Ivan Aivazovsky Palace rains in Venice by moonlight 1878
Me, personally, I can’t get rid of the notion that all the stablecoins and shitcoins and altcoins that have been initiated and “legalized”, are just a way of “shining” bitcoin in a light of uninvestable darkness. And for that, a bunch of “trading places” (pun intended) were called for. One of the biggest, FTX, just went from $32 billion to $0 in a single day. Not even Enron could beat that.
Dr. D., yes him again, ties together an interesting history behind it. Which in turn ties into the DNC too. And Dr. D. doesn’t even mention yet that just this morning, FDX claimed they were hacked: “FTX Possibly Hacked, $895m Drained From Customer Wallets.” Should I believe that? How do you drain $895m out of $0?
“Early Saturday morning, Mr Bankman-Fried resigned as chief executive officer and FTX commenced Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings due to a massive liquidity crunch. A rescue deal with rival exchange Binance fell through earlier this week, precipitating crypto’s highest-profile collapse in recent years. Mr Bankman-Fried’s quant trading business (aka quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm) Alameda Research has also filed for bankruptcy.”
Here’s thinking that the DNC links will sink this as a story. Bankman-Fried will be renditioned to Barbados -or Gitmo-, and we all live happily ever after. Except for those who put their money into FTX. But then, what were they thinking in the first place? Crazy thought: was Hunter Biden a investor? Or The Big Guy?
Dr. D.: We really need to keep a rogue’s gallery. It’s like Dick Tracy and Batman. Bernie Made Off. Mr. Kash-n-Karry. Sam the Bank Man, Fried. You can’t make this up.
Am I hearing this right, FTX was invented 16 days after the Biden Campaign? In a foreign nation not of his birth or residency, the Bahamas? His mother is involved with Vote Blue and other DNC money people? Then within a month or two, Sam has made so many billions he was the single largest donor to Biden? With this A-Mazing multi-billion influx that come out of nowhere? But everybody, all the “good” people instantly and telepathically KNEW they had, HAD to invest there? People like the Teacher’s Union?
And other exchanges knew they needed to invest too! Like Citi just KNEW the best investment was to buy Morgan stock, to give money, capital, to their direct competition. Really? When does it happen that Home Depot’s top investment is Lowes?
And how did “all the ‘right’ people” know to invest? Well The Bank Man was hanging out in a group house,coding away like any college kids! Financial knowledge, level = pizza. Give this man $10,000,000,000.00!!! Shut up and take my money! Why? Um, well, it seems Bank Man is related not only to DNC funding and the Biden administration, but also to Gary Gensler, the proposed and self-styled REGULATOR of all Crypto. The one who tied up Morgan, Barclays, BoA’s co-project XRP and has frozen it in the courts, unresolved, for YEARS? Who, so it would seem, would like to take down not just XRP but the entire Crypto world as a concept and going concern? A competition to his backers in Stocks and Banking?
So all the kids of all the Regulators, politicians, bankers, insiders, all HAPPEN to be involved in what may be the biggest money laundering, heist, and political funneling operation maybe ever? Where’d the Pension money of the Teacher’s Union go? Where go? It was there, an “Exchange” takes a FEE for each transaction. Your MONEY, like SIPC, is YOURS. It’s your account, your trades. They just facilitate them. It’s a money-minting machine, no need for leverage.
But like MF Global, they just took ALL the money in ALL the accounts and put it in their own? On day 1? AND all the money from “the Usual Suspects”, SoftBank, Pardigm, Sequoia? Their own co-company Alameda, and another largest insider scam ever called “Tether”? Tether being another insider-of-insiders, convicted felons, law-never-touches group like EOS (? check me?) was?
Yes. That’s not an accident, that’s not a blow up, that’s not an over leverage, that’s pre-meditated THEFT. Arranged by Gary Gensler, DNC, and other insiders. From day 1, since they haven’t been around long enough to slowly drift into danger. They were invented yesterday.
So if you wonder where the Ukraine money is going, to be back-laundered into the midterms, BY the same party GIVING Ukraine the money, here you go.
Says the Sam: “Oops. Sorry. I f—ked up. I should have done better.” Oh, in that case, well I guess no problem! We won’t look into your extensive, amazing, and some might say “unbelievable” list of insiders, contacts, and arrangers. All of whose money was stolen more or less the instant it hit your books. As one big amazing “accident.”
I’m sure the media will cover all this shortly because of the salacious names and DNC careers involved. NOT.
Okay, given this, who blew the whistle on them? This scam was going perfectly: who blew it? The GOP’s like-kind fund? But after the election, not before? Powell? Was it really organic ponzi and they just don’t care, didn’t even try to cover it? Who?
And it’s not the “Money”. They can print the money. You know what they can’t print? ETH. BTC. So when you’re an exchange and scalp coins as they fly across your books, and when you vanish, where’s the money, but more importantly, WHERE ARE THE COINS?
Why? Because you need ACTUAL coins to manipulate the market. You can get a run started, it’ll blow the stops and start a cascade collapse, but to get it started, you have to have an ACTUAL ante of ACTUAL product. That’s the cost of manipulation. And the blow up of FTX means someone, these same insiders who wish to halt and/or destroy all crypto as a concept, have the nuclear pre-charge somewhere to make a run on the markets.
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“We didn’t do a good enough job explaining why my policies that caused the border crisis are Putin’s fault” ~ Biden
Tonight we are endorsing Kamala D. Harris for the 2024 Democratic primaries. She deserves it. And so do Democrats. They created her. They should be forced to live with her. Anyone who disagrees with that is, by definition, a racist. https://t.co/WaeGEzMO2tpic.twitter.com/KOUkP01BG4
In an interview published Tuesday, Pope Francis said Russia’s war in Ukraine was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented” — controversial remarks that will raise eyebrows internationally. He made the remarks during an interview with Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica conducted in mid-May but published Tuesday. “Someone may say to me at this point: but you are pro-Putin! No, I am not,” Francis said. “It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys, without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex.” The pope also recalled a conversation he had before the war with an unnamed head of state — a “wise man” — who told Francis he was concerned about NATO and Russia.
“He said, ‘They are barking at the gates of Russia. The situation could lead to war,’” the pope said. “That head of state was able to read the signs of what was happening.” The remarks will likely spark criticism as they echo Russia’s narrative that NATO expansion into former Soviet Union territory forced Moscow to invade Ukraine. Russia’s all-out assault, which began in late February, was launched unilaterally, leaving thousands dead. In the interview, the pontiff did criticize Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, pointing to the “brutality and ferocity” of the Russian troops, and emphasizing “the heroism of the Ukrainian people.” The pope’s new comments come a month after he said himself in an interview that NATO may have “perhaps facilitated” the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine by “barking” at Russia’s door.
Russia has told Ukrainian forces holed up in a chemical plant in the embattled eastern city of Sievierodonetsk to lay down their arms by early Wednesday. Ukraine says more than 500 civilians are trapped alongside soldiers inside Azot, a chemical factory where its forces have resisted weeks of Russian bombardment and assaults that have reduced much of Sievierodonetsk to ruins. Col Gen Mikhail Mizintsev, the officer who was in charge of the devastating siege of Mariupol, said fighters should “stop their senseless resistance and lay down arms” from 8am Moscow time (5am GMT).
The Russian army has shifted the bulk of its military efforts to capturing Sievierodonetsk in its attempt to take full control of Luhansk and Donetsk, collectively known as Donbas. Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk, told Ukrainian television on Tuesday that two more Russian battalion tactical groups had been moved into the area. The fight for Sievierodonetsk is turning into one of the war’s bloodiest battles and is seen as a potential turning point in Russia’s advances in Donbas.
Donald Trump moved to face the challenge of China. A major shift in U.S. policy that is likely considered the biggest geopolitical shift in the last 75 years. Trump strategically began with Trade Authority 302 national security Steel and Aluminum tariffs at 25% and 10% not only toward China but targeted globally. The entire multinational system was stunned at the bold step with tariffs. But remember, before Trump went to Saudi Arabia, he held a meeting with Chairman Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago. The global trade world was shocked by the tariff announcement, but I’ll bet you a doughnut Chairman Xi was not. That February 2017 meeting, only one month after his inauguration, was President Trump graciously informing Chairman Xi, in the polite manner that respectful business people do, that a new era in the U.S-China relationship was about to begin.
New trade agreements, new terms and conditions were to be expected in the future. The tariff announcement hit Wall Street hard, but not Beijing – who knew it was likely. U.S. financial pundits proclaimed the sky was surely falling. These tariffs would cause prices to skyrocket, the global order of all things around trade was under attack by Trump. They waxed and shouted about supply chains being complicated and intertwined amid the modern manufacturing era that was too complex for President Trump to understand with such a heavy handed tariff hammer. Remember all of that? Remember how cars were going to cost thousands more, and beer kegs would forever be lost because the orange man had just triggered steel and aluminum tariffs?
Did any of that happen? No. Of course it didn’t. Actually, the opposite was true and no one could even fathom it. Communist China first responded by subsidizing all of their industries targeted by the tariffs with free energy and raw materials, etc. China triggered an immediate reaction to lower their own prices to offset tariffs. Beijing did not want the heavy industries and factories to start back up again in the U.S, so they reacted with measures to negate the tariff impact. China’s economy started to feel the pressure and panda was not happy. Eventually, as the tariffs expanded beyond Steel and Aluminum to other specific segments and categories, China devalued their currency to lower costs even further for U.S. importers. The net result was something no one could have imagined. With lower prices, and increased dollar strength, we began importing all Chinese products at cheaper rates than before the tariffs were triggered. Yes, we began importing deflation. No one saw that coming…. but Trump did.
We don’t have to guess at whether Donald Trump can put together a program to ensure Economic Security is National Security. We don’t have to guess at whether Donald Trump can deliver on economic policy. We don’t have guess if Trump’s policy platform, proposals and initiatives would be successful. We have the experience of it. We have the results of it. We have felt the success of it. We also don’t need to guess at who is the best candidate to lead Making America Great Again, we already know who that is. There is no other 2024 Presidential Candidate, who I am aware of, who could possibly achieve what Donald John Trump has achieved, or who could even fathom contemplating how to achieve a quarter of what President Trump achieved.
Governor Ron DeSantis has a lot of really good skills and policies on the domestic front unique to his position in Florida; however, it is not a slight toward him to point out he has never expressed any larger economic proposal that would give any confidence in a national economic policy. Look at the sum total of it, and there’s so much more that could be outlined to what Donald Trump achieved and could yet still achieve, it’s not even a close question. And that my friends is exactly why Donald Trump is under relentless attack from both wings of the UniParty in DC. Additionally, it is clear the Wall Street Republicans are trying to position Ron DeSantis as an alternative to another Trump term.
Look carefully at the current advocates for DeSantis, Nikki Haley and/or Kristi Noem, and you will note every one of those early voices are attached to favorable Wall Street politics and multinational corporate advocacy. Look at what Donald J. Trump was able to achieve while he was under constant political attack. Just imagine what Trump 2.0 would deliver. They, the leftist Democrats and Wall Street Republicans, are yet again absolutely petrified of that.
The Daily Caller contacted all 50 Senate Democrats repeatedly and asked if they would support President Joe Biden in his 2024 presidential bid. Five Senators said “Yes.” A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader and Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer responded to the Daily Caller with a one-word answer: “Yes.” Spokespeople for Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Jack Reed of Rhode Island responded in the same way: “Yes.” Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s spokesperson also said the senator would endorse Biden, noting, “Yes, Senator Booker supports President Biden for re-election should he run again in 2024.” Several members of the Democratic Party have recently cast doubt on Biden’s support for his presidential run in 2024 amid his desperate polling numbers.
This week, Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to answer if she will endorse Biden, saying “we’ll take a look at it” when the time comes. Democratic officials and voters also cited the poor state of the country and Biden’s age as reasons they are hesitant to be fully behind Biden now in an article from The New York Times. (RELATED: A Slew Of Democrats Are Quietly Hoping Biden Won’t Run In 2024) Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coon’s spokesperson answered the Daily Caller’s inquiry with a reference to the senator’s recent comments about Biden’s 2024 run. “It’s my understanding that the president intends to seek a second term, and I understand why,” Coons said in a Monday interview, adding that Biden’s “leadership on the world stage has been impressive.”
Coons cited Biden’s performance in foreign policy, the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, Biden’s vow to tackle health care costs and his “clear plans” on how to handle inflation as reasons for why Biden deserves support. “I can understand why he might think running for reelection is a good idea,” Coons concluded in the interview. Coons’ spokesperson then confirmed to the Daily Caller that the senator would endorse Biden in 2024. “Yes, If President Biden runs, he’ll support him,” he said. The 45 other Democratic Senators did not respond to several inquiries form the Daily Caller if they would endorse Biden in 2024.
With less than five months to go before voters elect all members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate, the current Democratic congressional majority is facing an extremely unfavorable election environment. The party of the president typically loses U.S. House seats in midterm elections — an average of 23 since 1974. However, 2022 is not shaping up to be an average year. Rather, as of May, Gallup finds presidential job approval and three other key national mood indicators well below the historical averages measured in past midterm election years. On their own, those numbers would all predict a greater-than-average loss of seats for the Democratic Party this fall.
Gallup’s latest data, from a May 2-22 survey, finds 41% of Americans approving of the job President Joe Biden is doing, 18% approving of the job Congress is doing, 16% satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., and a 32-percentage-point deficit in positive (14%) versus negative (46%) ratings of current economic conditions. Each of those metrics is at least 10 points lower than the historical average at the time of past midterm elections, and most are on pace to be the worst of such readings. Midterm elections are widely seen as a referendum on the incumbent president, and this is justified by the high correspondence between overall job approval and seat loss for the president’s party. Given this, congressional seat losses for unpopular presidents’ parties have been above average historically, averaging 37 since 1946.
Biden’s current 41% approval rating puts him in the lower tier of all prior presidents’ job approval ratings taken just before past midterm elections. Biden currently has the same approval rating that Donald Trump did at the time of the 2018 elections, when the GOP lost 40 House seats, and similar to Ronald Reagan’s 42% in October 1982, before the Republicans lost 26 seats. Only one president, George W. Bush, had a lower rating than Biden does today, and his 38% rating in November 2006 was associated with a 30-seat loss.
Biden’s fellow Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama lost an even larger number of House seats in 1994 and 2010, respectively, with slightly higher approval ratings than Biden has now. Those steeper losses reflect the relatively large number of House seats held by Democrats going into those elections in addition to the president’s unpopularity. The Democratic Party lost fewer seats in Obama’s second midterm in 2014 when Obama was no more popular than in his first midterm four years earlier, but Democrats were defending fewer seats.
I tip my cap, as we all should, to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico. And to Presidents Luis Arce of Bolivia, Xiaomara Castro of Honduras, Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala and Nayib Bukele of El Savador. They all pointedly declined to join President Joe Biden at his Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last week, joining to protest Biden’s refusal to invite Miguel Díaz–Canel, Nicolás Maduro and Daniel Ortega, the presidents of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua respectively. Add it up. Eight of the region’s 33 nations were absent when Biden convened the summit “to demonstrate the resurgence of U.S. leadership in the region,” as the government-supervised New York Times forlornly put it. Don’t they ever get tired of these long-exhausted phrases over on Eighth Avenue?
“There can be no Americas summit if all the countries of the American continent do not participate,” López Obrador explained at a press conference announcing his decision. “Or there can be, but we believe that means continuing with the politics of old, of interventionism, of a lack of respect for the nations and their people.” Well said, Señor Presidente. Speaking more bluntly, Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president until the U.S. cultivated a coup that forced him into exile three years ago, called the summit “stillborn.” There is nothing like clear, plain language to get a clear, plain point across. This, the ninth such summit since Bill Clinton convened the first in Miami in 1994, was far more than Biden’s latest flop on the public relations side. In my read it is another sign among many that Washington is losing its hold over its southern neighbors.
This could prove an historic shift, reversing more than a century of usually coercive influence. Dollying out still further, the administration’s failure in Los Angeles last week signals a startlingly swift decline in American power everywhere other than Western Europe and among longtime allies such as Japan and South Korea. Biden drastically misread his moment with his “America is back” bit as he took office 18 months ago. Having overplayed his hand, he is now destined to preside over a significant inflection point in the late-phase imperium’s crumbling hegemony. It is exactly what Joe “Not on my watch” Biden wanted most to avoid.
Children are turning up in doctors’ clinics infected with as many as three different types of viruses, in what experts believe is the result of their immune systems being weakened from two years of COVID lockdowns and mask-wearing. Medical staff have come to expect a surge in cases of flu and severe colds during the winter. But they are reporting that there is not the usual downturn as summer approaches – and they suspect it could be due to the strict pandemic practices. Furthermore, some of common strains of the flu appear to have disappeared, flummoxing scientists. Thomas Murray, an infection-control expert and associate professor of pediatrics at Yale, told The Washington Post on Monday that his team was seeing children with combinations of seven common viruses – adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus, influenza and parainfluenza, as well as the coronavirus.
Some children were admitted with two viruses and a few with three, he said. ‘That’s not typical for any time of year and certainly not typical in May and June,’ he said. CDC data obtained by DailyMail.com showed lower overall levels of influenza infections among young children – but an abnormal surge starting several weeks ago during the beginning of the summer months, normally a dead period for respiratory infections. Other strange patterns have emerged. The rhinovirus, known as the common cold, is normally not severe enough to send people to hospital – but now it is. RSV normally tapers off in the warmer weather, as does the influenza, but they have not.
And the Yamagata strain of flu has not been seen since early 2020 – which researchers say could because it is extinct, or perhaps just dormant and waiting for the right moment to return. ‘It’s a massive natural experiment,’ said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and chief science officer at the digital health platform eMed, told the Post.
Yesterday, as cryptocurrency prices crashed and many lost their shirts and asses due to overleveraging, Celsius Network, a loan platform for cryptocurrency, chose to pause all withdrawals, swaps, or transfers between accounts, citing “extreme market conditions.” To be clear, this means that billions of dollars of funds are being held hostage on a non-specific timeline by a company that several people have suggested may not have the liquidity to handle a full withdrawal of funds. It’s a bit like if you went to a bank and put money in there, but there was a rough day on the stock market, so now your debit card doesn’t work, and you can’t transfer money to anyone.
Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, also paused withdrawals of Bitcoin, citing a “stuck transaction,” a hold that lasted for three hours. In the last 48 hours, I’ve watched Bitcoin crumble from just under $25,000 on Monday to just over $21,000 as I write this – a number I’ll likely update multiple times before I finish writing this – and people are despairing. The Celsius Network subreddit includes some of the more depressing posts I’ve ever read, with users saying stuff like “they can legally just steal all our money?” and “Fuckfuckfuck” and “Bruh I was gonna exit today too RIP.” Crypto.com and BlockFi have both announced layoffs, and Coinbase retracted hundreds of job offers from people who had agreed to them, including at least one person who needed it for a visa.
What we are seeing is a connection between actions, consequences, ignorance and hubris. This crash – to whatever extent it continues – may end up damaging many millions more lives than the ones in 2017/2018 simply because more people have been exposed to crypto through hucksters and celebrities telling them this was the future. And just like the rest of the startup world, the crypto industry massively overhired to deal with the rush of new money and excitement in the industry, with clearly no strategy to prepare for the thing that crypto is best known for – crashing.
Here’s the problem with companies whose hype-and hoopla stocks have collapsed by 80% or 90%: They’re facing an existential crisis. They cannot raise more money. But their operations were never designed to make money in the first place. Their business model relied on burning cash, and the whole thing was designed from get-go to use home-made growth metrics to bamboozle investors into buying the stock and pump up the shares. Then the companies, based on their high share price, could issue more shares and raise more money, and feed their cash-burn machine. The plan was to fake it until they could make it.
But with their shares down 80% or 90%, they cannot fake it any longer, and they cannot sell more shares because no one wants them, and they’re going to run out of cash and won’t be able to cover their expenses, and then they cease to exist, and their shares will go to zero, unless they can get the cash-outflows under control, which means cost-cutting. And the fastest and most significant places to cut cost is staff and advertising. If they cannot cut their costs enough, and cannot get their expenses to be less than their revenues, they’ll eventually run out of money. And then that’s it. But if they can cut costs enough, and cut their staff and advertising and other things enough, so that costs come in line, their revenues may sag, or sag even more, and then they may be reporting declining revenues, or more rapidly declining revenues, and continued losses because revenues are now declining faster than expenses, and the whole thing turns into a classic mess.
