..”

Man Being Devoured By Hungry Sharks Tries Apologizing To Them (BBee)

According to sources, a local man was devoured by several hungry Great White Sharks off the coast of California today after several failed attempts to calm down the murderous creatures by apologizing to them. “Look, these creatures charging me with their blood-drenched teeth and soulless black eyes seem reasonable,” said the man. “I must’ve done something to anger them or hurt their feelings! I should just do the right thing and apologize to them.” “Hey there Mr. Shark!” said the man to one of the creatures chewing through his left leg. “I am deeply sorry for any comments I may have made in the past that were hurtful and damaging to the shark community. This has been a time of learning and growth for me. I’m grateful for you and others like you who have called me to ‘do better.’ I am deeply sorry.”

The shark then chewed off the man’s right leg as well. “I suppose I deserved that,” said the man. “Thank you for holding me accountable.” Sources say the man apologized to the brainless underwater killing machines several times until they devoured the rest of him. The man is survived by his family and friends, all of whom have now disowned him. Medics arrived on the scene to find only half of a severed arm left in the water. The severed arm has been hired by The Daily Wire.

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Now it makes sense

 

 

Blank

 

 

 

 

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

 

Dec 242021
 


Claude Monet Camille Sitting on the Beach at Trouville 1870-71

 

Vaccine Effectiveness Against Infection With Omicron Or Delta (medRxiv)
UK Reveals How Long Boosters Protect From Omicron (RT)
Efficacy And Safety Of Two Neutralising Monoclonal Antibody Therapies (Lancet)
The Mask and the Face (Farrow)
Patriotic Duty My Eye (David Stockman)
If You’ve Had COVID You’re Likely Protected for Life (Mercola)
Ontario List Fluvoxamine As A Covid-19 Treatment To Consider (CTV)
A Myth is Born: How CDC, FDA, and Media Wove a Web of Ivermectin Lies (Resc.)
‘Biden Seems Confused’: CNN Question President’s Cognitive Health (DM)
Fauci et al Withheld Information on China’s Coronavirus Experiments (NW)
US Airlines Cancel Hundreds Of Flights Scheduled For Friday (DM)
Putin Reveals Thinking Behind 2014 Moves In Crimea (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Tyson: 70% of deaths could have been saved with early treatment. I have not lost a single patient (of over 6,000).
https://twitter.com/i/status/1473365779634655234

 

 

When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor. It then searches for vitamin D. If there is an inadequate vitamin D level, they won’t begin to mobilize.

 

 

“..but deaths continue to climb”. That’s what the FT gets from this series of graphs. Good grief.

 

 

 

“This study shows that after three months the vaccine effectiveness of Pfizer & Moderna against Omicron is actually negative. Pfizer customers are 76.5% more likely and Moderna customers are 39.3% more likely to be infected than unvaxxed people. “

“Observational study from Denmark indicates that the mRNA vaccines protect for a few weeks only but then SIGNIFICANTLY AUGMENT Omicron infectivity. Is the immune system actually harmed, creating shot repetition dependency (with unknown long-term safety)?”

Vaccine Effectiveness Against Infection With Omicron Or Delta (medRxiv)

In this brief communication we are showing original research results with early estimates from Danish nationwide databases of vaccine effectiveness (VE) against the novel SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) up to five months after a primary vaccination series with the BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccines. Our study provides evidence of protection against infection with the Omicron variant after completion of a primary vaccination series with the BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccines; in particular, we found a VE against the Omicron variant of 55.2% (95% confidence interval (CI): 23.5 to 73.7%) and 36.7% (95% CI: -69.9 to 76.4%) for the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines, respectively, in the first month after primary vaccination. However, the VE is significantly lower than that against Delta infection and declines rapidly over just a few months. The VE is re-established upon revaccination with the BNT162b2 vaccine (54.6%, 95% CI: 30.4 to 70.4%).


Note the number of cases in this stat:

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10 weeks. That’s it. Leave the needle in.

Or: realize that Omicron is a very mild version of a disease that 99.97% of people already survived, and keep the needle out forever.

Because after 12 weeks (3 months), see above, “Pfizer customers are 76.5% more likely and Moderna customers are 39.3% more likely to be infected than unvaxxed people. ”

UK Reveals How Long Boosters Protect From Omicron (RT)

While Covid-19 booster shots provide more protection against severe disease from the new Omicron variant, even this starts to wane after 10 weeks, the UK Health Security Agency has announced amid talk of post-Christmas lockdowns. The agency’s data on Omicron in comparison to the previously dominant Delta variant of the virus shows that people infected by the new strain may be up to 70% less likely to end up in a hospital, UKHSA Chief Executive Jenny Harries said on Thursday. She called it an “encouraging early signal” but noted that “this is early data and more research is required to confirm these findings.” Health Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the findings, but pointed out that “cases of the variant continue to rise at an extraordinary rate – already surpassing the record daily number in the pandemic.”


“Hospital admissions are increasing, and we cannot risk the NHS [National Health Service] being overwhelmed,” Javid said. Protecting the NHS was the rationale for the original 2020 lockdown, based on the early doomsday models from Professor Neil Ferguson at Imperial College in London. Addressing widespread speculation about new restrictions coming after the holidays, Javid said it was “still too early” to tell and that the government was continuing to “monitor the data hour by hour.” He urged Britons to “please stay cautious this Christmas and get your booster as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.” “While two doses of the vaccine aren’t enough, we know boosters offer significant protection against the variant and early evidence suggests this strain may be less severe than Delta,” the minister said. However, UKHSA data noted that the booster efficacy begins to wane more quickly against Omicron, and is already 15-25% lower after just 10 weeks.

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Hmm. Panacea?

Efficacy And Safety Of Two Neutralising Monoclonal Antibody Therapies (Lancet)

Findings Between Dec 16, 2020, and March 1, 2021, 546 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to sotrovimab (n=184), BRII-196 plus BRII-198 (n=183), or placebo (n=179), of whom 536 received part or all of their assigned study drug (sotrovimab n=182, BRII-196 plus BRII-198 n=176, or placebo n=178; median age of 60 years [IQR 50–72], 228 [43%] patients were female and 308 [57%] were male). At this point, enrolment was halted on the basis of the interim futility analysis. At day 5, neither the sotrovimab group nor the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group had significantly higher odds of more favourable outcomes than the placebo group on either the pulmonary scale (adjusted odds ratio sotrovimab 1·07 [95% CI 0·74–1·56]; BRII-196 plus BRII-198 0·98 [95% CI 0·67–1·43]) or the pulmonary-plus complications scale (sotrovimab 1·08 [0·74–1·58]; BRII-196 plus BRII-198 1·00 [0·68–1·46]).

By day 90, sustained clinical recovery was seen in 151 (85%) patients in the placebo group compared with 160 (88%) in the sotrovimab group (adjusted rate ratio 1·12 [95% CI 0·91–1·37]) and 155 (88%) in the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group (1·08 [0·88–1·32]). The composite safety outcome up to day 90 was met by 48 (27%) patients in the placebo group, 42 (23%) in the sotrovimab group, and 45 (26%) in the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group. 13 (7%) patients in the placebo group, 14 (8%) in the sotrovimab group, and 15 (9%) in the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group died up to day 90.

Interpretation Neither sotrovimab nor BRII-196 plus BRII-198 showed efficacy for improving clinical outcomes among adults hospitalised with COVID-19.

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Douglas Bryce Farrow, Professor of Theology and Ethics, McGill, Montréal.

“Yet here we are: masked, isolated, feastless and party-less, sent back online to begin winter term, because this response to COVID has proved the abject failure that honest scientists warned from the outset it would be.”

The Mask and the Face (Farrow)

Dear […] Thank you for responding on behalf of the provost, and for passing on the congratulatory letter to our students from the city’s director of Public Health. As you know, in any McGill communication I receive, I don’t read past the point where it begins offering me unsolicited medical advice, which is beyond the university’s competence and which I have made clear I regard as a form of harassment. But this letter, being from an external bureaucrat, I read through with some interest. I was struck by this line: “La vaccination demeure le geste civique le plus efficace pour préserver nos acquis de cet automne.” “Vaccination remains the most effective civic gesture to preserve our achievements this autumn.” What remarkable transparency and simplicity!

Vaccination—or, more accurately, an experimental injection with lipid nanoparticles of uncertain and possibly toxic effect on bodily tissues, used as a delivery system for genetic instructions designed to reprogram certain cells so as to cause them to produce an unknown quantity of a spike-protein pathogen with equally uncertain, but certainly dangerous, effects on the immune system and on other crucial systems, circulatory, nervous, reproductive, etc.—has, mirabile dictu, become le geste civique. Then again, what else could it become? For plainly it has not become a means of prevention of the spread of a coronavirus, even allowing (as I do not) that preventing spread is a rational and achievable goal. The latest iteration of the virus appears, if anything, to prefer the vaccinated.

Isn’t that convenient? Omicron is highly transmissible but not very severe, so according to the new definition of a “pandemic,” onwards and upwards with pandemic measures! Perhaps the achievement of which Dre. Drouin speaks, then, is merely that of putting the first two needles in every arm, as a prelude to the many more that are to come? With your help, she’s certainly done well with that. Yet here we are: masked, isolated, feastless and party-less, sent back online to begin winter term, because this response to COVID has proved the abject failure that honest scientists warned from the outset it would be. The Great Reset—sorry, the dangerous pandemic—rolls on, with no end in sight. One of your administrative colleagues at a nearby university told some of her professorial charges, who had expressed concern about the psychological and pedagogical well-being of their students, to expect three or four more years of this. I hope there will be some annual variation in the congratulatory note, particularly as the needle count rises and morale drops still more precipitously.

COVID vaccination was always primarily a civic gesture, of course, for it was never medically justified or justifiable for the majority of people, especially young people like our students. That this gesture has been elicited from the latter by manipulation, censorship, bullying and in some sectors coercion, not only of adults but now even of young children, requires one to ask what sort of gesture it really is and what kind of civic life it points toward. So does the fact that, together with associated policies such as lockdowns and denials of early treatment, it has plainly done far more harm than good. You do know, I trust, that in far too many cases the harm was permanent or fatal. That (as FOIA requests have confirmed) is something that was known to Pfizer from early days, and to the regulatory agencies by, at the latest, three months into the rollout.

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The death rate last week of 1.64 per million was down by a god-is-apparently-smiling 91%

Patriotic Duty My Eye (David Stockman)

Rough Rider Teddy must be rolling in his grave as he looks down upon these poseurs gathered in the Roosevelt room. For crying out loud, every one of them is double vaxxed and totally boosted. And they have issued orders to force the same upon more than 130 million of their countrymen—allegedly to prevent the latter from becoming walking vectors of disease and killers of their neighbors. Yet if the Vaxx is actually a spread stopper, why do they sit there in their masks? What’s the need to protect Biden from Fauci when the sainted doctor is armed to the teeth with vaxxed-in antibodies? And why is Biden festooned with the medical equivalent of Depends when he’s already got the accident-prevention protection of the Vaxx?

Or does he? That is to say, if it doesn’t work to stop the spread, the benefit is only private and not public and hence there is no earthly reason for mandating it against the will of millions of citizens who fear that the risks outweigh the benefits. And if it does stop the spread—despite the manifest evidence to the contrary—-why all the face mask virtue signalling on live TV? In short, this “photo op” is worth a thousand words. It’s a live action illustration of what’s been wrong since the beginning in March 2020. Namely, the predicate that one-size-fits all social control mechanisms—lockdowns, closures, distancing, masking, vaxxing—must be preemptively and harshly employed by arms of the state in order to stop the spread of an aerosolized airborne virus which cannot be seen and cannot be stopped.

Indeed, the latest argument for mandatory vaxxing—-that it prevents not transmission and infection but just a serious course of the disease—makes the picture patently absurd. What are these cats afraid of then? The real contagion at loose in the world—especially among the western nations which noisily congratulate themselves as model liberal democracies to be emulated by the more benighted nations inhabiting the purported darker corners of the planet—is a virulent outbreak of statist authoritarianism. That is, a definitely not Black Plague virus of the type that has challenged mankind o’er the ages has become a universal excuse for the wholesale cancellation of civil liberties and property rights like never before—even in times of world war.

Take the pathetic case of the United Kingdom. It is governed by a Conservative Party that’s traitorous to the cause of liberty and led by an unkempt Donald Trump wanna be who has assaulted the essence of liberal democracy to such a sweeping extent that his most authoritarian predecessors (i.e. Winston Churchill, among others) scarcely dreamed of it and the Donald himself couldn’t hold a candle to it. BoJo, in fact, is right now hauling out all the tools of public health authoritarianism in response to what amounts to a run-of-the-mill winter flu among the British population. And that latter proposition is not debatable. Not when you compare the peak January data, when virtually no one was vaccinated compared to 80% of adult Brits today, with the 7-day rolling averages through last week. Thus,

The case rate last week was 1,138 per million or 30% higher than the 875 per million recorded at the January 2021 peaks, but–
The death rate last week of 1.64 per million was down by a god-is-apparently-smiling 91% compared to the 18.21 rate at the January 2021 peak.

