May 072022
 
 May 7, 2022  Posted by at 9:27 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  27 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Crucifixion 1930

 

Pfizer’s New 80,000-Page Data Dump Is A Nightmare
Biden Handing Over US Sovereignty to WHO (AOLoud)
Army Lieutenant Convicted, Not Punished in 1st COVID Court-Martial (CHD)
Choice Quotes from Bill Gates’s New Book (Tucker)
Elon Musk Plans To Fire 1,000 Twitter Staff, Quintuple Revenue (DM)
Job Interest In Twitter Up 250% Since Elon Musk Moved To Take Over (Fortune)
Terror from Balochistan (Escobar)
Nausea Rules (Kunstler)
How Years of Attacks on the Court Created a “By Any Means” Mentality (Turley)
Zelensky Critic Arrested in Spain on Orders of Ukrainian Government (SN)
Jan. 6: 80 ‘Suspicious Actors’ and ‘Material Witnesses’ Under Scrutiny (ET)
Ex-FBI Intel Chief: Clinton Campaign Used ‘Contrived Disinformation’ (JTN)
Claim Russians Hacked The DNC Could Have Relied On ‘Spoofed’ Data (Fed.)
The Whole Planet Is a Pot And We’re All Frogs (Ugo Bardi)

 

 

 

 

Disinformation Governance Board

 

 

Rand Paul

 

 

 

 

“There were no human clinical trials to determine if the experimental COVID vaccines were safe for pregnant women. They were excluded from all the trials. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Instead, they tested it on 44 rats.”

Pfizer’s New 80,000-Page Data Dump Is A Nightmare

You probably didn’t know that Pfizer dumped 80,000 pages of documents this week. That’s because the American corporate media refused to cover it — and that’s because almost all of them took money from the Biden regime to promote the experimental vaccines and kill any critical coverage of them. Anyway, it turns out that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine was not 95% effective: the data shows it has a 12% efficacy rate. Let me repeat: 12%. That’s a “1” followed by a “2.” But wait: it gets worse. There were no human clinical trials to determine if the experimental COVID vaccines were safe for pregnant women. They were excluded from all the trials. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Instead, they tested it on 44 rats.

Pfizer deliberately cut off the clinical data trial before the bad news could be collected. We already know that Pfizer vaccine’s RNA is reverse-transcribing itself into your DNA. We already know that the vaccines increased the risk of getting COVID in children, the CDC intentionally withheld clinical data from the public, and a Moderna gene sequence patented in 2017 was found in the COVID virus spike protein. Pregnant women in the U.S. military who were coerced into taking the jab have suffered horrific side effects and “congenital malformations” in their babies. There were more than 18,900 babies born with abnormalities in 2021. We know this because a few brave whistleblowers got their hands on the Deparment of Defense’s medical database.

More than 18,900 babies. Just think about that. There’s much more news to come out about the COVID vaccines — and all of it is bad. For example, doctors around the world are starting to notice an explosion in the cancer rates among the vaccinated. [..] Let me finish with this thought: perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to re-program the DNA of half the world to produce spike proteins to “fight” a virus with a 99% survival rate?

Pfizer Naomi Wolf

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This is too insane.

Biden Handing Over US Sovereignty to WHO (AOLoud)

On May 22-28, 2022, ultimate control over America’s healthcare system, and hence its national sovereignty, will be delivered for a vote to the World Health Organization’s governing legislative body, the World Health Assembly (WHA). This threat is contained in new amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations, proposed by the Biden administration, that are scheduled as “Provisional agenda item 16.2” at the upcoming conference on May 22-28, 2022. These amendments will empower WHO’s Director-General to declare health emergencies or crises in any nation and to do so unilaterally and against the opposition of the target nation.

The Director-General will be able to declare these health crises based merely on his personal opinion or consideration that there is a potential or possible threat to other nations. If passed, the Biden Administration’s proposed amendments will, by their very existence and their intention, drastically compromise the independence and the sovereignty of the United States. The same threat looms over all the U.N.’s 193 member nations, all of whom belong to WHO and represent 99.44% of the world population. These regulations are a “binding instrument of international law entered into force on 15 June 2007.” U.N. members states can be required by law to obey or acquiesce to them.


On January 18, 2022, with no public awareness, officials from the Biden Administration sent the World Health Organization these extensive amendments to strengthen WHO’s ability to unilaterally intervene into the affairs of nations merely suspected of having a “health emergency” of possible concern to other nations. The U.S. amendments cross out a critical existing restriction in the regulations: “WHO shall consult with and attempt to obtain verification from the State Party in whose territory the event is allegedly occurring…” By eliminating that, and other clauses (see below), all the shackles will be removed from the Director-General of WHO, enabling him to declare health emergencies at will.

Tucker FDA

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Not just a lieutenant: “Bashaw formerly served as the Army Public Health Center’s headquarters company commander.”

Army Lieutenant Convicted, Not Punished in 1st COVID Court-Martial (CHD)

1st Lt. Mark Bashaw of Maryland, who in April was court-martialed for his refusal to comply with COVID-19 testing and masking requirements, was convicted but will not be punished. As previously reported by The Defender, the U.S. Army charged Bashaw, under the Article 92, Failure to Obey an Order, with: failure to take a medical test, failure to wear a mask and failure to leave the workplace for telework. Bashaw formerly served as the Army Public Health Center’s headquarters company commander. The case, United States v 1LT Mark C. Bashaw, was heard April 28-29 at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, home of the Army Public Health Center. About 30 spectators attended the hearing, which was open to the public.

Bashaw plead not guilty to the charges (a telework work charge was dropped at the hearing). The Army recommended formal reprimand and $25,000 in forfeiture of pay. Judge Robert Cohen found Bashaw guilty of the two charges but recommended no additional punishment beyond the conviction. Judge Cohen commented on Bashaw’s exemplary 16 years of meritorious service during sentencing. “Receiving no punishment at a court-martial is not without precedent,” installation spokesperson Amburr Reese told Army Times. “While the Army does not categorize court-martial convictions as felonies or misdemeanors, many civilian jurisdictions treat a conviction in special court-martial convened by military judge alone, which this one was, as a misdemeanor.”

Because Bashaw is not facing punishment, the flag on his records will be removed and he is now eligible to be promoted to the rank of Captain, which was withheld in November 2021. Bashaw disagreed with the judge’s determination but respected the decision. Bashaw also said he understood he can appeal the ruling. He also explained his reasons for challenging what he thought to be an unlawful order, stating he relied on faith. Judge Cohen determined the Army’s orders to wear an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) mask and to take an EUA test were lawful. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), EUA products and tests are voluntary, based on an investigational or experimental status, and lack liability and consumer protections.

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“..the only thing more dangerous to human life than governments is a naive immune system..”

Choice Quotes from Bill Gates’s New Book (Tucker)

Imagine yourself sidled up to a bar. A talkative guy sits down on the stool next to you. He has decided that there is one thing wrong with the world. It can be literally anything. Regardless, he has the solution. It’s interesting and weird for a few minutes. But you gradually come to realize that he is actually crazy. His main point is wrong and so his solutions are wrong too. But the drinks are good, and he is buying. So you put up with it. In any case, you will forget the whole thing in the morning. In the morning, however, you realize that he is one of the world’s richest men and he is pulling the strings of many of the world’s most powerful people. Now you are alarmed. In a nutshell, that’s what it’s like to read Bill Gates’s new book How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.

The main theme is implied in the title. With enough money, intelligence, and power, along with technological know-how at the helm, the next pathogen to come along can be stopped in its tracks. Where the bug goes after that he never explains. Presumably it just disappears. Like a computer virus, it exists but doesn’t ruin your harddrive. What are the historical examples of such a thing? There are none via avoidance, testing, contract tracing, and control of the human population. This theory of virus control – the notion that muscling the population makes a prevalent virus shrink into submission and disappear – is a completely new invention, the mechanization of a primitive instinct.

Smallpox occupies a unique position among infectious diseases as the only one affecting humans that has been eradicated. There are reasons for that: a stable pathogen, a great vaccine, and a hundred years of focused public health work. This happened not due to lockdowns but from the careful and patient application of traditional public-health principles. Can that same experience be repeated in every case? It’s worth investigating and thinking about. The reason is that the attempt to crush a respiratory virus through universal avoidance could be worse than allowing endemicity to it to develop throughout the population. Eradication is not the same thing as perpetual pathogenic avoidance. The former is great but the latter is deeply dangerous: the only thing more dangerous to human life than governments is a naive immune system. Gates’s plan, even if it had a chance of working which it does not, could create exactly that. Not to understand the difference is an egregious intellectual error.

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“Musk anticipates making thousands of new hires, swelling the ranks to around 11,000 employees, up from 7,500 currently.”

Elon Musk Plans To Fire 1,000 Twitter Staff, Quintuple Revenue (DM)

Elon Musk is planning to fire 1,000 staffers at Twitter as soon as his purchase of the social media platform is complete. It’s believed he will fire many of the firm’s woke staff following the transfer of ownership which will take around six months, after which Musk is likely to wield the ax. But then within the next three years, Musk anticipates making thousands of new hires, swelling the ranks to around 11,000 employees, up from 7,500 currently. Much of the new talent is likely to be in the field of engineering. Numbers at the company would fluctuate rising to 9,225 employees this year before falling to 8,332 in 2023. Then adding a further 2,700 workers by 2025.

Most of the jobs being shelved would occur during the takeover period, according to a pitch deck Musk presented this week to investors and seen by the New York Times. On a company level, Musk has previously floated the idea of closing down the San Francisco headquarters in order to save money and that board members may also not receive a salary, shaving off another $3 million in expenses. The changes Musk makes are part of his plan to increase Twitter’s annual revenue by five times current levels to $26.4 billion by 2028, up from $5 billion last year. Advertising on the platform is set to fall to 45% of total revenue under Musk, down from about 90% in 2020.

By 2028, he plans for ads to generate $12 billion in revenue in 2028, while subscriptions are expected to pull in another $10 billion, according to the report. Musk is said to favor a subscription-based model over advertiser funding, as it would make Twitter less beholden to advertiser pressure. He has even suggested users could pay with cryptocurrency, including joke currency Dogecoin which Musk has long had an affection for. Other revenue would come from businesses such as data licensing. Musk has also tweeted about potentially monetizing tweets, although he has not provided specific details. Musk also plans to see Twitter’s cash flow rise to $3.2 billion in 2025 and $9.4 billion in 2028.

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“Say what you will about Elon, he does have a large fanbase of ppl excited to work for him..”

Job Interest In Twitter Up 250% Since Elon Musk Moved To Take Over (Fortune)

Elon Musk cast Twitter’s future into uncertainty when he made a successful $44 billion bid to acquire the company last month. He will take over as temporary CEO once the deal is complete, CNBC reported Thursday morning. While countless Musk fans, and a slight majority of Americans—59%—approve of the takeover according to recent data from The Harris Poll, some current Twitter staff worry that it will dramatically change the company’s culture, and overall direction. It’s still unclear how a Musk-run Twitter might impact the company’s ability to retain current staff and recruit new employees. The company presented the takeover as a potential threat to its staffing abilities in an SEC filing Monday.

But at least casual interest in open positions at the company has skyrocketed since the Tesla billionaire showed serious interest in taking over the company. On Thursday, Daniel Zhao, a senior economist and data scientist at the job insights platform Glassdoor, tweeted that interest in job openings at the social media giant was up 263% between April 24 and April 30. In a statement to Fortune, Zhao clarified that interest is defined by the average daily clicks on Twitter job postings on the platform, compared to the average daily job clicks in a March 2022 baseline prior to the news breaking of Musk’s plans for the company. Though clicks do not necessarily correlate to actual job applications submitted, and likely reflect current media attention, the increase shows that people appear to be interested not just in the media story, but in work available at the company.

“Say what you will about Elon, he does have a large fanbase of ppl excited to work for him,” Zhao tweeted. “He’s much more likely to capitalize on that attraction as CEO than owner.” On Friday, Musk shared some of his own thoughts about hiring at Twitter, sharing Fortune’s reporting. “If Twitter acquisition completes, company will be super focused on hardcore software engineering, design, infosec & server hardware,” he tweeted on Friday morning. “I strongly believe that all managers in a technical area must be technically excellent. Managers in software must write great software or it’s like being a cavalry captain who can’t ride a horse!” he added.

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“mran Khan was a serious thorn in the side of the west because he kept impressing on Pakistanis that the Forever War in Afghanistan was militarily unwinnable.”

Terror from Balochistan (Escobar)

The suicide bomber was a woman, Shaari Baloch, alias Bramsh, who detonated her vest just as a van carrying Institute staff members approached the entrance. The attack was claimed by the BLA’s Majeed Brigade, which stressed that this was the first time they used a female suicide bomber. Shaari Baloch was a schoolteacher with a Zoology degree, enrolled to pursue a second Master’s degree, married to a dentist and professor at Makran Medical College in her hometown of Turbat, in southern Balochistan. Her three brothers include a doctor, a deputy director at a government-funded project, and a civil servant. So Shaari Baloch was far from being a mere destitute online-indoctrinated Salafi-jihadi.

[..] A Carnegie Institute report noted how “many Baloch nationalist leaders now come from the urbanized districts of Kech, Panjgur, and Gwadar (and to a lesser extent from Quetta, Khuzdar, Turbat, Kharan, and Lasbela). They are well connected to Karachi and Gulf cities, where tribal structures are non-existent. In fact, while there is violence all over the province, the insurgency seems to concentrate mainly in these urbanized areas.” Suicide bomber Shaari Baloch came from Turbat, the province’s second largest city, where the BLA is very much active. From the point of view of the usual suspects, these are choice assets, especially after the death of important tribal leaders such as Akbar Bugti. The report duly noted how “the educated and middle-class Baloch youth are in the forefront” of the insurgency.

The anti-China instrumentalization of the BLA also ties in with the regime-change parliament operation in Islamabad that recently deposed former prime minister Imran Khan, who was always a fierce adversary of the American “Forever War” in Afghanistan. Khan resolutely denied Pakistan’s use in “over the horizon” US military ops: that was one of the key reasons for him to be ousted. Now, with a pliant, Washington-approved, new regime in town, a miracle has just happened: the Pentagon is about to clinch a formal agreement with Islamabad to use Pakistani airspace to – what else – keep interfering in Afghanistan.

Beijing, as well as other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), won’t be amused. Only weeks before the white coup, Khan had met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and once again underscored how Pakistan and China are “iron brothers.” Imran Khan was a serious thorn in the side of the west because he kept impressing on Pakistanis that the Forever War in Afghanistan was militarily unwinnable. He knew how all the proxies – including the BLA – that destabilized both Afghanistan and Pakistan for decades were, and continue to be, part of US covert operations.

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“Will America cough up “Joe Biden” like a hairball to get those trucks running again?”

Nausea Rules (Kunstler)

Europe, the old original homeland of Western Civ, isn’t just losing face, it’s blowing its head clean off going along with “Joe Biden’s” economic war. Are Germany, France, and the rest of that bunch really so dead-set on jamming Ukraine into NATO that they’re willing to go full medieval for it? By which I mean sitting in the cold and dark with empty plates. That’s a hard way to go just to prove somebody else’s point.

The war in Ukraine itself was apparently losing its sex appeal for the click-hungry news media. No matter which way The New York Times and friends tried to spin it, they failed to grok both Russia’s determination to neutralize Ukraine and its ability to get the job done, even if it takes a longer-than-expected grind to finish. That’s how important it was to Russia that Ukraine not become a forward missile base and bio-weapons lab for its adversaries. When that operation concludes, the West will be left economically crippled and humiliated — which are conditions that historically portend regime change. Will America cough up “Joe Biden” like a hairball to get those trucks running again? Might the Dems themselves resort to releasing the kraken known as Hunter’s laptop just to send the old grifter packing?

In the meantime, the leaked Roe v Wade cancellation ruling shoved the Ukraine fiasco offstage so as to provoke more useful histrionics for the dreaded midterm elections upcoming. The poorly-understood truth is that said ruling will only send the abortion question back to the individual states. But let’s get real: places like New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and California are not going to enact any new anti-abortion laws, and that’s where most of the people having hebephrenic breakdowns over the issue live. Which is to say there’s little danger that the shrieking denizens of these Blue states will lack abortions. So, how much has the party only been pretending that Roe v Wade is its primal touchstone?

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“..the court has become a tragic anachronism in our age of rage: an institution that relied on the integrity and ethics of its members and staff..”

How Years of Attacks on the Court Created a “By Any Means” Mentality (Turley)

What is clear is that the court has become a tragic anachronism in our age of rage: an institution that relied on the integrity and ethics of its members and staff at a time when such values are treated as naive. It relied on justices and clerks alike remaining bound to the institution and to each other by a constitutional faith. But we are living in an age of constitutional atheism, so it is only surprising that it took this long. For years, politicians, pundits and academics have called for reckless political action against the court. Many Democrats in Congress have pledged to achieve political goals “by any means necessary,” including packing or gutting the court. Democratic leaders have hammered away at the court and its members, demanding that the court adhere to political demands or face institutional disaster.

The threats have grown increasingly raw and reckless as politicians sought to outdo each other in their attacks. In the age of rage, restraint is a lethal liability. The message has been repeated like a drumbeat: The ends justify the means. Recently, Roberts even went public with a warning over “inappropriate political influence” affecting the court. Yet, the day before this leak, the court itself defied critics who portrayed it as hopelessly and dysfunctionally divided with another unanimous decision. It ruled in a major case on speech that Boston could not discriminate against a religious organization that wanted to hoist a flag outside of its city hall. It spoke with one voice in defense of shared constitutional values.

Given the relentless calls from political leaders, we may have been naive to think that a staff member or clerk would not yield to the same “ends justify the means” rationale. Former Justice Louis Brandeis once warned that “Our government … teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

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Churchill.

Zelensky Critic Arrested in Spain on Orders of Ukrainian Government (SN)

A popular YouTuber and critic of President Zelensky was arrested in Spain at the behest of the Ukrainian government on charges of treason and faces extradition, despite publicly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yes, really. Anatoly Shariy, who has almost 3 million YouTuber subscribers, was detained on an international arrest warrant in a joint operation by Spanish and Ukrainian police, as well as international “partners,” according to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). They claim that Shariy has been acting on behalf of “foreign” forces by infringing Ukraine’s national security via his media commentary on the war and engaging in “incitement of hatred.” Shariy’s arrest “is more proof that every traitor of Ukraine will sooner or later receive his well-deserved punishment. It is inevitable,” the SBU asserted.


The blogger had previously been granted asylum by the EU in 2012 after fleeing persecution by the government of Viktor Yanukovich, who was pro-Russian. Despite condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Shariy’s criticism of Zelensky’s response was apparently enough for him to be targeted by Ukrainian authorities. Having had his passport seized, Shariy is now in Barcelona under a travel ban until a decision on his extradition to Ukraine is made. President Zelensky’s representative at the Constitutional Court said Shariy will “face a Ukrainian court and will be held liable in line with Ukrainian laws.” In response to his arrest, Shariy posted a picture of his wife feeding parrots in Barcelona, commenting, “This really is a comedy.” Shariy’s arrest once again puts to bed the idea that Ukraine is some kind of beacon of democracy, when its authorities treat dissidents exactly the same way dissidents are treated in Russia.

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The Whitmer case may have broad implications.

Jan. 6: 80 ‘Suspicious Actors’ and ‘Material Witnesses’ Under Scrutiny (ET)

Defense attorneys are seeking to identify and investigate 80 suspicious actors and material witnesses, some of whom allegedly ran an entrapment operation against the Oath Keepers on January 6, 2021, and committed crimes including the removal of security fencing, breaching police lines, attacking officers, and inciting crowds to storm into the Capitol. In a motion (pdf) and supplement (pdf) filed after 11 p.m. on May 5 in federal court in Washington, attorney Brad Geyer listed 80 people, some of whom he said could be government agents or provocateurs. The people are seen on video operating in a coordinated fashion across the Capitol grounds on January 6, the attorney alleged.

Geyer’s suggestion of an entrapment scheme will resonate with dozens of January 6 defense attorneys, coming shortly after two men were acquitted of an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). There was a hung jury on charges against two other defendants. The jury in that case was allowed to consider FBI entrapment as a defense. Geyer, who represents Oath Keepers defendant Kenneth Harrelson, is seeking a court order from U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta compelling federal prosecutors to help identify the individuals and disclose whether they were working for law enforcement or any government agency on January 6. Geyer wrote that the information is exculpatory, which compels the government to produce it. Other Oath Keepers defendants are expected to join in the motion.

The May 5 filing comes on the heels of an April 12 Oath Keepers motion that alleged at least 20 “assets” from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were embedded in the crowds on January 6. According to the new filing, video evidence the defense gained access to only recently shows that some of the 80 people attacked police, other people, and members of the Oath Keepers; entered the Capitol on the west side “with apparent permission or acquiescence of government actors”; opened the Columbus Doors on the east side of the Capitol “from the inside, possibly with even further assistance of government actors”; and deployed “sophisticated crowd-behavior techniques,” orienting themselves between protesters and police.

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“This is the way disinformation is really exposed, not by some contrived government agency, but by evidence presented in court that gets at the truth of what happened,”

Ex-FBI Intel Chief: Clinton Campaign Used ‘Contrived Disinformation’ (JTN)

As the Biden administration pushes its new Disinformation Governance Board, the FBI’s former intelligence chief says he is now convinced Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign used “contrived disinformation” to try to mislead Americans into believing Donald Trump was a Russian asset. “This is more than just political dirty tricks,” retired Assistant Director for Intelligence Kevin Brock told the “Just the News, Not Noise” television show Wednesday. “Political dirty tricks usually have some foundation in truth. But they just made stuff up.” Brock, one of the bureau’s most respected former executives, said he has been impressed with the way Special Counsel John Durham has used the prosecution of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann to expose how the false Russia collusion narrative was constructed.

Sussmann, who has pleaded innocent and faces trial at the end of the month, is charged with lying to the FBI in fall 2016 when he denied he was acting on behalf of a client in bringing the bureau what turned out to be false allegations that Trump had a secret communications channel with the Kremlin. Durham has exposed recent evidence showing the Clinton campaign’s own researchers were skeptical of the allegation, which one described as a “red herring.” The underlying data permitted no more than an “inference” at best, according to another. Last week, prosecutors unveiled an email showing a journalist had told the campaign research team weeks before it approached the FBI that one of the Trump-Russia allegations was “bullshit.”

“This is the way disinformation is really exposed, not by some contrived government agency, but by evidence presented in court that gets at the truth of what happened,” Brock said of the prosecutor’s recent evidentiary filings in court. “What Durham is methodically doing, is laying out a case that the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democrat Party used contrived disinformation in a conspiracy, in a conspiratorial way, to deceive the American voter ahead of the election.”

True the Vote

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“Special Counsel Robert Mueller, intelligence officials and Democrats misled the public about the hack.”

Claim Russians Hacked The DNC Could Have Relied On ‘Spoofed’ Data (Fed.)

The Georgia Tech cyber security experts ensnared in the Alfa Bank hoax conducted a retrospective analysis of the Democratic National Committee hack, according to the Department of Defense. While the results of that analysis have yet to be made public, internal documents obtained by The Federalist reveal that Georgia Tech’s computer scientists believed CrowdStrike’s approach to investigating computer intrusions relied on the use of easily “spoofed/impersonated” signals of traffic.

In June 2016, about one month before WikiLeaks released a trove of internal communiques revealing top DNC officials plotted to destroy Bernie Sanders’ presidential ambitions in favor of their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, the DNC publicly confirmed that its server had been hacked. In the Washington Post article breaking the story, the DNC maintained that the private security firm it had hired to investigate the hack, CrowdStrike, had concluded two Russian military intelligence groups, branded Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, bore responsibility for the intrusions.

Given that Democrats and the media would later rely on CrowdStrike’s conclusion that Putin’s agents had hacked the DNC to support the Russia collusion hoax, those seeking to unravel Spygate paid particular attention to CrowdStrike’s initial assessment. The declassification of CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry’s December 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, that “there was no ‘concrete evidence’ that the emails were stolen electronically,” later raised more “questions about whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller, intelligence officials and Democrats misled the public” about the hack.