There are hundreds of companies in this position that went public during the hype-and-hoopla era of money printing and interest rate repression, and they’re all fundamentally facing the same existential crisis, though each company has unique challenges, and in addition, all have to face their industry challenges.
Elon Musk has come to the defense of the woman behind the controversial Twitter account “Libs of TikTok” after she tweeted that she was receiving death threats. Musk, the Tesla CEO who has committed to acquiring the social media site for $44 billion, tweeted: “Why?” after the “Libs of TikTok” creator — who was identified by The Washington Post as Chaya Raichik of Brooklyn, New York — tweeted on Monday she had “now received about a dozen death threats after radical leftists accused me of being a domestic terrorist extremist.” “Twitter has not removed any of the accounts of those who sent the threats,” she added. Musk then commented: “A platform cannot be considered inclusive or fair if it is biased against half the country.” The tech mogul has vowed to change Twitter’s content moderation policies once he takes the company private once the acquisition is complete.
Musk has said he intends to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which was shut down after the events at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Raichik also tweeted that she was forced to relocate due to continuing death threats from other social media users. “Update: After the events of the past 2 days I’ve decided to move to a safer location until things calm down,” read a post from “Libs of TikTok” that was tweeted on Tuesday. “Thank you all for your kind words and support.” Raichik on Monday posted a screenshot of a message she received from another social media user who claimed to have sent her a pipe bomb “for literally supporting nazi bigots.” “Hi @FBI, I’m being threatened with a pipe bomb. Can you please look into this?” she tweeted in response.
Raichik tweeted that she received at least a dozen death threats from other social media users. Last week, Raichik was prevented from posting on her Twitter account after users protested a tweet thread about drag shows to which young children were invited. “Libs of TikTok” posts TikTok videos from liberals who often speak about gender identity and other hot-button issues that have become a staple of political and cultural debates. The account has amassed more than 1.2 million followers.
Twitter suspended the accounts of users who sent death threats targeting the owner of the Libs of TikTok Twitter handle after Elon Musk criticized the company. Musk, who has been in discussions to buy Twitter, asked the company why it has not responded to the threats targeting Libs of TikTok, which reposts videos made by leftists. The Libs of TikTok account claimed on Monday to have “received about a dozen death threats after radical leftists accused me of being a domestic terrorist extremist.” The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz revealed in April that Chaya Raichik was behind the account, and Raichik told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson she was forced into hiding after Lorenz’s article.
Commentator Ian Miles Cheong responded to Musk questioning Twitter by criticizing the platform’s apparent bias against conservatives. “On a just platform, everyone would be treated equally. As it is, you can be banned for merely criticizing (not even threatening) woke progressives, but they can send conservatives death threats without any repercussions,” he wrote. “A platform cannot be considered inclusive or fair if it is biased against half the country,” Musk responded to Cheong. On Tuesday, Raichik thanked Musk and posted pictures captioned “How it started” with Musk’s comments and “How it’s going” with emails from Twitter notifying her about the threatening accounts being suspended.
Raichik seemingly had a sense of humor about the situation. Commenting on a tweet from the Daily Wire about Musk’s response to the threats, she said: “It could’ve been worse… I could have been misgendered.”
Boris Johnson’s plan to send an inaugural flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda has been abandoned after a dramatic 11th-hour ruling by the European court of human rights. Up to seven people who had come to the UK seeking refuge had been expected to be removed to the east African country an hour and a half before the flight was due to take off. But a ruling by the ECHR on one of the seven cases allowed lawyers for the other six to make successful last-minute applications. The decision is a significant and embarrassing blow for Boris Johnson and his home secretary, Priti Patel, who had promised to start sending thousands of asylum seekers 4,000 miles to the east African country in May.
It comes hours after the prime minister threatened to take the UK out of the ECHR and accused lawyers of aiding criminals exploiting refugees in the Channel. The legality of the Rwanda policy will be tested in a full court hearing next month. Responding to the decision, Patel said she was “disappointed” by the legal challenge, made pointed criticisms of the ECHR ruling and said that the policy will continue. “We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders,” she said. “Our legal team are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.” Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said that the government must take responsibility for the failed flight, and indicated that the government does not mind clashing with lawyers and the European courts.
“Ministers are pursuing a policy they know isn’t workable and that won’t tackle criminal gangs,” she wrote on Twitter last night. “But they still paid Rwanda £120m and hired a jet that hasn’t taken off because they just want a row and someone else to blame.” [..] The ECHR examined the case of a 54-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker who crossed the Channel in a boat. He claimed asylum in the UK last month citing danger to his life in Iraq. Five days later, he was served with a notice of intent indicating that the Home Office was considering deeming his asylum claim inadmissible and relocating him to Rwanda. A doctor at the detention centre issued a report saying that he may have been a victim of torture, it is understood.
The United States, Canada and other countries have established a new partnership aimed at securing the supply of critical minerals, which are essential for clean energy and other technologies,as global demand for them rises, the State Department said on Tuesday. Demand for the minerals, such as nickel, lithium and cobalt, is projected to expand significantly in the coming decades. Massive amounts of these minerals will be needed to meet the United States’ emissions reduction goals, Jose Fernandez, under secretary for economic growth, energy and the environment at the State Department, said in a telephone interview. “You will need six times more lithium by 2050 than you use today in order to meet the clean energy goals,” Fernandez said, speaking from Toronto.
Canada “is an important supplier of critical minerals,” he added. The minerals are key inputs in batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, and are also used in products ranging from computers to household appliances. The Minerals Security Partnership will aim to help “catalyze investment from governments and the private sector for strategic opportunities … that adhere to the highest environmental, social, and governance standards,” the State Department said in a statement. The U.S. government has been working with Canada to boost regional supply chains to counter China’s dominance in the sector. Critical minerals are “a generational economic opportunity for Canada if we get it right,” Canada’s natural resources minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, said in a phone interview.
Justus Hope on Edward Dowd. Who compares the vaccines to the 2008 mortgage crisis, and says the FDA play the same role as the ratings agencies back then. But there is one difference, which I don’t think he stresses enough: ratings agencies are companies, enterprises; the FDA is literally the government. He sort of touches on it, “I believe the fraud has moved on to central banks and governments”, but not enough.
Wall Street investors are dumping their Moderna and Pfizer stock faster than the world can drop the mandates. Moderna is down 70 percent from its high, while Pfizer is off 19 percent. Former Blackrock Executive and investment adviser Edward Dowd calls for Moderna to go to zero and Pfizer to end under ten dollars per share. How is this possible given that Pfizer now enjoys record earnings per share and a market capitalization of some $270 billion, making it the 29th largest corporation globally? With nothing but profits in sight for the Pharmaceutical giant, what could be the problem? After all, in December, a Forbes’ headline read, “The Vaccine Maker Can Dominate The Covid Market For Years to Come, Wells Fargo Predicts.” In addition to the enormously profitable mRNA vaccines, Pfizer is rolling out potent antivirals like Paxlovid, which could earn $22 billion in 2022.
Compared to the $81 billion in 2021 revenue, the earnings from the vaccines and the antivirals could top $102 billion for 2022, which is music to shareholders’ ears. However some are hearing shrieks, and these happen to be Wall Street’s finest, the smart money that beats the rest of the herd to the exits like clockwork. These sophisticated investors make it their business to not go with the conventional wisdom but to do their own research, which often pays spectacular dividends. [..] Dowd has sounded the alarm on Moderna and Pfizer as sinking ships that investors need to abandon. So what does the man who foresaw the dot com and the subprime mortgage crisis have to say about Moderna and Pfizer, and what trouble could exist in the paradise of COVID vaccine profits?
Here are Dowd’s words: I want to liken here to what’s gone on in the Great Financial Crisis. We had rating agencies, third-party verification sources that were able to perpetuate the fraud because the money got too big, their institutions became corrupted with the institutional imperative, and they got triple-A ratings which we all know in hindsight were not triple-A ratings – let’s move forward to today. The FDA is the trusted third-party verification of pharmaceutical products. 50% of their budget comes from Pharma…due to the institutional imperative that was in place at the time and the speed with which they tried to approve these unproven products with this unproven technology, fraud did occur, and what’s my proof of that? The FDA, together with Pfizer, were trying to hide the clinical data.
And it’s come out recently…that the all-cause mortality for the Pfizer product failed – that means there were more deaths in the vaccine group than the placebo group. Normally in such a case, you have NO drug approval for such drugs. It’s the gold standard. I’ve been told by all my people in the Biotech Industry they were horrified… And unfortunately, that is not all. Dowd feels that although he has successfully predicted three large frauds in his career, he now expects a global financial market collapse with the debt bubble getting ready to burst. “So I’ve seen three frauds; the corporate fraud of the dot com boom, the bank fraud of the Great Financial Recession, and I believe the fraud has moved on to central banks and governments – because that’s the nature of our monetary system – you have to constantly create credit to keep this thing going.”
EXCLUSIVE: Wall Street Taps Pfizer Whistleblower to Help Probe Alarming Details of Fraud During VAX Clinical Trials; Former Blackrock’s Edward Dowd Drops More Bombs as ***MULTIPLE*** Brokerage Houses Now Investigate MRNA Jabs
After two years of scientific research, clinical data and evidence from frontline medical professionals treating hundreds of thousands of patients, the international alliance of more than 17,000 physicians and medical scientists have concluded that the highly treatable COVID-19 illness, which is better addressed with natural immunity and proven medication, no longer requires national emergency status. Vaccines have failed to reduce spread of COVID-19 and pose several health risks, while natural immunity for children and healthy adults has proven more effective. Moreover, treatment protocols that use well-studied, FDA approved medications are now proven to be effective in preventing severe illness and death from Covid-19.
With the success of treatments and broad natural immunity amidst waning strength of COVID-19 variants, there is no longer a credible need for a national emergency in the U.S. On March 13th, 2020, Donald Trump used an Executive Order under the National Emergency Act to declare a national emergency concerning COVID-19. On February 24, 2021, the order was extended by President Biden. Since then, the constitutional rights of Americans have been trampled on by allowing governments aligned with pharmaceutical companies to exploit its citizens. Biden’s extension of the national emergency on February 18th, 2022 ignores the extensive medical and scientific data, confirming a non-medical agenda by the White House.
The over 17,000 independent physicians and medical scientists, who reject the corporate interests of pharmaceutical companies, are calling on Congress to reject President Biden’s extension of the national emergency that was declared by President Trump, to reinstate our constitutional democracy, restore doctor-patient relationships, medical privacy and personal medical choice, and end coercive tactics and mandates.
Dr. David Martin
An international team of researchers are working on an experimental self-spreading vaccine that could stop the virus leaping from rats to humans — a phenomenon scientists call zoonotic spillover. The drive to develope self-spreading vaccines is not without controversy. The DHSC paper notes: ‘Self-spreading vaccines are less lethal but not non-lethal: they can still kill. ‘Some people will die who would otherwise have lived, though fewer people die overall. ‘The other issue is there is no consent (for vaccination) from the majority of patients.’ But some ethics experts say there are parallels for ‘treating’ mass populations for public health issues without first getting individual consent.
For example, the fluoridation of mains drinking water to prevent tooth decay already happens in some parts of the UK and the Government is considering extending it to all of England. ‘Nobody is asked whether they give consent, even those who disagree with it,’ says Professor Dominic Wilkinson, a medical ethics specialist at Oxford University. ‘Instead, we entrust elected officials to examine the likely health benefits and make decisions based on the evidence.
‘I don’t think that there is anything intrinsically different when it comes to the idea of self-spreading vaccines.’ However, some scientists have serious misgivings about the risk that weakened viruses could mutate into a more potent form once they are free to spread in the population. Dr Filippa Lentzos, a senior lecturer in science and international security at King’s College London, warns of a danger that the science behind self-spreading vaccines could be hijacked to make biological weapons. ‘Such a self-spreading weapon may prove uncontrollable and irreversible,’ she says.
Today’s date, commonly written out as 22.02.2022, will be an easy one for future schoolchildren to remember. Various people will remember it in various ways. The residents of Donetsk and Lugansk, the two formerly Ukrainian, now once again Russian cities that have been subjected to conditions bordering on genocide since the US-instigated government overthrow of 2014 will remember jubilantly dancing in the streets, shooting off lots of fireworks, waving Russian flags and hollering the Russian national anthem. For them, this is the day on which new hope arrived that their eight-year nightmare would soon be over and life would finally return to normal.
The badly informed new German chancellor inadvertently helped to resolve the situation by saying that the idea of a Ukrainian-caused genocide in the Donbass is ridiculous. Given the history of the region, the public spectacle of a German leader using the words “genocide” and “ridiculous” in the same sentence made the moment pregnant with possibilities. Here is the information the seemingly rather dim-witted chancellor was missing. There were 9,282 dead on the Donbass side (70% of them civilians) and 114 children. The dead on the Ukrainian side (the Ukrainian troops and various assorted mercenaries that had been attacking and laying siege to the Donbass since 2014) numbered 20,186. This was prior to the renewed Ukrainian shelling of recent days. There were also over two million Donbass refugees in Russia, more than one million in the Ukraine and around 50 thousand in Belarus.
Most Russians will also remember this day with relief as the day their government finally—finally! after eight literally bloody years!—determined that a negotiated settlement in the Ukraine would simply never happen and that there was no point in waiting any further before going ahead and cleaning it up. It was cathartic for them to hear their president unleash a torrent of truth about the Ukraine, calling it a Bolshevist concoction of mostly historically Russian lands that was simply never intended for independent statehood, pointing out that it never paid its share of Soviet-era foreign debt (Russia paid it off on its behalf), that it refused to turn over Russian assets with which it incidentally ended up, and instead soaked up several hundred billion dollars of Russian subsidies, that it extorted money for the use of its Soviet-built gas pipeline that it got free of charge, and that it has squandered and stolen the rest of its vast Soviet patrimony.
He also mentioned was the Ukraine’s stated ambitions simultaneously to join NATO and to invade Crimea—automatically triggering a world war. He mentioned its stated ambition to use plutonium from its spent nuclear fuel stockpiles and rockets left over from the Soviet times to concoct weapons of mass destruction—a situation that simply had to be dealt with. Finally, he made clear that all of the Ukrainian war crimes of the past eight years have been carefully documented and that all of these war criminals will be brought to justice.
Tucker: It may be worth asking yourself… why do I hate Putin.. Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? pic.twitter.com/0jlXfS0PYy
The phone call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Zelensky “did not go well”, CNN headlines: while “Biden warned that a Russian invasion is practically certain in February, when the frozen ground makes it possible for tanks to pass through”, Zelensky “asked Biden to lower his tone, arguing that the Russian threat is still ambiguous”. As the Ukrainian president himself takes a more cautious stance, Ukrainian armed forces are massing in the Donbass near the area of Donetsk and Lugansk inhabited by Russian populations. According to reports from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, obscured by our mainstream which only talks about the Russian deployment, Ukrainian Army and National Guard units, amounting to about 150 thousand men, are positioned here. They are armed and trained, and thus effectively commanded, by US-NATO military advisers and instructors.
From 1991 to 2014, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service, the U.S. provided Ukraine with $4 billion in military assistance, which was added to by over $2.5 billion after 2014, plus over a billion provided by the NATO Trust Fund in which Italy also participates. This is only part of the military investments made by the major NATO powers in Ukraine. Great Britain, for example, concluded various military agreements with Kiev, investing among other things 1.7 billion pounds in the strengthening of Ukraine’s naval capabilities: this program provides for the arming of Ukrainian ships with British missiles, the joint production of 8 fast missile launchers, the construction of naval bases on the Black Sea and also on the Sea of Azov between Ukraine, Crimea and Russia. In this framework, Ukrainian military spending, which in 2014 was equivalent to 3% of GDP, increased to 6% in 2022, corresponding to more than $ 11 billion.
In addition to the US-NATO military investments in Ukraine, there is the $10 billion plan being implemented by Erik Prince, founder of the private US military company Blackwater, now renamed Academy, which has been supplying mercenaries to the CIA, Pentagon and State Department for covert operations (including torture and assassinations), earning billions of dollars. Erik Prince’s plan, revealed by a Time magazine investigation , is to create a private army in Ukraine through a partnership between the Lancaster 6 company, with which Prince has supplied mercenaries in the Middle East and Africa, and the main Ukrainian intelligence office controlled by the CIA. It is not known, of course, what would be the tasks of the private army created in Ukraine by the founder of Blackwater, certainly with funding from the CIA. However, it can be expected that it would conduct covert operations in Europe, Russia and other regions from its base in Ukraine.
Modern liberals can hurtle from extravagant tolerance to suppression without batting an eye. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dramatizes the tendency.
Every trucker blockade in Canada has been cleared, yet Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal government isn’t giving up the emergency powers it claimed to criminalize the protest movement against vaccine mandates. “This state of emergency is not over,” Mr. Trudeau said, citing the risk of future blockades. This isn’t how a nation of laws is supposed to function. Mr. Trudeau’s new powers rely on defining the disruptive but peaceful truckers as a security threat akin to violent terrorists. His emergency law, a broad prohibition on public assemblies and even indirect support for them, ensnares tens of thousands of Canadians as “designated persons” whose assets must, per another of his new laws, be found and frozen by any financial institution, without due process or court supervision. There isn’t an appeals process in case of error, and so far 200 accounts are frozen.
Pressed for details, Justice Minister David Lametti initially explained that “pro-Trump” big donors “ought to be worried.” Now the government says it is targeting only the truckers, but its power has no limiting principle. Mr. Lametti says, “We took measures that had been applied to terrorism and applied them to other illegal activity.” This is how a trucker who violated traffic laws or committed “mischief” becomes the target of financial tools designed to disable al Qaeda cells. Bank-account freezes weren’t necessary to clear the blockades. That required police only to arrest those blocking traffic and to requisition tow trucks (already authorized by Canada’s criminal code). The asset freezes serve not to end an emergency but to incapacitate and intimidate protesters after the fact.
Parliament declined Monday night to revoke Mr. Trudeau’s emergency. He prevailed with the support of the socialist New Democratic Party, which once prided itself like others on the left as a defender of civil liberties. “We understood absolutely that we do not want to trigger an election,” said leader Jagmeet Singh, cowed by Mr. Trudeau’s threat. “That would be the worst thing to do in this crisis.” The vote captured the left-liberal pas de deux that has led to abuse of emergency powers. Ottawa’s police chief was a progressive and, as progressives do, he let protesters violate the law with impunity—for weeks. This exasperated Canadians who wanted order and commerce restored. The Liberals blamed foreign interference and lambasted the truckers along trendy American lines as racists and insurrectionists. Then Mr. Trudeau stepped in to curtail the rights of political enemies.
Premier of Alberta, Canada (Jason Kenney) rejects Justin Trudeau and Klaus Schwab and the entire set of proposals referred to in 'The Great Reset'.
In a recent court motion, Joe Biden’s Justice Department changed the official name of its investigation into the protest at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Originally designated the “Capitol breach” probe, the department just replaced “breach” with a more sinister word: siege. “The ‘Capitol Siege’ refers to the events of January 6, 2021, when thousands of individuals entered the U.S. Capitol and U.S. Capitol grounds without authority, halting the Joint Session and the entire official proceeding of Congress for hours,” Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, wrote in a footnote to a February 10 filing. Graves commended Capitol and D.C. Metro police for “clear[ing] the Capitol of rioters” that afternoon. But courtroom rhetoric isn’t the only thing Graves is heating up.
The Justice Department has opened a “Capitol Siege Section” in the agency’s criminal division and wants to hire at least 20 more lawyers to help prosecute Americans for any involvement in what happened on January 6. Qualified attorneys will be employed on a temporary basis and could earn as much as $176,000 per year. “Capitol siege” prosecutors will complement an army of thousands of Justice Department employees, including FBI agents from 56 field offices across the country, handling what Attorney General Merrick Garland warned is the biggest investigation in the department’s history. More than 730 people have been arrested so far—amounting to more than three times the number of federal arrests related to the 2020 “mostly peaceful” riots that lasted for months and resulted in far more death and destruction—and the first major trial of a January 6 defendant starts next week.