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“..immune memory to many viruses and vaccines is stable over decades, if not for a lifetime.”

If You’ve Had COVID You’re Likely Protected for Life (Mercola)

If you’ve had COVID-19, even a mild case, major congratulations to you as you’ve more than likely got long-term immunity, according to a team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine. In fact, you’re likely to be immune for life, as is the case with recovery from many infectious agents — once you’ve had the disease and recovered, you’re immune, most likely for life. The evidence is strong and promising, and should be welcome and comforting news to a public that has spent the last year, 2020, in a panic over SARS-CoV-2. Increasingly evidence is showing that long-lasting immunity exists. Seasonal coronaviruses, some of which cause common colds, yield only short-lived protective immunity, with reinfections occurring six to 12 months after the previous infection.

Early data on SARS-CoV-2 also found that antibody titers declined rapidly in the first months after recovery from COVID-19, leading some to speculate that protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 may also be short-lived. Senior author of the study, Ali Ellebedy, Ph.D., an associate professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, pointed out that this assumption is flawed, stating in a news release: “Last fall, there were reports that antibodies waned quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived. But that’s a misinterpretation of the data. It’s normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don’t go down to zero; they plateau.”

The researchers found a biphasic pattern of antibody concentrations against SARS-CoV-2, in which high antibody concentrations were found in the acute immune response that occurred at the time of initial infection. The antibodies declined in the first months after infection, as should be expected, then leveled off to about 10% to 20% of the maximum concentration detected. In a commentary on the study, Andreas Radbruch and Hyun-Dong Chang of the German Rheumatism Research Centre Berlin explained: “This is consistent with the expectation that 10–20% of the plasma cells in an acute immune reaction become memory plasma cells, and is a clear indication of a shift from antibody production by short-lived plasma cells to antibody production by memory plasma cells. This is not unexpected, given that immune memory to many viruses and vaccines is stable over decades, if not for a lifetime.”

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Add to the list.

Ontario List Fluvoxamine As A Covid-19 Treatment To Consider (CTV)

Ontario has become the first province to list an inexpensive and well-known antidepressant as a treatment doctors can “consider” for patients with a mild COVID-19 infection in a bid to keep them out of hospital. In the science table listing on Wednesday, a panel indicated that the drug fluvoxamine can be considered and prescribed to patients with a mild case who are at risk of having more severe symptoms. Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that is typically used to treat depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. “Right now, we’re in a really unprecedented wave of Omicron and we have just a staggering number of patients getting infected,” Dr. Menaka Pai, associate professor of medicine at McMaster University and co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, told CTV News.


“Our goal is to keep them safe, to keep them out of hospital and also to preserve our scarcest resource, which I would say is our hospital beds.” The drug costs a little more than a dollar a day and would be taken for 15 days, starting with a small dose. In comparison, the antivirals medicines from Pfizer and Merck cost nearly $1,000 dollars per patient. Studies have shown that the drug can cut hospital admissions due to COVID-19 by up to 30 per cent. “When you look at all that data together, it is very likely that fluvoxamine prevents hospitalization in patients with mild COVID-19,” Pai said. “So patients who are not yet on oxygen, and if our goal in this wave of the pandemic is to stop patients with COVID from ending up in those scarce hospital beds, then that I think is a very important finding, indeed.”

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“A fixture on the WHO’s list of 100 essential medicines all hospital systems are recommended to carry..”

A Myth is Born: How CDC, FDA, and Media Wove a Web of Ivermectin Lies (Resc.)

When a Texas cattleman, seventy-nine, died last September in New Mexico after contracting covid, his family never anticipated the worldwide headlines that would ensue. In a ballyhooed press conference, New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, the state’s top health chief, announced New Mexico’s first ivermectin “overdose,” soon adding a second fatality allegedly from “ivermectin toxicity.” Now, Scrase has acknowledged that his repeated, what he called “offhand,” assertions were groundless. Two deaths were not caused by ivermectin, a long-used generic drug that was emerging as a covid treatment. Instead, he said that the pair died because they “actually just delayed their care with covid.” That is a big difference.

Scrase backpedaled on December 1 in a little-noticed online press briefing and only after we pressed his agency to provide evidence for its claims of so-called “ivermectin deaths.” Officials had repeatedly said they were awaiting a toxicology report on the cattleman’s death. Yet we learned that the report was never even ordered or done, and, moreover, the man’s death was ruled by the state’s coroner as being from “natural” causes. Not a single media outlet reported Scrase’s admission, even as dozens, including the The Hill and The New York Times, had eagerly covered his original assertions about ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015. “I don’t want more people to die,” read one early headline, quoting Scrase. “It’s the wrong medicine for something really serious,” Scrase said in the Times article.

Doctors, scientists, and toxicologists worldwide were puzzled by the assertions, because ivermectin is an extraordinarily safe, FDA-approved drug. A fixture on the WHO’s list of 100 essential medicines all hospital systems are recommended to carry, nearly four billion doses have been given in four decades. New Mexico became a key player in a broad pattern of governmental deception late last summer to portray ivermectin as dangerous, in tandem with three related developments. Research strongly supported the drug’s efficacy against covid; prescriptions were soaring; and public health officials were single-mindedly focused not on treatment but on vaccination.

We previously reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s tweeted warning last August against using ivermectin meant for livestock was prompted by incorrect—and unverified—information from Mississippi. Health officials there had posted an alert suggesting the state’s poison control center was deluged with hundreds of calls over ingestion of livestock ivermectin; in reality, we found, four reports were received. But, fueled by bits of contorted evidence like this, the anti-ivermectin train was unstoppable. We have now learned that, in the rush to bury a drug described as “astonishingly safe” and long used globally to quell animal and human parasites, FDA was not alone.

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CNN turns on Biden?!

‘Biden Seems Confused’: CNN Question President’s Cognitive Health (DM)

A CNN correspondent said Wednesday that Joe Biden ‘seemed confused’ in his ABC News interview earlier this week, when the president appeared to mix up COVID-19 at-home tests and antiviral pills. Biden, 79, spoke to ABC’s David Muir for 20 minutes in an interview that aired on Wednesday and defended his administration against criticism of its handling of the pandemic and readiness for the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, but also admitting that there were certain mistakes made. When asked about complaints that the lines to get tested for COVID-19 were excessive, with waits of over five hours in New York City as one example, Biden said that 500 million at-home tests had been ordered.

But several times he referred to the tests as ‘pills’ – potentially thinking of the Pfizer antiviral pills, which were federally approved on the same day. ‘Repeatedly throughout this interview – President Biden seems confused and was confusing the half a billion tests that they’ve ordered with a half a billion pills,’ said Jeff Zeleny, CNN’s chief national affairs correspondent. ‘Of course, pills were in the news today with the Pfizer approval of the anti-viral, so he corrected himself, but that was one thing that stuck out to me.’ Zeleny, appearing on Wolf Blitzer’s show on Wednesday afternoon, accused Biden of ‘really not accepting any responsibility’ for the lack of testing. Biden, asked whether the administration should not have seen Omicron coming and prepared accordingly, said ‘nobody saw it coming’.

Defiant, the president said they were doing the best they could. Zeleny said it was not enough. ‘Simply, this administration, and the president leading the charge here, really not accepting any responsibility at all for this lack of testing,’ Zeleny said. ‘We’ve seen these images across the country, long lines, just the inability to get tests. ‘And yes, Omicron came on very quickly here, but it has been almost a month since Thanksgiving where they knew this was coming. ‘So he said he wishes he could have acted faster, and then explains why he didn’t.’

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And Newsweek turns too…

Fauci et al Withheld Information on China’s Coronavirus Experiments (NW)

The NIH fought for more than a year to keep details about the EcoHealth grant under wraps. The 528 pages of proposals, conditions, emails, and progress reports revealed that EcoHealth had funded experiments at the WIV that were considerably riskier than the ones previously disclosed. The trouble began in May 2016, when EcoHealth informed the NIH that it wanted to conduct a series of new experiments during the third year of its five-year grant. One proposed producing “chimeras” made from one SARS-like virus and the spike proteins (which the virus uses to infiltrate animal cells) of others, and testing them in “humanized” mice, which had been genetically engineered to have human-like receptors in their lungs, making them better stand-ins for people. When such novel viruses are created, there is always a risk they will turn out to be dangerous pathogens in their own right.

Another risky experiment involved the MERS virus. Although MERS is lethal—it kills 35 percent of those who catch it—it’s not highly transmissible, which is partly why it has claimed fewer than 900 lives so far. EcoHealth wanted to graft the spikes of other related coronaviruses onto MERS to see how that changed its abilities. Both experiments seemed to cross the gain-of-function line. NIH program officers said as much, sending Daszak a letter asking him to explain why he thought they didn’t. In his reply, Daszak argued that because the new spikes being added to the chimeras were more distantly related to SARS and MERS than their original spikes, he didn’t anticipate any enhanced pathogenicity or infectiousness. That was a key distinction that arguably made them exempt from the NIH’s prohibition on gain-of-function experiments.

But, of course, one never knows; as a precaution, he offered that if any of the chimeric viruses began to grow 10 times better than the natural viruses, which would suggest enhanced fitness, EcoHealth would immediately stop all experiments, inform the NIH program officers, and together they’d figure out what to do next. The NIH accepted Daszak’s terms, inserting his suggestions into the grant conditions. Scientists at WIV conducted the experiments in 2018. To their surprise, the SARS-like chimeras quickly grew 10,000 times better than the natural virus, flourishing in the lab’s humanized mice and making them sicker than the original. They had the hallmarks of very dangerous pathogens.

WIV and EcoHealth did not stop the experiment as required. Nor did they let the NIH know what was going on. The results were buried in figure 35 of EcoHealth’s year-four progress report, delivered in April 2018. Did the NIH call Peter Daszak in to explain himself? It did not. There are no signs in the released documents that the NIH even noticed the alarming results. In fact, NIH signaled its enthusiasm for the project by granting EcoHealth a $7.5 million, five-year renewal in 2019. (The Trump administration suspended the grant in 2020, when EcoHealth’s relationship with the WIV came under scrutiny.)

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Because airports over the holidays were not chaotic enough yet..

US Airlines Cancel Hundreds Of Flights Scheduled For Friday (DM)

Hundreds of Christmas Eve flights have been canceled as the fast-spreading Omicron variant takes a toll on flight crews and other workers. Chicago-based United Airlines has canceled at least 120 flights for Friday, while Atlanta-based Delta said it has canceled about 90 and Alaska Airlines said it had canceled 17. United and Delta said they were working to contact passengers so they would not be stranded at airports. ‘The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport,’ United said.


At least one of the airlines is making it clear that COVID is responsible for the cancellations. When accessing a cancelled flight on United’s website, the following message pops up: ‘Your flight is canceled due to an increase in Covid cases limiting crew availability. We’re sorry for disrupting your holiday plans and for the inconvenience.’ Delta said it has ‘exhausted all options and resources — including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying — before canceling around 90 flights for Friday.’ Delta cited potential inclement weather and the impact of the Omicron variant for the cancellations. Notably, American and Alaska had said they would comply with President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for government contractors, while Delta’s CEO had promised to fight the rule.

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“..We were put in a situation where we could not do otherwise..”

Putin Reveals Thinking Behind 2014 Moves In Crimea (RT)

Before the Maidan in 2014, Moscow was happy to work closely with all Ukrainian governments and had no plan to take any action in Crimea. However, this changed when a democratically elected leader was overthrown, the Russian president said on Thursday. Speaking to journalists at his annual end-of-year press conference at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow, Putin said he would have continued working closely with Ukrainian partners if there hadn’t been a “bloody coup d’etat,” in which people were “killed and burned.” The current tension between Russia and Ukraine began following the events of the 2014 Maidan, when violent street protests toppled a democratically elected government. Shortly after the uprising in Kiev, Crimea was reabsorbed into Russia following a referendum. The vast majority of the world considers the vote illegitimate and views the peninsula as illegally occupied by Moscow.


Before the Maidan, reabsorbing Crimea was not even on the cards, the Russian president said. “How could we say no to Sevastopol and Crimea, to the people who live there? How could we not take them under our protection, under our wing? Impossible. We were put in a situation where we could not do otherwise,” Putin said. The president also referred to a decision by the Soviet Union to create the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which saw new borders created inside what was formerly the Russian Empire. According to Putin, those living in Crimea, as well as in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, were not given a choice of which country they belonged to, and many of those locals wished to be Russian. “They created a country which never existed before,” he claimed, suggesting that today’s crises are ripple effects from that decision.

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

 

Apr 142021
 


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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

We will never ever know the real numbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s about your money, not your health.

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

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

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

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

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

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Stay away from Bill.

