May 052022
 


René Magritte Personal values 1952

 

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)
Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)
Return of the King (Streeck)
The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)
Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)
Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)
Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)
John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)
FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)
The Government Plays God (Whitehead)
The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)
Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

 

 

 

 

Ze 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azovstal

 

 

 

 

Well, well. The Guardian is now the bullhorn for the nazis. But Russia has denied invading the plant.

Also funny: the evacuation of citizens from the plant is being presented as another heroic act by Zelensky. But they could have left at any moment over the past 2 months. Why didn’t they? Often because the same nazis used them as human shields.

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)

Fierce fighting has continued inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks, the commander of Ukrainian forces in the plant said, as more civilians fled the city on evacuation buses following weeks of brutal bombardment that have reduced much of it to rubble. Ukrainian forces were fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops for a second day, Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment, said in a brief video released on Telegram late on Wednesday. “I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy … the situation is extremely difficult,” commander Denis Prokopenko said.

Earlier on Wednesday, David Arakhamia, the head of Ukraine’s ruling party in parliament, told RFE/RL that Russian forces had entered the plant, but he said that the country’s government remained in contact with the Ukrainian troops staging a last stand. The Kremlin’s official spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, denied reports that Moscow’s forces were trying to storm the plant. “The order was publicly given by [Vladimir Putin] to cancel the storming,” Peskov said. “There is no storming.” Russia said its forces would cease firing at the factory on Thursday morning, and open a three-day humanitarian corridor for any civilians.


“The Russian armed forces will from 8am to 6pm (Moscow time, 0500 GMT to 1500 GMT) on May 5, 6 and 7 open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” the defence ministry said. “During this period, the Russian armed forces and formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic will unilaterally cease any hostilities.”

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“The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)

Brazilian presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, bear equal responsibility for the war in Ukraine, putting the leftist icon at odds with western powers. In an interview with Time magazine published on Wednesday, the former president said it was irresponsible for western leaders to celebrate Zelenskiy because they are encouraging war instead of focusing on closed-door negotiations to stop the fighting. “I see the president of Ukraine, speaking on television, being applauded, getting a standing ovation by all the [European] parliamentarians,” Lula told the magazine. “This guy [Zelenskiy] is as responsible as Putin for the war,” he added.

Lula, who is on Time’s cover this week, is frontrunner for the October elections when he hopes to deny far-right President Jair Bolsonaro re-election and return to office after the annulment last year of corruption convictions that had put him in jail. The remarks will probably raise eyebrows in the US and Europe, which are supplying military support to Ukraine and have hit Russia with punishing sanctions over an invasion widely seen in the west as an act of unprovoked Russian aggression. Lula, 76, said Zelenskiy should have yielded to Russian opposition to Ukraine’s moves to join Nato and held negotiations with Putin to avoid a conflict.


Refering to Zelenskiy’s rise to fame as an actor and comedian, he added: “We should be having a serious conversation. OK, you were a nice comedian. But let us not make war for you to show up on TV.” The veteran leftist said Biden and European Union leaders failed to do enough to negotiate with Russia in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine in February. “The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

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King NATO

Return of the King (Streeck)

When kings return, they initiate a purge, to rectify the anomalies that have accumulated during their absence. Old bills are presented anew and collected, lack of loyalty revealed during the King’s absence is punished, disobedient ideas and improper memories are extirpated, and the nooks and crannies of the body politic are cleansed of the political deviants that have in the meantime populated them. Symbolic action of the McCarthy type is helpful as it spreads fear among potential dissenters. Throughout the West today, players of piano or tennis or relativity theory who happen to be from Russia and want to continue playing whatever they play are pressed to make public statements that would make their lives and those of their families back home difficult at best.

Investigative journalists discover an abyss of philanthropic donations by Russian oligarchs to music and other festivals, donations that have been welcome in the past but are now found to subvert artistic freedom, unlike of course the philanthropic donations of their Western fellow-oligarchs. Etc. Against the background of proliferating loyalty oaths, public discourse is reduced to spreading the King’s truth, and nothing but. Putin verstehen – trying to find out about motives and reasons, searching for a clue as to how one might, perhaps, negotiate an end to the bloodshed – is equated with Putin verzeihen, or forgiving; it ‘relativizes’, as the Germans put it, the atrocities of the Russian army by trying to end them with other than military means.


According to newly received wisdom, there is only one way of dealing with a madman; thinking about other ways advances his interests and therefore amounts to treason. (I remember teachers in the 1950s who let it be known to the young generation that ‘the only language the Russian understands is the language of the fist’.) Memory management is central: never mention the Minsk Accords (2014 and 2015) between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, don’t ask what became of them and why, never mind the platform of negotiated conflict settlement on which Zelensky was elected in 2019 by almost three quarters of Ukrainian voters, and forget the American response by megaphone diplomacy to Russian proposals as late as 2022 for a joint European security system. Above all, never bring up the various American ‘special operations’ of the recent past, like for example in Iraq, and in Fallujah inside Iraq (800 civilian casualties alone in a few days); doing so commits the crime of ‘whataboutism’, which in view of ‘the pictures from Bucha and Mariupol’ is morally out of bounds.

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“..the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.”

The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)

The most egregious and blatant official disinformation campaign in the U.S. took place three weeks before the 2020 presidential election. That was when dozens of former intelligence officials purported to believe that authentic emails regarding Joe Biden’s activities in China and Ukraine, reported by The New York Post, were “Russian disinformation.” That quasi-official proclamation enabled liberal corporate media outlets to uncritically mock and then ignore those emails as “Russian disinformation,” and pressured Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor the reporting at exactly the time Americans were preparing to decide who would be the next U.S. president.