As freedom-lovers justifiably recoil at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s crackdown on vaccine mandate protesters, Americans worry the same sort of political retribution could happen here. I’m sorry to report, it already has. The scenes from Ottawa are matched or surpassed by the images here, including thuggish cops attacking January 6 protesters with mace and explosive devices. The difference? Instead of mounted police trampling a woman, ours merely shot and killed one woman and beat up a few more. What the Trudeau regime is now unleashing against the truckers and their supporters has been underway in America for more than a year. Using January 6 as a pretext, the Biden regime is brandishing its authority to crush political dissent. Now, it appears Trudeau and his apparatchiks are stealing the U.S. Justice Department’s playbook of power and pain.
The comparisons are stark. Take, for example, the words of Steve Bell, acting chief of the Ottawa police department. He told a reporter over the weekend how the government will hunt down those who stood in defiance of Trudeau’s vaccine mandates. “If you were involved in this protest, we will actively look to identify you and follow up with financial sanctions and criminal charges, absolutely,” Bell said during a press briefing on February 19. “This investigation will go on for months to come. It has many many different streams from a federal level from a financial level from a provincial licensing level to a criminal code level from a municipal breach of . . . court order level. It will be a time consuming and complicated investigation that will go on for a period of time.”
If Justin Trudeau wants to keep the Emergencies Act for the full 30 days, Candice Bergen and the Conservatives are going to make him explain himself to Canadians again next week. Immediately following the vote to extend the federal government’s new powers, Bergen tabled a motion to rescind those very powers. That may seem odd given that she and the Conservatives had just lost the vote 185-151 but it was in fact a very strategic move. Under Section 59 of the Emergencies Act, any group of 10 Senators or 20 members of the House of Commons can sign a request to revoke the government’s emergency powers. By tabling the motion on Monday night immediately after the vote, Bergen has ensured that there will be another debate and another vote next week on the need for these powers.
“Liberal and NDP MPs will need to explain to Canadians why they are continuing to enforce a national state of emergency that gives the federal government far-reaching powers and authority,” Bergen said. Given that the area around Parliament is cleared out, the borders are all clear, there really isn’t the need for the emergency powers to continue. That’s a position held by some in Trudeau’s own Liberal caucus and several New Democrats as well. The government could rescind their powers before we even get to that point but it does put Trudeau on notice that he will have to continue defending his extraordinary power grab. He had trouble doing so on Monday when asked by reporters.
In fact, Trudeau turned to tow trucks as the first reason for needing the act to continue to be used when asked what was so vital in the act that he needed it to continue. Of course, the trucks have all left the Parliamentary precinct and there is no need for tow trucks. His next line of reasoning was that people might come back. Well then, use regular policing powers and stop them. Trudeau then turned to the ability to keep border crossings like the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor clear. That bridge was cleared away before he even invoked the Emergencies Act and existing federal and provincial laws are sufficient to keep border crossings clear and operating. “The Emergencies Act was not necessary to clear the blockades. The government already had all the tools they need under current Canadian law,” Bergen said.
The Pentagon could commission the National Guard to help manage thousands of big rigs expected to descend upon the nation’s capital this week in protest of government mandates. Following the path of a Canadian convoy of anti-vaccine long haulers who congested Ottawa’s streets for weeks this month, a group of fed-up American truckers from throughout the country are setting out Wednesday to launch their own mass protest in Washington, D.C., and plan to congest popular thoroughfares – including the Capitol Beltway. The Pentagon has been asked to help manage the protests by deploying the National Guard, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.
‘The Department is analyzing a request for assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency,’ Kirby said in a statement. ‘Those agencies have asked for National Guard personnel to provide support at traffic control points in and around the District to help the USCP [U.S. Capitol Police] and D.C. government address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries.’ Although it’s not clear how many people will participate in the protests, it could number in the thousands, Fox News reported. Those leading the movement have requested a National Park Service permit that could accommodate up to 3,000 truckers in D.C., according to the report. This comes as officials also plan to reinstall the fencing that surrounded the Capitol complex last year ahead of Biden’s March 1 State of the Union address.
John Durham has been a special prosecutor for almost a year and a half — not a long time, but plenty of time for a drumbeat to begin that he was showing little progress against his orders to examine the origins of the debunked Trump-Russia collusion narrative that convulsed a presidency. His few indictments so far have been directed against peripheral players, feeding a fear among Donald Trump’s supporters that elites higher up the stack are going to get away with their chicanery. The problem for Durham is that these perceptions were providing the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) with increasing political top cover to shut down the special prosecutor’s office as an unproductive, politics-driven exercise in futility that is wasting taxpayer dollars.
If Durham were to be terminated, the American people might not even push back much since no one had a clue whether his investigation was bearing meaningful fruit. Attorney General Merrick Garland already had undercut Durham’s investigation once by taking steps to rehabilitate the reputation of fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a key figure in the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion debacle. The Biden DOJ is not friendly to the goals of Mr. Durham. Durham couldn’t hold a news conference or pen an op-ed touting progress; that’s just not done by investigators in the middle of an investigation. So, he turned to a readily available vehicle — a routine, fairly innocuous motion filed with the court — to embed an explosive message to the DOJ and the American people. It landed like fireworks at a funeral. No one saw it coming.
Tucked inside the court filing, John Durham laid out a good chunk of the case he’s building, and it was stunning. Durham revealed the outlines of a corrupt conspiracy by operatives linked to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The exposed conspiracy allegedly made a contrived, fraudulent and shocking attempt to entice the FBI and CIA to use their powers against the rival Trump campaign and presidency. This recent filing by Durham was designed to have two effects. First, and most important, he has now made any decision by the president or attorney general to dump him much more difficult to undertake. The last time a president fired a special prosecutor who was making significant progress, he lost his presidency.
Second, Durham has signaled to the American people that his investigation has legs, despite perceptions of plodding inertia. He has provided hope that accountability in D.C. — rare as a MAGA sticker on a Prius — actually might happen.
The digitization of currency ties each individual directly – transparently – to their money and empowers the state with decision power on whether any particular citizen is allowed to transact in modern society. Your money no longer represents stored wealth that can be exchanged for goods and services. Rather, it represents stored wealth that can be exchanged for goods and services as permitted by the state. Mostly gone is the anonymity that comes with transacting in physical cash – the ultimate manifestation of a decentralized currency. (Just try booking a hotel room with nothing but cash and a valid passport.) In its place we find myriad extrajudicial procedures and complex regulations that strip away our freedoms and, if left unchecked, will ultimately make way for the displacement of our representative democracies with totalitarian states.
In a staggering 56-part Twitter thread that recently went viral, an anonymous account by the name of @punk6529 drives home this point brilliantly. A link to the full thread is here. The core thesis is that one cannot have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, or freedom of religion without the freedom to transact. Robbing a citizen of his or her ability to transact is a devastating punishment, and for the government to claim it has the ability to do so without judicial review or any reasonable recourse is the functional equivalent of totalitarianism. The 18th and 19th tweets in the thread are particularly compelling:
As we described in our last piece, Justin Trudeau has crossed the Rubicon in this regard, and if his actions become normalized, the entire edifice of Western democracy will undoubtedly collapse. Lest our readers think this is hyperbole or that Trudeau’s behavior will be contained to Canada, we point you to an excellent piece called In Praise of Bitcoin written by Dr. Ben Hunt . In it, Hunt correctly likens the US Treasury to the Eye of Sauron. Here’s a critical passage (emphasis added):
“If there’s a Western governmental institution that is more unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality than the US Treasury, I am unaware of what that institution might be. But unlike Wall Street, which is motivated by Flow, the US Treasury has an entirely different (but highly compatible!) goal. The goal of the US Treasury is to see all of the money in the world. That’s really all it is. That’s what Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations are all about. That’s what Know Your Client (KYC) regulations are all about. That’s what Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) regulations are all about. That’s what the Treasury-led Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) is all about. That’s what the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) is all about. None of these programs are really about taxes. None of these programs are really about catching crooks or fighting terrorists. All of these programs are really about information for information’s sake regarding the greatest source of power in the world and the raison d’etre of every government on Earth: money.”
It is through a related lens that we have written skeptically about crypto in the past. We’ve marveled as US regulators allowed the crypto ecosystem to evolve, warned crypto participants that a crackdown is inevitable, and questioned how the “value” of one’s crypto holdings could be effectively transmitted back to the fiat world. Many have filled our Twitter feed and Substack comments section expressing the view that Trudeau’s descent into totalitarianism validates the need for cryptocurrencies. While we don’t doubt the demand for such exposure will increase because of his actions, we draw a more sobering conclusion. Trudeau’s actions destroy the concept that cryptocurrencies will ever be an effective medium of exchange. We recently summarized this view on Twitter:
A “People’s Convoy” is assembling around Barstow, California (the capital of the Mojave Desert, where there’s plenty of room to assemble), with a launch date of February 23, next Wednesday, destination: Washington DC. Won’t that be… interesting? What will the government of “Joe Biden” do? Likewise invoke some sort of emergency powers? Declare yet another “insurrection” as with January 6, 2021? Mess with the truckers’ bank accounts, and those of the people who support them? Do they want to inspire a run on US banks at a juncture where the extreme fragility of the global banking system threatens to blow up financial markets? Standing by on that.
The US government, like Canada’s, has likewise been at war with its citizens. At least half the country has awakened to this unappetizing reality — even while somewhat less than half the country still catatonically follows whatever idiotic diktat the despotic bureaucracy spews out. Why, for instance, do so many still go about in face masks even where local regulations are lifted? (And especially in light of the overwhelming evidence that masks don’t work?) Answer: to signify that they are still against Trump, the evil leviathan said to be responsible for all the woes and injustices in the world and who threatens their ”safety”— meaning, their status as oppressed victims of “white supremacy,” including the guilty-and-penitent self-oppressed white people of the Left themselves. Yeah, it’s just that simple because we are in an epic episode of human social hysteria.
[..] The companies who produced the “vaccines’ are even on the run. Pfizer withdrew its application for an emergency use authorization in India, where the public health agency insisted on seeing the safety records Pfizer was obliged to furnish — and refused to. India is a big market for pharmaceuticals, some 1.39 billion. Pfizer’s stock has crashed nearly 10 percent the past two weeks. By the way, some of the states of India are notable for having battled Covid-19 with the mass distribution of early treatment kits containing cheap anti-virals such as ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, Vitamin D, etc. The program was famously successful in reducing deaths there. The CEO of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, has sold off $400-million of his own stock in the company and deleted his Twitter account on rumors that all-causes deaths reported by US life insurance companies show a shocking and mysterious rise in mortality that just may be attributed to the “vaccines” causing strokes, heart attacks, cancer cases, and immune system failures. (Moderna’s stock is also sinking.)
Neither the mainstream news media nor the US public health agencies are making any effort to investigate this now well-documented occurrence. We’re in the midst of a tremendous shift of public opinion. Winter is not over but the truth is budding now in a thousand places. The people are done kneeling docilly to be silenced and killed. They will not let this country, and many other nations in the Western Civ club, be destroyed without a fight. The unmasked are unmasking their masked antagonists. Stand by, now, to find out who has been behind all this deadly mischief. We will rip off their masks and the rule of law will be restored.
Turns out the lasting image of the Freedom Convoy protest at Parliament Hill will not be bouncy castles but that of a woman with a walker being trampled by a police horse. The violence the Prime Minister has expressed concern about during the three-week protest in Ottawa didn’t unfold until Justin Trudeau’s Emergencies Act police army was sent in to disperse the crowd. The three major incidents Friday, under a form of martial law, were grotesque. Video of Toronto Police Mounted Unit officers charging into the crowd and at least one horse trampling multiple people — including an elderly woman with a walker — was disturbing. But that was not the only troubling incident.
Another saw a protester behind a police line repeatedly being smashed with an officer’s rifle. And convoy organizer Benjamin Dichter also told the Toronto Sun “one of drivers had his truck windows smashed by Ottawa Police (with) guns drawn and (he was) dragged out of his vehicle by force.” It’s ironic when you think back to three weeks ago. “Of course I’m concerned,” Trudeau told The Canadian Press on Jan. 28. “A number of people are there without wanting to incite violence, but there are going to be, as we’ve heard, a small group of people in there who are posing a threat to themselves, to each other, to Canadians.” But instead of violence there were bouncy castles, hot tubs, pancake breakfasts, pig roasts, road hockey games, dancing and fireworks displays.
While Trudeau tried to pin the online postings of a Swastika and Confederate flag on the truckers, they brought in a crane to rise the Canadian flag and sang O Canada every day. They definitely wore out their welcome while clogging up the parliamentary district of Ottawa, not wearing masks and excessively honking their horns. But they didn’t cause violence. So why the heavy hand in their mission to win back the city? That’s the question Ottawa Police, the Prime Minister, Premier Doug Ford and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson need to answer.
Friday meetings of the House of Commons and the Senate over the invocation of the Emergencies Act in response to the so-called “freedom convoy” demonstrations were cancelled due to safety concerns. Government House Leader Mark Holland later confirmed that the debate will resume on Saturday, with Speaker Anthony Rota adding the House will sit from 7 a.m. to midnight Eastern. Debate is still expected to continue Sunday and Monday. Holland said the final vote on the measure will be held Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern. “I am looking forward to the historic and fulsome debate that lies ahead,” he said on Twitter. A note from Speaker Anthony Rota noted Friday’s cancellation is spurred on by an impending police operation set to take place by Parliament Hill and around Ottawa’s downtown core.
“The #HoC will not sit today, Friday, February 18. A police operation is expected in the downtown core of Ottawa. Given these exceptional circumstances, and following discussion with all recognized party leadership, the sitting today is cancelled,” wrote Anthony Rota, speaker of the House, in a tweet on Friday. NDP House Leader Peter Julian confirmed the cancellation on Twitter. “Around 4:30 AM this morning all four of us — the House Leaders in the House of Commons — agreed to cancel today’s House of Commons session that was scheduled to start at 7 AM. It is everyone’s hope that the Convoy will peacefully leave #Ottawa & will end their #OttawaOccupation,” Julian tweeted.
Rota cited concerns from the Parliamentary Police Service (PPS) and noted that all House Leaders were in agreement on the cancellation. “Given these exceptional circumstances, and following discussion with all recognized party leadership, the sitting today is cancelled,” Rota wrote in a letter Friday.
“..in response to their singing, praying, dancing, candy floss, bouncy castles, speeches about the Constitution and outpourings of patriotic love for the country, your government has not only refused to meet with these citizens to hear their concerns, you have insulted, denigrated and lied about them..”
A group of Canadian clergy sent an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week rebuking him for invoking the Emergencies Act to quell the Freedom Convoy and for other actions they described as “tyrannical.” “We are writing to you as representative pastors of Christian congregations from across the nation and as law-abiding citizens who respect the God-defined role of civil government and uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the highest law of our land, which recognizes the supremacy of God over all human legislation,” read the letter, which was signed by 29 clergymen and remains open for other Canadians to sign.
Explaining their repeated, earnest attempts to prayerfully redress their grievances with all levels of government regarding “indefinite suspension of civil liberties, coercive mandates and perpetual state interference in the life, freedom and worship of the church,” the pastors denounced Trudeau for cracking down on the Freedom Convoy instead of hearing them out. They emphasized that members of the clergy are a part of the convoy. “The Ottawa protest has presented your government with a wonderful opportunity to meet with and speak to ordinary Canadians lawfully and peaceably requiring the restoration of their constitutional rights,” they wrote.
“However, in response to their singing, praying, dancing, candy floss, bouncy castles, speeches about the Constitution and outpourings of patriotic love for the country, your government has not only refused to meet with these citizens to hear their concerns, you have insulted, denigrated and lied about them, further dividing a hurting and broken nation.” The pastors went on to rebuke Trudeau and his government for seemingly believing that they have the authority to bestow and remove fundamental rights at will. “Your government does not grant people the right to their bodily integrity, the right to work or earn a living, the right to decide for their children or to be with their families or dying loved ones, the right to gather to worship and obey God, the right to travel in their own land or enter and leave. Civil government exists to protect these pre-political and fundamental freedoms, not bestow and remove them as if it can function in the place of God.”
“The Ministry of Peace is established to create war; the Ministry of Truth is established to create lies and propaganda; the Ministry of Love established to justify torture and beatings; and the Ministry of Plenty to control food production leading to starvation.”
When the terms “freedom and liberty” are allowed to be defined as extremist sentiment, what you end up with are Canadian federal police beating people in the streets and arresting citizens who petition their government for freedom. Meanwhile, the ever fearful and politically correct conservatives in Parliament grasp their pearls while simultaneously cowering to avoid labels. Somewhere there is a radical called Saul Alinsky, the trainer of modern revolutionary communists and political leftists – who dedicated his training manual to Lucifer, smiling as he watches the results of his teachings. Unfortunately, we have not yet seen the worst of what is to come from this.
Allow me to highlight the point with two easily referenced examples from Canadian media (infiltrated with ideological stenographers) and contemplate the larger message against government saying we must “defend our democracy” while removing political protest. Notice the evolution of the collective narrative in just a few days. The word “freedom” is extremist (Feb 13) … Conservatives are “extremist” (Feb 18)
When “freedom and liberty” are defined as extremism, conservatives become defined as extremists. See how that works? Yes, linguistic judo and ideological training provided by Saul Alinsky, in his rules for radicals. In essence, Alinsky taught the budding communists to define the opposition, isolate them, ridicule them and marginalize them. Now, if you find yourself having a mental reference to a race of persons as defined during World War II, before Alinsky’s book was even written, your reference point is solid. Whenever we allow any entity, group, or collective echo-chamber to change the terminology, we are making a big mistake.
Orwell wrote about the outcome in his book 1984, where The Ministry of Peace is established to create war; the Ministry of Truth is established to create lies and propaganda; the Ministry of Love established to justify torture and beatings; and the Ministry of Plenty to control food production leading to starvation. These are not simply contradictions in words and terms, these are an earlier version of what David Mamet later described as necessary tools for modern leftists. In order to advance severe ideological positions, they must pretend not to know things. Ignoring contradictions is a feature of modern leftism, not a flaw.
The Counter Signal has exclusively obtained an order sent by Trudeau’s federal police force, which demands that all FINTRAC regulated companies in Canada cease transacting with 34 cryptocurrency wallets. The wallets are alleged to be associated with the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa. The Counter Signal has confirmed at least one wallet which had contained over $1 million worth of Bitcoin as being a part of the HonkHonkHodl campaign to support truckers via cryptocurrency. Whether this demand from police will hamper access to the funds is still unclear. The police order comes via Trudeau’s extraordinary and self-prescribed emergency powers, and affects over 25 Bitcoin, worth approximately $1.4 million dollars.
“The Ontario Provincial Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police are currently investigating cryptocurrency donations being collected in relation to illegal acts falling under the scope of the Emergency Measures Act,” the RCMP order begins. “Pursuant to the Emergency Economic Measures Order, under subsection 19(1) of the Emergencies Act, there is a duty to cease facilitating any transactions pertaining to the following cryptocurrency address(es).” Trudeau’s officers list 29 Bitcoin addresses, 2 Ethereum, and 1 wallet each of Cardano, Monero, and Litecoin. [..] “Any information about a transaction or proposed transaction in respect of these address(es), is to be disclosed immediately to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, at CryptocurrencyNHQ-CryptomonnaieDG@rcmp-grc.gc.ca,” the RCMP pleaded.
Who would have thought that Canada would ever be a spark plug for a freedom movement against tyranny? As the editor of a Canadian geopolitical magazine for over 10 years and author of four books on Canadian History, I am a bit embarrassed to say that I certainly didn’t think that Canadians had this in them. The “monarchy of the north” certainly isn’t something that exudes revolutionary sentiment- having been founded on such non-revolutionary principles as “Peace, Order and Good Governance” which have stood in stark contrast to the significantly more inspiring “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” enshrined in the founding documents of our southern cousins.
Even our founding 1867 document (drafted over a champagne fueled month of hedonism in 1864) explicitly calls out the purpose of confederation not as a means of “supporting the general welfare” as was the case of the USA’s constitution in 1787, but rather “to promote the interests of the British Empire”. But here it is.
Countless thousands of patriots have driven across the country to bunker down in Ottawa in peace and high festive spirits which I had to see with my own eyes to believe demanding something so simple and un-tainted by ideology: freedom to work, provide for families and a respect for basic rights as laid out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (a 1982 upgrade to the embarrassingly oligarchical British North America Act of 1867). Mainstream media and political hacks have been working overtime to paint the Freedom convoy that converged on Ottawa on January 29 as an “insurrectionist movement” full of “white supremacists”, “Russian stooges”, and “Nazis” out to “overthrow the government”.