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

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


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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What comes below fake news on the scale?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

 

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

 

 

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Feb 282021
 
 February 28, 2021  Posted by at 10:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Dome ceiling at the Ambassadors’ Hall in the Royal Alcazar of Seville, Spain 1427 (click to enlarge)

 

Vaccine Passports Are A Technical And Ethical Minefield (FT)
I’ve Had The Covid Jab – And All It Cost Me Was My Freedom (Hitchens )
First Vaccine To Fully Immunize Against Malaria Builds On RNA Tech (AT)
Czech Leader Asks Putin For Sputnik V Vaccine Without EU Certification (RT)
Biden Says US Will ‘Never’ Accept Russia’s Annexation of Crimea (Antiwar)
Putin, Crusaders, & Barbarians (Escobar)
Second Former Aide Accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment (NYP)
The Danger of the Administrative State (AIER)
Can The US Become Self-Sufficient In Rare Earth Materials Again? (F.)
India Targets Climate Activists With the Help of Big Tech (Naomi Klein)
Why Bill Gates Is Now The US Biggest Farmland Owner (NYP)
Unmasking Bitcoin Inventor May Send Cryptomarket Into Tailspin – Coinbase (RT)

 

 

 

 

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
– Virginia Woolf

 

 

Promising title, missed opportunity.

Vaccine Passports Are A Technical And Ethical Minefield (FT)

Vaccine passports are essentially certificates that link proof of vaccination to the identity of the holder, a potential silver bullet to return to our pre-Covid-19 lives. Before the pandemic, the EU was working on plans for cross-border electronic certificates to replace the paper booklets that many travellers carry. At this week’s EU summit some leaders pressed for further steps towards coronavirus passports. A recent Royal Society report that I led came up with 12 different criteria that would need to be satisfied to make such passports feasible. This is a complex ecosystem that requires an understanding of everything from immunity and infection to technology, ethics and behavioural factors. But the underlying question must be: what would a vaccine passport be used for?

The head of Heathrow airport has called for digital health certificates to reboot international travel. Estonia and Iceland already link e-vaccination certificates to travel and exclusion from quarantine. Greece is pressing the EU to move quickly. There are precedents such as the airline industry group Iata’s travel pass initiative. But would these certificates only be required for international travel or could they be needed for getting a job, attending a football match, or buying some milk? Israel recently introduced a green pass heralded as “the first step back to an almost normal life”. It opens entry to gyms, cinemas, hotels and meets some our technical criteria such as verifiable credentials, portability, (attempts at) security for personal data and interoperability. It is valid for six months after a second dose and for “those who have recovered from coronavirus”.

But this could be problematic. Current vaccines protect against severe disease, but we do not yet know whether they stop transmission, how quickly immunity wanes or if they are compromised by emerging variants. Whether someone who has “recovered” meets immunity criteria remains a question. In addition to an expiry date, we would need the ability to revoke a vaccine passport. Israel’s warning of severe punishment for forgery is another reminder of what could go wrong. There is also the question of mission creep. Recall the UK’s early digital contact tracing app, which raised concerns about privacy, government surveillance and private sector data sharing. Or consider the technical problems with the Tawakkalna app, introduced in Saudi Arabia, which is used for entry into many places but recently froze.

All vaccine passports have the potential to block people from essential goods and services and exclude those who lack identification or do not own or cannot afford a smartphone. The RS criteria for a workable vaccine passport included equity, ethics and non-discrimination. That means we must ask who would we exclude? There is higher vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minorities and the jabs are being rolled out by age. Plus some people are excluded entirely: children, pregnant women and those with allergies.

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Using popular writers to soften resistance? “I’d tried to fight against it but I lost.”?

I’ve Had The Covid Jab – And All It Cost Me Was My Freedom (Peter Hitchens)

So sorry, Your Majesty, but I have had my first Covid vaccination for wholly selfish reasons. I did not do it for the good of others but for my own convenience. And I will have my second for the same purpose. A very important part of my family now lives abroad and I am deeply tired of not being able to see them. I get the strong sense that any sort of travel, and plenty of other things, will be impossible if I don’t have the necessary vaccine certificate. I hope it becomes known as the Blair Passport – as it is largely the warmongering Creature’s idea and people will come to hate it, as they have come to hate so many of his actions. So I have been more or less forced to have an immunisation I would not normally have bothered with.

Don’t, if you are wise, dare call me an ‘anti-vaxxer’. I have, in a long life, been injected against tetanus, smallpox, TB, polio, diphtheria and yellow fever. I’m a fiend for preventive medicine and the precautions I take when I’m in malarial areas are so elaborate my companions laugh at them – from swallowing horrible protective medicines to blasting my hotel room with ultra-strength death sprays to exterminate any possible mosquitoes. These are all terrible diseases and I think it’s wise to do this. And if you think Covid is as dangerous as them, I certainly don’t want to put you off the jab. Indeed, I don’t want to put you off in any way. It’s your business, not mine, and not even the Queen’s. I dislike her growing habit of getting involved in politics and I’d feel the same if she supported any cause I liked.

Of course my selfish injection didn’t hurt. I’m a blood donor (so also please don’t call me selfish), used to far bigger needles in my arm, for a lot longer. But I did feel a pang of regret and loss. For me, the vaccination was a gloomy submission to a new world of excessive safety and regulation. I’d tried to fight against it but I lost. The New Jerusalem, in which we allow the state to boss us around even more, in the name of our own good, is now coming into being.

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Now test it properly. Yes, that takes years, we know.

First Vaccine To Fully Immunize Against Malaria Builds On RNA Tech (AT)

Consistently ranked as one of the leading causes of death around the world, malaria doesn’t have an effective vaccine yet. But researchers have invented a promising new blueprint for one — with properties akin to the novel RNA-based vaccine for COVID-19. Making a vaccine for malaria is challenging because its associated parasite, Plasmodium, contains a protein that inhibits production of memory T-cells, which protect against previously encountered pathogens.

If the body can’t generate these cells, a vaccine is ineffective. But scientists recently tried a new approach using an RNA-based platform. Their design circumvented the sneaky protein, allowed the body to produce the needed T-cells and completely immunized against malaria. The patent application for their novel vaccine, which hasn’t yet been tested on humans, was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Feb. 4. “It’s probably the highest level of protection that has been seen in a mouse model,” said Richard Bucala, co-inventor of the new vaccine and a physician and professor at Yale School of Medicine.

The team’s breakthrough could save hundreds of thousands of lives, particularly in developing nations. In 2019 alone, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths worldwide. Of those deaths, 94% were in Africa, with children being the most vulnerable. “It affects societies and populations that have the least amount of resources and expertise to manage these infections well,” Bucala told The Academic Times. “We need new vaccines, and we need more tools.” Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the National Institutes of Health funded the work. GlaxoSmithKline is an assignee on the patent, which if approved, will allow the company to produce the vaccine and make it available to the public.

At present, the only vaccine to prevent malaria is called RTS,S. Approved two years ago, this vaccine is the result of nearly two decades of research, but is only about 30% effective. And after four years, that figure drops to 15%.“It doesn’t work very well,” Bucala said. “And the research studies all have the conclusion that the people who fail to mount a vaccine response, or who get reinfected, have poor memory T-cell responses.”

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“According to data from Johns Hopkins University, its death rate per 100,000 people is currently the worst in the world.”

Czech Leader Asks Putin For Sputnik V Vaccine Without EU Certification (RT)

Czech President Milos Zeman says he has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for a Sputnik V vaccine shipment. Zeman said that Prague won’t insist on EU agency approval for use of the jab. Speaking to CNN Prima News on Saturday, Zeman revealed that the letter to the Russian leader was penned in agreement with the country’s PM Andrej Babis. The Czech leader said that he expects Putin to approve the request. “If I am properly informed, this request will be granted,” he told the channel. Zeman noted that the jab will need to be certified by the local regulator, the State Institute for Drug Control (SUKL), before the Russian vaccine can be rolled out. He added that its seal of approval will be “enough” to launch the vaccination campaign.

Zeman’s statement appears to run contrary to that of his top health official, Jan Blatny, who has been health minister since October, representing Babis’ pro-EU Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO) populist party. Earlier this month, Blatny ruled out the possibility of the Czech Republic importing Sputnik V on his watch unless it is first greenlighted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Amid a spike in coronavirus infections, believed to be driven by a new, highly contagious variant, the Czech government extended a state of emergency on Friday, which will now run until March 28. Under the newly extended emergency, the authorities are expected to tighten curbs on the freedom of movement, including the imposition of bans on non-essential travel to other countries.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said the sweeping travel ban will be enforced by the military and the police. The restrictions will also see nurseries and schools for disabled children shut their doors, and people will be banned from leaving their municipalities other than for essential purposes. “We have to do it to prevent a total collapse of our hospitals,” Babis said on Friday, warning that if the lockdown is not properly enforced, “the whole world will watch Bergamo in the Czech Republic.” The country, with a population of 10.7 million, has reported some 1.2 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 20,000 fatalities from the virus. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, its death rate per 100,000 people is currently the worst in the world.

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It makes zero difference. You lost.

Biden Says US Will ‘Never’ Accept Russia’s Annexation of Crimea (Antiwar)

President Biden released a statement on Friday marking the seventh anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea where he said the US will “never” accept Russian sovereignty over the peninsula. “The United States continues to stand with Ukraine and its allies and partners today, as it has from the beginning of this conflict,” Biden said. “The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts.” Left out of Biden’s statement was the reason for the Russian annexation.


In 2014, the US-orchestrated a coup in Ukraine. The largely ethnic Russian population of Crimea rejected the new nationalist anti-Russian government in Kyiv that even had neo-nazis in its midst. Polls after the annexation show the majority of Crimeans were in favor of joining Russia. The Biden family benefited greatly from the coup. Shortly after the change in government, President Biden’s son Hunter landed a high-paying job on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company. President Biden tapped an architect of the Ukraine coup for a high-level position in the State Department. Victoria Nuland, the wife of neoconservative Robert Kagan, is the nominee to be the under secretary of state for political affairs.

Read more …

“Orthodox Christian, thus appealing to swaths of the West; consolidated as major Eurasian power; a military, hypersonic superpower; and boasting unrivaled diplomatic skills, appreciated all across the Global South.”

Putin, Crusaders, & Barbarians (Escobar)

Moscow is painfully aware that the US/NATO “strategy” of containment of Russia is already reaching fever pitch. Again. This past Wednesday, at a very important meeting with the Federal Security Service board, President Putin laid it all out in stark terms: “We are up against the so-called policy of containing Russia. This is not about competition, which is a natural thing for international relations. This is about a consistent and quite aggressive policy aimed at disrupting our development, slowing it down, creating problems along the outer perimeter, triggering domestic instability, undermining the values that unite Russian society, and ultimately to weaken Russia and put it under external control, just the way we are witnessing it transpire in some countries in the post-Soviet space.”

Not without a touch of wickedness, Putin added this was no exaggeration: “In fact, you don’t need to be convinced of this as you yourselves know it perfectly well, perhaps even better than anybody else.” The Kremlin is very much aware “containment” of Russia focuses on its perimeter: Ukraine, Georgia and Central Asia. And the ultimate target remains regime change. Putin’s remarks may also be interpreted as an indirect answer to a section of President Biden’s speech at the Munich Security Conference. According to Biden’s scriptwriters, “Putin seeks to weaken the European project and the NATO alliance because it is much easier for the Kremlin to intimidate individual countries than to negotiate with the united transatlantic community … The Russian authorities want others to think that our system is just as corrupt or even more corrupt.”

A clumsy, direct personal attack against the head of state of a major nuclear power does not exactly qualify as sophisticated diplomacy. At least it glaringly shows how trust between Washington and Moscow is now reduced to less than zero. As much as Biden’s Deep State handlers refuse to see Putin as a worthy negotiating partner, the Kremlin and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already dismissed Washington as “non-agreement capable.” Once again, this is all about sovereignty. The “unfriendly attitude towards Russia,” as Putin defined it, extends to “other independent, sovereign centers of global development.” Read it as mainly China and Iran. All these three sovereign states happen to be categorized as top “threats” by the US National Security Strategy.

Yet Russia is the real nightmare for the Exceptionalists: Orthodox Christian, thus appealing to swaths of the West; consolidated as major Eurasian power; a military, hypersonic superpower; and boasting unrivaled diplomatic skills, appreciated all across the Global South. In contrast, there’s not much left for the deep state except endlessly demonizing both Russia and China to justify a Western military build-up, the “logic” inbuilt in a new strategic concept named NATO 2030: United for a New Era. The experts behind the concept hailed it as an “implicit” response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaring NATO “brain dead.” Well, at least the concept proves Macron was right.

Read more …

Your daily Cuomo drip drip.

Second Former Aide Accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment (NYP)

A second woman has accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, according to a new report. Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former aide to Cuomo, told The New York Times that the governor asked her inappropriate personal questions, told her he was open to relationships with women in their 20s, and left her feeling that he “wanted to sleep with me.” Bennett, who worked as an executive assistant and health-policy adviser, told the Times the interactions took place in the spring, as the coronavirus pandemic flared. Cuomo, 63, never made any physical advances, she said. Still, she described a June meeting in Cuomo’s Albany office, during which he griped about being lonely during the pandemic and whined he “can’t even hug anyone.”

Cuomo, 63, then pressed her: “Who did I last hug,” she said. She tried to dodge the question by saying she missed hugging her parents. “And he was, like, ‘No, I mean like really hugged somebody,’” she said. “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the Times. “And [I] was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.” Bennett, who grew up in Westchester County, is around the same age as Cuomo’s oldest daughters. She said she told the governor how she had once played soccer against one of his girls. When she told Cuomo in May of her experience as a sexual-assault survivor, he seemed fixated by the revelation, she said.