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A comment on “The Shanghai Lockdown: A Memetic Analysis”
by “Anonymous”

The Whole Planet Is a Pot And We’re All Frogs (Ugo Bardi)

Shanghai has always been seen as the most “civilized” city in China. Shanghai is often called Le Paris de l’Orient, it is an “international” first tier city… probably the top Chinese city in terms of openness, quality of life and access to medical care. Nobody expected to see such levels of insanity in Shanghai… in other areas of the country, yes, but not here. Looking at the conditions in the quarantine centers… Containers without doors in a field, tents set on a highway, toilets flooded with feces… open air zoo. They come take positive cases in big buses and ambulances almost daily. The police is patrolling streets at all times and we are unable to even set foot on the sidewalk. Every building that had a positive case is either: shut down with barriers OR has 1-2 men in a tent monitoring 24/7 (imagine all the manpower required.)

Currently there are 3-4 of those tents in my compound. It’s basically Martial Law. The psychological toll is quite high. The monetary one must be hard of lower classes. Some neighbors have mental breakdowns. Some people spray alcohol in the air while walking to get tested… You’d think the Plague is upon us. Some people were getting messages in group chat about “foreign spies” and “foreign media fueling anti-China conspiracies.” Good ol’ shift the blame tricks. I have been in lockdown since mid-March, got tested 35 times, and lost about 12 pounds. The local governmental commune gave us a little bit of food, but barely enough to survive.

Luckily we had some preps and were able to order some food. Now most delivery guys are not allowed to deliver to our address. We can get a bit of food, but we need to get imaginative to create new recipes (boiled/sweet and sour/spicy/fermented cabbage.) My take is: It could be a test for something much bigger (ie., war, energy crisis) or they are truly afraid of the unrest if lots of old people were to die. Chinese people tend to get emotional and the last thing the authorities want to deal with is mobs lynching doctors in the streets. Is the frog slowly boiling in the pot? I think so. Except the whole planet is pot and we’re all frogs.

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Ireland

 

 

 

 

Clare Daly
https://twitter.com/i/status/1522241094754443265

 

 

 

 

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May 032022
 


Andy Warhol Judy Garland 1978

 

Supreme Court Has Voted To Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows (Pol.)
SCOTUS Draft To Overturn Roe v. Wade Leaked (TCS)
Upon Reread, It Looks Like FAKE NEWS (CTH)
This Is Why Nancy Pelosi And Adam Schiff Were In Kyiv Yesterday (CTH)
New Pure-bred ‘Schrödinger-seizable’ Euros (Vilches)
“Disinformation” is Just a Boot in Your Face (Kunstler)
The Clinton Campaign Is About To Lose Its Privilege Fight (Techno Fog)
Ghosting Propaganda (Dodsworth)
Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)
Your Face Is Now a Weapon of War (NI)
The Vacuum Effect of the US Dollar (Lacalle)

 

 

 

 

SBU

 

 

Cernovich:
Hack of the Supreme Court’s email must be presumed, even if that turns out to be inaccurate after a full investigation. This is far too important an issue to speculate that it was a leak. Immediate Special Counsel appointment, unlimited budget.

 

 

 

 

Not acceptable. How can the judges work this way? Was this leaked, or is the court’s email system compromised?

Supreme Court Has Voted To Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows (Pol.)

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO. The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid. Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months. The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. It’s unclear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft.

No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The unprecedented revelation is bound to intensify the debate over what was already the most controversial case on the docket this term. The draft opinion offers an extraordinary window into the justices’ deliberations in one of the most consequential cases before the court in the last five decades. Some court-watchers predicted that the conservative majority would slice away at abortion rights without flatly overturning a 49-year-old precedent. The draft shows that the court is looking to reject Roe’s logic and legal protections.

A person familiar with the court’s deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December, and that line-up remains unchanged as of this week. The three Democratic-appointed justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – are working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, is unclear.

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“The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months.”

SCOTUS Draft To Overturn Roe v. Wade Leaked (TCS)

In an unprecedented turn of events, someone leaked a SCOTUS initial draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade to Politico. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” writes Justice Samuel Alito in the leaked document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” “…. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

The justices that support striking down Roe v. Wade and making abortion a state issue are Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, Justice Barrett, Justice Kavanaugh, and Justice Gorsuch, with Justice Roberts being a flip vote and the three Democrat Justices opposing the overruling. As many have pointed out, leaking a draft of a SCOTUS vote is unprecedented and appears to be a clear attempt to instigate left-wing riots across the country to pressure justices not to overturn Roe v. Wade. There are many potential reasons for doing this. As Politico notes, “Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled.


“The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months.” Moreover, the leak will have huge ramifications regarding the upcoming midterms and even the 2024 general election, as both sides will indefinitely utilize the decision (and even the draft vote if it’s dropped) as the ultimate wedge issue to argue that if Americans don’t vote for a particular candidate, then Roe v. Wade will or won’t be overturned. As it stands, many on Twitter are already calling for the Biden administration to pack the courts, and the Supreme Court has been barricaded as they await the impending riots likely to pop off tomorrow afternoon.

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Twitter thread by Sundance. “The leak is real, the news is fake. Alito opinion is real. The justice’s concurrances or formal alignments are not. How does the court respond to an accurate Alito opinion, and a non factual alignment?

Why would Politico want to participate in a strategically explosive political effort to manufacture a fear of a not real SCOTUS opinion based on fabricated claims?”

Upon Reread, It Looks Like FAKE NEWS (CTH)

Having read the Politico article carefully, my original suspicions have shifted a bit. “Exclusive: Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court.” First, Politico is in the Domestic DOJ/FBI pipeline with the New York Times. CNN = State Dept. WaPo = CIA/Intel. NYT/Politico = FBI/DOJ. So the outlet sourcing leans toward DOJ and Justice Branch coverage. Which makes sense given the leaker is inside SCOTUS giving stolen documents to Politico. However, there’s no citation in the article for the actual alignment of the other justices with the Alito opinion. Factually there’s nothing other than Politico author supposition for judicial alignment with Alito opinion.

There’s nothing cited in the politico report that would indicate this is anything more than just Alito telling his peers what his position on the oral arguments was/is. Essentially, here’s my draft of what I believe. There’s nothing more than that present. Reread it. With no factual citation for the claim that Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are in concurrence, the article framework could likely be much ado about absolutely nothing. It’s one justice’s opinion, which is not surprising as Alito has already outlined this opinion before. Nothing else. Every reaction is complete projection based on unsubstantiated claims (of concurrences) by the Politico journalist. The “majority” is the part that matters…. and there is zero evidence to substantiate a claim that a majority decision exists.

Upon reread, it looks like FAKE NEWS. Then you switch to motive. Why would Politico want to participate in a strategically explosive political effort to manufacture a fear of a not real SCOTUS opinion based on fabricated claims? The answer to that question is found in the immediate reaction from the political left. Just the accusation alone is enough to trigger the most extreme of leftist base political demands. From that perspective, everyone is reacting to a carefully coordinated con job…. that carries the odor of Ron Klain, the DNC, and a desperately needed political reset for 2022 all over it.

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“U.S. taxpayers are also going to subsidize farming in Europe and fund the climate change initiatives by paying for the development of alternate energy sources.”

This Is Why Nancy Pelosi And Adam Schiff Were In Kyiv Yesterday (CTH)

The details of the Joe Biden $33 billion supplemental budget allocation have been released. I would strongly urge everyone to read the proposal which now heads to congress for passage. The spending request outlines a massive amount of money for various ideological foreign policy initiatives under the guise of Ukraine relief (it isn’t). The proposal outlines a kickback and bribery scheme. Some of the spending includes an allocation of funds to the State Dept including funds to USAID to “provide $8.8 billion to the Department of State for economic support and assistance to the people of Ukraine and other affected countries, including direct budgetary support, as well as support for food security, democracy, anticorruption, cybersecurity, counter-disinformation, human rights, atrocity documentation, energy, and emergency infrastructure needs.” The request specifically authorizes the transfer of these funds globally, outside of Ukraine.

Apparently, the State Dept is going to set up an international version of DHS “disinformation governance board.” But wait, it gets worse… U.S. taxpayers are also going to subsidize farming in Europe and fund the climate change initiatives by paying for the development of alternate energy sources. “This would include [$500 million] support for small- and medium- sized agrobusinesses during the fall harvest and for natural gas purchases by the Ukrainian state energy company.” Mechanisms to legalize defense contractor kick-backs: “This request would authorize Ukraine to utilize Foreign Military Financing Program funds appropriated in this Act and prior Acts to the Department of State to contract directly with U.S. companies to procure defense related materials which would facilitate the delivery of military assistance and security sector support.”


Mechanisms to spread the money all over government institutions without prior approval: …”This request would provide the authority to reprogram funds appropriated in this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for assistance to Ukraine without regard to any minimum amounts specifically designated in such Acts. This authority would provide the needed flexibility to match resources with evolving needs and decrease reliance on new appropriations.” The last segment is a massive change in the U.S. government power to seize Russian private property and assets, sell them to whoever Biden chooses, and then give the proceeds of the sales to U.S. politicians, friends, family members, or perhaps Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

 

 

Pelosi Ze -again-

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“This will necessarily impact beyond belief a still clueless population which continues to play the role of vassal puppets to Anglo-Saxon malignant dictates..”

New Pure-bred ‘Schrödinger-seizable’ Euros (Vilches)

The EU had already promoted and achieved all-around chaos regarding very simple yet absolutely essential trading terms urgently to be agreed with the Russian Federation. As if that were not enough, now adding fuel to the fire EU member countries continue to dangerously play their traditional fiddles while declaring that “ some contracts are holier than others, didn´t you know ? ” This daring criterion also means getting back to square one with an ever larger and riskier conflict while everybody´s patience is running thin. If Europe does not reverse course within a very limited time frame it will needlessly smash itself head-on against a very harsh reality. Once triggered, the subsequent uncontrolled demolition cannot rewind no matter how many desperate “emergency meetings” EU officials call for.

The EU has now come up with a ground-breaking legal criterion that international jurisprudence should rapidly adhere to and possibly improve. Thus it could include it in Treaties and other important legislation and, in view of its apparent virtues, even apply it ex-post-facto such as in this case. By the way, with this new international flat-Earth public policy, the EU would be the only party entitled to unilaterally uphold some contracts and not others per its own wishes and convenience as if it were a God-given right. Not anybody else, no way. So Europe, supposedly the cradle of Western civilization, is now trying hard to earn “The Joker” award disregarding the livelihood of at least 800 million human beings plus serious negative impact upon the rest of the world. Granted, history will not be kind with EU leaders.

Obviously, in view of the above, the interruption of Russian imports – including very specific, exclusive, and unreplaceable grades of Russian natural gas, oil, and coal – is now definetly in the cards for some or all European countries. This will necessarily impact beyond belief a still clueless population which continues to play the role of vassal puppets to Anglo-Saxon malignant dictates without actually following how they are being had. Four weeks ago, in view of the massive seizure of its legitimate funds, Russia was left with the only option of requiring Rubles as payment for its exports as such currency is exclusively under Russia´s purview and thus cannot be freezed and/or seized by any stakeholder, EU included. And negotiations were making very definite progress along such lines up until the past week.

A month ago, the only real problem was for EU countries to find Rubles other than by selling their “theoretical” gold bullion vaulted in the UK and the US which many claim is either non-existent or highly encumbered with many dozens of claimees standing in line. So the alternative viable solution wisely found up until last week was to convert euros into Rubles at Russia´s Gazprombank as it had not been sanctioned – at least not yet – as possibly the EU had foreseen its role for the proposed solution at hand. So Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, took the trouble to personally explain the exact simple two-step payment procedure by phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. By the way, the procedure is so simple and so straight-forward that even tie-wearing boomers can understand it.

But now European governments and energy companies are proudly rejecting the idea of paying in Rubles on the basis that gas import contracts clearly specify that the allowed currencies to be used for payment are only euros or dollars, not Rubles. Accordingly, they argue that one side of the deal – in this case the Russian Federation – cannot change such contractual obligation by its own decision (!). The EU now says “This is an absolutely clear circumvention of the EU sanctions.” “Opening a Ruble account at Gazprombank in and by itself may breach the EU sanctions…”

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“If Mr. Biden is still on-the-scene in January next year, he’ll be the first president not only impeached but convicted and removed by the Senate..”

“Disinformation” is Just a Boot in Your Face (Kunstler)

Now we have the Disinformation Governance Board to be run by a TikTok musical comedy star, Nina Jankowicz, an instant laughingstock, since retailing disinformation has been her main occupation in the scant years she’s been on the Deep State scene. Ms. Jankowicz is a notorious RussiaGate hoaxer and psy-op agent in the October 2020 emergence of Hunter Biden’s laptop. She has zero credibility as anything but a professional falsifier. Her Disinfo Governance Board has no authority to regulate anything. It’s just a lame charade that can only draw more attention to the Left’s hatred of truth and reality. The Left pretends that free speech is a threat to civilization because, as usual, they are projecting psychologically. Their world is a mirror. In fact, the Left is a threat to civilization.

Behind all this is the growing panic in the Left that they are culpable for an enormous raft of crimes committed against their own country, and will eventually end up in court, in prison, or worse. Mr. Durham is just the leading edge of what will eventually be a heavy blade of judgment falling down on their necks. He’s busy sorting out the “Russia collusion” flimflam that turned into a coup to oust Mr. Trump, but that is only the beginning. In November, the Democrats will lose control of Congress and its oversight powers of agency operations, and in 2023 there will be inquiries galore into the neo-Jacobin craziness imposed on our country by the folks behind “Joe Biden.”

That includes such dicey matters as the several years of malevolent mismanagement of Covid-19, which looks more and more like a deliberate effort to kill a large number of citizens, and then moving along to the behind-the-scenes official support for those 2020BLM /Antifa riots, the ballot shenanigans around the last presidential election, the colossal failure to enforce border security (featuring Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorkis), the Biden Regime’s conduct in provoking and prolonging the war between Russia and Ukraine, and (not least) the overseas moneygrubbing of President Biden’s family, as documented in Hunter’s laptop. I’m sure I left a few things out.

If Mr. Biden is still on-the-scene in January next year, he’ll be the first president not only impeached but convicted and removed by the Senate. And if for some reason he avoids criminal prosecution for treason out of some pitiful need for the government to maintain official decorum before the rest of the world, his brothers and his degenerate son may not be so lucky.

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“..the DNC and Hillary for America violated the law by hiding the real purpose of payments meant for Fusion GPS as “legal and compliance consulting.”

The Clinton Campaign Is About To Lose Its Privilege Fight (Techno Fog)

As part of the prosecution of former Clinton Campaign/DNC lawyer Michael Sussmann: Special Counsel Durham is seeking the following e-mails/communications that have been either redacted or hidden from his review: Documents involving Fusion GPS’s provision of opposition research and media-related strategies to Hillary for America, the DNC, and Perkins Coie. This includes the Fusion GPS/Perkins Coie contract and 38 e-mails and attachments between and among Fusion GPS, Rodney Joffe, and Perkins Coie. Communications between Fusion GPS and Rodney Joffe relating to the Alfa Bank allegations, and “other emails that precede, and appear to relate to, those communications.” This include emails between Joffe and Laura Seago, whom Durham has subpoenaed as a trial witness.

The Clinton Campaign (including Robby Mook and John Podesta), Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie, Rodney Joffe, and the DNC are fighting to keep these e-mails and records secret, reasoning Fusion’s “role was to provide consulting services in support of the legal advice attorneys at Perkins Coie were providing to” the Clinton Campaign. That argument – that Fusion GPS was helping with “legal advice” – is hopefully the last conspiracy theory they’ll provide to the public, after Fusion GPS has already poisoned the America, through the FBI, DOJ, and the press, with baseless allegations of secret back-channels between Trump Organization and Russian marketing servers, piss tapes, and broader allegations of Trump/Russia collusion.

Today, Special Counsel Durham addressed those arguments by providing to the court the FEC findings where the agency found “probable cause to believe” the DNC and Hillary for America violated the law by hiding the real purpose of payments meant for Fusion GPS as “legal and compliance consulting.” In support, he provided the First (link) and Second (link) General Counsel Reports, which recommend that the Federal Election Commission find the DNC and Hillary for America violated election laws (52 USC 30104(b)(5)(A)) “by misreporting the payee of the funds paid to Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie LLP.” While much of the information in these now-public reports has been known for years (Glenn Simpson’s testimony to Congress, for example), they provide additional context – and newly uncovered details – on how the FEC dismantled the bogus Hillary for America/DNC Billing.

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“He emblemised wartime courage as Father Christmas does the spirit of giving.”

Ghosting Propaganda (Dodsworth)

He was not written into existence by “Ukrainians” but by the Ukrainian authorities. The Ukraine Security Service originally showed a fighter pilot on Telegram, with a caption calling the Ghost of Kyiv an “angel” for downing 10 Russian planes. The Ukrainian military released a photograph on Facebook of the Ghost of Kyiv in March 2022 with the caption, “Hello, occupier, I’m coming for your soul!” His name evoked the dark hero of a fairy tale. His feats were exaggerated, gathering mythic status. Whereas an ‘ace’ might eliminate 5 enemy aircraft, the Ghost was reputed to have downed about 40 Russian pilots. He didn’t seem real. And now we know that he was a purposeful piece of propaganda. He emblemised wartime courage as Father Christmas does the spirit of giving.

[..] This has not been the only Ukrainian propaganda. (Of course there has been Russian propaganda too, but it’s not for this article.) BBC Breakfast used old footage of a Russian parade to show the invasion of Ukraine. It’s hard to see how it was used in error, but that’s the claim. An early, blurry video claiming to show a Ukrainian girl confronting a Russian soldier actually showed a Palestinian girl confronting an Israeli soldier. Billboards declaring “Be brave like Ukraine” were displayed in London, Rome, New York, Amsterdam, Washington and Stockholm. A powerful campaign entitled “Stop Bloody Energy” – again in English, for us and the international audience – linked buying Russian fuel directly with funding the Russian war campaign and calls on us to stop financing terror and genocide.

The masterfully produced but gruesome video includes real life footage of dead bodies. (Not necessarily verified.) The video is produced by Ukrainian energy companies. The irony is that every modern machine of war uses oil. (We’ve also never seen anything like this to persuade us of the immorality of buying goods from China which is arguably ethnically cleansing the Uyghurs.) Ukrainian propaganda has been enthusiastically received. Social media avatars switched from masked faces to Ukraine flag colours overnight. Beyond the support which is natural and due to a country which has been invaded, I wonder if the enthusiasm also signalled the relief of having a good old-fashioned baddie. During Covid, we were all vectors of disease and potential ‘enemy agents’. Once more, the enemy is located in a distant snowy country with a red button at his fingertips. We can follow a war which pits us against Russkies, not our neighbours, families and co-workers, and sink into a fear which is familiar. It’s close, but not too close.

Azov

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BMGF = Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)

Big Pharma (Pfizer and BMGF from what it looks to me) dropped another nuclear bomb on ivermectin 3 weeks ago with their successful publication of the fraudulent Brazilian TOGETHER trial. They did it in one of the world’s top read and rated medical journals, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a journal born in the year 1812, but captured by Pharma for who knows how long now. This is an open secret as per former Editor Marcia Angell in the book Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption: “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” -Dr. Marcia Angell.

First off, the saddest part of this fraud is that the TOGETHER trial’s published conclusion brazenly contradicted the data within the manuscript as it actually showed an 81% “Bayesian” probability of the superiority of ivermectin. But media and science reporters no longer critically analyze the data or questions the abstract’s conclusion, instead they all trumpet headlines in unison that “ivermectin doesn’t work in COVID.” Further contributing to the catastrophic toll of human life due to yet another deployment of “the Diversion,” a Disinformation tactic that Big Pharma employs when “science inconvenient to their interests” emerges.

Their first successful Disinformation campaign was against hydroxychloroquine in 2020, and despite Robert Kennedy’s in-depth, highly referenced and detailed exposing of the numerous sinister actions against HCQ in his best-selling book called “The Real Anthony Fauci,” they are again having success against ivermectin (just not as much – I would credit the work of the physician leaders and science experts of numerous non-profit, non-conflict-of-interest groups such as the US’s FLCCC, American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, Truth For Health, Covid Early Treatment Fund, South Africa’s Transformative Health Justice, UK’s World Council for Health, the Canadian COVID Care Alliance, and the anonymous C19early.com group among others).

Yet real people, real families, across the world destroyed each day by a lack of access to or support for safe, effective, early treatments with repurposed, generic medicines such as ivermectin, fluvoxamine, or hydroxychloroquine. All a direct result of Big Pharma and BMGF tactics like this one. Time to remind ourselves that BMGF is not a philanthropic organization but rather a corporation with massive investments in vaccines (and many other problematic industries) that has been corrupting public health the world over in service of the vaccine industry for decades now, none more so than in the last two years. By the way, what kind of philanthropist organization.. increases its wealth in a global pandemic?

MEP

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“it plans to have scraped 100 billion facial images from the internet.”

Your Face Is Now a Weapon of War (NI)

Who owns your face? You might think that you do, but consider that Clearview AI, an American company that sells facial recognition technology, has amassed a database of ten billion images since 2020. By the end of the year, it plans to have scraped 100 billion facial images from the internet. It is difficult to assess the company’s claims, but if we take Clearview AI at face value, it has enough data to identify almost everyone on earth and end privacy and anonymity everywhere. As you read these words, your face is making money for people whom you’ve never met and who never sought your consent when they took your faceprint from your social media profiles and online photo albums. Today, Clearview AI’s technology is used by over 3,100 U.S. law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Postal Service.

In Ukraine, it is being used as a weapon of war. The company has offered its tools free of charge to the Ukrainian government, which is using them to identify dead and living Russian soldiers and then contact their mothers. It would be easy to shrug this off. After all, we voluntarily surrendered our privacy the moment we began sharing photos online, and millions of us continue to use websites and apps that fail to protect our data, despite warnings from privacy campaigners and Western security services. As so many of us sympathize with Ukraine and are appalled by Russia’s brutality, it is tempting to overlook the fact that Ukraine is not using Clearview AI to identify dead Ukrainians, which suggests that we are witnessing the use of facial recognition technology for psychological warfare, not identification. Some people will be fine with the implications of this: if Russian mothers have to receive disturbing photos of their dead sons, so be it.

To understand why we might want to rethink the use of facial recognition technology in conflict, consider the following thought experiments. First, imagine that it was Russia that had scraped Ukrainian biometric data from the internet to build a facial recognition technology tool which it was using to identify dead Ukrainians and contact their mothers. Liberal democracies would likely condemn these actions and add them to its growing list of Russia’s barbaric actions. Second, imagine a conflict in which the United States was fighting against an opponent who had taken American faceprints to train its facial recognition technology and was using it to identify dead American soldiers and contact their mothers. This would almost certainly cause howls of protest across the United States. Technology executives would be vilified in the press and hauled before Congress, where lawmakers might finally pass a law to protect Americans’ biometric data.

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“..the US dollar has created the conditions to be the most demanded currency simply because other central banks have been much more reckless.”

The Vacuum Effect of the US Dollar (Lacalle)

April 2022 will go down in history as a milestone that has only been seen on three previous occasions since 1973. A month in which the S&P500 Index and US Treasuries have fallen at the same time, 5% and 2% respectively. Additionally, the US dollar has appreciated against the main currencies with which it trades and reaches a new year high. Years of monetary laughing gas have not diminished the strength of the US dollar as world reserve currency, rather the opposite. Now we witness the vacuum effect. Inflows into the US dollar in a period of risk aversion. The PBOC, the Central Bank of China has had to give in and allow an aggressive devaluation of the yuan, although it tried to keep the currency stable via capital controls and a daily fixing.

The government-programmed weakness of the yuan is probably designed to provide a boost to the Chinese economy in a slowdown and dissolve part of the yuan-denominated debt. However, it reduces the Chinese yuan’s appeal as an alternative to the US dollar as global investors may fear both the central bank fixing as well as the tight capital controls imposed in China. It is not surprising, for example, that many commodity-exporting countries’ currencies have weakened against the US dollar despite rising exports and foreign exchange inflows. From the Norwegian krone to the currencies of major exporters, it seems only the Brazilian real appears to be holding strong… and that’s because it’s had several atrocious years, so it is more a bounce than an appreciation.