Even the Bank of England’s former governor (and World Economic Forum Trustee) Mark Carney chimed in on February 7 stating that “this is sedition” and that “those who are still helping to extend this occupation must be identified and punished to the full force of the law”. Carney, the perennial financial darling of Goldman Sachs and the City of London (and Prime Ministerial hopeful) called for a targeting of all those who donated money to this domestic terror operation. Faced with an organic civil rights movement of blue-collar truckers, farmers and tens of thousands of supporters who have convened on Canada’s capital to demand a restoration of their basic freedoms, the current Liberal government has failed to show even an ounce of humanity or capacity to negotiate.
This shouldn’t be a surprise for those who have seen the hypocrisy of neo-liberal “rules-based” order ideologues in action over the past few years who are quick to celebrate the “liberty” of citizens of Ukraine, Hong Kong, or Xinjiang when the outcome benefits the geopolitical aims of detached technocrats hungry for global hegemony.
Let’s take a moment and give props to the Canadian truckers who got their government’s and fellow Canadians’ attention. Good for them. They did something, along with those who walked fuel and food to them to keep the protest going. Great use of logistics and tactics, my hat is off to you! Truckers are pureblood allies. There is no argument that the truckers’ actions had an effect on the war. They arrived and fought on the battlefield. The government announced a crack down, so we’ll see how it plays out over the next few days. Contrast with the US: no widespread parking lots, everyone is still in trudge along to get along mode. There’s low level disruptions (keep vacationing in place!) in daily life, most notably in the supply chain. Even fat bitch Karens are noticing higher grocery prices and holes in shelves. But so far, pretty quiet.
Boston, New York City, and Minneapolis allowed vaxports. Vaxports are the equivalent of sucking government cock after it ****s you in the ass. Enjoy the taste of your own ****. The pure bloods haven’t burned the cities to the ground in a mostly peaceful protest. Why is that? What will it take to set things off? I don’t know. There’s two ways this ends: either 1% decides they’ve had enough, or we will be slowly boiled until we are grateful daddy government allowed us to exist in our own homes without a mask on Tuesdays. No, that’s not impossible. Over the past two years, as a people, we’ve demonstrated we will trade our humanity for safety. Tard Karen believes a magic filthy rag wards off a deadly plague. Others wear one for work so they have a place to live. Still others won’t rock the boat to remain part of their group.
[..] The plan isn’t perfect. The leader, the goals, or the tactics don’t align perfectly with yours. Oh no, but if it was, boy howdy, would you get off the couch and join them. This line of thought requires ignoring that the un-pure army produces desired results. One day, when the right allies appear, you’ll join them. One day… They aren’t doing it right. Sadly, an army already on the field is unlikely to recognize you as their Five Star General. If their actions work, support their efforts or shut the **** up and stay on the couch. Don’t derail a functioning battle plan. Those who disrupt working tactics have a special name: traitors. Another set of excuses is due to mindset. Mindset determines success or failure as much as tactics and logistics. Mindset is the result of life experience and it will not change overnight, if at all.
However, we deserve some leniency for not developing a killer, win-or-die mindset. Life hasn’t been trying to actively kill us for long enough soybois and girldicks require a safe space when someone uses the wrong pronoun. On the other hand, peace and ease allowed modern Western Civilization to flourish. But there is one item from pop culture that has destroyed mindset development so much, some evil mastermind is kicking himself for not inventing it: the montage. Yes, the montage. What does a montage imply? It only takes 3:30 to go from zero to hero. Any skill can be mastered in the time it takes to listen to the movie’s hit song. No failure, no missteps, no tangents where a single slice of the skill is drilled and drilled until practice is complete hell. None of that. According to the montage, skills are for special, gifted people only. They are learned by those special people quickly and easily. If someone isn’t an expert instantly, they never will be.
Speaking on Friday during the Munich Security Conference, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder and chairman, discussed how the threat posed by the COVID pandemic had “dramatically lowered”…while making a startling admission: that natural infection and spread was more effective at bolstering human immunity than vaccines. Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble during the annual conference in Germany, Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told the audience that a potential new pandemic would likely stem from a different pathogen than that belonging to the coronavirus family (maybe Ebola, perhaps?). But he added that advances in medical technology should help the world do a better job of fighting it – if investments are made now.
“We’ll have another pandemic. It will be a different pathogen next time,” Gates said. Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Gates said the worst effects have faded as huge swathes of the global population have gained some level of immunity. Its severity has also waned with the latest omicron variant. Amazingly, after years of denial, Gates seemed to acknowledge – albeit in a roundabout way – that the infectiousness of the omicron variant had played the key role in boosting human immunity to SARS-CoV-2.
According to Gates, it’s already “too late” to reach the WHO’s goal to vaccinate 70% of the global population by mid-2022. Currently 61.9% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine) but that’s okay, however, Gates said, as in many places, the virus itself, which creates a level of immunity, and has “done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines.” “The chance of severe disease, which is mainly associated with being elderly and having obesity or diabetes, those risks are now dramatically reduced because of that infection exposure,” he said.
Dear all those that waited, how glad are you that you waited?
President Joe Biden said Friday he’s convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine in the coming days and that Russia would fail to create a new system in Europe that takes its security into account. “As of this moment I’m convinced he has made the decision” to invade, Biden told a reporter in response to a question at a White House press briefing. Asked how he knows this, Biden said, “We have a significant intelligence capability.” Biden also flatly asserted that the capital, Kiev, would be attacked: “Russian troops currently have Ukraine surrounded. We have reason to believe Russian forces are planning and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days. We believe they will target the capital Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.”
If such a horrific scenario were true, wouldn’t Washington have sent its military to defend its ally? That the U.S. hasn’t, undercuts the credibility of U.S. intelligence. “We also will not send troops in to fight in Ukraine, but we will continue to support the Ukrainian people,” he said, apparently as they are being slaughtered in their beds by Russian bombs — the only conclusion that can be drawn. For Biden, supporting the Ukrainian people translates into $650 million spent by the U.S. in the past year to “bolster Ukraine’s defenses,” and U.S. arms manufacturers’ profits. Even with all this hardware, the Ukrainian military is no match for Russia’s, as the U.S. would be.
“The United States and its allies and partners will support the Ukrainian people,” Biden said. “We will hold Russia accountable for its actions. … The entire free world is united” against Russia and sanctions will be imposed once this invasion happens. If you were Ukrainian, living in Kiev, how would you feel if the president of the United States just said he’s convinced your city will be bombed by a major military power in days and all he’ll do for you is punish your attackers by hitting their finances? Or maybe you are like some Ukrainians, including your president, who thinks this invasion is a figment of Biden’s imagination.
The Russian military confirmed on Friday that it will move up nuclear weapons exercises which had been previously scheduled to take place later the year, as a warning to the West as the Ukraine crisis grows hotter. Typically the drills take place in the fall, but will now be part of the current climate of ‘muscle flexing’ as the region remains on the brink. The massive drills of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces will take place Saturday, and President Putin will directly oversee it, according to the defense ministry. There were signs earlier in February that the drills would be moved up in time, as the FT wrote: “Russia generally holds its annual nuclear exercises — which involve testing intercontinental ballistic missiles from land, sea and air — in the fall. But the US believes Putin has decided to hold them earlier this year as a show of strength.”
Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov notified allies as well as Western countries about the Saturday drills in a Friday statement, saying it should be no cause for concern. Likely the maneuvers will center on the Black Sea Fleet out of the Crimean Peninsula, which will be taken by Ukraine and NATO to be highly provocative. A senior Biden administration official responded to the announcement that it was definitely “escalatory”. “Practice launches of ballistic missiles are part of regular training,” Peskov said. “They are preceded by a series of notices to other nations via different channels.”
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has issued an open invitation for Russia to host deployable nukes on Belarusian soil amid the Ukraine standoff, has been personally invited to watch the nuclear drills with Putin. According to Congressional testimony from last week by Joint Chiefs chairman General Mark Milley and director of national intelligence Avril Haines, the Pentagon believes the exercises are a “show of force” aimed at both Ukraine and its Western backers in NATO. Analyst Rebeccah Heinrichs with the hawkish D.C. think tank Hudson Institute described that given Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, “It would be an extremely provocative and harbinger of messages if they did it concurrently with an invasion.”
[..] it’s worth noting what a Russian invasion of Ukraine would actually mean. For the past 15 years, ever since the Munich speech, Russian officials have been arguing against the unilateral use of force and demanding a UN-centered security system founded on international law. Were we to wake up one day and find that Russian tanks were rolling towards Kiev without any kind of excuse, it would amount to a complete abandonment of 15 years of argumentation as well as a negation of the entire legal/moral position built up by the Russian Federation in that period, a position reinforced just this month in the Putin/Xi statement. It would also be very odd. For you can hardly achieve the objective of a multipolar world based on the principles of UN supremacy and international law by means of a massive breach of those very same principles.
It would be extraordinarily self-defeating. A certain skepticism about the allegedly “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine is therefore due. It’s not impossible, but one has to wonder why, after so many years of consistency, Putin would suddenly change his position in such a drastic way. As for the West, looking back at its self-destructive errors in recent years, one might consider Putin something of a prophet. But if so, it’s a prophet in the guise of the Trojan princess Cassandra who was fated to be always right but never believed. Rather than taking heed of Putin’s warning, Western leaders have bludgeoned onwards, toppling Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, aiding rebels in Syria, attempting (and failing at) regime change in Venezuela, fighting and losing against the Taliban, sanctioning Iran, supporting revolution in Ukraine, and so on. It has not turned out well. We can’t say we weren’t warned.
In a move that gives him “sweeping powers,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked — for the first time in history — Canada’s Emergencies Act in response to what political commentator Krystal Ball characterized as a “pretty much completely peaceful” protest. Those powers include giving Canadian banks the ability, without a court order, to “immediately freeze or suspend accounts” of any Canadians’ who have donated $25 or more to the trucker convoy fundraising accounts. In an episode of “Breaking Points With Krystal and Sagaar,” Ball’s co-host, Saagar Enjeti, said the Canadian government also will be “seizing any funds that go towards the protests, including cryptocurrency.”
With the powers granted to the government by the Emergencies Act “they can not only seize and suspend your driver’s license forever, they can also go and take money out of the owner of the truck’s bank account,” Enjeti said. “So we are looking at full-fledged financial warfare on the truckers.” Not all Canadian leaders are on board with this drastic move, said Ball, pointing to a Reuters report that the premiers of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan opposed the move. Quebec’s Premier François Legault also opposed the move, stating he feared it would “throw oil on the fire,” according to the Montreal Gazette.
Canada’s War Measures Act, the predecessor to Trudeau’s Emergencies Act, was last used in 1970, when Quebec separatists kidnapped French and Canadian diplomats and murdered one of them. “So that was the last time anything similar to this was invoked,” Ball said. “You have here the Canadian Prime Minister, who is our neighbor to the north, invoking the Emergencies Act, declaring all out financial warfare on his own citizens and suspending civil liberties … in a supposedly free and open society,” Enjeti said. If this is happening in your country, “you [clearly] don’t live in a free country,” he argued.
A senior Canadian security official has said the anti-vaccine-mandate ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest is driven by a desire to overthrow the government, disputing demonstrators who insist they are fed up with the country’s pandemic restrictions. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino questioned the protesters’ motives, suggesting that outrage over ongoing vaccine mandates is merely cover for a more sinister agenda. “There have been those who have tried to characterize these illegal blockades about vaccines and mandates and fatigue with the pandemic,” he said. “That is not what is driving this movement right now.”
What is driving this movement is a very small, organized group that is driven by an ideology to overthrow the government. While thousands of protesters have descended on the capital city of Ottawa and elsewhere to peacefully demand an end to the mandates, Mendicino cited a group of 11 demonstrators at a border crossing in Coutts, Alberta who were found to be carrying firearms and ammunition, calling the incident a “cautionary tale.” “The seizure of a significant number of illegal firearms by a group that is very committed to the cause is something that we need to be very sober about,” said Mendicino, an ex-federal prosecutor. The 11 individuals were reportedly taken into custody and charged with weapons offenses on Monday.
The minister’s warning of coup plotters comes one day after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in its history to crack down on the “illegal” protest, which some officials have described as a “blockade.” The Act grants authorities a number of temporary powers, including to compel tow-truck companies to remove the large numbers of semi-trucks now parked across the Canadian capital. To date, some firms have refused to haul away the vehicles.
Watch this video from start to finish. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino definitively says the people charged with firearms offences in Coutts are connected to far-right groups in Ottawa, but when challenged completely walks back the claim to an unrecognizable point. pic.twitter.com/1ziLUN5IPK
On Wednesday, police in the Canadian capital Ottawa handed out flyers to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ truckers, ordering everyone to “leave now” or face arrest under PM Justin Trudeau’s emergency declaration. The truckers and their supporters have demonstrated for almost three weeks, demanding an end to strict Covid-19 mandates. “You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking streets, or assisting others in the blocking of streets, are committing a criminal offense and you may be arrested,” Ottawa police announced shortly before noon on Wednesday. Officers handed out fliers with the same message to the protesters and put them on the windshields of vehicles parked in front of the Canadian parliament.
Protesters face arrest, fines, jail, and could have their commercial or even private drivers’ licenses revoked, the police said. While the warning is almost the same as the one the city’s police issued last Wednesday, the new announcement includes language specifically referring to travel restrictions in the Federal Emergencies Act. The law was invoked by Trudeau on Monday, for the first time in Canadian history – and the law it replaced had only been used during the two world wars and a 1970 terrorism crisis. The crackdown comes just a day after Ottawa Police chief Peter Sloly resigned. The official reason police cited for removing the truckers is that they are committing “mischief” by denying the people of Ottawa “the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property” and “causing businesses to close.”
For the first time in history, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to crackdown on what he has described as an attack on democracy itself in Canada. While civil libertarians in Canada have condemned the move as threatening core free speech and associational rights in the country, the American media and legal commentators have largely supported Trudeau in the use of these extreme measures. Indeed, I triggered a tsunami of outrage in stating that Canada could have used such powers to cut off donations for the Civil Rights Movement and arrest Martin Luther King today for such protests. Partly this was due to the distortion of my comments on MLK ever being arrested (as opposed to being subject to arrest under this law).
However, there was also an objection that there is no equivalency between the truckers and the Civil Rights Movement. Again, that is not the point of the reference: it should not matter if you agree or disagree with the underlying cause. The concern is that the Canadian government could declare such an emergency to crackdown on any group engaging in civil disobedience through blockades or occupation protests. It could even happen to Dr. King today if marchers sought to repeat historic marches in Canada. Without meaningful limits under the law, they could also be unilaterally declared threats to Canadian “sovereignty, security and territorial integrity” by Trudeau for acts of civil disobedience.
With the emergency powers, Trudeau can now prohibit travel, public assemblies, conduct widespread arrests, and block donations for the truckers. This also includes freezing bank accounts and ramping up police surveillance and enforcement.
There is no downplaying the magnitude of the decision made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act. It’s a move that’s never been done before, and it’s not a decision to be made lightly. And yet a growing chorus of legal analysis suggests that the PM did in fact make the decision lightly — that the situation just didn’t warrant it. “The federal government has not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act,” said a statement by Nao Mendelsohn Aviv, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). “This law creates a high and clear standard for good reason: the Act allows government to bypass ordinary democratic processes. This standard has not been met.” The CCLA added: “Emergency legislation should not be normalized. It threatens our democracy and our civil liberties.”
There are those who claim that civil liberties won’t be violated by Trudeau’s decision because any measures undertaken are subject to the Charter. But that’s not as reassuring as it may first sound. Now that the Emergencies Act has been invoked, a motion to confirm the emergency needs to appear before Parliament within seven sitting days. Until that time, there’s really nothing stopping Trudeau and cabinet from interpreting their new powers however they please. Here’s one of the new things Trudeau can now do: “Regulating and prohibiting public assemblies, including blockades, other than lawful advocacy, protest or dissent.” Now, whatever this means to you is irrelevant; it’s how Trudeau and the Prime Minister’s Office choose to interpret it that matters.
There’s no immediate adversarial review, and there’s no upfront judicial restraint. For example, the new powers Trudeau has given himself to mess with people’s banking who are suspected to be involved in the protests don’t require a court order like they would during usual times. It’s troubling that Trudeau would so readily reach for this lever. “The use of the Act is intended for crises where there are no other options on the table,” explains Aaron Wudrick, a lawyer who works with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. “Yet until it decided to invoke the Act, the federal government — along with their provincial and municipal counterparts — failed to do very much at all to attempt to disperse the Ottawa protest, making it hard for them to claim they have exhausted all alternatives.”
“Wait, how would the Canadian government, let alone a Canadian bank, know if you voted for Donald Trump? How deep is this rabbit hole Trudeau just put a spotlight on?”
Trudeau's Justice Minister on convoy supporters: “If you are a member of a pro-Trump movement who's donating… you ought to be worried” about your bank account being frozen.
Two Canadian premiers and 16 American governors asked President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday to reinstate the vaccine and quarantine exemptions for cross border truck drivers. “We understand the vital importance of vaccines in the fight against COVID-19 and continue to encourage eligible individuals to get vaccinated,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wrote in the letter. “However, we are deeply concerned that terminating these exemptions has had demonstrably negative impacts on the North American supply chain, the cost of living, and access to essential products for people in both of our countries.”
Sixteen Republican governors signed the letter along with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. The U.S leaders who signed were Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.
“The timing of your decision to terminate the vaccine and quarantine exemptions could not have been worse as North America already faces grave supply chain constraints,” the letter said. “These constraints, combined with increasing inflation, place significant burdens on the residents of Canada and the United States. Furthermore, transportation associations have informed us that the lack of exemptions will force thousands of drivers out of the trucking industry, which is already facing a significant workforce shortage. The removal of these exemptions is ultimately unnecessary, and we cannot afford to lose any more truck drivers who transport food and other vital supplies across the border.”
The Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford has just blown up Justin Trudeau’s house of cards. In fact he’s just blown up the entire argument for mandates, vaccine passports and restrictions.
The Russian government has taken to Twitter to mock rumors that the country would invade Ukraine on Wednesday. While the Kremlin claimed it would withdraw some troops from near the border of Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said that Russia has actually deployed about 7,000 troops to the border in addition to the estimated 150,000 already stationed there. The Embassy of Russia in South Africa tweeted a GIF of John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction” looking around an empty front St. Michael’s Monastery in Kiev, with the caption: “16 February 2022. Meanwhile in Ukraine.”
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted another GIF Wednesday of a tumbleweed. “Today we mark another day of the ‘start of war with Ukraine,’ which did not happen again, to the Western media outlets’ regret, no matter how hard they whip up the hysteria,” the ministry captioned the GIF. “See for yourselves what the collective Western media and officials’ words are worth.” The Foreign Ministry tweeted a photo with a “FAKE” stamp over a collage of websites claiming that Russia would invade Ukraine. “This week we witnessed the culmination of misinformation campaign, launched by the West, on Russia’s mythical ‘invasion’ of Ukraine,” the ministry wrote. “Meanwhile, [NATO] continues to pump weapons into Ukraine under the information cover they’ve created.”
Fierce fighting that has killed thousands of people in eastern Ukraine, home to a large number of ethnic Russians, constitutes a genocide, President Vladimir Putin has claimed as parliamentarians push for the Kremlin to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk. Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference at the end of crunch talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Russian leader weighed in on the heightened tensions unfolding in the war-torn region. “I can only add that what is happening in Donbass is genocide,” he said. When asked by reporters about whether the push for the recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics was guided by public opinion and sympathy from Russians, and how such a move could impact a major peace plan, Putin said it was still possible to solve the problems in the region by applying the Minsk agreements.
“We have to do everything to resolve the problem of Donbass, but do it first and foremost based on the possibility of implementing the Minsk agreements,” he explained, adding that he hoped Berlin and Paris would be able to encourage Kiev to fulfill their side of the deal. Scholz, however, expressed concern at the prospect of Donetsk and Lugansk’s recognition, claiming that such a move would violate the protocols and lead to a “political catastrophe.” Putin’s remarks come shortly after lawmakers in his country’s parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution, originally put forward by the Communist Party, calling for Putin to recognize the independence of the two regions. MPs said that the move would set the framework for ensuring guarantees and protecting the population, where ethnic Russians make up a large minority, from external threats.
