Emanuel Leutze Washington Crossing the Delaware 1851
|• World’s 1st Oral Covid-19 Vaccine Could Soon Begin Human Trials (RT)|
|• Dexamethasone Hailed As Lifesaver For A Million Covid Patients Worldwide (G.)|
|• Masks And Distancing Could Be Required For Several More Years – UK Expert (RT)|
|• UK Faces ‘Covid Decade’ Due To Damage Done By Pandemic (G.)|
|• Germany To Impose Its Harshest Covid-19 Lockdown Yet For Easter (RT)|
|• 6-Foot Social Distancing ‘Wasn’t Based On Clear Science’ – Gottlieb (JTN)|
|• Care Home Workers In England Face Mandatory Covid Jabs Under Plans (G.)|
|• Judge Rejects Third Bail Request By Epstein Confidante Ghislaine Maxwell (RT)|
|• Sidney Powell: Election Fraud Claims Just ‘Political Rhetoric’ (RT)|
|• Domestic Dark Money Dwarfs All Foreign Influence on 2020 Election (MPN)|
|• ECB Invokes Banknote Paradox to Explain Cash in Contactless Age (BBG)|
|• Yield Curve Control: Another Recipe for Stagnation (Lacalle)|
|• Border Facility Photos Show Hundreds Of Children In “Terrible Conditions” (ZH)|
|• In the Shadows of Shadowland (Jim Kunstler)|
“we are more than 100% sure that the technology works and is promising.”
Hmmm. I still want to know what’s in it.
A coronavirus vaccine that can be swallowed like a pill and administered at home could begin clinical trials in the near future after its developers reported promising preliminary data. The trailblazing drug, called Oravax, is being developed by Israeli-American Oramed Pharmaceuticals and India-based Premas Biotech. The two companies have teamed up to create Oravax Medical Inc., which hopes to combine Oramed’s oral delivery technology with Premas’ vaccine expertise to create a new method of inoculation against Covid-19. A pilot study conducted on animals found that the oral vaccine helped produce antibodies that create immunity against the virus, the company claims.
The promising results were achieved by administering a single Oravax capsule, potentially setting the drug apart from some of the other vaccines which require two doses. Prabuddha Kundu, co-founder of Premas Biotech, told Indian media that administering the vaccine would be “like taking a vitamin pill” and that “we are more than 100% sure that the technology works and is promising.” Results from the preliminary animal tests would soon be published in a scientific journal, he added. Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron told the Jerusalem Post that the oral drug would eliminate logistical problems that have arisen from worldwide mass vaccination drives, and that the pill could even be taken by individuals from the comfort of their home.
The drug can be moved at refrigerator temperature and even stored at room temperature, alleviating some of the issues with some traditional vaccines, which must be kept extremely cold before use. Kidron also claimed that orally administering the vaccine could result in fewer side effects. The capsules would become particularly useful if Covid-19 vaccines are eventually “recommended annually like the standard flu shot,” he said. Oravax Medical is currently applying to conduct human trials in several countries, including the United States, Israel, Mexico, and Europe. Studies could begin as soon as July.
Problem: it’s cheap and generic.
Dexamethasone – the inexpensive steroid that quickly emerged as a highly effective Covid therapy thanks to a large drug testing programme pioneered by UK scientists – has so far saved the lives of an estimated million people globally, including 22,000 in the UK, according to NHS England. Called Recovery, the world’s largest randomised Covid-19 drug trial commenced in March 2020 to evaluate the suitability of a suite of different drugs to help hospitalised Covid patients. The study has since been carried out by thousands of doctors and nurses on tens of thousands of patients in hospitals across Britain. As Covid-19 emerged in late 2019, Oxford University’s Peter Horby, an infectious disease specialist, had begun working on Covid drug trials in Wuhan.