The letter from these former intelligence officials was orchestrated by trained career liars — disinformation agents — such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Yet that letter was nonetheless crucial to discredit and ultimately suppress the New York Post’s incriminating reporting on Biden. It provided a quasi-official imprimatur — something that could be depicted as an authoritative decree — that these authentic emails were, in fact, fraudulent. After all, if all of these noble and heroic intelligence operatives who spent their lives studying Russian disinformation were insisting that the Biden emails had all of the “hallmarks” of Kremlin treachery, who possessed the credibility to dispute their expert assessment?


This same strategic motive — to vest accusations of “disinformation” with the veneer of expertise — is what has fostered a new, very well-financed industry heralding itself as composed of “anti-disinformation” scholars. Knowing that Americans are inculcated from childhood to believe that censorship is nefarious — that it is the hallmark of tyranny — those who wish to censor need to find some ennobling rationale to justify it and disguise what it is. They have thus created a litany of neutral-sounding groups with benign names — The Atlantic Council, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, various “fact-checking” outfits controlled by corporate media outlets — that claim to employ “anti-disinformation experts” to identify and combat fake news. Just as media corporations re-branded their partisan pundits as “fact-checkers” — to masquerade their opinions as elevated, apolitical authoritative, decrees of expertise — the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.

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Elon! Help!

Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)

Several Twitter users known for questioning U.S. government COVID-19 messaging have found themselves locked out of their accounts or suspended, even as the social media company reckons with a takeover by pro-free-speech billionaire Elon Musk and advancing litigation by journalist Alex Berenson. It’s not clear whether the timing is coincidental or the last gasp of an old guard targeting so-called Team Reality before a new owner or courts force it to change direction. Twitter has ignored the vast majority of Just the News requests to explain how various sanctioned users violated its terms. The notices from Twitter, often posted by allies of the silenced users, cite violation of its policy against sharing “misleading and potentially harmful information” about COVID.

A federal judge greenlit breach-of-contract claims in Berenson’s lawsuit challenging his permanent suspension, which followed a tweet that said COVID vaccines neither stop infection nor transmission, both of which the CDC has acknowledged for several months. The former New York Times reporter said in February Twitter had quietly removed the “misleading” label from the tweet, which only he can see. The company didn’t respond to Just the News queries at the time. Berenson plausibly alleged Twitter “fail[ed] to abide by its own five-strike policy and its specific commitments” made by a PR executive directly to Berenson before his first strike, U.S. District Judge William Alsup wrote April 29.


The same day Twitter permanently booted Daniel Kotzin, one of three sanctioned users jointly suing federal officials for coercing Twitter to censor purported COVID misinformation. It flagged his tweet citing “known potential side effects” of COVID vaccines, including myocarditis, “blood clots, and strokes.”

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‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized..’

Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)

Some of the most high-profile liberal figures have joined together to encourage advertisers to boycott Twitter if Elon Musk brings in his promised policy of unfettered ‘free speech.’ Twenty six NGOs and advocacy groups signed a letter expressing concern about the world’s richest man’s plan. Musk himself responded to the letter asking who funded them: the answer being an assortment of ‘dark money groups’ like George Soros’s Open Society Foundation; NGOs founded by former Clinton and Obama administration staffers; wealthy Democrat donors and their family foundations; labor unions; and the governments of European nations.

‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized,’ they wrote. They warned that advertising on Twitter would see their company ‘risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists.’ The authors continued: ‘Under Musk’s management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached, polluting our information ecosystem in a time where trust in institutions and news media is already at an all-time low.


‘Your ad dollars can either fund Musk’s vanity project or hold him to account. We call on you to demand Musk uphold these basic standards of community trust and safety, and to pull your advertising spending from Twitter if they are not.’ Musk, in response to the letter, tweeted: ‘Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …’ Piqued by the critique, he added: ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ The letter signed by the 26 groups was sent on headed paper bearing the logos of Accountable Tech, Media Matters for America, and Ultraviolet.

Anti-Elon campaign

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They’re afraid of cancel culture.

Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)

Elon Musk is turning to an old, reliable group of financial backers to fund his $44 billion buyout of Twitter — even as talks to team up with a deep-pocketed private equity firm have stalled, The Post has learned. Sources close to the situation say Musk may be closing in on raising $10 billion in cash from equity co-investors — mostly venture capital firms who have backed his other companies including Space X. One source close to the talks declined to name the firms, but Musk’s past investors have included Sequoia Capital, D1 Capital Partners and Valor Equity Partners. Musk has also turned to so-called family offices that control large pools of private money to back his Twitter bid. “He has more than $10 billion of committed equity,” one source close to the situation told The Post.

Musk is plowing ahead even as top executives at Thoma Bravo — a tech-focused buyout firm whose investments include nuts-and-bolts software firms like McAfee and Barracuda — are divided over partnering with Musk in the deal, with some fearing the bet would be too big and too risky, three sources close to the situation said. “Orlando Bravo was pushing for it,” one source close to the talks said, referring to the firm’s co-founder, a 52-year-old, Puerto Rican-born billionaire with a formidable track record among tech investors. “He spent hours talking to Elon.” On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk has been telling investors he aims to take the company public again within three years of the buyout.