[..] It is very worrying that the European Central Bank is allowing the euro to get dangerously close to parity with the US dollar because of its obsession with staying far away from the normalization process of other central banks. The global demand for euros is falling, and the trade surplus that supported the European currency is diminishing. All those who defend a weak euro should look at reality. Empirical evidence shows that the eurozone does not export more due to a weak euro, but with products of higher added value. With a weak euro, imports skyrocket and become more expensive. Thus, the US dollar has created the conditions to be the most demanded currency simply because other central banks have been much more reckless.

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Ron Johnson

 

 

 

 

Seneff

 

 

Musk and mum

 

 

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

 

 

 

Apr 302022
 


Dante Gabriel Rossetti Monna Vanna 1866

 

Why Europe Cannot Understand Russia (Escobar)
Empire of Lies Eager to Receive Mr. Sarmat’s Business Card (Escobar)
Patrushev Goes Triple-X Unplugged (Escobar)
Pentagon Spokesman Chokes Up While Talking About Ukraine (Hill)
Ukraine: The Real Zelensky (GZ)
‘Donbas Is Not Ukraine’: In Industrial East, Hopes For Russian Rule (Y!)
UK Wants ‘Global NATO’ Capable of Defending Pacific (LI)
The Sweet Sound of Censorship (Turley)
Naomi Wolf Eloquently Deconstructs the Terms Dis, Mis, and Malinformation (CTH)
Vaccinated Had Fewer N Antibodies Even After Covid Infection (Blaze)
Moderna Montreal Factory Will Make Canada An mRNA ‘Leader’ – Trudeau (CTV)
“This is This” (Kunstler)
The Shanghai Lockdown: a Memetic Analysis (Ugo Bardi)
Why the Yen Fell While the Dollar Rallied (Mises)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nailed it

 

 


Chinese state television channel CCTV map showing which countries would receive the territories of the Scoto-Russian federation after its collapse.

 

 

Quite a bit of Escobar today. He knows the territory better than just about anyone. History lesson:

Why Europe Cannot Understand Russia (Escobar)

The apparently monolithic liberal west itself also cannot be understood if we forget how, historically, Europe is also a two-headed beast: one head may be tracked from Charlemagne all the way to the awful Brussels Eurocrat machine; and the other one comes from Athens and Rome, and via Byzantium/Constantinople (the Second Rome) reaches all the way to Moscow (the Third Rome). Latin Europe, for the Orthodox, is seen as a hybrid usurper, preaching a distorted Christianity which only refers to St. Augustine, practicing absurd rites and neglecting the very important Holy Ghost. The Europe of Christian Popes invented what is considered a historical hydra – Byzantium – where Byzantines were actually Greeks living under the Roman Empire.

Western Europeans for their part see the Orthodox and the Christians from the East (see how they were abandoned by the west in Syria under ISIS and Al Qaeda) as satraps and a bunch of smugglers – while the Orthodox regard the Crusaders, the Teutonic chevaliers and the Jesuits – correctly, we must say – as barbarian usurpers bent on world conquest. In the Orthodox canon, a major trauma is the fourth Crusade in 1204 which utterly destroyed Constantinople. The Frankish chevaliers happened to eviscerate the most dazzling metropolis in the world, which congregated at the time all the riches from Asia. That was the definition of cultural genocide. The Frankish also happened to be aligned with some notorious serial plunderers: the Venetians. No wonder, from that historical juncture onwards, a slogan was born: “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s tiara.”

So since the 8th century, Carolingian and Byzantine Europe were de facto at war across an Iron Curtain from the Baltics to the Mediterranean (compare it with the emerging New Iron Curtain of Cold War 2.0). After the barbarian invasions, they neither spoke the same language nor practiced the same writing, rites or theology. This fracture, significantly, also trespassed Kiev. The west was Catholic – 15% of Greek catholics and 3% of Latins – and in the center and the east, 70% Orthodox, who became hegemonic in the 20th century after the elimination of Jewish minorities by mainly the Waffen-SS of the Galicia division, the precursors of Ukraine’s Azov batallion.

Pepe Escobar and Danny Haiphong; Russia, China, and the Post-Dollar World

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I split this summary into two parts. Part 2 is just below.

“Totalen Krieg proceeds in parallel to the engineered controlled demolition of the EU’s economy..”

Empire of Lies Eager to Receive Mr. Sarmat’s Business Card (Escobar)

Especially since the onset of GWOT (Global War on Terror) at the start of the millennium, no one ever lost money betting against the toxic combo of hubris, arrogance and ignorance serially deployed by the Empire of Chaos and Lies. What passes for “analysis” in the vast intellectual no-fly zone known as U.S. Think Tankland includes wishful thinking babble such as Beijing “believing” that Moscow would play a supporting role in the Chinese century just to see Russia, now, in the geopolitical driver’s seat. This is a fitting example not only of outright Russophobic/Sinophobic paranoia about the emergence of peer competitors in Eurasia – the primeval Anglo-American nightmare – but also crass ignorance about the finer points of the complex Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

As Operation Z methodically hits Phase 2, the Americans – with a vengeance – have also embarked on their symmetrical Phase 2, which de facto translates as an outright escalation towards Totalen Krieg, from shades of hybrid to incandescent, everything of course by proxy. Notorious Raytheon weapons peddler reconverted into Pentagon head, Lloyd Austin, gave away the game in Kiev: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” So this is it: the Empire wants to annihilate Russia. Cue to War Inc.’s frenzy of limitless weapon cargos descending on Ukraine, the overwhelming majority on the road to be duly eviscerated by Russian precision strikes. The Americans are sharing intel 24/7 with Kiev not only on Donbass and Crimea but also Russian territory.

Totalen Krieg proceeds in parallel to the engineered controlled demolition of the EU’s economy, with the European Commission merrily acting as a sort of P.R. arm of NATO. Amidst the propaganda dementia cum acute cognitive dissonance overdrive across the whole NATOstan sphere, the only antidote is served by sparse voices of reason, which happen to be Russian, thus silenced and/or dismissed. The West ignores them at their own collective peril.

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Part 2 of the same article.

“So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery.”

Patrushev Goes Triple-X Unplugged (Escobar)

let’s move to an extremely detailed interview by Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, where Patrushev sort of went triple-X unplugged. The key take away may be here: “The collapse of the American-centric world is a reality in which one must live and build an optimal line of behavior.” Russia’s “optimal line of behavior” – much to the wrath of the universalist and unilateralist hegemon – features “sovereignty, cultural and spiritual identity and historical memory.” Patrushev shows how “tragic scenarios of world crises, both in past years and today, are imposed by Washington in its desire to consolidate its hegemony, resisting the collapse of the unipolar world.”

The U.S. goes no holds barred “to ensure that other centers of the multipolar world do not even dare to raise their heads, and our country not only dared, but publicly declared that it would not play by the imposed rules.” Patrushev could not but stress how War Inc. is literally making a killing in Ukraine: “The American and European military-industrial complex is jubilant, because thanks to the crisis in Ukraine, it has no respite from order. It is not surprising that, unlike Russia, which is interested in the speedy completion of a special military operation and minimizing losses on all sides, the West is determined to delay it at least to the last Ukrainian.”

And that mirrors the psyche of American elites: “You are talking about a country whose elite is not able to appreciate other people’s lives. Americans are used to walking on scorched earth. Since World War II, entire cities have been razed to the ground by bombing, including nuclear bombing. They flooded the Vietnamese jungle with poison, bombed the Serbs with radioactive munitions, burned Iraqis alive with white phosphorus, helped terrorists poison Syrians with chlorine (…) As history shows, NATO has also never been a defensive alliance, only an offensive one.”

In a subtle reference to the work of Sergei Glazyev [..] Patrushev hit the heart of the current geoeconomic game, with Russia now actively moving towards a gold standard: “Experts are working on a project proposed by the scientific community to create a two-circuit monetary and financial system. In particular, it is proposed to determine the value of the ruble, which should be secured by both gold and a group of goods that are currency values, to put the ruble exchange rate in line with real purchasing power parity.” That was inevitable after the outright theft of over $300 billion in Russian foreign reserves. It may have taken a few days for Moscow to be fully certified it was facing Totalen Krieg. The corollary is that the collective West has lost any power to influence Russian decisions. The pace of the game in the new chessboard is being set by Russia.

[..] So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery. The pain dial is set to go substantially up – and with the total liberation of Mariupol and the resolution one way or another of the Donbass cauldron there is nothing the hysteria/propaganda/weaponizing combo deployed by the collective West can do to alter facts on the ground.

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“I don’t want to make this about me.”

Pentagon Spokesman Chokes Up While Talking About Ukraine (Hill)

The Pentagon’s top spokesperson became emotional Friday after he was asked whether he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin to be a “rational actor.” “It’s hard to look at what he’s doing in Ukraine, what his forces are doing in Ukraine and think that any ethical, moral individual could justify that,” press secretary John Kirby began before appearing to become choked up and pausing for several seconds. “It’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So I can’t talk to his psychology. But I think we can all speak to his depravity,” Kirby added. Kirby later apologized for becoming emotional, saying “I don’t want to make this about me.”


He then called Putin’s reasons for the invasion in Ukraine “BS.” “It’s hard to square [Putin’s] … BS that this is about Nazism in Ukraine, and it’s about protecting Russians in Ukraine, and it’s about defending Russian national interests, when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine,” said Kirby, pounding on the lectern for emphasis. Kirby also listed several “unconscionable” actions by Russian troops, including the reports of civilians being “shot in the back of the head, hands tied behind their backs. Women, pregnant women being killed, hospitals being bombed. I mean, it’s just unconscionable.”

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Natylie Baldwin interviews academic Olga Baysha.

“..cannot be explained apart from the success of his television series, which, as many observers believe, served as Zelensky’s informal election platform…”

Ukraine: The Real Zelensky (GZ)

The basic argument presented in my recent book is that the astonishing victory of Zelensky and his party, later transformed into a parliamentary machine to churn out and rubber-stamp neoliberal reforms (in a “turbo regime,” as they called it), cannot be explained apart from the success of his television series, which, as many observers believe, served as Zelensky’s informal election platform. Unlike his official platform, which ran only 1,601 words in length and contained few policy specifics, the 51 half-hour episodes of his show provided Ukrainians with a detailed vision of what should be done so that Ukraine could progress. The message delivered by Zelensky to Ukrainians through his show is clearly populist.

The people of Ukraine are portrayed in it as an unproblematic totality devoid of internal splits, from which only oligarchs and corrupted politicians/officials are excluded. The country becomes healthy only after getting rid of both oligarchs and their puppets. Some of them are imprisoned or flee the country; their property is confiscated without any regard to legality. Later, Zelensky-the-president will do the same towards his political rivals. Interestingly, the show ignores the theme of the Donbass war, which erupted in 2014, a year before the series started being broadcast. As the Maidan and Russia-Ukraine relations are very divisive issues in Ukrainian society, Zelensky ignored them so as not to jeopardize the unity of his virtual nation, his viewers and ultimately his voters.

Zelensky’s election promises, made on the fringes of the virtual and the real, were predominantly about Ukraine’s “progress,” understood as “modernization,” “Westernization,” “civilization” and “normalization.” It is this progressive modernizing discourse that allowed Zelensky to camouflage his plans for neoliberal reforms, launched just three days after the new government came to power. Throughout the campaign, the idea of “progress” highlighted by Zelensky was never linked to privatization, land sales, budget cuts, etc. Only after Zelensky had consolidated his presidential power by establishing full control over the legislative and executive branches of power did he make it clear that the “normalization” and “civilization” of Ukraine meant the privatization of land and state/public property, the deregulation of labor relations, a reduction of power for trade unions an increase in utility tariffs, and so on.

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Odd take from the MSM.

‘Donbas Is Not Ukraine’: In Industrial East, Hopes For Russian Rule (Y!)

At a market in the industrial town of Lysychansk in east Ukraine — war-scarred after relentless attacks by Russian forces — one woman quietly hopes Moscow’s army will break through. “Technically, we’re Ukrainian. But Donbas is not Ukraine,” Olena confided to AFP, referring to swathes of east Ukraine that Moscow has vowed to capture from Kyiv. “Ukrainians are the foreigners here — not Russians,” she said, giving a pseudonym, concerned that unpopular opinions like hers could land her “in prison”. Olena’s view on the war is not unique in this part of Ukraine where long-standing ties with Russia, nostalgia for the Soviet Union and hopes for a fast end to fighting mean many would welcome a Russian takeover.

For years the Kremlin has accused Ukraine of discriminating against Russian speakers in the Donbas region, which has been partially controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists since 2014. It says it wants to “liberate” parts of the mining and oil hub still controlled by Kyiv. Moscow’s forces are closing in, pounding Lysychansk and seizing villages around it. Ukraine’s army has put up fierce resistance, slowing Russia’s advance, but some wearing blue and yellow patches already feel as if they are in enemy territory. “Even if we do everything possible to hide our positions, residents here give the other side information about us,” a sergeant in the Ukrainian army, Iryna, told AFP. Attesting to that, Kyiv’s army regularly announces arrests of “saboteurs” in Donbas territory it controls and many among the rank and file said they were suspicious of residents.

Iryna, whose unit recently withdrew from Russian-controlled Kreminna north of Lysychansk, described this tale-telling as “very, very common”. “It comes from people who are supposed to be above suspicion — even priests,” she added. Some Ukrainian troops and officials hope that the Donbas residents fleeing fighting towards Russia are the ones sympathetic to Moscow. Still, they worry pro-Russia sentiment is lingering among some who have remained. “These are people who at best don’t mind and at worst are hoping for the arrival of the Russians,” Vadim Lyakh, the mayor of Sloviansk in northwestern Donbas, told AFP. Lyakh, whose city briefly fell to the separatists in 2014, said however that now was not the time to confront the mainly elderly Kremlin-sympathetic residents who long for the Soviet past. “Now is not the time to quarrel with them,” he told AFP.

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Contradictio in terminis.

UK Wants ‘Global NATO’ Capable of Defending Pacific (LI)

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said her government favors the creation of a “global NATO” that is able to guarantee the defense of Taiwan and the broader Pacific region, calling for preemptive action against would-be aggressors. In an address outlining UK foreign policy on Wednesday, Truss said London rejects the “false choice between Euro-Atlantic security and Indo-Pacific security,” instead arguing “we need both.” “I mean that NATO must have a global outlook, ready to tackle global threats,” she continued. “We need to preempt threats in the Indo-Pacific, working with allies like Japan and Australia to ensure that the Pacific is protected. And we must ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves.”

Though the official did not elaborate on what kind of support she favors for Taipei or what she envisions for a globally-engaged military alliance, Truss’ speech mirrored remarks by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year, when he said NATO’s reach must be extended into the Indo-Pacific. Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are already global NATO partners – each designated as a “major non-NATO ally” by Washington – while other security organizations serve similar functions in the Indo-Pacific region. The Quad alliance, consisting of the US, India, Japan and Australia, is often dubbed the ‘Asian NATO’ and largely exists to counter China. It has considered allowing other regional states to join to create a ‘Quad Plus,’ among them South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand.

The three-way AUKUS collective, meanwhile, has seen Washington, Canberra and London join forces to bolster the defenses of the region, including through the sharing of nuclear information. Like the Quad, the grouping has also reportedly mulled whether to expand to include additional countries like Japan. In recent months, several members of the NATO bloc have conducted ‘freedom of navigation’ missions in the Pacific to support territorial claims recognized by the United States and its western allies, namely those of Taiwan.

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“I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities.”

The Sweet Sound of Censorship (Turley)

President Joe Biden’s new disinformation chief Nina Jankowicz argued online mockery of Vice President Kamala Harris and other women in public life was a threat to national security: “Platforms and governments aren’t doing enough. It’s time to act. Our national security and democracy are at stake.” Jankowicz previously argued that Congress should create new laws to block mockery of women online by reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and including “provisions against online gender-based harassment.” Jankowicz testified before British House of Parliament last year about “gender misinformation” being a “national security concern” and a threat to democracy requiring government censorship. She has demanded that both tech companies and government should work together using “creativity and technological prowess to make a pariah of online misogyny.”

On the Hunter Biden laptop, Jankowicz pushed the false narrative that it was a false story and that “we should view it as a Trump campaign product.” She continued to spread that disinformation, including tweeting a link to a news article that she said cast “yet more doubt on the provenance of the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story.” In another tweet, she added “not to mention that the emails don’t need to be altered to be part of an influence campaign. Voters deserve that context, not a [fairy] tale about a laptop repair shop.” She even cites the author of the Steele Dossier as a guide for how to deal with disinformation. In August 2020, Jankowicz tweeted “Listened to this last night – Chris Steele (yes THAT Chris Steele) provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo. Worth a listen.”


She also joined the panic over the Musk threat to reintroduce free speech values to Twitter. In an interview on NPR, she stated “I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities.” Pitch perfect. Indeed, in seeing how we all “measure up,” Nina Jankowicz “is practically perfect in every way.”

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” Wolf doesn’t waste time debating “misinformation”, “disinformation”, or “malinformation”, instead she accurately just says those things do not exist.”

Naomi Wolf Eloquently Deconstructs the Terms Dis, Mis, and Malinformation (CTH)

All politicians and candidates for office should watch how Wolf responds to the first question from Tucker Carlson, and then makes the better argument. Wolf doesn’t waste time debating “misinformation”, “disinformation”, or “malinformation”, instead she accurately just says those things do not exist. Information stands undefined. From that position there are truth and lies. Her approach is exactly correct. Do not accept the insanity of the Alinsky language effort. A refreshing and really good interview:

On January 13, 2022, the fraudulent and managed autocrat, the installed occupant of the White House, gave instructions to his fellow travelers in Big Tech, and I quote: “I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets: Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows. It has to stop.” ~ Joe Biden. It was crystal clear what Joe Biden was telling his allies in social media to do. There is information the Government wants us to hear, and everything else is disinformation or misinformation the U.S. Govt disapproves of. Immediately CTH encountered criticism for our position on information. However, Wolf understands exactly what we have discussed:


…”There is no such thing as “disinformation” or “misinformation”. There is only information you accept and information you do not accept. You were not born with a requirement to believe everything you are told; rather, you were born with a brain that allows you to process the information you receive and make independent decisions.”…

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The “vaccines” focus only on S antibodies.

Vaccinated Had Fewer N Antibodies Even After Covid Infection (Blaze)

In a preprint paper posted last week, the NIH researchers studied the N (nucleocapsid) antibody levels of those who participated in the Moderna clinical trial vs. the placebo group upon the unblinding of the participants. Their findings were earth-shattering. m“We analyzed data from 1,789 participants (1,298 placebo recipients and 491 vaccine recipients) with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the blinded phase (through March 2021). Among participants with PCR-confirmed Covid-19 illness, seroconversion to anti-N Abs at a median follow up of 53 days post diagnosis occurred in 21/52 (40%) of the mRNA-1273 vaccine recipients vs. 605/648 (93%) of the placebo recipients (p < 0.001).” Kudos to Igor Chudov for finding this paper that clearly our government agencies are not excited to advertise.

Overall, the study’s authors found, “For any given viral copy number, the odds of anti-N seropositivity were 13.67 times higher for the placebo arm than the vaccine arm.” It’s truly hard to overstate the significance of this finding. These are the actual participants in the Moderna trial, and their levels were checked roughly seven weeks after being diagnosed with COVID, plus this was a study of the original strain of the virus when supposedly the vaccines were more effective. Yet just 40% of those with prior infection among the vaccinated group had anti-nucleocapsid antibodies, while 93% of the placebo group did. To be clear, this means that not only is the vaccine inferior to natural immunity, but it is so inferior that it might inhibit your acquisition of immunity to the nucleocapsid protein of the virus even if you wind up getting the virus, which you assuredly will because the vaccines don’t stop infection.

When you hear the proponents of the shots bragging about antibody titers, they are measuring the anti-spike protein (S) antibodies. The shots code your body to produce the most dangerous part of the virus, but on the other hand you don’t get the benefit of full immunity because your body is trained to recognize only the spike, not the main shell of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The implication of this study would be that the more you vaccinate, the more it erases your natural immunity, so not only do you still get the virus, but you will continue getting it because you can never achieve full immunity, as you might with natural infection without having been jabbed with a gene therapy that primes your body to respond inappropriately. It is an anti-herd immunity shot.

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“People forget Moderna was losing money in 2020..”

Moderna Montreal Factory Will Make Canada An mRNA ‘Leader’ – Trudeau (CTV)

The news leaked a day early, but Canadian leaders and biotech company Moderna officially announced Friday that a new vaccine production facility will be created in Montreal, helping ensure a long-term supply of made-in-Canada vaccines. “Our government promised to strengthen our capacity” for producing vaccines “here in Canada,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at an announcement at McGill University in Montreal. Canada has a now-infamous trajectory over the last few decades of building up top-notch vaccine research but dismantling its domestic capacity to actually produce vaccines, leaving it dependent on vaccine facilities in other countries.

The facility, expected to be operational as soon as 2024, will employ 200 to 300 people and will be able to produce up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per year, Trudeau said. But it will also ultimately be able to do research and hopefully produce other kinds of vaccines or treatment based on the same mRNA technology, or messenger RNA, that was first used in the COVID-19 vaccines, he said. “It also will have a significant impact in the research that they’re doing on a range of illnesses. We talked about Alzheimer’s, we talk about cancers, we talk about the range of things that messenger RNA is able to deliver to keep Canadians and people around the world healthy,” said Trudeau. “And Canada, that has long been leaders in research around mRNA, will now be also leaders in delivering mRNA to Canadians and to the world.”

Moderna’s founder and board chair has deep ties to Montreal, where his family fled after escaping Lebanon’s civil war. He attended Loyola College and McGill before going to M.I.T. in Boston. Moderna, which was founded in 2010, is still based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel joined Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault for the announcement, saying that Moderna’s path over the past two years has been a dramatic one, as it raced to get its mRNA vaccine developed and approved for the first time. “People forget Moderna was losing money in 2020,” he said. “We didn’t have the financial straps to get this industrial machine going. And Canada was one of only a few, a couple, countries here to help,” by putting in one of the first pre-orders for the vaccine and sending much-needed cash, he said.

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“The Left has exercised a Macumba voodoo death grip on free speech for years now.”

“This is This” (Kunstler)

“This is this,” DiNiro’s character “Michael” famously told Cazale’s “Stan” in The Deer Hunter, explaining the metaphysics of the bullet in his hand, and pretty much everyone watching the movie got the drift of that cryptic utterance. Likewise, Elon Musk’s character “Elon Musk” explained to America’s Maoist managerial legions: “Free speech is free speech” — as if, a week after Twitter’s surrender to Elon, there was some part of the formulation that the Left didn’t understand. (Apparently, all of it.) What a concept! Free speech is free speech. It has bowled over the — what? — maybe twenty-three percent of the country that considers free speech “a threat to democracy.” This is what comes of inverting and subverting language itself for the purpose of mind-raping the nation like Jeffrey Epstein on a 15-year-old. The Left has exercised a Macumba voodoo death grip on free speech for years now.

The deeper the Left’s crimes against the constitution and common decency, the harder they strangled the flow of news, information, and opinion until the mental life of the USA turned into a gibber of shamefully obvious unreality. It’s one thing to lose your dignity as citizens, and another to just lose your country altogether, and that is the circle of hell that the Left has dragged everyone else into since even before Hillary Clinton booted the 2016 election. This tyrannical Maoist managerial mob, grown paradoxically rich beyond precedent, became a tool of the state itself working around the inconvenient first amendment to hog-tie public debate. Will the US government allow Mr. Musk to get away with liberating the new “public square?”

It looks like the DOJ, the SEC, and perhaps other nefarious actors of degenerate officialdom are fixing to go after the rogue Tesla mogul who had the effrontery to oppose totalitarian control of the narratives driving public life. It’s rumored that money-losing Twitter could not exist without the government footing the bill for the vast, backstage server arrays that enable all Twitter’s messaging. In an odd twist, though, the shareholders were not necessarily benefitting from that symbiotic relationship as Twitter’s stock fell from $71 a share in July ’21 to $32 in March ’22. But the C-suite of Twitter’s executives were already too massively rich to care about anything but punishing their political enemies — which they did with sadistic zeal — when Mr. Musk surprisingly stepped onto the scene.