She told a friend via text message: “The way he was repeating, ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,” according to the Times. “It was like he was testing me.” Cuomo told her he was lonely since his relationship celebrity chef Sandra Lee, his girlfriend of 14 years, ended in 2019. He stressed to her that Lee was “out of the picture,” and referred to “wanting a girlfriend, preferably in the Albany area.” “Age doesn’t matter,” he told her, as he asked about her feelings about age differences in relationships — a conversation she told a friend about at the time, in a text reviewed by the Times.

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It’s not just the state. Hospitals often have more managers and administrators than doctors and nurses.

The Danger of the Administrative State (AIER)

The chilling narrative about the growth of the administrative state, which is essentially the regulatory apparatus of the executive branch, is usually confined to specialist professions. The ever-present danger of a slowly expanding and unaccountable apparatus of bureaucrats that threatens to sap the life out of American society and drown it in a sea of paperwork is typically a concern that only keeps policy wonks and lawyers up at night. Although many lawyers probably celebrate this dystopian vision because they benefit from the compliance fees. The regulatory state not only threatens to make society that much slower and dreary with its excessive onslaught of regulation but it also makes us poorer. Robert Samuelson writes for the Washington Post that

“No one really knows by how much, but “there is ample evidence that regulation has expanded and that this expansion has limited economic growth,” as Ted Gayer and Philip Wallach of the Brookings Institution recently wrote. One study estimates that regulation has shaved 0.8 percent off the U.S. annual growth rate, which — if confirmed by other studies — would be huge.” The regulatory state refers to organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and all the other three-letter agencies in Washington, DC. If you would like to see how long the list of agencies is, take a look at the Federal Register, to which there are 455.

That number is absolutely mind-boggling and you don’t need a fancy degree in political science like I have to say that society can function without their oversight. A paper by Peter Strauss at Columbia Law School notes that there are currently over 2 million civilians employed in the federal government alone. He notes that for context, “The first Congress to meet once the Constitution was ratified created a Post Office and Departments of War, Navy, Foreign Affairs, and Treasury, each in unique ways suited to its responsibilities; this new government employed few civil servants to manage all its affairs. The first serious count of federal civilian employees, in 1816, reported that they numbered 4,837.”

The drastic expansion of the administrative state has come at a cost to not only our liberty, which is slowly being eroded by a sea of paperwork and regulations, but it also undermines our democracy. According to Article 1 of the Constitution, the legislative branch or Congress is supposed to be the primary law-making body of our government. That is because if there are bad laws or laws society doesn’t like, we can hold people accountable. However, more and more power has been shifted to the executive branch because of the growth of the administrative state. Even the judicial system is losing power to the administrative state after the establishment of a legal doctrine known as Chevron Deference, which binds the court system to defer to the administrative agency’s interpretation of a rule, not the Constitutional interpretation of a sitting judge.

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These things are dirty.

Can The US Become Self-Sufficient In Rare Earth Materials Again? (F.)

The extraction process involves crushing the ore and milling it into granules, followed by some range of mechanical separation processes which might involve using magnetic sorting, gravity separation, or floatation. This is then usually followed by acid leaching, baking, or a solvent extraction step. This is why we don’t like processing it in the U.S. – it creates toxic wastes which have to be dealt with. Sometimes you get radioactive elements with it, like radium and thorium in the waste streams, which makes it even worse. So when we export it to China for processing, we really are exporting a lot of pollution with it.

China is the largest provider in the world today. It has three major ore deposits in Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, and Shangdong Provinces, as well lower grade deposits mainly in Jianxi, Guangdong, Fujian, and Guanxi Provinces in which the rare earths are adsorbed onto the surface of clay minerals. Though these lower-grade “weathered crust elution deposits” have lower concentrations of the actual rare earth elements, they are easier to extract. Dissolving them in salt water or ammonium sulfate solutions, and then precipitating them out with oxalic acid or ammonium bicarbonate – inexpensive chemicals – does the trick. It is a much less expensive process than extracting from ores, which has given Chinese producers a significant cost advantage.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. led the world in research on rare earths, but by the 1980s funding for the chemistry, separation technology, and processing was reduced. Low-pricing from China made U.S. mining and processing uncompetitive, and the Mountain Pass mine was closed in the 1990s, only to be reopened in 2013 after China restricted supplies. Could the U.S. become self-sufficient again? Bokan Mountain, on Prince of Wales Island in southeastern Alaska, is the site of a project by Nova Scotia-based Ucore Rare Metals. The company is trying to extract dysprosium, terbium, and yttrium over the projected 11 – 15 year life of the mine. From the 1950s – 1970s, the area was the location of a uranium mine, so the contaminated soil and waste rock today mark a Superfund site.

NioCorp. is also trying to develop a mine for rare earths and niobium in Elk Creek, Nebraska. In addition to rare earths, it could be one of the world’s largest sources of niobium, a critical ingredient in high temperature alloys used in jet and rocket engines, as well as in low-temperature superconducting wire. Bear Lodge, in the northeast corner of Wyoming, is another prospective mine development. Lynas Corp. and Texas Mineral Resources Corp. are also building processing plants in the U.S. MP Materials also plans to begin domestic processing in 2022.

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They’re everywhere.

India Targets Climate Activists With the Help of Big Tech (Naomi Klein)

The bank of cameras that camped outside Delhi’s sprawling Tihar jail was the sort of media frenzy you would expect to await a prime minister caught in an embezzlement scandal, or perhaps a Bollywood star caught in the wrong bed. Instead, the cameras were waiting for Disha Ravi, a nature-loving 22-year-old vegan climate activist who against all odds has found herself ensnared in an Orwellian legal saga that includes accusations of sedition, incitement, and involvement in an international conspiracy whose elements include (but are not limited to): Indian farmers in revolt, the global pop star Rihanna, supposed plots against yoga and chai, Sikh separatism, and Greta Thunberg. If you think that sounds far-fetched, well, so did the judge who released Ravi after nine days in jail under police interrogation.

Judge Dharmender Rana was supposed to rule on whether Ravi, one of the founders of the Indian chapter of Fridays For Future, the youth climate group started by Thunberg, should continue to be denied bail. He ruled that there was no reason for bail to be denied, which cleared the way for Ravi’s return to her home in Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore) that night. But the judge also felt the need to go much further, to issue a scathing 18-page ruling on the underlying case that has gripped Indian media for weeks, issuing his own personal verdict on the various explanations provided by the Delhi police for why Ravi had been apprehended in the first place. The police’s evidence against the young climate activist is, he wrote, “scanty and sketchy,” and there is not “even an iota” of proof to support the claims of sedition, incitement, or conspiracy that have been leveled against her and at least two other young activists.

Though the international conspiracy case appears to be falling apart, Ravi’s arrest has spotlighted a different kind of collusion, this one between the increasingly oppressive and anti-democratic Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Silicon Valley companies whose tools and platforms have become the primary means for government forces to incite hatred against vulnerable minorities and critics — and for police to ensnare peaceful activists like Ravi in a high-tech digital web. The case against Ravi and her “co-conspirators” hinges entirely on routine uses of well-known digital tools: WhatsApp groups, a collectively edited Google Doc, a private Zoom meeting, and several high-profile tweets, all of which have been weaponized into key pieces of alleged evidence in a state-sponsored and media-amplified activist hunt.

At the same time, these very tools have been used in a coordinated pro-government messaging campaign to turn public sentiment against the young activists and the movement of farmers they came together to support, often in clear violation of the guardrails social media companies claim to have erected to prevent violent incitement on their platforms.

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Gates is all about money.

Why Bill Gates Is Now The US Biggest Farmland Owner (NYP)

Late last year, Eric O’Keefe was researching a mysterious recent purchase of 14,500 acres of prime Washington state farmland. His magazine, The Land Report, tracks major land transactions and produces an annual list of the 100 biggest US landowners. Sales of more than a thousand acres are “blue-moon events,” O’Keefe noted, so this one stood out. And Eastern Washington has some of the richest, most expensive farmland in the country. But the purchaser of record was a small, obscure company in Louisiana. “That immediately set off alarm bells,” O’Keefe says. He assigned his research team to dig a little deeper. Soon they came back with the answer: The Louisiana company was acting on behalf of Cascade Investment LLC, the secretive investment firm that manages most of the huge fortune belonging to Bill Gates.

O’Keefe knew Gates had been acquiring farmland for years, mostly through various Cascade subsidiaries. The mogul’s holdings include large tracts in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, California, and about a dozen other states. With the Washington state acreage and other recent additions to his portfolio, O’Keefe calculated, Gates now owns at least 242,000 acres of American farmland. “Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, has an alter ego,” O’Keefe wrote: “Farmer Bill, the guy who owns more farmland than anyone else in America.” The Land Report scoop made headlines. Many stories focused on Gates’ longstanding interest in climate change and sustainability and suggested those concerns might be driving the land purchases. Newsweek called him a “sustainable agriculture champion.”

[..] Investment guru Michael Larson, who has worked with Gates since 1994, runs the Washington-based Cascade Investment, as well as supervising the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s nearly $50 billion endowment. “The arrangement is simple,” The Wall Street Journal wrote in a 2014 profile. “Mr. Larson makes money, and Mr. Gates gives it away.” Larson and his team are famously tight-lipped. Cascade employees almost never speak to the press. According to the Journal, they are even discouraged from using Facebook and other social-media platforms. Larson sees to it that Gates’ wealth is sensibly, even conservatively, invested.


He’s the new MacDonald: Bill Gates owns hundreds of thousands of acres across the United States — including 242,000 acres of farmland — making him the country’s top agricultural landholder, according to Eric O’Keefe’s The Land Report. NY Post graphic/Mike Guillen

According to public records, the billionaire’s portfolio includes shares in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, a Coca-Cola bottling company, and the tractor manufacturer Deere & Co., among other non-flashy investments. Larson also makes sure Gates keeps his eggs in a wide variety of baskets. His portfolio is diversified, in other words. And that’s where the land purchases come in. Most of us imagine farmers tilling the soil that has been in their families for generations. But many farmers lease at least some of the land they cultivate. According to Bruce Sherrick, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about 60 percent of row-crop farmland in the Midwest is leased. The landowners can include investors like Gates.


For investors who know what they’re doing, agricultural land offers financial stability in uncertain times. “Farmland has had a remarkably consistent ability to hedge against inflation,” Sherrick says. And it tends to be “negatively correlated” against other investments, he adds: If the stock market is going down, the return on farmland is likely to be going up. But farmland isn’t easy to buy.

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“At bitcoin’s current value, Nakamoto’s fortune could exceed $50 billion..”

Unmasking Bitcoin Inventor May Send Cryptomarket Into Tailspin – Coinbase (RT)

The largest US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which is getting ready to go public, has named bitcoin’s developer, known to the world as Satoshi Nakamoto, as one of the major risks to its business.In its IPO filing sent to the Securities Exchange Commission earlier this week, Coinbase listed Nakamoto, an individual creator or a group of people thought to be behind the creation of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, as one of the recipients of the document. However, the same anonymous inventor could pose a risk to the entire “cryptoeconomy.”


According to the filing, if the identity is revealed or if Nakamoto’s bitcoins are transferred, the prices of the most valued digital coins, bitcoin and ethereum, may deteriorate. The creator, or a group of creators, are believed to hold around 1.1 million bitcoin, which account for around five percent of all bitcoins that can be ever mined. At bitcoin’s current value, Nakamoto’s fortune could exceed $50 billion, making him almost as rich as Chinese entrepreneur and the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma. Since Nakamoto published the white paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’ in 2008, various theories have emerged about his identity. However, little is still known about him.

Read more …

 

 

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Jul 162020
 
 July 16, 2020  Posted by at 7:46 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Utagawa Yoshitoshi Ariko weeps as her boat drifts in the moonlight 1886

 

 

Sometimes I think I can only do this work properly if I’m angry all the time 24/7. But I don’t want to be angry all the time; what kind of life is that? Still, there are days when I just can’t help it. The British intelligence services (please let find another word for that, so as to not insult actually smart people) came out with a couple anti-Putin press releases today, and there we go again.

We can only guess at what they want this time, whether it to keep the UK’s own “RussiaRussia Putin is Hitler” flame alive, or are they seeking to help their US counterparts to rise from the ashes of their fully discredited years-long Orange Man Bad narratives, but boy, is this nauseating. What’s even worse is that people eat it up like candy.

Guys, this is your own highly paid snoops lying to you -along with your government(s)- like there’s no tomorrow, and you’re just sitting there worrying about wearing a face mask next time you go to a store. Know what that makes you? Sheep. I know y’all still know what those look like, and how they behave. So what’s the attraction?

Here’s BIGLY revelation no. 1 per the BBC. Do note the “almost certain” in both pieces, they need an easy way out if the story doesn’t stick. It also means that obviously they’re not at all certain, they’re just making it up.