As previously reported by The Post, Thoma Bravo sees an opportunity to slash costs at Twitter and was hoping to land a high-profile deal. Nevertheless, other top partners at Thoma Bravo fret that jumping into bed with Musk — who has posted a slew of sometimes bizarre tweets about his plans for Twitter, including that he plans to turn its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter — could be a disaster. “My sense is Orlando Bravo wanted to do it but one or two of his top partners don’t want to,” a second source said. Other major buyout firms including Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone and billionaire Robert F. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners also have turned Musk down altogether, a source said. Apollo Global Management, meanwhile, is only interested in providing debt financing, according to sources close to the talks.

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No go for attorney-client privilege.

John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)

Special Counsel John Durham scored two major wins on Wednesday ahead of the criminal trial for ex-Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, as the judge ordered a key witness to testify and agreed to review memos the defense is trying to conceal with a claim of attorney-client privilege. During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper expressed skepticism that memos detailing the Fusion GPS firm’s opposition research on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia – some of which were shared with the news media and the FBI — were covered by attorney-client privilege and agreed to Durham’s request to review 38 of the documents that prosecutors want to introduce at trial later this month.

Cooper said he wasn’t convinced the Clinton campaign, Sussmann and his law firm and Fusion GPS should have blanket privilege over the documents, at one point citing a memo of Fusion’s contacts with a reporter as evidence of “assisting a media strategy” rather than legal advice. Cooper also unsealed his order to compel that granted Fusion GPS computer researcher Laura Seago limited immunity and ordered her to testify at trial as Durham sought. Seago’s lawyer informed prosecutors she planned to “invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination absent a court order of immunity compelling her to testify at trial,” according to the unsealed records.


Cooper signed an order mandating Seago “give testimony or provide other information which she refuses to give or to provide on the basis of her privilege against self-incrimination as to all matters about which she might be interrogated at trial and any proceedings ancillary thereto.” The judge also ruled that “no testimony or other information compelled under this Order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against Laura Seago in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with this Order.” Durham had argued that Seago’s testimony was “necessary to the public interest.” It did not specify what prosecutors believed her testimony would focus on.

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“..some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information..”

FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)

The FBI decision to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser hinged on an unsubstantiated rumor from a Clinton campaign-paid dossier that the Washington Post’s Moscow sources had quickly shot down as “bullshit” and “impossible,” according to emails disclosed last week to a D.C. court hearing the criminal case of a Clinton lawyer accused of lying to the FBI. Though the FBI presumably had access to better sources than the newspaper, agents did little to verify the rumor that Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had secretly met with sanctioned Kremlin officials in Moscow. Instead, the bureau pounced on the dossier report the day it received it, immediately plugging the rumor into an application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to wiretap Page as a suspected Russian agent.

The allegation, peddled to both the press and FBI in the summer of 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to dig up dirt on Trump during the presidential race, proved to be the linchpin in winning approval for the 2016 warrant, which was renewed three times in 2017 – even though the FBI learned there were serious holes in the story and had failed to independently corroborate it. The revelations of early media skepticism about the Trump-Russia narrative before journalists embraced it are included in a 62-page batch of emails between Fusion and prominent Beltway reporters released by Special Counsel John Durham, who is scouring the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign for evidence of abuse and criminal wrongdoing.


The documents suggest that some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information served up by Clinton agents. (The FBI declined comment.) The new material also offers a look at the lengths to which those working on Clinton’s behalf went in order to seed the government with unverified rumors about Trump and Russia that amounted to a disinformation campaign. Among those targeted were powerful Democratic members of Congress, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who proved to be a willing collaborator.

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This is the fundamental point: the rights of the unborn child. That video is scary.

The Government Plays God (Whitehead)

“Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the ‘right’ of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the ‘property rights’ of slave masters in their slaves.”
– Ron Paul

The government wants to play god. It wants the power to decide who lives or dies and whose rights are worthy of protection. Delve beneath the rhetoric and spin that have turned abortion into a politicized, polarized and propagandized frontline in the culture wars, and you will find a greater menace at work. Abortion may be front and center in the power struggle between the Left and the Right over who has the right to decide—the government or the individual—when it comes to bodily autonomy, the right to privacy, sexual freedom, the rights of the unborn, and property interests in one’s body, but there’s so much more going on here.

The Left would suggest that unborn babies do not have constitutional rights and the only right that matters is a woman’s right to privacy in choosing whether or not to abort a pregnancy. The Right, while fixated on saving the lives of unborn babies, seems less concerned about what happens to those lives from birth to death. What few seem willing to address is that in the 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, the government has come to believe that it not only has the power to determine who is deserving of constitutional rights in the eyes of the law but it also has the authority to deny those rights to an American citizen.

This is how the abortion debate—a politicized tug-of-war over when an unborn child is considered a human being with rights—plays into the police state’s hands by laying the groundwork for discussions about who else may or may not be deserving of rights. Even if (as a leaked draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggests) the Supreme Court overturns its earlier rulings recognizing abortion as a constitutional right under the Fourteenth Amendment, that will not resolve the larger problem that plagues us today: namely, that all along the spectrum of life—from the unborn child to the aged—the government continues to play fast and loose with the lives of the citizenry.

40 weeks

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“..a complete embargo of all Russian oil..”

The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)

There’s a lot of news flying around about the changes happening in global currency trading. From “Gas for Rubles” to “What the Hell is Going on With the Yen?” there are a lot of questions and very few answers as to what it all means and whose on which side of the divide. The Fed just hiked 50 basis points for the first time since 2000 and will be running off its balance sheet forcing the Treasury to stop issuing new debt at stupid rates. The European Union unveiled a sixth sanctions package against Russia which calls for a complete embargo of all Russian oil. Further to this the EU is now aping what the Trump Administration tried to do to Iran in 2018, sanctioning all services, including insurance, to all shippers of oil from doing any business with Russia and sanctioned Russian banks.