The government’s first counter-move, under the vividly deliquescing “Joe Biden” — whose treasonous corruption became Twitter’s job-one to conceal — was to concoct a brand-new agency under Homeland Security called the Disinformation Governance Board, to be run by one Nina Jankowicz, “internationally-recognized expert on disinformation and democratization,” who also happened to be a RussiaGate shill and publicist for the fifty national security officials who labeled the Hunter Biden laptop story “Russian disinformation” (turned out: not). In other words, America now has a “truth” kommissar who is a soldier in the War on Truth.

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“My grandmother was not stupid: she was simply applying a tested method to deal with things she knew little about.”

The Shanghai Lockdown: a Memetic Analysis (Ugo Bardi)

A “meme” is a small unit of information that can easily move from one human mind to another. It is the virtual equivalent of a virus in the sense that it “infects” people and influences their behavior. To explain the concept, maybe the best way is with an example: how my grandmother was absolutely convinced that nobody ever should drink a glass of milk without having boiled it first. She was infected with a meme that we could describe as “boil the damn milk.” It was simple and direct, but, unfortunately, completely useless in the 1960s, when pasteurization had become common. My grandmother was not stupid: she was simply applying a tested method to deal with things she knew little about.

The problem is that memes can be (or become) wrong or obsolete, and yet they are very difficult to dislodge. In the photo, you see Colin Powell, in 2003, showing a vial of baby powder while claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed largely on the basis of a meme that turned out to be completely false. The Covid pandemic is another case of a complex story that most of us are unprepared to understand. We should be trained in microbiology, medicine, epidemiology, and more — no way! So, we rely on simplified snippets to guide their everyday activities. “Wear the damn mask,” “stay home,” “don’t kill granny,” “flatten the curve,” and the like. That includes our leaders.

All memes have a story: that’s true for the one that led my grandmother to always boil her milk, and also for the “lockdown” meme. But whereas the first (“boil the damn milk”) was harmless, the second (“lock everybody in their homes”) can do a lot of damage. It did, and it is still doing damage in China with the recent massive lockdowns of Shanghai and other cities. So, where does this meme come from? Its origin can be found in the evolution of the concept of “biological warfare.” But let’s go in order.

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“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”

Why the Yen Fell While the Dollar Rallied (Mises)

How can we explain that the currency whose issuer has made the biggest inflationary mistake of all during the pandemic is the strongest (the US Consumer Price Index is up over 8 percent year on year), while that where the inflationary mistake if any has been the smallest (the Japan CPI is up less than 1 percent year on year) is the weakest? There lies the puzzle of the present dollar-yen rate. We can find at least part of the solution in a quote attributed to the Prussian and subsequently imperial German “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck. “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”


Today the “hunt” is the search for yield by investors suffering from a famine of interest income on safe savings; the hunters have convinced themselves and others that persistent high returns obtained from risky assets, often highly leveraged, are the new normal, never mind a decade of economic sclerosis (as evidenced by only weak growth if any in median living standards and sluggish productivity growth). “War” is the military conflict in Ukraine coupled with the West’s economic campaign against Russia; accompanying propaganda is a version of Bismarck’s lies. “Elections” are most prominently the midterms in the US where the lies include Fed propaganda including promises of a soft landing and the total official silence on its disastrous policy mistakes inducing present high inflation.

The near collapse of the yen and fantastic strength of the US dollar (yen/dollar moving from 110 last autumn to almost 130 now) are the outcome of such illusions and propaganda. The essence of the “carry trade boom,” a well-known aspect of the hunt for yield, is investors moving out of a zero or negative interest rate currency into ostensibly higher yield assets whether in high-yield credit or high-interest rate currency markets. Currency carry trades involve short positions in the yen, euro or Swiss franc matched by long positions most of all in US dollars but also commodity currencies. High US inflation could wipe out gains to date. After all holders of US money are subject to at least a 12 percent inflation tax levy through 2021–22.


Yet many of the carry traders act as if the tax is phantom, always to be effaced by exchange rate gains or to now fade away. Some believe apparently the Fed has really changed its spots from inflationmonger to inflationphobe. Yes, top Fed officials are talking aggressively and nonstop—the so-called hawkish pivot—about their promise to bring inflation back down to below 3 percent in 2023 without a recession along the way. This is music to the ears of Democrats who face voter wrath about their number one issue of concern—present high inflation. According to the Fed and the administration, high inflation was not due to avoidable policy mistake but bad luck—pandemic dislocation and “Putin’s war.”

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Brand cash

 

 

More than 30 years ago Fidel said: “The next war in Europe will be between Russia and fascism, except that fascism will be called democracy.”

 

 

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

 

 

 

Apr 292022
 


Leonardo da Vinci (?) La Joconde nue or Monna Vanna 1515

 

The West Misled the Public on Russia’s War Strategy (SWP)
Letters from the Front (Faina Savenkova)
On Ukraine, the World Majority Sides With Russia Over US (Antiwar)
The Schrödinger Euros (Vilches)
Mounting Evidence Canada Trained Ukrainian Military Extremists (CTV)
1st Amendment: An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech on Twitter (Turley)
WaPo’s Repulsive Defense Of Twitter Execs Makes Even Elon Musk Look Good (Fed.)
France Introduces Digital ID Days After Macron’s Re-election (TCS)
As Europe Approves New Tech Laws, The US Falls Further Behind (NYT)
The Fragmented Trust in Public Health (Prasad)
COVID Vaccine Side Effects on Pregnant Women (ET)
The Sword & the Cross at Albright’s Funeral (CN)

 

 

 

 

Tucker 33 billion. With Biden klepto cameo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavrov: sanctions

 

 

“There is growing evidence that Russia used the previous stages of the war to prepare strategic ground for this one.”

The West Misled the Public on Russia’s War Strategy (SWP)

The events in Donbass appear to have caught prominent western military analysts by surprise, who were otherwise quick to affirm an inevitable Russian failure. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) a known pessimist, was forced to concede on April 27th that Russia was making a “sounder pattern of operational movement” in Donbass and was even forced to admit that Ukrainian defenses in the north of the region were disorganized. Although the ISW continues to maintain that a broader Russian encirclement of the Ukrainian army won’t happen, it is difficult to see how Ukraine is going to turn the tide on this situation even with western support because they simply do not have the geographic advantage. Russia is gaining in the region every single day.

This speaks volumes about Russia’s strategy. When Moscow announced that it was withdrawing from the North and focusing on Donbass, this was marketed as a retreat and a failure, but on closer inspection it appears that the assault on this region was carefully planned in a logical sequence of preparatory steps. There is growing evidence that Russia used the previous stages of the war to prepare strategic ground for this one. Some people might have questioned: Why did Moscow not just charge into Donbass straight away? And seemingly went for Kyiv? And that’s a good question, and the answer is because with the highest concentration of Ukrainian forces there, “their best trained troops” as frequently eluded to, Russia would not have had the battlefield advantages or positions to push them back which they do now.

Before Russia proceeded with its current offensive on Donbass, it first undertaken a process of “shaping the battlefield” which involved distracting Ukraine by invading the North of the country (even if there was a hope Kyiv could be quickly encircled). As these multiple axis’ were opened, Russia then proceeded to invade from Crimea and seize Kherson oblast (to prevent a pre-emptive Ukrainian attack on the peninsula) and advanced into Zaporizhzhia (setting up a Southern launchpad). Mariupol was then encircled and cut off. These multiple fronts being opened allowed Russia to then invade Kharkiv and Luhansk Oblasts, which they then developed into a Northern flank with the capture of Izyum.

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People in the west must understand that the special military operation in Ukraine is seen as “essential” in Russia, and that this is closely linked to WWII, in which some 30 million Russians died. No, they really don’t like nazis. And they’re allergic to threats coming in through their western border.

Letters from the Front (Faina Savenkova)

Hello, great-grandfather Vasily! We are again on the eve of the Victory Day. And I want to ask your forgiveness. Forgive us for failing, forgetting about your exploits and war heroes. In the eternal disputes we have lost the main thing – our history. After all, you defended Moscow, froze in the Belarusian swamps, liberated Prague. And now they say that it was in vain. That your victory was an occupation, that Leningrad could have been surrendered, that I should pity the Nazis, and that the Victory Parade is a victory psychosis. Can I do that? Of course not!

Hello, Grandpa Miron! They told me how you were chasing the Banderovites through the forests of Ukraine without thinking about sleep or warmth. Liberating and slowly advancing. Seeing villages burned down by them and children killed. You got rid of these scum, not sparing your life. And now their descendants say they were heroes. And I am now supposed to say: “Glory to the heroes” and disown you, the Soviet soldier. They say they won the war, but as before they are fighting children and old people, destroying towns and villages, leaving behind scorched earth and ash on their boots. Can it be so, if only 77 years have passed since the Victory? It can. I’m sorry we couldn’t destroy them all.

Hello, great-grandmother Elsa. Sorry for the yellow star being in vogue again, only this time for the Russians. Now they say that a Russian is not a liberator, but a subhuman. How familiar. They used to say the same thing about you during the pogroms in Lviv and Kiev. Who gave them the right to decide who is worthy to be called a human and who is not? We did. By our indifference to our history.

Hello, Russian soldier! Forgive us for not being able to keep our world from war. We calmed down and thought that a peaceful life was forever, and that freedom is granted without a fight. It turned out that it wasn’t. Fascism is all around us. It is once again marching across our land, flashing its flags and chevrons of Azov, Aydar and the Right Sector. It is all around us. It is already here. And that is why you are again back in line, as you were in that terrible year of 41. You are a Chechen, a Bashkir, an Ossetian, an Abkhaz, an Ukrainian, a Buryat or a Belarusian. You are a Russian soldier, whoever you are! You came to defend those who are weak and helpless. You have come to win. Again and again. As once in the trenches of Stalingrad, so now in the steppes of Donbass.

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That’s about 165 countries.

On Ukraine, the World Majority Sides With Russia Over US (Antiwar)

The second pivotal event of 2014 was less noticed and in fact rarely mentioned in the Western mainstream media. In November of that year according to the IMF, China’s GDP surpassed that of the U.S. in purchasing power parity terms (PPP GDP). (This measure of GDP is calculated and published by the IMF, World Bank and even the CIA. Students of international relations like economics Nobel Laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, Graham Allison and many others consider this metric the best measure of a nation’s comparative economic power.) One person who took note and who often mentions China’s standing in the PPP-GDP ranking is none other than Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. From one point of view, the Russian action in Ukraine represents a decisive turn away from the hostile West to the more dynamic East and the Global South. This follows decades of importuning the West for a peaceful relationship since the Cold War’s end.

As Russia makes its Pivot to the East, it is doing its best to ensure that its Western border with Ukraine is secured. Following the Russian action in Ukraine, the inevitable US sanctions poured onto Russia. China refused to join them and refused to condemn Russia. This was no surprise; after all Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China had been drawing ever closer for years, most notably with trade denominated in ruble-renminbi exchange, thus moving toward independence from the West’s dollar dominated trade regime. But then a big surprise. India joined China in refusing to honor the US sanctions regime. And India kept to its resolve despite enormous pressure including calls from Biden to Modi and a train of high level US, UK and EU officials trekking off to India to bully, threaten and otherwise attempting to intimidate India. India would face “consequences,” the tired US threat went up. India did not budge.

India’s close military and diplomatic ties with Russia were forged during the anti-colonial struggles of the Soviet era. India’s economic interests in Russian exports could not be countermanded by US threats. Now India and Russia are now working on trade via ruble-rupee exchange. In fact, Russia has turned out to be a factor that put India and China on the same side, pursuing their own interests and independence in the face of US diktat. Moreover with trade in ruble-renminbi exchange already a reality and with ruble-rupee exchange in the offing, are we about to witness a Renminbi-Ruble-Rupee world of trade – a “3R” alternative to the Dollar-Euro monopoly? Is the world’s second most important political relationship, that between India and China, about to take a more peaceful direction? What’s the world’s first most important relationship?

it would probably be impossible for people to inhabit NYC for hundreds of years after a nuclear war. The life of Russia depends on stopping NATO

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“So Russia never gets to use such euros – which actually never see the light of day – and accordingly are not inflationary..”

“..should be considered the most childish proposal ever made in the history of trade..”

The Schrödinger Euros (Vilches)

What ? Payment in Rubles ?? Unthinkable, don´t even mention the word say EU officials and authorities. Instead, Europe has formally demanded to pay for Russian imports with Schrödinger euros as explained below. So it´s high time for psychiatrists to step in as the livelihood of 800 million Europeans depends on whatever this incredible set of un-elected delusional EU leaders decide. Let´s get this straight folks: the EU does not want to pay in Rubles – or gold — because it is playing cutie by pretending to “pay” for Russian imports for free. Be it natural gas, or oil, or coal or whatever Russian, instead of really “paying” the EU pretends to pull a “print & deposit + freeze & hide” wise-up gimmick. To make it clear for any audience, the above would be the equivalent of you pretending to “pay” at the check-out counter of any store with a photo of a fully sealed box that you say contains “money” that you will keep hidden at your home – unopened — as long as you want. Please allow me to explain the EU trickery in layman´s terms.

the “print & deposit + freeze & hide” seizure trick In the past, Russian imports were paid through run-of-the-mill bank transfers made to accounts of Russian exporters at EU banks. Now the EU leadership has mandated for such transfers to be instantly frozen as soon as received so that Russia – or anybody else for that matter – can´t use those euros. So, the ECB would now “print” euros with a keyboard 100% for free and then transfer such euros over to the Russian exporters bank accounts in the EU albeit now under “frozen” status. So Russia never gets to use such euros – which actually never see the light of day – and accordingly are not inflationary in any and every sense of the term as nobody else can use them either. Thus, by not entering into any economy at all in no way, shape, or form the EU outsmarts Heaven and Earth and gets to import Russian produce for free. Easy see ?

It´d be a “print & deposit + freeze & hide” seizure and expect-the-Russians-to-fall-for-it trick…as if they were K6 kids. Now of course I can hear the maniacs in charge arguing that this would only be “temporary” – of course — and that as soon as Russia gets out of Ukraine under “acceptable” terms – of course, yet again — everything will get back to yankee doodle normal. Enter then the “Schrödinger´s euros” whereby the hypothetical ´money´ should be considered to be simultaneously existent and non-existent… a-la-EU. In today´s commercial environment only a fool would accept a Schrödinger payment for anything — not even bubble gum – and should be considered the most childish proposal ever made in the history of trade.

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How many other countries do the same?

Mounting Evidence Canada Trained Ukrainian Military Extremists (CTV)

With mounting evidence pointing to the Canadian Armed Forces having trained members of Ukraine’s military who are also reported to be part of extremist groups, experts say Ottawa needs to strongly bolster its investigation and vetting of the soldiers it trains and arms in the embattled country. The Department of National Defence promised a thorough review of Canada’s mission in Ukraine after CTVNews.ca approached them for comment in October 2021, regarding a report from George Washington University that found extremists in the Ukrainian military were bragging about being trained by Canadians as part of Operation UNIFIER. The group in question – which calls itself Military Order Centuria, or simply Centuria, has links to the far-right Azov movement.

The Canadian military said they were alarmed by the report and denied any knowledge that extremists had taken part in training, adding that it does not have the mandate to screen the soldiers they train from other countries. In the month that followed, an investigation by the Ottawa Citizen found that not only did Canadian officials meet and get briefed by leaders from the Azov Battalion in 2018, they did not denounce the unit’s neo-Nazi beliefs – despite being warned about their views by their colleagues– and their main concern was that media would expose that the meeting had taken place. Officers and diplomats allowed themselves to be photographed with battalion officials which was then used online by Azov as propaganda. The federal government, which has spent more than $890 million training Ukrainian forces through Operation UNIFIER, has repeatedly stressed that it has not and will not ever train soldiers affiliated with Azov.

However, a recent investigation by Radio Canada into documents related to Canada’s mission in Ukraine found evidence that soldiers from the Azov regiment, identified by patches on their clothing and other insignias, have participated in training with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as recently as 2020 at the western-backed Zolochiv training centre in Western Ukraine. In a series of messages to CTVNews.ca, a spokesperson for the Azov regiment currently fighting in Mariupol, Ukraine said they were excluded as a group from training with Canadian instructors in Op. UNIFIER but that they “wrote a program” for their own courses and “were instructors in all disciplines in the National Guard of Ukraine training centre,” confirming Radio Canada’s previous reporting.

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” If the government could not stop someone from speaking in a public forum like a town square, Twitter should not do so through private means.”

1st Amendment: An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech on Twitter (Turley)

Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly. Corporations clearly have free speech rights. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they embrace such rights when it comes to censorship. The Democratic Party embraced corporate governance of free speech once these companies aligned themselves with their political agenda. Starbucks and every other company have every right to pursue a woke agenda. Social media companies, however, sell communications, not coffee. They should be in the business of free speech.

Democrats have continued to treat the First Amendment as synonymous with free speech, as a way to justify greater censorship. Just last week, former President Barack Obama spoke at Stanford to flog this false line. Obama started by declaring himself, against every indication to the contrary, to be “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.” He then called for the censorship of anything that he considered “disinformation,” including “lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, racist tracts and misogynist screeds.” He was able to do that by emphasizing that “The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter.”

Well, what if it did? The Constitution does not impose the same standard on Twitter — but Musk could. He could order a new Twitter team to err on the side of free speech while utilizing First Amendment standards to maximize protections on the platform. In other words, if the government could not censor a tweet, Twitter would not do so. The key to such an approach is not to treat Twitter as akin to “government speech,” a category where the government has allowed major speech controls. Rather, tweets are very much as Musk has described them: akin to speech in “the digital town square.” If the government could not stop someone from speaking in a public forum like a town square, Twitter should not do so through private means.

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There’s James Baker again.

WaPo’s Repulsive Defense Of Twitter Execs Makes Even Elon Musk Look Good (Fed.)

At 3:03 a.m. Wednesday, the Post dropped its story on the matter: “Elon Musk boosts criticism of Twitter executives, prompting online attacks: The targeting of employees by Musk’s massive Twitter megaphone is a major concern for workers.” The horror only compounds from there. “Musk’s response Tuesday was the first time he targeted specific Twitter executives by using his nearly singular ability to call attention to topics that interest him,” intoned the Post. “Supporters of Musk, a prolific and freewheeling tweeter with 86 million followers, tend to pile on with his viewpoints.” To be clear, Musk never said anything specific about Gadde, except to imply her role in the decision to ban The New York Post was wrong — an opinion that isn’t controversial, and was publicly stated by Twitter’s previous CEO.

As for Baker, Musk was commenting on his previous conduct as a public official, which by any accurate assessment was defined by poor judgment. Regardless, “sounds bad” is not exactly committing to a definitive judgment of the man, much less in his current role at Twitter. (As for what it says that the FBI’s former general counsel went from a disgraceful role in a spy scandal meant to influence the 2016 election to a lucrative gig at a tech company perhaps best known for its clumsy and dishonest attempts to influence the 2020 election… well, let your imagination run wild. There’s no explanation that isn’t disheartening.)

Neither person was “targeted.” The entire story is more accurately restated by the Washington Post expressing shock and dismay that millionaire tech executives might find themselves receiving public criticism from billionaire tech entrepreneurs. That’s a pretty questionable premise for one of the nation’s most influential news outlets to endorse. As Mike Solana, no stranger to observing the tech industry, put it, “This is a country of over 300 million people. If the rule for acceptable criticism of powerful executives and state propagandists is ‘can’t lead to *someone else* saying something awful,’ you effectively end all vital dissent. Then, that is of course the point.”

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Schwab 2.0.

France Introduces Digital ID Days After Macron’s Re-election (TCS)

Just days after winning the federal election, President Emmanuel Macron authorized the creation of a digital ID for France. The “Digital ID Guarantee Service” (SGIN) was signed into decree following his victory over La Pen, which will allow France to be ‘compliant’ with the European Union’s digital ID. The backlash from the ‘Les Patriots’ group, which seeks independence from the EU, was immediate. “Just after the election, the government announces the launch of ‘a digital identity application’!” said leader Florian Philippot. “The goal: to put social credit in the Chinese way. Control and surveillance company!” [translated from French] “Let’s totally reject this app and fight by any means!”

Macron’s election victory has set off massive protests, wherein Macron has been pelted with tomatoes. France’s move towards a centralized digital ID, and the corresponding resistance from people concerned with a Chinese-style social credit system, is a conflict that’s intensifying in many countries throughout the world. Recently, for example, Nigeria blocked 73 million residents from making phone calls for not linking their cell phones to their national digital ID. In Italy, a municipal government just announced it’s rolling out a soft social credit score in the Fall, the first of its kind in Europe. Domestically, Canada hasn’t issued coercive tactics to this level, and provinces are torn on implementing a digital ID.

While Alberta and Ontario have already rolled theirs out, Saskatchewan recently scrapped its plan to launch one after polling citizens who wanted nothing to do with it. Instead, the provincial government now says they’ll monitor uptake and feedback from colleagues in other jurisdictions.

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Has the EU protested Twitter and Facebook censorship? If not, such laws have no credibility. Or use.

As Europe Approves New Tech Laws, The US Falls Further Behind (NYT)

In just the last few years, Europe has seen a sweeping law for online privacy take effect, approved far-reaching regulations to curb the dominance of the tech giants and Saturday reached a deal on new legislation to protect its citizens from harmful online content. For those keeping score, that’s Europe: 3, United States: 0. The United States may be the birthplace of the iPhone and the most widely used search engine and social network, and it could also bring the world into the so-called metaverse. But global leadership on tech regulations is taking place more than 3,000 miles from Washington, by European leaders representing 27 nations with 24 languages, who have nonetheless been able to agree on basic online protections for their 450 million or so citizens.

In the United States, Congress has not passed a single piece of comprehensive regulation to protect internet consumers and to rein in the power of its technology giants. It’s not for lack of trying. Over 25 years, dozens of federal privacy bills have been proposed and then ultimately dropped without bipartisan support. With every major hack of a bank or retailer, lawmakers have introduced data breach and security bills, all of which have withered on the vine. A flurry of speech bills have sunk into the quicksand of partisan disagreements over freedoms of expression. And antitrust bills to curtail the power of Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, have sat in limbo amid fierce lobbying opposition.

Only two narrow federal tech laws have been enacted – one for children’s privacy and the other for ridding sites of sex-trafficking content – in the past 25 years. “Inertia is too kind of a word to describe what’s happened in the United States; there’s been a lack of will, courage and understanding of the problem and technologies,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a public interest group. “And consumers are left with no protections here and lots of confusion.” The prospects that any legislation will pass imminently are dim, though regulations at some point are almost inevitable because of the way tech touches so many aspects of life. Of all the proposals currently in front of Congress, an antitrust bill that would bar Apple, Alphabet and Amazon from boosting their own products on their marketplaces and app stores over those of their rivals has the best shot.

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“Just as we need trust, public health seems poised to destroy it.”

The Fragmented Trust in Public Health (Prasad)

Building trust in institutions is vital to their success, but as we enter the third year of the pandemic, public health still seems hellbent on destroying itself. In recent weeks, we have seen flip flops on major policy proposal: a vaccine passport for domestic air-travel and authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 6mo-4 years. These were publicly flirted with, but eventually abandoned. The administration has pushed medical products through, without the traditional advisory boards (as in the case of the 4th dose for Americans over 50). We have witnessed absurd contradictions – that Kyrie Irving can watch the basketball game from the first row, but not play on the court – and worse, that this rule only applies in New York city. Finally, the prospect that mask mandates may return in the fall looms over us, even as our rules become more absurd, with restaurant servers and preschoolers acting as the last, powerless people tasked with masking for all.

Public health, the institution, must own these absurdities and contradictions because the CDC has the scope and authority to correct them with clear guidance. Just as we need trust, public health seems poised to destroy it . Let’s consider these cases: In early October 2021 Ashish Jha, the newly selected Biden COVID Czar, suggested a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel, a view he reiterated in late January 2022. On Dec 27th, Anthony Fauci emphasized the idea of a vaccine passport for domestic air travel. Politico reports that Dr. Jha has long advised the administration on health policy, and Dr. Jha has confirmed he received “updates and announcements” from the administration prior to his appointment. Then silently, the proposal was abandoned with no action taken. As a close observer, I was confused as to what happened.