Russian Hackers Target COVID19 Vaccine Research

Russian hackers are targeting organisations trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine, a group of national security services has warned. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the hackers “almost certainly” operated as “part of Russian intelligence services”. It said the group used malware to try and steal information relating to Covid-19 vaccine development. NCSC director of operations Paul Chichester said it was “despicable”. The hackers are part of a group called APT29, also known as “the Dukes” or “Cozy Bear”.

Some people will remember the name Cozy Bear from Robert Mueller’s failed $40 million “investigation”. Is that why the NCSC put it in? But to the point: Why would Russia hack the UK for vaccine info if and when the UK has no vaccine? Put it another way: what are the odds that UK “intelligence” is not at the same time trying to hack Russia for its own info? Think British scientists are smarter than Russian ones? How much money would you want to put on that?

Everyone is spying on everyone, always have, and today that may require some hacking skills. Big surprise. You leave your backdoor open, someone may try to have a look inside. Same for everyone. Not even the beginning of a newsworthy story; it happens all the time and everywhere. Next.

Next one is even flimsier. This one implies that since Jeremy Corbyn had some papers on the NHS in the last election, RussiaRussia gave them to him. And he’s an anti-semite too. So there. Can anyone explain why Russia would want to interfere in a UK election?

This seems to allege that Putin wanted to help Corbyn win. But is that for the same reason that he wanted to help Corbyn’s ideological twin Donald Trump win? Which we now know he didn’t? Or is it just that Putin the evil mastermind wants to confuse all parties? Given what I see and hear, he needn’t bother; they’re all already confused as can be.

 

UK Says Russia Sought To Interfere In 2019 Election

Dominic Raab’s statement is the first time ministers have admitted that the Kremlin has tried to distort the workings of British democracy – a practice the foreign secretary said was “completely unacceptable”. “On the basis of extensive analysis, the government has concluded that it is almost certain that Russian actors sought to interfere in the 2019 general election through the online amplification of illicitly acquired and leaked government documents,” Raab said in a written statement.

Next. Only days ago, there was this from Britain about a court case concerning the infamous novichok “attack” in Salisbury, in which first former Russian GRU agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and months later two other Brits, ostensibly came in contact with what was called the deadliest nerve agent in the world.

Neither Sergei Skripal nor his daughter Yulia have ever been seen again. There was a vague message from a niece, but that was it. But the story is alive and kicking. And can thus continue to be used. By the media-intelligence cartel.

 

Russian Agents May Have Deliberately Left Bottle Of Novichok In Salisbury

Russian agents may have deliberately discarded a bottle of the deadly nerve agent novichok, used in the assassination attempt of former spy Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury in a bid to undermine UK security, the High Court today heard. The claim was made during a legal challenge by the family of Dawn Sturgess, 44, who died in 2018 after coming into contact with novichok in a fake perfume bottle which her partner had found in a park. The family are embroiled in a High Court action in a bid to get ‘key questions’ asked at Ms Sturgess’ inquest.

[..] According to the Guardian, he also referenced then UK prime minister, Theresa May, in September 2018 in which she said: ‘This chemical weapons attack on our soil was part of a wider pattern of Russian behaviour that persistently seeks to undermine our security and that of our allies around the world.’

[..] ‘The use of novichok in Salisbury was the first aggressive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War,’ said Mr Mansfield in a written case summary. ‘It put hundreds of members of the British public at risk and killed Ms Sturgess. ‘The issue of who was responsible for it is a matter of almost unparalleled public concern. ‘There is no realistic prospect that the two suspects will face a criminal trial in the UK or that the Russian state will carry out a comprehensive investigation, and no public inquiry into these events has been established.

This is the pattern: it’s nothing to do with UK security. The pattern is that both the US and UK use their lack of control over Russia as an excuse and reason to blame Russia for anything they feel like. As five-year old kids would. Robert Mueller, the liar and coward, having failed to produce one shred of evidence against Trump, left two things alive in his final report: empty accusations against Assange, who was muzzled, and against “13 Russians”, who he knew would never contest whatever he said.

And when he was challenged because Concord Management decided to show up with a lawyer, he lost that too. The official line was: “It is no longer in the best interests of justice or the country’s national security” to continue. What a bunch of losers.

And we’re not done. Assange smearer no. 1 and hidden intelligence agent Luke Harding, who invented more smear stories about Julian than anyone on the planet, had this three weeks ago. I kid you not, his point was that Russian intelligence is really really stupid. To prove it, he paints a shining portrait of … US/UK intelligence operation Bellingcat.

This is mainly about the Skripal case again, but of course we also remember their role in the never ever existing chemical attack in Syria by Assad on his own people. Yes, the one where they, the OPCW was involved too, planted the canisters and shot some grueling staged photographs.

 

A Chain Of Stupidity’: The Skripal Case And The Decline Of Russia’s Spy Agencies

Bellingcat revealed the identity of poisoner No 1 in a message on its website. Having unmasked one assassin, it seemed likely that Bellingcat would succeed in identifying Petrov, too. Sure enough, in late September I received an invitation to a press conference. It was to be held in an illustrious location: the Houses of Parliament, in an upstairs committee room, number nine. Its subject was Petrov’s real identity. By the time I arrived, the room was full. I spotted a reporter from the New York Times, Ellen Barry, together with leading representatives from the British and US media. It was hard to escape the conclusion that power in journalism was shifting.


It was moving away from established print titles and towards open-source innovators. The new hero of journalism was no longer a grizzled investigator burning shoe leather, à la All the President’s Men, but a pasty-looking kid in front of a MacBook Air. Higgins and Grozev were there, as well as a Conservative MP, Bob Seely. I found a spot on a bench and sat down. The mood was expectant. Seely set the scene. He described Bellingcat as a “truly remarkable group of digital detectives”. Their success was due to an explosion of digital technology and a rise in digital activism, he said.

Here’s Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett about Bellingcat:

Bellingcat & Atlantic Council Join To Award Exploited Syrian Child & American Mass Murderer

Is the Atlantic Council some benevolent organization handing out awards to do-gooding people? No. It’s a Washington DC-based think tank, which promulgates lies and propaganda to further imperialist wars and weapons sales, among other things. One of its Syria “experts” is none other than Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins, who recently took to social media to tell people to suck his “big balls,” making him more of a laughing stock than this backgrounder on the man with no qualifications to his title.


Some of the Atlantic Council’s funders include: the US State Department, oil and weapons manufacturing companies, banks, NATO, various nations’ ministries of defence, and the US Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy. Even just based on funding alone, and ignoring their pro-NATO policy papers, the Atlantic Council clearly exists to further the interests of those involved in weapons manufacturing, wars, and oil.

Of course the entire lying fanfare is a direct result of the west failing to capture Crimea from Russia. They lost that one too; they sure lose a lot when engaging with Russia, don’t they? All they end up with is stories. John McCain and Victoria Nuland thought they had it all in their hands, and then it slipped right through.

And from Maidan and Crimea it’s just a skip and a hop to MH17, plus more -and heavy- Bellingcat involvement. This made the news again a week ago.

 

MH17 Disaster: Dutch Take Russia To European Rights Court

Citizens of 10 different countries died on board the Boeing 777 airliner that was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. More than two-thirds of the victims were Dutch nationals. In March, a trial opened in the Netherlands of three Russian and one Ukrainian citizens – still at large – for the murder of 298 people on board the plane. They are all linked to the pro-Moscow separatists. The trial, in a court near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, is expected to last for months.


In a statement, the Dutch foreign ministry said the government “decided to bring Russia before the European Court of Human Rights for its role in the downing of Flight MH17”. It said that “by taking this course of action the government is offering maximum support” to individual cases already brought against Russia by victims’ families. “Achieving justice for 298 victims of the downing of Flight MH17 is and will remain the government’s highest priority,” said Mr Blok. “By taking this step today… we are moving closer to this goal,” he added.

Now, I have some interest in this, because I was born in Holland and still have the passport. But from what I can see, this is just yet another western intelligence story. I don’t know what happened with MH17, but I’m pretty sure the Dutch government doesn’t know either, or if they do they’re not telling. And my skepticism isn’t even based on pieces like this from Eric Zuesse two weeks ago (but do read it!).

 

Netherlands ‘Justice’ Is Totally Corrupt: MH17 Case as Example

[..] when Ukraine’s Government authorized Holland’s Government to investigate and rule on what caused the MH17 to be shot down, Holland’s Government signed onto a secret agreement with Ukraine’s Government that included a provision allowing Ukraine’s Government to block and prevent any finding from being issued that would implicate Ukraine’s Government in having shot it down. Holland’s Government violates its own Freedom of Information law by refusing to make public what that secret agreement says.


However, at the time when the existence of the agreement slipped through into mention by a Ukrainian news-site on 8 August 2014, that news-report said “As part of the four-party agreement signed on August 8 between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia [all of which nations are allies of the United States and are cooperating with its new Cold War against Russia], information on the investigation into the disaster Malaysian ‘Boeing-777’ will not be disclosed.”

My skepticism is kind of linked to this, but it’s much older. When the plane was brought down, I noted that then-US VP Joe Biden, as well as the Ukrainian government of newly (US-)installed president Poroshenko, and also Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans, who got a plush job in Brussels out of it, all three declared within hours that Russia “was what did it”.

None could know at the time they made the statement. But it was a few months after the west lost Crimea, and thereby the chance to rid Russia of its only warm water port. And some people didn’t like that one bit. Some people were very unhappy about being outsmarted by Putin. Nuland must have been livid. And Hillary Clinton, and McCain.

Then when the investigation started, something odd happened. 2/3 of all victims -298 in total- were from the Netherlands. Yet the Dutch got to lead the inquest. As I wrote at the time: have you ever seen a crime series, or a murder one, or a movie, where the main victim (afflicted party) gets to lead the investigation into what happened? No, what we always see is someone taking the aggrieved detective aside saying: sorry, you’re too close to this.

And then on top of that, Ukraine, certainly one of the main suspects, since it happened in their territory, got to be part of the investigation. And not just part, as you can see in Zuesse’s piece, they could veto both what would be investigated and what could be communicated about the results. While they could well be the perpetrator!

If you go back to the murder series metaphor, a producer or writer would say: no can do, it lacks all credibility. But they did it. And it was then that I knew no matter what the report would say, it would be literally incredible. It’s 6 years later, and it’s going to take many more years, of posturing, name-calling, threats, accusations, you name it. And nothing will be proven, there will be only claims of proof. Just like in all the other cases I mentioned above. It’s how these things are done.

MH17 has become just another tool in the hands of “intelligence”.

 

 

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Dec 242019
 
 December 24, 2019  Posted by at 10:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  19 Responses »


George N. Barnard Federal picket post near Atlanta, Georgia 1864

 

Impeachment Foot-Dragging Is Proof Dems Have Nothing On Trump (McCaughey)
‘Stop Playing Games’: Graham Warns Pelosi Senate May ‘Strike Back’ (ZH)
Hunter Biden Allegedly Linked To Multiple Criminal Probes (NYP)
US Govt Blew $3 Trillion On Afghanistan, Congress Adds Another Trillion (OP)
Christmas in Flyover Land (Kunstler)
Medical Opinion, Torture and Julian Assange (AIM)
Russia Ready To Share All Info Required By MH17 Crash Investigators (RT)
New Russia-Crimea Rail Link Condemned By EU (BBC)
World ‘Faces 80% Calorie Increase By End Of Century’ (BBC)
For Her Head Cold, Insurer Coughed Up $25,865 (NPR)
‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’ Goodies Hottest Holiday Merch This Xmas (NYP)

 

 

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York.

She has some intriguing arguments: “they are trying to strong-arm McConnell into calling witnesses. Yet they are forgetting that McConnell can’t negotiate away executive privilege. It’s not his to surrender.”

The discussion is far from over.

Impeachment Foot-Dragging Is Proof Dems Have Nothing On Trump (McCaughey)

McConnell is proposing that House Dems and then White House lawyers make their arguments to the senators. The trial could be wrapped up in a couple of weeks, unless senators ≠decide after hearing the arguments that they need to hear witnesses. But Schumer wants more witnesses guaranteed upfront. After 17 witnesses, 8,000 pages of testimony and legal arguments, 106 House staff members working full-time, six high-paid outside lawyers and millions of dollars spent to produce a party-line vote in the House to impeach, Senate Democrats are hankering for another long, drawn-out spectacle. They aren’t outsmarting anyone except themselves. The witnesses they are seeking are unlikely to show up, no matter what political tricks the Democrats try.

Meanwhile, national support for impeachment is steadily falling, and every day Democrats spend on impeachment lessens their chances of unseating Trump in November. Schumer wants four White House officials, including Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton, to testify. But Democrats lost their chance to bring in these witnesses by voting to impeach. Close advisers to any president are protected by executive privilege. That isn’t a Trump invention. Presidents, including George Washington, have said “no” when Congress demanded access to evidence of White House decision-making. President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, was especially aggressive about asserting privilege.

The Constitution creates three equal branches of government, and the president has a duty to protect his branch from congressional overreach. When these two branches clash, the federal courts are the referee. That’s true generally, but House Dems took a shortcut. When Trump refused to provide certain witnesses, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff balked at “a lengthy game of rope-a-dope with the courts.” It was a short-sighted move. Once House Dems voted to impeach, they lost any chance to have the federal courts order Trump’s advisers to appear. The Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that judges cannot interfere in impeachment trials, because the Senate has “the sole power” over them.

