Jul 012022
 
 July 1, 2022  Posted by at 9:08 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The artist and his model 1933

 

The G-7 Squawks But They’ve Already Lost The War Against Russia (Luongo)
You’re Either With Us Or You’re A “Systemic Challenge” (Escobar)
Beijing Slams NATO For ‘Maliciously Smearing’ China As A Security Threat (CD)
Biden: High Gas Prices ‘As Long As it Takes’ to Defeat Putin (Celente)
Supreme Court Rules For States Against EPA, Biden Climate Change Agenda (WT)
Key Witnesses Challenge Bombshell J6 Committee Key Witness Allegations (Turley)
Donald Trump Questions Why Jan. 6 Witness Hutchinson Isn’t Prosecuted (JTN)
Biden Has Weaponized The FBI And DOJ Against His Political Opponents (HE)
The Great Reset: Ending Freedom of the Press, Speech, and Expression (Filip)
Putin: Western Leaders Would Look ‘Disgusting’ Topless (AP)
Three Physicians Are Suing Twitter (CHD)
DR. VLADIMIR ZELENKO (1973-2022), REST IN PEACE (HE)

 

 


We regret to inform you that Elmo has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

 

 

 

 

“Europe suffers from anti Russian sanctions more than the United States, perhaps Washington wants to weaken the EU.” – Lavrov.

The G-7 Squawks But They’ve Already Lost The War Against Russia (Luongo)

So, the G-7 leaders are in agreement, more war with Russia. Without actually saying exactly that, that was the main takeaway from he meeting of the most feckless leaders in the world. They also pledged $600 billion they don’t have to fund global infrastructure projects to ‘combat China’s Belt and Road Initiative.’ One wonders where all this money and, in the case of Europe, energy is going to come from to fund all of this. But the question I’ve had from the beginning of this obvious war of attrition the West wants to impose on Russia is the following: Do we have the stamina, in terms of real production capacity, to cash these checks our leaders are writing?


A major report from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), one of the oldest military think tanks in the UK emphatically said not in anyone’s wildest dreams. I told you at the outset of this war that Russia was absolutely engaged in a war of attrition against the West, hoping NATO would take the bait of a ground war in Ukraine. I didn’t have numbers to back this up, only the inference because of what I understood about Putin and his previous maneuvers against the West. What’s obvious to me is the neocons and neoliberals controlling the West think they can turn Ukraine into a quagmire for Putin, but what if Putin thinks he can turn Ukraine into a quagmire for them? Russia is not capable of conquering Europe. But he doesn’t need to to defeat them. He just needs to create a version of this map:

I knew that Putin wouldn’t commit Russia to this conflict if it couldn’t sustain fighting it. I also knew that the West would LIE OUTRAGEOUSLY about the level of corruption within the Russian society to play on the biases of marginally-informed American armchair generals. Is the Russian system perfect? No. Is there corruption? Yes. But it’s complete nonsense to think it wouldn’t be uncovered and stripped out of all branches of the Russian military/industrial complex during the initial military gambit. The shifts made by Russia strategically and in terms of personnel have set it up for the long haul, fighting a type of war they are very good at and which the US and NATO left the UAF mostly defenseless against.


Now, with sanctions further hollowing out the US’s and Europe’s economies and the “leadership” of the buffoons that just met in Germany, Russia is in the driver’s seat to grind out a victory in Ukraine and leave the West depleted of weapons if the current situation goes on without a course correction. The point made by RUSI is that it may not be possible to course correct in time (or ever) in the time frame needed to affect the outcome in Ukraine, absent an unthinkable escalation. The exhaustion we thought we would put to Russia, is the ultimate form of ‘sanctions boomerang’ on the West. To listen to RUSI tell the tale, we’re the ones without the capacity to fight if the conflict widens. And yet, to listen to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken or National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, you would think Russia is still on the verge of collapse.

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“Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice..”

You’re Either With Us Or You’re A “Systemic Challenge” (Escobar)

Fast but not furious, the Global South is revving up. The key takeaway of the BRICS+ summit in Beijing, held in sharp contrast with the G7 in the Bavarian Alps, is that both West Asia’s Iran and South America’s Argentina officially applied for BRICS membership. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has highlighted how BRICS has “a very creative mechanism with broad aspects”. Tehran – a close partner of both Beijing and Moscow – already had “a series of consultations” about the application: the Iranians are sure that will “add value” to the expanded BRICS. Talk about China, Russia and Iran being sooooo isolated. Well, after all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem.

Moscow’s obstinacy in not following Washington’s Plan A to start a pan-European war is rattling Atlanticist nerves to the core. So right after the G7 summit significantly held at a former Nazi sanatorium, enter NATO’s, in full warmongering regalia. So welcome to an atrocity exhibition featuring total demonization of Russia, defined as the ultimate “direct threat”; the upgrading of Eastern Europe into “a fort”; a torrent of tears shed about the Russia-China strategic partnership; and as an extra bonus, the branding of China as a “systemic challenge”. There you go: for the NATO/G7 combo, the leaders of the emerging multipolar world as well as the vast swathes of the Global South that want to join in, are a “systemic challenge”.

Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice – got literally everything it wanted to magnanimously allow Sweden and Finland to clear their paths on the way of being absorbed by NATO. Bets can be made on what kind of shenanigans NATO navies will come up with in the Baltics against the Russian Baltic Fleet, to be followed by assorted business cards distributed by Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Zircon, Mr. Onyx and Mr. Kalibr, capable of course of annihilating any NATO permutation, including “decision centers”.

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“..it is NATO that is a “systemic challenge to world peace and stability” and its “hands are stained with the blood of the world’s people.”

Beijing Slams NATO For ‘Maliciously Smearing’ China As A Security Threat (CD)

Beijing criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Thursday after the U.S.-led military alliance asserted that China poses “serious challenges” to global stability. NATO listed China as one of its priorities in the so-called 2022 Strategic Concept that leaders approved Wednesday at a summit in Madrid. This marked a first, as the alliance’s previous blueprint, published in 2010, made no mention of the East Asian country. According to NATO, Beijing’s “coercive policies” threaten the Western bloc’s “interests, security, and values.” Addressing the “systemic challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China to Euro-Atlantic security” and the “deepening strategic partnership” between China and Russia is now a NATO priority, the bloc declared.

Beijing responded with indignation. “Who’s challenging global security and undermining world peace?” China’s mission to the European Union asked Thursday in a statement. “Are there any wars or conflicts over the years where NATO is not involved? “NATO’s so-called Strategic Concept, filled with Cold War thinking and ideological bias, is maliciously attacking and smearing China. We firmly oppose it,” the statement said. “When it comes to acts that undermine China’s interests, we will make firm and strong responses.” As The Guardian reported: “Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has been pointing its finger at the U.S. and NATO on multiple occasions.

But NATO’s attention to the China-Russia partnership began even before Moscow’s military operations in its neighbor. It has also been openly talking about China for some time. “In its annual summit in Brussels last June, the traditionally Russia-focused military alliance asserted, for the first time, that it needed to respond to Beijing’s growing power. The language the bloc used at the time also echoed the E.U.’s phrase of “systemic rival,” and the U.K.’s “systemic competitor” when describing China.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Wednesday that “China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbors, threatening Taiwan… monitoring and controlling its own citizens through advanced technology, and spreading Russian lies and disinformation.” “China is not our adversary,” said Stoltenberg, “but we must be clear-eyed about the serious challenges it represents.” In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Thursday that NATO’s latest policy document “disregards facts, confuses black and white… [and] smears China’s foreign policy.” China, Zhao added, does not pose “the systemic challenge imagined.” Instead, he argued, it is NATO that is a “systemic challenge to world peace and stability” and its “hands are stained with the blood of the world’s people.”

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You want to go into the midterms with gas at $5?

Biden: High Gas Prices ‘As Long As it Takes’ to Defeat Putin (Celente)

President Joe Biden said Americans better get ready to take it up the ass at the gas pump for “as long as it takes” to defeat the Russians in Ukraine. A reporter from The New York Times asked the president in Spain about the pain at the pump in the U.S. He asked, “How long is it fair to expect American drivers and drivers around the world to pay that premium for this war?” “As long as it takes,” Biden responded. “Russia cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine. This is a critical, critical position for the world.” Biden has made it clear that Americans should know that the economic hardships that they face can be blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin and not the useless COVID-19 lockdowns, trillions in stimulus funding, and massive sanctions leveled against Moscow… all which have spiked inflation and driven down the economy.


Biden said last week that Americans have been willing to sacrifice after the Russian invasion and “chose to stand with the people of Ukraine.” “So for all those Republicans in Congress criticizing me today for high gas prices in America, are you now saying we were wrong to support Ukraine? Are you saying we were wrong to stand up to Putin? Are you saying that we would rather have lower gas prices in America and Putin’s iron fist in Europe? I don’t believe that,” he said. Biden has long blamed the Russian president for causing the economic hardships in the country and said “Putin’s price hike” is taking its toll on Americans. Biden used a recent speech in Los Angeles to call energy price increases “Putin’s tax.”

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Again, what I see is SCOTUS questioning the decision making process, not the decisisons themselves.

Supreme Court Rules For States Against EPA, Biden Climate Change Agenda (WT)

The Environmental Protection Agency lacks the power under current laws to impose stark greenhouse gas emissions caps on the nation’s electricity supply, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, erecting a major roadblock in President Biden’s path to impose climate change policies. The case before the justices dated to 2015, when President Obama, frustrated by his inability to win climate change legislation from Congress, had the EPA step in with newly discovered authority to force states to cut emissions from power plants. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing the majority opinion in the 6-3 decision, said Congress tasked the EPA with forcing plants to operate more cleanly but never envisioned the kind of cap-and-trade system the Obama team imposed to pressure emissions-heavy coal plants to close.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in a ruling joined by the court’s other Republican-appointed members. The decision doesn’t mean Congress can’t grant that power, but only that it has not done so. Mr. Biden called the ruling “devastating” but vowed to find ways to move forward with his climate plans. “The science confirms what we all see with our own eyes — the wildfires, droughts, extreme heat, and intense storms are endangering our lives and livelihoods,” he said in a statement. “I will take action.” The ruling marks a significant limit to executive powers a decade after presidents started to test those boundaries.

Mr. Obama, frustrated with Congress, famously vowed to use his pen and phone to work around Congress. President Trump and now Mr. Biden have flexed executive authority to try to accomplish goals that were stymied by lack of legislation. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, writing a concurring opinion, shot down that approach. “When Congress seems slow to solve problems, it may be only natural that those in the executive branch might seek to take matters into their own hands. But the Constitution does not authorize agencies to use pen-and-phone regulations as substitutes for laws passed by the people’s representatives,” he said. Chief Justice Roberts said that when agencies confront “major questions,” courts should take extra care to ensure the administration stays within its legal lanes.

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“This is the peril of an investigation that occurs in an echo chamber. Such “gotcha” moments are powerful in the moment but can also be equally damaging if later challenged…”

Key Witnesses Challenge Bombshell J6 Committee Key Witness Allegations (Turley)

There is an old expression in the media that some facts are just too good to check. It is a recognition that journalists can sometimes be reluctant to endanger a good story by confirming an essential fact. The Select Committee on the Jan. 6th riot is facing a similar accusation this week after critical witnesses not contradicted some of the most explosive assertions of last week’s witness, Cassidy Hutchinson. Specifically, critical witnesses said that no one on the Committee reached out to confirm her account of former President Donald Trump lunging for the wheel in “the Beast” in a physical altercation with his security team on that day. The controversy highlights the failure of the Committee to offer a balanced investigation.

Many of us support the effort to bring greater transparency to what occurred on Jan. 6th and these hearings have offered a great deal of important new information. Indeed, it has proven gut-wrenching in the accounts of lawyers and staff trying to combat baseless theories and to protect the constitutional process. Yet, the heavy-handed approach to framing the evidence has been both unnecessary and at times counterproductive. The strength of some of this evidence would not have been diminished by a more balanced committee or investigation. We have been discussing the highly scripted and entirely one-sided presentation of evidence in the Committee.

Indeed, witnesses are primarily used to present what Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to as “the narrative” where their prior videotaped testimony is shown and they are given narrow follow up questions. They at times seem more like props than witnesses — called effectively to recite prior statements between well-crafted, impactful video clips. It has the feel of a news package, which may be the result of the decision to bring in a former ABC executive to produce the hearings. That framing has led to glaring omissions. The Committee has routinely edited videotapes and crafted presentations to eliminate alternative explanations or opposing viewpoints like repeatedly editing out Trump telling his supporters to go to the Capitol peacefully.

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Lying under oath.

Donald Trump Questions Why Jan. 6 Witness Hutchinson Isn’t Prosecuted (JTN)

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why Jan. 6 committee witness Cassidy Hutchinson is not being prosecuted for lying under oath about her experiences in the White House while serving as an aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows. The former president and his White House officials have disputed much of Hutchinson’s testimony to the House Jan. 6 Capitol riot committee. Trump continued defending himself on Thursday through posts on his platform, Truth Social. “Social Climber Hutchinson lied about my attack on our great Secret Service, lied about her writing the White House note, lied about my throwing food at a wall in the Oval Office, & lied about my wanting to be surrounded by ‘people with guns’ during my “Go Peacefully and Patriotically” speech (how crazy is that?), yet no guns were found in the Capitol. These lies, among others, were made UNDER OATH. What is the Justice Department going to do about this? Do we have a two tiered system of Justice?” Trump wrote.

Other sources have substantiated Trump’s accusations about Hutchinson’s testimony. For example, a spokesperson for former White House attorney Eric Herschmann told ABC News that his client wrote the note that Hutchinson claimed she authored on Jan. 6. In another case, Hutchinson said Trump lunged at the steering wheel of his presidential vehicle to turn back to the Capitol on Jan. 6, but admitted she was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident. The Secret Service said the Democrat-led House committee did not contact the agency before Hutchinson testified about the alleged incident. A Secret Service agent and the vehicle’s driver are reportedly ready to testify under oath that Trump did not try to steer the vehicle, nor did he touch the men, sources told CBS News.

“Cassidy Hutchinson also forgot to tell the Unselects that she was desperate to go to Florida with certain others of the Trump staff, long after January 6th had come and gone,” the former president continued his defense. “If I was so evil, why did she fight so hard to stay a part of the MAGA TEAM? This is all documented in writing! Why did it take her so long to tell (make up!) these ridiculous and obviously Fake Stories, even after previously sitting for four long depositions? Was it, just maybe, her brand new lawyer? Lying under oath???” he asked. Former Trump White House ethics lawyer Stefan Passantino served as Hutchinson’s attorney until earlier this month, when she replaced him with Jody Hunt, a close ally of Jeff Sessions, Politico reported.

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I think Obama started that.

Biden Has Weaponized The FBI And DOJ Against His Political Opponents (HE)

On June 23, federal agents stormed the Virginia home of former Department of Justice official and legal scholar Jeffrey Clark in the early morning hours, searching his house and seizing multiple electronic devices in the process. And on June 27, news broke of the FBI executing a search warrant on June 22 against legal scholar and professor John Eastman for his role in advising the Trump administration on legally contesting the 2020 presidential elections. (Eastman has filed a motion for return of property, claiming that the federal agent refused to show him their search warrant before seizing his cell phone, as required by the law.) Clark and Eastman, like tens of millions of other Americans, wanted to determine if voter irregularities may have played a role in the 2020 presidential election.

Clark, as a member of the Justice Department, and Eastman as a Trump advisor, explored legal remedies that involved fielding alternate electors in states with contested elections. That they should or should not have done this is open to opinion, but it was not at all illegal. The harassment of Clark and Eastman is part of a much wider DOJ investigation into what the media has now dubbed a “fake electors scandal.” But these were not “fake electors” at all, these were alternate electors that would be ready in the event that legal challenges in certain states opened up the possibility of a GOP win. Nevertheless, the Justice Department has been serving subpoenas and search warrants to Republican Party officials all across the country in a wild witch hunt designed to intimidate local leaders and criminalize legal maneuvering.

None of this is illegal, and it is not without precedent. In fact, the procedure Mr. Clark and Mr. Eastman were pursuing has precedent going back to 1960 and the presidential contest between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. An initial vote tally indicated that Richard Nixon won the three electoral votes from the state of Hawaii. While a recount was ordered, the official Republican electors and a competing Democrat slate of electors were sent to the Administrator of General Services. The recount, which ultimately showed Kennedy narrowly winning the state, did not finish until 10 days after the procedural deadline. Nevertheless, the unofficial Democrat electors were appointed for Hawaii and a new certification process was rushed through to be included in the final tally.

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“The holiest of men, it appears, cannot be admitted to posthumous honors, until all that the devil could say against him is known and weighed.”

The Great Reset: Ending Freedom of the Press, Speech, and Expression (Filip)

Governments, corporations, and elites have always been fearful of the power of a free press, because it is capable of exposing their lies, destroying their carefully crafted images, and undermining their authority. In recent years, alternative journalism has been growing and more people are relying on social media platforms as sources of news and information. In response, the corporate state, digital conglomerates, and the mainstream media have been increasingly supportive of the silencing and censoring of alternative media outlets and voices that challenge the official narrative on most issues.

At the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, “Australian eSafety commissioner” Julie Inman Grant stated that “freedom of speech is not the same thing as a free for all,” and that “we are going to need a recalibration of a whole range of human rights that are playing out online—from freedom of speech … to be free from online violence.” Meanwhile, the Canadian government is seeking to restrict independent media and the freedom of expression via the implementation of Bill C-11, which would allow it to regulate all online audiovisual platforms on the internet, including content on Spotify, Tik Tok, YouTube, and podcast clients. Similarly, the UK is seeking to introduce an Online Safety Bill, the US “paused” the establishment of a Disinformation Governance Board following backlash, and the European Union approved its own Digital Services Act, all of which aim to limit the freedom of speech.

Attempts by elites and politicians to silence dissenters and critical thinkers is not something new. In fact, history is full of examples of “the persecution of men of science, the burning of scientific books, and the systematic eradication of the intelligentsia of the subjected people.” However, these current efforts to curtail freedom of speech and press by supposedly liberal governments are still somewhat ironic, given that even “the most intolerant of churches, the Roman Catholic Church, even at the canonization of a saint, admits, and listens patiently to, a ‘devil’s advocate.’ The holiest of men, it appears, cannot be admitted to posthumous honors, until all that the devil could say against him is known and weighed.”

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Most of them, yes.

Putin: Western Leaders Would Look ‘Disgusting’ Topless (AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shot back at Western leaders who mocked his athletic exploits, saying they would look “disgusting” if they tried to emulate his bare-torso appearances. Putin made the comment during a visit to Turkmenistan early Thursday when asked about Western leaders joking about him at the G7 summit. As they sat down for talks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson jested that G7 leaders could take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin” amid Russia-West tensions over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.


Canadian premier Justin Trudeau joked that Western leaders could try to match Putin’s naked torso pictures with a “bare-chested horseback riding display,” one of his widely publicized athletic adventures. Speaking to reporters, Putin retorted that, unlike him, Western leaders abuse alcohol and don’t do sports. “I don’t know how they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist,” he said. ”“But I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case.” He noted that to look good “it’s necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports.”

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“However, Twitter also implemented specific community standards to limit COVID-19 misinformation on the platform, and Twitter was bound to follow those terms..”

Three Physicians Are Suing Twitter (CHD)

Three physicians are suing Twitter, alleging the company violated its own terms of service and community standards when it suspended their accounts for posting “truthful statements regarding COVID-19 policy, diagnosis and/or treatment.” Drs. Robert Malone, Peter McCullough and Bryan Tyson on Monday filed the lawsuit in Superior Court in California, San Francisco County. The complaint alleges Twitter breached the terms of its contract when it permanently suspended the plaintiffs’ accounts, silenced their voices and failed to provide them with “verified” badges. Plaintiffs allege Twitter’s actions were a substantial factor in causing them harm, and are asking the judge to order Twitter to reactivate their accounts.

All three doctors are represented by attorneys Bryan M. Garrie and Matthew P. Tyson (no relation to the plaintiff, Bryan Tyson). Matthew Tyson on May 12, sent a letter to the directors and managing agents of Twitter requesting the company reinstate the accounts of five physicians, including the plaintiffs, and provide them with “verified” badges. Twitter failed to respond. In the letter, Matthew Tyson acknowledged Twitter is a “private company” and its terms state it can “suspend user accounts for any or no reason.” “However, Twitter also implemented specific community standards to limit COVID-19 misinformation on the platform, and Twitter was bound to follow those terms,” he added. According to the complaint, Twitter’s content-moderation terms included removal procedures for ineffective treatments and false diagnostic criteria, and measures for “labeling” information as “misleading.”

Twitter has a “five-strike policy” as part of its COVID-19 misinformation guidelines and community standards. Twitter’s website states: “The consequences for violating our COVID-19 misleading information policy depend on the severity and type of the violation and the account’s history of previous violations. In instances where accounts repeatedly violate this policy, we will use a strike system to determine if further enforcement actions should be applied.” Strike 1 is “no account-level action.” Strike 2 results in a 12-hour account lock. Strike 3 results in another 12-hour account lock. Strike 4 results in a seven-day account lock and five or more strikes lead to permanent suspension.

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“..without it [cancer] I could not have held to the persecution and ridicule I received for daring to treat patients. I have looked death in the eye and I have been made ready to meet God. I fear nothing on this earth.”

DR. VLADIMIR ZELENKO (1973-2022), REST IN PEACE (HE)

Zev had a family medical practice in Monroe, New York in 2020 during the onset of what would become the Covid-19 pandemic. As a physician who masterfully combined the skills of both critical thinking and the scientific method, and who shaped their application out of his love for both God and patients, Zev was not content to sit back and wait for politicians or public health officials to settle upon a prescribed treatment path. People were dying. He began searching almost immediately for a method of treatment. Aided by initiative, good fortune, and from his account divine intervention, he discovered a treatment in combining Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), zinc, azithromycin, and other various drugs, especially steroids, and creating what has come to be known as the “Zelenko protocol,” based on the concept of very early intervention to treat the virus inside the cellular level before it could break loose and develop into a full-blown respiratory disease.

Up to the time of his death, Zev had overseen the treatment of approximately 7,500 patients using his protocol and experienced only three patient deaths. The use of the Zelenko protocol has spread worldwide. While he was nominated along with other courageous doctors for a Nobel Prize in recognition of his groundbreaking treatment and outspoken advocacy on behalf of patients, for the most part Zev faced censorship and condemnation for his taking a bold stand against prevailing orthodoxy. For whatever their motives, politicians and health officials worldwide attempted to either downplay or outright deny the efficacy of the Zelenko protocol and its simple, low-cost treatment path. Numerous studies were launched to dispute the efficacy of using HCQ (later ivermectin) in conjunction with other drugs.

There were even steps taken by politicians like then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to forbid the use of HCQ in treating patients. Social media platforms joined in the effort to silence Zev, with Twitter having famously banned him from the platform in late 2020. As Voltaire said, “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”

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New Canada Day fines

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jun 042022
 


Andy Warhol Queen Elizabeth, Reigning Queens Series 1985

 

Putin Says US Decision To Print Money Is Behind Soaring Food Prices (ZH)
Biden: Ukraine Might Have To Give Russia Land In ‘Negotiated Settlement’ (NYP)
The Inexorable Path To War (ITT)
Truth Is on Our Side – About the Timing of the Special Operation (Patrushev)
The Ukraine War: a Colloquy (CP)
$9.8 Million Given Last Year by Fauci Agency to Test Monkeypox Treatment (CHD)
US COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Under 5 May Start by June 21 (ET)
Campaign Launched To Stop Musk Buying Twitter (AFP)
Elon Musk To Slash Tesla Jobs, Has “Super Bad Feeling” About Economy (ZH)
DOJ Declines To Prosecute Former Trump Chief Of Staff And Deputy (NBC)
The FBI Tried To Ambush My Source. Now I’m Telling The Whole Story (Risen)
The Complexity Trap (CoS)

 

 

 

 

Schizer

 

 

 

 

Not just the US.