NATO is now talking about Russia’s failure to withdraw troops from near Ukraine even though on Tuesday the Kremlin had announced the start of a draw down of some military units in the south. “Russia’s failure to withdraw can be confirmed through commercial satellite imagery,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. His statement comes less than 24 hours after President Biden addressed the Ukraine situation in a televised speech wherein he alleged that a Russian attack on Ukraine is “still very much a possibility” and that the troop reduction is “not verified yet”. Biden took the opportunity to again warn of “overwhelming international condemnation” and unprecedented sanctions, including “export controls…methods we did not pursue when Russia took Crimea in 2014.”
As part of the “decisive response” the administration has said it has in its arsenal as a maximalist ‘nuclear option’ which would see Russia off from the international SWIFT payment settlement system. But Moscow was quick to respond Wednesday, with Finance Minister Anton Siluanov reaffirming his country has “prepared alternatives” which ensure such US sanctions while yet “unpleasant” would remain “not fatal”. He assured in an online briefing that Russia will fulfill all settlements, and further that “Any restrictions on energy exports will be compensated by corresponding price growth.” “Thank god we have enough forex liquidity and enough forex reserves,” Siluanov told reporters in the briefing. “They say we have a financial shield in the form of gold and forex reserves, budget surplus and [budget] rule, low debt.”
When it comes to the scenario of being cut off from SWIFT, which is being reported as possibly part of a sweeping sanctions package under preparation by US and European officials, Siluanov referenced the his country being able to withstand it, with plans being readied for a “Fortress Russia” approach: “We expect the country’s financial system to continue to focus inwards as part of the “Fortress Russia” strategy and advance digital and fintech sovereignty.” It was reported that as of early February, Russia possesses nearly $635 billion in gold and forex reserves. On the energy question, he affirmed that Russia stands ready to re-route to other markets. The comment about advancing “digital and fintech sovereignty” is particularly interesting in light of President Putin’s October 2021 statements wherein he rattled American financial officials after hinting that cryptocurrencies could be ‘weaponized’ as a dollar replacement.
If we are to believe that a worldwide pandemic grew from an outbreak of twelve people in Wuhan, China to infect nearly the entire world (even indigenous tribes in the Amazon jungle who are by definition quarantined) why would it not do the same when we emerged from our underground fallout shelters? What if through assiduously standing in small circles painted on the floor in grocery stores and wearing underwear on our faces, we succeeded in driving the number of Covid infections down to a very small number? To pick a number, for example, twelve people. Why would the contagion not, in the absence of broader acquired immunity, spread again from that new base of twelve, until eventually reaching all of those remaining uninfected?
It took me some time to give it a name. I settled on “suppression.” The fundamental reason that suppression is not a policy is that it has no exit. For a thing to work it must work within a limited time. If the measures to slow the spread succeeded in slowing it, then what? The nature of the off ramp is the answer to the question, “What happens when we stop doing it?” If the answer is, “It would go right back to what it was doing before,” then there is no exit. During 2020 I had people tell me that we could not end the lockdown because the epidemic would pick up right where it left off and millions would die AND (sometimes the same people ) that if we keep up the restrictive measures for a while then we could stop because the virus would not come back. A bit logic rules out the possibility that the virus could both come back and not come back.
Do we then spend the rest of our lives acting out Covid theater? Dr. Fauci said that he would never shake hands again. Blue check marks fret about quarantining their children. Jenin Younes reflected on a survey in which hypochondriac epidemiologists who are afraid to open their mail explain that they now consider a normal life to be dangerously reckless. Substack author Eugyppius writes about a medical journal editor who “can’t work out what we’re even doing here, but he wants us to keep doing it.”
Babies born to mothers who took the Covid-19 vaccine during their pregnancy are likely to have some form of immunity against the virus, according to the latest research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published on Tuesday. Researchers analyzed data from 379 hospitalized infants – 176 suffered from Covid-19 and 203 were admitted for other reasons. The children were all under six months old between July 2021 and January 2022. Their study found that hospitalization risks were reduced by 61% in children whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy. Protection increased to 80% when the mothers got their jabs later in their pregnancy (21 weeks to 14 days before delivery).
The effectiveness of the vaccinations dropped as low as 32% for babies whose mother was inoculated earlier during pregnancy. The authors cautioned people not to read too much into the study, given the small sample size used. “Right now we want to ensure that we are protecting both the mom and the infant,” CDC’s Dana Meaney-Delman told reporters. “So, as soon as a pregnant woman is willing to be vaccinated, she should so ahead and do so.” The CDC says that pregnant women are at greater risk of developing complications due to Covid-19, including risks to their own health, as well as preterm births and stillbirths. It is recommended that anyone expecting a baby or trying to get pregnant should keep up to date with their Covid shots.
The South Dakota House has passed a bill to allow medical professionals to prescribe ivermectin to patients suffering from COVID-19. House Bill 1267 passed Monday on a vote of 40 to 28, South Dakota Broadcasters Association Reports. Its prime sponsor is Rep. Phil Jensen (R, Rapid City). The bill gives medical professionals permission to prescribe ivermectin in accordance with accepted medical standards. If ivermectin is prescribed, medical professionals must provide patients with an information sheet about the drug and subsequent healthcare information.
Opponents of the bill argue the legislature should not be telling doctors what they can or cannot prescribe for their patients. Supporters say the bill doesn’t mandate medical professionals to prescribe ivermectin, just gives them permission to do so. Ivermectin is typically used to kill parasites in animals. Some have advocated for the drug to be used to treat COVID-19. However, the FDA says ivermectin should not be used in this way. The bill will go forward in the legislative process and will next be heard on the Senate floor.
A bill in the Idaho Legislature would protect the licenses of doctors, nurses and pharmacists who prescribe or dispense unproven medications for COVID-19. Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, presented the legislation Friday to the House Business Committee. The committee voted by a voice vote to introduce the bill. The bill would prohibit licensing boards from taking disciplinary action against doctors, physician assistants and advanced-practice registered nurses when the action is “based solely” on their recommendations to patients regarding COVID-19, including prescribing drugs that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the coronavirus disease. The bill also says pharmacists could not “block or attempt to block” a patient’s access to that unapproved drug.
If a pharmacist does not want to dispense the medication, they could direct the patient to a willing pharmacist, the bill says. Pharmacists’ licenses couldn’t be jeopardized by dispensing the drugs, the bill says. In addition, the bill orders Idaho hospitals, nursing facilities and residential care or assisted living facilities to allow a patient to take the unapproved treatment “if a patient has requested and is prescribed” that drug. The FDA has approved some drugs for other uses — ivermectin for intestinal parasites, for example — but not for COVID-19. While “off label” prescribing is sometimes done by health care providers for other ailments, the pandemic has made off-label use of ivermectin and other unproven drugs a matter of politics and, now, policy.
Big tech companies are doing the bidding of the U.S. government in actions that mirror China’s social credit system, and Americans must recognize what’s happening and take action, according to Kara Frederick, a former Facebook intel analyst and a research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Frederick recently authored a Heritage Foundation report titled, “Combating Big Tech’s Totalitarianism: A Road Map,” which details how Big Tech has wielded its power to censor Americans. The report proposes a range of actions Americans can take to counter the situation. “It’s that integration of the government and big tech companies to police speech that I think is troubling and very evocative of the coming totalitarianism,” Frederick said on EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. She calls it a “symbiosis between the government and tech companies.”
She cited a few examples, including in earlier February, when White House press secretary Jen Psaki, at a press conference, urged Spotify and other major tech platforms to take further action to stamp out what the Biden administration deemed as “COVID-19 misinformation.” It’s not the first time Psaki told big tech companies what to do, Frederick noted. In July 2021, Psaki and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy at a press conference urged social media companies to combat what the Biden administration called “health misinformation.” At the time, Psaki singled out 12 people whom she said were “producing 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms.”
“All of [the 12 people] remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms, including Facebook—ones that Facebook owns,” Psaki said at the time. A day later, Psaki said, “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others … for providing misinformation out there.” Frederick noted that within a month, all of the users and accounts were booted off the Facebook platform.
Therapeutic Advances: Meta-analysis of 15 trials found that ivermectin reduced risk of death compared with no ivermectin (average risk ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.19–0.73; n = 2438; I2 = 49%; moderate-certainty evidence). This result was confirmed in a trial sequential analysis using the same DerSimonian–Laird method that underpinned the unadjusted analysis. This was also robust against a trial sequential analysis using the Biggerstaff–Tweedie method. Low-certainty evidence found that ivermectin prophylaxis reduced COVID-19 infection by an average 86% (95% confidence interval 79%–91%). Secondary outcomes provided less certain evidence. Low-certainty evidence suggested that there may be no benefit with ivermectin for “need for mechanical ventilation,” whereas effect estimates for “improvement” and “deterioration” clearly favored ivermectin use. Severe adverse events were rare among treatment trials and evidence of no difference was assessed as low certainty. Evidence on other secondary outcomes was very low certainty.
Conclusions: Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.
Although several drugs received Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 treatment with unsatisfactory supportive data, Ivermectin, on the other hand, has been sidelined irrespective of sufficient convincing data supporting its use. Nevertheless, many countries adopted ivermectin as one of the first-line treatment options for COVID-19. With the ongoing vaccine roll-out programs in full swing across the globe, the longevity of the immunity offered by these vaccines or their role in offering protection against new mutant strains is still a matter of debate. The adoption of Ivermectin as a “safety bridge” by some sections of the population that are still waiting for their turn for vaccination could be considered as a “logical” option.
Several doctor-initiated clinical trial protocols that aimed to evaluate outcomes, such as reduction in mortality figures, shortened length of intensive care unit stay and/or hospital stay and elimination of the virus with ivermectin use have been registered at the US ClinicalTrials.gov . Real-time data is also available with a meta-analysis of 55 studies to date. As per data available on 16 May 2021, 100% of 36 early treatment and prophylaxis studies report positive effects (96% of all 55 studies). Of these, 26 studies show statistically significant improvements in isolation. Random effects meta-analysis with pooled effects using the most serious outcome reported 79% and 85% improvement for early treatment and prophylaxis respectively (RR 0.21 [0.11–0.37] and 0.15 [0.09–0.25]).
The results were similar after exclusion based sensitivity analysis: 81% and 87% (RR 0.19 [0.14–0.26] and 0.13 [0.07–0.25]), and after restriction to 29 peer-reviewed studies: 82% and 88% (RR 0.18 [0.11–0.31] and 0.12 [0.05–0.30]). Statistically significant improvements were seen for mortality, ventilation, hospitalization, cases, and viral clearance. 100% of the 17 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) for early treatment and prophylaxis report positive effects, with an estimated improvement of 73% and 83% respectively (RR 0.27 [0.18–0.41] and 0.17 [0.05–0.61]), and 93% of all 28 RCTs.
Regarding dosing of the COVID genetic vaccines (mRNA, recombinant adenovirus) versus the more traditional vaccines (including Novavax). There are some inconvenient truths here. First, the current genetic vaccines (Sanofi, J&J, Pfizer, Moderna) did not undergo the time tested assessments of dose ranging and dose timing clinical studies, to the best of my knowledge. I have direct first person report of how the dose was selected for Moderna (confidential source), and it was basically a SWAG by committee consensus. Personally, for what it is worth, it is my opinion that the current mRNA vaccines selected a dose that was too high, too far up on the sigmoidal dose response curve – so that we may have excess adverse events. Dose selection with vaccines is usually about careful balancing of adverse events with potency/efficacy/effectiveness, with a bias towards safety.
Second big inconvenient truth is that the spike protein is the actual active agent, in terms of eliciting an immune response. And in the case of the traditional vaccines, the dose of spike protein is defined relatively precisely. With the genetic vaccines, it is not (to the best of my knowledge). I know of no data wherein the mean, median, range etc of total amount of spike protein produced in a patient after administration of the COVID genetic vaccine has been defined. Usually, the FDA is quite persnickety about such things, but I am not aware of this key variable having been determined. Therefore, the range and severety of adverse events potentially attributable to the level of expressed spike protein may reflect patient to patient differences in genetic transfer efficiency and subsequent spike expression.
Looking at the data from Pfizer’s Phase 3 trial, it becomes apparent that they reported a 94.6% relative risk reduction (aka: Vaccine Efficacy) for their two-dose regimen but only a 52.4% relative risk reduction for their single-dose regimen. From that data, it seems clear that the two-dose regimen confers far superior protection and makes the choice between the two regimens clear. This decision to follow a two-dose regimen versus a single dose had monumental consequences for the pace and complexity of the vaccine rollout in the United States and throughout the globe. Obviously, the supply shortage immediately doubled by requiring two doses for every person. This alone would cost countless lives by delaying protection.
However, the logistics of follow-up, reserving second doses, and ensuring the same vaccine is administered for both doses, were all added complexities stacked on top of an already daunting task that stalled the vaccine campaign in its early months. Another significant consequence is that the risk of adverse reactions greatly increased due to the two-dose regimen. Obviously, administering each dose poses some risk of an adverse reaction. However, the second dose is associated with far more frequent and severe reactions compared to the first dose. This is expected because the immune system has already been materially primed and will react robustly to the recognized antigen on the second dose. Now that we’ve seen the dramatic benefits that a single dose regimen would have provided, we’ll delve into the data to determine why the two-dose regimen was chosen, but first, let’s discuss some concepts of how immunity develops over time.
The human immune system is quite complex. It’s well understood that adaptive immunity takes time to develop. It starts to develop in days and ramps up quickly in weeks. However, over longer periods of time, it continues to improve through a process called affinity maturation. The details of these concepts go beyond the scope of this article but, in short, adaptive immunity takes time to develop and continues to improve over many weeks and even months. For this reason, in order to determine the most efficacious dosing regimen, the point in time that the Vaccine Efficacy should be measured must use the same offset from the start of the various dosing regimens being compared. For example, any positive cases that occur greater than 28 days after the first dose for both the single-dose and two-dose regimens would be counted.
The airport in China’s southern city of Shenzhen cancelled hundreds of flights and tightened entry controls Saturday after a restaurant employee tested positive for the Delta coronavirus variant. Anyone entering the facility must show a negative virus test from the last 48 hours, Shenzhen Airport Group said in a statement on its official WeChat social media account. City health officials said a 21-year-old waitress at Shenzhen Baoan International Airport had been infected with the Delta variant of the virus. The woman tested positive during a routine test for airport staff conducted Thursday, they said.
Shenzhen, a mainland Chinese city neighbouring Hong Kong, is home to some of Asia’s biggest tech companies including telecoms equipment maker Huawei and gaming giant Tencent. China on Friday reported 30 new coronavirus cases, including six local transmissions in the southern province of Guangdong where Shenzhen is located. The airport entry restrictions came into effect from 1 pm local time Saturday (0500 GMT). Nearly 400 flights to and from the airport were cancelled Friday, data from flight tracker VariFlight showed. Dozens of flights scheduled for Saturday morning were also dropped.
A federal judge in Florida on Friday ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus-era sailing orders were an overreach of power, issuing a preliminary injunction temporarily barring the CDC from enforcing the guidelines. Judge Steven Merryday for the Middle District of Florida in his ruling sided with the Sunshine State in its argument that the “CDC’s conditional sailing order and the implementing orders exceed the authority delegated to CDC.” As a result, Merryday approved Florida’s motion for a preliminary injunction suspending the mandatory guidelines for cruise ships, writing that the CDC is “preliminary enjoined from enforcing against a cruise ship arriving in, within, or departing from a port in Florida the conditional sailing order and the later measures.”
The injunction will stay in place until July 18, at which point the “conditional sailing order and the measures promulgated under the conditional sailing order will persist as only a non-binding ‘consideration,’ ‘recommendation’ or ‘guideline,’” as is the case for other industries such as restaurants, railroads and hotels, according to the ruling. The cruise industry had previously been under a conditional sailing order issued by the CDC since the end of October, under which cruise lines were required to commit to a phased approach of implementing testing and other safety measures before they could start sailing. The conditional sailing order followed the end of the CDC’s no-sail order amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the CDC last month released the final guidance for cruise lines to apply to run test ships with voluntary passengers.
A laboratory at the University of Florida that recently analyzed a small sample of face masks, detected the presence of 11 dangerous pathogens that included bacterias that cause diphtheria, pneumonia, and meningitis. Gainesville parents in Florida concerned about the harm caused to their children wearing face masks all day at school in 90 °F weather sent out six masks—five that were worn by children ages 6 to 11 for five to eight hours at school, and one worn by an adult—to be analyzed for contaminants at the University of Florida’s Mass Spectrometry Research and Education Center. Of the six masks, three were surgical, two cotton, and a poly gaiter. Masks that have not been worn and a t-shirt worn at school acted as the control samples.
Five of the masks were found to be contaminated with parasites, fungi, and bacteria, according to Rational Ground. Only one mask was found to contain a virus that can cause a fatal systemic disease in cattle and deer. Other less harmful pathogens that can cause ulcers, acne, and strep throat were also detected. None of the controls were contaminated with pathogens, while “samples from the front top and bottom of the t-shirt found proteins that are commonly found in skin and hair, along with some commonly found in soil.” Amanda Donoho, a mother of three elementary school children, teamed up with other parents to send the masks to the lab because her sons broke out in rashes from prolonged mask-wearing. “Our kids have been in masks all day, seven hours a day in school,” Donoho told Fox & Friends on June 17. “The only break that they get is to eat or drink.”
A group of scientists examined the bacteria and viruses in 60 different cities worldwide. It turns out that each city has its own unique mix of microorganisms. According to Christopher Mason, one of the researchers, the teams’ detailed knowledge goes so far that they would be able to tell you from which city you came from with 90% accuracy by just giving them your shoe for analysis. The scientists collected microorganisms from urban public transport and hospitals. Samples were retrieved from such things as door handles, garbage cans, shoe soles, railings, and buttons on appliances, among other things. Among the 4,728 samples, they found no less than 11,000 new virus and bacterial species that had not yet been described. This shows that world cities are home to an unexpected diversity of species.
Although there are millions and millions of different species on Earth, scientists only have a decent genome reference for about 100.000 to 200.000 at this time. The finding of additional species can assist with the construction of microbial family trees enabling researchers to understand how different species are linked to each other. Mason stated that people often see tropical rain-forests as the pinnacle of biodiversity, but it appears that the same goes for a railing in the metro or a bench in a park. In each city they studied, the science team discovered a number of microorganisms or a specific mix of microorganisms that are typical for that particular city. Moreover, the larger the city, the more complex and diverse the micro-life found there. Cities such as Tokyo, Bogota, New York, and London participated in the study.
After analysis, the researchers were able to say with 90% certainty from which city a sample came. This could also be useful for forensic investigations in the future. The microbes a person carries can then reveal where he or she has been or has not been.
New research by UK investment firm AJ Bell shows that 7% of British adult respondents reported they had bought crypto over the last year, compared to 5% who invested in stocks and shares ISAs (individual savings accounts). The research suggests that Britons have become more eager to invest in cryptocurrencies than in traditional stocks and shares-based investments. “When more people are buying cryptocurrency than investing in a stock market ISA, you have to conclude the world’s gone crypto crazy,” financial analyst at AJ Bell Laith Khalaf said about the results.
According to the research, Britain’s crypto investors are predominantly male and under 35. More than 70% of those who said they had bought crypto assets claimed to have made a profit, while 12% reported making a loss in the past year. Meanwhile, 17% said they did not even know if they had made a profit or loss with their crypto investments. The survey, however, contrasts with UK think tank Parliament Street’s research from March which reveals that 52% of the 2,000 respondents in its survey were more likely to invest in the stock market and traditional assets, such as gold, than in crypto. A third of the respondents said they will not invest in crypto as they believe they have already “missed the boat.”
As we have been saying for a while now, the Biden Administration’s push to create a new minimum corporate tax likely will never succeed despite all the optimistic reporting in the western press – a reality that will ultimately limit the degree by which the US corporate tax rate can be raised to finance Biden’s ‘Great Society’ ambitions. Even after the G-7 struck a tentative deal during its recent meeting, a comprehensive reworking of the OECD’s international tax framework – what would constitute the biggest shakeup on the international tax front in a century – will require the consent of dozens of nations, including countries like Ireland, Indonesia and Singapore which have successfully used their low tax rates to drive economic development. Any one of these can sabotage the deal by refusing to lower tax rates.