But studies were shelved as fierce lockdown restrictions dried up infections in China. Meanwhile, cases began to pop up in Europe. Horby joined forces with Oxford colleague Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology, to set up Recovery. It took them only nine days from drafting their first protocol to the enrolling of the first patient, a process that typically takes nine months. Less than 100 days after the programme kicked off, trial investigators produced a staggering result – the first medicine that demonstrably improved Covid-19 survival chances. Dexamethasone, a widely available and affordable generic steroid, was shown to cut the risk of death by a third for Covid patients on ventilators, and by nearly a fifth for those on oxygen therapy.
“It was hard to know how many lives would be saved because we didn’t know what the trajectory of the pandemic was going to be, or how well accepted the results would be,” said Horby. The results were celebrated – and embraced globally. Although Britain was criticised for its initial sluggish response to the pandemic and its bungled testing programmes, Recovery scientists were generously lauded for their heroic efforts to combat the disease. “It’s clear that dexamethasone has had a big impact,” noted Horby. “A million is a big number … It’s an estimate that could well be lower than that or higher than that. We don’t know.”
Here’s a warning: this is not going to happen.
The UK may be racing ahead of its European neighbours in getting its population vaccinated, but Brits might have to stay masked up for “several years” if public health experts get their way. New cases of Covid-19 in the UK have dropped tenfold since early January, and more than 27 million Britons – over half the adult population – have had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Compared to rising cases on the continent and an EU average vaccination rate of around 10%, the UK appears to be winning its war against Covid-19. Brits looking for a total reprieve from the country’s punishing lockdown, however, shouldn’t hold their breath. That’s according to Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisation at Public Health England.
Ramsay told the BBC on Sunday that masks and social distancing could be required for “several years,” or “at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are, and the numbers have come down everywhere.” With vaccines being distributed unequally around the world, and people in the poorest nations facing a years-long wait to get vaccinated, Ramsay’s prediction may be a realistic one, should the British government listen to her advice. As a government body, Public Health England certainly has a say in determining the UK’s Covid-19 response. Her view is not a minority one, either. As the government looks to relax restrictions from the end of March onwards, Prof. Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, told MPs earlier this month that “simple interventions,” face masks among them, would be needed beyond the summer.
One problem not mentioned here: tax hikes.
Britain faces a “Covid decade” of social and cultural upheaval marked by growing inequality and deepening economic deprivation, a landmark review has concluded. Major changes to the way society is run in the wake of the pandemic are needed to mitigate the impact of the “long shadow” cast by the virus, including declining public trust and an explosion in mental illness, the British Academy report found. Published on the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, the report brings together more than 200 academic social science and humanities experts and hundreds of research projects. It was set up last year at the behest of the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.
The British Academy warned that failure to understand the scale of the challenge ahead and deliver changes would result in a rapid slide towards poorer societal health, more extreme patterns of inequality and fragmenting national unity. Government-led intervention including major investment in public services is required to repair the “profound social damage” caused or exacerbated by coronavirus across areas including the economy, mental health, public trust and education, it said. “With the advent of vaccines and the imminent ending of lockdowns, we might think that the impact of Covid-19 is coming to an end. This would be wrong. We are in a Covid decade: the social, economic and cultural effects of the pandemic will cast a long shadow into the future – perhaps longer than a decade,” it said.
[..] Areas for action highlighted by the report include: • Declining public trust: after an initial surge in the first months of the pandemic, trust in UK government and feelings of national unity collapsed, with little sign that progress on vaccinations has halted the trend. Unless addressed, this will erode social cohesion and undermine future public health campaigns. • Widening inequalities: geographic, health, racial, gender, digital and economic inequalities have been exacerbated by Covid. If not tackled, they risk becoming permanently locked in, scarring the prospects of groups disproportionately affected by the social impact of the virus, such as young people. • Worsening mental health: soaring mental illness, especially among children, low-income households and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, risks embedding long-term problems if the underlying causes are not tackled.
Merkel lost too.