Putin Says US Decision To Print Money Is Behind Soaring Food Prices (ZH)

Earlier, we reported on the deranged, confused, false ramblings of a senile old man who is so out of his depth in running the world’s biggest economy, the catastrophic results will soon be obvious to even his most die-hard fans. Now, it’s time for his nemesis on the world scene, Russia’s Vladimir Putin to respond. Speaking in a TV interview on Friday evening, following a meeting with African leaders in Sochi, Putin accused Western leaders of trying “to shift the responsibility for what is happening in the world food market” and said that “restrictions imposed by the US and its allies against Russia and Belarus will only exacerbate the looming global food crisis by affecting fertilizer trade and sending the food prices further up.”

Instead of looking toward Russian, Putin said that the root causes of the crisis lie with the US decision to print record amounts of money which led to an increase in global food prices, as well as Europe’s over-reliance on renewables and short-term gas contracts, which have led to price hikes and rising inflation. High gas prices, the direct result of Europe’s catastrophic green/ESG policies which as we warned one year ago would spawn energy hyperinflation, resulting in under-investment in the traditional energy sector, have forced many fertilizer producers to shut down their businesses because of unprofitability; such developments have shrunk the fertilizer supply, which, in turn, has sent the food prices up, he added. This is another topic we have discussed extensively in the past (see our Oct 2021 article “Fertilizer Prices Hit Record Highs, May Pressure Food Inflation Even Higher”), and yes, Putin is correct again.

Yet, instead of making some real steps to remedy the situation, the western nations just pin the blame on Moscow, the Russian president remarked. The Russian president has dismissed all claims that Moscow is preventing the Ukrainian grain from being exported to other nations as a “bluff.” He has also said that Russia is ready to increase its own grain export up to 50 million tons. Putin has pointed to the fact that there are several ways to safely transport the grain from the Ukrainian territory, including through Poland and Hungary. He has also said that the Russian forces are about to finish demining the areas of the Black Sea it controls to facilitate safe transfer of goods through the Azov and Black Seas.

The Russian leader has also called the Belarus transport route “the cheapest way” of making the Ukrainian grain reach the customers around the world. Yet, using it would require western nations to lift sanctions they imposed against Minsk, he has added.


ECB Balance Sheet

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Zelensky’s best friend.

Biden: Ukraine Might Have To Give Russia Land In ‘Negotiated Settlement’ (NYP)

President Biden on Friday declined to rule out Ukraine having to cede part of its territory to Russia in order to end Moscow’s more than three-month-old invasion. “Does Ukraine have to cede territory to achieve peace?” a reporter asked Biden after his remarks on the May jobs report. “From the beginning, I’ve said and I’ve been — not everyone’s agreed with me — nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Biden began his answer. “It’s their territory. I’m not going to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. “But it appears to me that at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here,” the president added. “And what that entails, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows at the time. But in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to put the Ukrainians in a position where they can defend themselves.”


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russian forces currently occupy roughly one-fifth of his country. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war objectives remain murky, but Biden claimed in February that Putin was attempting “re-establish the former Soviet Union” by seizing territory that Moscow once ruled. Biden’s subordinates previously expressed an openness to Ukraine giving up land to placate Putin. For example, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said in March that she would not “pre-judge” the matter. But it’s unclear if Ukraine would actually agree to be carved up.

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Part 6 of a series.

The Inexorable Path To War (ITT)

Russia can cite military considerations in the face of a national security crisis as justification for its actions. However, it seems that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine may have been motivated by more than just a response to a national security threat. In March 2021, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine approved Defense Council Decree no. 117/2021, which declared the Ukrainian government’s “Strategy for De-occupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.” The Ukrainian state information news agency—Ukrinform—stated that the strategy focused upon: “[D]iplomatic, military, economic, informational, humanitarian and other measures aimed at restoring the territorial integrity, state sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders through the de-occupation and reintegration of Crimea.”

In the months that followed, Ukrainian forces steadily increased their presence in the Donbas and Southern oblasts. The Ukrainian Defence minister insisted that this reinforcement was purely defensive. Ukraine’s stated intention to use all possible means to regain Crimea and to defeat the DPR & LPR, combined with its build-up of forces, created a reasonable cause for concern on the part of the Russian government. For example, Russia’s access to the vital strategic port of Sevastopol appeared to be under imminent threat. Ukraine’s efforts to regain its claimed territory were financed by the IMF, World Bank, EU member states, the UK and the US. IMF loans of $700 million were part of a $5 billion total package. Money and Ukraine’s resultant national debt appeared to be no object to this funding cartel.

NATO simultaneously undertook a series of provocative exercises. DEFENDER-Europe 21, Locked Shields 21 (cyber), CAPABLE DEPLOYER 2021, Ramstein Ambition 21 (electronic warfare), Spring Storm, Breeze 21, Iron Wolf II 21 and Atlantic Resolve 21 all took place in the spring and summer of 2021. Every one of these exercises focused on defending Eastern Europe as NATO markedly increased its surveillance over Ukraine and the Black Sea. Among the most provocative, from a Russian perspective, was Exercise Cossack Mace which ran throughout May and June 2021. NATO and Ukrainian forces war-gamed an attack from a “fictitious” Eastern adversary. Another one, Exercise Sea Breeze, saw the US and Ukrainian navies cooperate.

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Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev.

Truth Is on Our Side – About the Timing of the Special Operation (Patrushev)

The style of the Anglo-Saxons has not changed for centuries. And so today they continue to dictate their terms to the world, boorishly trampling on the sovereign rights of states. Covering their actions with words about the struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy, they are actually implementing the doctrine of the “golden billion”, which suggests that a limited number of people can flourish in this world. The destiny of the rest, as they believe, is to bend their backs in the name of their goal.

In order to increase the welfare of a handful of magnates in the City of London and Wall Street, the governments of the United States and United Kingdom, controlled by big capital, are creating an economic crisis in the world, dooming millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America to starvation, limiting their access to grain, fertilizers and energy resources. By their actions they are provoking unemployment and a migration catastrophe in Europe. Uninterested in the prosperity of European states, they are doing everything to make them disappear from the pedestal of economically developed countries. And for unconditional control over this region, the Europeans were put on a chair with two legs called NATO and the EU, disdainfully watching how they balance.

[..] Some experts express an opinion about the man-made coronavirus infection, believing that it could have been created in the Pentagon laboratories with the assistance of a number of major multinational pharmaceutical companies. Clinton, Rockefeller, Soros and Biden funds were involved in this work under state guarantees. Instead of caring for the health of mankind, Washington spends billions on the study of new pathogens. In addition, Western medicine is increasingly practicing genetic engineering, synthetic biology methods, thereby blurring the line between artificial and natural.

[..] As they say, a thief’s hat is on fire. Today it is easier to say which of the largest international terrorist organizations did not arise with American assistance. The United States widely uses them as an instrument of geopolitical confrontation, including with our country. Back in the mid-1980s, under the control of American intelligence services, Al-Qaeda was created on Afghan soil to counter the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the United States created the Taliban movement to influence Afghanistan and Central Asia. Guided by their supposedly “national interests”, the United States overthrew objectionable regimes in Libya, Iraq by force of arms, and tried to do it in Syria. And the main striking force in all cases is radical groups, the further unification of which led to the creation of a terrorist monster called the Islamic State, following Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which got out of control of the Americans.

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“..oldest living person active in anti-war struggles who is on record in print (school newspaper) at the time in opposing the 1938 Munich Agreement..”

The Ukraine War: a Colloquy (CP)

Russia’s invasion (illegal) of Ukraine has generated debate regarding how to end the war. It comes as no surprise that arguably the United States’ leading ant-war activist, Professor Noam Chomsky, has given extensive comment on this conflict. Committed already as a boy to opposing state aggression, now at age 93, Noam Chomsky likely is the world’s oldest living person active in anti-war struggles who is on record in print (school newspaper) at the time in opposing the 1938 Munich Agreement, which has become synonymous with appeasement of states engaging in military adventures.

In May of this year, four economists from Ukraine (Bohdan Kukharskyy, Anastassia Fedyk, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, and Ilona Sologoub) working in the United States took umbrage with Chomsky’s comments on the war, or at least what they assumed were the ideas (and “patterns”) he expressed. They held some of his statements to be either inaccurate, or even when true, irrelevant to the conflict and/or giving succor to Russia’s war effort. The Ukrainian economists invited Dr. Chomsky to respond. What follows at bottom are Noam’s responses to their assertions, their rejoinders to his answers, and his following comments.

In the ensuing exchange Professor Chomsky demonstrates several of the positions he was purported to hold by the economists, simply were never articulated by him. Provided with two chances to substantiate remarks attributed to Chomsky, the four economists often could not. Moreover, some points which the four economists asserted were either false or contested, Dr. Chomsky demonstrated were true, with any “contestation” of them chiefly evasions of inconvenient facts. Parts of their debate comes down to points of language and meaning, which the four economists at one point concede that Dr. Chomsky is more precise in his use of.

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To test it you must first have monkeypox?!

$9.8 Million Given Last Year by Fauci Agency to Test Monkeypox Treatment (CHD)

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), directed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, last year paid $9.8 million to government researchers to test a monkeypox treatment, the National Pulse reported. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), which oversees the NIAID, the research began Sept. 28, 2020 and will conclude Sept. 27, 2025. Its goal is to carry out a “randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the safety and efficacy of tecovirimat for the treatment of patients with monkeypox virus disease.” It is unclear if the grant provided for any payments in 2020. The NIAID awarded the grant to the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, a federally funded research and development center in Frederick, Maryland, supported by the National Cancer Institute.

According to the grant abstract: “The similarity between monkeypox and the variola [smallpox] virus, coupled with concerns about the potential of the variola virus as a potential bioterrorism agent, have placed monkeypox treatments at the forefront of public health and scientific research agendas in many countries.” On May 25, SIGA Technologies Inc. announced that it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an intravenous formulation of the antiviral tecovirimat (called TPOXX) for the treatment of smallpox. Although smallpox was eradicated in 1980, the treatment was developed in the event smallpox were to be used as a bioweapon.

The U.S., Canada and Europe have approved an oral formulation of TPOXX for treating smallpox, and Europe also approved it for treating monkeypox and cowpox. As of May 30, the NIH project had not generated any publicly available studies, papers or patents, according to The National Pulse. The National Pulse called the timing of the grant “curious,” as it comes while pharmaceutical giants including Pfizer and Johson & Johnson are making record-level profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Lori Dodd, a mathematical statistician in the biostatistics research branch of NIAID, is the project’s principal investigator. On a recent segment of The Hill’s “Rising,” co-hosts Briahna Joy Gray and Kim Iversen reminded viewers that Dodd was “exposed for her involvement in the agency’s reported data altering of remdesivir trials to make [remdesivir] seem more effective against COVID.”

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More madness.

US COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Under 5 May Start by June 21 (ET)

The White House said it expects its COVID-19 vaccination rollout for children under 5 years of age to start on June 21, in the event of a swift approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, on Thursday walked reporters through a hypothetical timeline of how things may play out within the next month regarding the vaccines for the young cohort, but pointed out he is not there to “pre-judge” the outcome of the vaccine vetting process. “I’m not here to pre-judge the outcome of the process, but the administration is hard at work planning all sorts of scenarios based on whatever the outcome is from the process that’s playing out,” Jha said.

“We’ve been working very closely with states, local health departments, pediatricians, family physicians, other health care providers, and pharmacies to get ready.” He said that “if and when” the FDA authorizes the vaccine, the administration will “move from planning to execution.” “FDA authorization will allow us to start shipping doses. These doses are specifically formulated for these young kids. These doses will be shipped to thousands of sites across the country,” he said. He said that the FDA’s independent advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), is set to meet June 14–15 to discuss requests for emergency use authorizations from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for their COVID-19 vaccines for children.

“We expect FDA to make its decision soon thereafter. Once FDA authorized—if they have authorized vaccines, we can begin shipping,” Jha continued. “We expect some of the shipments to start arriving to in their destinations over that long weekend. Remember Monday is an important federal holiday and many doctors’ offices may be closed. And we can’t ship vaccines until FDA has authorized these vaccines. And vaccination can’t start until CDC has issued its recommendations. “So we expect that vaccination will begin in earnest as early as Tuesday, June 21, and really roll on throughout that week. It will take some time to ramp up the program and for vaccines to be more widely available.”

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Free speech is a threat.

Campaign Launched To Stop Musk Buying Twitter (AFP)

Advocacy groups on Friday launched a campaign to stop Elon Musk from buying Twitter as the proposed purchase cleared review by US antitrust authorities. Twitter said that the deal for Musk to acquire the company was a step closer to being sealed with the passing of a deadline for it to be challenged under a US antitrust law. The Tesla chief’s $44 billion deal to take the one-to-many messaging platform private still faces review by other regulators and must be approved by shareholders. A “Stop The Deal” campaign launched by a coalition of nonprofit groups aims to stop the takeover. “Elon Musk is a wolf in expensive sheep’s clothing whose Twitter takeover is motivated by ego and grievance,” Accountable Tech executive director Nicole Gill said in a release.


“If we don’t stop this deal, he’ll hand a megaphone to demagogues and extremists, who will cheer him as they incite more hate, harm, and harassment.” The campaign will involve pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agencies to closely scrutinize everything about the takeover deal. The coalition will also work to convince Twitter shareholders and advertisers to oppose Musk buying the San Francisco-based tech firm. The list of more than a dozen organizations involved in the campaign includes MoveOn, SumOfUs, Media Matters for America, and the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

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“pause all hiring worldwide..”,

Elon Musk To Slash Tesla Jobs, Has “Super Bad Feeling” About Economy (ZH)

Since mid-May, real-time indicators warned the labor market had hit a brick wall. Piper Sandler predicted last week that up to a million layoffs or more were ahead as the US economy is on the verge of recession. The latest sign of an impending job market shock is an email seen by Reuters from the world’s richest man, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who told executives the electric carmaker needs to cut staff by 10% because he has a “super bad feeling” about where the economy was headed. The email, titled “pause all hiring worldwide,” was sent to executives on Thursday and is the latest sign of mounting macroeconomic headwinds as lower-than-expected US new car sales in May could be a harbinger of a recession.


In an another email Tuesday, Musk told employees: “Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week … If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.” On Wednesday, Musk tweeted: “Recessions serve a vital economic cleansing function.” Tesla, which has EV factories worldwide, including ones in the US, Berlin, and China, employs about 100k staff, so reducing 10% of jobs could equate to 10k people. Musk’s stark warning of impending economic doom and the need for job cuts sent Tesla shares down nearly 4% in premarket, dragging down Nasdaq 100 futures about half a percentage point and other electric carmakers.

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But Peter Navarro, same situation?!, was dragged off a plane, and put in handcuffs and leg irons.

DOJ Declines To Prosecute Former Trump Chief Of Staff And Deputy (NBC)

Justice Department officials said Friday that prosecutors would not file criminal contempt of Congress charges against Mark Meadows, who served as White House chief of staff during former President Donald Trump’s last 10 months in office. The department also declined to prosecute Dan Scavino, who was deputy chief of staff, the DOJ officials said. The decisions were a defeat for the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. After both Trump officials refused to honor the panel’s subpoenas, the committee found them in contempt of Congress and referred the cases to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., for prosecution. But even if prosecutors had charged them and obtained convictions, it would not have required them to cooperate with the committee.

It would simply have punished them for their refusal. A senior Justice Department official said the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, notified the committee of its conclusions. The decisions were based “on the individual facts and circumstances of their alleged contempt,” according to the official. Meadows was “uniquely situated to provide critical information about the events of January 6,” the committee said in seeking his cooperation, as well as efforts taken by public officials and private individuals to spread the false message of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. He was “with or in the vicinity of” Trump when word of the riot at the Capitol reached the White House, it said.

[..] Earlier Friday, former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was arrested at an airport on contempt of Congress charges — allegations he vowed to fight. Navarro, 72, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday after snubbing a subpoena from the House committee investigating Jan. 6 seeking testimony and documents.

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James Risen.

The FBI Tried To Ambush My Source. Now I’m Telling The Whole Story (Risen)

FBI agent Grayden Ridd had a confidential message for his informant. An FBI team had been given the green light by the Justice Department to ambush and derail a planned meeting between a reporter and a source, and the informant’s job was to let the FBI know when and where the meeting would take place. The reporter whose meeting they planned to target was me. It was January 2014, and I was an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau of the New York Times focusing on national security. The FBI wanted to stop me from obtaining documents that I’d been told would reveal the details of massive spying operations by the National Security Agency. The FBI was convinced that I was in contact with someone they had secretly nicknamed the “second Snowden,” who was about to give me an archive that they feared could go far beyond what former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had leaked about the agency’s spying operations the year before.

The FBI’s plan to grab my source at our scheduled meeting was approved by top officials at the FBI and the Justice Department during the Obama administration, according to audio recordings I obtained of several phone conversations between Ridd and his informant. At the time, Eric Holder was U.S. attorney general and James Comey was FBI director. “Right now, they are on board,” Ridd said in one phone conversation to plan the ambush operation, referring to top Justice Department and FBI officials. “I have to periodically go up to the throne room and recommit them. … We actually have a lot of buy-in and a lot of support, but I do need to feed the beast.” The FBI’s attempt to identify and catch my source came as the Justice Department was waging a seven-year legal campaign against me in connection with a separate leak investigation.

The Obama Justice Department had subpoenaed me and was demanding that I testify in court and reveal the confidential sources I had relied on for a chapter about a botched CIA operation in my 2006 book, “State of War.” I included the story in my book after the Times killed an article on the same topic under pressure from the White House and the CIA. The attempt to derail my reporting on the purported NSA leaks came during a critical period in my legal battle with the Justice Department. In January 2014 — just as the FBI was planning its ambush operation — the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to hear arguments over my subpoena in the leak case involving the mismanaged CIA program. At the time, I was facing the possibility of going to prison for refusing to reveal my sources if the Supreme Court did not rule in my favor. But the Justice Department did not disclose to the Supreme Court that the FBI was simultaneously targeting my reporting on a completely separate story.

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“..the smart thing to do today would be to simplify our way of life..”

The Complexity Trap (CoS)

Although we like to pretend that the technology which surrounds us is novel and world-changing, as physicist Tom Murphy has shown, much of it would be recognisable to someone in the USA of the 1950s: “Look around your environment and imagine your life as seen through the eyes of a mid-century dweller. What’s new? Most things our eyes land on will be pretty well understood. The big differences are cell phones (which they will understand to be a sort of telephone, albeit with no cord and capable of sending telegram-like communications, but still figuring that it works via radio waves rather than magic), computers (which they will see as interactive televisions), and GPS navigation (okay: that one’s thought to be magic even by today’s folk). They will no doubt be impressed with miniaturization as an evolutionary spectacle, but will tend to have a context for the functional capabilities of our gizmos.

“Telling ourselves that the pace of technological transformation is ever-increasing is just a fun story we like to believe is true. For many of us, I suspect, our whole world order is built on this premise.” The point is that most of these technologies have already reaped the cheap and easy, and, indeed, almost all of the hard and expensive improvements that are ever going to be made. In this respect, we are entering a period similar to the early twentieth century when we hit the limits to coal-powered technologies. The big difference today being that there is no even more energy-dense and easily available new energy source available to us to usher in a new suite of technologies in the way that oil-based technologies rapidly replaced coal in the years after World War Two.

From this viewpoint, the smart thing to do today would be to simplify our way of life – and write-off a large part of the monetary claims on future exergy growth which will not be arriving – in order to bring our economies into line with the declining surplus energy available to us. The paradox though, is that – even at today’s higher prices – energy does not appear to be the biggest problem before us. For all of the complaints about the rapid and steep rise in fuel and electricity prices, they remain low in comparison to the benefits that we derive from them.

[..] Several decades ago, sociologist Joseph Tainter observed that collapsing civilisations have a habit of unconsciously entering into complexity traps, adding energy-intensive complexity in a desperate attempt to sustain themselves. Our turn to energy-intensive automation in an attempt to overcome our growing woes and to maintain economic growth is likely repeating the same folly. The difference – at least for those who see the economy as primarily an energy rather than a monetary system – is that we have the necessary knowledge to avoid our complexity trap if only we are prepared to actively simplify away from an economy based on mass consumption in favour of one based around material simplicity… I’m not holding my breath though.

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Elements

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr 202022
 
 April 20, 2022  Posted by at 8:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  74 Responses »


Andy Warhol Grace Kelly 1984

 

There Has Been No Talk Of Peace, Only War (Celente)
Putin ‘Will Go Nuclear’ Says CIA Boss in Regime Change Set Up (Ransom)
Yet Another Huge Ukraine Arms Package As Total Military Aid Nears $3BN (ZH)
Watch Out, Vlad! Here Comes the British Invasion (Tracey)
Russia Must Prepare For “Possible Aggressive Action” From NATO – Medvedev (ZH)
Two Cheers for Realism (Lee)
Telling the COVID Good Guys from the Bad Guys (Hope)
Wall Street Now Paying Attention to the ‘Trust the Science’ Fraud – Dowd (Wolf)
New CDC Center to Predict Pandemics, Provide ‘Outbreak Analytics’ (CSN)
DOJ To Appeal Court Decision to Overturn Mask Mandate, if CDC Asks (CTH)
CDC Removes All Countries From COVID-19 ‘Do Not Travel’ List (Reason)
Treasury Bond Massacre, Mortgage Rates Hit 5.35%, and it’s Only April (WS)
Clinton Campaign: Fusion GPS Provided Legal Advice (TechnoFog)
Taylor Lorenz Is Simply Following The New Rules Of Journalism (Miller)

 

 

Number of days Julian Assange has been in Belmarsh prison, never charged with anything.

Today, another decision is due in his extradition case.

 

 

 

 

Zelensky’s statements influenced by what he drinks or smokes – Lavrov

 

 

 

 

Musk

 

 

The only thing you need to know, really.

There Has Been No Talk Of Peace, Only War (Celente)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the Western sanctions that were intended to punish Moscow into submission and end its war with Ukraine have failed and, instead, hurt the very countries who imposed them. Putin used a televised address to tell Russians the sanctions were “expected to quickly upset the financial-economic situation, provoke panic in the markets, the collapse of the banking system and shortages in stores.” But said the West’s “economic blitz” failed and backfired. He said they instead led to a “deterioration of the economy in the West.” Last month, President Joe Biden told reporters that the sanctions imposed on Russia were not intended to prevent the 24 February invasion, but were intended instead to unite Europe and show its resolve.

“That’s the important thing. If you’re Putin and you think that Europe is going to crack in a month or six weeks or two months, [that] they can take anything for another month…We have to stay fully, totally, thoroughly united,” he said. When the White House announced a ban on Russian oil imports, oil prices in the U.S. hit their highest levels since 2008. The Russian central bank on Monday announced that consumer prices were about 16.7 percent higher than the same time period last year. The New York Times, citing international financial organizations, reported that economists believe that the Russian economy will contract up to 15 percent.