Similarly, in Feb 2022, the FDA asked Pfizer to submit data from an ongoing, and to date, negative trial for vaccination in kids ages 6mo to 4 years. An advisory committee was scheduled to discuss the results, which was leaked to news outlets as a reduction in symptomatic cases – one of the trial’s secondary objectives. Then, at the penultimate moment, the application was withdrawn and the advisory committee was cancelled. These flip flops were jarring. In the latter case, many parents were crushed, and felt as if the rug were pulled out from them. Scientists voiced protest, suggesting the vaccine be approved anyway. But I was most concerned that an approval based on inadequate data would further poison vaccine hesitancy at all ages, and for other vaccines (so called spillover effects). Even as it stands, this whipsaw news coverage may yet undermine parental trust.

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“Based on this concern alone, all of these experimental products as a class should have been completely contraindicated in women younger than menopause.”

COVID Vaccine Side Effects on Pregnant Women (ET)

Among the adverse events, particularly alarming are the ones that affected pregnant women. The documents say that there were 274 pregnancy adverse events, of which 75, or 27 percent were “serious.” “49 non-serious and 75 serious, reported clinical events, which occurred in the vaccinated mothers. Pregnancy related events reported in these cases coded to the [patients] Abortion spontaneous (25), Uterine contraction during pregnancy, Premature rupture of membranes, Abortion, Abortion missed, and Foetal death (1 each). Other clinical events which occurred in more than 5 cases coded to the [patients] Headache (33), Vaccination site pain (24), Pain in extremity and Fatigue (22 each), Myalgia and Pyrexia (16 each), Chills (13) Nausea (12), Pain (11), Arthralgia (9), Lymphadenopathy and Drug ineffective (7 each), Chest pain, Dizziness and Asthenia (6 each), Malaise and COVID-19 (5 each),” reads the previously confidential Pfizer documents (pdf).

[..] Michael Yeadon is a big pharma veteran with 32 years in the industry. He retired from Pfizer whilst occupying the most senior research position in that field. “On December 1, 2020, We detailed a series of mechanistic toxicology concerns which we believed were reasonable to hold, unless & until proven not to occur,” Yeadon said in a statement to The Epoch Times. “Among those was that adverse impacts on conception and ability to sustain a pregnancy were foreseeable.” “It’s important to note that none of these gene-based agents had completed what’s called ‘reproductive toxicology.’ Over a year later, this battery of tests in animals still has not been done. So there was and still is no data package supporting safety in pregnancy or prior to conception.”

Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg and Yeadon detailed the concerns on the issue: the spike protein from the virus encoded in the vaccines was related to a minor extent to syncytin that plays a crucial part in the carrying of a baby to term. Yeadon had hoped, back then, that their concerns were paid attention to, since they had already seen the tragedy of thalidomide, a sedative drug that caused congenital malformation, over 60 years ago. “During 2021, I came across two further pieces of evidence which made it much more likely that there’d be adverse effects on pregnancy from COVID-19 ‘vaccines.’”

“It looked like someone had tried to dismiss our concerns by testing for evidence of the particular problem we’d warned about in Dec. 2020. Unfortunately, all they did is to reinforce our concerns. We’d envisioned the risk that, in responding to the synthetic piece of virus spike protein, women’s immune systems would also make an immune response to their own placental protein,” Yeadon said. “That’s exactly what was reported in the pre-print paper.” “Based on this concern alone, all of these experimental products as a class should have been completely contraindicated in women younger than menopause.”

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It’s a big club….

The Sword & the Cross at Albright’s Funeral (CN)

It’s fitting that U.S. President Joe Biden and Bill and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should eulogize Madeleine Albright at the mammoth Episcopalian institution calling itself the “National Cathedral.” After all, just last year, Albright eulogized fellow war maker, “trailblazer” and fellow Episcopalian Colin Powell there for his “honesty, dignity, loyalty and an unshakable commitment to his calling and word.” Albright, Biden and the Clintons covered for each other’s criminal war making — and ultimately, they all enabled and covered for Republican criminality as well. All showed they were capable of murderous deceits.

It sparked some measure of attention during the 2020 election, but it’s largely been forgotten that the current sitting president, who with great hypocrisy calls Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, Joe Biden, won’t tell the truth about his Iraq war record — and he hasn’t for years. Indeed, the death of Albright on March 23 seemed to almost be a case of Providence attempting to interject history into the current geopolitical situation, most obviously the war in Ukraine. But one should not have expected any reckoning to be heard from the podium at the National Cathedral at her funeral on Wednesday. The war planners have had time to prepare their convoluted case. “Secretary Albright was a trailblazing diplomat” and “a fierce advocate for women” said the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith dean of the National Cathedral, echoing the mantra of official Washington.

[..] An examination of Albright’s tenure as secretary of state highlights extraordinary deceit, how we got to this stage — and what’s been lost as minimal democratic participation has atrophied. Most obviously, Albright was perhaps the most important advocate for NATO expansion which clearly antagonized Russia and was a major part of the provocation for the invasion of Ukraine. She stood over Clinton as he signed on to NATO enlargement “for stability and security in the 21st century.” Moreover, the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia was known as “Albright’s War.” That war was triggered by political fabrications perpetrated by Albright and her associates, particularly regarding the Rambouillet text.

It further aggravated Russia and China — whose embassy NATO intentionally bombed at a critical time. It may well have helped ensure the rise of China’s increased militarized posture and the rise of Putin. Further, this first-of-its-kind use of NATO in war in Europe paved the way for its use in Asia (Afghanistan) and Africa (Libya). These moves projected Western military power into each of those continents. Albright’s continuation of the sanctions on Iraq, regardless of Iraqi compliance with weapons inspectors, led to a horrific humanitarian disaster in Iraq as well as the collapse of the UNSCOM weapons inspection regime, a complete break against international law and paving the way for the ultimate invasion of Iraq in 2003. In this as well as the Yugoslavia war, Albright was allied with the Clintons and Joe Biden.

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Scott Ritter: it’s over

 

 


Average tree height across Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Feb 242021
 


Rembrandt van Rijn The Storm on the Sea of Galilee 1633
On March 18, 1990, the painting was stolen by thieves disguised as police officers. They broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, and stole this painting, along with twelve other works. The paintings have never been recovered, and it is considered the biggest art theft in history. The empty frames of the paintings still hang in their original location, waiting to be recovered.

 

The Vaccine (Dis)Information War (CJ Hopkins)
Censoring Fox News Is An Insanely Stupid Idea (Taibbi)
House Democrats Are Assaulting Core Press Freedoms (Greenwald)
Twitter Adds Controversial ‘Hacked Materials’ Warning Label To Tweets (Mash.)
Naomi Wolf Sounds Alarm At Growing Power Of ‘Autocratic Tyrants’ (Fox)
Tucker Carlson Calls CNN a ‘Disinformation Network’ (Med.)
60 Years After Eisenhower’s Warning, The ‘Digital-Intelligence Complex’ (RCI)
Why a Durham Report Is Becoming Highly Unlikely (ET)
US And Allies To Build ‘China-free’ Tech Supply Chain (Nikkei)
Finland COVID-19 Variant Reportedly May Not Show Up In Tests (NYP)
Japan Appoints “Minister Of Loneliness” (ZH)

 

 

A Minister of Loneliness in Japannn. That is what the Lockdown Syndrome looks like. And when you weren’t looking because you were getting “vaccinated”, your freedoms were taken away one by one. The freedom to be where you want to be, the freedom to say what you want to say, and the freedom to read what you want to read.

The calls for all manner of censorship are coming fast and furious, including censorship of COVID and vaccine-related information. Because you are not supposed -or allowed- to know. But what’s the value of all these technologies, be they digital or medical, if they end up being used against us?

 

 

 

 

“We could even cure psychiatric disorders, like “antisocial personality disorder,” “oppositional defiant disorder,” and other “conduct disorders” and “personality disorders.” Who knows?”

The Vaccine (Dis)Information War (CJ Hopkins)

So, good news, folks! It appears that GloboCap’s Genetic Modification Division has come up with a miracle vaccine for Covid! It’s an absolutely safe, non-experimental, messenger-RNA vaccine that teaches your cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response, just like your body’s immune-system response, only better, because it’s made by corporations! OK, technically, it hasn’t been approved for use — that process normally takes several years — so I guess it’s slightly “experimental,” but the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have issued “Emergency Use Authorizations,” and it has been “tested extensively for safety and effectiveness,” according to Facebook’s anonymous “fact checkers,” so there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.

This non-experimental experimental vaccine is truly a historic development, because apart from saving the world from a virus that causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms (or, more commonly, no symptoms whatsoever) in roughly 95% of those infected, and that over 99% of those infected survive, the possibilities for future applications of messenger-RNA technology, and the genetic modification of humans, generally, is virtually unlimited at this point. Imagine all the diseases we can cure, and all the genetic “mistakes” we can fix, now that we can reprogram people’s genes to do whatever we want … cancer, heart disease, dementia, blindness, not to mention the common cold! We could even cure psychiatric disorders, like “antisocial personality disorder,” “oppositional defiant disorder,” and other “conduct disorders” and “personality disorders.” Who knows?

In another hundred years, we will probably be able to genetically cleanse the human species of age-old scourges, like racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, etcetera, by reprogramming everyone’s defective alleles, or implanting some kind of nanotechnological neurosynaptic chips into our brains. The only thing standing in our way is people’s totally irrational resistance to letting corporations redesign the human organism, which, clearly, was rather poorly designed, and thus is vulnerable to all these horrible diseases, and emotional and behavioral disorders.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. The important thing at the moment is to defeat this common-flu-like pestilence that has no significant effect on age-adjusted death rates, and the mortality profile of which is more or less identical to the normal mortality profile, but which has nonetheless left the global corporatocracy no choice but to “lock down” the entire planet, plunge millions into desperate poverty, order everyone to wear medical-looking masks, unleash armed goon squads to raid people’s homes, and otherwise transform society into a pathologized-totalitarian nightmare. And, of course, the only way to do that (i.e., save humanity from a flu-like bug) is to coercively vaccinate every single human being on the planet Earth!

OK, you’re probably thinking that doesn’t make much sense, this crusade to vaccinate the entire species against a relatively standard respiratory virus, but that’s just because you are still thinking critically. You really need to stop thinking like that. As The New York Times just pointed out, “critical thinking isn’t helping.” In fact, it might be symptomatic of one of those “disorders” I just mentioned above.

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“All that remains is to topple a behemoth like Fox as a show of strength, leaving an untouchable Soviet-style union of Chuck Todds and Jennifer Rubins and Max Boots in charge of disseminating an approved™ top-down version of reality. “

Censoring Fox News Is An Insanely Stupid Idea (Taibbi)

Two and a half years ago, when Alex Jones of Infowars was kicked off a series of tech platforms in a clearly coordinated decision, I knew this was not going to be an isolated thing. Given that people like Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy were saying the ouster of Jones was just a “good first step,” it seemed obvious the tactic was not going to be confined to a few actors. But corporate media critics insisted the precedent would not be applied more broadly. “I don’t think we are going to be seeing big tech take action against Fox News… any time soon,” commented CNN’s Oliver Darcy. Darcy was wrong. Just a few years later, calls to ban Fox are not only common, they’re intensifying, with media voices from Brian Stelter on CNN to MSNBC analyst Anand Giridharadas to former Media Matters critic Eric Boehlert to Washington Post columnists Max Boot and Margaret Sullivan all on board.

The movement crested this week with a letter from California House Democrats Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, written to the CEOs of cable providers like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, and Dish. They demanded to know if those providers are “planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN… beyond any contract renewal date” and “if so, why? The news comes in advance of Wednesday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “traditional media’s role in promoting disinformation and extremism.” This sequence of events is ominous because a similar matched set of hearings and interrogations back in 2017 — when Senators like Mazie Hirono at a Judiciary Committee hearing demanded that platforms like Google and Facebook come up with a “mission statement” to prevent the “foment of discord” — accelerated the “content moderation” movement that now sees those same platforms regularly act as de facto political censors.

Sequences like this — government “requests” of speech reduction, made to companies subject to federal regulation — make the content moderation decisions of private firms a serious First Amendment issue. Censorship advocates may think this is purely a private affair, in which the only speech rights that matter are those of companies like Twitter and Google, but any honest person should be able to see this for what it is. [..] Press freedoms have been in steep decline for a while. Barack Obama’s record targeting of whistleblower sources (and in some cases, journalists themselves) using the Espionage Act was a first serious sign, followed by Donald Trump’s prosecution of Julian Assange. We progressed to a particularly dangerous new stage in recent years, with oligopolistic tech companies, urged on by politicians, engaging in anticompetitive agreements to suppress political voices on both the left and the right.

The so-called media reporters at major organizations like CNN and the New York Times have mostly either been silent or have played cheerleading roles during the most eyebrow-raising recent developments: the decision by Facebook and Twitter to block access to a pre-election New York Post story about Hunter Biden, the stunning exercise in monopoly influence by Amazon and Apple in swallowing up the “free speech” platform Parler, the banning of Socialist Worker Party accounts in England and the U.S., and the shutdown of livestream capability by alternative media outlets (and the removal of celebrated footage shot from the Capitol riot by people like Status Coup videographer Jon Farina), a story that amazingly only got major play at… Fox News.

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They’re assaulting free speech. Not just press freedoms.

House Democrats Are Assaulting Core Press Freedoms (Greenwald)

Not even two months into their reign as the majority party that controls the White House and both houses of Congress, key Democrats have made clear that one of their top priorities is censorship of divergent voices. On Saturday, I detailed how their escalating official campaign to coerce and threaten social media companies into more aggressively censoring views that they dislike — including by summoning social media CEOs to appear before them for the third time in less than five months — is implicating, if not already violating, core First Amendment rights of free speech. Now they are going further — much further. The same Democratic House Committee that is demanding greater online censorship from social media companies now has its sights set on the removal of conservative cable outlets, including Fox News, from the airwaves.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday announced a February 24 hearing, convened by one of its sub-committees, entitled “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media.” Claiming that “the spread of disinformation and extremism by traditional news media presents a tangible and destabilizing threat,” the Committee argues: “Some broadcasters’ and cable networks’ increasing reliance on conspiracy theories and misleading or patently false information raises questions about their devotion to journalistic integrity.” Since when is it the role of the U.S. Government to arbitrate and enforce precepts of “journalistic integrity”? Unless you believe in the right of the government to regulate and control what the press says — a power which the First Amendment explicitly prohibits — how can anyone be comfortable with members of Congress arrogating unto themselves the power to dictate what media outlets are permitted to report and control how they discuss and analyze the news of the day?

[..] For the last four years, we were inundated with media messaging that Trump posed an unprecedented threat to press freedoms. The Washington Post even flamboyantly adopted a new motto to implicitly ratify that accusation (while claiming it was not Trump-specific). Other than the indictment of Julian Assange — which most Washington Democrats cheered — what did the Trump administration do in the way of attacking press freedoms that remotely compares to Democrats abusing their majoritarian power to force the removal of conservative cable outlets from the airwaves, just days after doing the same with dissident voices online?

There is not a peep of protest from any liberal journalists. Do any of the people who spent four years pretending to care so deeply about the vital role of press freedom have anything to say about this full frontal attack by the majority party in Washington on news outlets opposed to their political agenda and ideology?

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Twitter is full of tweets that MIGHT contain hacked materials.

Twitter Adds Controversial ‘Hacked Materials’ Warning Label To Tweets (Mash.)

“These materials may have been obtained through hacking,” reads the disclaimer affixed to a tweet linking to a story from independent news outlet, The Grayzone. The tweet was originally posted on Feb. 20. However, three days later, users began to notice the label added to The Grayzone’s tweet. (It is not yet clear when exactly the label appeared.) Furthermore, readers discovered that an extra step was added when trying to retweet posts linking to The Grayzone’s story: A pop-up appeared reiterating the warning label and asking users to “help keep Twitter a place for reliable info.” A link is included which forwards users to Twitter’s “distribution of hacked materials” policy.


The Grayzone’s story sources recently hacked and leaked documents which allegedly show that the BBC and Reuters participated in a program created by the UK government to “weaken Russia’s state influence.” This appears to be the first instance of Twitter using this particular warning label on an English-language outlet. A search on the platform found one other instance of a version of the “hacked materials” warning label being used. This one was stamped on an Italian outlet’s tweet regarding Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in January. “These materials may have been obtained through hacking or may be manipulated,” reads the earlier warning label on the tweet, which is in Italian.

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”.. the United States is swiftly “moving into a coup situation, a police state..”

Naomi Wolf Sounds Alarm At Growing Power Of ‘Autocratic Tyrants’ (Fox)

America is becoming a “totalitarian state before our eyes” under President Biden’s leadership, feminist author and former Democratic adviser Naomi Wolf told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday. Wolf, who served as an adviser on Bill Clinton’s reelection campaign in 1996, told host Tucker Carlson that in her view, the United States is swiftly “moving into a coup situation, a police state” as a result of Biden’s ongoing coronavirus-related economic shutdowns. Wolf added that she believes the orders are being improperly extended under the “guise of a real medical pandemic.” “That is not a partisan thing,” Wolf told Carlson. “That transcends everything that you and I might disagree or agree on. That should bring together left and right to protect our Constitution.”

Wolf has ramped up her warnings against extended lockdowns on Twitter in recent months. In November, the author wrote on Twitter that Biden’s openness to reinstating additional shutdowns made her question her decision to vote for him. “The state has now crushed businesses, kept us from gathering in free assembly to worship as the First Amendment provides, is invading our bodies … which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, restricting movement, fining us in New York state … the violations go on and on,” she said. The outspoken liberal, who previously authored a book outlining the ten steps that “would-be tyrants always take when they want to close down a democracy,” believes the United States is heading toward what she refers to as “step 10.”

“Whether they are on the left or the right, they do these same ten things,” Wolf explained, “and now we’re at something I never thought I would see in my lifetime … it is step 10 and that is the suspension of the rule of law and that is when you start to be a police state, and we’re here. There is no way around it.” Wolf said she has interviewed U.S. citizens of various backgrounds and political affiliations who are in a state of “shock and horror” as “autocratic tyrants at the state and now the national level are creating this kind of merger of corporate power and government power, which is really characteristic of totalism fascism in the ’20’s,” she told Carlson.

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“..more powerful than QAnon and far more destructive.”

Tucker Carlson Calls CNN a ‘Disinformation Network’ (Med.)

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson went after CNN on Tuesday night and called the cable news rival “more powerful” and “more destructive” than the QAnon conspiracy theory. Carlson brought up people on CNN talking about disinformation online and said they’re the ones who are really pushing disinformation, telling viewers that CNN is upset at the internet because “it’s exposing their scam.” In particular Carlson referred to coverage from CNN and others about issues of race and police shootings. “It’s worth finding out where the public is getting all this false information, this disinformation, as we will call it,” Carlson mockingly said. “So we checked. We spent all day trying to locate the famous QAnon, which in the end we learned is not even a website.


“If it’s out there, we could not find it. Then we checked Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter feed because we have heard she traffics in disinformation, CNN told us, but nothing there.” He continued taking shots at CNN, and said the media talking about racism is meant to distract people from questions about Wall Street, before concluding with this: “It takes a sophisticated operator to lie this effectively, to take the central problem of American life, which is the agonizing death of our middle class and cover it with a smokescreen of manufactured race hatred, so that no one even realizes it’s happening. You’d really need to be a — as CNN would put it — a disinformation network to pull that off. And of course the irony is… CNN itself has become a disinformation network, more powerful than QAnon and far more destructive.”

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Inevitable.

60 Years After Eisenhower’s Warning, The ‘Digital-Intelligence Complex’ (RCI)

In June 2019, Susan Gordon stood on a stage at the Washington Convention Center. Behind her loomed three giant letters, “AWS,” the abbreviation for Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing division of the giant Internet retailer. After three decades at the Central Intelligence Agency, Gordon had risen to one of the top jobs in the cloak-and-dagger world: principal deputy director of national intelligence. From that perch she publicly extolled the virtues of Amazon Web Services and the cloud services the tech giant provides the CIA. She told the crowd that the intelligence community’s 2013 decision to sign a multi-year, $600 million contract with AWS for cloud computing “will stand as one of those that caused the greatest leap forward.

… The investment we made so many years ago in order to be able to try and harness the power of the cloud with a partner who wanted to learn and grow with us has left us not only ready for today but positioned for tomorrow.”The agreement was also a “real game-changer,” said André Pienaar, founder and CEO of a tech firm called C5 Capital, whose business includes reselling AWS services. “When the CIA said they were going adopt the AWS cloud platform,” Pienaar said at another AWS event. “People said if the U.S. intelligence community has the confidence to feel secure on the AWS cloud, why can’t we?” Gordon left government in August 2019, two months after her AWS summit talk. In November 2019 she became senior advisor to a consultancy with close Amazon connections and in April joined the board of defense contractor with extensive AWS business.

Gordon is one of scores of former government officials who have landed lucrative work in Big Tech. The synergy between Washington and Silicon Valley can be seen as the latest manifestation of the Beltway’s revolving door. But the size and scope of Big Tech – and the increasing dependence of government on its products and talent – suggest something more: the rise of a Digital-Intelligence Complex. Like the Military-Industrial Complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in 1961, it represents a symbiotic relationship in which the lines between one and the other are blurred.

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They’re first going demand to see what he has and then silence him.

Why a Durham Report Is Becoming Highly Unlikely (ET)

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they want to know if President Joe Biden’s nominee for Attorney General Merrick Garland will allow Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crossfire Hurricane probe to continue. “I have no reason to think he should not remain in place,” Garland told Sen. Chuck Grassley Monday.In reality, if confirmed Garland will not allow Durham to stay in place, never mind issue a report. The prospect that Biden’s attorney general might allow Durham to indict former Barack Obama administration officials is ludicrous. Remember that documents released over the last year gave evidence that as vice-president Biden was not only aware of the spying operation against Trump officials but participated in it.

Biden not only knew that the FBI was framing incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn but suggested that the Department of Justice might charge Flynn for violating the Logan Act. In other words, the FBI officials that Durham is reportedly investigating are Biden’s co-conspirators. To allow them to be indicted would not only point to Biden’s guilt but also show that the most powerful man in the world is unable or unwilling to protect allies who have helped advance the cause of the party he now leads. That would show Biden to be weak. Garland understands that his primary duty as Biden’s chief law enforcement officer is not to oversee the fair and equal treatment of all Americans under the law, but to protect the president and the party he serves.

[..] Biden’s attorney general has an additional incentive to shut down Durham for good. Let’s say the special counsel has the evidence to indict the senior FBI officials he has been investigating. That would confirm what Republicans have been saying about Crossfire Hurricane since 2017—the FBI wasn’t investigating Russian interference, it was spying on a presidential candidate and then the commander-in-chief. To show that Biden’s party was lying about that would suggest that maybe the Democrats were lying about other things, too, maybe lying about everything. They lied about the phone call that got Trump impeached; they lied about the “mostly peaceful” George Floyd riots; they lied about the Jan. 6 protests by calling them an armed insurrection; and most importantly, they lied about the transparency and legitimacy of the 2020 election.

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“The U.S. has seen its share of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity plummet in recent decades, according to Boston Consulting Group. What was 37% in 1990 is now down to 12%.”

US And Allies To Build ‘China-free’ Tech Supply Chain (Nikkei)

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order as early as this month to accelerate efforts to build supply chains for chips and other strategically significant products that are less reliant on China, in partnership with the likes of Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. The document will order the development of a national supply chain strategy, and is expected to call for recommendations for supply networks that are less vulnerable to disruptions such as disasters and sanctions by unfriendly countries. Measures will focus on semiconductors, electric-vehicle batteries, rare-earth metals and medical products, according to a draft obtained by Nikkei.

The order states that “working with allies can lead to strong, resilient supply chains,” suggesting that international relationships will be central to this plan. Washington is expected to pursue partnerships with Taiwan, Japan and South Korea in chip production and Asia-Pacific economies including Australia in rare earths. The U.S. plans to share information with allies on supply networks for important products and will look to leverage complementary production. It will consider a framework for speedy sharing of these items in emergencies, as well as discuss securing stockpiles and spare manufacturing capacity. Partners could be asked to do less business with China.

The issue has taken on added urgency with a chip shortage this year that has hit automakers particularly hard. The U.S. has seen its share of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity plummet in recent decades, according to Boston Consulting Group. What was 37% in 1990 is now down to 12%. While it has asked Taiwan — which tops the list at 22% — to ramp up output, plants there are already operating at full blast, and there are few options for boosting supply in the short term.