In fact, minutes after the vote, federal appeals judges asked Congress to show why its case to compel the testimony of former White House lawyer Don McGahn isn’t abruptly ended because “the articles of impeachment render the case moot.” With the courthouse doors slammed shut on impeachers, they are trying to strong-arm McConnell into calling witnesses. Yet they are forgetting that McConnell can’t negotiate away executive privilege. It’s not his to surrender.

Read more …

The only thing left for Pelosi appears to try and draw it out.

‘Stop Playing Games’: Graham Warns Pelosi Senate May ‘Strike Back’ (ZH)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Monday that the “Constitutional outrage” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “needs to end,” and that if it continues into 2020, “the Senate needs to strike back.” “The Senate will decide how we dispose of this sham created by the house,” Graham tweeted, referring to the impasse created by Pelosi – who is refusing to transmit two articles of impeachment against President Trump until the Senate agrees to her terms. President Trump also had words for Pelosi on Monday after the Speaker called for “fairness” in a Senate trial.

“Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so,” Trump tweeted, adding “She lost Congress once, she will do it again!” Pelosi says she will only transmit the impeachment articles to the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announces the process they will use for Trump’s trial. McConnell has advocated for a similar process to Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment, which included an initial agreement to first hear the case, followed by a vote on whether to call witnesses.

Speaking with “Fox and Friends” on Monday, McConnell said “we’re at an impasse” and “we can’t do anything until the speaker sends the papers over, so everybody enjoy the holidays.” McConnell blasted Pelosi for trying to “tell us how to run the trial.” “Look, what we need to do is to listen to the arguments, have a written questioning period, and then decide whether we need witnesses or not,” McConnell said, adding that some Republican senators “have said, ‘I am thinking of myself as a juror,'” while others believe “the case against President Trump is very thin.” -NBC News

Read more …

Either Joe drops Hunter or the Dems will drop Joe.

Hunter Biden Allegedly Linked To Multiple Criminal Probes (NYP)

Hunter Biden is the subject of multiple criminal investigations related to “fraud, money laundering and a counterfeiting scheme,” it’s claimed in court documents filed Monday in his Arkansas paternity case. The claims were put forward by a Florida-based private-eye firm, D&A Investigations, in Biden’s ongoing case against alleged baby mama Lunden Alexis Roberts, a former Washington, DC, stripper who went by “Dallas.” Soon after the claims were filed, a judge struck the allegations down because they were filed by an “intervener,” according to court papers. Biden filed a motion to strike down the claims, arguing “the notice is filed by a non-party simply to make scandalous allegations in the pending suit to gain some media attention.”

Biden, 49, “is the subject of more than one criminal investigation involving fraud, money laundering and a counterfeiting scheme,” the filing alleges. One of those purported investigations relates to Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company with which Biden held a lucrative board post while his father, Joe, was vice president — drawing allegations of impropriety from Republicans including President Trump. Biden and a group of business associates “established bank and financial accounts with Morgan Stanley … for Burisma Holdings Limited … for the money laundering scheme,” D&A claims, further alleging that the accounts showed an average account value of nearly $6.8 million between March 2014 and December 2015.

Biden and the others — including Devon Archer, John Galanis and Bevan Cooney — allegedly “utilized a counterfeiting scheme to conceal the Morgan Stanley et al Average Account Value,” D&A claims in the papers filed at the Circuit Court of Independence County, Arkansas. The filing additionally alleges that Biden had a hand in a plot including Galanis, Cooney and Archer to rip off Sioux Native Americans to the tune of $60 million through the shady sale of tribal bonds. Galanis, Archer and Cooney were found guilty for their roles in June 2018, following a lengthy trial in Manhattan federal court. In November, Archer’s conviction was overturned by a Manhattan federal judge.

Read more …

In case you were wondering who really rules the USA.

US Govt Blew $3 Trillion On Afghanistan, Congress Adds Another Trillion (OP)

It’s rare that I read something on the Washington Post that I don’t find highly biased, even repugnant. But with their recent article on the Afghanistan Papers, they truly knocked the ball out of the park. The facts they shared should have every American protesting in the streets. Trillions of dollars have been spent on a war that the Pentagon knew was unwinnable all along. More than 2300 American soldiers died there and more than 20,000 have been injured. More than 150,000 Afghanis were killed, many of them civilians, including women and children. And they lied to us constantly. Congress just proved that the truth doesn’t matter, though. A mere 22 hours after the release of this document, the new National Defense Authorization Act that breezed through the House and Senate was signed by the President.

That bill authorized $738 billion in military spending for 2020, actually increasing the budget by $22 billion over previous years. So, how is your representation in Washington, DC working out for you? [..] I know, I know – WaPo. But believe me when I tell you this is something all Americans need to see. This was an article that took three years of legal battles to bring to light. WaPo acquired the documents using the Freedom of Information Act and got more than 2000 pages of insider interviews with “people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.” These documents were originally part of a federal investigation into the “root failures” of the longest conflict in US history – more than 18 years now.

Three presidents, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, have been involved in this ongoing war. It turns out that officials knew the entire time this war was “unwinnable” yet they kept throwing American lives and American money at it.

Read more …

“Pottersville is way more appealing than 99 percent of America’s small towns today, dead as they are.”

Christmas in Flyover Land (Kunstler)

When you get down to it, the sickness at the heart of our nation these days is the result of countless bad choices, large and small, that we’ve made collectively over decades, including the ones made by our elected officialdom. The good news is that we could potentially move in the opposite direction and start making better choices. However deficient and unappetizing you think Mr. Trump is, and how crudely unorthodox his behavior, that equation is what got enough people to vote for him. The strenuous efforts to antagonize him, disable him, and get rid of him by any means necessary — including police-state tactics, bad faith inquisitions, and outright sedition — have prevented the nation as a whole from entertaining a realistic new consensus for making better choices. In fact, it has achieved just the opposite: a near civil war, edition 2.0.

All the people of America, including the flyovers, are responsible for the sad situation we’re in: this failure to reestablish a common culture of values most people can subscribe to and use it to rebuild our towns into places worth caring about. Main Street, as it has come to be, is the physical manifestation of that failure. The businesses that used to occupy the storefronts are gone, except for second-hand stores. Nobody in 1952 would have believed this could happen. And yet, there it is: the desolation is stark and heartbreaking. Even George Bailey’s “nightmare” scene in It’s a Wonderful Life depicts the supposedly evil Pottersville as a very lively place, only programmed for old-fashioned wickedness: gin mills and streetwalkers.

Watch the movie and see for yourself. Pottersville is way more appealing than 99 percent of America’s small towns today, dead as they are. The dynamics that led to this are not hard to understand. The concentration of retail commerce in a very few gigantic corporations was a swindle that the public fell for. Enthralled like little children by the dazzle and gigantism of the big boxes, and the free parking, we allowed ourselves to be played. The excuse was “bargain shopping,” which actually meant we have sent the factories to distant lands and eliminated your jobs, and all the meaning and purpose in your lives — and cheap stuff from Asia is your consolation prize. Enjoy…

Read more …

After Doctors For Assange, it’s high time for Lawyers For Assange. Take the governments involved to court in their own countries.

Medical Opinion, Torture and Julian Assange (AIM)

The medical degrading of Assange has assumed ever greater importance, suggesting unwavering state complicity. On November 22, over 65 notable medical doctors sent the UK Home Secretary a note based on Melzer’s November 1 findings and Assange’s state at the October 21 case management hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court. “It is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care).”

In a second open letter to the UK Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice dated December 4, the Doctors for Assange collective warned that the UK’s “refusal to take the required measures to protect Mr Assange’s rights, health and dignity appears [to] be reckless at best and deliberate at worst and, in both cases, unlawfully and unnecessarily exposes Mr Assange to potentially irreversible risks.” The same grounds were reiterated in a December 16 letter to Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, with a curt reminder that she had “an undeniable legal obligation to protect your citizen against the abuse of his fundamental rights, stemming from US efforts to extradite Mr Assange for journalism and publishing that exposed US war crimes.” In the event that Payne took no action on the matter, “people would want to know what you […] did to prevent his death.”

In the addendum to the open letter, further to reiterating the precarious state of Assange’s health and medical status as a torture victim, the doctors elaborate on the circular cruelty facing the publisher. An individual deemed “a victim of psychological torture cannot be adequately medically treated while continuing to be held under the very conditions constituting psychological torture, as is currently the case for Julian Assange.” Appropriate medical treatment was hardly possible through a prison hospital ward. A lesson in understanding mental torture is also proffered. “Contrary to popular misconception, the injuries caused by psychological torture are real and extremely serious. The term psychological torture is not a synonym for mere hardship, suffering or distress.”

At Assange’s case management hearing on December 19, restrictions on medical opinion were again implemented; psychiatrist Marco Chiesa and psychologist David Morgan were prevented from attending. Both had been signatories to the spray of open letters. According to Morgan, he had hoped to “provide some observations about Julian Assange’s health, psychologically, and with my colleagues, physically.” Instead, it transpired that access was denied, according to psychologist Lissa Johnson, “despite members of the public offering to give up seats for them.”

Read more …

They have been for 5.5 years. But they have already been found guilty before any trial. The “investigators” went with Ukraine and Bellingcat instead, and are now so deeply invested they can’t get out anymore.

Russia Ready To Share All Info Required By MH17 Crash Investigators (RT)

Moscow is poised to give assistance in the investigation of the crash of flight MH17 in 2014, as it always has been, a Russian EU envoy has assured stakeholders, responding to a call for cooperation by the Dutch foreign minister. “We are ready to cooperate in clarifying all the circumstances of the incident,” Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s envoy to the European Union, told media on Monday. In fact, Moscow has always been poised to do so, but its proposals were brushed aside, the diplomat recalled. Moscow is also prepared to hand over “the data we have” to its Dutch counterparts, ahead of a court trial that will look at the evidence collected by the Netherlands-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in March next year, Chizhov said.

The envoy spoke shortly after Stef Blok, the foreign minister of the Netherlands, said Russia’s contribution is needed to find some missing facts about the crash, which killed 298 passengers and crew. The Hague had “asked the Russian Federation to cooperate in a factual investigation into the closing of airspace above and around Ukraine,” Blok wrote to Dutch lawmakers on Sunday. Blok’s letter comes two months after Chris van Dam, spokesman for the MH17 probe, announced the inquiry will focus on why Ukraine’s airspace “was not closed” over Donetsk at the time of intense hostilities between the government military and rebel forces in the breakaway Donbass region.

Back in 2015, a report released by the Dutch Safety Board confirmed that, while it was hard to find out who was behind downing of flight MH17, the airspace over Ukraine should have been closed. Meanwhile, lawyers representing some victims of the crash maintain that it was Ukraine’s responsibility to ensure the safety of civilian air traffic during the fighting. [..] Moscow has consistently said that, despite not being included in the investigation team, it is still open to cooperation. Russia has already provided radar records, declassified military data on a missile thought to have downed the plane, and files proving that the projectile which downed the plane had been in Ukraine since the 1980s – but the data was persistently rejected as the probe proceeded.

Read more …

St Petersburg to Sevastopol: a 43-hour train ride.

New Russia-Crimea Rail Link Condemned By EU (BBC)

President Vladimir Putin has heralded the opening of a railway bridge to the Russian-annexed Crimea peninsula by posing in the driver’s cab and praising construction workers. But opening of the railway was immediately condemned by the European Union as “another violation” by Russia of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory. Russia’s 19km (12-mile) bridge to Crimea first opened in May last year. President Putin marked that occasion by driving a lorry over it. On Monday he asserted that millions of cars had already crossed the bridge and said the rail link “was a big deal as well”, with plans to carry 14 million passengers and 13 million tonnes of freight in 2020. Until the bridge was built, Russia had to rely on sea and air to supply the peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in February 2014 before annexing it through a referendum rejected by the United Nations as invalid.


The $3.6bn (£2.8bn; €3.2bn) bridge was built by a close friend of the president, Arkady Rotenberg. Mr Rotenberg and several of his companies had EU and US sanctions imposed on them. Russia’s president said the Kerch Strait bridge, with its new rail link, would have an impact on Russia’s economy as a whole. In a tweet, the presidency declared the bridge open to railway traffic. Mr Putin boarded a three-carriage train in the Crimean city of Kerch, stood in the cab beside the driver and sounded the horn, before sitting with Mr Rotenberg as well as Russian and local officials as they travelled across the strait to Taman in southern Russia. Mr Putin told construction workers that there had only been three times in 145 years that the rail route from St Petersburg to Sevastopol in Crimea had been broken: during the Russian revolution, during World War Two and in 2014.

Read more …

Some things simply won’t happen because they can’t.