These sanctions, effectively politicizing every aspect of international business and trade, are ultimately nothing more than short-term annoyances for Russia or anyone else. It betrays a mindset that cares nothing for the downstream effects of these actions and, if anything, betray the desperation felt in Brussels today about its position in the global market. I’ve spilled hundreds of column inches trying to explain to the world that it is the EU’s totalitarian mindset based on their psychological imbalance and ideological need to be seen as the champions of humanity, that drives all of their decisions. The US is not so driven. We’re far easier to understand. We like power but only so long as it nets us a profit.


This sanctions package is prima facie evidence of their insanity and what happens when, like a cornered animal, they are faced with an existential choice. The EU is built on a foundation of insulating its leadership from the vicissitudes of public opinion. Populism is a four-letter word in the Eurocrat’s vocabulary. The consequences of this policy which was conceived of by the fart-sniffing buffoons at the World Economic Forum, The Davos Crowd, are irrelevant to them in the short-term. Yes, Europeans will suffer tremendously high inflation because, if successful at taking a majority of Russian oil off the global markets, will only ensure that prices go ballistic. Do you think the same people who have a stated depopulation agenda who mandated a 12% effective Pfizer vaccine and wasn’t tested at all on pregnant women lest they be barred from partaking of European society care one whit about the people they govern?

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Woke.

Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

There’s a saying, and I don’t know who coined it, but it goes something like, “Go woke; go broke.” I do know that former president Donald Trump said that “everything woke turns to s**t.” One company that’s learning this lesson the hard way — even though nobody there will admit it publicly — is Disney. David Ng at Breitbart is reporting that The Walt Disney Company has lost a whopping $63 billion in market capitalization over the past two months. “Shares of Disney have plummeted 23.5 percent since the start of March, falling from $145.70,” Ng writes. “Market cap is down $62.6 billion, from $265.3 to $202.7 billion.” (For the uninitiated, Investopedia defines market capitalization as “the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. Commonly referred to as ‘market cap,’ it’s calculated by multiplying the total number of a company’s outstanding shares by the current market price of one share.”)

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to wrap my head around losing that kind of money. I freak out if I lose a $20 bill, so losing tens of billions because I took a political position that appeases a percentage of my workforce and a smaller percentage of the world at large at the expense of everybody else would be disastrous. That amount of money may be chump change to Disney, but it’s still nearly a quarter of its market cap. Disney’s stock has performed poorly over the past several months, dropping 30% over the past year. Much, though not all, of this stems directly from Disney’s decision to speak out on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which the legislature passed into law and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed at the end of March.


The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media falsely dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which triggered the LGBTQ lobby among Disney cast members to pressure CEO Bob Chapek to stick the company’s nose into the state’s business. DeSantis and the Florida legislature decided to fight fire with fire, and they voted to end the 1967 special improvement act that allowed Disney to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District and essentially act as its own government over the Walt Disney World property.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

TexasLindsay Global by income

 

 

 

 

Hodkinson

 

 

 

 

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Apr 282022
 
 April 28, 2022  Posted by at 8:37 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  24 Responses »


Robert Rauschenberg Buffalo II 1964

 

Russia Stops Gas Supplies to Poland and Bulgaria (CTH)
Russia Doubles Fossil Fuel Revenues Since Invasion Of Ukraine Began (G.)
Putin’s Main Assault Is Still To Come (Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley)
Biden Admin Creates ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ Under DHS (PM)
DHS Will Establish Disinformation Board with Obvious Agenda (CTH)
Online Censorship of Ukraine Dissent Is Becoming the New Norm (MPN)
Twitter Workers Freaking Out Over Elon Musk In Internal Slack Messages (Ngo)
Obama Goes Full Orwell In Scary Stanford Speech (WND)
Republicans Want Answers From Garland On FBI’s Role In Whitmer Charges (Fox)
Mortgage Volume Gets Crushed by Spiking Interest Rates
Fauci Walks Back Comment About US No Longer Being In ‘Pandemic Phase’ (NYP)
CDC and FDA ‘Altered’ Covid Guidance, Findings Under Political Pressure (DM)
Fiction Disguised as Science to Promote Hatred (Byram Bridle)

 

 

 

 

Euro and yen are getting crushed, ruble is at 52-week high.

@TFMetals: Gold has now been attacked TWICE today in an attempt to manipulate it back under $1880. The first was in London and the second, even higher volume attack came during the first hour of Comex trading.

 

 

 

 

Biden Scott Ritter 2002

 

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities; can make you commit atrocities” ~ Voltaire

 

 

“due to absence of payments in roubles”

Russia Stops Gas Supplies to Poland and Bulgaria (CTH)

At the same time as Russia has targeted railway lines as part of the effort to block U.S. arms shipments into Eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has now followed through on the previous warning to stop Russian gas supplies unless payments are made in non-sanctioned Rubles. Poland is obviously the primary target for retaliation here, as the NATO alliance is using Poland as the gateway for arms deliveries into Ukraine. According to multiple reports from the EU Russia has halted gas shipments into Poland and Bulgaria. (Reuters) “Gazprom Russia’s gas export monopoly, suspended gas supplies “due to absence of payments in roubles”, as stipulated in a decree from Russian President Vladimir Putin that aims to soften the impact of sanctions.”