Germany is set to bring its tightest coronavirus lockdown yet, shuttering all but the most vital of services, including religious gatherings for Easter, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced following a meeting with regional leaders. Noting that the country is in a “race” to combat the pandemic, Merkel outlined the nationwide shutdown during a news conference early on Tuesday, saying that not only will existing restrictions be extended to April 18, but that most businesses will be made to close their doors for at least five days beginning on the first of the month, just before the Easter holiday. “We are now in a very serious situation,” the chancellor told reporters after a contentious marathon meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states, which lasted nearly 12 hours.
During the five-day period, only shops that sell food, as well as coronavirus testing and vaccination sites, will be open across Germany, in what will likely be the country’s strictest lockdown since the pandemic kicked off in late 2019. Merkel said there should be “quiet days” and reduced social contacts in the time between April 1 and 5. In addition to the business closures, Germans will be barred from holding private gatherings of more than five adults from two different households, while all travel abroad will be strongly discouraged. Churches have also been asked to hold virtual services only during that time, even on Easter itself. Moreover, the new measures will make airlines responsible for testing all travelers and crew members heading back to Germany, but stopped short of mandating quarantine for anyone returning from abroad.
“This 6-foot distancing requirement has probably been the single-costliest mitigation tactic that we’ve employed..”
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says that 6-foot social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 “wasn’t based on clear science.” He also says the health-safety tactic – to help stop the virus spread through the air – isn’t as effective as medical experts thought when the pandemic started. “This 6-foot distancing requirement has probably been the single-costliest mitigation tactic that we’ve employed in response to COVID, and it really wasn’t based on clear science,” Gottlieb said in an interview for CNBC Friday. In the interview, it’s unclear what exact costs to which he was referring. Gottlieb said that in the beginning, the government and health organizations treated the spread of COVID-19 as though it were the flu, which he says is spread primarily through droplets.
“We’ve subsequently learned that COVID is spreading through aerosols, not just droplets, so probably six feet isn’t as effective as it would be if it was a purely droplet-based transmission,” Gottlieb said. “There’s nothing wrong with having followed that flu-based model and been wrong, but we should have been evaluating this along the way.” Gottlieb made the comment as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its recommendation on social distancing in schools – to three feet from six feet. Gottlieb said that “we need to see light at the end of the tunnel and have guidance that prescribes an environment where people can start doing things again,” as reported by The Epoch Times.
Yeah, sinister indeed.
Care home workers in England could be legally required to have a Covid-19 vaccination under plans being considered by the government. According to details of a paper submitted to the Covid-19 operations cabinet subcommittee last week and leaked to the Telegraph, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the health secretary, Matt Hancock, have agreed to the proposal in order to protect vulnerable residents. The move would prove highly controversial and could result in legal challenges. The cabinet subcommittee paper warned a large number of social care workers may quit if the change is made, and said that lawsuits on human rights grounds could be possible. A government spokesman insisted “no final decisions have been made” but did not rule out jabs being made compulsory for care workers.
The government is also reviewing the introduction of vaccination passports. If the change is approved it would affect most of the 1.5 million workers in England’s adult social care sector, who would be obliged by law to have a Covid jab. The paper also makes clear that a similar legal requirement is being considered for some frontline healthcare workers, including those on wards, but a decision on that has yet to be taken. One line is said to read: “The prime minister and the secretary of state [Hancock] have discussed on several occasions the progress that is being made to immunise social care workers against Covid-19 and have agreed – in order to reach a position of much greater safety for care recipients – to put in place legislation to require vaccinations among the workforce.”
Legally forcing workers to have a vaccine raises serious legal and ethical questions. Government ministers including Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, have previously called similar ideas mandating vaccination, including vaccine passports, “discriminatory”. A previous report of a government plan to force all NHS and care staff in England to get vaccinated was criticised as “sinister” by Unison. “Forced vaccinations are the wrong way to go, and send out a sinister and worrying message,” said Christina McAnea, the general secretary of Unison, which represents about 100,000 NHS staff.
She can stop trying now.