World ‘Faces 80% Calorie Increase By End Of Century’ (BBC)

The amount of food needed to feed the world’s population by the end of the century could increase by almost 80%, a study has suggested. Researchers from Germany said a trend of increasing Body Mass Index (BMI) is resulting in individuals requiring more calories. The authors warn that failure to meet the need for more calories could lead to greater global inequality. The findings have been published in the journal Plos One. The study, carried out by a team from the University of Gottingen, calculated that 60% of the calorie increase would be a result of the growing number of people in the world.


According to the UN World Population Prospects, the global population was estimated to increase from almost seven billion in 2010 to almost 11 billion in 2100. Yet, more that 18% of the increase in the calories from 2010 levels would come from a projected increase in height and weight figures in the global population. “The increase in the average daily required energy rises by 253 kcal per person between 2010 and 2100 in our estimations, assuming a rising BMI and height,” explained co-author Lutz Depenbusch from the World Vegetable Center. He told BBC News: “On a global scale, we calculate that the effect of the BMI and height increases in our model would lead to additional calorie requirements that match the 2010 requirements of India and Nigeria combined.”

Read more …

The system many people claim would be too expensive to repair or replace. Sounds like pretty straightforward fraud to me.

For Her Head Cold, Insurer Coughed Up $25,865 (NPR)

Alexa Kasdan had a cold and a sore throat. The 40-year-old public policy consultant from Brooklyn, N.Y., didn’t want her upcoming vacation trip ruined by strep throat. So after it had lingered for more than a week, she decided to get it checked out. Kasdan visited her primary care physician, Roya Fathollahi, at Manhattan Specialty Care, just off Park Avenue South and not far from tony Gramercy Park. The visit was quick. Kasdan got her throat swabbed, gave a tube of blood and was sent out the door with a prescription for antibiotics. She soon felt better, and the trip went off without a hitch. Then the bill came. The news was that her insurance company was mailing her family a check — for more than $25,000 — to cover some out-of-network lab tests.

The actual bill was $28,395.50, but the doctor’s office said it would waive her portion of the bill: $2,530.26. “I thought it was a mistake,” she says. “I thought maybe they meant $250. I couldn’t fathom in what universe I would go to a doctor for a strep throat culture and some antibiotics and I would end up with a $25,000 bill.” The doctor’s office kept assuring Kasdan by phone and by email that the tests and charges were perfectly normal. The office sent a courier to her house to pick up the check. How could a throat swab possibly cost that much? Let us count three reasons. First, the doctor sent Kasdan’s throat swab for a sophisticated smorgasbord of DNA tests looking for viruses and bacteria that might explain Kasdan’s cold symptoms.

Dr. Ranit Mishori, professor of family medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, says such scrutiny was unnecessary. “In my 20 years of being a doctor, I’ve never ordered any of these tests, let alone seen any of my colleagues, students and other physicians order anything like that in the outpatient setting,” she says. “I have no idea why they were ordered.” The tests might conceivably make sense for a patient in the intensive care unit or with a difficult case of pneumonia, Mishori says. The ones for influenza are potentially useful, since there are medicines that can help, but there’s a cheap rapid test that could have been used instead.

The second reason behind the high price is that the doctor sent the throat swab to an out-of-network lab for analysis. In-network labs settle on contract rates with insurers. But out-of-network labs can set their own prices for tests, and in this case the lab settled on list prices that are 20 times higher than average for other labs in the same ZIP code. In this case, if the doctor had sent the throat swab off to LabCorp -Kasdan’s in-network provider- it would have billed her insurance company about $653 for “all the ordered tests, or an equivalent,” LabCorp told NPR. The third reason for the high bill may be the connection between the lab and Kasdan’s doctor. Kasdan’s bill shows that the lab service was provided by Manhattan Gastroenterology, which has the same phone number and locations as her doctor’s office.

Read more …

A fitting end to the year.

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’ Goodies Hottest Holiday Merch This Xmas (NYP)

It’s the most controversial time of the year. Following the August death of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, a rash of sweaters, Christmas tree ornaments and other holiday goods have appeared on retail sites like Amazon and Etsy touting conspiracies that the 66-year-old was murdered. “Christmas lights are a lot like Epstein — they don’t hang themselves,” reads one $19.80 sweater on Amazon featuring the 66-year-old in a Santa hat. Plenty of ornaments also include the allegation, including this one, which also features a noose.

“During Christmas, an elf may sit on a shelf, but Epstein didn’t kill himself,” says another Amazon sweater, available starting at $29.99 in eight different colors.“Dasher & dancer & prancer & Epstein & didn’t & kill himself & Donner & Blitzen,” reads one $18.99 T-shirt. An almost-classic gingerbread-themed ornament has a naughty box, a nice box — and an “Epstein didn’t kill himself” box, which is checked. “Merry Christmas!” reads the cover of a $6.99 notebook, “Epstein didn’t kill himself.” A ransom-style note sweater with “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself,” is available in designs featuring Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Kim Jong-un.

Read more …

 

 

 

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Dec 082019
 
 December 8, 2019  Posted by at 9:04 pm Finance, Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Saul Leiter 463 1956

 

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev first met in Geneva in 1985, in a summit specifically designed to allow them to discuss diplomatic relations and the -nuclear- arms race. At the time, the Soviet Union had started to crumble, but it was still very much the Soviet Union. They met again in 1986 in Reykjavik, in a summit set up to continue these talks. There, they came close to an agreement to dismantle both countries’ nuclear arsenals.

They met once again in Washington in 1987. That was the year Reagan made his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech about the Berlin wall. Then they held a next summit in 1988 in Moscow, where they finalized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) after the US Senate’s ratification of the treaty in May 1988.

Reagan’s successor George H.W. Bush met with Gorbachev first in December 1989 in Malta, and then the two met three times in 1990, among others in Washington where the Chemical Weapons Accord was signed, and in Paris where they signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. They met three more times in 1991, with one of their meetings, in Moscow, resulting in the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I).

One of the most interesting things agreed on during the Bush-Gorbachev meetings was that Russia would allow Germany to re-unite after the wall came down, in exchange for the promise that NATO would not try to expand eastward.

 

I’ve been re-researching this a bit because it feels like it’s high time that people should realize what US foreign policy was like not that long ago. Even as it involved Reagan and Bush sr., not exactly the peace-mongers of their times. The one thing that was clear to all parties involved is that it was crucial to keep meeting and talking. And talk they did. But look at us now. When was the last summit of a US president with Vladimir Putin?

This came to mind again when I read Elizabeth Warren’s piece in the Guardian today, which made me wonder if she’s for real, if she is really as ignorant as she appears to be when it comes to foreign policy, to Russia, to Trump and to NATO. It would seem that she is, and that makes her a hazard. Not that I see her as a serious candidate, mind you, but then again, I do not see any other one either.

In her article, which reads more than anything like some nostalgic longing for the good old times when she was young, just watch her get all warm and fuzzy over the success of NATO:

 

Donald Trump Has Destroyed American Leadership – I’ll Restore It

For seven decades, America’s strength, security and prosperity have been underpinned by our unmatched network of treaty alliances, cemented in shared democratic values and a recognition of our common security. But after three years of Donald Trump’s insults and antics, our alliances are under enormous strain. The damage done by the president’s hostility toward our closest partners was on full display at this week’s gathering of NATO leaders in London, which should have been an unequivocal celebration of the 70th anniversary of the most successful alliance in history.

The success of NATO was not inevitable, easy or obvious. It is a remarkable and hard-won accomplishment, and one based on a recognition that the United States does not become stronger by weakening our allies. But that is just what Trump has done, repeatedly and deliberately. He treats our partners as burdens while embracing autocrats from Moscow to Pyongyang. He has cast doubt on the US commitment to NATO at a moment when a resurgent Russia threatens our institutions and freedoms. He has blindsided our partners on the ground in Syria by ordering a precipitate and uncoordinated withdrawal.

[..] he has wrecked US credibility by unilaterally tearing up our international agreements on arms control, non-proliferation and climate change. This reckless disregard for the benefits of our alliances comes at a perilous moment, when we face common threats from powerful adversaries probing the weaknesses of our institutions and resolve. Longstanding allies in Asia are doubting our reliability and hedging their bets. Russia’s land grab in Ukraine has upended the post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace”. The chaotic Brexit process has consumed our closest partners, while sluggish growth and rising xenophobia fuel extremist politics and threaten to fracture the European Union.

 

To start with that last point, no. That “post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace” was destroyed by NATO’s eastward expansion, executed in spite of US, EU and NATO promises that it wouldn’t. Moreover, you can talk about a resurgent Russia, but the country has hardly recovered economically from the 1980’s and 90’s today, and it has no designs on countries to its west.

Just look at the military budgets of the respective countries, where Russia has maybe 10% of the expenditure of the US, let alone the rest of NATO, and you get the picture. Is Russia getting more bang for its buck, because it doesn’t have to maintain a long running Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon link? Yes, it does. But a 10 to 1 difference is still way out there. It’s not as if they spend half of what the US does, they spend just 10%.

This is because not only Russia doesn’t have to satisfy the desires and needs of Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon, it’s also because they have no desire to conquer any territory that is not at present Russian.

Russia “annexed” Crimea through fair elections, and it knew that “we” knew that it would never let go of its only warm water port, Sevastopol. When “We” tried to take it away regardless, it did the only thing it could do. And it did it very intelligently. As for Eastern Ukraine, everyone there is Russian, whether by blood or by passport. And there are a lot of strong ties between them and Russians in Russia proper.

If Putin would have volunteered to let these Donbass Russians be shot to bits by the Ukraine neo-nazis that helped the US and EU in the Maidan coup, he would have had either a civil war in Russia, or an all-out war in the Donbass, with perhaps millions of casualties. Putin did what he could to prevent both. Back to Warren:

 

A mounting list of global challenges demand US leadership and collective action. As president, I will recommit to our alliances – diplomatically, militarily and economically. I will take immediate action to rebuild our partnerships and renew American strategic and moral leadership, including by rejoining the Paris climate accord, the United Nations compact on migration, and reaffirming our rock-solid commitment to NATO’s Article 5 provisions.


But we must do more than repair what Trump has broken. Instead we need to update our alliances and our international efforts to tackle the great challenges of our age, from climate change and resurgent authoritarianism to dark money flows, a weakening international arms control regime and the worst human displacement crisis in modern history.

 

Wait, what exactly has Trump broken in the foreign policy field? There have been dozens at the very least who have called for NATO to be disbanded, Ron Paul et al, because its sole purpose was to counter the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. In fact, when Emmanuel Macron labeled NATO “brain-dead” last week, it was Trump who defended the alliance.

And sorry, Elizabeth, but to hold Trump responsible for “the worst human displacement crisis in modern history” is just not right. That started way before he arrived at the scene. Obama and Hillary carry the burden and blame for that, along with Bush jr. and Dick Cheney. They shot the crap out of Iraq, Lybia etc. Trump only dumped a few bombs in a desert. He didn’t invade any country, he didn’t go “We Came, We Saw, He Died”. That was not Trump.

And before we forget, the military aid for Ukraine Trump allegedly held back for a few weeks had been refused by Obama for years. I’ve been wondering for ages now why the Democrats are so eager to make things up while ignoring simple facts, but I think at least it’s time to start pointing out these issues.

This is not to make Trump look better in any sense, but to try and make people understand that he did not start this thing. Though yeah, I know, it’s like talking to a wall by now. The political divide has turned into such a broad and yawning one, you can’t not wonder how it could ever be broached.

But, you know, it might help if people like Elizabeth Warren don’t ONLY talk about Trump like he’s the antichrist, or a Putin tool, if they engage with him in conversation. But sadly, it feels like we’re past that point. Like if she would even try, and I don’t know if she would want to, her party would spit her out just for trying to build a single bridge. Like Tulsi Gabbard seems to have tried; and look at how the DNC treats her.

 

This means revitalizing our state department and charging our diplomats to develop creative solutions for ever more urgent challenges. It means working with like-minded partners to promote our shared interest in sustained, inclusive global economic growth and an international trade system that protects workers and the environment, not just corporate profits. And it means reducing wasteful defense spending and refocusing on the areas most critical to our security in years to come.

 

Well, apart from the fact that we’ve seen some of those diplomats in the Schiff hearings, and they seemed like the least likely people to develop anything “creative” -other than their opinions-, and the boondoggle of “sustained, inclusive global economic growth”, it’s probably best to forget about that entire paragraph. It’s nicer to Warren too.

 

Alliances are not charities, and it’s fair to ask our partners to do their share. I will build on what President Obama started by insisting on increased contributions to NATO operations and common investments in collective military capabilities. But I will also recognize the varied and significant ways that European states contribute to global security – deploying troops to shared missions, receiving refugees, and providing development assistance at some of the highest per capita rates in the world.

 

The problem appears to be that the partners don’t increase their contributions. Just this March, Germany refused to do just that. And if Berlin refuses, why would other countries spend more?

 

The next president must tackle our common problems using the lessons of common defense. Together, we can counter terrorism and proliferation. We can make common cause in constructing new norms and rules to govern cyberspace. We can dismantle the corruption, monopolies and inequality that limit opportunity around the world and take on the increasingly grave threats to our environment. We can and will protect ourselves and each other – our countries, our citizens and our democracies.