There are conflicting reports as to whether Germany is paying Russia, or whether they are trying to avoid running afoul of the NATO alliance by reducing Russian imports. Ukraine President Zelenskyy is using the opportunity to reinforce his position that all European countries need to stop purchasing energy from Russia, or else they are not supporting Ukraine. However, it’s not as simple as it seems because multiple EU countries are dependent on Russia for energy products and there are no immediate alternatives. Russia is leveraging this dependency in an effort to break the western sanctions.

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“Russia has effectively caught the EU in a trap where further restrictions will raise prices further..”

Russia Doubles Fossil Fuel Revenues Since Invasion Of Ukraine Began (G.)

Russia has nearly doubled its revenues from selling fossil fuels to the EU during the two months of war in Ukraine, benefiting from soaring prices even as volumes have been reduced. Russia has received about €62bn from exports of oil, gas and coal in the two months since the invasion began, according to an analysis of shipping movements and cargos by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. For the EU, imports were about €44bn for the past two months, compared with about €140bn for the whole of last year, or roughly €12bn a month. The findings demonstrate how Russia has continued to benefit from its stranglehold over Europe’s energy supply, even while governments have frantically sought to prevent Vladimir Putin using oil and gas as an economic weapon.


Even though exports from Russia have been reduced by the war and sanctions, the country’s dominance as a source of gas has meant cutting off supplies has only increased prices, which were already high because of tight supply as global economies recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic. Crude oil shipments from Russia to foreign ports fell by 30% in the first three weeks of April, compared with rates in January and February, before the invasion, according to the CREA data. But the higher prices Russia can now command for its oil and gas mean its revenues, which flow almost directly to the Russian government through state-dominated companies, have risen even while sanctions and export restrictions bite. Russia has effectively caught the EU in a trap where further restrictions will raise prices further, cushioning its revenues despite the best efforts of EU governments.

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Always a bit weird when western military “analyzes” Russia. Invariably they pretend to have a direct line into Putin’s brain.

Putin’s Main Assault Is Still To Come (Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley)

IN spite of appearances and the beliefs of many, the main Russian assault in eastern Ukraine has not yet begun. Last Sunday, April 24, was Easter Sunday in the Russian Orthodox calendar; the feast lasts eight days until the commemoration of Our Lord’s second appearance to the Disciples after his resurrection and the confrontation with ‘doubting’ Thomas. Given Vladimir Putin’s well-documented devotion to the Orthodox religion, we might expect the main assault in eastern Ukraine to begin after that date. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s declaration that the offensive had begun was useful to Putin. It has caused both the Ukrainian people and the West to think that Russian forces are now fully committed. They are not. What has begun is the deep attack and the use of deception – two recycled Soviet techniques still in full use.

Deep attacks against infrastructure by air and missile strikes and on key targets, including stockpiles of Nato-supplied equipment, air defence systems, airfields and communications are now in progress. Preliminary artillery fire on close targets in the Donbas region is also certainly ongoing. In terms of deception, the Russians continue to be poised in the Black Sea threatening Odessa, but with probably insufficient forces to do more than this. However, it is clearly fixing Ukrainian attention, as the 5th (Reserve) Tank Brigade with its 90 T-72 main battle tanks has been moved there. For Putin, leaving Odessa as the only operational Ukrainian port will be a valuable bargaining chip once the Donbas operation is complete and he seeks to dictate a settlement. If a settlement is not achieved then this picture changes, more of which shortly.

So what can we expect to see when the main assault unfolds? First, combined arms assaults against Ukrainian regular forces in the Donbas and elsewhere on the eastern frontier to fix them. Zelensky’s statements that Ukrainian reserves are now being committed, including the 3rd (Reserve) Tank Brigade deploying to Izyum, and the 4th and 17th Tank Brigades deployed to Kharkov, may well be a bluff. If it is not, then such moves would be premature and play to the Russian script. That said, an encircling movement from Izyum to the south, on the western border of the Donetsk, would be a very clear indicator of the beginning of full offensive operations.

Operations in and around Mariupol will continue, but only to fix the attention of the West and its media. Mariupol is seen as the key to any corridor to the Crimea – but the route to the Crimea has been fully open since early March with the garrison of Mariupol confined to a small area and helpless to interfere.

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Here’s how nervous Elon Musk is making Washington.

Biden Admin Creates ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ Under DHS (PM)

The Department of Homeland Security is setting up a new board designed to counter misinformation related to homeland security, with a focus specifically on Russia and irregular migration. The board will be called the “Disinformation Governance Board, and will be headed by executive director Nina Jankowicz. Speaking with the House Appropriations DHS Subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “Our Undersecretary for Policy, Rob Silvers is co-chair with our Principal Deputy General Counsel, Jennifer Gaskell, in leading a just recently constituted misinformation disinformation governance board. So we’re bringing — the goal is to bring the resources of the department together to address this threat.”

Jankowicz was previously a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, and had advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry as part of the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship, according to Politico. Jankowicz also oversaw Russia and Belarus programs at the National Democratic Institute. She announced the new Board via Twitter on Wednesday. Jankowicz has previously said that she was concerned that Twitter had determined early in 2022 to stop limiting speech from users about the 2020 presidential election, saying that “considering the long-term damage these lies do to our democracy,” she was “dismayed about this decision.”