A US judge denied Ghislaine Maxwell’s third bail request even after the former girlfriend of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein tried to allay concern over potential flight risk by offering to renounce her citizenship in the UK and France. US District Court Judge Alison Nathan ruled on Monday that Maxwell will have to remain incarcerated, rather than being allowed to post bail and be released while awaiting her trial. Nathan said none of Maxwell’s new arguments and offers – which also included putting her and her spouse’s assets in a court-monitored account – changed her opinion that the socialite poses a flight risk. The judge also closed the door on prospects for bail being granted if Maxwell makes some other concessions, saying, “There are no combination of conditions that can reasonably assure her appearance” in court.
Maxwell’s lawyers had argued that by renouncing her British and French citizenships, she would ensure that she wouldn’t be able to seek the extradition protections that apply to citizens of the two countries. Putting assets in a monitored account would ensure that she wouldn’t use the money to flee from prosecution, her lawyers said. [..] Lawyers for Maxwell earlier this year filed a motion seeking dismissal of the charges against her based on any of a dozen claims, including an argument that the grand jury that indicted her didn’t have enough black and Hispanic people. The fact that Maxwell is white “does not deprive her of standing to raise this challenge,” her lawyers said.
What a fall from grace.
Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell has asked a judge to scrap a $1.3 billion defamation suit filed over her claims of election fraud, insisting her assertions were mere political rhetoric protected by the Constitution. Powell’s attorneys called for dismissal in a Monday court filing, arguing that the case brought by Dominion Voting Systems was filed in the wrong jurisdiction, and that Powell’s claims about the company and its alleged role in rigging the 2020 race were covered under the First Amendment. While the attorneys maintained that Powell continues to believe her allegations of fraud are true, they also argued that her claims were never meant to be taken as factual assertions, but rather as political rhetoric, and that “no reasonable person would conclude” they were “truly statements of fact.”
“All the allegedly defamatory statements attributed to [Powell] were made as part of the normal process of litigating issues of momentous significance and immense public interest,” the court filing reads. Powell’s lawyers cited previous cases which ruled that courts should “shelter strong, even outrageous political speech” on the grounds that “the ordinary reader or listener, in the context of political debate” will take those statements as “some form of political opinion neither demonstrably true nor demonstrably false.” They added that “reasonable people” understand the “language of the political arena… is often vituperative, abusive and inexact.”
“More than $1 billion worth of secret donations were made during the 2020 election”
“Given the relatively close race, it is entirely plausible that this massive cash injection swung the balance in favor of the 78-year-old Delawarean..”
More than $1 billion worth of secret donations were made during the 2020 election. This included around $660 million in contributions to big-money political groups, more than $300 million in advertising, and $88 million in FEC-reported spending. Few people, even political junkies, know the names of these organizations. But dark-money groups — organizations trying to influence politics that do not disclose the source of their funding, such as Duty & Honor and America Votes — have considerably more influence over who rules the United States than do any foreign leaders. The largest of these groups in terms of political spending is One Nation America, a Republican organization masterminded by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. The organization spent over $125 million during the last election cycle.
However, it was the Democrats who benefitted the most from dark money sourced from wealthy, shadowy donors. Democrats outraised the GOP by well over two-to-one, with Biden’s bid attracting more than six times the amount of money from anonymous sources than did Trump’s. Given the relatively close race, it is entirely plausible that this massive cash injection swung the balance in favor of the 78-year-old Delawarean and away from the incumbent. In 2016, the St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” the Internet Research Agency is said to have spent around $100,000 in online ads targeting American readers. But four years later, the Center for Responsive Politics calculates that opaque non-profits shelled out $132 million on the same thing — more than a thousand times as much.
In politics, money talks. Since 2000, the party spending the most cash has won between 85% and 98% of all House and 71% and 85% of all Senate races, depending on the year. Election 2020 was by far the costliest election in history, coming in at $14.4 billion. That figure is more than double the price of the 2016 election, which cost around $6.5 billion. The six most expensive Senate races of all time occurred in this cycle. Democrats comfortably outraised and outspent Republicans in 2020. The two Senate elections in Georgia — regular and special, which both went to runoffs that saw Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock elected — wound up with nearly $830 million spent on the two races alone. Democrats relied on hefty donations from tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and AT&T, while Republicans counted on support from financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America and from money from the Koch Brothers.