Biden, who has called Putin a war criminal, killer, and a brute, has discussed additional sanctions against Russia with European allies on Tuesday, Reuters reported. They also discusses arming Ukrainians with even more weapons. Canada announced Tuesday a new round of sanctions against Russians, including Putin’s two adult daughters, the report said. The repot said: “Among those on the call were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as the leaders of Poland, Japan and Italy.” There has been no talk of peace, only war.

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The narrative needs a new chapter every day, lest people start questioning yesterday’s tale.

Putin ‘Will Go Nuclear’ Says CIA Boss in Regime Change Set Up (Ransom)

Democrats have invented their own WMD story to support regime change, as the head of the CIA warned about taking Russia’s nuclear capability too “lightly.” Speaking at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, CIA Director William Burns has said that in desperation Russian President Vladimir Putin could use a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine in order to try to reverse his battlefield mistakes. “Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” said Burns, according to Voice of America. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also warned about potential Putin use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.


Nina Khrushcheva, the great granddaughter to former Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev, echoed the comments but said it wasn’t a prediction of the use of nukes, but was just noting the potential is there for Putin to use nuclear weapons, said Newsweek. “Since there are questions about how far Russia can go to create victory, and nuclear weapons have been part of the conversation on both sides, Russian and the West, the tactical atomic option is potentially imaginable,” said Khrushcheva, a professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York City, a progressive hotbed.

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Let’s make it an even $30 billion. $3 billion is hardly enough to pay the bonuses at Raytheon this Christmas

Yet Another Huge Ukraine Arms Package As Total Military Aid Nears $3BN (ZH)

Coming off last week’s approved gargantuan $800 million military package for Ukraine, which the broader public and media seemed to not even bat an eye about (but quite the opposite: positively cheering it), what more is there for Biden to do except sign off on another massive weapons package for Kiev… “The Biden administration is preparing to announce another substantial military aid package for Ukraine this week,” NBC News cited five US officials to report Tuesday evening. “Three officials said the package is expected to be similar in size to the $800 million one the administration announced last week.” Biden previewed the new aid package by answering a simple “yes” when asked by a reporter whether Washington will send more artillery to Ukraine.

The new transfers are expected to include “tens of thousands more artillery rounds” – notes Bloomberg, and likely along with more anti-tank missiles, as has been consistently shipped stretching back even before Russia’s late February invasion kicked off. It appears to be the administration’s response to Moscow launching a ‘new phase’ in the war: a major force buildup and push to take the Donbas region from Ukraine, which the Kremlin reportedly wants to see fully accomplished by May 9, Victory Day, which commemorates the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. Without doubt these continual major weapons packages pledged to Ukraine will only push Russia and NATO into increasingly direct confrontation, given the Kremlin’s standing warning that it will target any inbound Western arms transfers.

Meanwhile, on Monday a senior Pentagon official told Reuters of plans to begin training Ukrainian forces on how to use American-supplied howitzers. It was described, however, that the training would occur outside Ukraine, likely in a neighboring friendly country like Poland. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed this week that so far the United States has successfully delivered new weapons to the Ukrainians on four flights – this as overall US aid pledged to Ukraine since Feb.24 has totaled about $2.6 billion and counting.

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“..the article was published at 10pm local time on the Friday of Easter weekend..”

Watch Out, Vlad! Here Comes the British Invasion (Tracey)

“You heard it here first”? Within less than 48 hours of publishing my previous article — aptly titled “The UK is Trying to Drag the US into World War III” — the most decisive evidence yet for the thesis conveniently emerged. This was thanks to The Times newspaper, which reported that British “boots on the ground” have been deployed to Ukraine. It’s the first time that the armed forces of any NATO member state were confirmed to be physically present inside Ukraine since the war started on February 24. If the UK Government really does aim to position itself at the “vanguard” of an escalating military intervention, in hopes that it can cajole the US into hotter and hotter warfare — as I reported in the previous article — then this seems like a pretty plausible way of going about it.


Is the US content to just sit around and let itself be one-upped by the British, who have now demonstrated their willingness to boldly send “boots on the ground” in defense of freedom and democracy? While the mighty US dithers impotently on the sidelines? Oddly, the response to the Times revelation has been conspicuously muted. At least from my vantage point here in London. And maybe that’s by design: the article was published at 10pm local time on the Friday of Easter weekend, and as I recently discovered, Easter weekend in England a big four-day Bank Holiday bash. So maybe the article was intentionally “buried” to dampen its effect — or maybe the timing was just an innocent coincidence. Either way, there’s been a curious lack of followup or even significant discussion in the days since the news broke. Maybe some inscrutable code of omertà reigns within the UK press corps? For all the problems with US media, it’s not quite as weirdly incestuous and insular as media in the UK.

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“We are talking primarily about an attempt to expand NATO’s presence near our borders.”

Russia Must Prepare For “Possible Aggressive Action” From NATO – Medvedev (ZH)

Following earlier this month both Finland and Sweden signaling their intent to join NATO, close Putin ally and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, has warned that the Western military alliance is engaged in a military buildup along Russia’s borders. “A senior Russian official said on Tuesday that NATO’s reinforcement of its borders with Russia was no longer a figure of speech and Moscow should be prepared for possible aggressive action, Russia’s TASS news agency reported,” according to Reuters. “NATO’s expansion near Russia’s borders is no longer a figure of speech or a set of threats, we must be prepared for aggressive action,” he said according to a translation. The fresh words follow Medvedev’s prior threats to position nuclear and hypersonic missiles along Russian’s western border in the scenario that Finland and Sweden join NATO.

The prospect of Finland, which is said to be studying the issue, joining the alliance is especially alarming for the Kremlin, given Russian and its Scandinavian neighbor share a 810-mile border. Sweden, though a little less important geographically, has already announced its intent to join the alliance. “There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Medvedev said previously. But now on Tuesday, he’s heightened the rhetoric further by saying, “We are talking primarily about an attempt to expand NATO’s presence near our borders.” Medvedev stated further according to state-run TASS, based on a rush translation: “And this is no longer a figure of speech today, this is not a set of standard threats. We must be prepared for those aggressive actions that may happen.”

The thrust of his words were toward encouraging the rapid technological advance of the country’s defense capabilities amid the new ‘NATO threat’ – given the remarks were delivered before a national conference on science and education. He stressed that “it is important to build up, among other things, a system that allows you to provide the country with the most modern weapons.” “And this requires reliable, high-tech, powerful equipment – both military and dual-use,” the deputy head of the Security Council added, explaining that the situation did “not arise by itself, especially in those conditions when sanctions have been imposed on the country.”

Cement

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Westphalian Treaty, 1648.

“Russia, China have legitimate spheres of influence and this should be respected. This will involve an end to the gross provocations in the South China Sea and in Poland, Romania, and the Baltics, not to mention the ongoing series of colour revolutions.”

Two Cheers for Realism (Lee)

As the US and its vassals therefore prepare for war, its populations must be conditioned to believe and accept such an inevitable outcome. The propaganda machine has been stepped up to unprecedented levels. The message is simple. Our side = good, Their side = bad. Our side does good things, their side does bad things. Thus, the media – now an asset of the deep state – plays an essential role of propagating this political construction among the populations of the Anglo-Zionist heartlands. All of which is very reminiscent of Orwell’s short novel Animal Farm. After the Animal Revolution and the eviction of Jones the Farmer, the sheep were instructed by the ruling group – the pigs – into reciting the goodness of the animals and the badness of humans. The short and endless bleat of the sheep went as follows: ‘’Four legs good, two legs bad,’’ repeated endlessly.

That is about the level of western foreign policy. Good guys, bad guys, white hats, black hats, no compromise, no surrender. Result war. The question we must now ask is has this menacing process gone too far to go into reverse? This of course remains an open question. But the thrust of neo-conservative foreign policy would suggest this war would be a logical outcome. Either that or the whole thing is a bluff. Up to this point the US performance in attacking recalcitrant weak states has not been a roaring success. The same goes for Israel. Bombing countries with no air defence or shooting Palestinian kids with sniper rifles is easy-peasy. Taking on Iran is a different matter entirely. The irresistible force seems to be meeting its immovable object.

From a realist as opposed to a neo-conservative foreign policy the idea of an American world empire is frankly deranged. Pursuit of this pipedream can only result in mutually assured destruction; yes, M.A.D. still applies. The United States and its minions might not like it, but it will have to learn to live with other great powers. Russia, China have legitimate spheres of influence and this should be respected. This will involve an end to the gross provocations in the South China Sea and in Poland, Romania, and the Baltics, not to mention the ongoing series of colour revolutions.

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“These sociopathic characteristics include superficial charm, untruthfulness, absence of neurosis or anxiety, poverty of emotion, and a lack of remorse or shame. ”

Telling the COVID Good Guys from the Bad Guys (Hope)

Most recently, Elon Musk has stepped forward, offering to purchase Twitter and remove the censorship from the platform. This move would turn the tables on the Great Reset and restore the voice of the American public. Some are conflicted and see Musk as a potential bad guy due to his billionaire status and work developing technologies that could be used against the populace. However, upon closer inspection, one notices that Musk has been consistent in his views over the last two years. Musk was among the first to tweet about the potential benefits of using HCQ in early 2020. Musk’s position has not changed, while the opposition lies, waffles, and double talks.

In his first interview with Joe Rogan in May of 2020, Musk questioned the lockdowns’ wisdom and insisted that our freedoms should come first. He noted that our liberty and democracy had come at significant cost, and we should not allow them to be eroded so easily. Looking deeper at Musk, one realizes he is not a sociopath like so many other billionaires. Sixteen factors help identify a sociopath – according to the Cleckley Profile as set forth by Dr. Hervey M. Cleckley, the expert considered to be the Father of Psychopathy. He discussed these in his treatise, The Mask of Sanity. These sociopathic characteristics include superficial charm, untruthfulness, absence of neurosis or anxiety, poverty of emotion, and a lack of remorse or shame.

In short, they have cold, reptilian personalities and no conscience. Sociopaths have no anxiety and can often beat lie detector tests because their heart rates and blood pressure can remain stable under questioning that would phase most of us. While our leading health authorities and top vaccine billionaires easily qualify as sociopaths, Musk’s personality does not fit. He tears up at interviews to the extent the cameraman must stop filming; he exhibits great emotion when speaking about his childhood or challenges with his businesses.

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There goes the CDC.

Wall Street Now Paying Attention to the ‘Trust the Science’ Fraud – Dowd (Wolf)

As Pfizer try to ‘pump their stock’ Hedge Fund guru Dowd, takes us inside what he calls the third great fraud in his lifetime, in this new bombshell interview with Dr Naomi Wolf.

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Except, they’re giving the CDC more powers, no matter how badly it failed.

New CDC Center to Predict Pandemics, Provide ‘Outbreak Analytics’ (CSN)

On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced the launch of the CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Analysis (CFA) to predict future pandemics and guide the government’s efforts to address such anticipated infectious disease threats. A center of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CFA will use “infectious disease modeling and analytics and to provide support to leaders at the federal, state, and local levels,” the CDC explains in its announcement. As “the equivalent of the National Weather Service for infectious diseases,” the CFA will “predict trends and guide decision-making,” the CDC says:

“CFA’s work will be focused into three main pillars: to predict, inform, and innovate. CFA has begun to build a world-class outbreak analytics team with experts across several disciplines to develop faster, richer evidence to predict trends and guide decision-making during emergencies.” According to the CFA website, the new center will also predict the future course of ongoing pandemics, in order to help public health officials to take preemptive measures: “The goal of the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) is to enable timely, effective decision-making to improve outbreak response using data, modeling, and analytics.

“To do so, CFA will produce models and forecasts to characterize the state of an outbreak and its course, inform public health decision makers on potential consequences of deploying control measures, and support innovation to continuously improve the science of outbreak analytics and modeling.” CFA Science Director Marc Lipsitch, hopes to employ regular population sampling, by means like blood draws and swab tests, in order to collect data, the AP reports: “[T]he United Kingdom uses regular population sampling with swab tests and blood draws to get a clearer picture of who’s been infected, said Marc Lipsitch, the new center’s science director. He said similar sampling should be considered in the U.S.”

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“..a political DOJ has to wait for a political CDC to determine whether they still have any currency of influence..”

DOJ To Appeal Court Decision to Overturn Mask Mandate, if CDC Asks (CTH)

On one hand, Joe Biden needs to appease the base of his Covidians who identify themselves through the prism of COVID. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of Americans are done with the COVID fear mongering. What to do, what to do? Trying to split the baby, Biden’s DOJ announces it will appeal the federal court ruling that overturned the federal Transporation covid mask mandate, but only if the CDC tells them to. “DOJ PRESS RELEASE – […] “The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health.” “If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision.”


Keep in mind, the federal court ruling specifically centered around the arbitrary nature of the original mandate, which exceeded the scope of CDC legal authority, compounded by the CDC breaking its own rules for public feedback in the implementation.The mandate created by Joe Biden did not have legal structure. It was a dictatorial fiat that exceeded the capacity of the executive branch to create. Congress could easily write a law authorizing mechanisms for the CDC and TSA to use in enforcement of a federal Transportation mask mandate; but they won’t – because the public would never support it. So now, a political DOJ has to wait for a political CDC to determine whether they still have any currency of influence amid the politics of COVID.

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Just demolish it.

CDC Removes All Countries From COVID-19 ‘Do Not Travel’ List (Reason)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its international travel recommendations on Monday, relaxing previous COVID-19 risk assessments.Previously, the CDC’s “Level 4” risk designation applied to destinations with “very high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. On Sunday, 89 countries and territories were listed in this category, with the CDC advising, “Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.” The agency has since named its highest risk category “Level 4: Special Circumstances/Do Not Travel” and removed all countries from it. In a statement last week, the CDC indicated it would reserve this designation for “special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse.”

The CDC’s next highest designation, “Level 3: COVID-19 High,” now includes 122 destinations and advises that travelers are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, but does not advise the fully vaccinated to avoid travel wholesale. Given that there are few places in the world where COVID-19 has not spread widely, it is becoming necessary for the individual traveler to determine his own risk tolerance. Safety does not simply depend on picking the country with no active COVID-19 cases, but rather on taking stock of your vaccination status, your preexisting conditions, and the medical infrastructure at your destination.

The CDC’s new advisory structure makes the point that not all areas with high COVID-19 transmission are irreconcilably dangerous to visit. As recently as Sunday, the CDC advised travelers to exercise the same level of COVID-related caution when visiting Norway and the Central African Republic; South Korea and Papua New Guinea; and Australia and Vietnam. It makes little sense to advise the same level of extreme medical caution across each of these nations, considering how vastly each country’s health capacities may differ. Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden are said to have some of the best health care in the world, but in terms of COVID contagion, the CDC considered them as risky to visit as Somalia, a country with only one surgeon for every 1 million people and a full COVID vaccination rate of just 8.5 percent.

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You will own nothing and you will be happy.

Treasury Bond Massacre, Mortgage Rates Hit 5.35%, and it’s Only April (WS)

The interesting thing is that no one at the Fed is trying to talk down those spikes in Treasury yields and mortgage rates. It shows that those yields are going where the Fed wants them to go, and that the Treasury market is coming around to the Fed’s rate-hike plan, and that those yields have a long ways to go, given that CPI inflation is 8.5%, a gigantic mess that has unfolded over the past 15 months, finally, after 12 years of money-printing. The two-year Treasury yield spiked by 15 basis points today to 2.61%, the highest since January 2019. This has been a huge move in just seven months. When the two-year yield goes over 2.83%, it will be in territory not seen since 2007, as the Treasury market begins to price in the Fed’s coming policy action to crack down on inflation:

Even the biggest doves at the Fed are now fully on board the rate-hike train, and it’s only a question of how fast and how long. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, one of the biggest doves, is “comfortable” with 25-basis-point hikes at every meeting this year (there are seven more), and even he is “open” to 50-basis-point hikes: “we want to be humble and nimble, and get to neutral before too long – maybe 50 helps, I’m open to that,” he said. The 10-year Treasury yield rose by 8 basis points to 2.93% at the close today, the highest since December 2018. The magic number there is 3.24%, beyond which yields are back in 2011 territory:

When yields rise, it means prices of those bonds fall, and prices fall the hardest of bonds with the longest remaining maturities. And it’s a massacre for people who invested in what they thought was a very conservative and prudent instrument, namely a bond fund tracking long-term Treasury securities, when in fact it turned out to be a highly risky wager on long-term Treasury yields always going lower forevermore. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF [TLT], which tracks an index of Treasury securities with at least 20 years of remaining maturities, dropped another 0.75% today, is down 19.5% year-to-date, and has plunged by 30.6% from the peak in August 2020, which was when long-term Treasury yields had hit historic lows, and which was – with hindsight – the moment the greatest bond-market bubble in US history began to implode:

Holy moly Mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate spiked to 5.35% today, the highest since 2009! This daily measure of mortgage rates by Mortgage News Daily had briefly hit 5.05% in November 2018, with inflation at or below the Fed’s target, and with markets tanking left and right, before the Fed made its infamous U-Turn, and mortgage rates dove. Now the Fed is just getting started, with inflation at 8.5%. There is no one that can persuade me that this jump in mortgage rates isn’t going to have a serious impact on the housing market. It’s the Fed’s way of getting the housing bubble under control before it tears up the financial system again:

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They’re getting lost in their own narratives.

Clinton Campaign: Fusion GPS Provided Legal Advice (Techno Fog)

The battle over documents and e-mails in the Michael Sussmann case just got hotter. Back in August 2017, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining how his firm was retained to gather “lots of facts about Donald Trump.” He admitted that Fusion GPS met with reporters leading up to the 2016 election to spread opposition research against then-candidate Trump. The context of Perkins Coie’s retention of Fusion GPS was further explained in a book co-authored by Simpson and Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch. They documented an April 20, 2016 meeting with Mark Elias (Perkins Coie partner and counsel for the DNC/Clinton Campaign), where Elias requested their services for opposition research.

Now the stories have changed. Fusion GPS is no longer an opposition research firm, and they weren’t hired to dig-up dirt against Trump. Instead, they would have you believe, after the phony dossier and the Alfa Bank hoax, that Fusion GPS was retained to provide legal advice to the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Remarkable. On April 6, Durham filed [a] motion to compel in the Michael Sussmann case, requesting the court require the production of “emails and attachments between and among” Perkins Coie, Rodney Joffe, and Fusion GPS. These emails and documents, according to Durham, “appear or involve or relate to” Fusion GPS’s provision of research and media services to Hillary for America, the DNC, and Perkins Coie. (Some documents had been produced pursuant to grand jury subpoenas dating back to the 2021.)

Faced with this pressure, today there was a flurry of filings from interested entities in the Sussmann case, seeking to intervene to petition the court to keep these emails and documents secret. The DNC, Rodney Joffe, Perkins Coie, and Hillary for America all filed motions to intervene and memorandums in opposition to Durham’s motion to compel. Notably, we saw arguments to the court that Fusion GPS wasn’t retained for opposition research. Hillary for America, for example, asserted “attorney-client privilege and work product protection over communications and work product of its attorneys (at Perkins Coie) and their consultant (Fusion GPS).” In support of that motion, Hillary for America included declarations from John Podesta, Robby Mook, and their attorney, Marc Elias. Declarations which contradict the public record.

To prove my point, John Podesta declared that to his knowledge, Perkins Coie has “consistently maintained” confidentiality, despite the fact that Perkins Coie (Sussmann in particular) assisted in distributing to the press the materials and allegations prepared by Fusion GPS and other researchers. Not to be outdone, Robby Mook (Hillary’s campaign manager) told the court that he believed that contractors for Perkins Coie – which would include Fusion GPS – were providing “legal services and legal advice” to the Clinton campaign. Unfortunately for Hillary for America, Mook’s belief is insufficient for the purposes of privilege. Clinton lawyer Mark Elias also submitted a declaration, stating the role of Fusion GPS was to “provide consulting services in support of the legal advice” Perkins Coie and Elias were providing their clients. This contradicts the Elias’s own statements cited above.

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“Taylor Lorenz is not the ultimate problem. The problem is news outlets and infotainment companies using their outsize power and vast budgets to harass and doxx private citizens they disagree with. ”

Taylor Lorenz Is Simply Following The New Rules Of Journalism (Miller)

Much has been said about Taylor Lorenz, the 30-something-year-old journalist for the Washington Post and former New York Times Slack channel gossipmonger. Still, her lack of media ethics is now unambiguous. On Tuesday, we learned about Lorenz’s doxxing of those behind a viral social media account she personally dislikes. Lorenz published a story on the popular “LibsofTikTok” Twitter account. This account curates and highlights content from the extreme fringes of the cultural and political Left on TikTok and other platforms. The account isn’t much different from the “Right Wing Watch” account on Twitter, which does mostly the same thing from a politically left perspective. The difference is simply who is protected by most of the media and who isn’t. That’s what much of the discourse around the public revealing of the person behind the LibsofTikTok account is missing.

Taylor Lorenz is what the media are now. In 2017, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski tracked down an anonymous Reddit user who had created a gif of President Donald Trump clotheslining a wrestler at a WWE event, with the CNN logo replacing the opposing wrestler’s head. CNN found this to be doxx-worthy simply because it was retweeted by Trump. In 2019, when a joke video of a “drunk” Nancy Pelosi (the creator simply reduced the speed of the video) spread around, Kevin Poulsen of the Daily Beast tracked down and doxxed the person who did it, revealing he is an ex-con living in the Bronx who was working as a forklift operator. These details were not newsworthy. The video itself was not newsworthy. But the Daily Beast published his name and employment anyway.

In 2018, HuffPost writer Luke O’Brien doxxed and revealed the identity of a pro-Trump Twitter user, including information regarding a popular Brooklyn deli that her siblings owned and was not related to her social media posts. The deli was soon threatened with boycotts and negative Yelp reviews. These are just three examples of what has become an industry standard. It’s a standard that now has some reporters comparing LibsofTikTok to Harvey Weinstein and the Watergate scandal. However, in singling out Taylor Lorenz, what the political Right doesn’t understand is this is about politics and shutting down opposing speech. That is to say, speech that Lorenz or Kaczynski or the Daily Beast are ideologically opposed to. Of course, this is also about media power.

CNN is a multibillion-dollar media conglomerate that used the full weight of its corporate power to threaten a private individual with a Reddit account. In a newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos, Lorenz publishes a story with an individual’s name, professional license, and address information. It’s a struggle between one of the richest, most powerful men on the Earth and someone behind a Twitter account with less than a million followers (although that follower count is almost certainly about to increase). Taylor Lorenz is not the ultimate problem. The problem is news outlets and infotainment companies using their outsize power and vast budgets to harass and doxx private citizens they disagree with. It’s a new journalistic model for an industry that sees its grip loosening on what news it can control and create (see the media freak-out over Elon Musk buying their favorite toy). Taylor Lorenz, for all her theatrics, is simply leading the charge.

Tucker Libs of TikTok

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Gates Nov 2019
https://twitter.com/CovidMemo/status/1516444224622927882

 

 

 

 

Ships waiting to dock in Shanghai.

 

 

NATO ad

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Oct 182021
 
 October 18, 2021  Posted by at 7:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  55 Responses »


M. C. Escher Meeting (Encounter) 1940

 

Covid Infection In Vaxxed 40-49 Yr Olds Double The Unvaxxed Rate (DS)
Over 90% Of A Hospital’s Admissions Were Vaccinated For Covid-19 (Siri)
What Happens If Israel Fails The Stress Test? (Geert)
White House Tells Governors to Get Ready to Vaccinate Young Kids (CHD)
40% Of California State Workers Are Unvaccinated Despite Newsom’s Order (ZH)
Pentagon Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Vaccine Mandates (ET)
Ron Johnson Slams DOJ Probe Of Parents’ School Board Protests (JTN)
Facebook Announces 10,000 EU Jobs To Build ‘Metaverse’ (Y!)
MPs Back Challenge To Boris Johnson On Vaccine Passports (Exp.)
Bare Shelves, No Holidays… At Last, A Biblical Kind Of Christmas (Cumming)
Who Do You Blame When You’ve Killed The Scapegoat? (Fintan O’Toole)

 

 

Ivermectin works in Tokyo..