To try and compensate for this, the Biden Administration is promising foreign governments that they will be entitled to a bigger piece of the profits generated by American multinationals. The G-7 deal would have applied this “carrot” on “profit exceeding a 10% margin for the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises.” There have even been talks to specifically exclude Amazon’s low-margin e-commerce business, allowing the tax to be based on profits from its more lucrative divisions, like AWS. Over the coming weeks, diplomats will hold talks involving more than 100 governments about the new corporate tax framework ahead of a G-20 meeting in July where Washington hopes the outlines of a deal can come together. For the plan to succeed, more than 100 nations would ultimately need to agree on it.
Given the staggering scope of competing interests involved, as corporations jockey to be excluded from the tax while countries jockey for all sorts of special interest carve-outs, Bloomberg reports that the process could ultimately take years – even as the administration pushes for a significant breakthrough by the end of the summer – and involve a complex web of legislation to compensate for myriad “technical” complications.
Facebook has pledged to provide a more detailed explanation of what constitutes satire on its platform, after the company’s oversight board ruled that a meme commenting on the Armenian genocide was wrongfully removed. The social media giant said it was committed to developing a “new satire framework” which will be used to assess facetious or sarcastic content that may be flagged as suspected hate speech. Information will also be added to the site’s community standards clarifying how satire factors into “context-specific decisions” about problematic content. The company already has a “satire exception” to its rules prohibiting hate speech, but the policy “is currently not communicated to users,” Facebook acknowledged.
The platform underscored that it takes the metaphysics of satire extremely seriously, noting that it had repeatedly engaged with “academic experts, journalists, comedians, representatives of satirical publications, and advocates for freedom of expression” to discuss the subtle intricacies of online jokes. According to Facebook, this army of satire experts said that humor is highly subjective and therefore requires “human review by individuals with cultural context” of the joke in question. The company was also told that “intent is key” when it comes to determining if something is legitimate satire – although admittedly this can be “tough to assess.” Content that is “simply derogatory” and not seen as “complex” or “subversive” is not satire, Facebook decreed.
Given the apparently vast complexities involved in sniffing out what is ‘real’ humor, the company conceded that it is not currently able to provide in-depth assessment of every suspected ‘case’ of satire. More time is needed to determine whether it is even feasible to improve the review process used to identify content that may qualify for the site’s satire exception, Facebook said. The company’s more transparent approach to assessing satire came in response to a May ruling issued by its oversight board which said that a popular “two buttons” meme, commenting on Turkey’s seemingly contradictory approach to dealing with Armenian genocide, should be reinstated. Facebook had initially deleted the image – which showed a man stressing over which “button” to press, “The Armenian Genocide is a lie” or “The Armenians were terrorists that deserved it” – because moderators believed it violated the site’s hate-speech rules, as well as guidelines banning cruel and insensitive content.
After Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen had a heart attack on the pitch last night at the Eurocup, the urgent issue should be: was he vaccinated? (he was), and if so, what is the link between the vaccine and the cardiac arrest?
I haven’t seen anyone make the connection thus far, and wonder if anyone will. But what if, g-f forbid, another vaccinated player goes down? With some 800 cases of myocarditis in young men in the US alone, this is a serious risk that requires a serious investigation.
Update: the president of his team, Inter Milan, says he was not vaccinated.
Update 2: a Twitter search for “Inter Milan doctor” appears to indicate Eriksen received his 2nd jab on May 31.
Confused? Did BBC just say that 50% of the people that died were vaccinated? But, but!???? ‘95% efficacy’, right!?
“The vaccines have been approved as experimental therapy, nothing more. How many times was it that Edison tested his light bulb before it was successful?”
Before medical technology caught up with our wildest dreams of living forever with no suffering, we had to make do. If a virus came along we were forced to let nature run its course. Before vaccines were discovered with the advent of Dr. Edward Jenner’s incredible work with cowpox, we didn’t have a choice but to grovel at the feet of Mother Nature and let her do her thing. Ultimately it all turned out pretty well; we are still here, aren’t we? — due to, among other things, the miracle of our immune systems. Things are different now, transhumanism is on the rise and is arriving hand in hand with the upcoming technocracy—we may one day actually be able to live forever! Yahoo! Certainly we can fight this war with Covid, with nature, and win the battle — one step closer to conquering nature entirely! We can cheat death, cheat illness, cheat suffering! Pass out the cigars!
What is the price? Humanity? That sounds too close to being ruled by nature — we certainly can give up these “human” things — smiles, touching, hugging, gathering — all things that engage our human bodies, and human hearts. These are things too close to what animals do, with animal bodies, animal instincts. That’s fine to give up, as Fauci says, we should probably never shake hands again — it’s too dangerous being human. Although I would surmise that people who are overly jubilant to get the vaccine do not necessarily believe they are transforming their body to superhuman status due to the gene therapy mechanism in the chemistry of the vaccination (I doubt if most even know what that is), but rather most of them are intrigued by the new technology they have heard it employs.
There is almost nothing in the modern medicine drug pantheon that is 100% effective, safe, or free of side effects, and even though it is clear the Covid vaccines also fall into this disappointment, the general public has indeed been told it is 95% effective and 100% safe (not bothering to be careful to ascertain what exactly it is effective in accomplishing). They are also nearly 100% synthetic, with a synthetic, high tech, mechanism. This view is a predominant one for vaccine lovers created primarily by the bottomless pockets of the manufacturers who spend countless millions in marketing and in successful attempts to show their customers how safe and effective their product is. “Look at how wonderful new technologies can be!” say their targets. “Those scientists are so very clever!”
Yes, technology can be wonderful, and yes, scientists can be very clever. Unfortunately, there have probably been more disasters in the experimental stages of products the big pharmaceutical companies want to market than successes—at least a fair share of them. The vaccines have been approved as experimental therapy, nothing more. How many times was it that Edison tested his light bulb before it was successful? How many times did he think it was going to work after “this one final experiment” — and it didn’t? There is no question that Edison was very clever, but this is the way of science and new discovery, and it always has been. And don’t tell me that mRNA technology has been studied for decades. That doesn’t cut it; Covid-19 had only been with us for about 9 months when the vaccines were rolled out.
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent suggestion that attacks on him are attacks on science itself is nonsensical. His attitude towards criticism is a prime example of scientism, which treats people in scientific fields with undue reverence. There has been an interesting cultural fight within the culture war over science itself. Many people on the political left have a tendency to place scientific method on a pedestal and not consider it for what it is – which is, purely and simply, scientific method. Rather, they treat science as a sort of dogma which cannot be challenged. In a sense, their attitude towards it is not that different from a Christian’s outlook on the Bible. A Christian believes that the Bible is God’s word, and is static and unchanging because of the nature of God himself.
However, the nature of science is not static because our understanding of the world is not static. As such, it’s appalling when someone who wields as much influence and political power as America’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks in a manner that treats science as a dogma. In a recent interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC, Fauci recently claimed people who are critical of him are “critical of science itself”, which is clearly preposterous. Science is meant to be questioned. If science was not questioned, scientific progress would be impossible because there would be no prevailing attitude that more must be learned. The attitude and belief that science is some sort of monolith is very disconcerting from a societal perspective.
I have great respect for those who spend their time trying to understand our universe one cell and one atom at a time, but Fauci’s stance seems to spit in the face of those people. Ultimately, every person who works in the sciences can only act on what they know, and whether they admit it or not they’ll never know enough. That, surely, is the name of the game. However, Dr. Fauci comes across as if he is the self-declared face of science and that he cannot be questioned for this very reason. Aside from this being wildly untrue, this is a prime example of scientism. It promotes the idea that his diplomas and governmental position make him someone who cannot be questioned, and that his knowledge has elevated him to a place above us mere mortals. As such if you don’t listen to what he says you’re nothing but a troglodyte. I don’t know how a man of such short stature carries such massive arrogance, but he certainly does not speak as if he is someone who has the proper attitude of a scientist.
When do we take out the trash? First the FDA “approves” an Alzheimer’s drug that, on the data, does not work — but it sure as Hell is expensive. At least one and perhaps two of their advisors quit over that one. Now the CDC is going to meet on the “extremely rare” myocarditis risk to kids getting tard shots. Extremely rare my ass; you never see if you don’t open your eyes, and given the reports in the news and social media there is no way this is “extremely rare.” How many people have heart attacks every day yet that doesn’t make the news unless they’re a celebrity or somesuch. So when nobodies start being reported on, well, folks, it’s not rare. To be “reported” at all you have to wind up in the hospital or similar, so the presumption that these are “mild” is horsecrap.
Nobody with a bit of discomfort goes to the ER; you go to the ER if you have chest pain, and that’s not minor. The big unknown is whether the damage done in these cases is permanent. Nobody knows. But, I remind you, a grand total of eighteen, more or less, kids have died with Covid all the way back to March of 2020. Now tell me exactly how many of the hundreds of those myocarditis events being reported, and that’s an undercount where Covid was an overcount, are acceptable if they produce permanent damage? If your answer is anything other than zero you’re a ghoul. If you gave these shots to kids, or advised kids to get them, well… you ought to have a problem. A big one. And so should Biden, Trump, all public health departments and every single corporation and social media firm that has been advocating these things for young people.
A freedom of information request (FOI) request was made by one of our members in February 2021 to the Australian drugs regulator, the TGA (Therapeutic Good Administration) to ask what should have been simple questions. The TGA is the Australian equivalent of the FDA (US), MHRA (UK) and EMA (Europe) and is held in high regard worldwide. Essentially the FOI questions were: • Did the TGA request the raw data from Pfizer • Did any of the committees approving the vaccine look at the raw data and/or discuss it • What were the “studies” referred to in the approval document relating to teratogenicity (risk of harm to a fetus)
The rationale of the request relates to concern over the validity and verifiability of Pfizer’s data given its legal history (and expressed by Peter Doshi in the BMJ in February) as well as the proven concerns over fraudulent data relating to Covid-19 as seen in the “Lancetgate” scandal of June 2020. The document below is a redacted version of the documents that were sent by the TGA in response to this request. What they show is that the TGA never saw or requested the patient data from Pfizer and simply accepted their reporting of their study as true. This means that when the head of the TGA John Skerritt said that “the safety evidence is pretty thorough” on the 6th February (here) his words would ring hollow to most Australians who have assumed, rightly or wrongly, that the TGA had actually looked at the patient data themselves.
A further concerning aspect of the FOI request is the efforts to which the TGA appeared to go to suppress the request – initially requesting a 6 months extension in view of a “voluminous request” which eventually yielded only one document of 14 pages, heavily redacted. This required an instruction from the Office of the Information Commissioner to the TGA to answer the request by the 26th May, a deadline that the TGA also failed to meet. Eventually the only document that was produced from the FOI request was a heavily redacted single study (not studies, as claimed in the TGA assessment document) showing that the only investigation into the effects on the fetus was performed on 44 rats with no long term data on the offspring. It is impossible to assess this study fully because 98% of the document was removed in order to protect Pfizer’s intellectual property (points 32-44 of the report).
Covid-19 has mutated significantly, and the virus is now much harder to treat than it used to be. That’s according to the head of Moscow’s Kommunarka Hospital, which last year became the city’s main coronavirus treatment facility. Speaking to Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy on Thursday, the hospital’s chief physician, Denis Protsenko, who became a household name in 2020 due to his role at the forefront of the country’s battle against Covid-19, explained that it has become much harder to treat ill patients. “There is a feeling that the virus is changing,” Protsenko explained. “The proven methods of treatment for hyperinflammation or, as we call it, cytokine storms, are often failing.”
“This makes us think that the virus has also changed and has mutated in this year and a half,” he said, before encouraging people to get vaccinated against the disease. According to Protsenko, the Kommunarka hospital is now filled with a large number of elderly patients, as well as people who are overweight or diabetic. Furthermore, collective immunity in the capital is still under 50%, he said. On Wednesday, Deputy Moscow Mayor Anastasia Rakova revealed that the city would open up additional hospital beds in the upcoming days, boosting its capacity by 1,500. That announcement came after Mayor Sergey Sobyanin ordered local authorities to ramp up enforcement of sanitary measures, such as the wearing of masks on public transport. However, he also noted that he had no plans to introduce any new lockdowns.
According to the official numbers, Russia recorded 12,505 new cases nationwide on Friday – the highest figure since February 22. The capital is bearing the brunt of the latest wave, with 5,853 new infections detected in just 24 hours – 47% of all cases recorded. Moscow is home to just 10% of the country’s population. However, perhaps most worryingly, Moscow’s coronavirus spread, measured by the so-called R rate, soared to 1.6 in the past 24 hours – the highest seen since September 30 last year.
All vaccines, even if they have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency, will be accepted by Greece for entry into the country, according to the member of the health committee advising the government on the pandemic. More specifically, speaking during a regular briefing of reporters, Vana Papaevangelou said the decision was taken following a recommendation by the committee. The vaccines that will be accepted are Novavax, Sinovac Biotech, Sputnik V, Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics. Papaevangelou also stressed that tourists will be able to enter from the land border, and that specifications for hotels and ships will be updated, while stating that tourism workers will have to undergo a weekly self-diagnostic test and complete their vaccinations. She sounded the alarm for those people who haven t been vaccinated, noting that 98% of deaths in the last week were people who had not completed their vaccinations.
In the first federal ruling on vaccine mandates, a Houston judge Saturday dismissed a lawsuit by hospital employees who declined the COVID-19 shot – a decision that could have a ripple effect across the nation. The case involved Houston Methodist, which was the first hospital system in the country to require that all its employees get vaccinated. U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes said federal law does not prevent employers from issuing that mandate. After months of warnings, Houston Methodist had put more than 170 of its 26,000 employees on unpaid suspension Monday. They were told they would be fired it they weren’t vaccinated by June 21.
The hospital already had made it clear it means what it says: It fired the director of corporate risk – Bob Nevens – and another manager in April when they did not meet the earlier deadline for bosses. In recent weeks, a few other major hospitals have followed Houston Methodist’s lead, including the University of Pennsylvania, University of Louisville, New York Presbyterian and several major hospitals in the Washington, D.C. area. Houston Methodist’s CEO Marc Boom predicts more hospitals soon will join the effort. Many hospitals and employers were waiting for legal clarification before acting. “We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation,” Boom said after the ruling. “Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do.”
Further disregarding inflation will push the global economy to a major crisis, according to the latest report issued by Deutsche Bank economists who point the finger at the US money-printing policies. Germany’s largest lender warned that the unprecedented levels of cash being injected into the economy while inflation fears are being dismissed will lead to excruciating economic pain if not in the near term then in 2023 and beyond. The report points to the US’ “breath-taking” monetary stimulus that is reportedly comparable with that seen around World War II. “Then, US deficits remained between 15-30% for four years. While there are many significant differences between the pandemic and WWII we would note that annual inflation was 8.4%, 14.6% and 7.7% in 1946, 1947 and 1948 after the economy normalized and pent-up demand was released,” Deutsche Bank notes.
Moreover, the experts forecast dire impacts from the Federal Reserve’s new framework that supports tolerating higher inflation for the benefit of a full recovery of the country’s economy after the slumber caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The consequence of delay will be greater disruption of economic and financial activity than would be otherwise be the case when the Fed does finally act,” Deutsche’s economists wrote in the first report of the new series, titled “Inflation: The defining macro story of this decade.” “In turn, this could create a significant recession and set off a chain of financial distress around the world, particularly in emerging markets,” the report added. According to the bank’s analysts, neglecting inflation leaves global economies “sitting on a time bomb.”
Lately I have been thinking a lot about the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum while at the same time the world is witnessing the inexorable move to crypto in realtime. Some may question the latter half of that assertion, given that the latest FUD cycle against cryptos has been one of the most intense that I’ve witnessed since getting involved in the space in 2013. Behind the FUD we see actions. We see Russia dumping dollar assets (can you blame them?). We hear Munger making almost childishly uninformed remarks on crypto, yet BRK is investing in one of the world’s most crypto friendly banks. We see El Salvador as the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender. In my mind this has not only sounded the starting gun on de-dollarization in earnest, it goes beyond that. Back in the late 90‘s people like me were about the age of many of the crypto kids today, and we were talking about the Internet Asteroid headed straight at the telecoms and traditional media.
Today, pretty well everybody is aware of Bitcoin. They may have positive or negative opinions on it, but most people are figuring out that it’s here to stay and there is a spectrum of sentiment around that ranging from enthusiasm to denial. But I don’t get the sense that traditional institutional finance sector sees the other asteroid coming, and it’s coming straight at them. Or maybe Ethereum/Bitcoin. Whatever your risk tolerance and investment objectives entail. I’ve been listening to the Bankless podcast lately and in more than one episode they’ve said something about Bitcoin as compared to Ethereum that I think is very helpful. It’s really helped me think about the two in terms of construction of a crypto portfolio. They’ve said, in essence, that Bitcoin is for when you’re bearish on society and Ethereum is for when you’re bullish.
It’s not that I agree with that literally (I don’t), but it really helped me refine the distinction I’ve always had around Bitcoin being the value and Ethereum being the execution in a coming tectonic shift into crypto. In the olden days, bonds and equities had an inverse correlation. Bonds kept your portfolio afloat when the economy hit a soft patch and stocks went down (yes, in the olden days, stocks could experience bear markets, sometimes for months or even years). Conventional wisdom was to have a portfolio mix between equities and bonds, along some rule of thumb like 60/40 adjusted for your age, risk tolerance, etc. We’re headed into a world where Bitcoin and Ethereum will fulfil the roles that bonds and equities did traditionally.
Russia has none of the “messianic fervor” of Western states such as the US, its foreign minister said this week, as the nations’ leaders prepare to meet. No longer the Third Rome, Moscow is seeking a more modest role in the world. The author Fyodor Dostoevsky had a grand vision for the country. Russia, he believed, would lead the West back to Christ and bring about “universal, spiritual reconciliation.” This it could do, he felt, because its people supposedly had a “capability for high synthesis, a gift for universal reconcilability.” The Russian, Dostoevsky wrote, “gets along with everyone and is accustomed to all. He sympathizes with all that is human, regardless of nationality, blood, and soil.” By contrast, those on the other side of the continent, the novelist added, “find a universal human ideal in themselves and by their own power, and therefore they altogether harm themselves and their cause.”
Russians, in other words, seek to reconcile all, while Westerners believe their own ideals are universal and seek to spread them everywhere. One may justifiably doubt such sweeping generalizations. But as Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, prepares to meet the leader of the Western world, Joe Biden, next week, these different approaches to the world were on display in Russian and American public rhetoric. First, on the eve of the G7 summit in London, which begins on Friday, the New York Times noted that Biden is casting his trip to Europe “as an effort to rally the United States and its allies in an existential battle between democracy and autocracy.” “We have to discredit those who believe that the age of democracy is over, as some of our fellow nations believe,” the president said. “I believe we’re at an inflection point in world history,” he added.
“A moment where it falls to us to prove that democracies don’t just endure, but will excel as we rise to seize enormous opportunities in the new age.” An altogether different view, however, came from Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. In a riposte to Biden’s assertion that a struggle between Western liberalism and other systems was inevitable, Lavrov declared that Russia had no interest in a competition for ideological or geopolitical domination. Moscow, he said, “has no superpower ambitions, regardless of how much people try to convince themselves and everyone else otherwise.” The top diplomat claimed that the country simply doesn’t “have the messianic fervor with which our Western colleagues are trying to spread their ‘values-based democratic agenda’ throughout the planet. It has long been clear to us that the imposition of a certain development model from the outside does nothing good.”
The first Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, was surrounded by “hundreds” of CIA agents who told him what to do throughout his tenure as leader. That’s according to Ruslan Khasbulatov, the former chairman of Russia’s parliament. Speaking to radio station Govorit Moskva, Khasbulatov claimed Yeltsin’s entourage was full of Americans. In 1991, he was elected to his leadership post with Washington’s help, it has been alleged, and it is still not yet known to what extent the US remained the voice in his ear throughout his presidency. “There must have been a hundred [CIA employees],” Khasbulatov said. “They determined everything.” He also added that, after winning the presidential election, Yeltsin would send security officials and heads of departments to the US so the Americans could “examine them” and “give conclusions.”