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You’re using the wrong test.

Finland COVID-19 Variant Reportedly May Not Show Up In Tests (NYP)

Scientists fear that a new COVID-19 variant in Finland — different from the UK and South African strains — may be fueling the spread of the disease by not showing up in tests, according to reports. The Helsinki-based Vita Laboratories, which made the discovery, said it’s unlikely the variant emerged in Finland, given the Scandinavian country’s low rate of infection, the Evening Standard reported. “Vita Laboratoriot Oy and the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki have detected a previously unknown variant of the coronavirus in a sample from southern Finland,” the lab said about the variant, dubbed “Fin-796H.”


“Mutations in this variant make it difficult to detect in at least one of the WHO-recommended PCR tests. This discovery could have a significant impact on determining the spread of the disease,” it added. Ilkka Julkunen, a professor of virology at the University of Turku, told the local news outlet Yle that the emergence of the variant was not a major concern yet. “I would not be hugely worried yet because we do not have clear information that this new strain would be more easily transmitted or that it would affect the immune protection brought about by already having had the virus or having received a vaccination,” he said, according to the Standard.

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Lockdown Syndrome.

Japan Appoints “Minister Of Loneliness” (ZH)

Japan like many other developed nations witnessed an alarming rise in suicides or attempted suicides over this past year of pandemic shutdowns and social distancing measures. The country was already at crisis levels even before the pandemic (though generally on a downward trajectory the prior decade), with recent studies showing it to be “the leading cause of death in men among the ages of 20-44 and women among the ages of 15 to 34.” To tackle the crisis, especially in the midst of this COVID-induced period of greater social isolation, Japan’s government has appointed a “Minister of Loneliness” after the UK became the first country to establish such a position in 2018.

The most recent numbers cited in Japanese media reports say that 879 women killed themselves in the country during the month of October, a figure that marks a whopping 70% increase compared to the same month from 2019. Officials have noted that the pandemic and oftentimes mandated social distancing measures have appeared to have a harsher impact on women. According to Japan Times, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga earlier in the month appointed as the new Minister of Loneliness a 70-year old veteran politician named Tetsushi Sakamoto. It is a cabinet level position which aims to alleviate social isolation among citizens.

He’ll head up an ’emergency taskforce’ to battle the disturbing spike in suicides nationally as his first order of business. “With isolation tied to an array of social woes such as suicide, poverty and hikikomori (social recluses), the Cabinet Office also established a task force Friday that seeks to address the problem of loneliness across various ministries, including by investigating its impact,” Japan Times writes. “According to preliminary figures released by the National Police Agency, 20,919 people took their own lives in 2020, up 750 from the previous year and marking the first year-on-year increase in 11 years. The surge is largely attributed to a noticeable rise in suicides among women and young people,” the report pointed out.

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Oct 282020
 


Gustav Klimt Pine forest I 1901

 

Last Round-up at the Wokester Corral (Jim Kunstler)
Multi-Organ Impairment In Low-Risk Individuals With Long COVID (medrxiv)
UK Study Finds Evidence Of Waning Antibody Immunity To COVID19 Over Time (R.)
Spanish Doctors In First Walkout In 25 Years To Protest New COVID19 Order (ZH)
White House Watch: Biden 49%, Trump 47% (Rasmussen)
Don’t Believe The Polls – Trump Is Winning (Hill)
Bobulinski Says He Met Joe Biden Twice In Connection With Chinese Venture (JTN)
How The Authenticity of Hunter’s Laptop Became Immaterial (Turley)
Biden Calls Russia #1 Threat But Slammed Romney For Saying It In 2012 (JTN)
Senate Investigates Hunter Biden’s Failure to Register as Foreign Agent (RCI)
The Last Days of the Trumpian Reich (CJ Hopkins)
‘Covid First’ China Is Trumping ‘America First’ In Economic Recovery (Roach)
Banksy’s Foolproof Plan for Dealing With Anyone Who Steals His Art (Y!)
Newly Sworn-In ACB Immediately Orders All Women To Wear Handmaid Outfit (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Kim Dotcom Joe Biden

 

 

“…a free society is obliged to tolerate the expression of disagreeable ideas up to the limit, as the Supreme Court put it, of “crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”

Last Round-up at the Wokester Corral (Jim Kunstler)

I have some questions for former friends who have dumped me on account of my support for Mr. Trump’s re-election — which is mostly a vote to prevent the Democratic Party and its fellow travelers from running the government. On the whole, these former friends are college-educated, mature in experience, and cultured. Some of them are well-acquainted with history, which is to say, they ought to know better than to support the obviously illiberal motives of the political Left. Are you against the principle of free speech? The Democratic Party is. They used to be champions of the First Amendment; now they want to make it conditional on ideas and sentiments they support. Contrary ideas are to be labeled “hate speech,” and suppressed, along with anything that might hurt somebody’s feelings.

How did you come to such a complete misunderstanding of what free speech means? Namely, that a free society is obliged to tolerate the expression of disagreeable ideas up to the limit, as the Supreme Court put it, of “crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” I will answer my own question partially by saying: you have been programmed against free speech by what used to be the very vehicles of it, the newspapers and TV News channels, which have, amazingly, come out against freedom of the press and turned into propaganda outlets for Woke Progressivism and its illiberal agenda — thereby inadvertently committing suicide of the entire profession. We’ve seen this acted-out most vividly just the past week in the social media companies’ efforts to suppress all news of the Biden family’s global business operations, along with The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, and other leading news organizations that Americans used to depend on to know what was happening in the nation.

This is especially unforgivable during a national election. Did you support the movement on campus in recent years to shut down events featuring speakers such as Charles Murray (The Bell Curve), Heather Mac Donald of City Journal, Dinesh D’Souza, and many others who represented not-so-Woke ideas that “offended” you? Since when are your feelings so special that they negate the open exchange of ideas in the places that used to be dedicated to it, the universities? Should higher education only entertain ideas that you and your cohorts approve of? What if, in some future, a different cohort gains control of higher education and seeks to exclude your ideas on the grounds that they’re “offensive” (i.e. they just don’t like them)?

Are you in favor of a politicized Department of Justice and CIA? That is what the Democratic Party’s Resistance League deliberately brought about during the 2016 election, and they continue to promote it. Is it okay for bureaucrats to break the law to disable their political adversaries? That was the essence of the RussiaGate ruse. Former employees of those agencies, such as ex-CIA chief John Brennan and Andrew Weissmann, who ran the Mueller investigation, to this day still hype “Russian collusion” falsehoods to deflect attention from their own misdeeds. You let them get away with that.

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201 participants, median age 44, 70% women, large majority not high risk. Only 18% hospitalized. Median time 140 days from first symptom: 99% suffered at least four symptoms. 42% suffered at least ten. In 66%, injuries in at least one organ, in 25% in at least two organs.

Multi-Organ Impairment In Low-Risk Individuals With Long COVID (medrxiv)

Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has disproportionately affected older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions. Research has focused on short-term outcomes in hospital, and single organ involvement. Consequently, impact of long COVID (persistent symptoms three months post-infection) across multiple organs in low-risk individuals is yet to be assessed.

Methods An ongoing prospective, longitudinal, two-centre, observational study was performed in individuals symptomatic after recovery from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. Symptoms and organ function (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen) were assessed by standardised questionnaires (EQ-5D-5L, Dyspnoea-12), blood investigations and quantitative magnetic resonance imaging, defining single and multi-organ impairment by consensus definitions.

Findings Between April and September 2020, 201 individuals (mean age 44 (SD 11.0) years, 70% female, 87% white, 31% healthcare workers) completed assessments following SARS-CoV-2 infection (median 140, IQR 105-160 days after initial symptoms). The prevalence of pre-existing conditions (obesity: 20%, hypertension: 6%; diabetes: 2%; heart disease: 4%) was low, and only 18% of individuals had been hospitalised with COVID-19. Fatigue (98%), muscle aches (88%), breathlessness (87%), and headaches (83%) were the most frequently reported symptoms. Ongoing cardiorespiratory (92%) and gastrointestinal (73%) symptoms were common, and 42% of individuals had ten or more symptoms.

There was evidence of mild organ impairment in heart (32%), lungs (33%), kidneys (12%), liver (10%), pancreas (17%), and spleen (6%). Single (66%) and multi-organ (25%) impairment was observed, and was significantly associated with risk of prior COVID-19 hospitalisation (p<0.05).

Interpretation In a young, low-risk population with ongoing symptoms, almost 70% of individuals have impairment in one or more organs four months after initial symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There are implications not only for burden of long COVID but also public health approaches which have assumed low risk in young people with no comorbidities.

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It’s the combination of the article above, and this one, that has me thinking. Both talk about what happens in a 6 month period or longer.

UK Study Finds Evidence Of Waning Antibody Immunity To COVID19 Over Time (R.)

Antibodies against the novel coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer, a study found on Tuesday, suggesting protection after infection may not be long lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community. Scientists at Imperial College London have tracked antibody levels in the British population following the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April. Their study found that antibody prevalence fell by a quarter, from 6% of the population around the end of June to just 4.4% in September. That raises the prospect of decreasing population immunity ahead of a second wave of infections in recent weeks that has forced local lockdowns and restrictions.

Although immunity to the novel coronavirus is a complex and murky area, and may be assisted by T cells, as well as B cells that can stimulate the quick production of antibodies following re-exposure to the virus, the researchers said the experience of other coronaviruses suggested immunity might not be enduring. “We can see the antibodies and we can see them declining and we know that antibodies on their own are quite protective,” Wendy Barclay, head of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London told reporters. “On the balance of evidence I would say, with what we know for other coronaviruses, it would look as if immunity declines away at the same rate as antibodies decline away, and that this is an indication of waning immunity at the population level.”

Those for whom COVID-19 was confirmed with a gold standard PCR test had a less pronounced decline in antibodies, compared to people who had been asymptomatic and unaware of their original infection. There was no change in the levels of antibodies seen in healthcare workers, possibly due to repeated exposure to the virus. The study backs up findings from similar surveys in Germany which found the vast majority of people didn’t have COVID-19 antibodies, even in hotspots for the disease, and that antibodies might fade in those who do.

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“The order requires doctors and nurses to report to any of a range of assignments that could be handed to them by the government during the state of emergency..”

Spanish Doctors In First Walkout In 25 Years To Protest New COVID19 Order (ZH)

Doctors across Spain have walked out on Tuesday in what media outlets have called the first medical strike to rock the country in 25 years. As the coronavirus pandemic rages across Spain, where the Health Ministry reported another 18,418 new daily cases on Tuesday, doctors are beginning the strike, which was called in defiance of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s latest emergency order, which was implemented on Sunday. The order requires doctors and nurses to report to any of a range of assignments that could be handed to them by the government during the state of emergency, which could be in place for months. Doctors complained that the new law violated their rights, and compromised the standard of care for patients, as doctors would end up working in an area they weren’t specialized in.


The strike will continue indefinitely, with doctors set to continue striking on the last Tuesday of every month until a deal has been reached. For the first time, 200,000 new cases were confirmed in Spain over the previous two weeks, and cases on Tuesday were up 33% compared with the prior week. And over the last 24 hours, another 267 people have died. “The Health Ministry hasn’t even dignified us with a meeting to try and get us to call off the strike,” he told Spanish health journal iSanidad. Spain’s hospitals harbor nearly 16,700 active COVID-19 patients – up more than 600 compared to Monday, with one quarter of all the country’s ICU units used to treat those with an infectious disease.

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The day before, Trump was ahead.

White House Watch: Biden 49%, Trump 47% (Rasmussen)

Democrat Joe Biden has edged back ahead in Rasmussen Reports’ daily White House Watch survey. The latest national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Biden earning 49% support to President Trump’s 47%. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, while two percent (2%) are still undecided. Yesterday, Trump was ahead for the first time since mid-September – by a minimal 48% to 47%. The race has been tightening since early in the month.


Rasmussen Reports has been releasing White House Watch weekly on Wednesdays since the beginning of July. But starting this week, White House Watch will be posted daily at 10:30 am Eastern. Trump earns 82% support among Republicans. Biden has 78% of the Democrat vote and leads by three among voters not affiliated with either major party. The survey of 1,500 Likely Voters was conducted October 22 and 25-26, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

Trump: VOTE

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FYI.

Don’t Believe The Polls – Trump Is Winning (Hill)

We predict that President Trump is going to win the 2020 presidential election — and win big. While the majority of the polls suggest that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading, or at best that it’s close, those polls suffer from at least three problems. First, the tone of the questions. There is significant evidence from behavioral psychology that suggests that the way a question is framed predetermines the range of potential answers. In fact, Gallup has found that respondents can answer very differently to questions with the same topic even in the same survey based on the language that’s used. And the use of metaphors can even dwarf the importance of pre-existing differences between Republicans and Democrats.

One of the reasons respondents do that is because of a tendency to give socially desirable answers, which was the case especially during the 2016 election. Most people don’t like confrontation, so the easiest, albeit not necessarily the best, solution is to avoid it. Right now, saying that you’re voting for Trump/Pence is often not the socially desirable answer. In fact, a recent poll by the Cato Institute suggests that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the political climate is sufficiently harsh that they don’t want to give their genuine opinion about politics.

Second, the sample of respondents. Who responds depends on many factors, including the medium (e.g., landline versus cellphone), the location, the sample size and demographic factors. Moreover, the pool of respondents is not necessarily the same as the pool of likely voters. Even though election polls all contain a margin of error, that margin of error is unreliable if the underlying sample does not reflect the population. Researchers have also identified self-screening as the major contributing factor to the polling failures during the 2016 election cycle. For example, distrust of pollsters also leads to lower response rates for Trump supporters. Rasmussen finds that 17 percent of likely U.S. voters who “strongly approve” of the job President Trump is doing say they are less likely to let others know how they intend to vote in the upcoming election.

By comparison, only 8 percent of those who “strongly disapprove” of the president’s performance say the same. While proper sampling methodology matters more than the size, having a representative sample with enough people still helps considerably. Robert Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group notes how their work to create minimum samples sizes of 1,000 voters, added to their work to doggedly pursue the “quiet Trump voter,” led to Trafalgar being one of the most successful battleground polling firms in the country in 2016. Cahaly explains that “we don’t do a state with less than a thousand. You see these polls, 400, 500, 600 people for a state. I don’t buy that. Your margin of error is far too high.”

Third, the content of the current news cycle. What’s going on in a particular moment in time can influence voter attitudes, particularly in swing states. For example, the recent revelation of Hunter Biden’s hidden emails on his laptop, coupled with the link to his father, has come at an opportune time for the president. Moreover, if the economic recovery continues, the good news may continue putting wind in Trump’s sails.

Leaflet left on reporters’ chairs in Airforce One.

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Crickets in the MSM.

Bobulinski Says He Met Joe Biden Twice In Connection With Chinese Venture (JTN)

In a lengthy interview with Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night, former Biden family business associate Tony Bobulinski accused Joe Biden of a “blatant lie” in denying any familiarity with his son Hunter’s business undertakings, claiming he himself met with Biden on two separate occasions to discuss prospective ventures into Chinese markets. Bobulinski painted a picture of the Democratic presidential nominee as actively aware in broad strokes of plans for the Biden family to enter into a business partnership with Chinese nationals closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army — yet with Biden himself maintaining enough distance from the operational details in face-to-face encounters to preserve what his brother Jim Biden would characterize as “plausible deniability.”


Biden’s family members, Bobuilnski claimed, were “putting their entire family legacy on the line” in their dealings with the Chinese. “They knew exactly what they were doing,” he said. They were dealing with a Chinese owned enterprise … that had strong financial support and political support from the Chinese Communist Party. That’s how it was presented to me. That’s not my own words. That’s how they presented it to me and read me in on it.” Bobulinski made headlines last week when he claimed to have firsthand evidence of Biden’s involvement in those deals. “I’ve seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business,” Bobulinski said in a statement. “I’ve seen firsthand that that’s not true.”

Tucker Bobulinkski

In a largely unbroken 45-minute interview with Carlson on Tuesday, Bobulinski further went on the record, telling the Fox host that he was approached by the Biden family and several associates in 2017 in order to help manage a business venture in China. Bobulinski said he met with Biden at the Milken Institute’s 2017 Global Conference in Los Angeles. “They were wining and dining me to get me more engaged,” he told Carlson. “I didn’t request to meet with Joe,” Bobulinski said. “They requested I meet with Joe.” Bobulinski, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant, said he met with Biden twice in the course of his association with the family. Biden reportedly told Bobulinski to “keep an eye on Hunter and [Biden’s brother] James” during their dealings.


Chinese officials, Bobulinski said, looked at him as “irrelevant,” seeing “the Biden family” as the main focus of their dealings. He claimed that the Bidens received a $5 million no-collateral, no-interest loan from Chinese officials. Bobulinski was motivated to come forward, he told Carlson, after California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff denounced recently leaked emails involving Hunter Biden as “Russian disinformation.” That allegation, Bobulinski told Carlson, also smeared his own family’s name. “I was at the end of the rope,” he said. “I called [Biden associate] Rob Walker. I told him if that statement wasn’t retracted by midnight on Sunday then I was going on record.”

Tucker Bobulinkski 8 Minutes
https://twitter.com/i/status/1321285423793131527

Read more …

“It simply does not matter. It is disinformation because it is simply inconvenient to treat it as real information.”

How The Authenticity of Hunter’s Laptop Became Immaterial (Turley)

Yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden was again insisting that the scandal involving Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation despite the direct refutation of that claim by the FBI. No mainstream reporter bothered to ask the simple question of whether this was his son’s laptop and emails, including emails clearly engaging in an influence peddling scheme and referring to Joe Biden’s knowledge. Instead, media has maintained a consistent and narrow focus. Indeed, in her interview, Leslie Stahl immediately dismissed any “scandal” involving Hunter in an interview with the President on 60 Minutes. It was an open example of what I previously noted in a column: “After all, an allegation is a scandal only if it is damaging. No coverage, no damage, no scandal.”

In her interview with Joe Biden, CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell did not push Biden to simply confirm that the emails were fake or whether he did in fact meet with Hunter’s associates (despite his prior denials). Instead O’Donnell asked: “Do you believe the recent leak of material allegedly from Hunter’s computer is part of a Russian disinformation campaign?” Biden responded with the same answer that has gone unchallenged dozens of times: “From what I’ve read and know the intelligence community warned the president that Giuliani was being fed disinformation from the Russians. And we also know that Putin is trying very hard to spread disinformation about Joe Biden. And so when you put the combination of Russia, Giuliani– the president, together– it’s just what it is. It’s a smear campaign because he has nothing he wants to talk about. What is he running on? What is he running on?”

It did not matter that the answer omitted the key assertion that this was not Hunter’s laptop or emails or that he did not leave the computer with this store. Recently, Washington Post columnist Thomas Rid wrote said the quiet part out loud by telling the media: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.” Let that sink in for a second. It does not matter if these are real emails and not Russian disinformation. They probably are real but should be treated as disinformation even though American intelligence has repeatedly rebutted that claim. It does not even matter that the FBI has seized the computer as evidence in a criminal fraud investigation or that a Biden confidant is now giving his allegations to the FBI under threat of criminal charges if he lies to investigators. It simply does not matter. It is disinformation because it is simply inconvenient to treat it as real information.

Read more …

Times change. RussiaRussia has become indispensible.

Biden Calls Russia #1 Threat But Slammed Romney For Saying It In 2012 (JTN)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden recently identified Russia as the number one threat to America but in 2012, when he was vice president, Biden called then-GOP presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney “out of touch” for taking the same position. Biden said Romney views the “world through a Cold War prism that is totally out of touch with the realities of the 21st century.” Biden slammed Romney for referring to Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe,” which was greeted with laughter from members of the audience watching Biden’s address in April 2012. “Governor Romney is mired in a Cold War mindset,” Biden said in a foreign policy speech at New York University in 2012.

Biden referred to Romney’s criticism of Obama’s handling of the New START treaty, which was a nuclear arms control treaty reached with Russia in 2010. “Governor Romney was part of a very small group of Cold War holdovers who never met an arms control treaty that he likes,” he said. “He was way out of the mainstream on this issue, unless you think that’s just political hyperbole.” “He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on, Russia is still our major adversary,” Biden said in an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” in 2012. “I don’t know where he has been. We have disagreements with Russia, but they’re united with us on Iran. One of only two ways we’re getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia … if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they’ll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. This is not 1956.”

In October 2012, Obama mocked Romney’s position on Russia as the top threat to the U.S. during a presidential debate. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Obama said. In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday evening, Biden said Russia is the greatest threat to the U.S. “The biggest threat to America right now in terms of breaking up our security and our alliances is Russia,” he said.

Read more …

“The email indicates Hunter was familiar with the requirements of the law. It is a crime to knowingly violate FARA. Violations carry a maximum punishment of five years in prison.”

Senate Investigates Hunter Biden’s Failure to Register as Foreign Agent (RCI)

A search of Justice Department databases reveals that Hunter Biden failed to register as a foreign agent while promoting the interests of foreign business partners in Washington, including brokering meetings with his father and other government officials, and RealClear Investigations has learned at least one Senate committee is investigating whether Joe Biden’s son violated federal laws requiring disclosure of such foreign contacts. The Obama administration did not prosecute Hunter Biden for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, despite its much more aggressive pursuit of FARA cases relative to other administrations — including its opening of criminal investigations on no fewer than six Trump campaign advisers in 2016.

One of them, Paul Manafort, ended up in prison in part for failing to publicly disclose his lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian clients and partners. Newly discovered April 2015 emails show Hunter Biden appeared to be helping a Ukrainian energy executive meet with and lobby his father, who was vice president at the time. Hunter, who held a lucrative seat on the board of Ukrainian gas giant Burisma at the time, also sought meetings with State Department officials. None of these contacts was publicly disclosed in government filings, according to a search of both FARA and Lobbying Disclosure Act records, which show Hunter registered as a federal lobbyist in 2001 and stopped filing disclosures in 2008. In contrast, Hunter’s former law partner and fellow lobbyist, William Oldaker, has registered as a foreign agent under FARA. Oldaker is Joe Biden’s longtime campaign lawyer and fundraiser.

At least one Senate committee is actively investigating Hunter’s compliance with the FARA law. Though it has not sent a criminal referral to Justice, RCI has also learned that a public-interest law firm is preparing a complaint to Justice regarding Hunter Biden’s arranging meetings between his foreign contacts and his father when he was vice president. Former investigators and prosecutors say the uneven enforcement of the federal statute smacks of politics. “It’s a double standard, 100%,” said former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker, who led public corruption cases out of Washington. Added Swecker, who also served as a prosecutor: “It’s strange how in this election there is no curiosity whatsoever about foreign influence on a potential president of the United States, especially from this country’s greatest threat — China.”

[..] In a May 2017 email, their mutual business partner, James Biden, sent his nephew Hunter, Bobulinski and other partners a list of friendly American political contacts whom they could exploit to advance the proposed joint venture with their Chinese partners. Among the “key domestic contacts” were: Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who is now Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate. (FARA records show James Biden has not registered as a foreign agent, either.) In an earlier email that same month, Hunter sought to avoid registering as a foreign agent as part of the venture. “We don’t want to have to register as foreign agents,” he told Bobulinski on May 1, 2017, and suggested setting up a U.S. shell company to work around it. The email indicates Hunter was familiar with the requirements of the law. It is a crime to knowingly violate FARA. Violations carry a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

@RobertPLewis: “I didn’t think the audio from Hunter Biden’s laptop could be worse than the child endangerment pics, but it is. Verbal admission from Hunter that he knew he and his dad were in bed & business with Chinese intelligence. Bruh. That’s treason”

Hunter: F*cking spy chief of China

Read more …

“Trump will face some sort of Nuremberg trial, where he will have to answer for mass-murdering six million people with the Coronavirus by taking off his mask on the White House balcony. Hillary Clinton will be appointed … something.”

The Last Days of the Trumpian Reich (CJ Hopkins)

So, according to the corporate media, this is it for Russian-backed Hitler. Game over. The walls are closing in. It’s the last days of the Trumpian Reich. Get those vuvuzelas ready! Yes, apparently, the American people, who were all a bunch of Putin-worshipping, white-supremacist neo-Nazis when they elected Trump in 2016, have come to their senses and are going to deliver a landslide victory to “Slappy” Joe Biden and bring down the curtain on this “Age of Darkness,” or save the world from “racial Orwellianism” or the “bottomless pit of facsism,” or whatever. White supremacy will be defeated and globalization will rise from the ashes! Decency will be restored! Love will trump hate! Black lives will matter!