 

 

And in Indonesia.


Indonesia ramped up ivermectin production and the government assured national distribution and fair prices. IVM is considered by the government a COVID medicine.

 

 

But Singapore has the same pattern as Taiwan: very low infection rates, but then the vaccines came…

 

 

McCullough
https://twitter.com/i/status/1448336581358665733

 

 

Effectiveness Hits Minus-109%

Covid Infection In Vaxxed 40-49 Yr Olds Double The Unvaxxed Rate (DS)

In the latest Vaccine Surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE) the Covid infection rate in double-vaccinated people in their 40s went above 100 per cent higher than in the unvaccinated for the first time, reaching 109 per cent. This translates to an unadjusted vaccine effectiveness of minus 109 per cent.

Vaccine effectiveness continues to drop fast in all over-18s, hitting minus 85 per cent for those in their 50s, minus 88 per cent for those in their 60s and minus 79 per cent for those in their 70s. Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation and death continues to hold up in all age groups, though with some signs of decline, particularly among older people. There is still nothing from Government sources acknowledging this failure of the vaccines against infection, its implications for policy and analysing what might be behind it.

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We’ve seen Deborah Conrad.

Over 90% Of A Hospital’s Admissions Were Vaccinated For Covid-19 (Siri)

A concerned Physician Assistant, Deborah Conrad, convinced her hospital to carefully track the Covid-19 vaccination status of every patient admitted to her hospital. The result is shocking. As Ms. Conrad has detailed, her hospital serves a community in which less than 50% of the individuals were vaccinated for Covid-19 but yet, during the same time period, approximately 90% of the individuals admitted to her hospital were documented to have received this vaccine. These patients were admitted for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to COVID-19 infections. Even more troubling is that there were many individuals who were young, many who presented with unusual or unexpected health events, and many who were admitted months after vaccination.


One would think that after an association was identified by a healthcare professional, our health authorities would at least review this finding, right? Sadly, when Ms. Conrad reached out to health authorities herself, she was ignored. My firm then sent a letter to the CDC and FDA on July 19, 2021 on Ms. Conrad’s behalf (see letter below), yet neither agency has responded. Even worse, when doctors came to Ms. Conrad for assistance with filing VAERS report for their patients, the hospital prohibited her from filing these reports. That the CDC and FDA failed to respond is arguably not surprising – they have been cheerleading this vaccine for months. Admitting almost any harm now would be akin to asking them to turn a gun on themselves. This again highlights the importance of never permitting government coercion and mandates when it comes to medical procedures.

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“..it is reasonable to expect booster injections to only enable the virus to more rapidly evolve resistance to the vaccines..”

What Happens If Israel Fails The Stress Test? (Geert)

It is well known that, regardless of any induced antigen (Ag)-specific adaptive immune response, all vaccines (including mRNA vaccines) have an adjuvant effect: they stimulate innate immune effectors, some of which have antiviral activity and/or facilitate adaptive immunity (2, 3, 4). Without going into mechanistic detail, there is no doubt that some of these innate, nonAg-specific immune responses have a short-lived antiviral effect. This could already explain why booster doses in the population described above can prevent viral infection while recalling anti-spike Abs. It may also be tempting to assume that these recalled Abs are now responsible for enhanced protection from both infection and disease.

However, from an immunological viewpoint, it is difficult to understand how a rapid recall of the very same anti-S Abs in a previously vaccine-primed population would now all of a sudden enable better protection from infection and disease. If innate immunity is indeed the confounder, then the outcome of long-term surveillance studies would look very different. Given the more potent neutralizing Abs booster shots are generating against variants (5), the S(pike)-directed immune pressure in the population will only continue to rise while still failing to curtail the spread of the predominantly circulating highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 variant (e.g., Delta variant). On the contrary, it would be reasonable to assume that upon an additional booster shot the more potent Abs further contribute to selecting S-directed immune escape variants and, therefore, turn the previously primed population in an even more fertile breeding ground for the highly infectious Delta variant.

As vaccine-elicited Ab responses have a much longer duration (and can be memorized) than that induced by short-term innate immune activation, and as vaccinal Abs suppress the functional capacity of pre-existing CoV-reactive innate Abs, short-term vaccine-mediated innate immune protection against viral infection or disease does not automatically imply a positive effect of the vaccine on viral infection or morbidity rates in the longer term. Interpretations from scientists who only conduct short-term surveillance studies in vaccinees, the majority of whom are adults or elderly, lead to erroneous, although peer-reviewed conclusions such as: ‘Although vaccines are less effective against asymptomatic disease (*) or against transmission than against severe disease, even in populations with fairly high vaccination rates the unvaccinated are still the major drivers of transmission and are themselves at the highest risk of serious disease’ (6).

This clearly illustrates their lack of understanding of the contribution of innate immunity in providing short-term protection after vaccination, and in the more durable protection of young and healthy unvaccinated age groups. Based on all of the above, it is reasonable to expect booster injections to only enable the virus to more rapidly evolve resistance to the vaccines. This evolution would be dramatically expedited by vaccinating and boosting more and more younger age groups.

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No FDA approval, but “..the Biden administration has already purchased 65 million doses of pediatric COVID vaccines..”

White House Tells Governors to Get Ready to Vaccinate Young Kids (CHD)

In a private phone call Tuesday with the nation’s governors, the White House told states to prepare to vaccinate children as young as 5 by early November. A White House official said the call was made in anticipation of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine being cleared for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the coming weeks for children ages 5 to 11. According to NBC News, the Biden administration purchased 65 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — enough to vaccinate an estimated 28 million children who would be eligible should the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve Pfizer’s request to vaccinate the younger age group. In anticipation of a green light from the FDA, the administration began planning vaccination efforts with states, pharmacies and medical groups.

The administration told providers in a planning document last week the vaccine for children will be delivered to thousands of sites within one week of FDA authorization. The pediatric Pfizer vaccine will be distributed in 100-dose packs. Each dose is one-third of what is given to adults, and will be free through sites enrolled in a federal program that guarantees the shots are provided at no cost. Some states are planning to provide the vaccine through schools. “We’ve secured plenty of supply, and we’ll be putting in place an allocation, ordering and distribution system similar to what we’ve used for the other vaccines,” said Biden’s White House COVID coordinator, Jeff Zients, on a phone call, obtained by ABC News, with governors.

“It is distressing to hear that the Biden administration has already purchased 65 million doses of pediatric COVID vaccines,” said Dr. Elizabeth Mumper, pediatric physician and CEO of the Rimland Center for Integrative Medicine. “Vaccinating children is not the way out of the pandemic.” In an email to The Defender, Mumper said she hopes the White House will consider the following data:

• 99.998% of patients under the age of 18 survive COVID
• COVID “vaccines” have not undergone adequate long-term safety studies
• According to the latest available data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, as of Oct. 1, there have been a total of 21,298 reports of adverse events, including 1,284 rated as serious and 22 reported deaths (two of the 22 deaths were suicides) in the 12- to 17-year-old age group
• healthy adolescents given COVID “vaccines” have experienced blood clots, myocarditis, abnormal menses, neurologic symptoms and extreme fatigue
• most COVID cases are spread from adults to children — children are not a significant threat to the elderly and vulnerable

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“..a third of all hospitals in the state are experiencing critical staffing shortages because engineers, janitorial staff, respiratory therapists, nurses, midwives, physical therapists, and technicians have either staged strikes or have left the job over the mandate.”

40% Of California State Workers Are Unvaccinated Despite Newsom’s Order (ZH)

This might come as a surprise, but 40% of California state employees are unvaccinated despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s directive to mandate the jab or be subjected to regular testing. Newsom issued this new directive in July following a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. At the time, he said, “We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant.” Still months later, less than two-thirds of state workers, or 62%, were vaccinated, according to The Sacramento Bee. The figure is much lower than the state’s overall rate of 72%. Human Resources Department spokeswoman Camille Travis said her agency has only compiled 89% of state employee vaccination status.

She said the data so far suggests some state employees weren’t compelled to get jabbed after Newsom’s directive. Some of the state’s largest departments shared vaccination rates: 52% of California Highway Patrol employees, 60% of Department of Motor Vehicles employees, and 60% of prison employees have received the shots. California Department of Transportation has the highest with 70%. Newsom’s mandatory jab, or be forced to regular testing for state employees, is less stringent than those of health care workers who have been forced to get the vaccine unless they had a medical exemption or religious claim.

One emerging drawback of mandatory jabs, with no consideration for regular testing nor naturally-acquired immunity, are reports that a third of all hospitals in the state are experiencing critical staffing shortages because engineers, janitorial staff, respiratory therapists, nurses, midwives, physical therapists, and technicians have either staged strikes or have left the job over the mandate. Director of Medical Ethics, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty of the University of California, Irvine, challenged the constitutionality of the hospital’s vaccine mandate regarding individuals who have recovered from COVID and have naturally acquired immunity and was immediately placed on leave. There’s no room to debate science as only the government can decide what’s best for state employees.

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“..Attorneys argued in the suit that no COVID-19 vaccine is available in the United States that has received full licensing and approval..”

Pentagon Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Vaccine Mandates (ET)

Service members from all five branches of the U.S. military, federal employees, and federal civilian contractors have joined in a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Defense over its COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The 24 plaintiffs “face a deadline under the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs, and have been refused any religious exemption or accommodation,” according to Liberty Counsel, the Christian legal firm that filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit (pdf), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, lists President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as defendants.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order (pdf) to prevent the COVID-19 vaccine mandates from taking effect, and ultimately issue an injunction to prevent the Pentagon from enforcing the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Biden on Sept. 9 issued an executive order requiring almost all federal employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Regular testing isn’t an option. Civilian federal employees and contractors have until Nov. 22 to be fully vaccinated. Austin issued a memorandum on Aug. 24 saying that all military service members must receive a COVID-19 vaccine, after which all the branches of the military announced various deadlines for its troops to be fully vaccinated, regardless of whether they had previously survived a bout of COVID-19, and threatening suspensions or other disciplinary actions if service members don’t have a pending exemption request or fail to comply.

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have set a Nov. 28 deadline for their active-duty service members; reservists have until Dec. 28. For the Army and the Air Force, the deadlines for active-duty service members are Dec. 15 and Nov. 2, respectively, and deadlines for National Guard and Reserve members are June 30, 2022, and Dec. 2, 2021, respectively. U.S. Coast Guard members have until Nov. 22 to be fully vaccinated. [..] Attorneys argued in the suit that no COVID-19 vaccine is available in the United States that has received full licensing and approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and as such, cannot be mandated.

Austin, in his memo on Aug. 24 (pdf), stated that the mandatory vaccinations “will only use COVID-19 vaccines that receive full licensure from the [FDA] in accordance with FDA-approved labeling and guidance,” attorneys noted, arguing that “additional military documents reveal that the Department of Defense is not following its own directive” and is using vaccines under emergency use authorization [EUA] “because there is no FDA approved vaccine available.” Austin’s memo came a day after the FDA issued full approval for future Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, which will bear the Comirnaty label. The latter vaccine wasn’t available in the United States as of Oct. 12, The Epoch Times reported previously.

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“Show up peacefully. Be respectful. But be insistent. Demand that the school boards follow your wishes. Not the wishes of Joe Biden and his cast of characters.”

Ron Johnson Slams DOJ Probe Of Parents’ School Board Protests (JTN)

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says Attorney General Merrick Garland‘s order to have the FBI investigate parent protests of school policies is “outrageous” and a “method of intimidation.” “He is saying they are intimidating school board members. No, it is the attorney general of the United States that is intimidating people exercising their rights to free speech and the right to petition their government,” Johnson said in an interview aired Sunday on the Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis show on WABC radio in New York. Garland announced recently the FBI would be investigating comments made by parents during contentious school board meetings over curriculum issues such as critical race theory and transgender pronouns.


The Wisconsin Republican, who is up for reelection next year, encouraged parents not to be intimidated and to continue to press for the policies they want for their children. “I tell people in Wisconsin, if you don’t want critical race theory; if you don’t want the 1619 project taught to your children, don’t let it be,” he said. “Show up peacefully. Be respectful. But be insistent. Demand that the school boards follow your wishes. Not the wishes of Joe Biden and his cast of characters.”

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“..meetings in a virtual room where they all appear as cartoonish 3D versions of themselves..”

Facebook Announces 10,000 EU Jobs To Build ‘Metaverse’ (Y!)

Facebook on Monday announced plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the “metaverse”, a virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice in Silicon Valley hype around the idea of the metaverse, which would blur the lines between the physical world and the digital one. The technology might, for example, allow someone to don virtual reality glasses that make it feel as if they’re face-to-face with a friend — when in fact they are thousands of miles apart and connected via the internet. “The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities. And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start,” Facebook said in a blog post.


“Today, we are announcing a plan to create 10,000 new high skilled jobs within the EU over the next five years.” The European hires will include “highly specialised engineers”, but the company otherwise gave few details of its plans for the new metaverse team. “The EU has a number of advantages that make it a great place for tech companies to invest — a large consumer market, first class universities and, crucially, top quality talent,” the blog post said. [..] Facebook bought Oculus, a company that makes virtual reality headsets, for $2 billion in 2014 and has since been developing Horizon, a digital world where people can interact using VR technology. In August it unveiled Horizon Workrooms, a feature where co-workers wearing VR headsets can hold meetings in a virtual room where they all appear as cartoonish 3D versions of themselves.

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“If we start down this road the future is dark.”

MPs Back Challenge To Boris Johnson On Vaccine Passports (Exp.)

Campaigners for the Together Declaration petition, already signed by almost 110,000 people including more than 200 church leaders and representatives of businesses and groups, fear that the UK Government will be pushed into agreeing to a so-called plan B to bring in new restrictions over the winter. It follows warnings by chief medical officer Chris Whitty last week that the NHS will “experience an exceptionally difficult winter” this year. Already this has been taken as an indication that pro-lockdown scientists working for the government will push for vaccine passports which have been introduced by Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland and the Labour government in Wales. Already, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, which represents backbench Conservative MPs has signed the declaration.

He said: “‘Vaccine passports would set an alarming precedent where our medical records become public and some people are subjected to discrimination as they seek to go about their everyday lives. Surely that isn’t the kind of society that we want to create?” Another senior Tory MP, Sir Desmond Swayne added: “It is contrary to all our values and traditions to have to prove that we have undergone a medical procedure to go about our lawful business. “It is coercive and discriminatory, the abandonment of liberal values; a frightful precedent to set. I am appalled that a Conservative government could contemplate such a measure. If we start down this road the future is dark.” Campaigners will meet former minister Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the powerful Covid Recovery Group (CRG), and other Parliamentarians tomorrow before unfurling a 40m banner in Parliament Square.

[..] Robert Dingwall, former government advisor, and professor of sociology from Nottingham Trent University, who has carried out extensive research on the use of vaccine passports said: “Vaccine passports are a tech industry idea in search of a problem. In terms of public safety, they have little to offer. “Vaccinated people have a high degree of protection from their own vaccination. They also still have a potential to infect other people. By now, anyone who wants to be vaccinated has had an opportunity to do so.

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“There won’t be any turkeys, or at least not dead ones.”

Bare Shelves, No Holidays… At Last, A Biblical Kind Of Christmas (Cumming)

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” says Jo at the start of Little Women. BoJo is going one better. This Christmas, not only will there be no presents, but there will be no anything. After cancelling Christmas altogether last year, this time around he is creating a kind of half-Christmas, Christmas methadone, to ease us back into the festival. There is nothing the man will not do to get himself compared to Churchill. Thanks to his foresight and the happy accidents of the global economy, we will be able to wallow in our beloved blitz spirit, making do and mending, with a safe low dosage of consumerism to tide us over.

There will be no PlayStation 5 under where the Christmas tree used to be. There will be no jokes in Mrs Brown’s Boys, as usual, but none in the Christmas crackers either. There’s no petrol or HGV drivers, of course, but correspondents also report shortages of tennis balls, merlot, white bread, sardines, M&S chicken kievs, fish sauce, frozen apple strudel, tinned sardines, spring onions, fire alarms, an effective opposition, chocolate Hobnobs, cat vaccines, cat worming pills, bubble bath, Leon fish-finger wraps, marmalade, butter beans, dog-poo bags, goats, crisps, decaf coffee, bulbs (plant), bulbs (light), pigs, blankets, pigs-in-blankets, roofing lead and Harry Potter merchandise, especially wands. The last is hard to take; usually there are more wands than you can shake a stick at.

On the off-chance you manage to get to 25 December with a full tank and are able to dodge Insulate Britain’s armed roadblocks, you’ll arrive at houses that are too expensive to heat. The environmentalists ought to be encouraging the free movement of cars this Christmas; there are few people more persuasive on the subject of double-glazing than a chilly mother-in-law. There won’t be any turkeys, or at least not dead ones. There are plenty waddling around in barns, but there’s nobody to slaughter them. For the handful that do make it to Bernard Matthews’ big barn in the sky, there’s nobody to drive them to the shops. In a delicious irony, there are shortages of everything except shortages. Like it or not, this is what leadership looks like.

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“Frost demanded that the EU agree to rewrite completely the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal treaty that Johnson hailed in October 2019 as a “fantastic deal for all of the UK”.

Who Do You Blame When You’ve Killed The Scapegoat? (Fintan O’Toole)

Last week, Boris Johnson, with his paintbrush and easel at his holiday villa in Marbella, touched up his self-portrait as the reincarnation of Winston Churchill. Meanwhile, another bodysnatcher, Johnson’s Brexit tsar, David Frost, was also in sunny Iberia. In Lisbon on Tuesday evening, he channelled the intellectual father of modern conservatism, the 18th-century Irish writer and politician Edmund Burke. Frost demanded that the EU agree to rewrite completely the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal treaty that Johnson hailed in October 2019 as a “fantastic deal for all of the UK”. His speech was entitled, in imitation of a famous Burke pamphlet, “Observations on the present state of the nation”.

In case his audience somehow failed to make the connection between the former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association and one of the greatest political thinkers these islands has produced, Frost reminded them – how could they have forgotten? – that he had previously given a speech entitled “Reflections on the Revolutions in Europe”. Geddit? For those who did indeed get it, the first response was surely to sigh, like the ghost in Shakespeare’s tragedy, “O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there”. The second was the dizzying feeling that the “present state of the nation” is that of a skydiver, free-falling downwards from Burkean conservatism into pure Tory anarchism. In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke wrote that “good order is the foundation of all good things”.

Somehow, when his soul was transmigrating to be born again in Brexit Britain, that bit got lost in translation. Disorder is now the royal road to all the good things that will come to those who keep the Brexit faith. Tearing up international treaties is, like the mass culling of pigs and fruit rotting in the fields, merely a manifestation of the creative chaos from which the new universe of “Global Britain” will emerge. It is rather unfortunate that the ground on which this big bang is set to explode, Northern Ireland, is a place that knows all about big bangs and the misery of chaos. And even more so that it is a place held together by one of those documents that Johnson and his government now hold in such contempt: an international treaty, the Belfast agreement of 1998.

Before Frost gave his speech on Tuesday, he knew full well that the EU was about to put forward a generous, sensible and very helpful set of proposals to deal with the difficulties in the practical implementation of the protocol. These proposals, unveiled on Wednesday, give civic and business leaders in Northern Ireland pretty much everything they have asked for to make the new arrangements work smoothly. Anticipating this EU move to calm everything down, however, Frost and Johnson chose to pre-empt the solutions by creating a new problem, one they know to be insoluble. They have hyped up an issue that no one in business or trade in Northern Ireland gives a damn about: the role of the European court of justice (ECJ) in any potential disputes about the interpretation of EU law. Deprived of the movement of sausages as a casus belli, they grasped another dubious foodstuff – the red herring.

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Earplugs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1449965542916374529

 

 

 

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

 

Jan 272021
 


Gustave Courbet Sunset on Lake Geneva 1876

 

Bill Gates Advised Oxford to Ditch Open Source COVID Vaccine (MPN)
FBI Knew DOJ Was Preparing To Fire Comey Long Before Trump Ordered It (JTN)
Washington Will Remain Militarized Until At Least March (Greenwald)
Biden is Already Breaking Promises (Lawrence)
Legal Counteroffensive Against Big Tech Crackdown On Conservative Dissent (JTN)
Meet the Censored: Status Coup (Taibbi)
US Billionaires ‘Have Received $1.1tn Windfall In Covid Pandemic’ (G.)
Ted Cruz Attempts To Impose Term Limits On Members Of Congress (JTN)
Judge Bars President Joe Biden From Enforcing 100-Day Deportation Ban (AP)
Migrants Increasing At “Concerning Rate” On Southern Border – CBP Agent (ZH)
Ghislaine Maxwell Asks To Throw Out Case Over Epstein Plea Deal (G.)
UK Sells Arms To Nearly 80% Of Countries Under Restrictions (G.)
Humans Are Estimated To Eat A Credit Card Worth Of Plastic Every Week (USPIRG)

 

 

 

 

Tulsi Brennan Schiff
https://twitter.com/i/status/1354035548524957697

 

 

“As a result, the planet’s poor will have to wait until at least 2024 to be immunized.”

Bill Gates Advised Oxford to Ditch Open Source COVID Vaccine (MPN)

Europe is reeling from the shock news that biotech giant AstraZeneca will not be delivering anything like the number of vaccines it promised. The company informed European Union officials that they will only be supplying 31 million doses to 27 E.U. countries, rather than the 80 million they had promised would arrive by the end of March. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti predicted that the news would reap “enormous damage” on the continent that has already sustained over 32 million confirmed cases and 703,000 deaths due to COVID-19. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been hailed last year as a miracle in the global fight against the coronavirus primarily because the research team at Oxford University had promised to share the rights to its product with any and all drugmakers, meaning that poorer countries could produce and inoculate their citizens at cost price ($3-$4 per shot — a fraction of the price of those from Pfizer or Moderna).

Last year, economist and drug patent reform advocate Dean Baker told MintPress that, “The Oxford vaccine is even more striking, since the point was to pay researchers, but not to rely on patent monopolies to generate large profits. We ended up with a cheaper, better vaccine…It would be great if we could take away some lessons from the experience of vaccine development in this crisis and get away from the antiquated patent monopoly mechanism for financing research.” However, behind the scenes, the Oxford team reneged on their promise, signing an exclusive deal with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, who made no commitment to selling the lifesaving vaccine at a low price. Even less well-known is that the decision was taken at the behest of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

“We went to Oxford and said, ‘Hey, you’re doing brilliant work,’” Gates said, “But…you really need to team up.” The 65-year-old tech tycoon is a strong proponent of patents and spends much of his time shaping global health policy. James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit that works to expand access to medical technology, said that “Gates has staked out this outsized role in the vaccine world…He has an ideological belief that the intellectual property system is a wonderful mechanism that is necessary for innovation and prosperity.” The decision to put profit before people is likely to have a devastating impact on the Global South. Poor countries are not in a position to inoculate their entire populations, especially as the world’s wealthiest nations hoard the large majority of the available vaccines while refusing to support moves by companies in the Global South to produce them for themselves.