This disparity in coverage between the two reports suggests that, while unapproved foreign interference is a major scandal, corporations and the ultra-wealthy essentially buying elections is simply (big) business as usual.
“..maybe as much as 50% by value, is physically stored by households, companies and banks.”
Cash is alive and thriving in the euro zone despite the rise of debit cards and contactless payment, and the pandemic has even accelerated that trend, according to the European Central Bank. While notes and coins account for a shrinking share of daily transactions in the currency bloc, the value of cash in circulation almost doubled in the last decade, the ECB said in its economic bulletin. Once dubbed the “paradox of banknotes” by Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, the phenomenon is mainly down to two reasons: demand for the currency outside the bloc, and Europeans hoarding cash to store their wealth, the ECB researchers wrote.
More than 1.4 trillion euros ($1.7 trillion) of banknotes were circulating at the end of 2020, up 11% from a year earlier. Yet the evidence suggests that only about a fifth of that is used for transactions within the currency area. Studies have shown that 30-50% by value is held outside the bloc, such as in developing economies with underdeveloped payment infrastructure and a lack of credible savings options. The rest, maybe as much as 50% by value, is physically stored by households, companies and banks. One survey showed that a third of euro-area households kept cash reserves at home in 2019 — mostly small amounts but in some cases over 10,000 euros.
“Central banks don’t manage risk, they disguise it.”
Central banks don’t manage risk, they disguise it. You know you live in a bubble when a small bounce in sovereign bond yields generates an immediate panic reaction from central banks trying to prevent those yields from rising further. It’s particularly evident when the alleged soar in yields comes after years of their having been artificially depressed with negative rates and asset purchases. It’s scary to read that the European Central Bank (ECB) will implement more asset purchases to control a small move in yields that still left sovereign issuers’ bonds with negative nominal and real interest rates. It’s even scarier to see that market participants hail the decision to disguise risk with even more liquidity. No one seemed to complain about the fact that sovereign issuers with alarming solvency problems were issuing bonds with negative yields.
No one seemed to be concerned about the fact that the ECB bought more than 100 percent of net issuances from eurozone states. The thing that shows what a bubble we live in is that market participants find it logical to see a central bank taking aggressive action to prevent bond yields from rising—to 0.3 percent in Spain or 0.6 percent in Italy. This is the evidence of a massive bubble. If the ECB wasn’t there to repurchase all eurozone sovereign issuances, what yield would investors demand for Spain, Italy, or Portugal? Three, four, five times the current level on the 10-year? Probably. That’s why developed central banks are trapped in their own policy. They can’t hint at normalizing even when the economy is recovering strongly, and inflation is rising.
Market participants may be happy thinking these actions will drive equities and risky assets higher, but they also make economic cycles weaker, shorter, and more abrupt. Central banks have exhausted tools such as repurchasing bonds and cutting rates; the diminishing returns are evident. Now they look to Japan, of all places, to look at yield curve control (YCC) policies. Many articles hail the Bank of Japan’s curve control strategy as a big success. It has managed to keep bond yields inside a narrow range around 0 percent since it adopted its YCC policy in 2016. However, all this has done is disguise risk and lead the economy to massively indebted stagnation.
Why? The central bank applies constant changes in its purchases of sovereign bonds with different maturities to prevent the yield curve from steepening and bond yields from rising above a certain level, which could cause an economic crisis as risk-off takes over. There’s a deeply flawed view of markets in this theory. YCC doesn’t reduce the risk of a crisis, it simply disguises it by manipulating the price of sovereign bonds, the alleged lowest risk asset. As such, market participants always take significantly more risk than they want to or should, because the price of risk and the shape of the curve is artificially managed by the central bank.