Slappy and Kamala will immediately fly down and liberate the concentration camps. Trump will face some sort of Nuremberg trial, where he will have to answer for mass-murdering six million people with the Coronavirus by taking off his mask on the White House balcony. Hillary Clinton will be appointed … something. Exuberant liberals will pour into the streets, chanting unintelligible slogans through their designer masks and plastic head bubbles. OK, sure, the global economy will be ruined, and millions of people will be unemployed, and homeless, or will have needlessly died, so that GloboCap could simulate an apocalyptic global plague, and foment racialized civil unrest, and just generally create an atmosphere of confusion, depression, and paranoia, but the War on Populism will finally be over … and GloboCap will start to “Build Back Better!”

OK, it won’t be “better” right away. As our friends at the World Economic Forum note: “Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, the world is off-balance – and it will remain so for years to come. Far from settling into a ‘new normal’, we should expect a Covid19 domino effect, triggering further disruptions – positive as well as negative – over the decade ahead. The wave of civil unrest that spread across America and beyond recently may be one example …” So, all right, maybe not quite the end of the War on Populism, but at least a new stage of it. A chaotic, destructive, violent stage of it, which will require a lot of “emergency measures” and will end up radically transforming the planet into one big pathologized-totalitarian marketplace.

Read more …

Stephen Roach knows a thing or two.

‘Covid First’ China Is Trumping ‘America First’ In Economic Recovery (Roach)

Just as China led the world in economic recovery in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, it is playing a similar role today. Its post-Covid rebound is gathering momentum amid a developed world that remains on shaky ground. Unfortunately, this is a bitter pill for many to swallow – especially in the United States, where demonisation of China has reached epic proportions. The two crises are, of course, different. Wall Street was ground zero for the 2008 crisis, while the Covid-19 pandemic was spawned in the wet markets of Wuhan. But in both cases, China’s crisis-response strategy was far more effective than that deployed by the US. In the five years following the onset of the 2008 crisis, annual real GDP growth in China averaged 8.6 per cent (on a purchasing power parity basis).

While that was slower than the blistering (and unsustainable) 11.6 per cent average pace of the five previous years, it was four times the US economy’s anaemic 2.1 per cent average annual growth over the post-crisis 2010-14 period. China’s pandemic response hints at a comparable outcome in the years ahead. The GDP report for the third quarter of 2020 suggests a rapid return to the pre-Covid trend. The 4.9 per cent year-on-year figure for real GDP growth does not convey a full sense of the self-sustaining recovery that is now emerging in China. Measuring economic growth on a sequential quarterly basis and converting those comparisons to annual rates – the preferred construct of US statisticians and policymakers – provides a much cleaner sense of real-time shifts in the underlying momentum of any economy.

On that basis, China’s real GDP rose at an 11 per cent sequential annual rate in the third quarter, following a 55 per cent post-lockdown surge in the second quarter. The comparison with the US is noteworthy. Both economies experienced comparable contractions during their respective lockdowns, which came one quarter later for the US. China’s 33.8 per cent sequential (annualised) plunge in the first quarter was almost identical to the 31.2 per cent US contraction in the second quarter. Based on incoming high-frequency (monthly) data, the so-called GDPNow estimate of the Atlanta Federal Reserve puts third-quarter sequential real GDP growth in the US at around 35 per cent. While that is a welcome and marked turnaround from the record decline during the lockdown, it is about 20 percentage points short of China’s post-lockdown rebound and still leaves the US economy about 3 per cent below its peak of late 2019.

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“The big problem I had with people removing my street work wasn’t that it was exploiting and stealing from the community — it was because the stolen stuff looked so much better than what I was making in the studio..”

Banksy’s Foolproof Plan for Dealing With Anyone Who Steals His Art (Y!)

Contemporary art is a tricky business. If you’ve collected a painting or sculpture by a modern artist, odds are good that you’ll have some record of the transaction, and some method of verifying that the work you have is both genuine and genuinely obtained. That becomes a bit more complicated when the artist in question — though world-famous — has a penchant for anonymously leaving their work in urban spaces to create impromptu public art. Yes, we’re talking about Banksy, and one of his lesser-known practices which has recently come into sharp relief. Last week, a clip from Antiques Roadshow went viral. It features a man looking to get a small painting by Banksy evaluated. When asked how he’d come by it, the man admit he’d seen it while walking down a street in Brighton one night.

Recognizing it as Banksy’s handiwork, he then removed it from where it had been screwed into place. What follows is a brief and memorable lesson in morality. Pro tip: it’s generally considered poor form to admit to stealing something while being recorded for television. As the show’s host reveals, Banksy has established a virtual portal to authenticate whether specific works of his are both genuine and genuinely obtained — and, as the guy trying to get a painting valued admits, he’d visited the site and been told that the painting could not be validated because it was not obtained legally. Dubbed Pest Control, the service offers an easy-to-use interface to determine a particular work’s validity.

Elsewhere on Pest Control’s site, they offer a more extensive explanation of what they do — namely, issue certificates of authenticity. As for what that means, well — here’s what Pest Control themselves have to say: “The certificate of authenticity (COA) means you can buy, sell or insure a piece of art knowing it’s legitimate and the wheels won’t fall off,” they write. “Pest Control is the only source of COA’s for Banksy. We issue them for paintings, prints, sculptures and other attempts at creativity. We don’t issue them for things like stickers, posters, defaced currency or anything which wasn’t originally intended as a ‘work of art’.” Pest Control also offers a “Keeping It Real” service, which lets prospective buyers of a work by Banksy confirm that the work is, in fact, legitimate.

[..] “The big problem I had with people removing my street work wasn’t that it was exploiting and stealing from the community — it was because the stolen stuff looked so much better than what I was making in the studio,” he told artnet news.

Read more …

“All women are now required to bear at least seventeen babies.”

Newly Sworn-In ACB Immediately Orders All Women To Wear Handmaid Outfit (BBee)

After being sworn in as a Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett immediately issued a decree that all women are to wear red handmaid’s outfits for the rest of their lives. “Execute papal order 66,” she said, her eyes glowing red. “Implement the theocratic state.” Barrett sent out squads of soldiers to round up women and make sure they wear the garment at all times. All women are now required to bear at least seventeen babies. Attendance at Catholic Mass is also mandatory. Those who violate the order will be executed, “no exceptions,” said Barrett. “She can’t do this! This is unconstitutional!” screamed Rachel Maddow as enforcement squads kicked in the doors at MSNBC’s studios and grabbed her for reconditioning as a subservient handmaid. “I warned you! I WARNED ALL OF YOU!” The whole country turning into a Christofascist state seems to be a negative to many, but the nation is quite a bit more peaceful now.

Read more …

 

 

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Oct 182020
 


René Magritte The seducer 1953

 

 

USA Today Headline: “A Tabloid Got A Trove Of Data On Hunter Biden From Rudy Giuliani. Now, The FBI Is Probing A Possible Disinformation Campaign

(The FBI is examining whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani is part of a disinformation campaign by Russia.)”

 

Seeing that makes me think: with Comey, Strzok, Lisa Page, McCabe et al gone, who initiates and approves such “examinations”? The aforementioned were all involved in setting up the Special Counsel led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller, and that was the most embarrassing episode in the Bureau’s history. Which is saying something given J. Edgar’s penchant for dressing up in women’s clothing.

The Mueller probe was all predicated on vague and unproven Russian “disinformation”, and it fittingly ended with it too. With absolutely nothing coming out of the probe, that was based on the Steele Dossier which the protagonists knew was false even before the probe started, Mueller and his right-hand Andrew Weismann in the end had nothing left but “13 Russians” and Julian Assange to “justify” their $30 million, 2 year “effort”.

The only people they could lay any -always unproven- blame or suspicion on were those who could not defend themselves against false accusations. And when Concord Management unexpectedly did raise a defense, Mueller was shut down by a US judge in no time. It’s pathetic. Mueller’s a liar and a coward, as I’ve said a dozen times now. He should be exiled to Mars.

But what’s worse than his reputation having been destroyed, is that he and his pals hammered the FBI’s reputation as well. So when I read in October 2020 that “The FBI Is Probing A Possible Disinformation Campaign by Russia”, I’m obliged to ask: where does that come from?

Because apparently at least some things haven’t changed yet, despite the Mueller horror show. What the FBI needs is a thorough cleansing, not another nonsensical politically driven opaque “investigation” of Russians. The obvious problem, of course, is that the same media who edged on that disaster will also report on this one without an inch of actual journalistic curiosity or integrity.

The media are in the same political wing as the FBI. They are all counting down the days until November 3, and they are all counting on their mishaps and misdeeds being forgiven and/or buried deep if Joe Biden wins, something they spare no effort to achieve.

 

But unlike the Democrats, in their present-day DNC, Hillary, Pelosi et al, setting, and the mainstream media, who have lost all credibility, the FBI will have a role to play in the future of America. All of the above have been caught in scandalous endeavors to halt a presidential candidate and then unseat a president, but unlike in the case of the Democrats and the media, the nation itself actually has the means to change the FBI.

And it will have to. Because it needs a domestic intelligence service that can go after people who attempt to subvert the workings -and laws- of American society. But yes, that means people like themselves. And once the FBI becomes complicit in such subversion, there is no-one left to investigate them. A classic problem, who will investigate the investigators?

Sure, in “normal” times that should be the House, but the Democrat House is also part of the entire “cabal”. Just remember Adam Schiff’s and Jerry Nadler’s shameless statements of having evidence of collusion when they very obviously did not. So that’s not going to happen. Or at least, that’s what they all think. But it must, Biden victory or not.

Ironically, an Amy Coney Barrett confirmation for the Supreme Court, in that regard, may be seen as a move to save the country, to save the integrity and moral fiber of the United States. Because if the House won’t, and the Senate can’t, save the country from the FBI turning rogue and siding with one side of the political system , the Supreme Court will have to. Or else.

 

A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for the entire DNC-FBI-MSM cabal. Which counts on all they’ve done to magically disappear under President Kamala. And that is not going to happen. If the FBI and Capitol Hill will not see to it, the judicial system will. How big a role Michael Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell will play in that depends on how much people like Bill Barr are willing to take on, but Powell is up to the task.

Of course there are legitimate questions about how exactly the New York Post and Rudy Giuliani got hold of the emails and other Hunter Biden-related material. But the fact that the Biden campaign after three days still hasn’t disputed its veracity is a major tell. All they have done is point to Russian disinformation -again- and now the FBI is “investigating” that. The exact same thing Mueller failed to prove.

In other words, we’re still caught in a circle-jerk, only now Facebook and Twitter have joined in too. But the real question should not be about the Russians, that’s always only been a ruse. It should be: how do we restore the reputation and credibility of the FBI that was so thoroughly annulled over the past 5 years?

If Biden wins, nothing will be restored. Because the FBI helped him win. If Trump wins, there’s a slightly better chance. Then again, Trump’s presidency didn’t change much. Comey, Strzok and McCabe disappeared, but new chief Christopher Wray is out there frustrating declassifications, and approving brainless probes like Russian disinformation in the Hunter Biden laptop case.

Which is not just useless, it’s an active attempt to direct attention away from what is actually there: the contents of the laptop. Which, again, remains uncontested by the Biden campaign.

If the FBI cannot be perceived by the American people as an impartial bureau, that will be a very big problem for many years to come. If people fear that it may -again- turn against a presidential candidate for partisan reasons, and lie through their teeth to achieve their goals, that will be it for the Bureau.

 

 

 

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Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Feb 232020
 


Jack Delano Spectators at annual barrel rolling contest in Presque Isle, Maine 1940

 

COVID19 Cases Outside China Go Exponential (ZH)
Millions Of Chinese Ordered Back To Work (Obs.)
China’s 92% Car Sales Collapse Sign Of Sharp Trade Decline To Come (SCMP)
Trump Furious Americans Infected With Coronavirus Flown Back To US (Fox)
18 Koreans Test Positive For COVID-19 After Israel Pilgrimage (KH)
US Says Russia Behind Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign (G.)
Roger Stone Deserves A New Trial (Turley)
Julian Assange, Lawyers Were Secretly Recorded In Ecuador Embassy (ABC.au)
Subprime Credit Card Delinquencies Spike to Record High, Past Financial-Crisis Peak (WS)
Trump Reportedly Calls John Bolton A ‘Traitor’ And Wants To Block His Book (G.)
Trump: ‘Congrats Bernie…Don’t Let Them Take It Away From You!’ (SAC)

 

 

Cases 78,866 (+ 938 from yesterday’s 77,928).

Deaths 2,464 (+ 102 from yesterday)

 

• Italy: Thursday 3 cases, Sunday 115 cases, 89 in Lombardy, declares “national emergency”;
second death reported, first case in Milan city; much of Northern Italy put on lockdown. Top-level soccer games cancelled.

• South Korea: total 556 cases (10x increase in 5 days), 123 new cases, 1 new death

• Iran: 29 cases 6 deaths

• US: 35 cases, 200 under observation in San Diego

• Japan: 750 cases, 634 from Diamond Princess, Others triple in a week to 121

• Cases outside China go exponential

• WHO team visits Wuhan; will give Monday press conference

• 18 Koreans test positive after Israel pilgrimage. Israel Ministry of Health expects to close borders for non-residents soon

• Worldometer mortality rate for closed cases (recovered/discharged or dead) is 10%

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From Worldometer (note: mortality rate for closed cases is still 10%!)

 

 

 

 

Big week to come. Given all the new clusters forming, outside of China, things don’t look particularly good. Inside China there are efforts to start moving people around again, to work. Very risky. Many of the clusters and cases outside of Hubei are relatively new, so infection hasn’t worked its worst there.

COVID19 Cases Outside China Go Exponential (ZH)

South Korea reported 229 new confirmed cases on Saturday, as the number of infections more than doubled in a day to 433, an eightfold jump in just four days. [..] the number of new cases in South Korea has now doubled each day for the past 4 days, a true exponential increase. South Korea’s fourth-largest city, is where the initial cluster of cases of emerged; it has since been designated a “special management zone.” The central government is channeling medical support to the zone with more staff, hospital beds and equipment. In Daegu, more than half of South Korea’s cases have been among members of a secretive religious sect who often crowd together in worship, and their relatives or contacts.

Another 111 are patients or staff members at the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, where the two South Koreans who have died of the virus had been admitted. It gets worse: more than 1,250 members of the sect, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, have reported potential symptoms, and officials are still trying to locate 700 members so they can be screened. “In accordance with law and principles, the government will sternly deal with acts that interfere with quarantine efforts, illegal hoarding of medical goods and acts that spark uneasiness through massive rallies,” Chung said, pointing out just how convenient the coronavirus will be when government seek to squash all future protests.

It gets even worse: Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, shut down a factory after a worker tested positive. The factory, located in the city of Gumi, about an hour north of Cheongdo, is expected to resume operations on Monday morning, Samsung said. But the floor of the factory where the patient has worked will be closed until Tuesday morning, it said. We wonder how long until it truly reopens. But the scariest development in the past 24 hours is that almost all patients at a psychiatric ward of a South Korean hospital tested positive for the coronavirus, with local reports saying members of the abovementioned Shincheonji Church of Jesus sect which has rapidly emerged as the single biggest cluster of new S. Korean cases, had attended a funeral in the same complex.

South Korea’s two confirmed deaths from the virus were also from the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo hospital’s mental health division, Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday. Both patients had been moved out of the psychiatric ward for medical treatment before their deaths, Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Kang-lip said at a briefing. In other words, of the total 443 confirmed cases, more than half, or 231 were linked to Daegu, sect, while at least 111 – including four nurses – were from the psychiatric ward of the hospital in Cheongdo County. The two clusters account for almost 80% of the confirmed cases.

Read more …

Dumb understatement: “An influential Chinese economist has already warned that the coronavirus crisis could slice a full percentage point off growth this year”

Millions Of Chinese Ordered Back To Work (Obs.)

The Chinese authorities are trying to usher the country back to work, a month after announcing the unprecedented quarantine of millions of people. But they face a difficult balancing act between containing the virus and supporting a faltering economy. Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province, the centre of the outbreak, have been the focus of disease prevention efforts. over the last four weeks. As the death toll climbed to more than 2,000 worldwide, and infections to over 75,000, the vast majority of cases were still inside that quarantined zone. But the disease had spread far across the country before Hubei was sealed off, and some of the worst-affected places are the manufacturing and economic centres that power China’s economy.

Southern Guangdong province, just across from Hong Kong and home to international giants such as Apple supplier Foxconn, is the second-worst affected province after Hubei, with 1,339 cases of the coronavirus confirmed and five deaths. Eastern Zhejiang, near Shanghai, is the fourth most seriously hit, with 1,205 cases by , although only one death. It is also the base for companies including the hugely influential Alibaba, China’s answer to Amazon and eBay. Those total numbers of infections are far above the 639 cases registered across all of China on 23 January, when Hubei was put on sudden lockdown. The situations are not directly comparable; coronavirus had been spreading almost unchecked in Wuhan for weeks before the quarantine, and overwhelmed hospitals appear to have sent patients home, only to spread the disease.

Authorities in other areas started tracking cases much earlier and have better resources to isolate and treat those who fall sick, something reflected in a much lower death rate. The speed of the disease’s spread is perhaps not surprising given Wuhan’s position as a regional economic hub, with links to other key centres, and the fact that the coronavirus has proved contagious in the early days of infection when patients have few symptoms, making it hard to identify carriers as clusters spread. Yet China cannot afford for its factories to sit idle, or its restaurants and shops to stay empty indefinitely. Authorities were already worried about faltering growth after last year saw the slowest rate of expansion in almost three decades; GDP growth had not slid so low since 1990, when China was isolated in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

An influential Chinese economist has already warned that the coronavirus crisis could slice a full percentage point off growth this year. So authorities are trying to balance two unfathomable risks – of either fuelling the coronavirus by pushing too much for normal routines, or paving the way for the collapse of their local economy by keeping everything on lockdown. Many small and medium companies in particular are already hovering on the brink, and a wave of bankruptcies is expected. Retail and hospitality companies expected bumper sales over the lunar new year, and even factories that closed for the holiday expected to reopen in early February.

[..] In Shenzhen, the border city that has come to rival Hong Kong, businesses have been told they can resume work immediately if they have virus control measures that include disinfecting, giving employees at least two masks a day, making temperature checks, and having their plans approved by local officials. There is already a gap between regulation and reality, however. “We started today, but the boss only gave us one mask when we all know he’s supposed to give out two,” said one 52-year-old woman employed at a Shenzhen factory making plastic items such as skateboard wheels, cups and toy parts. “My husband, who works at a restaurant near here, is also only getting one mask per day,” she added, giving only her last name, Xiao, over fears of being fired or getting her boss into trouble.

Read more …

Why would anyone expect sales to pick up anytime soon?

China’s 92% Car Sales Collapse Sign Of Sharp Trade Decline To Come (SCMP)

A 92 per cent drop in car sales in China in the first half of February provided the first real indicator of the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic, with officials also warning of a sharp decline in Chinese exports and imports for the first two months of the year. The China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) on Friday said that sales dropped to just 4,909 units in the first 16 days of the month, down from 59,930 vehicles in the same period a year earlier. “Very few dealerships opened in the first weeks of February and they have had very little customer traffic,” said the CPCA. China’s car market is likely to see sales slide more than 10 per cent in the first half of the year due to the outbreak, and around 5 per cent for the whole year, provided the virus is effectively contained before April, the country’s top industry body, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), said last week.

The sector was already under pressure from the cooling economy, with car sales falling 3 per cent in 2018 in the first sales contraction since the 1990s, and 8.2 per cent in 2019, CAAM said. “We must firmly believe that China’s auto market still has great development space and potential, and the automobile consumption demand is still strong,” Wang Bin, vice-director of the commerce market operation department at the commerce ministry, said on Thursday. To stabilise the market, in which more than 25 million vehicles were sold last year, China’s commerce ministry said it will introduce more measures to boost consumption.


Li Xingqian, head of foreign trade at the Ministry of Commerce, said the growth rate for China’s exports and imports would decline sharply in the January-February period due to a collapse in logistics and the delayed start of work following the extended Lunar New Year holiday, which was aimed at controlling the coronavirus outbreak.

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Simply not their call to make.

Trump Furious Americans Infected With Coronavirus Flown Back To US (Fox)

President Trump was furious that 14 Americans infected with the coronavirus returned to the United States without his permission rather than remain in quarantine overseas, according to a new report. Trump had been briefed that the healthy U.S. passengers who spent weeks quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan would be allowed to fly home on two chartered planes – while those who were sick or infected would stay in Japan to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. The president became “furious” with senior advisers after learning the 14 Americans who tested positive had been put on a plane with healthy passengers, according to The Washington Post.


One official told the paper that the failure to inform Trump of the decision in advance of the plane’s departure was a “big operational mistake.” Trump complained that bringing home the infected Americans could damage the adminstratration’s response to the global health outbreak. While the Americans evacuated from the ship were on buses on the tarmac in Tokyo, U.S. officials got the results back that 14 had tested positive for COVID-19 but had not yet shown symptoms. Officials made the decision to have them fly home anyway, but “isolated” from the other passengers on the plane.

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“The South Korean government lodged a complaint with Israel over its abrupt entry ban against South Koreans over concerns about the new coronavirus: “demand that such an incident not occur again”

18 Koreans Test Positive For COVID-19 After Israel Pilgrimage (KH)

Of 76 Koreans who traveled to Israel for religious pilgrimages in February, 18 tested positive for the deadly coronavirus upon returning home, local health authorities said Sunday. Two groups of Roman Catholic travelers stayed in Israel for about a week each for religious tourism earlier this month, visiting packed religious sites. Among 39 Koreans from North Gyeongsang Province who visited Israel from Feb. 8-16, 18 have been confirmed positive, including a tour guide residing in Seoul. A 59-year-old woman who lives in Yecheon County, North Gyeongsang Province, was the first confirmed patient. She was unable to go to work upon arrival due to a high fever and respiratory problems.


Local health authorities are scrambling to narrow down the exact times when the patients could have been infected, leaving open the possibility that a group member may have caught the virus prior to departure or somewhere along the travel route either in Israel or Korea. Another group of 37 people from Jeju Island traveled to Israel from Feb. 11-21, and one person with a cough was waiting for their test results as of Sunday afternoon. The presence of COVID-19 in these Korean tourists, as well as the skyrocketing number of confirmed cases here, prompted Israel to bar travelers from Korea from entering the country, the Israeli government said. As a result, some 130 Koreans who landed in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, local time, were sent back to Korea after being denied entry.

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Using the same accounts they use for Syria, Yellow Vests etc. Just to make it easier for those smart Americans to figure out it’s them. That’s also why they [..] “carry messages similar to Russian-backed outlets such as RT..” You know, just so Americans don’t get all confused and stuff.

US Says Russia Behind Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign (G.)

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread misinformation and alarm about coronavirus, disrupting global efforts to fight the epidemic, US officials have said. The disinformation campaign promotes unfounded conspiracy theories that the US is behind the new coronavirus outbreak, in an apparent bid to damage America’s image around the world. State department officials tasked with combatting Russian disinformation told the AFP false personas were being used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to advance Russian talking points in multiple languages.

“Russia’s intent is to sow discord and undermine US institutions and alliances from within, including through covert and coercive malign influence campaigns,” said Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. “By spreading disinformation about coronavirus, Russian malign actors are once again choosing to threaten public safety by distracting from the global health response,” he said. Some accounts have falsely claimed the US is waging “economic war on China” and that the virus is a biological weapon manufactured by the CIA.


[..] Several thousand online accounts – previously identified for airing Russian-backed messages on major events such as the war in Syria, the Yellow Vest protests in France and Chile’s mass demonstrations – are posting “near identical” messages about the coronavirus, according to a report prepared for the state department’s Global Engagement Center and seen by the AFP. The accounts are run by humans, not bots, and post at similar times in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French. They can be linked back to Russian proxies, or carry messages similar to Russian-backed outlets such as RT and Sputnik, the report said.