As a result, the planet’s poor will have to wait until at least 2024 to be immunized. This latest news is unlikely to do anything but set that clock further back. Unable to secure a profit in immunizing Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans, Western multinationals have turned their back on those regions, prioritizing those who can pay the most. As a result, those in the Global South have turned to Russia and China for help. While Western media have dismissed these efforts as “vaccine diplomacy” and a “charm offensive,” while casting doubt on the Sputnik V vaccine’s efficacy, global opinion studies show the Russian offering is actually the most trusted option.

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Special Counsel.

FBI Knew DOJ Was Preparing To Fire Comey Long Before Trump Ordered It (JTN)

Newly declassified FBI memos provide startling new details that undercut the frenzied 2017 effort to investigate Donald Trump for obstruction, revealing the FBI knew Director James Comey’s firing had been conceived by Justice Department leadership long before the president pulled the trigger during a key moment in the Russia probe. The memos written in May 2017 by Acting Director Andrew McCabe and a lieutenant also provide contemporaneous proof for some of the more jaw-dropping lore of the now-discredited Russia collusion scandal. For instance, the memos directly state that then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a wire to secretly record Trump in the Oval Office and that Rosenstein also wanted to seek Comey’s advice — after his termination — on a possible Russia special counsel. The bureau nixed both ideas, the memos show.

The documents — declassified by Trump during his final 24 hours in office — also provide a tantalizing list of names the Trump administration considered for FBI director, including former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, ex-director and eventual Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and retired Gen. John Kelly. Eventually, Trump settled on former prosecutor Chris Wray for the job. But the memos’ most explosive revelations chronicle the decision by McCabe in his early days on the job to open a formal investigation of Trump on the grounds that Comey’s firing may have been an act of obstruction of justice designed to thwart the Russia probe. The notes show McCabe informed Rosenstein during a May 16, 2017 meeting — one of their first after Comey was fired and McCabe became acting director — that he had opened the obstruction probe.

“I explained that the purpose of the investigation was to investigate allegations of possible collusion between the President and the Russian government, possible obstruction of justice related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and possible conspiracy to obstruct justice,” McCabe wrote in typewritten notes of the meeting. One of McCabe’s lieutenants who also attended the meeting, then-bureau attorney Lisa Page, took her own notes, observing that Rosenstein’s expressed outrage over Comey’s firing seemed odd since Rosenstein had revealed to FBI officials he and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been contemplating it since January 2017. “This was a strange comment,” Page wrote, “because it was my understanding that the DAG had previously indicated that he and AG Sessions had been discussing firing Director Comey since January, but given the nature of the conversation there was no room for follow-up.”

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“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.”

Washington Will Remain Militarized Until At Least March (Greenwald)

Washington, DC has been continuously militarized beginning the week leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration, when 20,000 National Guard troops were deployed onto the streets of the nation’s capital. The original justification was that this show of massive force was necessary to secure the inauguration in light of the January 6 riot at the Capitol. But with the inauguration over and done, those troops remain and are not going anywhere any time soon. Working with federal law enforcement agencies, the National Guard Bureau announced on Monday that between 5,000 and 7,000 troops will remain in Washington until at least mid-March. The rationale for this extraordinary, sustained domestic military presence has shifted several times, typically from anonymous U.S. law enforcement officials.

The original justification — the need to secure the inaugural festivities — is obviously no longer operative. So the new claim became that the impeachment trial of former President Trump that will take place in the Senate in February necessitated military reinforcements. On Sunday, Politico quoted “four people familiar with the matter” to claim that “Trump’s upcoming Senate impeachment trial poses a security concern that federal law enforcement officials told lawmakers last week requires as many as 5,000 National Guard troops to remain in Washington through mid-March.” The next day, AP, citing “a U.S. official,” said the ongoing troop deployment was needed due to “ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol.”

But the anonymous official acknowledged that “the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility.” Even National Guard troops complained that they “have so far been given no official justifications, threat reports or any explanation for the extended mission — nor have they seen any violence thus far.” It is hard to overstate what an extreme state of affairs it is to have a sustained military presence in American streets. Prior deployments have been rare, and usually were approved for a limited period and/or in order to quell a very specific, ongoing uprising — to ensure the peaceful segregation of public schools in the South, to respond to the unrest in Detroit and Chicago in the 1960s, or to quell the 1991 Los Angeles riots that erupted after the Rodney King trial.

Deploying National Guard or military troops for domestic law enforcement purposes is so dangerous that laws in place from the country’s founding strictly limit its use. It is meant only as a last resort, when concrete, specific threats are so overwhelming that they cannot be quelled by regular law enforcement absent military reinforcements. Deploying active military troops is an even graver step than putting National Guard soldiers on the streets, but they both present dangers. As Trump’s Defense Secretary said in response to calls from some over the summer to deploy troops in response to the Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests: “The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.”

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“We want you to endorse our commitment to aggression, to unlawful interventions, to ‘regime change’ ops, to merciless sanctions, and altogether to the empire. But you must make it look nice. Make it look thoughtful and complicated and considered.”

Biden is Already Breaking Promises (Lawrence)

[..] let’s draw the old lesson. You can have democracy at home or empire abroad, but you can’t have both. We will continue to suffer the latter under Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Those drawn into thinking the Biden regime would conduct America’s affairs abroad decently and humanely and in principled fashion will now discover they have been savagely sucker-punched. Those who understood from the outset that Biden’s people would go nowhere near the essential, determining questions of exceptionalism, universalism, and our consequent dedication to empire will be repelled but not surprised as the policy framework is revealed. In this case, the moment of truth came even before Biden’s inauguration.

His saccharine inauguration speech last Wednesday, with its Hallmark-card calls for unity, was quite secondary to the confirmation hearings the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the previous day. In a matter of hours, Biden’s key national security people — Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, and Lloyd Austin as defense secretary — gave us a remarkably fulsome idea of what we are in for these next four years.Haines and Austin, neither of whose records are to be admired, are at bottom functionaries who were nominated and swiftly confirmed because they do what they are told and do not think too much—always a career-advancer in Washington. It is instead Blinken, who is said to enjoy some kind of “mind-meld” with Biden, that we must consider carefully. (Such a meld must be odd terrain.)

Blinken’s Senate testimony last Tuesday sprawled over four hours. It is best to scrutinize his remarks while seated in a chair with sturdy armrests, ideally to calm one’s nerves with a pot of chamomile tea. Seen or read as a whole, those four hours gave us an extraordinary display of how empire works and how it prolongs itself. One by one, Blinken’s senatorial interlocutors told him in so many words, “Son, this is what you need to say if you want our confirmation. We want you to endorse our commitment to aggression, to unlawful interventions, to ‘regime change’ ops, to merciless sanctions, and altogether to the empire. But you must make it look nice. Make it look thoughtful and complicated and considered.”

[..] Among Blinken’s many rather sad-to-witness “Yes sirs,” two standout: his finely chiseled endorsement of Pompeo’s reckless assassination a year ago of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s revered military commander (“Taking him out was the right thing to do”), and his approval of the Trump administration’s decision to send lethal arms to the manically corrupt regime in Kiev (“Senator, I support providing that lethal defensive assistance to Ukraine,” when the Obama administration, from which he comes, did not.)

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”.. their job, under state law, is to act as a steward for shareholders. That is their legal obligation. They are not to act as an extra-governmental arm of one party of another.”

Legal Counteroffensive Against Big Tech Crackdown On Conservative Dissent (JTN)

Paxton said the tech firms also open themselves up to challenges under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which offers broad legal immunities for social media networks that claim they are neutral platforms rather than media companies making editorial decisions. “These companies put themselves out as neutral platforms,” Paxton said. “If in reality, they’re not doing that, one, they don’t deserve the protection of federal law, special protection that no other company has. And two, they may need to be looked at under consumer protection laws, because they’re presenting consumers with a choice that says, ‘We are a platform that allows any speech,’ when in reality, they are controlling what speech is being put out there.”

Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, faults conservatives themselves for long trying to brush aside the threat of social media viewpoint bias and censorship with hopeful assurances that “the free market will solve this.” “They said, ‘Just create a new platform,'” recalled Danhof. “‘If you don’t like censorship occurring on Facebook and Twitter against conservatives — which has been happening for a decade — create a new platform.’ So Parler did. But then [Big Tech] disappeared Parler.” Facebook and Twitter have both long denied any viewpoint bias against conservatives in their content moderation practices. Danhof compared what tech firms are doing in the United States to how these companies are acting in China.

“Apple — of course — deletes many apps from its app store, largely news apps, at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party,” Danhof said, alluding to deleted apps that pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong were using to communicate and to get news and information. “So clearly, in China, Apple is operating as an extra-governmental arm of the Chinese Communist Party — acting at the behest of the communists to do what they want,” Danhof said. “Well, we have folks like Nancy Pelosi and AOC, Kamala Harris in the United States calling on Twitter and Facebook and others to ban President Trump. And to take down Parler. And what are they doing? They’re honoring those requests.”

Twitter’s permanent ban of President Trump led to a dramatic loss of share value for the company. Danhof argues that the company’s political decision has hurt its investors, thus exposing the company to civil action by shareholders for breach of fiduciary duty. “Lawsuits should abound from shareholders,” Danhof said. “Because boards of directors and management — their job, under state law, is to act as a steward for shareholders. That is their legal obligation. They are not to act as an extra-governmental arm of one party of another.”

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Live streamers.

Meet the Censored: Status Coup (Taibbi)

On January 6th, Jon Farina, photographer and videographer for Jordan Chariton’s Status Coup outlet, captured horrifying images. At the Capitol, a pro-Trump mob tried to burst into the building, and a police officer who attempted to intercede was caught in a door. He cried out in pain, but the crowd was indifferent, chanting, “Heave, ho!” as they tried to break in. Farina, in the middle of the physical mayhem as photojournalists often are, caught the scene up close while 30,000 people watched the live feed. Farina’s footage rocketed around the world, and major press outlets celebrated his work as an example of hard-hitting reporting. CNN did a laudatory story about the freelance photojournalist, with Pamela Brown asking Farina to “bring us inside the mayhem.”

Other outlets like USA Today quoted his recollections of that day, and the likes of Steven Colbert on CBS, as well as ABC News, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, the New York Post, the Daily Mail, and others used it as fodder for outraged coverage of the riot: For a week or so, Status Coup was feted for service on the front lines of responsible journalism. Nearly two weeks later, on January 18th, another Farina live stream was shut down by YouTube, thanks to policies that will make it very difficult for non-corporate media going forward to do live reporting. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that if the incident from the 18th happened earlier, we may never have gotten the Capitol pictures.

On the 18th, Farina was in Richmond, Virginia, where a significant rally of pro-gun protesters was expected. There had been widespread reports warning of unrest. CBS relayed FBI fears of “credible threats of violence,” while the Washington Post said officials were “on edge” ahead of the Martin Luther King Day protest, gearing up for a full-scale assault: Members of the National Guard are on standby. Plywood covers the windows of the State Capitol. Tall metal barricades surround Capitol Square, with police vehicles idling on pathways just inside locked pedestrian gates. Downtown streets will be closed; signs warning against carrying guns have gone up around the city. “The violent, lawless insurrection and assault on democracy and its institutions that unfolded last week in Washington, D.C., will not be tolerated in the city of Richmond,” Mayor Levar Stoney warned on Thursday.

The threats may have been credible, but when Farina began live-streaming to an audience of 6,000, the event turned out to be peaceful and unremarkable, though not without interest from a news perspective. “Frankly, there might have been more press than protesters,” Status Coup’s Chariton said later. “And while it was live, it was pretty informative. Jon talked to 4-5 people, and they pretty much all made it clear that they weren’t Trump supporters, that they didn’t support what happened in the Capitol. They were pretty relaxed compared to the propaganda ahead of time.” Despite the seeming unremarkableness of the event, it shut down abruptly mid-feed. Chariton assumed something happened on Farina’s end. “Then I got an email from YouTube, telling me we’d violated their ‘Firearms Policy.’ I wasn’t aware they had a firearms policy.”

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And that’s just the 660 richest.

US Billionaires ‘Have Received $1.1tn Windfall In Covid Pandemic’ (G.)

The richest 660 people in the US have collected a $1.1tn (£800bn) “windfall of wealth” since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a report by a US progressive thinktank, the Institute for Policy Studies. The report found that the collective wealth of America’s 660 billionaires has risen by 39% since the World Health Organization declared that Covid-19 was a pandemic virus in March 2020. The billionaires combined wealth has increased from just under $3tn on 18 March 2020 to $4.1tn, according to Forbes magazine data. The report noted that there had also been “46 newly minted billionaires since the beginning of the pandemic”, when there were 614.

Chuck Collins, the director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and co-author of the Billionaire Bonanza 2020 report, said: “Billionaires are reaping unseemly windfalls of wealth during the pandemic. They benefit from having their competitors shut down or controlling technologies and services we are all dependent on in this unprecedented time. We should tax these windfall gains to pay for recovery.” Collins said the gains the billions have made since the crisis began could “pay for all the relief for working families contained in the $1.9tn coronavirus relief package proposed by President Biden, while leaving the nation’s richest households no worse off than they were before Covid-19 hit”.

Frank Clemente, the executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, said: “While we can all rejoice that our nation’s response to the terrible pandemic is now in steadier and more caring hands, we can only lament that America’s billionaires are not making a meaningful contribution to that national effort, even as their wealth continues to soar. “The Covid crisis is crushing people of colour and low-income workers while billionaires who are nearly all white have seen fortunes skyrocket. This is why we need the fair-share taxes programme Joe Biden ran on, won on and is now ready to pursue.”

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Fat chance.

Ted Cruz Attempts To Impose Term Limits On Members Of Congress (JTN)

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday reintroduced an amendment that would put term limits on members of Congress, saying the rise in “political careerism” is not what the country’s founders intended. “Today my colleagues and I reintroduced a constitutional amendment to impose #TermLimits on Members of Congress,” the Texas lawmaker tweeted. “The amendment would limit U.S. senators to two six-year terms and members of the U.S. House of Representatives to three two-year terms.” Cruz gained the support of fellow Republican Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young of Indiana, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania for the proposed constitutional amendment.


This marks the third time Cruz has introduced legislation to impose term limits on Congress, having also done so in 2017 and 2019. His previous attempts never made it to the Senate floor. “Every year, Congress spends billions of dollars on giveaways for the well-connected: Washington insiders get taxpayer money and members of Congress get re-elected, all while the system fails the American people,” Cruz said in a statement. “The rise of political careerism in today’s Congress is a sharp departure from what the Founders intended for our federal governing bodies. I have long called for this solution for the brokenness of Washington, D.C., and I will continue fighting to hold career politicians accountable.”

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Immigration remains a touchy issue.

Judge Bars President Joe Biden From Enforcing 100-Day Deportation Ban (AP)

A federal judge on Tuesday barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium that is a key immigration priority of President Joe Biden. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order sought by Texas, which sued on Friday against a Department of Homeland Security memo that instructed immigration agencies to pause most deportations. Tipton said the Biden administration had failed “to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations.” Tipton’s order is an early blow to the Biden administration, which has proposed far-reaching changes sought by immigration advocates, including a plan to legalize an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Biden promised during his campaign to pause most deportations for 100 days. The order represents a victory for Texas’ Republican leaders, who often sued to stop programs enacted by Biden’s Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama. It also showed that just as Democratic-led states and immigration groups fought former President Donald Trump over immigration in court, often successfully, so too will Republicans with Biden in office. David Pekoske, the acting Homeland Security secretary, signed a memo on Biden’s first day directing immigration authorities to focus on national security and public safety threats as well as anyone apprehended entering the U.S. illegally after Nov. 1. That was a reversal from Trump administration policy that made anyone in the U.S. illegally a priority for deportation.

The 100-day moratorium went into effect Friday and applied to almost anyone who entered the U.S. without authorization before November. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that the moratorium violated federal law as well as an agreement Texas signed with the Department of Homeland Security late in the Trump administration. That agreement required Homeland Security to consult with Texas and other states before taking any action to “reduce, redirect, reprioritize, relax, or in any way modify immigration enforcement.”

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Touchy.

Migrants Increasing At “Concerning Rate” On Southern Border – CBP Agent (ZH)

As caravans build up in Honduras, migrants are increasing at a “concerning rate” at the United States southern border, according to Matthew Hudak, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief patrol agent of the Laredo sector in Texas. He warns that immigration is just a piece of the threat coupled with the pandemic health risk and other crimes along the border. “Like everybody, we’re tracking the formation of these caravans in Central America,” said Hudak. The Laredo Sector is one of nine CBP sectors along the southern border. It contains about 135 miles of the international border with Mexico. On Jan. 8, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan issued a statement on potential migrant caravans: “Do not waste your time and money, and do not risk your safety and health.”

According to Hudak, the Laredo Sector hasn’t seen a reduction of migrants in response to the statement. It has made over 30,000 arrests in this fiscal year, a 50 percent increase over the same period last year. Hudak added that similar trends are identified by other sectors on the southern border. The U.S. government fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. Hudak called the 50 percent increase “a pretty concerning rate.” He told The Epoch Times that some portions of the caravan of 9,000 migrants will make their way to the southern border. Part of the group was stopped in Guatemala on Jan. 16. Depending on the pace and the means with which these migrants travel, the arrival time at the U.S.-Mexico border may be between a few days and a few weeks. As of Jan. 21, he hasn’t yet seen a dramatic increase of migrants indicative of caravans arriving at the southern border.

Hudak said that human smuggling is usually achieved with systems shared with drug and firearm smuggling, and the fees migrants are charged feed larger criminal organizations. Therefore, he sees a more significant threat: “We may be talking about one piece of it, which is immigration, but it’s part of a much larger criminal enterprise.”

Read more …

And the jury was too white.

Ghislaine Maxwell Asks To Throw Out Case Over Epstein Plea Deal (G.)

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell complained on Monday that the pool of grand jurors who indicted her was not diverse enough, according to new court documents. “The fact that Ms Maxwell herself is neither Black nor Hispanic does not deprive of her of standing to raise this challenge,” the attorneys wrote in court papers, arguing that the US constitution “entitles every defendant to object to a [pool] that is not designed to represent a fair cross section of the community, whether or not the systematically excluded groups are groups to which he himself belongs”. Maxwell’s purported concerns about diversity stem from the geographical circumstances surrounding her indictment.

Maxwell is facing charges in the southern district of New York’s Manhattan division relating to her alleged involvement in her late friend Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of minor girls. However, she was indicted by a grand jury in the SDNY’s White Plains division before her 2 July arrest, as Covid-19 had limited grand jury proceedings in Manhattan. White Plains grand jurors hail from counties outside of New York City. Maxwell’s attorneys said they were therefore “drawn from a community in which Black and Hispanic residents are significantly underrepresented by comparison. “The sixth amendment guarantees a criminal defendant a grand jury selected from a fair cross-section of the community.

“Ms Maxwell’s right under the sixth amendment to a grand jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community applies to the grand jury that indicted her. “Here, the use of a White Plains jury resulted in the systematic underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic persons from the jury selection process, in violation of Ms Maxwell’s sixth amendment right.” Maxwell’s lawyers also argued that prosecutors could have waited to convene a grand jury in Manhattan, claiming that one such panel met “as early as” 25 June. “There appears to have been no reason, other than a publicity-driven desire to arrest Ms Maxwell on the anniversary of the Epstein indictment, why the government could not have waited until that time,” they said.

Maxwell’s attorneys made the claims as part of their push to dismiss her case. Among 12 arguments attacking the indictment, they said a non-prosecution deal Epstein reached with the federal government in 2008 should shield Maxwell too. The agreement sought to protect Epstein and those around him, but Maxwell was not identified by name in a document signed when Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges in Florida that forced him to register as a sex offender. Lawyers for Epstein planned to argue that the deal protected him against sex-trafficking charges in New York City.

Read more …

Insane.

UK Sells Arms To Nearly 80% Of Countries Under Restrictions (G.)

British ministers and officials have approved the sale of arms to nearly four-fifths of countries subject to arms embargos, trade sanctions or other restrictions over the past five years, according to analysis. The UK has exported military hardware to 58 countries of the 73 listed as subject to restrictions by the Department for International Trade (DIT), including sniper rifles to Pakistan, assault rifles to Kenya and naval equipment to China. The exports are legal but researchers with the group that compiled the report, Action on Armed Violence, said they represented “a systemic failure to consider the human rights record of states before exporting weapons to them”.

Countries covered by sanctions range from a handful where all arms sales are banned to a larger group covered by transit controls, where a special licence is required, for political, security or human rights reasons. Five countries listed by the trade department as key export markets for British arms makers: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, also feature on the Foreign Office’s latest list of 30 “human rights priority countries”, although not all are subject to sanctions. The report’s author, Murray Jones, of Action on Armed Violence, said his research – which reviewed UK export records between January 2015 and June 2020 – “demonstrates the frailty of the UK’s commitment to human rights abroad”.

Licences have been granted to export aircraft parts, riot shields and hundreds of sniper rifles to Pakistan, including 630 in 2016 and a further 20 in 2019, despite the Foreign Office warning in November of “increased pressure on civic space and freedom of expression” in the country, including threats to minorities. The sale of 3,000 assault rifles to Kenya for £9.45m was authorised in 2017, although security forces in the African country were accused by Amnesty International the year before of carrying out “enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture with impunity, killing at least 122 people”.

Read more …

Even more insane.

Humans Are Estimated To Eat A Credit Card Worth Of Plastic Every Week (USPIRG)

For years, we have known that the harmful effects of plastic are found everywhere in our natural environment. We’ve seen images of birds and sea turtles choking and entangling themselves to death on plastic waste. But beyond its impact on wildlife, microplastics are now concealed in the air we breathe, water we drink, and food we eat; humans are estimated to eat a credit card worth of plastic every week. We also know that plastic isn’t just harmful as physical waste; plastic products often contain harmful chemicals. A recent report compiled a summary of international research on endocrine-disrupting chemicals used to make plastic — including 144 chemicals/chemical groups known to be hazardous to human health — intended to give plastics attributes like antimicrobial properties, colorants, flame retardants, solvents, UV-stabilizers, and plasticizers.

The aforementioned report focuses on a specific kind of health effect seen in plastics and the chemicals they can leach, called endocrine or hormone disruption. Our hormones play crucial roles in many of our bodily systems and are vital to our reproductive development and growth. This means children are especially susceptible to the health risks of harmful chemicals found in plastic. The chemicals found in plastic products can linger in our environment even after the plastic has been cleaned up. A recent study found that when scientists introduced and then removed plastic from an aquatic environment, sea urchins still developed abnormal skeletons and nervous systems because of the chemicals left behind. To make matters worse, plastics have the unique ability to bind together chemicals that are otherwise more diluted in the environment, meaning they become carriers of all sorts of concentrated toxins.

Hazardous chemicals can be found in single-use plastic food wrapping and containers, which have direct contact with the food we eat and may introduce these chemicals into our bodies. One familiar example is BPA, which is well known due to “BPA-free” marketing and the European Union listing BPA as a substance of high concern. Exposure to BPA can affect brain development and behavior. BPA has also been linked to hormone disruption, reproductive problems in men and women and other harmful health impacts. There is a solution. Many of the most common single-use plastics polluting our environment contain toxic chemicals that harm human health. By banning unnecessary single-use materials — like plastic film used in plastic bags and polystyrene used in Styrofoam packaging — we could prevent a lot of these chemicals from seeping into the environment.

To reduce our risk of exposure to these toxic chemicals and maintain a cleaner environment, we must start by calling on our legislators to ban unnecessary single-use plastic and transition to non-toxic, reusable alternatives. Nothing we use for a few minutes should persist in our environments and threaten our health for generations.