Her view about elections, whether foreign or domestic, are that they “aren’t an end point,” but are “an inflection point,” and that the policies of social media companies as regards free speech “need to reflect that.” Jankowicz was an advisor to the government of Ukraine. She also stated her opinion that Hunter Biden’s laptop, the contents of which were reported by the New York Post, was Russian disinformation. This was entirely false. Jankowicz will be leading the charge against misinformation, of which she believed the laptop actually was an example. Jankowicz also does not appear to be a fan of free speech, saying that setting up free speech in opposition to censorship is “a false dichotomy.”

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This Nina Jankowicz, who will head the board, is herself a veritable disinformation engine.

DHS Will Establish Disinformation Board with Obvious Agenda (CTH)

I think we are now seeing the outlines of how the Fourth Branch of Government are planning to keep control over information, specifically public discussion on Big Tech platforms, even as Elon Musk moves to open the valves of information from the social media platform Twitter. Previously the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced a new Dept of Homeland Security priority to combat disinformation {LINK} on technology platforms including social media. Many eyebrows were raised as the announcement appeared to be an open admission that the U.S. government was going to control information by applying labels, that would align with allies in social media, who need a legal justification for censorship and content removal.


NOTE: The Republicans did NOT pay for the Steele dossier.

This CISA announcement was quickly followed by various government officials and agencies saying it was critical to combat Russian disinformation, as the events in Ukraine unfolded. In essence, Ukraine was the justification for search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to begin targeting information and content that did not align with the official U.S. government narrative. Previously those same methods were deployed by the U.S. government, specifically the CDC and FDA, toward COVID-19 and the vaccination program. All of this background aligns with the previous visibility of a public-private partnership between the bureaucracy of government, the U.S. intelligence agencies and U.S. social media. That partnership now forms the very cornerstone of the DHS/CISA effort to control what information exists in the public space. It is highly important that people understand what is happening.

[..] For two years the control mechanisms around information have been cemented by govt and Big Tech. Even the deployment of the linguistics around disinformation, misinformation and malinformation is all part of that collective effort. The collaboration between the government and Big Tech is not a matter for debate, it is all easily referenced by their own admissions. The current issue is how they are deploying the information controls. We have COVID-19, the vaccination effort and now Ukraine as examples of the collaboration to control information, to control what people are permitted to question and discuss on the internet. Now things are getting much more detailed, and more alarming.

Shortly after Elon Musk made a bid to purchase a single information platform, Twitter, and then expressed his intent to open the speech valves, former Obama administration intelligence officials wrote a letter warning about efforts to break up the information control by Big Tech and Social Media. That letter was shortly followed by a speech delivered by Obama himself where he specifically demanded that government take a larger role in the control of information, essentially promoting an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth’ to control information in the public sphere.

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See Covid. See Russiagate. Parites like the DNC, the MSM and the Twitter snowflakes have convinced themselves they have a god-given right to censorship.

Online Censorship of Ukraine Dissent Is Becoming the New Norm (MPN)

Google has sent a warning shot across the world, ominously informing media outlets, bloggers, and content creators that it will no longer tolerate certain opinions when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this month, Google AdSense sent a message to a myriad of publishers, including MintPress News, informing us that, “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.” This content, it went on to say, “includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

This builds on a similar message Google’s subsidiary YouTube released last month, stating, “Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy.” YouTube went on to say that it had already permanently banned more than a thousand channels and 15,000 videos on these grounds. Journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin was deeply troubled by the news. “It is really disturbing that this is the trend that we are on,” she told MintPress, adding: It is a preposterous declaration considering that the victim is whoever we are told by our foreign policy establishment.

It really is outrageous to be told by these tech giants that taking the wrong side of a conflict that is quite complicated will now hurt your views, derank you on social media or limit your ability to fund your work. So you have to toe the line in order to survive as a journalist in alternative media today.” The most prominent victim of the recent banning spate has been Russian state media such as RT America, whose entire catalog has been blocked throughout most of the world. RT America was also blocked from broadcasting across the U.S., leading to the network’s sudden closure.

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“We’re all going through the five stages of grief in cycles and everyone’s nerves are frazzled..”

Twitter Workers Freaking Out Over Elon Musk In Internal Slack Messages (Ngo)

Leaked internal communications by Twitter employees reveal woke employees are overtaken by despair and anger about Elon Musk’s month-long effort to acquire Twitter. Musk announced he would purchase the company for $44 billion on Monday. The deal concludes a month-long saga that began with Musk first tweeting out polls and his thoughts about the decline of free speech on Twitter. On the business communication platform Slack, some Twitter employees vented against the new owner, leaked messages reveal. “Physically cringy watching Elon talk about free speech,” a site reliability engineer who identifies as a nonbinary transgender and plural person wrote.

“We’re all going through the five stages of grief in cycles and everyone’s nerves are frazzled,” wrote a senior staff software engineer who called Musk an “a**hole,” and tried to console his colleagues. “We’re all spinning our wheels, and coming up with worst case scenarios (Trump returns! No more moderation!). The fact is that [Musk] has not talked about what he’s planning on doing in any detail outside of broad sweeping statements that could be easily seen as hyperbolic showboating.” A senior staff video engineer announced he would be quitting, “Not the place to say it perhaps, but I will not work for this company after the takeover.”

Following the back-and-forth among multiple employees angry about the news, some warned that their communications on Slack could be searched. The employees then moved their conversations onto their personal devices using the encrypted chat application Signal. Twitter’s leadership appeared to predict an internal backlash and possible sabotage when it locked down the ability of its employees to make changes to the platform through Friday. Leading up to Monday’s deal, Twitter employees had already been venting for weeks on Slack about Musk and defending the platform’s moderation enforcement.