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Turley doesn’t acknowledge why Stone was dragged in front of Congress. Which was on a completely fabricated charge. That Stone himself did some of the fabricating seems a bit beside the point. I would be interested in Turley’s view on that, rather thann the obvious bias involved.

Roger Stone Deserves A New Trial (Turley)

With his sentencing this week, “agent provocateur” Roger Stone finally provoked himself into prison. However, his latest “performance art” may be nowhere near its conclusion. That is not because he has a “very good chance of exoneration,” as President Trump himself predicted. Stone has about the same chance of exoneration as he does of canonization. Rather, it is not clear that Stone received a fair trial due to alleged juror bias or, even if his trial is now finished, whether it will become undone by a presidential pardon. If nothing else, one thing should be clear. Stone holds a far greater claim to a new trial than to a presidential pardon. The decision of Judge Amy Berman Jackson to move forward with his sentencing was a surprise to many of us, following disturbing reports of potential juror bias by the trial foreperson.

It was a curious twist on the position of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, who declared, “Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.” In this case, the court decided to resolve the sentence before resolving if there was a valid verdict. I have previously discussed the statements made by Tomeka Hart before she became the jury foreperson. She exhibited intense hostility against Trump and his associates and protested against the administration. She also expressed support for investigations of the administration and even discussed this case. Worse yet, the transcript of the voir dire hearing did not suggest that the defense counsel was aware of this history. Either she disclosed the information and defense counsel was less than effective, or Hart had withheld the information and was less than transparent.


Jackson may have two equally unappealing choices. First, the court could order a new trial, making this sentencing drama a meaningless exercise. Second, she could dismiss any concerns as speculative and refuse to take any action. Such a decision would make a mockery of the jury selection process. What is the value of voir dire if a juror with such alleged bias can find her way not just onto the jury but into the position as foreperson?

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Roger Waters: “We will speak so loudly even the deaf will hear. We will write so clearly even the blind will read. You write injustice on the earth. We will write revolution in the sky.”

Julian Assange, Lawyers Were Secretly Recorded In Ecuador Embassy (ABC.au)

The case is being investigated by Spain’s federal court, the Audencia Nacional, which is examining whether Morales and UC Global are guilty of breaching both Assange’s privacy and lawyer-client privilege, as well as crimes relating to misappropriation of funds, bribery, and money laundering. “From 2015 to mid-2018, when UC Global lost the embassy’s security contract, a battery of illegal espionage measures was deployed, with massive interference in the privacy of [Assange], in his communications with his [legal] team, in meetings with his doctors, and in general against everyone close to him,” a criminal complaint filed by Assange’s Spanish lawyers stated.

“In those years the defendants created a sort of ‘Big Brother’ in which all the movements of Mr Assange and the people close to him were monitored.” The case commenced after a group of Spanish citizens contacted senior WikiLeaks employees and demanded a significant sum of money in return for what they said was voluminous proof of the espionage. A former UC Global employee — who cannot be identified for legal reasons — also separately approached WikiLeaks, wanting to reveal what they saw as the illegal behaviour of their former company. WikiLeaks referred the case to Spanish courts, who launched an investigation and arrested Morales. He was later released on bail. “This spying did not only affect Mr Assange’s lawyers, it also affected all of his visitors, including journalists,” Martinez said.

“It got to the point where, during a visit to Mr Assange, the head of Ecuador’s intelligence service [Rommy Vallejo, on December 21, 2017] was also spied on,” Martinez added. “In the meeting between Mr Vallejo and Mr Assange the possible release [from the embassy] of Mr Assange in a few days later was discussed.” Within hours of that secret meeting, which was known to only a few people, the US Ambassador to Ecuador complained to Ecuadorian authorities, and the next day the US issued an international arrest warrant for Assange, Martinez said. “That leads us to believe that the conversation was urgently sent to the US authorities and that they urgently issued the international arrest warrant the next day,” he said.

Martinez was himself spied on while having legal meetings with Assange at the embassy. “Mr Assange began to suspect that he was being spied upon … so he asked us to hold the most sensitive meetings in the women’s toilet at the back of the building,” Martinez recalled. “We honestly thought it was an exaggerated step to hold our legal meetings in the women’s toilet, where he would even open the water tap to avoid anyone listening. “It was interesting to find out that Mr Assange was, in fact, correct: the material before the court proves that UC Global knew the meetings were held inside the women’s toilet, as they proceeded to install an additional microphone [there].”

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Meanwhile in the not-yet-infected part of the world:

Subprime Credit Card Delinquencies Spike to Record High, Past Financial-Crisis Peak (WS)

The rate of credit card balances that are 30 days or more delinquent at the 4,500 or so commercial banks that are smaller than the top 100 banks spiked to 7.05% in the fourth quarter, the highest delinquency rate in the data going back to the 1980s (red line). But at the largest 100 banks, the credit-card delinquency rate was 2.48%, which kept the overall credit-card delinquency rate at all commercial banks at 2.7% (blue line), though it was the highest since 2012, according to the Federal Reserve. What’s going on here, with this bifurcation of the delinquency rates and what does that tell us about consumers?

Clearly, those consumers that have obtained credit cards at the smaller banks are in a heap of trouble and are falling behind at a historically high rate. But consumers that got their credit cards at the big banks – lured by 2% cash-back offers and other benefits that are being heavily promoted to consumers with top credit scores – do not feel the pain. A similarly disturbing trend is going on with auto loans. Seriously delinquent auto loans jumped to 4.94% of total auto loans and leases outstanding. This is higher than the delinquency rate in Q3 2010 amid the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. On closer inspection, there was that bifurcation again; prime-rated loans had historically low delinquency rates; but a shocking 23% of all subprime loans were 90+ days delinquent.

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“I give the guy a break,” he added. “I give him a job. And then he turns on me. He’s just making things up.”

Trump Reportedly Calls John Bolton A ‘Traitor’ And Wants To Block His Book (G.)

John Bolton is “a traitor” and his book should not be published before the election in November, Donald Trump reportedly told aides and media figures. The president’s views on news of a book deal for Marie Yovanovitch, another key figure in the Ukraine scandal which led to Trump’s impeachment, were not immediately clear. Bolton, a former ambassador to the UN, was Trump’s third national security adviser until he was fired in September last year. He refused to testify in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine investigate his political rivals, which resulted in two articles of impeachment, concerning abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

He offered to testify in the Senate but Republicans voted not to call witnesses during a trial which duly ended in Trump’s acquittal, despite leaks from Bolton’s book manuscript seeming to show he possessed key knowledge about the affair. The Room Where It Happened was slated for publication in March but it has been held up, the national security council telling Bolton’s lawyer it would “move forward as expeditiously as possible” with determining what could be published. On Friday night, the Washington Post cited two anonymous sources as saying Trump had told his own lawyers the book should not come out before the election.


Trump has attacked Bolton publicly on Twitter but the Post also reported notes of an off-the-record briefing of TV anchors on 4 February. “We’re going to try and block the publication of the book,” Trump reportedly said. “After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House. “I give the guy a break,” he added. “I give him a job. And then he turns on me. He’s just making things up.”

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CNN’s desperate attempt to attract a handful viewers still bores me to tears. Andrew Yang and Donald Trump know what’s wrong.

Trump: ‘Congrats Bernie…Don’t Let Them Take It Away From You!’ (SAC)

President Trump congratulated Bernie Sanders in his projected win in democratic primary in Nevada. As of Saturday evening, Sanders is leading with 53.84 percent of the vote in the Nevada caucuses. “Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!” he added in a tweet. “Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada,” Trump wrote. “Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates.” Trump followed with another tweet, quoting Jon Scott of Fox News, on a report that showed Sanders having strong support from within the Kremlin. “The Kremlin is reportedly backing Bernie Sanders bid to win the White House.” Jon Scott @FoxNews,” the president wrote. “Why didn’t somebody tell me this?”

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Jan 012020
 


Vincent van Gogh Weeping woman 1883

 

‘I’m Slowly Dying Here’: Julian Assange in Christmas Eve Call (RT)
US Chief Justice Warns Of Internet Disinformation (R.)
Taiwan Anti-Infiltration Bill Passed As Opposition Lawmakers Protest (SCMP)
Taiwan Leader Rejects China’s Offer To Unify Under Hong Kong Model (R.)
Sydney House Prices Set To Top $1 Million Again (SMH)
Negative Rates, The Destruction Of Money (Lacalle)
Google Veterans: The Company Has Become ‘Unrecognizable’ (CNBC)
Should Racists Get Health Care? (Ron Paul)
Coyotes Take Up Residence At Trump’s New York City Golf Course (G.)
Earthshot: William And Kate Launch Prize To ‘Repair The Earth’ (BBC)

 

 

Happy New Year Julian! May your nightmare come to an end in 2020.

‘I’m Slowly Dying Here’: Julian Assange in Christmas Eve Call (RT)

Julian Assange sounded like a shell of the man he once was during a Christmas Eve phone call, British journalist Vaughan Smith told RT, noting the WikiLeaks founder had trouble speaking and appeared to be drugged. Assange was allowed to make just a single call from the maximum security Belmarsh prison in southeast London for the Christmas holiday, hoping for a reminder of the world beyond his drab confines of steel and concrete. “I think he simply wanted a few minutes of escape” and to revive “happy memories,” Smith told RT, adding that Assange had spent the holiday at his home in 2010. The brief conversation was far from cheerful, however, with Assange’s deteriorating condition increasingly apparent throughout the call.

He said to me that: ‘I’m slowly dying here.’ “His speech was slurred. He was speaking slowly,” the journalist continued. “Now, Julian is highly articulate, a very clear person when he speaks. And he sounded awful… it was very upsetting to hear him” Though Assange didn’t say it out loud during the call, Smith said he believes the anti-secrecy activist is being sedated, noting that “It seemed pretty obvious that he was,” and said others who visited Assange were of the same opinion. Smith isn’t the first to raise this issue, but British authorities have so far refused to divulge whether Assange has been given psychotropic drugs in prison, insisting only that they aren’t “mistreating” him. But given that he is “being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day,” with requests by numerous doctors to examine his physical condition denied, Smith said he has a hard time taking the officials at their word.


“Julian was extremely good company over Christmas in 2010,” the journalist said, but the man he talked to on the phone last week sounded like a different person. “I just don’t understand… why he’s in Belmarsh Prison in the first place. He’s a remand prisoner. He’s not a danger to the public.” [..] Going forward, Smith said it will be important to continue pressuring the British government to answer a litany of questions about Assange, his treatment in prison and his health, as well as to push for an “independent assessment” of the situation. Confined in one form or another since taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 and now denied the ability to defend himself in court, Assange should finally receive a fair hearing.

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Shouldn’t he be warning about the NYT, WaPo instead? Just because he reads them every day doesn’t make them any less dangerous. The opposite, really.

US Chief Justice Warns Of Internet Disinformation (R.)

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern on Tuesday about disinformation amplified by the internet and social media as he focused his year-end report on the weakening state of civics education in the United States. “In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital,” Roberts said in his annual report on behalf of the federal judiciary. The chief justice warned that Americans “have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside.” Roberts’ comments come as U.S. legislators and officials have raised concerns about the persistence of foreign propaganda and false news aimed at sowing discord in the U.S. political system in the lead-up to the 2020 election.


U.S. intelligence agencies and an inquiry by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that Russia engaged in a campaign of hacking and propaganda to sway the 2016 presidential race toward Republican President Donald Trump. Mueller did not establish that members of Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election. Roberts said in his report that an independent judiciary was a “key source of national unity and stability” and called on his judicial colleagues to promote public confidence and trust by reflecting on their duty to judge without fear or favor. He has previously lamented the perception in an increasingly polarized society that lower courts and the Supreme Court are becoming politicized, and that judges are guided primarily by their partisan affiliations.

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Quite a few Taiwanese support the mainland.

Taiwan Anti-Infiltration Bill Passed As Opposition Lawmakers Protest (SCMP)

Taiwan’s independence-leaning lawmakers have pushed through a controversial bill in the final legislative session of the year that critics say could have a chilling effect on the self-ruled island and worsen ties with Beijing. The anti-infiltration bill, which criminalises political activities backed or funded by “hostile external forces” – referring to mainland China – was passed by the Democratic Progressive Party-controlled legislature after it was put to a vote on Tuesday. “The voting result shows 67 of those present in favour of passing the bill against zero opposing it,” legislative speaker Su Jia-chyuan said in an announcement afterwards.

Opposition politicians, including those from the mainland-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), had strongly criticised the bill, saying it was a move by President Tsai Ing-wen and her government to silence dissent ahead of elections on January 11. The ruling DPP said the legislation aimed to combat efforts by Beijing to influence politics and the democratic process on the island, including through illicit funding of politicians, and the media. After the vote, Tsai said in a Facebook post that “preventing Chinese infiltration is what every diplomatic country is doing”. “Chinese infiltration of Taiwan is of great concern to the society here, and the law is against infiltration but not against exchanges,” she said.


[..] Analysts said the legislation could have a chilling effect on Taiwan. “Many Taiwanese people – including academics, politicians and businesspeople – receive gifts or are entertained by mainland authorities during their visits,” said Wang Kung-yi, a political science professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei. “This may create a chilling effect and it will only further hamper cross-strait exchanges.” Chu Chao-hsiang, a political science professor at National Taiwan Normal University, said a chilling effect caused by the legislation would potentially mean lost opportunities for the island as businesses turned away from the mainland. “Many overseas subsidiaries of mainland companies have investments in Taiwan. If they send funds to their Taiwanese executives in Taiwan to carry out certain investment projects, would this be seen as receiving funds and instructions from the mainland?” he said.

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Wonder what Hong Kong model they have in mind.

Taiwan Leader Rejects China’s Offer To Unify Under Hong Kong Model (R.)

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday the island would not accept a “one country, two systems” political formula Beijing has suggested could be used to unify the democratic island, saying such an arrangement had failed in Hong Kong. China claims Taiwan as its territory, to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if necessary. Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name. Tsai, who’s seeking re-election in a Jan. 11 vote, also vowed in a New Year’s speech to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty, saying her government would build a mechanism to safeguard freedom and democracy as Beijing ramps up pressure on the island.


Fear of China has become a major element in the campaign, boosted by months of anti-government protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong. “Hong Kong people have showed us that ‘one country, two systems’ is definitely not feasible,” Tsai said, referring to the political arrangement that guaranteed certain freedoms in the former British colony of Hong Kong after it was returned to China in 1997. “Under ‘one country, two systems’, the situation continues to deteriorate in Hong Kong. The credibility of ‘one country, two systems’ has been sullied by the government’s abuse of power,” Tsai said.

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A very fitting topic as 500,000 wildlife have burned to death.

Sydney House Prices Set To Top $1 Million Again (SMH)

Sydney house owners are set to become millionaires again in February, mortgages allowing. The typical Sydney free-standing home was worth $974,000 as the clock struck midnight on Tuesday, according to an exclusive preview of key home price data due to be released by CoreLogic on Thursday. The median Sydney unit was worth $746,000. The value of a typical Sydney free-standing house tumbled from peak of $1,060,000 in July 2017 to $865,000 in June 2019. But a combination of interest rate cuts and an easing of loan serviceability tests reignited Sydney’s property market in the second half of 2019.


One day before the end of 2019, preliminary figures provided to The Sydney Morning Herald by CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, show Sydney dwelling prices rose 5.3 per cent in 2019, after an 8.9 per cent fall in 2018. “It’s been quite a turnaround,” Mr Lawless said. “Prices have rebounded much faster than anyone would have expected.” In December alone, prices gained a little over 1.5 per cent. This was a slight slowing in the pace of price growth from November’s 2.7 per cent monthly gain, which was the fastest rate of growth since records began in the 1980s. “It’s still a very strong rate of growth, but a step down from November,” Mr Lawless said. “What was probably slowing that rate of growth down a little bit was we did start seeing a bit more stock, giving buyers a bit more choice.”

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A few days old, I think, but there’s a direct link to those Sydney home prices.

Negative Rates, The Destruction Of Money (Lacalle)

Negative rates are the destruction of money, an economic aberration based on the mistakes of many central banks and some of their economists who start from a wrong diagnosis: the idea that economic agents do not take more credit or invest more because they choose to save too much and therefore saving must be penalized to stimulate the economy. Excuse the bluntness, but it is a ludicrous idea. Inflation and growth are not low due to excess savings, but because of excess debt, perpetuating overcapacity with low rates and high liquidity and zombifying the economy by subsidizing the low productivity and highly indebted sectors and penalizing high productivity with rising and confiscatory taxation.

Historical evidence of negative rates shows that they do not help reduce debt, they incentivize it, they do not strengthen the credit capacity of families, because the prices of non-replicable assets (real estate, etc.) skyrocket because of monetary excess, and the lower cost of debt does not compensate for the greater risk. Investment and credit growth are not subdued because economic agents are ignorant or saving too much, but because they don’t have amnesia. Families and businesses are more cautious in their investment and spending decisions because they perceive, correctly, that the reality of the economy they see each day does not correspond to the cost and the quantity of money. It is completely incorrect to think that families and businesses are not investing or spending.


They are only spending less than what central planners would want. However, that is not a mistake from the private sector side, but a typical case of central planners’ misguided estimates, that come from using 2001-2007 as “base case” of investment and credit demand instead of what those years really were: a bubble. The argument of the central planners is based on an inconsistency: That rates are negative because markets demand them, not because they are imposed by the central bank. If that were the case, why don’t they let rates float freely if the result was going to be the same? Because it is false. [..] Negative rates are a huge transfer of wealth from savers and real wages to the government and the indebted. A tax on caution. The destruction of the perception of risk that always benefits the most reckless. The bailout of the inefficient.

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It’s part of the CIA now.

Google Veterans: The Company Has Become ‘Unrecognizable’ (CNBC)

When Google co-founders Larry Page and President Sergey Brin stepped down from their roles as CEO and president of Google holding company Alphabet earlier this month, it marked the end of an era. While it’s unclear what prompted the two to leave their formal management positions, longtime employees, many of whom also left the company this year, described to CNBC a massive cultural shift that percolated throughout 2019. They cited changes to Google’s all-hands meetings, human resources processes and transparency from management. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai in October admitted the company’s challenge in scaling the trust of its own workforce which numbers more than 100,000 people.

More recently, Lazlo Bock, former director of human resources for Google, told Bloomberg that he thinks Alphabet is “a different company than it used to be” but that “not everyone’s gotten the memo.” The change has been noticed by some on the outside, too. “What the hell is going on over there?” tweeted Andreessen Horowitz partner Martin Casado over the summer. “The brain drain at Google right now is astonishing.” Workers told CNBC that 2018 was a pivotal point in the company’s shift away from upfront communication. That was when news of Project Dragonfly, a secret Google plan to develop a censored search engine for possible rollout in China, first broke in The Intercept. Internally, the existence of the project had been kept on a need-to-know basis.


The company later canceled Project Dragonfly after employees expressed concern over the secrecy of the project. Some workers left the company altogether. “There’s no way a few years before, they would have had a secret project with these kinds of ethical concerns,” said Raph Levien, a former level 6 engineer who left Google after 11 years. “It crossed the line and felt misleading. It definitely felt like this was Google changing.”

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Must a society’s health care be measured by perceptions of big bad goverment? Do we remember how societies used to build bridges and roads et al? If your govenment doesn’t serve your society, replace it, don’t sell off all your community assets.

Should Racists Get Health Care? (Ron Paul)

Political correctness recently took a dangerous turn in the United Kingdom when the North Bristol National Health Service Trust announced that hospital patients who use offensive, racist, or sexist language will cease receiving medical care as soon as it is safe to end their treatment. The condition that treatment will not be withdrawn until doing so is safe seems to imply that no one will actually suffer from this policy. However, health-care providers have great discretion to determine when it is “safe” to withhold treatment. So, patients could be left with chronic pain or be denied certain procedures that could improve their health but are not necessary to make them “safe.” Patients accused of racism or sexism could also find themselves at the bottom of the NHS’s infamous “waiting lists,” unable to receive treatment until it truly is a matter of life and death.

Since many people define racism and sexism as “anything I disagree with,” the new policy will no doubt lead to people being denied medical care for statements that most reasonable people would consider unobjectionable. This is not the first time NHS has withheld treatment because of an individual’s behavior. A couple years ago, another local health committee announced it would withhold routine or nonemergency surgeries from smokers and the obese. Since reducing smoking and obesity benefits both individual patients and the health care system as a whole, this policy may appear defensible. But denying or delaying care violates medical ethics and sets a dangerous precedent. If treatment could be denied to smokers and the obese, then it could also be denied to those who engage in promiscuous sex, drive over the speed limit, don’t get the “proper” number of vaccinations for themselves and their children, or have “dangerous” political views.


Government bureaucrats denying care to individuals for arbitrary reasons is the inevitable result of government interference in the health-care market. Government intervention is supposed to ensure quality and affordable (or free) care for all. But, government intervention artificially lowers the costs of health care to patients while increasing costs to providers. As demand rises and supply falls, government imposes rationing to address the shortages and other problems caused by prior government interference. Rationing has been part of American health care at least since the passage of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. Every plan to expand government’s role in health care contains some form of rationing.

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Take any story at all and see if you can inject Trump. Because that sells. Journalism today.

Nor is this a new thing. 10 years ago off of the farm near Ottawa, there were always coyotes howling in the woods.

Coyotes Take Up Residence At Trump’s New York City Golf Course (G.)

Donald Trump has a $269m golf course in New York City that is regularly prowled by feared, largely nocturnal individuals that instinctively prey upon those they deem smaller and weaker. We are, of course, talking about coyotes. The shrewd canines have spread so far from their ranges in the western US that they are now making unlikely homes in cities on the east coast, including beside the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, a landscaped sward frequented by visor- and chino-wearing golfers in the faintly incongruous setting of the Bronx. “The staff at the golf course think the coyotes are cool,” said Chris Nagy, a wildlife biologist and co-founder of Gotham Coyote, a collaboration of researchers who study coyotes in New York. “But there’s a point where if the coyotes are getting annoying and worrying the golfers, then they’ll change their minds.”

As humanity chews through landscapes for housing, farming, roads and mining, ecologists have warned of the Earth’s sixth great extinction, with about a million species now endangered. But some creatures have proved flexible in the face of this onslaught, even blossoming in the new circumstances. Coyotes, unfussy eaters that can cover large distances in search of a suitable home, are one of the winners in this denuded age. Cities like New York and Detroit, where redevelopment or economic blight has left urban sites bereft of humans, are increasingly being colonized by coyotes, as well as other opportunists such as raccoons, opossums and even bobcats. Researchers have found a riot of non-human carnivores dwelling in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Washington DC.


[..] “We’re finding coyotes like almost everything or at least can survive on almost everything,” Nagy said as he trudged through the scrub and reeds in search of the Ferry Point camera trap. “A pack of wolves would need, like, the whole county. But not coyotes. They’ve lived kind of underfoot of both wolves and people for thousands of years. And so they’ve evolved to survive metaphorically running among the feet of the giants. “They’re my favorite animal. And I liked them before I started studying them. They’re clever. We’ve tried our best to eradicate them and they’ve thwarted us at every turn. I really admire that, I guess.”

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Between these hollow drips, Greta in Davos and Carney as the UN climate go-to finance guy, 2020 could well be the year when the entire movement dies of good but misguided intentions. If you turn to the billionaires to solve the issue, they will instead end up purchasing it and selling it off for profit.

Earthshot: William And Kate Launch Prize To ‘Repair The Earth’ (BBC)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced a global prize to tackle climate issues, pledging “a decade of action to repair the Earth”. Five winners will receive the Earthshot Prize every year between 2021 and 2030. The cash prize will be for individuals or organisations who come up with solutions to environmental problems. Prince William said the world faces a “stark choice” to continue “irreparably” damaging the planet or “lead, innovate and problem-solve”. The announcement was made in a video narrated by Sir David Attenborough posted on social media. The veteran broadcaster and naturalist said the prize would go to “visionaries rewarded over the next decade for responding to the great challenges of our time”.


The prize is set to launch officially later in 2020 – a year that will also see the Convention on Biodiversity in China in February and the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November. A series of challenges will be announced, aimed at finding least 50 solutions to the “world’s greatest problems” including climate change and air pollution. More than 60 organisations and experts were consulted in the development the prize. It will initially be run by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but could become an independent organisation. Kensington Palace said it would be supported by philanthropists and organisations.

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