Read more …

 

 

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Sep 052020
 
 September 5, 2020  Posted by at 10:04 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


John Guttman 1st drive-in theater in California, Los Angeles 1935

 

Russia’s COVID19 Vaccine Showed Antibody Response In Initial Trials (R.)
Post-COVID Syndrome Severely Damages Children’s Hearts (MedEx)
Back to School…D’ya Think? (Kunstler)
Joe Biden Goes Full Ron Burgundy (ZH)
Stocks Are Up. Wages Are Down. What Does it Mean? (EFTD)
Fed Chair Powell: Wearing Masks Can Lead To ‘Enormous’ Economic Gains (Y!)
Nearly Two-Thirds Of New York Restaurants Could Close By Year’s End (JTN)
DOJ, Flynn Lawyers Urge Judge To Move ‘With Dispatch’ To Dismiss Charges (JTN)
In Joint Motion With DOJ, Flynn Requests Court Expedite Ruling (SAC)
Why Capitalism Creates Pointless Jobs (David Graeber)

 

 

On the COVID front, the numbers get uglier, but the Russian vaccine works, so how many have we ordered, did you say? Can we get the billions in development funds back from Big Pharma?

On the election front, it’s getting harder to find news, because the polarization is getting so extreme. The Atlantic piece about Trump badmouthing soldiers is on the level of eating babies stories, but people eat it up. What else do they have in store? And why isn’t anyone calling for calm?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Hunt

 

 

It seems to work. What are we waiting for?

Russia’s COVID19 Vaccine Showed Antibody Response In Initial Trials (R.)

Russia’s “Sputnik-V” COVID-19 vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in early-stage trials, according to results published on Friday by The Lancet medical journal that were hailed by Moscow as an answer to its critics. The results of the two trials, conducted in June-July this year and involving 76 participants, showed 100% of participants developing antibodies to the new coronavirus and no serious side effects, The Lancet said. Russia licensed the two-shot jab for domestic use in August, the first country to do so and before any data had been published or a large-scale trial begun.

“The two 42-day trials – including 38 healthy adults each – did not find any serious adverse effects among participants, and confirmed that the vaccine candidates elicit an antibody response,” The Lancet said. “Large, long-term trials including a placebo comparison, and further monitoring are needed to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for preventing COVID-19 infection,” it said. The vaccine is named Sputnik-V in homage to the world’s first satellite, launched by the Soviet Union. Some Western experts have warned against its use until all internationally approved testing and regulatory steps have been taken.

But with the results now published for the first time in an international peer-reviewed journal, and with a 40,000-strong later-stage trial launched last week, a senior Russian official said Moscow had faced down its critics abroad. “With this (publication) we answer all of the questions of the West that were diligently asked over the past three weeks, frankly with the clear goal of tarnishing the Russian vaccine,” said Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which has backed the vaccine. “All of the boxes are checked,” he told Reuters. “Now… we will start asking questions of some of the Western vaccines.”

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More freak stuff.

Post-COVID Syndrome Severely Damages Children’s Hearts (MedEx)

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), believed to be linked to COVID-19, damages the heart to such an extent that some children will need lifelong monitoring and interventions, said the senior author of a medical literature review published Sept. 4 in EClinicalMedicine, a journal of The Lancet. Case studies also show MIS-C can strike seemingly healthy children without warning three or four weeks after asymptomatic infections, said Alvaro Moreira, MD, MSc, of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Moreira, a neonatologist, is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the university’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.


“According to the literature, children did not need to exhibit the classic upper respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 to develop MIS-C, which is frightening,” Dr. Moreira said. “Children might have no symptoms, no one knew they had the disease, and a few weeks later, they may develop this exaggerated inflammation in the body.” The team reviewed 662 MIS-C cases reported worldwide between Jan. 1 and July 25.

Among the findings:
• 71% of the children were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
• 60% presented with shock.
• Average length of stay in the hospital was 7.9 days.
• 100% had fever, 73.7% had abdominal pain or diarrhea, and 68.3% suffered vomiting.
• 90% had an echocardiogram (EKG) test and 54% of the results were abnormal.
• 2.2% of the children required mechanical ventilation.
• 4.4% required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
• 11 children died.


“This is a new childhood disease that is believed to be associated with SARS-CoV-2,” Dr. Moreira said. “It can be lethal because it affects multiple organ systems. Whether it be the heart and the lungs, the gastrointestinal system or the neurologic system, it has so many different faces that initially it was challenging for clinicians to understand.” The amount of inflammation in MIS-C surpasses two similar pediatric conditions, Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. “The saving grace is that treating these patients with therapies commonly used for Kawasaki—immunoglobulin and glucocorticosteroids—has been effective,” Dr. Moreira said.

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“Covid has initiated the death of public ed in America..”

Back to School…D’ya Think? (Kunstler)

“…Covid has initiated the death of public ed in America…. The state cannot decide whether we should start full remote or whether we should try some weird hybrid schedule. Nobody can make a decision. The union is pissed. They know most of the classrooms are poorly ventilated and too small and they see nothing but a ‘cruise ship’ scenario unfolding. Remote is terrible, but it is better than nothing….” Before we go further, remember the first principle of the long emergency: anything organized at the giant scale is liable to fail. During the post-war growth spurt, we consolidated all the nation’s schools into giant districts serviced by the yellow bus fleets bringing thousands of kids together in buildings designed to look like insecticide factories.

And when that project was complete, what did we get? Two decades of mass shootings in schools. I don’t think we got the correct message from this — which is that this manner of schooling produces so much ennui and anomie that some kids turn homicidal by the time they hit their teens. The fact that this condition remains unrecognized, and certainly absent from public discussion, says a lot about our disastrous collective psychology of previous investment: having set up this miserable system at titanic expense, we can’t even think about changing it. Now, as is usual in human history, the process will happen emergently, on its own, whether we like it or not, because circumstances demand it.

Another matter absent from news media is what happens when falling tax revenues start to bite the giant consolidated school districts. My physics teacher correspondent in New England writes: “School finances are in full reverse mode. Whispered in the hallways before every school committee and in every town council chamber is the awesome reality that sales tax and property tax collections are down 25 – 30 percent. The fear is palpable…. It seems to me that Public Ed as we currently know it will be history in about four years. It is a big edifice. It will take a few years to fully implode, but not a decade. There’s no money left to keep it going as it is.”

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This was just too funny.

Joe Biden Goes Full Ron Burgundy (ZH)

Joe Biden engaged in a giant softball game with the press today – perhaps best described by Newsbusters’ Curtis Houck as not “even putting the ball on the tee. This is hitting the ball over the stands and letting Biden run the bases.” But before we get the choreographed Q&A, you should know that Biden went full Ron Burgundy today – reading “end of quote” off the teleprompter. The Friday flub comes just one day after Biden read ‘topline message’ off another teleprompter. In short, Biden is now having issues with ‘behind the curtain’ media cues.

Hillary
https://twitter.com/i/status/1302033150164586497

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“Since 2017, Bezos’ net worth has grown by about $4 million per hour..”

Stocks Are Up. Wages Are Down. What Does it Mean? (EFTD)


If you listen carefully, you can hear Jeff Bezos getting richer. There’s the sound again. Another billion in Bezos’ coffers. Let’s put some numbers to this sound of money. Since 2017, Bezos’ net worth has grown by about $4 million per hour — roughly 500,000 times the US minimum wage.1 This accumulation of wealth would be absurd during normal times. Today, as many workers lose their jobs to a brutal pandemic, it’s obscene. While Bezos is the pinnacle of capitalist excess, his wealth is part of a larger story. Over the last 40 years, stock prices have surged while wages have stagnated. What does this trend mean? In this post, I take a deep dive into the stock market. I’ll first tell you what the stock market is not. It’s not an indicator of ‘productive capacity’. Nor is it ‘fictitious capital’. So what is it?

The stock market, argue Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler, is how capitalists quantify their power. To understand what Nitzan and Bichler are talking about, we’ll unmask the ritual that defines our social order — the ritual of capitalization. Read on to take the red pill and lift the veil of capitalist ideology. When it comes to the stock market, many people believe they have original insight. Often, however, they’re parroting old ideas. Noting this tendency, economist John Maynard Keynes wrote: “[T]he ideas of economists and political philosophers … are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” (Keynes in The General Theory)

When it comes to interpreting the stock market, there are two big ideas. Both come from ‘defunct economists’. The first big idea is that rising stocks are good for everybody. I’ll call this the ‘good-for-GM’ worldview (for reasons explained below). This big idea owes not to any single economist, but to an entire defunct school: neoclassical economics. The second big idea is that the stock market is disconnected from the rest of the economy. I’ll call this the ‘fictitious-capital’ worldview. It’s an idea that dates back to Karl Marx (who had a defunct view of capital). Let’s unpack these ideas.

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He doubles as a doctor?

Fed Chair Powell: Wearing Masks Can Lead To ‘Enormous’ Economic Gains (Y!)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell said Friday that Americans should wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines to ensure an economic recovery. “There’s actually enormous economic gains to be had nationwide from people wearing masks and keeping their distance,” Powell told NPR. Powell added that short of a vaccine, such measures enable people to “go back to work and not get sick.” Powell also spoke about the August jobs report, describing the addition of 1.371 million payrolls in August as “a good one.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the new numbers on Friday morning, which also showed the unemployment rate falling to 8.4% — below the street’s expectations.

Powell pointed out that the August gains were not as large as those in May and June. “I guess I would just say, the recovery is continuing,” Powell said Friday in a clip aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” “We do think it will get harder from here because of those areas of the economy that are so directly affected by the pandemic still.” Powell’s remarks on Friday mark his third media interview since the COVID-19 crisis began. On March 26, Powell appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and in mid-May, CBS’s “60 Minutes” interviewed Powell. The Fed Chairman’s remarks to NPR will be the last from Fed officials as policymakers head into a media blackout ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on September 15 and 16.

“We think that the economy’s going to need low interest rates, which support economic activity, for an extended period of time,” he told NPR. “It will be measured in years. The Fed chief also emphasized that more fiscal support is needed from lawmakers at the White House and Capitol Hill, for example on eviction moratoriums. “We shouldn’t let those people lose everything they have and have to move out or be evicted and move in with family. That’s also not going to be good for containing the COVID spread,” he said.

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Eat at home.

Nearly Two-Thirds Of New York Restaurants Could Close By Year’s End (JTN)

New York restaurants are taking the hit from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s extended coronavirus shutdowns, with almost two-thirds of owners saying they could be out of business by year’s end, according to a survey released Thursday. The survey by the New York State Restaurant Association is based on responses from over 1,000 restaurant owners in the state and provides a window into the future of the previously booming industry, as the pandemic nears six months. Roughly 63% of respondents said they could likely close by the end of the year without some form of financial relief and 36% said they expect to still be in business in January. “It is painfully clear that without financial assistance, the restaurant industry in New York State could collapse,” said Melissa Fleischut, the NYSRA’s president and CEO.


“These recent survey results illustrate just how dire the financial situation has become for most restaurants, and it shows how critical it is that elected officials understand the urgency of the situation.” Restaurant owners need financial support but ultimately want increased indoor dining capacity and in NYC the ability to open for indoor dining. New York city officials said earlier this week that roughly 1,300 of the city’s 25,000 restaurants and bars have shut down amid the pandemic. “We are now asking the governor, the state Legislature and those at the federal level to simply help us survive. Without further assistance, the restaurant industry as we know it could be gone in a New York minute,” Fleischut also said.

Read more …

Why am I thinking the judge will let it go to the Supreme Court? What does he have to lose?

DOJ, Flynn Lawyers Urge Judge To Move ‘With Dispatch’ To Dismiss Charges (JTN)

The Justice Department and Michael Flynn’s defense team jointly asked a federal judge Friday to move “with dispatch” to complete a ruling on whether to dismiss the former Trump adviser’s guilty plea and related criminal charge from the Russia probe. The two sides, which agree the case should now be dismissed based on exculpatory evidence of innocence made public earlier this year, laid out a schedule in a joint status report to complete briefs, reports and hearings in September. “The United States and General Flynn agree that this Court should resolve the pending motion to dismiss with dispatch,” their report argued. “Any delay would harm both the government, which must expend resources on a case that it has determined should be dismissed, and General Flynn, who faces impairments on his liberty and the cloud of a pending prosecution that the Executive Branch seeks to end.”


The filing came just days after the full DC Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a three-judge panel’s decision and refused to grant a writ of mandamus that would have dismissed the charge against Flynn. The appeals court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan and asked him to move quickly to resolve the matter. Flynn withdrew his guilty plea nearly a year ago and the Trump DOJ concluded earlier this year that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of the former Trump national security adviser for lying to the FBI was unwarranted.

https://twitter.com/SidneyPowell1/status/1301996116494475270

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“..there is no reason for any delay.”

In Joint Motion With DOJ, Flynn Requests Court Expedite Ruling (SAC)

Former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and the Department of Justice filed a motion late Friday to expedite his case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied his petition for a writ of mandamus against Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is overseeing the case. Flynn’s case has been a roller coaster ride since the former Special Counsel Robert Mueller targeted the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who went on to be a loyal and trusted member of Trump’s team in 2016. Moreover, Flynn has been up against a behemoth of opposition from former Obama officials and Sullivan, who has acted more like a prosecutor than a judge. The circumstances surrounding Flynn’s case have led Trump, along with many others, to call for his exoneration.

Evidence discovered over the past year by the DOJ’s Inspector General, Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, and an appointed counsel put in place by Attorney General William Barr reveal extensive malfeasance in the FBI’s handling of its investigation into the Trump campaign and Flynn. The litany of evidence collected during the investigations led the Justice Department to request a dismissal Flynn’s case. Unfortunately, the request to dismiss the case was politicized by Judge Sullivan, who is overseeing Flynn’s case. He has been fighting the request and accusing Barr of intervening on behalf of Trump. Because of this, Sullivan appointed an amicus curiae, a friend of the court, to argue on his behalf as to why the case should not be dismissed until he reviews it further.

Powell fought back against Sullivan’s unusual actions but could not persuade the appellate court last week to order Sullivan to dismiss the case against Flynn based on the Justice Department’s motion to have his case dismissed. In effect, Flynn and his family have faced an extraordinary ordeal over the past three years that has left the three-star general and war hero depleted of funds and emotionally strained. “We look forward to getting a ruling on the government’s motion to dismiss as soon as possible,” Powell told SaraACarter.com. “Between the issues fully briefed for the Court of Appeals in which Judge Sullivan fully participated as if he were a party and the briefing already filed in his court, there is no reason for any delay.” In the motion Powell and the Justice Department argue that it “is not necessary, however, for this Court to wait until September 21 to proceed with this case. The Court instead may, and should, set a schedule to resolve this case as soon as possible.”

Read more …

4 years ago.

Why Capitalism Creates Pointless Jobs (David Graeber)

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would have advanced sufficiently by century’s end that countries like Great Britain or the United States would achieve a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes’ promised utopia – still being eagerly awaited in the ‘60s – never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn’t figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we’ve collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment’s reflection shows it can’t really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the ‘20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.

So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers” tripled, growing “from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.” In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be).

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call “bullshit jobs.”

Read more …

 

 

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Sep 042020
 
 September 4, 2020  Posted by at 9:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Robert Capa Catholic church between bricks from the destroyed Jewish Ghetto Warsaw, Poland 1948

 

Bipartisan Washington Insiders Plan for Chaos if Trump Wins Election (Webb)
Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ (Atl.)
The Trump Era Sucks and Needs to Be Over (Matt Taibbi)
If Dems Win In 2020, It’s Virtually Impossible For GOP Ever To Win Again (PJW)
Cuomo Admin Accused Of Stonewalling Over COVID19 Nursing Home Deaths (NYP)
DOJ Conducting “Very Big” Voter Fraud Investigations – Barr (ET)
DOJ To File Antitrust Charges Against Google Within Weeks (ZH)
In the Worst of Times, the Billionaire Elite Plunder Working Class America (CP)
US Court: NSA Mass Surveillance Program Exposed By Snowden Was Illegal (DW)
Capitalism Isn’t Working. Here’s An Alternative (Varoufakis)
Eulogy to David Graeber (Steve Keen)

 

 

60 days to go till November 3 and hunting season is open. Smear’s the word. It’ll be so ugly many people will just turn away in disgust. Many others will keep staring at it the way people stare at traffic accidents.

 

 

Bradykinin give us even more incentive to roll out rapid tests, HCQ, zinc, vitamin D in huge quantities. What are we waiting for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taleb and Bar-Yam

 

 

Whitney Webb is one of multiple voices discussing the Transition Integrity Project (TIP). Bipartisan in this case means: anti-Trump. Basically, all these war scenarios claim that if Biden doesn’t win big, there’ll be war in the streets. They sort of openly advocate for that.

Bipartisan Washington Insiders Plan for Chaos if Trump Wins Election (Webb)

A group of Democratic Party insiders and former Obama and Clinton era officials as well as a cadre of “Never Trump” neoconservative Republicans have spent the past few months conducting simulations and “war games” regarding different 2020 election “doomsday” scenarios. Per several media reports on the group, called the Transition Integrity Project (TIP), they justify these exercises as specifically preparing for a scenario where President Trump loses the 2020 election and refuses to leave office, potentially resulting in a constitutional crisis. However, according to TIP’s own documents, even their simulations involving a “clear win” for Trump in the upcoming election resulted in a constitutional crisis, as they predicted that the Biden campaign would make bold moves aimed at securing the presidency, regardless of the election result.

This is particularly troubling given that TIP has considerable ties to the Obama administration, where Biden served as Vice President, as well as several groups that are adamantly pro-Biden in addition to the Biden campaign itself. Indeed, the fact that a group of openly pro-Biden Washington insiders and former government officials have gamed out scenarios for possible election outcomes and their aftermath, all of which either ended with Biden becoming president or a constitutional crisis, suggest that powerful forces influencing the Biden campaign are pushing the former Vice President to refuse to concede the election even if he loses. This, of course, gravely undercuts the TIP’s claim to be ensuring “integrity” in the presidential transition process and instead suggests that the group is openly planning on how to ensure that Trump leaves office regardless of the result or to manufacture the very constitutional crisis they claim to be preventing through their simulations.

Such concerns are only magnified by the recent claims made by the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State under Obama, Hillary Clinton, that Biden “should not concede under any circumstances.” “I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch, and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is,” Clinton continued during an interview with Showtime a little over a week ago. The results of the TIP’s simulations notably echo Clinton’s claims that Biden will “eventually” win if the process to determine the election outcome is “dragged out.”

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The for now (but don’t hold your breath on that one) ultimate smear piece, based exclusively on anonymous sources. All it says has been denied by not anonymous sources, who were actually present, like Trump himself, and Sarah Sanders, but that’s not the point. The point is smear; that’s how this will be fought.

Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ (Atl.)

Trump remained fixated on McCain, one of the few prominent Republicans to continue criticizing him after he won the nomination. When McCain died, in August 2018, Trump told his senior staff, according to three sources with direct knowledge of this event, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and he became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered to half-staff. “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” the president told aides. Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral.

(These sources, and others quoted in this article, spoke on condition of anonymity. The White House did not return earlier calls for comment, but Alyssa Farah, a White House spokesperson, emailed me this statement shortly after this story was posted: “This report is false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn: delivering on his promise to give our troops a much needed pay raise, increasing military spending, signing critical veterans reforms, and supporting military spouses. This has no basis in fact.”)

[..] On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members.

But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices. “He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.”

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Would things be better if Trump were gone? The only alternative is having Hillary and Pelosi and Schiff in charge. Is that an improvement?

The Trump Era Sucks and Needs to Be Over (Matt Taibbi)

The question, “What is Trump thinking?” is the wrong one. He’s not thinking, he’s selling. What’s he selling? Whatever pops into his head. The beauty of politics from his point of view, compared to every other damn thing he’s sold in his life — steaks, ties, pillows, college degrees, chandeliers, hotels, condominiums, wine, eyeglasses, deodorant, perfume (SUCCESS by Trump!), mattresses, etc. — is that there’s no product. The pitch is the product, and you can give different pitches to different people and they all buy. In 2016 Trump reeled in the nativist loons and rage cases with his opening rants about walls and mass deportations, then slowly clawed his numbers up with the rest of the party with his “softening” routine.

Each demographic probably came away convinced he was lying to the other, while the truth was probably more that he was lying to all of them. Obviously there are real-world consequences to courting the lowest common denominator instincts in people, but to Trump speeches aren’t moral acts in themselves, they’re just “words that he is saying,” as long-ago spokesperson Katrina Pierson put it. In this sense the Republican Party’s 2020 platform is genius: there isn’t one, just a commitment to “enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda,” meaning whatever Trump says at any given moment. If one can pull back enough from the fact that this impacts our actual lives, it’s hard not to admire the breathtaking amorality of this, as one might admire a simple malevolent organism like a virus or liver fluke.

Trump blew through the Republican primaries in 2015-2016. His opponents, a slate of mannequins hired by energy companies and weapons contractors to be pretend-patriots and protectors of “family values,” had no answer for his insults and offer-everything-to-everyone tactics. Like most politicians, they’d been protected their whole lives by donors, party hacks, and pundits who’d turned campaigns into a club system designed to insulate paid lackeys from challenges to their phony gravitas. Trump had no institutional loyalty to the club, shat all over it in addition to its silly frontmen, and walked to the nomination.

[..] The paradox ensnaring America since November, 2016 is that Trump never intended to govern, while his opponents never intended to let him try. In an alternate universe where a post-election Donald had enough self-awareness to admit he was out of his depth, and the D.C. establishment agreed to recognize his administration as legitimate for appearances’ sake, Trump might have escaped four years with the profile of a conventionally crappy president, or perhaps a few notches below that — way below average, maybe, but survivable. Instead it was decided even before he was elected that admitting the president was the president was “normalizing” him. Normally no news is good news, and the anchorman is encouraged to smile on a day without war, earthquakes, terror attacks, or stock market crashes.

Under Trump it became taboo to have a slow news day. A lack of an emergency was a failure of reporting, since Trump’s very presence in office was crisis.

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The ruling class.

If Dems Win In 2020, It’s Virtually Impossible For GOP Ever To Win Again (PJW)

Professor Angelo M. Codevilla warns that if the Democrats win the 2020 elections, it would be “virtually impossible for conservatives ever to win again.” Codevilla, who is professor emeritus of International Relations at Boston University, made the prediction in a review published by the Claremont Review of Books for Michael Anton’s new book The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return. The book makes the argument that although some Americans may be disappointed in Trump’s performance, voting for him again is absolutely crucial for the republic’s survival because “this country’s ruling class would use control of the presidency to hurt us in our private and public lives for having dared to reject their mastery.” Importing non-citizens who are then given the vote, as well as institutionalizing elections by mail, which would give those who count the votes the power, would ‘guarantee disaster’ for the country, according to Codevilla.


He then issues a stark warning; It’s game over permanently for Republicans if Trump loses in 2020. “Should the Democrats win, the ruling Left – which includes just about everyone who controls American government and society’s commanding heights – is ready, willing, and eager to implement plans that would make it virtually impossible for conservatives ever to win national elections again,” writes Codevilla. The professor also cautions that Democrats’ stated refusal to concede to Donald Trump, which was recently amplified by Hillary Clinton, could manifest itself in “one or more blue state governors to refuse to certify that state’s electors to the Electoral College, so as to prevent the college from recording a majority of votes for the winner.” This threatens to set off a “systemic crisis” that could lead to a civil war “less like the American Civil War of the 19th century and more like the horror that bled Spain in the 20th.”