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“The way I’m going to evaluate?” Obama failed to explain in what capacity he gets to evaluate anything…”

Obama Goes Full Orwell In Scary Stanford Speech (WND)

A week ago Barack Obama let loose his inner fascist and gave an hour-long speech at Stanford University that deserved more attention than it got. “I’m pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist,” Obama told his audience and then spent the rest of the hour proving he is anything but. In fact, the Obama that emerges in this speech is one scary dude. The one sentence that most alarmed me began thusly, “The way I’m going to evaluate any proposal touching on social media and the internet is whether it strengthens or weakens the prospects for a healthy, inclusive democracy.” “The way I’m going to evaluate?” Obama failed to explain in what capacity he gets to evaluate anything. Does he expect to head the FCC or get appointed to the Supreme Court? Does he plan to engineer a Michelle Obama presidential bid? If any of these happens, God help us all.

The thrust of his speech was that “regulation has to be part of the answer” in combating online “disinformation.” As Obama made much too clear he and his pals get to determine what is and is not disinformation. The former president makes almost no attempt to hide his biases. A sentence that reads, “People like Putin and Steve Bannon, for that matter, understand it’s not necessary for people to believe this information in order to weaken democratic institutions” does not inspire a whole lot of confidence in the deplorable half of America. Nor does a sentence that reads, “There are still brand name newspapers and magazines, not to mention network news broadcasts, NPR [and] other outlets that have adapted to the new digital environment while maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity.”

Those “highest standards” included sustaining for three years the fiction that Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to steal the 2016 election and salvaging Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, such as it was, by suppressing all news of Hunter Biden’s laptop under the pretext it was Russian disinformation. On the question of COVID, Obama insists, “People are dying because of misinformation.” He cites the refusal of 1 in 5 Americans to avoid “safe, effective vaccines” as proof of the same. Obama neglected to mention that more than a year into the COVID mania Gallup asked 35,000 Americans, “What are the chances someone with COVID must be hospitalized?” 41% of Democrats said more than 50%; another 28% of Democrats said 20 to 50%. The correct answer was 1-5%.

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“..that whole conspiracy that looks to be completely possibly led by the FBI, which is terrifying, and the comparison of what happened on January 6..”

Republicans Want Answers From Garland On FBI’s Role In Whitmer Charges (Fox)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is seeking answers from the Justice Department (DOJ) on whether the FBI “entrapped” defendants in the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot and whether the high-profile charges in Michigan were politically motivated to hurt former President Trump before the 2020 presidential election. Greene on Wednesday sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray that backs defense lawyer claims that four defendants charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer were steered by undercover FBI agents and informants. “The American people deserve a transparent justice system and law enforcement that keeps them safe, not entraps them in serious criminal activity in order to sway the outcome of a democratic election,” Greene and 11 other GOP lawmakers wrote in a letter obtained by Fox News Digital.

After a 20-day trial, two of the four men were acquitted on April 8 of a conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer. Jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on charges against two other defendants, resulting in a mistrial. Their lawyers alleged entrapment, and the federal judge in the case allowed jurors to consider whether the FBI engaged in the prohibited practice of cajoling or tricking individuals into committing crimes. Prosecutors sought to show that the defendants were talking about the kidnapping plot before the FBI sting with one defendant posting a video saying, “We need to use brutal force against the government” in 2019, months before he met any agents or informants. In May 2020, another defendant was talking about “hanging” the governor.

[..] In an interview with Fox News Digital, Greene sought to make a link between FBI “entrapping” the Whitmer defendants and the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. She questioned whether the FBI had any involvement or knowledge of those who broke into the Capitol and disrupted the House and Senate proceedings to certify President Biden’s Electoral College win. “The comparison of the two incidents, that’s what most people are just really concerned about – between Governor Whitmer and that whole conspiracy that looks to be completely possibly led by the FBI, which is terrifying, and the comparison of what happened on January 6,” Greene said.

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When is it time to bail out banks?

Mortgage Volume Gets Crushed by Spiking Interest Rates

Spiking mortgage rates multiply the effects of exploding home prices on mortgage payments, and it has taken layer after layer of homebuyers out of the market for the past four months. And we can see that. Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell further this week and were down 17% from a year ago, hitting the lowest level since May 2020, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly Purchase Index today. The index is down over 30% from peak-demand in late 2020 and early 2021, which was then followed by the historic price spikes last year.

“The drop in purchase applications was evident across all loan types,” the MBA’s report said. “Prospective homebuyers have pulled back this spring, as they continue to face limited options of homes for sale along with higher costs from increasing mortgage rates and prices. The recent decrease in purchase applications is an indication of potential weakness in home sales in the coming months.” The culprit of the plunge in volume: The toxic mix of exploding home prices and spiking mortgage rates. The average interest rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages with 20% down and conforming to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac limits, jumped to 5.37%, the highest since August 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly measure today.

The mortgage on a home purchased a year ago at the median price (per National Association of Realtors) of $326,300, and financed with 20% down over 30 years, at the average rate at the time of 3.17%, came with a payment of 1,320 per month. The mortgage on a home purchased today at the median price of $375,300, and financed with 20% down, at 5.37% comes with a payment of $1,990. So today’s buyer, already strung out by rampant inflation in everything else, would have to come up with an extra $670 a month – that represents a 50% jump in mortgage payments – to buy the same house. Now figure this with homes in the more expensive areas of the country where the median price, after the ridiculous spikes of the past two years, runs $500,000 or $1 million or more. Homebuyers are facing massively higher mortgage payments in those markets.