Khasbulatov’s statement comes after former Russian vice president Alexander Rutskoy told online outlet Lenta that 12 full-time employees of the CIA helped carry out the landmark Yeltsin-Gaidar market reforms, systematically dismantling the centrally planned economic system and leading the country into shock capitalism. Rutskoy also claimed that, on one significant occasion, he overheard Yeltsin speaking to a stranger with a foreign accent. However, according to Khasbulatov, everyone knew about Rutskoy’s links to the US, and American officials even influenced the former president to replace a considerable number of his appointees.
“On the whole, Rutskoy is absolutely right – Yeltsin was advised by foreigners,” he continued. “There is no secret here, and a great number of people know about it. I don’t have any detective stories about eavesdropping, but, in general, it’s well known. Yeltsin used to confer very closely on all personnel matters with foreign representatives.” Yeltsin left office in 1999, but not before creating a hyper-presidential system, taking power away from a hostile parliament, and removing almost all checks and balances. This move was supported by Washington, which hoped to keep the Communist Party out of power in the newly formed Russian state.
In his book Value(s): Building a Better World for All, Mark Carney, former governor both of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, claims that western society is morally rotten, and that it has been corrupted by capitalism, which has brought about a “climate emergency” that threatens life on earth. This, he claims, requires rigid controls on personal freedom, industry and corporate funding. Carney’s views are important because he is UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance. He is also an adviser both to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the next big climate conference in Glasgow, and to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Since the advent of the COVID pandemic, Carney has been front and centre in the promotion of a political agenda known as the “Great Reset,” or the “Green New Deal,” or “Building Back Better.” All are predicated on the claim that COVID, and its disruption of the global economy, provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not just to regulate climate, but to frame a more fair, more diverse, more inclusive, more safe and more woke world. Carney draws inspiration from, among others, Marx, Engels and Lenin, but the agenda he promotes differs from Marxism in two key respects. First, the private sector is not to be expropriated but made a “partner” in reshaping the economy and society. Second, it does not make a promise to make the lives of ordinary people better, but worse.
Carney’s Brave New World will be one of severely constrained choice, less flying, less meat, more inconvenience and more poverty: “Assets will be stranded, used gasoline powered cars will be unsaleable, inefficient properties will be unrentable,” he promises. The agenda’s objectives are in fact already being enforced, not primarily by legislation but by the application of non-governmental — that is, non-democratic — pressure on the corporate sector via the ever-expanding dictates of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) and by “sustainable finance,” which is designed to starve non-compliant companies of funds, thus rendering them, as Carney puts it, “climate roadkill.” What ESG actually represents is corporate ideological compulsion. It is a key instrument of “stakeholder capitalism.”
Carney’s Agenda is promoted by the United Nations and other international bureaucracies and a vast and ever-growing array of non-governmental organizations and fora, especially the World Economic Forum (WEF), where Carney is a trustee. Also, perhaps most surprisingly, by its corporate victims. No one wants to become climate roadkill. Carney clearly feels himself to be a man of destiny. “When I worked at the Bank of England,” he writes in Value(s), “I would remind myself each morning of Marcus Aurelius’ phrase ‘arise to do the work of humankind’.” One is reminded of French aristocrat and social reformer Henri de Saint-Simon, the “grand seigneur sans-culotte,” who ordered his valet to wake him with similar words: “Remember, monsieur le comte, that you have great things to do.”
As COVID vaccine delivery continues to decline nationwide, Republican leaders have proposed a radical solution: a vaccination-by-mail program to cover all Americans. “Since voting by mail went so smoothly last year, we wanted to apply those same principles to our COVID vaccination program,” said Senator Mitch McConnell. “Mail-in vaccines will ensure that we have the most secure vaccination process in American history!” The Republican proposal is simple: every American will automatically receive a pre-loaded syringe in the mail, along with a COVID vaccine card. Individuals will then self-administer the vaccine and self-report their vaccination status, all from the comfort of their own homes.
“Everyone will be able to receive the vaccine without having to miss work to travel to a vaccination site where they will wait in line for hours,” McConnell noted. “Best of all, nobody will be subjected to any racist ID checks!” Democrats were quick to criticize the proposal, saying a self-reported mail-in vaccine program was ripe for fraud and dishonesty. McConnell quickly dispelled those notions, saying they were nothing more than a transparent attempt to disenfranchise Republicans from getting vaccinated.
Stephanie Dubois, a British model aged 39, and Lisa Shaw, a BBC radio presenter aged 44, died within a day of each other due to serious thrombotic episodes after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Neither had underlying health conditions. Dubois’ case has now been referred to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as she lived in Cyprus, but she left her own account of her tragic decline on her Facebook page: May 6: “So I had the vaccination today! I hate needles, today was no exception … And now I feel horrendous … pizza and bed for me.” May 14: “Woke up feeling fine and then within an hour I had full body shakes, all my joints seized, and I was struggling to breathe and was cold to the bone with a persistent headache and dizziness … Mum and dad came to look after me and took me for a Covid test, which thankfully was negative … but it still doesn’t explain what the problem is. Maybe I’m having a prolonged reaction to my Covid jab last week.”
That same day she was admitted to the hospital. May 18: “Done being ill now … Couple more tests today! PS — I still don’t like needles — feeling tired.” May 19: Dubois went into a coma. Shaw’s family said in a statement: “Lisa developed severe headaches a week after receiving her AstraZeneca vaccine and fell seriously ill a few days later … She was treated by the [Royal Victoria Infirmary’s] intensive care team for blood clots and bleeding in her head.” According to Britain’s medical watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), there have been 332 cases of blood clotting leading to 58 deaths from the AZ vaccine. Statistically, that is very small compared to the estimated 23.9 million first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 9.0 million second doses administered in the U.K. by the same date.
The death of Dubois highlights how much harder it is to attribute deaths to the vaccines than it is to claim death by COVID. Deutsche Welle has even run a fact-check article on other cases titled “No links found between vaccinations and deaths.” The German state broadcaster and publisher sought to debunk claims made in many other countries, including Italy, Austria, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the U.S. In a case in a Norwegian nursing home, it quoted the EMA stating: “Pre-existing diseases seemed to be a plausible explanation for death. In some individuals, palliative care had already been initiated before vaccination.” Statens Legemiddelverk of the Norwegian Medicines Agency claimed, “Every day, an average of 45 people die in Norwegian nursing homes … therefore, deaths that occur close to the time of vaccination is expected, but it does not imply a causal relationship to the vaccine.”
Figures for deaths attributed to COVID, meanwhile, are not scrutinized to the same level. Comorbidities are downplayed as causal factors in death when they overlap with COVID — whether the latter is verified or even merely suspected. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the U.K., “Of the 50,335 deaths that occurred in March to June 2020 involving COVID-19 in England and Wales, 45,859 (91.1%) had at least one pre-existing condition, while 4,476 (8.9%) had none.” The average age of COVID fatalities in the U.K. up to January 2021 was 81. Finding out if COVID was the dominant cause of death is hard to discern without a full autopsy, but the British government document “Guidance for Doctors Completing Medical Certificates of Cause of Death in England and Wales — FOR USE DURING THE EMERGENCY PERIOD ONLY” explains this is not required for COVID cases: “Covid-19 is not a reason on its own to refer a death to a coroner under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 … Medical practitioners are required to certify causes of death to the best of their knowledge and belief.”
Even medical proof is not necessary under the guidance: “If before death the patient had symptoms typical of COVID- 19 infection, but the test result has not been received, it would be satisfactory to give ‘COVID-19’ as the cause of death … In the circumstances of there being no swab, it is satisfactory to apply clinical judgement.”
Authorities in Vietnam have detected a new coronavirus variant that is a combination of the Covid-19 variants first found in India and Britain, and spreads quickly by air, the health minister said on Saturday (May 29). After successfully containing the virus for most of last year, Vietnam is grappling with a spike in infections since late April that accounts for more than half of the total 6,713 registered cases. So far, there have been 47 deaths. “Vietnam has uncovered a new Covid-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said, describing it as a hybrid of the two known variants.
“That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the UK variant is very dangerous,” he told a government meeting. The South-east Asian country had previously detected seven virus variants: B1222, B1619, D614G, B117 – known as the variant from Britain, B1351, A231 and B16172 – the variant from India. Mr Long said Vietnam would soon publish genome data of the newly identified variant, which he said was more transmissible than the previously known types.
Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and secretary of state, has said that Wuhan Institute of Virology was conducting secret military research and claims there is ‘enormous evidence’ that the virus that causes COVID-19 escaped from the lab. Donald Trump’s former top aide also warned that the dangerous experimentation is ongoing at the lab, raising the specter of another potentially deadly virus leak. ‘What I can say for sure is this: we know that they were engaged in efforts connected to the People’s Liberation Army inside of that laboratory, so military activity being performed alongside what they claimed was just good old civilian research,’ Pompeo told Fox News on Saturday. ‘They refuse to tell us what it was, they refuse to describe the nature of either of those, they refuse to allow access to the World Health Organization,’ Pompeo said.
‘That coverup alone suggests that there’s a lot more that we need to know.’ ‘That virology lab is still up and running. It’s still probably conducting the same kinds of research it was conducting that may have well led to this virus escaping from that laboratory,’ he said. ‘Only the Chinese Communist Party knows the answer, the world deserves the answers and they have to tell us, I hope there will be bipartisan push to demand and hold accountable,’ said Pompeo. He spoke after President Joe Biden ordered an intensive 90-day probe to reinvestigate the possibility of a lab leak origin in the pandemic. ‘It’s really unfortunate they took the position early on that there was nothing to see here,’ Pompeo said in response to the new probe.
‘I’m glad now that they’re looking at this. I hope it’s a serious investigation when they say they are giving 90 days for the intelligence community to look at this. The intelligence community has been looking at this for an awfully long time,’ he said. Pompeo, a former CIA spy chief, has promoted the lab leak theory since the early days of the pandemic, a theory that until recently much of the U.S. media and academia scoffed at as a fringe conspiracy theory. ‘I’ve known since spring of last year, 2020, when I first spoke about this that there is enormous evidence that this escaped from that laboratory in Wuhan,’ he said on Saturday. ‘We know there were people who got sick there, scientists who got sick there, we know they were doing the gain of function research — essentially taking viruses and making them more contagious, potentially more lethal, this administration has to get after this.’
The Morrison government is continuing to declare getting vaccinated is “not a race” even as Victorian health authorities confirmed five new locally acquired infections – including one mystery case in aged care – on day three of the state’s fourth Covid lockdown. The new cases reported on Sunday morning take the total number in the Melbourne-based outbreak to 40. Victoria’s acting premier, James Merlino, announced a $250m support package for businesses on Sunday while stating he was “beyond disappointed” the prime minister and federal treasurer had declined to help workers with financial assistance. The vaccine roll-out was a race, Merlino insisted. Victoria wanted to go faster but was being held back by the federal government failing to secure enough supply, he said.
One of the new positive cases reported on Sunday was a healthcare provider in an aged care home in the western suburb of Maidstone. Colin Singh, the Arcare chief executive, said the worker had received her first dose of a Covid vaccine, was wearing a mask and had not displayed symptoms when she last worked at the centre on Thursday. “I want to assure you that, whilst we hoped that this would not happen again, we are well prepared, and our infection control practices put us in a good place to manage this outbreak effectively,” he said in the statement on Sunday. Arcare Maidstone has capacity for 90 residents, according to its website. It was relatively untouched by Covid last year – compared to other Victorian facilities – recording only seven cases.
Victoria’s Covid commander, Jeroen Weimar, said on Sunday the case in the aged care home was of “extreme concern” because it was a mystery case. “I am concerned that at this point in time we don’t have an original acquisition source,” for the healthcare worker, Weimar told reporters.
Let’s travel back in time to March of 2020, when predictions of mass death related to the new coronavirus started to gain currency. One study, conducted by Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson, indicated that U.S. deaths alone would exceed 2 million. The above number is often used, even by conservatives and libertarians, as justification for the initial lockdowns. “We knew so little” is the excuse, and with so many deaths expected, can anyone blame local, state, and national politicians for panicking? The answer is a resounding yes. To see why, imagine if Ferguson had predicted 30 million American deaths. Imagine the fear among the American people then—which is precisely the point: The more threatening a virus is presumed to be, the more superfluous government force is. Really, who needs to be told to be careful if a failure to take precautions could reasonably result in death?
Death predictions aside, the other justification bruited in March of 2020 was that brief lockdowns (two weeks was the number often thrown around) would flatten the hospitalization curve. In this case, the taking of freedom allegedly made sense as a way of protecting hospitals from a massive inflow of sick patients that they wouldn’t have been able to handle, and that would have resulted in a public health catastrophe. Such a view similarly vandalizes reason. Think about it. Who needs to be forced to avoid behavior that might result in hospitalization? Better yet, who needs to be forced to avoid behavior that might result in hospitalization at a time when doctors and hospitals would be so short-staffed as to not be able to take care of admitted patients? Translated for those who need it, the dire predictions made over a year ago about the corona-horrors that awaited us don’t justify the lockdowns; rather they should remind the mildly sentient among us of how cruel and pointless they were.
The common sense that we are to varying degrees born with, along with our genetic predisposition to survive, dictates that a fear of hospitalization or death would have caused Americans to take virus-avoidance precautions that would have well exceeded any rules foisted on them by politicians. To which some will reply with something along the lines of “Not everyone has common sense. In truth, there are lots of dumb, low-information types out there who would have disregarded all the warnings. Lockdowns weren’t necessary for the wise among us; rather they were essential precisely because there are so many who aren’t wise.” Actually, such a response is the best argument of all against lockdowns.
Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that takes on Big Tech companies in his state. The law, however, is taking criticism — from both right and left — that parts of it may be unconstitutional and that its notable exemptions for some big companies undermine its goal of standing up to domineering industry giants. Florida’s “Big Tech Bill” aims to protect social media users — whether political candidates, journalistic outlets or ordinary users — from ideologically selective censorship by internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google.
Among its major provisions, the law will:
• Fine companies up to $250,000 per day for suspending political candidates from a platform during the run-up to an election
• Require platforms to make public the rules they use to regulate their user content and provide users with explanations as to why they have been censored
• Require companies to provide users an appeals process or chance to “correct” their flagged content
• Prohibit companies from censoring any “journalistic enterprise based on the content of its publication or broadcast.”
Perhaps most importantly, the bill would empower individuals and the office of the Florida attorney general to much more easily sue these companies under the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Yet critics see the law as little more than a symbolic gesture destined to be struck down by the courts on constitutional grounds. “I see this bill as purely performative: It was never designed to be law but simply to send a message to voters,” Santa Clara University Law School professor Eric Goldman told the Washington Post. He argues that the bill will unconstitutionally restrict the editorial discretion of platforms that act as online publishers — a First Amendment violation.
The climate crisis is damaging the mental health of hundreds of millions of people around the world but the huge costs are hidden, scientists have warned. Heatwaves are increasing rates of suicide, extreme weather such as floods and wildfires are leaving victims traumatised, and loss of food security, homes and livelihoods is resulting in stress and depression. Anxiety about the future is also harming people’s mental health, especially the young, the scientists said in a report. Mental health conditions already affect a billion people and cost trillions of dollars a year. The researchers said global heating would worsen the issue unless action was taken. They described a vicious circle where climate impacts increase mental health difficulties, leaving people even more vulnerable to further consequences.
However, they said tackling climate change could turn this into a virtuous circle. Action by individuals, communities and governments not only cuts the impacts of heating but also boosts people’s mental wellbeing by giving them healthier lives and a sense of hope and agency. “Mental health is the unseen impact of climate change at the moment,” said Emma Lawrance of Imperial College London, who led the report. “It is a big problem that is going to affect more and more people into the future, and in particular exacerbate inequality. It is very likely to be a really big unaccounted cost.
“If you have lost your home, if you’re at risk of repeated flooding, if you’re grieving because you’ve lost a family member to a fire or your livelihood because of a drought, that is shock and trauma that translates for some into very prolonged distress and diagnoses of PTSD, anxiety, depression and increased risk of suicide.”
I had a reader ask me about Silvergate Capital. They’re a bank holding company with a lot of exposure to the crypto currency space. I hadn’t yet analyzed them deeply, but I did notice that they recently announced a partnership with Facebook on their DiemUSD stablecoin. Diem is Facebook’s rebrand of Libra. Libra was a private crypto currency Facebook proposed to launch which in my mind was a transformative event for nation states and central banks. That was the moment when the establishment elites realized that non-state money had arrived and it posed an existential threat to the status quo. They were able to hold off Facebook’s Libra, for awhile. They fought dirty.
US Senators sent straight up extortion letters to members of Facebook’s Libra Consortium threatening to investigate them for ostensible ties to child pornography on Facebook’s platform if they went through with the project. They all dropped out. My heart didn’t exactly bleed for Facebook, but the incident was instructive. I wrote about it at the time, but I will repeat the salient point here: Should a gigantic platform like Facebook successfully launch their own digital currency, a person’s Facebook account will become more important in their day-to-day lives than their nation state issued passport. Especially if we’re entering an era of drastically curtailed travel for plebeians. The battle between the US, France, et al and Facebook over Libra was an early round in the struggle between waning Nation States and ascendent Network States.
Facebook kept working on their Libra, first under a wallet program called Novi and now as Diem, and Diem USD will be their stablecoin. One can only surmise that behind the scenes something has shifted so that Facebook thinks they can proceed with launching a new stablecoin. This partnership with Silvergate, as well as relocating their Diem Association, which oversees their digital currency projects, from Switzerland back to the United States may be part of that calculus. There have been some rumblings that the US is losing the Central Bank Digital Currency race and that one way to jumpstart a program would be to partner with a private entity who is already further down the road with it. Who would be uniquely situated to provide a solution in some manner of public-private partnership? Facebook, for one.
The standard debate about the future of the economy is: which will we get, high inflation or a deflationary collapse of defaults and asset bubbles popping? The debate goes round and round in widening circles of complexity as analysts delve into every nuance of the debate. A recent conversation with my friend A.T. raised a third possibility few seem to consider: increasingly chaotic volatility will be the new normal, as wild swings between inflation and deflation will increase in amplitude and ferocity as the system destabilizes. Increasingly chaotic volatility is a classic sign of a system that has lost equilibrium and is attempting to regain its dynamic stability by going into overdrive. The amplitude and violence of these fluctuations increase as each attempt to restore stability fails.
This loss of stability is not what people expect. The experience of the past 60 years has been that any hiccup in financial stability–a recession or market crash–is temporary, as the system responds with monetary and fiscal stimulus which quickly restores the system’s stability. That the era of stability has ended and a new era of increasingly chaotic volatility has begun is not on anyone’s radar as a possibility. Human physiology offers a useful analogy: blood glucose homeostasis, which is the system of insulin production and sensitivity that maintains the dynamic stability of glucose in our bloodstream for use as energy. Insulin is produced as needed after a meal to regulate the level of glucose within the ideal bandwidth of homeostasis, i.e. the range of dynamic stability that optimizes insulin production and glucose levels. (3.5 to 5.5 mmol/L or 70 to 130 mg/dL)
In metabolic disorders, the body’s sensitivity to insulin declines, and in response the body increases the production of insulin to compensate for the decline in sensitivity. As the disease progresses, sensitivity drops further, forcing the production of insulin into overdrive. Eventually this overdrive degrades the body’s ability to produce insulin and the regulatory system managing glucose levels crashes.
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.
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.
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.
In April , 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.
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.”
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”.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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”.
Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has been recalled to Moscow for in-person discussions on the country’s ongoing relations with Washington and Joe Biden’s administration, the Foreign Ministry has said.
In a statement announcing the envoy’s recall on Wednesday night, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the ambassador was needed in Moscow for “consultations to analyze what to do and where to head in the context of the relations with the US.” Representatives of the Foreign Ministry and other relevant agencies will participate in the discussions with Antonov about US relations going forward, she added.With the Biden team in power for almost two months, it was a good time to analyze “where it succeeds and where it fails,” she added.
For us, it’s important to determine possible ways of straightening out Russian-American relations, which remain in harsh conditions after being effectively led into a dead end by Washington in recent years. Moscow is “interested in avoiding the irreversible degradation” of its ties with Washington, Zakharova said, expressing the hope that Biden’s officials also understood the risks of such a scenario. The news of the ambassador’s recall came hours after the US Department of Commerce on Wednesday announced the expansion of Washington’s sanctions on exports to Russia. The fresh restrictions were imposed over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny – an allegation that Kremlin officials have repeatedly denied. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Moscow was “calm” about the new sanctions, as such measures had already been taken many times before. However, he pointed out that such moves by Washington reduced the chances of a “normalization of relations” between the parties.