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It’ll be ready on November 5th. No, the joke is not lost on us. That’s two whole months for what nursing homes are by law obliged to tally on a daily basis. It shouldn’t even take two hours.

Cuomo Admin Accused Of Stonewalling Over COVID19 Nursing Home Deaths (NYP)

A government watchdog group is accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration of sitting on data that would provide the full death tally of nursing home residents from the coronavirus. The Empire Center for Public Policy accuses the state Health Department of stalling on compliance with a Freedom of Information Law request seeking the information. Currently, New York’s tally of nursing home fatalities only counts those residents who died or are presumed to have died from COVID-19 inside those facilities. The figure excludes potentially thousands of nursing home residents who were transported to hospitals for treatment and died a few days later.

“The state Health Department is offering a new explanation for why it won’t provide the full death toll of coronavirus in nursing homes: it can’t find the records,” said Bill Hammond, a health analyst for the Empire Center who submitted the legal request for the data in early August. In a response letter sent to Hammond on Monday, the department said it could not yet fulfill the request “because a diligent search for relevant documents is still being conducted.” “We estimate that this Office will complete its process by November 5, 2020. The Department will notify you in writing when/if the responsive materials are available for release or if the time needed to complete your request extends beyond the above date,” said the department’s record access officer, Rosemary Hewig.

The delayed compliance in releasing information in response to legal requests has been a common practice of government agencies, with officials often saying they are still conducting a “diligent search” for records. “In this case, however, a search of any kind should not be necessary,” Hammond said in a blog post. He said the department’s Health Emergency Response Data System (or HERDS) has required nursing homes to file daily reports throughout the pandemic — including counts of all residents who die from coronavirus, both within the facilities or hospitals or elsewhere. “Those numbers are the basis for the partial count that the department does make public – which stood at 6,639 as of Aug. 29, but omits potentially thousands of residents who died in hospitals,” Hammond said.

Hammond said the “unusual methodology” is used by few if any other states and gives the public a “distorted picture of the pandemic.” “It makes it hard to compare New York to other states, or to gauge the merits of particular policies, such as the Health Department’s much-debated March 25 directive compelling nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients being discharged from hospitals,” he said. The Justice Department is looking at whether the policies of New York and three other states contributed to COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

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And you thought hanging chads were controversial…

DOJ Conducting “Very Big” Voter Fraud Investigations – Barr (ET)

The Department of Justice is conducting several “very big” voter fraud investigations in multiple states, Attorney General William Barr told CNN in an interview aired on Sept. 2. “I know there are a number of investigations right now, some very big ones, in states,” Barr said in response to a question about how many voter fraud indictments the Department of Justice (DOJ) has brought on his watch. Barr said he did not know the exact number. At least 32 people have been criminally convicted of voter fraud in 2019, according to a database maintained by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. The attorney general made the remarks as part of a tense exchange with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer about mail-in voting.

Barr has repeatedly said that mass mail-in voting is an invitation for voter fraud and coercion. Blitzer pressed the attorney general for evidence that this will be the case in 2020. Barr pointed to a recent conviction in Texas over 1,700 fraudulent ballots and noted that widespread evidence isn’t available because the United States has never attempted an election with the kind of massive access to mail-in voting available in 2020. At least 83 percent of American voters, or roughly 100 million people, will be able to vote by mail in the 2020 election, according to a tally by The Washington Post. “We haven’t had the kind of widespread use of mail-in ballots as being proposed,” Barr said.

“We’ve had absentee ballots from people who request them from a specific address. Now what we’re talking about is mailing them to everyone on the voter list, when everyone knows those voter lists are inaccurate.” Barr referenced the findings of a nonpartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, which determined in 2005 that mail-in voting creates the potential for voter fraud and opens the door to coercion if activists or party workers are allowed to handle ballots. Carter recently issued a statement to point out that the commission’s key finding was that states should invest in more research on mail-in voting. The former president encouraged states to invest resources to expand voting by mail.

More than 43 percent of likely American voters would not trust in the integrity of an election if all voters automatically received ballots or ballot request forms by mail, according to an Epoch Times National Poll conducted in late August. “This is playing with fire,” Barr said. “We’re a very closely divided country here and people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government. And people trying to change the rules to this methodology—which as a matter of logic is very open to fraud and coercion—is reckless and dangerous,” Barr said.

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Bill Barr Busy.

DOJ To File Antitrust Charges Against Google Within Weeks (ZH)

The Department of Justice will is preparing to slap Google with an antitrust case over the next several weeks, according to the New York Times – which insists, based on five sources, that Attorney General Bill Barr “overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case against one of the world’s wealthiest, most formidable technology companies.” The Times is suggesting, based on leaks, that Barr is rushing the case for political purposes and the charges are premature. “The Google case could also give Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr an election-season achievement on an issue that both Democrats and Republicans see as a major problem: the influence of the biggest tech companies over consumers and the possibility that their business practices have stifled new competitors and hobbled legacy industries like telecom and media.” -NYT

Some 40 lawyers working on a DOJ antitrust inquiry into Google parent Alphabet were reportedly told to wrap up their work by the end of this month, according to three of the five leakers, who we’re guessing are part of the 40-lawyer team – as “most of the 40-odd lawyers who had been working on the investigation opposed the deadline.” Others said they would not sign the complaint, while several left the case over the summer.

“Some argued this summer in a memo that ran hundreds of pages that they could bring a strong case but needed more time, according to people who described the document. Disagreement persisted among the team over how broad the complaint should be and what Google could do to resolve the problems the government uncovered. The lawyers viewed the deadline as arbitrary. While there were disagreements about tactics, career lawyers also expressed concerns that Mr. Barr wanted to announce the case in September to take credit for action against a powerful tech company under the Trump administration. But Mr. Barr felt that the department had moved too slowly and that the deadline was not unreasonable, according to a senior Justice Department official.” -NYT

Barr has shown a “deep interest” in the Google investigation, requesting regular briefings on the DOJ case, and “taking thick binders of information about it on trips and vacations and returning with ideas and notes.” The Times notes that antitrust action against Google has bipartisan support from a coalition of 50 states and territories, though Democrats and Republican state attorneys general conducting their own investigations are split on how to move forward. Republicans have accused Democrats of slow-walking the work in order to bring charges under a potential Biden administration, while Democrats have accused Republicans of wanting Trump to receive credit – a disagreement which could limit the number of states participating in prosecuting the Silicon Valley giant.

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But but, I read Jeff Bezos lost $9 billion yesterday!

In the Worst of Times, the Billionaire Elite Plunder Working Class America (CP)

In the midst of a global pandemic, unprecedented economic collapse, mass unemployment, hunger and desperation, the stock market is booming and the richest of the rich are richer than ever before. Since March, more than 58 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment. The Internal Revenue Service now predicts that the U.S. economy will have almost 40 million fewer jobs in 2021 than they predicted before the pandemic, as a result of the prolonged economic depression. As it becomes widely recognized that the economy is not going to “bounce right back” into full activity – even when coronavirus cases do eventually decline – and that the current depression will continue for a long time, companies are doing anything they can to drive their stock prices higher.

Desperate to maintain their profits, many large corporations are planning massive layoffs and acknowledging that currently furloughed workers are not going to have jobs to come back to. The Wall Street Journal reports that a recent study found, “nearly half of U.S. employers that furloughed or laid off staff because of COVID-19 are considering additional workplace cuts in the next 12 months.” The companies say low-paid workers will be the first to be cut. Twice as many workers had their pay cut by July 1 as during the Bush-Obama recession that began in 2009, according to the Washington Post. More than 10 million private sector workers have had their wages cut or been forced to work part-time. Car company Tesla forced all workers to take a 10 percent pay cut from mid-April until July. In the same period, Tesla stock skyrocketed, and CEO Elon Musk’s net worth has now quadrupled from $25 billion to over $100 billion.

Business software company Salesforce announced record sales levels one day and layoffs of 1,000 workers the next. The company’s stock rose 26 percent. Among small businesses, another study found that 50 percent of all small-business employees who were furloughed since March are still without work. Twenty-eight percent are still furloughed; 22 percent have been permanently laid off. Even in the government’s rigged and severely undercounted unemployment statistics, the number of people who have been unemployed 15-26 weeks is nearly double what it was at the height of the 2009 recession — and exponentially higher than at any other time since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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So the entire NSA brass must all move to Russia now? And Edward can come back home? Or is exposing an illegal program more illegal than said program itself?

US Court: NSA Mass Surveillance Program Exposed By Snowden Was Illegal (DW)

A US federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that the controversial National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden was illegal. The ruling stopped short of calling the program unconstitutional. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that the program, under which the NSA collected and analyzed bulk data provided by telecommunications companies, was in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and could have been unconstitutional.= “Seven years ago, as the news declared I was being charged as a criminal for speaking the truth, I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA’s activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them,” said Snowden, who fled to Russia after exposing the program, on Twitter.


“And yet that day has arrived.” He still faces charges of espionage in the US. After initially denying that the intelligence agency collected information on Americans, officials maintained that the spying helped the country combat domestic extremism. The most popular case cited was that of four California residents — Basaaly Saeed Moalin, Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, Mohamed Mohamud, and Issa Doreh — who have been convicted of funding the Al-Shabaab extremist group in Somalia. NSA’s domestic spying program helped get this conviction, which will not be impacted by the latest ruling. However, human rights organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union have hailed the ruling as “a victory for our privacy rights.”

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“..the pandemic stripped away the veneer of politics to reveal the boorish reality underneath: that some people have the power to tell the rest what to do.”

Capitalism Isn’t Working. Here’s An Alternative (Varoufakis)

Before 2020, politics seemed almost like a game, but with Covid came the realisation that governments everywhere possessed immense powers. The virus brought the 24-hour curfew, the closure of pubs, the ban on walking through parks, the suspension of sport, the emptying of theatres, the silencing of music venues. All notions of a minimal state mindful of its limits and eager to cede power to individuals went out of the window. Many salivated at this show of raw state power. Even free-marketeers, who had spent their lives shouting down any suggestion of even the most modest boost in public spending, demanded the sort of state control of the economy not seen since Leonid Brezhnev was running the Kremlin. Across the world, the state funded private firms’ wage bills, renationalised utilities and took shares in airlines, car makers, even banks. From the first week of lockdown, the pandemic stripped away the veneer of politics to reveal the boorish reality underneath: that some people have the power to tell the rest what to do.

[..] Suppose we had seized the 2008 moment to stage a peaceful hi-tech revolution that led to a postcapitalist economic democracy. What would it be like? To be desirable, it would feature markets for goods and services since the alternative – a Soviet-type rationing system that vests arbitrary power in the ugliest of bureaucrats – is too dreary for words. But to be crisis-proof, there is one market that market socialism cannot afford to feature: the labour market. Why? Because, once labour time has a rental price, the market mechanism inexorably pushes it down while commodifying every aspect of work (and, in the age of Facebook, our leisure too).

Can an advanced economy function without labour markets? Of course it can. Consider the principle of one-employee-one-share-one-vote underpinning a system that, in Another Now, I call corpo-syndicalism. Amending corporate law so as to turn every employee into an equal (though not equally remunerated) partner is as unimaginably radical today as universal suffrage was in the 19th century. In my blueprint, central banks provide every adult with a free bank account into which a fixed stipend (called universal basic dividend) is credited monthly. As everyone uses their central bank account to make domestic payments, most of the money minted by the central bank is transferred within its ledger. Additionally, the central bank grants all newborns a trust fund, to be used when they grow up.

People receive two types of income: the dividends credited into their central bank account and earnings from working in a corpo-syndicalist company. Neither are taxed, as there are no income or sales taxes. Instead, two types of taxes fund the government: a 5% tax on the raw revenues of the corpo-syndicalist firms; and proceeds from leasing land (which belongs in its entirety to the community) for private, time-limited, use.

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RIP

Eulogy to David Graeber (Steve Keen)

Oh David! @davidgraeber. . They say only the good die young, but why did you have to be one of them? There’s even more bullshit in the world now that you are no longer with us. It was a pleasure to know you, and it is a tragedy to say goodbye.


David was special for many, many reasons. The first I’ll mention is what I expect is the foundation of David’s appeal to Nika: his trusting innocence. There was a boyish openness and lack of ego in David that made you trust him, because you could. He was, at the same time, extremely intelligent and extremely funny. He had a nervy aspect, very befitting of someone raised in New York. But he was fundamentally funny, and looked on the world with a sense of bemusement, and all the while, incisive insight. He was intrinsically an anthropologist, in that he was capable of living amongst people and seeing their customs more clearly than they could themselves, while all the while celebrating those aspects, the good and the bad, because they were his people as well.

There was a selflessness to David too. There wasn’t an ounce of David’s body that was in it for David’s benefit alone. Well, he enjoyed his pleasures, but they could never be had at the expense of another person. That made him someone you could trust with your life. On top of that, he was an excellent if sometimes rambling speaker, whose charisma attracted support which was worth giving. David, I believe, came up with the slogan “We’re the 99%”. David, I believe, developed Occupy Wall Street’s voting system, which was a very powerful form of democracy that still respected the rights of the minority. He was a true leader in large part because he didn’t want to be.

He was also an excellent historian of money and debt. If you haven’t read Debt: the first 5000 Years, buy a copy and do so. It’s such a pity that David won’t be here to chronicle the start of its next 5000 Years. That’s the other thing: the suddenness. I knew David wasn’t feeling well—I’d exchanged a few messages with Nika where David’s health came up. Maybe it was Covid—I still don’t know. I won’t speculate. But it is so bloody awful to lose such a brilliant, lovely, funny, warm human being. It’s the unkindest cut of all that 2020 has managed to deliver.

Now we know why we speak of 20:20 vision, and 20:20 hindsight. We thought it was an ophthalmologist’s crazy numbering system. In fact, it was a warning from a time traveller.

Nassim Taleb – David Graeber

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“As humans we are fragile biological entities who will die unless we take care of each other”

– David Graeber

 

 

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Aug 192020
 


Wassily Kandinsky Autumn Landscape with Boats 1908

 

Chinese Regulator: Vaccines Must Have 50% Efficacy, 6 Months Immunity (SCMP)
Brennan, Strzok and DOJ Needed Assange Arrested – And UK Officials Obliged (CT)
The Big Story Behind The Mueller Special Counsel Purpose (CT)
Senate Panel Releases Final Report On Russian Interference In 2016 (ZH)
Will the Dam Break After Clinesmith’s Plea? (RCP)
Justice Delayed or Denied? A Response To Weissmann And Goodman (Turley)
The Specter of a Fascist Coup by Trump Haunts the US (MPN)
The Plot Against The President (HR)
AOC ‘Snubs’ Joe Biden In Speech Nominating Bernie Sanders (Ind.)
Biden ‘Is Just Lost,’ Says Obama’s White House Doctor (WE)
At Least 10 Times More Plastic In The Atlantic Than Presumed (Phys.org)

 

 

 

 

Most of the good news was gone by Tuesday, though US new cases stayed subdued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m confident if you throw in a pair of ringside playoff seats you can get it down to 40%.

Chinese Regulator: Vaccines Must Have 50% Efficacy, 6 Months Immunity (SCMP)

Covid-19 vaccines must have an efficacy rate of 50 per cent and provide at least six months’ immunity if they are to be approved for use in China, the country’s drug regulator has announced. According to a draft document released by the Chinese Centre for Drug Evaluation (CCDE), 50 per cent is the minimum efficacy rate allowable, although 70 per cent is the target. The document said also that the regulator would consider granting emergency use of vaccines that have not yet completed their final phase of clinical trials. Chinese companies are among the forerunners in the race to produce a vaccine for Covid-19, with four candidates in final testing. A total of 29 products are undergoing clinical trials around the world, seven of which are in the final stage.


On Friday, China issued several documents setting out the standards for clinical trials and research on vaccines, including those based on the unproven mRNA platform. China’s requirement for a minimum 50 per cent efficacy – which means the vaccine would protect half of those injected with it – is in line with the benchmarks set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unlike the Chinese draft, the FDA does not have a requirement for a minimum period of immunity. The WHO said in a document published in April that it hoped Covid 19 vaccines would protect recipients for a year, a target that China is also seeking, but many scientists are concerned that might not be achievable.

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This is how it all ties together. As I have written many times. Mueller needed Assange muzzled. He wasn’t interested in the truth, or he would have visited him. Mueller/Weissmann needed the RussiaRussia blubber to last. Or they would have come up completely empty.

The Mueller investigation ended on April 11 2019. Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuador embassy on April 11 2019.

Brennan, Strzok and DOJ Needed Assange Arrested – And UK Officials Obliged (CT)

Knowing how much effort the CIA and FBI put into the Russia collusion-conspiracy narrative, it would make sense for the FBI to take keen interest after this August 2017 meeting between Rohrabacher and Assange; and why the FBI would quickly gather specific evidence (related to Wikileaks and Bradley Manning) for a grand jury by December 2017. Within three months of the grand jury the DOJ generated an indictment and sealed it in March 2018. The EDVA sat on the indictment while the Mueller probe was ongoing. As soon as the Mueller probe ended, on April 11th, 2019, a planned and coordinated effort between the U.K. and U.S. was executed; Julian Assange was forcibly arrested and removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and the EDVA indictment was unsealed.

As a person who has researched this three year fiasco; including the ridiculously false 2016 Russian hacking/interference narrative: “17 intelligence agencies”, Joint Analysis Report (JAR) needed for Obama’s anti-Russia narrative in December ’16; and then a month later the ridiculously political Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in January ’17; this timing against Assange is too coincidental. It doesn’t take a deep researcher to see the aligned Deep State motive to control Julian Assange because the Mueller report was dependent on Russia cybercrimes, and that narrative is contingent on the Russia DNC hack story which Julian Assange disputes.

This is critical. The Weissmann/Mueller report contains claims that Russia hacked the DNC servers as the central element to the Russia interference narrative in the U.S. election. This claim is directly disputed by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, as outlined during the Dana Rohrabacher interview, and by Julian Assange on-the-record statements. The predicate for Robert Mueller’s investigation was specifically due to Russian interference in the 2016 election. The fulcrum for this Russia interference claim is the intelligence community assessment; and the only factual evidence claimed within the ICA is that Russia hacked the DNC servers; a claim only made possible by relying on forensic computer analysis from Crowdstrike, a DNC contractor.

The CIA holds a massive conflict of self-interest in upholding the Russian hacking claim. The FBI holds a massive interest in maintaining that claim. All of those foreign countries whose intelligence apparatus participated with Brennan and Strzok also have a vested self-interest in maintaining that Russia hacking and interference narrative. Julian Assange is the only person with direct knowledge of how Wikileaks gained custody of the DNC emails; and Assange has claimed he has evidence it was not from a hack. This Russian “hacking” claim is ultimately so important to the CIA, FBI, DOJ, ODNI and U.K intelligence apparatus…. Well, right there is the obvious motive to shut Assange down as soon intelligence officials knew the Mueller report was going to be public.

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While Trump was president and Jeff Sessions was AG, “the Mueller team was essentially controlling all DOJ activity”.

The Big Story Behind The Mueller Special Counsel Purpose (CT)

Foolishness and betrayal of our country have served to reveal dangers within our present condition. Misplaced corrective action, regardless of intent, is neither safe nor wise. The intelligence apparatus was weaponized against a candidate by those who controlled the levers of government. This is what AG Bill Barr needs to explain to the nation. The purpose behind briefing Durham’s lead investigator William Aldenberg was essentially to provide an understanding of what we the people already know. The purpose behind releasing the investigator name is to cut through the chaff and countermeasures and give face to the unit holding the precarious responsibility of sunlight.

The position of Bill Barr, and indeed our nation today, is a direct result of decisions made by Main Justice -as run by the special counsel- in the Fall of 2017 & Summer of 2018. The events surrounding the leaking of the FISA warrant used against U.S. person Carter Page; the purposeful cover-up by Andrew Weissmann; and the downstream 2018 DOJ decision not to prosecute SSCI Security Director James Wolfe for those leaks, was the fork in the road moment for the Department of Justice – and the institutions of government as a whole. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was recused.

As admitted in his June 2nd testimony Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein was providing no special counsel oversight, and the Mueller team was essentially controlling all DOJ activity. That was when the DOJ made a decision not to prosecute Wolfe for leaking classified information. DC U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu signed-off on a plea deal where Wolfe plead guilty to only a single count of lying to the FBI. If the DOJ had pursued the case against Wolfe for leaking the FISA application, everything would have been different. The American electorate would have seen evidence of what was taking place in the background effort to remove President Trump; and we would be in an entirely different place today if that prosecution or trial had taken place.

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Something tells me it won’t be the final report, not if they can help it. This nonsense needs to stop.

You and I don’t need a bogeyman enemy to live our lives, only the intelligence services do. And politicians of all stripes.

Senate Panel Releases Final Report On Russian Interference In 2016 (ZH)

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a 966 page final report on Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election, and outlines “Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities” during the race. The panel interviewed over 200 witnesses and reviewed over 1 million pages of documents, according to The Hill – finding that while Russia made efforts to interfere in the election through disinformation and cyber campaigns, there was insufficient evidence that the Trump campaign ‘colluded’ with the Kremlin, as we were promised was the case by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the MSM over the course of several years. “No probe into this matter has been more exhaustive,” said acting Senate Intelligence Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) in a statement, adding “We can say, without any hesitation, that the Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election.”

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the Committee’s Vice Chairman, had a different interpretation – saying “At nearly 1,000 pages, Volume 5 stands as the most comprehensive examination of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign to date — a breathtaking level of contacts between Trump officials and Russian government operatives that is a very real counterintelligence threat to our elections.” And while there was no evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, the panel found that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s contacts with ‘Kremlin-linked’ officials (as the Washington Post describes them) posed a “grave counterintelligence threat.”

“The volume, released Tuesday, states that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort worked with a Russian intelligence officer “on narratives that sought to undermine evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election,” including the idea that Ukrainian election interference was of greater concern.” -WaPo “One of the Committee’s most important — and overlooked — findings is that much of Russia’s activities weren’t related to producing a specific electoral outcome, but attempted to undermine our faith in the democratic process itself,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

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Quite a few people doubt it.

Will the Dam Break After Clinesmith’s Plea? (RCP)

• It was no surprise to learn last week that Kevin Clinesmith had altered an official document. Inspector General Michael Horowitz had already reported it, without naming the culprit. Durham had that information and could have indicted Clinesmith long ago. He didn’t because he was interviewing others about FISA abuses and didn’t want to give them any information from Clinesmith’s indictment. Releasing that information now shows Durham has completed his work on FISA fraud.

• Other, more senior FBI officials must have been involved in these FISA abuses, though Durham hasn’t said so yet. Some committed abuse themselves. Others knew about it or should have known. Still others must have discovered the misrepresentations, but failed to report them to the FISA court, as they were required to do. Those failures are felonies.

• Clinesmith has said he gave other FBI members the true document, not just the altered one. The 23rd paragraph of the charging information says Clinesmith “provided the unchanged C.I.A. email to Crossfire Hurricane agents and the Justice Department lawyer drafting the original wiretap application.” That’s a smoking bazooka.

• How can Durham prove the CIA’s truthful information was circulated and then hidden? By thoroughly checking the FBI’s internal document system. It should record everyone who received Clinesmith’s accurate (unaltered) document and those they later passed it to. If the agents and lawyers merely discussed the falsification, then prosecutors will need several witnesses to substantiate it.