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“A day later, after his comments made headlines worldwide, Fauci was singing a different tune.”

Fauci Walks Back Comment About US No Longer Being In ‘Pandemic Phase’ (NYP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci walked back his comment that the US was no longer in the “pandemic phase” of COVID-19 — the latest jumbled messaging from President Biden’s chief medical adviser on the coronavirus. Biden administration officials and Fauci were scrambling Wednesday to emphasize that the country is still in the midst of a pandemic and that emergency measures are still needed after Fauci told PBS the precise opposite. “Here we are. It’s the end of April. It’s the spring of 2022. How close are we to the end of the pandemic?” Judy Woodruff of “PBS NewsHour” asked Fauci Tuesday. “We are certainly, right now, in this country out of the pandemic phase,” Fauci replied.

“Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now. “So, if you’re saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are,” he added. A day later, after his comments made headlines worldwide, Fauci was singing a different tune. “We are in a different moment of the pandemic,” Fauci told the Associated Press Wednesday. The US has “decelerated and transitioned into more of a controlled phase” after a winter surge, he added. “By no means does that mean the pandemic is over,” Fauci said in his 180-degree turnabout.

He told the Washington Post Wednesday: “The world is still in a pandemic. There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki fielded a question during her daily press briefing over why emergency measures are still needed if the “pandemic phase” is over. “Well, what Dr. Fauci was saying is that we are in a different phase of this pandemic, and that’s absolutely true,” Psaki said, adding that the level of hospitalizations and deaths has come down.

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What a surprise!

CDC and FDA ‘Altered’ Covid Guidance, Findings Under Political Pressure (DM)

CDC and FDA officials ‘altered’ Covid guidance and even ‘suppressed’ findings related to the virus due to political pressure, a bombshell report suggests. Investigators from the watchdog Government Accountability Office (GAO) spoke to more than a dozen directors and managers who worked at the agencies behind the country’s pandemic guidance. They unearthed allegations of ‘political interference’ in scientific reports, raising fears that research was tampered with. In its 37-page report, the GAO warned that neither agency had a system in place for reporting allegations of political interference. It also said they had failed to train staff how to spot and report this. Whistleblowers said they did not speak up at the time for fear of retaliation, because they were unsure how to report the issues or believed leaders were already aware.

This is just the latest in a growing patchwork of reports suggesting politicians influenced ‘scientific’ papers during the pandemic for their own ends. On Tuesday, the Biden administration’s top medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci declared the U.S. is now ‘out of the pandemic phase’ of Covid, citing low cases and hospitalizations. But health experts were quick to question the claim — buried at the end of an interview with PBS’ NewsHour — suggesting he may have bungled his words and should only have said the nation was in a phase of ‘low hospitalizations’. ‘A few respondents from CDC and [Food and Drug Administration] FDA stated they felt that the potential political interference they observed resulted in the alteration or suppression of scientific findings,’ GAO investigators wrote in the report.

‘Some of these respondents believed that this potential political interference may have resulted in the politically motivated alteration of public health guidance or delayed publication of Covid-related scientific findings.’ The GAO report published last week looked into the two agencies, alongside the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — America’s top research institution— and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) — in charge of natural disaster response. All are part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which in February was branded as at ‘high risk’ for fraud, mismanagement and abuse by the GAO in a separate report.

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“We thought what was missing from that conversation was, what are the rights of vaccinated people to be protected from unvaccinated people?”

Fiction Disguised as Science to Promote Hatred (Byram Bridle)

The legacy media has been like pigs at a trough today and yesterday with the publication of an atrocious ‘peer-reviewed’ ‘scientific’ article by Dr. David Fisman, Dr. Ashleigh Tuite, and a graduate student. After all, with raw public health data unable to support the only COVID-19 narrative that has been deemed acceptable, fresh fuel was apparently needed. Lots of media outlets have been reporting on this study; one of them being CTV News. Here is the headline for their article: “Being with unvaccinated people increases COVID-19 risk for those who are vaccinated: modelling study” This kind of messaging will only fuel hatred and segregation and the potential development of harmful policies. And it is all in the name of bad science.

As a researcher who has published and reviewed many scientific papers, I can tell you that the article by Fisman, et al. is the worst one that I have ever seen. The ‘peer reviewers’ of this article should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to be published, and the editor even more so. If the Canadian Medical Association Journal does not promptly retract this article, they will have made themselves an embarrassment among scientific publishers. This paper by Fisman, et al. is only thinly veiled hate speech under the guise of science. Before I walk you through the numerous massive errors in this paper, let me first show you one example of the messaging regarding the impact and relevance of the paper.

Fisman was quoted by CTV News as saying “We thought what was missing from that conversation was, what are the rights of vaccinated people to be protected from unvaccinated people?”. The only reason why Fisman is trying to turn people against other people is due to the abject failure of the COVID-19 ‘vaccines’ to function like vaccines. That is to say that the purpose of a vaccine is to protect people from a pathogen; to prevent both the disease and transmission of the causative agent. Such a medical product does not require one to pit people against people. Fisman has inappropriately labelled critically thinking people as an enemy when the actual culprits are SARS-CoV-2 and overly rushed jabs of exceptionally poor quality and highly questionable safety that have been pushed as the sole solution at the expense of all others.

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@TexasLindsay has a whole series of these “animations”, for many countries. This is Greece.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1519028584345710594

 

 

 

 

 

 

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