US President Joe Biden said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “killer” when asked by ABC News host George Stephanopoulos. His question follows a federal investigation into Russian-linked cyber attacks and an intelligence report linking the Kremlin to election-related online interference that promoted Donald Trump and right-wing conspiracy theories in an attempt to discredit Mr Biden. Asked whether he believes Mr Putin is a “killer” in a pre-taped interview that aired on Wednesday, the president responded: “I do.” “The price he’s going to pay, you’ll see shortly,” he said. Mr Biden recalled meeting Mr Putin, during which he reportedly told him that he doesn’t “have a soul”: “I wasn’t being a wise guy.”
“He looked back at me and said, ‘We understand each other’,” Mr Biden said. A report released on Tuesday from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed that Russia sought to interfere with the 2020 presidential election with an expansive social media and online influence campaign similar to an operation from 2016. The newly declassified report also said that a network of Ukraine-linked individuals connected to Russian intelligence relied on “prominent US persons and media conduits to launder their narratives” alleging “corrupt ties” among members of Mr Biden’s family with Ukraine.
That 2020 misinformation campaign was aimed at “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US,” according to the report. Mr Biden said he had warned his Russian counterpart about a potential response from the US during a call in January. “He will pay a price,” Mr Biden said. “We had a long talk … and the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’”
President Joe Biden sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for a wide-ranging interview Tuesday in which he said his message to migrants was to not come to the border and that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if allegations he committed sexual harassment are confirmed. Biden also told Stephanopoulos that he agreed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “killer” and would “pay a price” for interfering in U.S. elections. And he said it would be “tough” to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by May 1, a deadline set out in a deal former President Donald Trump’s administration made with the Taliban.
Biden told Stephanopoulos he was surprised that COVID-19 vaccinations were still so politicized. “How do you get the politics out of this vaccine talk?” Stephanopoulos asked. “I honest to God thought we had it out,” Biden said. “I honest to God thought that, once we guaranteed we had enough vaccine for everybody, things would start to calm down. Well, they have calmed down a great deal. But I don’t quite understand – you know – I just don’t understand this sort of macho thing about, ‘I’m not gonna get the vaccine. I have a right as an American, my freedom to not do it.’ Well, why don’t you be a patriot? Protect other people.” Biden said getting vaccinated himself has let him to show Americans doing so is safe – and has changed his life “because I can hug my grandkids now.” “They come over to the house,” the president said. “I can see them. I’m able to be with them.”
Explosive comments made by US President Joe Biden, in which he suggested his Russian counterpart is “a killer,” have ignited a diplomatic row, as Moscow’s chief parliamentarian said the remarks constitute an attack on the country. In a statement posted to Telegram, the speaker of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said that “Biden has insulted the citizens of our country with his statement” about Vladimir Putin. “This is a tantrum that comes from powerlessness. Putin is our president, attacking him is an attack on our country,” he added. Volodin contrasted the tone of the criticism to that of previous US presidents, who, despite often overseeing tense relations with Russia, and the USSR before it, maintained mutual respect.
Even former president Donald Trump, he claimed, “despite the decisions that were being made on sanctions, maintained rhetoric appropriate to the level of head of state.” However, he argued, “Biden’s statement today is beyond common sense. This is no way for the leader of a country that claims to be a bearer of democratic principles and morality to behave.“ The American president made the remarks in an interview on Wednesday with the ABC news channel. He was asked by chief anchor George Stephanopoulos whether he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was “a killer.”“Mmm-hmm, I do,” Biden replied. Biden said he had warned Putin earlier this year that he would take action if evidence was found of Russian interference in the 2020 US election. “He will pay a price,” Biden said.
Most people who catch Covid-19 are unlikely to get sick from the disease again, but reinfection is more common than previously thought and older people face an especially high risk, according to a study Wednesday that researchers cast as proof that vaccines are the best form of protection against the coronavirus — even for people who have already been infected. The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, looked at millions of people who took PCR coronavirus tests through Denmark’s nationwide mass-testing initiative last year. Just 0.65% of those who tested positive for the virus during Denmark’s spring surge showed a positive result during the country’s second wave in the fall, suggesting a protection rate against reinfection of 80.5% according to a team of researchers from Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen.
Among people 65 and over, the protection rate was just 47.1%. Both are higher reinfections rate than other studies have found, a commentary published by Lancet noted.The study’s authors say elderly people could face a higher risk of reinfection from the coronavirus because their immune systems are less effective, a dire problem because the elderly are most vulnerable to severe illness and death from Covid-19.The researchers said this study shows vaccines are important for those who have already contracted the coronavirus, especially if they’re elderly, because “natural protection cannot be relied on.” The coronavirus vaccines that have been authorized so far vary in efficacy, but most appear to offer more protection than natural immunity.
“These data are all confirmation, if it were needed, that for SARS-CoV-2 the hope of protective immunity through natural infections might not be within our reach, and a global vaccination programme with high efficacy vaccines is the enduring solution,” the Lancet said in a commentary released alongside the study.
The decision this week by more than 20 European countries to temporarily stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has opened a rift between vaccine safety experts, who say the cases of serious clotting and bleeding that triggered the pause are alarming and unusual, and public health officials concerned that the immunization pause on a continent in the grip of the pandemic’s third wave could take a heavy toll. “The harm caused by depriving people of access to a vaccine will likely vastly outweigh even the worst case scenario if any link to the clotting disorders is eventually found,” University of Leeds virologist Stephen Griffin told the United Kingdom’s Science Media Centre. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization have recommended that countries continue immunizations while they investigate the reports.
Scientists don’t know whether the vaccine causes the syndrome, and if so, what the mechanism is. “Everyone’s scratching their heads: Is this a real signal?” says Robert Brodsky, a hematologist at Johns Hopkins University. But vaccine safety officials say they did not take the decision lightly, and that symptoms seen in at least 13 patients, all between ages 20 and 50 and previously healthy, in at least five countries are more frequent than would be expected by chance. The patients, at least seven of whom have died, suffer from widespread blood clots, low platelet counts, and internal bleeding—not typical strokes or blood clots. “It’s a very special picture” of symptoms, says Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency. “Our leading hematologist said he had never seen anything quite like it.”
A somewhat similar blood disorder, called immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), has been seen in at least 36 people in the United States who had received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19, The New York Times recently reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating these cases, but also said the syndrome did not appear to be more common in vaccinated people, and immunizations in the United States have continued. But Madsen says the cases seen in Europe in recent weeks are distinct from ITP, which lacks the widespread blood clots seen in the European patients. The United Kingdom, which has administered the AstraZeneca vaccine to more than 10 million people, has so far not reported similar clusters of unusual clotting or bleeding disorders.
In Europe, a 49-year-old intensive care nurse in Austria was one of the first cases. She died last week from what officials called “clotting disorders” that culminated in internal bleeding. (A colleague at the same hospital who received the vaccine developed lung embolisms, but was expected to recover.) A similar constellation of symptoms has been identified in four patients in Norway, two of whom have died, Madsen says.
Blanket orders not to resuscitate some care home residents at the start of the Covid pandemic have been identified in a report by England’s care regulator. A report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found disturbing variations in people’s experiences of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions during the pandemic. Best practice is for proper discussions to be held with the person involved and/or their relatives. While examples of good practice were identified, some people were not properly involved in decisions or were unaware that such an important decision about their care had been made. Poor record-keeping, and a lack of oversight and scrutiny of the decisions being made, was identified.
The report, Protect, respect, connect – decisions about living and dying well during Covid-19, calls for a ministerial oversight group – working with partners in health and social care, local government and the voluntary sector – to take responsibility for delivering improvements in this area. The report surveyed a range of individuals and organisations, including care providers and members of the public, and identified: • Serious concerns about breaches of some individuals’ human rights • Significant increase in DNACPRs put in place in care homes at the beginning of the pandemic, from 16,876 to 26,555 • 119 adult social care providers felt they had been subjected to blanket DNACPR decisions since the start of the pandemic • A GP sent DNACPR letters to care homes asking them to put blanket DNACPRs in place • In one care home a blanket DNACPR was applied to everyone over 80 with dementia.
Healthcare professionals emphasise that resuscitation is both invasive and traumatic with only a 15-20% survival rate when performed in hospitals and a 5-10% success rate when performed outside hospitals. However, concerns have been raised about both blanket DNACPR orders being put in place and such instructions being recorded on patients’ records without discussion or informed consent being given.
As the lead prosecutor in Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, Adam Schiff, the representative from southern California, became a household name, an icon of the anti-Trump resistance, and a rising star in the Democratic party. A year on, the congressman looks increasingly well positioned to be appointed as California’s next attorney general. But in Schiff’s home district, criminal justice and immigrant rights advocates say that his record as state senator and congressman, authoring legislation to increase the criminalization and incarceration of Black and brown Californians, should disqualify him from holding the position. “There’s this real disconnect,” said Jody Armour, a University of Southern California law professor who studies the intersection of race and legal decision making.
“The country knows Schiff as sort of an icon. Here in California, we know him as someone who was, in many ways, one of the chief architects of mass incarceration.” Schiff has reportedly been lobbying governor Gavin Newsom for the attorney general spot that will open up if the US Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as the Health and Human Services secretary later this week. House speaker Nancy Pelosi has given her blessings, and reportedly even a personal endorsement. Schiff, 60, began his career at a US district court in California, first as a law clerk and eventually as an assistant US attorney, rising to prominence for prosecuting the case against a former FBI agent convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.
He was elected to the California state senate in 1996, and four years later moved to the US House of Representatives. There, he served as the chair of the powerful Intelligence Committee, becoming one of Pelosi’s closest confidants. As the lead impeachment manager pursuing Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Schiff’s fiery speeches gained him lavish praise from liberals, begrudging recognition from conservatives and $41m in campaign funds last election cycle. Schiff’s star power, his powerful allies in the Democratic party and fundraising prowess have set him up as a top contender for attorney general.
The American Rescue Plan’s $1.9 trillion of spending represents a significant and long overdue break with the budget-cutting, deficit-obsessed austerity ideology that has held sway since the Reagan Era. But that’s not all it does. A provision tucked into the final bill also aims to halt the anti-tax movement that has drained state and local coffers of resources to fund infrastructure, public education, and other basic social services. The language, slipped into the legislation at the last minute by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is designed to prevent federal money from subsidizing new tax cuts at a moment when some Republican-led states have been considering them.
“Money from COVID relief needs to go to helping every day Americans get through the pandemic, not paying for tax cuts for the rich,” Schumer said in a statement to The Daily Poster. “The American Rescue Plan explicitly prohibits states from using emergency COVID relief dollars to fund frivolous tax cuts. Governors should use this money to maintain public health and social assistance programs to fight the pandemic, and keep millions of other essential employees on the job and working for our communities.” The provision, coupled with Biden’s upcoming plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, represents the first significant effort to explicitly combat the anti-tax movement that has dominated American politics for the last half century.
Such efforts suggest Democrats have learned a valuable lesson since their 2009 economic stimulus bill about the importance of prioritizing public aid for local and state governments — and keeping that aid from being waylaid by Republicans’ anti-tax zealotry.
Ohio’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Wednesday over a provision of the recently signed pandemic relief bill. In a complaint filed in federal district court in Ohio, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) challenged a provision in the legislation that forbids state and local government from using pandemic aid to offset tax cuts. “Ohio seeks to enjoin federal officials from enforcing the unconstitutional Tax Mandate, and seeks declaratory relief establishing that the State of Ohio, under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, retains the freedom to manage its own tax policy,” the lawsuit reads. The lawsuit was filed against Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the Treasury Department. Neither the White House nor the Treasury Department immediately responded when asked for comment.
President Biden signed the bill last week, authorizing aid including direct payments for individuals and $195.3 billion for states and Washington, D.C. — including about $5.5 billion for Ohio, according to the lawsuit. The aid is largely distributed based on each state’s number of unemployed workers. Yost argues in his lawsuit that Congress violated constitutional restraints in seeking to control how states set their tax policies. “By accepting that money, the State must sacrifice its sovereign authority to set tax policy as it sees fit, because changes to tax policy that reduce revenues violate the Tax Mandate,” the lawsuit reads. “Such violations could be used to force the State to return funding received through the Act.” [..] Carl Davis, the research director for the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said that the rhetoric from the conservative attorneys general has been overblown.
“There’s a lot of potential very positive uses for this money that states and localities could find in this moment,” Davis told The Hill. “It’s not intended to be a way to help states to go ahead and cut taxes, particularly for folks at the top, which is really what we’re talking about in a lot of these states that are objecting most loudly to the provision.” “So I think if a state believes that its budget is so strong, and it can afford to actually cut taxes and it’s not going to be doing those kinds of investments, dealing with the economic situation of the hardship we’re seeing right now, it would forego an equivalent amount of aid,” he added. Daniel Hemel, a tax law professor at the University of Chicago law school, agrees that the rhetoric from the attorneys general has been overblown but says that the tax provision in the relief bill is not “Congress’s best work.”
The U.S. economy is heading for its strongest growth in nearly 40 years, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, and central bank policymakers are pledging to keep their foot on the gas despite an expected surge of inflation. “Strong data are ahead of us,” a confident Fed Chair Jerome Powell said after a two-day policy meeting, ticking off the list of forces Fed officials expect will produce 6.5% GDP growth this year – from massive federal fiscal stimulus to optimism around the success of coronavirus vaccines.“The (stimulus) checks are going out … COVID cases are coming down. Vaccination is moving quickly,” Powell said, marking a moment in which a body of top U.S. economic officials expect growth in the United States to rival that of China this year, not to mention surging quickly beyond that of Europe and Japan.
Fed officials, in fact, expect economic growth to remain above trend for at least two years to come, at 3.3% in 2022 and 2.2% in 2023, compared to estimated long-term potential growth of just 1.8%. While inflation is expected to jump to 2.4% this year, above the central bank’s 2% target, Powell said that is viewed as a temporary surge that will not change the Fed’s pledge to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero as part of an effort to ensure the economic wounds from the pandemic are fully healed. [..] in overlooking the expected jump in inflation this year without a policy response, the Fed held true to its new framework and a pledge not to overreact at the first hint of rising prices, a reaction that has in the past been felt to nip off periods of growth before workers felt the full benefits.
Out of habit, American economists worry about federal debt. But federal debt can be redeemed by the Federal Reserve printing the money with which to retire the bonds. The debt problem rests with individuals, companies, and state and local governments. They have no printing press. We have explained that the indebtedness of the population means there is little discretionary income with which to drive the economy. The offshoring of middle class jobs lowered incomes, and after paying debt service—mortgage interest, car payments, credit card interest, student loan debt—Americans’ pockets are empty. This situation has been worsened by Covid lockdowns. In the US the federal government has sent out a few Covid payments to help keep people’s heads above water as they face expenses without income.
The financial press refers to these Covid checks as “fiscal stimulus,” but there is no stimulus. The Covid checks do not come close to replacing the missing wages, salaries and business profits from lockdowns. Corporations have indebted themselves and impaired their capitalization by borrowing money with which to repurchase their stock. This has built up their debt in the face of stagnant or declining consumer discretionary income. We propose to deal with the debt crisis by forgiving debts as was done in ancient times. Our basic premise is that debts that cannot be paid won’t be. Widespread foreclosures and evictions would further worsen the distribution of income and wealth and further contrain the ability of the economy to grow. Writing debt down to levels that can be serviced would clear the decks tor a real recovery.
Income that would be siphoned off in debt service would instead be available to purchase new goods and services. A few economists muttered that we were overlooking the “moral hazzard” of absolving people of their debts. But leaving the economy stagnated in debt is also a moral hazzard. Policymakers did not endorse our proposal, but, in effect, policymakers adopted our policy. However, instead of forgiving the debt itself, they forgave payment of the debt service. Individuals and businesses who cannot pay their landlords or lenders cannot be evicted or foreclosed until June. This doesn’t hurt the lenders or banks, because the loans are not in default, and their balance sheet is not impaired. The banks add the unpaid payments to their assets, and their balance sheets remain sound.
When June arrives, the prohibition against eviction and foreclosure will have to be extended as the accrued debt service cannot be paid. Extending the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions will just build up arrears. Is the implication a perpetual moratorium? The question is: If policymakers are willing to forgive debt service, why not just forgive the debt. The latter is neater and clears the decks for an economic renewal.
All eyes on bitcoin, it seems, as the price hits new all-time-highs, its proponents celebrate, and the economists who have long pronounced it dead and useless scratch their head in confusion (any “bubble” pronouncements as of late?)“The discomforting reality for the early idealists,” wrote Izabella Kaminska, a long-time critic of cryptocurrencies, before the price explosion in recent months, “is that 12 years on, the bitcoin ecosystem has more in common with the incumbent one it was hoping to displace than that original utopian vision.” She’s more right than she knows. In one sense, we should probably celebrate this as it means that bitcoin is approaching the monetary commodity dream it always harbored: it is running into some eternal troubles common to all monetary systems.
Even better, we should take the opportunity to teach some monetary history, as those in the crypto world have never been particularly well-versed in our monetary past. The audience they cater to is even less informed and so the “bitcoin heroes” – Saifedean Ammous, Robert Breedlove etc – are celebrated for their wisdom, no matter how rudimentary or inaccurate. It’s easy to discard an entire field of centuries-long academic inquiries, especially if you’ve never been exposed to it, or only investigated a caricature. Some humility is recommended since, as Denis Patrick O’Brien writes in his collection of scholarly articles The Development of Monetary Economics, “Monetary economics has attracted some of the very best people to have written about economic problems.”
In contrast to Bitcoin’s money supply mechanism, set in stone since its origin, many of bitcoin’s rivals – “alt-coins” or “sh**coins” – want to set their own monetary policy, laid down arcane rules in fancy white papers that only the insiders have the discretion to change. This dispute over rules and discretion about who runs the printing press is about three centuries old if not more, and was thoroughly investigated by the likes of Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Tooke, Horsley Palmer, Walter Bagehot, John Clapham and others. Some of the seemingly novel features of many cryptocurrency innovations are not so novel, and quickly run into precisely the problems that plagued past economies; these were promptly examined and argued over by monetary economists long since dead and forgotten.
When Bitcoin was small and insignificant, the dollar-cost of sending value across the network was minuscule. For the first few years of the cryptocurrency’s existence, this was among the best reasons to use it: you could send any amount, to anyone in the world, much cheaper and much faster than the legacy banking system of the 2000s. That was roughly correct. Legacy systems were slow and expensive, and doing international banking only 15-20 years ago caused headaches to plenty more people than money launderers.
The Internet, effective competition, and the rise of fintechs changed all that – but the most vocal bitcoiners remained in the past that the legacy system had long left behind, thinking that their magnificent invention still trumped the system against which bitcoin was created. For most uses it doesn’t: unless you’re living under authoritarian regimes or are trying to do business in the legal grey (two very important, yet comparatively small, market segments), using bitcoin for its initial transactional purposes isn’t that great.
The former Duchess of Sussex, who left the royal family after realizing how hard it was to be a princess, is now eyeing a presidential run. According to sources, Meghan Markle is networking with Democratic leaders for a possible shot at becoming America’s first female president. “Being a princess was, like, the absolute worst,” said Markle to some trusted political consultants. “There were so many things to do, and so many annoying obligations I had to fulfill. I think being President of the United States will be much easier. Let’s do that instead!” Experts say that Markle may be the most qualified presidential candidate to ever run for office since she is a Democrat woman of color and has a ton of useful experience as a princess.
“Meghan Markle may be the one to finally save America and get all those migrant kids out of cages,” said local Meghan Markle enthusiast Camy Fumbertook. “Obama was a letdown, and Biden was a letdown, but I think Markle will be totally different due to her womanness and person-of-colorness.” In a statement, Biden announced support of Markle’s future run. “Don’t worry, sweetie,” he said as he descended his basement stairs for another nap. “The presidency is way easier than being a princess.”
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5. You are a potato with the face of a guinea pig (French)
4. Your brain is like two walnuts in a bag (Arabic)
3. My foot is in your butt’s destiny (Urdu)
2. You’re the son of a gender-neutral dog (Bengali)
1. Your gran masturbates standing up (German)
You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
Lá fhéile pádraig
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