 

Now we’re getting into entirely nonsensical territory, with words and sentences designed only to make people feel good about things that have no substance whatsoever. Anyone can go there, anyone can do that.

In the meantime, the neverending investigations into Trump, Russia, Ukraine, taxes, have had one major effect: he hasn’t had a chance to have a summit with Putin. And that, to go back to how I started out this essay, is the worst idea out there. If Reagan and Bush sr. did those summits all the time, then why do we now think such summits are the work of the devil?

And yeah, we get it, we got it again last week from alleged law expert Pamela Karlan in the House, who let ‘er rip on the dangers Putin poses to all of humanity, and of course she would never trust Trump to hold any such summit because he’s Putin’s puppet.

What Pamela, and all the MSM, and the Dems, and the FBI/CIA, appear to refuse to see, though, is that Trump was democratically elected by the American people to be the only one who can have any such conversation. Karlan again talked about how Russia would attempt to attack American soil unless “we” keep them from doing that.

Now I can say that is absolute bollocks, and it is, but how many -potential- Democratic voters will recognize that at this point? They’ve been trained to believe it. That Russia wants one US presidential candidate over another, or one UK one, or fill in your country, and therefore they want to invade the US, UK, etc. In reality, Russia has plenty problems of its own, and it’s slowly trying to solve them.

The two countries need to start talking to each other again, and the sooner the better. That it will happen under Elizabeth Warren, however, is very unlikely. First because she has her mind made up about Russia, and second because the likelihood of her becoming president is very low. What do you think, is that a good thing?

If for some reason -who can tell- she would end up winning 11 months from now, do you think she’s likely to establish a peace treaty with Russia? You know, given what she wrote here? And if not, why would you vote for her? Don’t you want peace? Do you think antagonizing Putin forever is a good idea? While Russia continues to outperform America in arms development, and in just about any field? While Russia only wants peace?

Good questions, ain’t they, as we move into 2020?!

 

 

 

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Jun 202019
 


Caravaggio I musici 1595-96

 

The investigation into the crash of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines plane in East Ukraine was always compromised, right from the start. The crash on July 17 2014 came shortly after the “Euromaidan revolution” in Kiev – which first began in November 2013 and culminated in the ousting of elected president Yanukovich on 23 February 2014, happily helped along by John McCain, Victoria Nuland and then-US ambassador to Ukraine (now ambassador to Greece) Geoffrey Pyatt for the USA, as well as various EU actors.

Russia reacted by “annexing” Crimea – a large majority of whose people had voted for Yanukovich, thereby safeguarding its access to its only warm water port. Not a shot was fired there, but it was very different in East Ukraine (Donbass), where people -of Russian origin- also didn’t want to be subjected to a new regime under Nuland’s puppet Yatsenyuk -and later Poroshenko. They started a civil war which continues to this day.

It was in that heated political climate that the MH17 came down, killing all its 298 passengers, 196 of whom had the Dutch nationality. 3 weeks later, on August 8, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was formed, which was to be led by Holland, and to also include representatives from Australia, Belgium and Ukraine. Which is odd, since at that time, Ukraine certainly was a potential perpetrator of the downing.

Malaysia joined only in December, allegedly because only then did it finally agree to allow Ukraine, a nation that was a suspect, a veto over any conclusions that the team would publish. Malaysia had already been handed the black boxes by pro-Russian rebels in the area, and passed them on to the team in August. Summarized, the way the JIT was formed was highly curious. The countries even signed a secret agreement.

 

Immediately after the crash, people like then-US VP Joe Biden, as well as Frans Timmermans, then-Dutch Foreign Minister and today candidate for the EU top job, pointed the finger at Russia as the party responsible for shooting down the plane. Also curious, since there had been no investigation and the plane crashed in a civil war zone where access was almost impossible. There was talk at the time of the US having satellite images, but none have ever been produced.

In that atmosphere, the JIT yesterday, June 19 2019, held another press conference, in which it accused four men, three from Russia and one from Ukraine, of being “involved” in shooting down the plane. But again, almost 5 years after the incident, the team produced no evidence for its accusations, saying it will only be presented 9 months from now when a trial will start in the Netherlands.

It also again accused Russia of refusing to cooperate, though Russia has offered its help ever since the MH17 came down. It’s just not the help the people want who have accused the Russians since before there was any hint of evidence it was involved. And there still is no evidence. Russia has filed long and detailed reports on the incident despite being ignored, but these reports have been … ignored.

 

The trial will take place starting March 9 2020 without the accused, since Russia doesn’t extradite its citizens, and neither does Ukraine. Moreover, the one Ukrainian who is accused is thought to be in the Donbass, where the government has no access.

So this will be a show trial. And one must wonder why it is staged. What’s the use of a trial where defendants don’t defend themselves? Sure, the official line is they would love to have the men provide a defense, but that smells a bit too much like what has happened to Julian Assange. What are the odds of a fair trial when so many conclusions have been drawn at such early times?

There is not a soul in Europe west of the Russian border who doesn’t believe the Russians did it. The media take care of that. Nor is there in the US. But the Malaysian PM himself yesterday, again, said the team has proven nothing, and only provided hearsay. I kid you not, I read a piece on the BBC today that asked if the 93-year-old who lost 43 of his countrymen only said that because he wanted to sell palm oil to Russia.

And in the meantime, the evidence is not there, and won’t be for another 9 months, if ever, and the EU today added another year to its Russia sanctions over Crimea, and 4 men can deny their involvement all they want, but they can make their case only in March 2020, and only at a show trial, with international search warrants hanging over their heads.

 

The four men in question, by the way, are not accused of firing the BUK missile that supposedly downed the MH17. They are only accused of facilitating the transport of the missile and launcher from Russia to Ukraine -and back. The JIT Ukrainian team bases the entire story of that transport on serial numbers it says it has found.

On September 17 2018, the Russian Ministry of Defense in a YouTube response to a May 24 2018 JIT exhibition, said it had tracked down those serial numbers, 8868720, and 1318869032, and 9M38, and said both the launcher and missile corresponding to the numbers were purchased by Ukraine from Russia as far back as 1986, transferred there, and had never left the country since.

I get that information from a lengthy, deep-digging and highly recommended essay by Eric Zuesse, from December 2018, MH17 Turnabout: Ukraine’s Guilt Now Proven, which I’ve been reading the past few days, in which Eric says: “…if the JIT’s supplied evidence is authentic — which the Ukrainian team asserts it to be — then it outright convicts Ukraine. This is an evidentiary checkmate, against the Ukrainian side.”

Zuesse also details, in that article, contentions from multiple sources that, while the MH17 may have been hit with a BUK missile, it certainly wasn’t the only thing that hit it. There was at least one fighter jet seen close to the plane before it came down, as multiple eye-witness reports claim, and it is alleged that they fired on the cockpit for sure and perhaps other parts of the plane. It is an excellent article that is very well researched and chock-full of links to prove its points.

 

There are many things wrong with the MH17 investigation. Having the PM of one of your member investigative countries complain that after 5 years you produce only hearsay and no evidence may be the least of the worries. The Netherlands, as main victim, leading the investigation, is strange. How neutral could they be? Their Foreign Minister blamed Russia way before any investigating was done. And Holland was a main sponsor in the “Euromaidan revolution”, i.e. the ousting of an elected president.

Still, Ukraine’s position in all this must be the biggest warning sign. They stood a lot to gain from committing atrocities and then blaming Russia for them. Plus, Yatsenyuk and Nuland and the US and the EU were mightily angry that Russia had outsmarted them all over Crimea.

But instead of keeping Ukraine out of the investigation, they became a major contributor, and were even given veto rights on anything that came out of it, as far as we know the only party with such rights. If you present a crime novel or movie with ingredients like that, nobody would believe you. Such things don’t happen in real life.

 

 

 

 

Nov 272018
 
 November 27, 2018  Posted by at 4:33 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  22 Responses »


Berthe Morisot The old track to Auvers 1863

 

Our politicians and media are not going to allow us to see Russia, and any incidents the country can be linked to, in any other way than black and white, in which we are the good party and they are the black, evil and guilty ones. So we’ll have to do that ourselves.

More than enough has been said about why NATO should have been dismantled when the reason for its existence, the Soviet Union, was dissolved, but nobody listened and NATO has kept expanding eastward and demanding more money, more members, more weapons.

NATO demands an enemy, and their chosen enemy is Russia. This has nothing to do with anything Russia has done or is doing at the moment. We can only hope that people are willing to accept that simple fact. And not passively go along with the flow of badmouthing and smear that decides what our picture of the country is.

Russia ‘invaded’ Crimea? Russia ‘downed’ MH17? Russia sent two hapless and inept blokes to kill the Skripals? Russia launched an unprovoked attack on three Ukrainian vessels in the Sea of Azov? Russia colluded with the Trump campaign against Hillary Clinton? And collaborated with Julian Assange to make that happen?

What all these allegations have in common is that there is no evidence any of them are true. Oh, and that nobody’s really trying to prove them anymore. Because you’ve already accepted them as gospel.

 

90% or so of Crimeans voted to be part of Russia, after the west had tried their hand at regime change in Kiev, with John McCain and Victoria Nuland opening the gates for various neo-nazi groups to enter government.

The MH17 investigation is led by the Netherlands, the main victim. As I told Jim Kunstler in our recent podcast, you try and find a detective story where the main victim leads the investigation. Aided by Ukraine, one of the suspects, but not Russia, the designated suspect from the get-go. We’re over 4.5 years later and there is no proof -not that that keeps anyone from assigning blame.

The Skripals were allegedly attacked with the most deadly nerve gas ever, and allegedly survived. They simply haven’t been heard from anymore. There are images of two alleged Russian spies who went out of their way to be filmed and photographed in Salisbury, but their ineptitude doesn’t rhyme with Russian secret service in any way, shape or form. The west tries to make it sound like Comedy Capers, and that just gives the west away.

As for the ‘attacks’ the other day, the Guardian of all outlets explains: “Since the completion of the bridge over the Kerch strait, Moscow has demanded that Ukrainian ships not only give notice of their intention to transit the strait but request permission, a change that Kiev has rejected. According to western diplomats, the dispatch of the three ships was intended to assert freedom of navigation..”

Sure, you can claim that Russia has no right to ask Ukraine to ask for permission to the Sea of Azov, but then Kiev should have protested that demand, not send three armed vessels to ignore the demand and sail through anyway. That is called provocation.

And Ukraine provoking Russia is a bad idea. Unless you’re NATO, and you want Ukraine as a member. And unless you’re the chocolate billionaire who took over the government and now has an approval rating in the single digits with elections coming up in March. Question: how much chocolate do Ukrainians eat?

For Ukraine to enter NATO would be the most flagrant violation against the deal the west made with Gorbachev just prior to the dissolution of the Soviet union to date. And there have been plenty such violations in the past almost 30 years; little wonder that Moscow draws a line.

It’s just that nobody in the west is aware there is such a line. The media have helped politicians, NATO and arms manufacturers in painting a picture of Russia as the evil bogeymen in the east, and there is no counterweight to that picture anywhere in what people read and watch. It doesn’t matter whether the ‘news’ is accurate, because journalists don’t do their jobs to go out and check the facts.

 

As for the Muller’s unending investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, we know for a fact that there’s no evidence of any such thing, since Mueller would have been forced to go public with it because it’s such a serious issue; you can’t let treason lie for months or years. And sure, Mueller today fingered Manafort for lying, but that has nothing to do with collusion.

As for Mueller’s Julian Assange allegations, he should be ashamed of himself for accusing someone he knows is barred from defending himself. Mueller can say anything he likes about Assange, and does, and it has no value, Julian has been silenced to an extent that shames us all, but Mueller first.

The problem with Robert Mueller when he uses such tactics is that he loses his credibility, or rather, what he had left after solemnly testifying that Iraq possessed WMD when he was FBI head. The man is incessantly portrayed as America’s straightest arrow, but that just makes you lament the state the country is in. The odds that Trump is the straightest arrow are much higher, and even the Donald himself wouldn’t buy into that one.

As we’re worried about fake news and Facebook and election meddling and what have you, we need to be clear on what that really is. Which is, the worst and most fake news you see every single day comes from those sources that you trust most. This is not just deliberate, it’s highly profitable too. As long as you are gullible enough to keep buying into it. So far, you are.

Whenever you read anything at all about Trump, Russia/Putin and Assange in the major news outlets, chances that it is not objective or properly due diligence researched are far higher than that it is. You have to start out with the idea that what you’re about to read or watch is not true, for the simple reason that the vast majority of it is not; it only exists to serve an agenda and a narrative.

And because reporting what is not accurate makes ‘news sources’ much more money than reporting the truth. In the meantime, though, NATO, US/UK/EU intelligence and the military-industrial complex may be happy, but you should not be. Because you’ve landed somewhere in the middle between Orwell, Huxley and the Matrix. And that’s not going to end up doing you any good. Let alone your kids.

Shake it off, guys. You’re sinking. Information dissemination has become like walking into quicksand. Walking into a pre-processed narrative that deprives you of your ability to think. Not something we should wish upon anyone. But take this from me: you’re already in it, and you need to get out. It’s no longer about trying not to get in, those days are long gone. You’re already there.