What. A. Mess.
Photos from inside a US Customs and Border Protection overflow facility have leaked, revealing hundreds of children huddling on the floor of eight ‘pods’ – each of which are supposed to hold 260 people – yet one of which had over 400 unaccompanied male minors crammed together, according to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who provided the photos to Axios to raise awareness about the situation. The photos, taken over the weekend by someone else, come amid a media embargo by the Biden administration, which has refused to allow press into the facilities to observe and document what’s going on.
Cueller, who toured the Donna, Texas facility but did not take the photos himself, described the setting as “terrible conditions for the children,” who he said need to quickly be moved into the care of the Department of Health and Human Services – which is currently at capacity due to a surge of migrants into the United States following President Biden’s pro-illegal policies.
More via Axios: “Border Patrol agents are “doing the best they can under the circumstances” but are “not equipped to care for kids” and “need help from the administration,” he said. “We have to stop kids and families from making the dangerous trek across Mexico to come to the United States. We have to work with Mexico and Central American countries to have them apply for asylum in their countries.” As of Saturday, there were 10,000 migrants in CBP custody overall. Nearly half were unaccompanied minors — thousands of whom had been waiting for more than 3 days in border patrol facilities, according to government data provided to Axios by another source.
“I have said repeatedly from the very outset a Border Patrol station is no place for a child,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a Sunday interview on CNN – discussing the situation he helped to create. “That is why we are working around the clock to move these children out of the Border Patrol facilities into the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services that shelters them.”
Veritas Kids in Cages
BREAKING: Project Veritas Obtains Horrifying NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN Images From Within Donna, TX Immigrant Detention Center; THOUSANDS of Illegal Immigrants PACKED Into Tight Spaces And Wrapped In Space Blankets On Floor; Insider: '50+ COVID Positive'#BidenBorderCrisis pic.twitter.com/mXQM6YbttJ
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) March 22, 2021
“I’d venture to suppose that Mr. Brennan continued to influence and even direct these agit-prop operations long after he was removed as CIA Director..”
Who or what is this shadow government? I’d say it amounts to a small group around former president Obama and former attorney general Eric Holder, plus a coterie of Intel Community figures led by John Brennan, all awkwardly funneling instructions through Susan Rice to the hacks in the White House, who form a flimsy cocoon around the barely-pulsating organism within: Mr. Biden. I will boldly suggest that this cabal is actually controlling the executive branch of the government, and doing it with stunning incompetence. If it sounds like a conspiracy, that’s probably because it is a conspiracy.
What were those crimes of theirs? Mainly the actions they took the past four years to cover-up their intense and sedulous ongoing corruption of previous years, especially all the channels of moneygrubbing that ran from Wall Street and K Street through the halls of Congress, and secondarily their political agenda to destroy by any means necessary the opposition vested in a weak and ineffectual Republican Party at odds with its own elected leader, Mr. Trump. The “means” turned out to be one dishonest exploit after another aimed at disabling and eliminating the uncontrollable Mr. Trump: RussiaGate, the Flynn case, the Mueller Investigation, Ukraine Phone Call Gate (impeachment No. 1), Coronavirus hysteria, identity politics hysteria (including the 2020 summer riots), the social media companies’ censorship and “cancellation” initiative, and, finally, the engineered ballot fraud in the 2020 national election, with a re-play in the Georgia senatorial special election of January, 2021.
How did you miss all this? I think it worked this way: John Brennan’s CIA enlisted a desperately failing news media in an ideological campaign to propagandize and lie to the American public based on Brennan’s own past ideological disposition as a self-declared “communist.” Yes, he actually said that about himself, though his Marxism and that of his allies was a mash-up of foolish utopianisms used to cover a sheer wish to annihilate any opposition frustrating their will-to-power. I’d venture to suppose that Mr. Brennan continued to influence and even direct these agit-prop operations long after he was removed as CIA Director, even as he fought off accusations for his role in helping Hillary Clinton gin up RussiaGate.
We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.
Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.