• The real leader of the Mueller team, Andrew Weissmann, is still blowing smoke about these mounting legal problems. On Friday, he tweeted, “Clinesmith is charged with adding the words ‘not a source’ to an email about Carter Page, but nowhere does the charge say that is false, i.e. that Page was a source for the CIA.” Notice, Weissmann is not saying he knew nothing or that Page really was a Russian source. He simply saying that a 180-degree change in the document’s wording doesn’t mean what your lying eyes think it means.

• Weissmann’s comment shows the Mueller team is sticking with their existing disclaimer. Their report says they won’t speculate on “whether the correction of any particular misstatement or omission, or some combination thereof, would have resulted in a different outcome.” In order words, “We don’t see something. We don’t say something. And we don’t know if it matters.”

• Clinesmith actually worked on Robert Mueller’s team. He was tasked from the bureau to work with that team, which then submitted his falsified document to the FISA court. That’s crucially important. If attorneys on the special counsel team knew about his crime and did nothing to inform the court, if they continued to use a document they knew was fraudulent, they will face charges. That would implicate Mueller’s team for the first time in illegal activity to undermine the Trump presidency. That’s a much bigger matter than writing a biased report.

• We know from other declassified documents that it wasn’t just Mueller’s FISA application that had false information. All four applications did. Indeed, they depended on it, especially on the Steele dossier. Then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified that, without Steele, the warrants would not have been granted. Yet none of the agents and prosecutors ever told the FISA court about fraud, misrepresentation, and bias from Steele, Clinesmith, or others.

• The Mueller team must have known Clinesmith’s actions were a problem. They didn’t just get rid him, they tried to shift the blame. That’s the meaning of an opaque footnote in their report, which said that the bureau, not the Mueller team, supervised “an FBI attorney” who worked for the special counsel. Hey, it’s them, not us!

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Weismann doesn’t argue in good faith.

Justice Delayed or Denied? A Response To Weissmann And Goodman (Turley)

Recently, I posted a criticism of Andrew Weissmann, one of the top prosecutors with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who ran a column with Professor Ryan Goodman encouraging Justice Department attorneys not to assist U.S. Attorney John Durham in his ongoing investigation (at least before the election) and dismissing the basis for the plea agreement reached with former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. Goodman argues that I was unfair to him and Weissmann in my posting and I wanted to respond. I did include a longer quote from the column to be sure that their point was better understood in context in an updated posting. However, in my view, the defense of this column only highlights the inherent bias that the original posting sought to address.

Rather than append this long discussion at the end of the original column, I felt it deserved its own posting and consideration by readers. [..] On Twitter, Professor Goodman makes four basic points which I make out into roughly six points. I would like to address each below. However, it is worth noting that only one point appears to be a claim of misrepresentation. First, Goodman states that the posting was “seriously flawed” and “Turley badly misrepresents what we said, what Justice Dept charged, and more… This is a pattern for Turley (see final tweet in this thread for that pattern)…” I will address the “pattern” referenced by Goodman below. However, Goodman states that the blog “falsely claims op-ed calls on DOJ lawyers ‘to undermine’ Durham investigation. He points out that “[o]ur op-ed: DOJ lawyers should refuse IMPROPER requests if VIOLATE oath to Constitution and policy on actions that interfere in election; plus Durham CAN indict after 11/3.”

This appears to be the heart of Goodman’s claim of misrepresentation (indeed it appears the only claim). It is a rather curious and tautological point. Goodman simply restates his argument that what Durham is doing is improper and thus says that it cannot be viewed as “undermining” Durham’s investigation. Yes, I believe telling DOJ lawyers that they should refuse to assist in indictment or pleas is undermining Durham’s investigation, even if it is to do so for a few months. Such pleas or indictments are critical parts to an investigation or additional criminal cases. Durham, who even Democratic leaders have acknowledged is an apolitical and dedicated prosecutor, believes that this plea is needed to move forward on what could be a broader prosecution.

Durham was delayed by the pandemic but has moved to complete this long-standing investigation. For Durham, waiting for additional months is an example of an unnecessary example of justice delayed being justice denied. He is allowed to move forward with his case and the cited “unwritten norm” of the authors is highly challengeable. Regardless of the merits, it hardly seems “seriously flawed” to characterize a call for Durham’s subordinates to stand down as undermining his investigation.

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You’ve been programmed. Man, all the people who take this serious…

“Recall similar warnings about Bush and Romney, who are now chums of Democrats in high places.”

The Specter of a Fascist Coup by Trump Haunts the US (MPN)

Should Trump fail to carry the Electoral College, Noam Chomsky admonishes, “he could send Blackshirts out in the streets… preparation for a plan to try to bring the military in to carry out something which would amount to a military coup.” A New York Times columnist opines: “Put nothing past Trump, not even the destruction of the American electoral process.” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, explains that Trump’s election delay threat is a coup in the making. Economist Jack Rasmus speculates Trump will “call for his radical right, gun-toting friends to come to Washington to surround and protect the White House.”

The left World Socialist Web Site joins the liberal chorus: “In an act unprecedented in American history, Donald Trump has repudiated the Constitution and is attempting to establish a presidential dictatorship, supported by the military, police and far-right fascistic militia acting under his command.” Meanwhile, in the real world, more than 51 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March. Some 27 million people have lost their health insurance on top of around 30 million who were uninsured before, in the face of the massive pandemic. The Federal Reserve has pumped $7 trillion into corporate bonds, municipal securities, loans and grants to business, while millions are going hungry. The pandemic death toll in the U.S. is 168,345 as it rages out of control. California cannot even accurately count the number of cases being reported.

[..] The obsession with the person of Trump is a testament to the political bankruptcy of the increasingly anemic successors of the New Deal and their epigones on the left who, every four years, admonish us that never before have the stakes been so high: we have to vote for the lesser evil. Given their view of the danger of a fascist coup, we should put aside a progressive agenda and vote for the former senator from Mastercard and learn to love endless imperial war and increasing austerity for working people in a repressive security state.

The liberal-left pundits reproach us to vote Democrat simply because the alternative is not Trump. Recall similar warnings about Bush and Romney, who are now chums of Democrats in high places. Vote, but not for any issue, because the so-called liberal agenda is today devoid of issues. Liberalism is dead. Indicative is its standard-bearer barely showing vital signs. Biden is being told to stay in his basement and even sit out his nominating convention.

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The Hollywood Reporter’s only loyalty lies with Hollywood.

The Plot Against The President (HR)

There’s a hush-hush Russiagate documentary on the horizon from a director who hails from Hollywood royalty. But this one makes the case for President Trump. Amanda Milius, daughter of legendary screenwriter-director John Milius and a State Department alum, has directed The Plot Against the President, based on Lee Smith’s 2019 best seller of the same name. Milius, who optioned the book in manuscript form last summer and stepped down in early March from her post as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Content in the State Department’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs, began working on the doc in secrecy shortly thereafter.

Over the past three months, she interviewed Russiagate critics including Congressman Devin Nunes, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Mike Cernovich and Roger Stone as well as Gen. Michael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell. Milius’ father, the screenwriter of such classics as Apocalypse Now and Dirty Harry, is such a larger-than-life figure in Hollywood that he has inspired characters in at least two films: The Big Lebowski(played by John Goodman) and Zeroville (Seth Rogen). His politics have long deviated from the industry’s centrist Democratic leanings (he and Charlton Heston served on the board of the NRA at the same time). Amanda, who attended USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and worked in the film industry for a decade, also shares his pro-Trump sentiments.

[..] The film was financed by a handful of private investors that the Washington-based director declines to name. She produced alongside Jonathan Eisenman. The production companies are Wollman Prods. and 1AMDC Prods. The producers are currently in talks with a few distributors and are planning an Oct. 1 release in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Milius says the film will offer several additional bombshells that weren’t included in the book, whose thesis is that a coup was engineered by the American establishment elite, including the media, and targeted the president as well as the democratic process.

Trailer The Plot Against The President

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Well, actually she didn’t, it was just protocol. After that she proudly supported Biden. After being snubbed, and seeing her mentor Bernie be snubbed again. Have these people no pride?

AOC ‘Snubs’ Joe Biden In Speech Nominating Bernie Sanders (Ind.)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has delivered a snub to Joe Biden when she delivered a speech endorsing her progressive mentor Bernie Sanders for president. In words that likely infuriated supporters of Mr Biden, the New York congresswoman spoke to second the nomination of Mr Sanders as the party’s official candidate. “I want to thank everyone towards a better, more just future for our country and our world,” she said, speaking to second the Vermont senator after he was formally nominated by labour activist and lawyer Bob King. She said she sought to create “mass people’s movement dedicated to addressing the wounds of racial injustice, colonisation, misogyny, and homophobia”.


When Mr Sanders, 78, announced in April he was suspending his campaign for the presidency, after Mr Biden made a series of stunning primary wins to breathe life into a run that appeared dead, he said his name would remain on the ballot and that he would continue to collect delegates. The purpose was not vanity, he said, as some critics said, but in order to better put pressure on Mr Biden to adopt more progressive policies than he might otherwise have felt obliged to do so. Already that has resulted in a succession of policy think thanks that agreed to several policy points on the economy, the environment and criminal and racial justice. Ms Ocasio-Cortez, 30, praised the campaign of Mr Sanders and other progressive candidates who “reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past”.

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Oh, c’mon, let me have some fun… All the other stuff is already so serious.

Biden ‘Is Just Lost,’ Says Obama’s White House Doctor (WE)

The chief White House doctor to former President Barack Obama is worried about the mental health and stamina of former Vice President Joe Biden, suggesting that “something is not right” with the Democratic presidential nominee. “The best way I can describe him every time I see him is that he’s just lost,” said Dr. Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician to Obama and President Trump. “I won’t make any particular diagnosis about dementia. … But what I will say is that something is not right,” added the retired Navy rear admiral who recently won a House GOP primary in Texas. And it is getting so bad that he is “not comfortable” with Biden being commander in chief.


“I’m not,” he said of the top Democrat, set to be nominated by the Democratic Party for president on Thursday. Jackson’s comments are in an upcoming book from Donald Trump Jr., Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Defense of the Indefensible, out Sept. 1 but already selling fast on his website, DonJr.com. In the book, the president’s son and top campaign supporter addressed current issues and included interviews with key current affairs figures, such as Jackson, who began working in the White House Medical Unit under former President George W. Bush and served as “physician to the president” during the Obama and Trump administrations. He stressed to Trump Jr. that he hasn’t reviewed Biden’s records but said that he witnessed the changes to Obama’s vice president in person and over time.

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How do you like the coating in your intestines?

At Least 10 Times More Plastic In The Atlantic Than Presumed (Phys.org)

The mass of ‘invisible’ microplastics found in the upper waters of the Atlantic Ocean is approximately 12- 21 million tons, according to research published in the journal Nature Communications today. Significantly, this figure is only for three of the most common types of plastic litter in a limited size range. Yet, it is comparable in magnitude to estimates of all plastic waste that has entered the Atlantic Ocean over the past 65 years: 17 million tons. This suggests that the supply of plastic to the ocean have been substantially underestimated. The lead author of the paper, Dr. Katsiaryna Pabortsava from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), said “Previously, we couldn’t balance the mass of floating plastic we observed with the mass we thought had entered the ocean since 1950.

This is because earlier studies hadn’t been measuring the concentrations of ‘invisible’ microplastic particles beneath the ocean surface. Our research is the first to have done this across the entire Atlantic, from the UK to the Falklands.” Co-author, Professor Richard Lampitt, also from the NOC, added “if we assume that the concentration of microplastics we measured at around 200 meters deep is representative of that in the water mass to the seafloor below with an average depth of about 3000 meters, then the Atlantic Ocean might hold about 200 million tons of plastic litter in this limited polymer type and size category. This is much more than is thought to have been supplied.”

“In order to determine the dangers of plastic contamination to the environment and to humans we need good estimates of the amount and characteristics of this material, how it enters the ocean, how it degrades and then how toxic it is at these concentrations. This paper demonstrates that scientists have had a totally inadequate understanding of even the simplest of these factors, how much is there, and it would seem our estimates of how much is dumped into the ocean has been massively underestimated.”

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Thank you for your ongoing support.

 

 

KimK Baltimore

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Jun 012020
 


Christo & Jeanne Claude The Gates, Central Park NYC 2005 (Christo died yesterday at 84)

 

 

New Coronavirus Losing Potency, Top Italian Doctor Says (R.)
Russia To Roll Out ‘Game Changer’ COVID19 Drug Next Week (R.)
UK Has One Of Highest COVID19-Related Excess Deaths Levels In Europe (G.)
Health Officials Make Last-Minute Plea To Stop Lockdown Easing In England (G.)
It’s The Virus, Stupid! (AHEB)
Australia’s Stalled Migrant Boom Derails Golden Economic Run (R.)
Asia Stocks Hit 3-Month Peaks, Resilient To US Rioting (R.)
Asia’s Factory Pain Worsens As China’s Recovery Fails To Lift Demand (R.)
The Stunning Chart That Blows Up All Of Modern Central Banking (ZH)
FBI’s Top Lawyer Resigns As Agency Faces Pressure From Trump (R.)

 

 

The riots have completely taken over the -US- news cycle from COVID19, to such an extent that I don’t really know what to add to it. Only perhaps to say there is an enormous amount of brutal videos circling around, more than on any topic ever before, and there’s no way that doesn’t influence people on all sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counted from Saturday, since there was no Debt Rattle yesterday:

Cases 6,288,176 (+ 233,399 from Saturday’s 6,054,777)

Deaths 374,327(+ 7,039 from Saturday’s 367,288)

 

 

 

Note: I dropped the SCMP graph, it doesn’t appear very useful anymore.

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-:

 

 

From Worldometer:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

Would be good news, but this sounds a little goal-seeked.

New Coronavirus Losing Potency, Top Italian Doctor Says (R.)

The new coronavirus is losing its potency and has become much less lethal, a senior Italian doctor said on Sunday. “In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” said Alberto Zangrillo, the head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan in the northern region of Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of Italy’s coronavirus contagion. “The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago,” he told RAI television. Italy has the third highest death toll in the world from COVID-19, with 33,415 people dying since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21. It has the sixth highest global tally of cases at 233,019.

However new infections and fatalities have fallen steadily in May and the country is unwinding some of the most rigid lockdown restrictions introduced anywhere on the continent. Zangrillo said some experts were too alarmist about the prospect of a second wave of infections and politicians needed to take into account the new reality. “We’ve got to get back to being a normal country,” he said. “Someone has to take responsibility for terrorizing the country.” The government urged caution, saying it was far too soon to claim victory. “Pending scientific evidence to support the thesis that the virus has disappeared … I would invite those who say they are sure of it not to confuse Italians,” Sandra Zampa, an undersecretary at the health ministry, said in a statement.


“We should instead invite Italians to maintain the maximum caution, maintain physical distancing, avoid large groups, to frequently wash their hands and to wear masks.” A second doctor from northern Italy told the national ANSA news agency that he was also seeing the coronavirus weaken. “The strength the virus had two months ago is not the same strength it has today,” said Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital in the city of Genoa. “It is clear that today the COVID-19 disease is different.”

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A bit better than remdesivir (which is not hard), and worse than HCQ?! What game is it that will be changed?

Russia To Roll Out ‘Game Changer’ COVID19 Drug Next Week (R.)

Russia will start administering its first approved antiviral drug to treat coronavirus patients next week, its state financial backer told Reuters, a move it described as “a game changer” that should speed a return to normal economic life. Russian hospitals can begin giving the drug to patients from June 11, with enough to treat around 60,000 people per month, the head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund told Reuters in an interview. There is currently no approved vaccine for the highly contagious and sometimes fatal illness and no consensus within the global scientific community about the efficacy of medication such as the Russian modified antiviral drug.

Registered under the name Avifavir, it is the first potential coronavirus treatment to be approved by Russia’s health ministry, however. It appeared on a government list of approved drugs on Saturday after clinical trials. RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev said clinical trials involved 330 people and showed that the drug successfully treated the virus in most cases within four days. Trials were due to be concluded in around a week, he said, and more would be conducted. The health ministry had given its approval for the drug’s use under a special accelerated process and manufacturing had begun in March, he added. “We believe this is a game changer. It will reduce strain on the healthcare system, we’ll have fewer people getting into a critical condition, and for 90% of people it eliminates the virus within 10 days,” he said.

“We believe that the drug is key to resuming full economic activity in Russia. People need to follow social distancing rules, and of course we need to have a vaccine, but it’s a combination of those three levers.” With 405,843 cases, Russia has the third highest number of infections in the world after Brazil and the United States, though with 4,693 official deaths, a much lower fatality rate, something that has been the focus of debate. Dmitriev said the new drug, which comes in tablet form, would allow people to spend less time in hospital and reduce the time they are contagious, saying the drug had few side-effects but was not suitable for pregnant women. It was particularly effective, he said, for patients suffering from mild or mid-level symptoms.

[..] Avifavir, known generically as favipiravir, was first developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company later bought by Fujifilm as it moved into healthcare. The drug works by short-circuiting the reproduction mechanism of certain RNA viruses such as influenza. Russian specialists modified the generic drug to enhance its efficacy for treating COVID-19 [..]

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Excess deaths may be the best, if not only, way to get an accurate fatality number for COVID19.

UK Has One Of Highest COVID19-Related Excess Deaths Levels In Europe (G.)

Britain’s excess death toll at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic was the highest among 11 countries analysed by the Guardian. The UK had the biggest spike among countries including Sweden, France, Germany and Spain. At its peak the UK death toll was more than double that of an average week, at 109%, compared with Spain’s peak in week 14 where the death toll was double the average at 100%. By week 20 of 2020 the UK death toll – inclusive of both Covid-related and non-Covid deaths – was 21% higher than the average of recent years meaning, for every five deaths that occur in the UK in a normal year, six people have died this year to date.

Excess deaths are those above what we might expect to see in normal circumstances. The figure is the difference in the number of people who have died in a given week compared with the average number of deaths that occurred in the same period in the previous five years. Italy and the Netherlands also have excess deaths of 10% or more so far this year according to the latest data, although the data for those countries is not as up to date as that for the UK. Patterns in the data show countries that locked down earlier tended to have fewer deaths. Austria, which imposed strict containment measures on 16 March, when there was just one death attributed to Covid-19 in the country, recorded a peak in excess deaths of 14%.


By contrast, the Netherlands waited until its excess deaths were already 17% higher than usual before locking down, and at its peak the death toll was 74% above average. The data also shows that in Sweden, which has adopted a different approach with no lockdown in place, excess deaths peaked at 46%. The figures come from mortality statistics gathered by the Guardian. Not all of the deaths are directly attributable to Covid-19 but the figures indicate how many people have died directly and indirectly as a result of the virus in different countries.

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That cat’s out of the bag. Too late.

Health Officials Make Last-Minute Plea To Stop Lockdown Easing In England (G.)

Senior public health officials have made a last-minute plea for ministers to scrap Monday’s easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England, warning the country is unprepared to deal with any surge in infection and that public resolve to take steps to limit transmisson has been eroded. The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said new rules, including allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors and in private gardens, were “not supported by the science” and that pictures of crowded beaches and beauty spots over the weekend showed “the public is not keeping to social distancing as it was”.

On Saturday and Sunday, parks and seafronts were packed as people anticipated the lifting of restrictions on what has been dubbed “happy Monday”. Car showrooms and outdoor markets will also be reopened, millions of children will return to primary schools and the most vulnerable “shielded” people will be allowed out for the first time since lockdown began in March, all as long as physical distancing is maintained. But Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the ADPH, said her colleagues across England were “increasingly concerned that the government is misjudging the balance of risk between more social interaction and the risk of a resurgence of the virus, and is easing too many restrictions too quickly”.


They have called on ministers to postpone the easing of restrictions until more is known about the infection rate, the test-and-trace system is better established and public resolve to maintain physical distancing and hygiene can be reinforced. “We have not spoken out in this way before,” De Gruchy said, “but we are concerned that if there is a spike it will be in our communities. We need to be confident we can get on top of it, and we are not confident yet.”

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Awful headline for a reasonable piece.

It’s The Virus, Stupid! (AHEB)

Many economists expressed disbelief after glancing at recent economic statistics. Since the arrival of the virus and the subsequent lockdowns we have observed a never-before-seen decline in production and consumption. In the UK alone, millions of jobs are at risk immediately. The IMF estimated that, for the UK, the expected economic growth this year will turn into a contraction of 6.5%. It was only the day after the presentation of this forecast when Kristalina Georgieva, the director of the IMF, said that the predictions had been overly positive. Globally, it is predicted that many hundreds of millions of people will fall back below the poverty line. The bad news just doesn’t seem to stop. And what for? To keep a virus in check.

A virus that will cause more death than a serious flu, but that does much less damage to health compared to other diseases like cancer or cardiovascular disease. Assuming an infection mortality risk of 1%, group immunity at 70% and 10 years of life lost per death, we arrive at an average loss of life expectancy of one month for the average UK person. This is in sharp contrast to, for example, the 2 to 3 years with which cancer shortens the life of the average UK person. Some economists read these numbers and conclude that the lockdown has to end immediately. That is understandable at first. The costs per year of life saved are higher than we are willing to spend on regular care. The difference is at least a factor 2, and probably much more. If we weren’t prepared to make such sacrifices for an extra year of life before, why now?


The comparison is flawed. While we can lift the lockdown, we cannot return to normality. If we assume 25% of the UK population is at risk, then 17 million people belong to one of the risk groups. For them, the virus is usually not fatal, but not safe either. Many of these people are likely to adopt a risk-averse position. The risks for the rest of the population are limited. However, they too will likely be cautious, as almost all of them are in direct contact with people from the risk groups. This raises the question to what extent the economic damage is caused by the lockdown or by the virus itself. The way to find out is to lift the lockdown in some regions and continue in others. Obviously, such an experiment will not be allowed because of the ethical aspects.

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We import oil and rich people.

Australia’s Stalled Migrant Boom Derails Golden Economic Run (R.)

Australia’s three decades of uninterrupted prosperity are coming to an abrupt end as the global coronavirus pandemic crashes one of its most lucrative sources of income – immigration. The country has been successful in managing the outbreak and reopening its A$2 trillion ($1.33 trillion) economy, thanks in part to an early closure of its borders. But the policy has led to a halt in mass immigration – a key source of consumer demand, labour and growth – in an economy which is facing its first recession since the early 1990s. Net immigration, including international students and those on skilled worker visas, is expected to fall 85% in the fiscal year to June 2021, curbing demand for everything from cars and property to education and wedding rings.


Gurmeet Tuli, who owns a jewellery store in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta, said his business is already hurting in a neighbourhood which is home to tens of thousands of migrants. “My main clientele is young people who come here to study, they find work here and settle down, fall in love and want to get married,” Tuli said. “I have not sold a single diamond ring in the past two months,” he added, noting business is down about 40% so far this year. So critical is migration to Australia that analysts reckon the economy would have slipped into a recession last year without new arrivals to boost population growth.

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That’s not terribly interesting…

Asia Stocks Hit 3-Month Peaks, Resilient To US Rioting (R.)

Asian shares pushed to three-month highs on Monday as progress on opening up economies helped offset jitters over riots in U.S. cities and unease over Washington’s power struggle with Beijing. There was also relief that while President Donald Trump began the process of ending special U.S. treatment for Hong Kong to punish China, he left their trade deal intact. “With specific and verifiable measures against China appearing to be weak, markets may draw hollow consolation that the U.S. is treading carefully,” said analysts at Mizuho in a note.

After a cautious start Asian markets were led higher by China on signs parts of the domestic economy were picking up. Hong Kong .HSI managed to rally 3.6%, while Chinese blue chips put on 2.4%. An official business survey from China showed its factory activity grew at a slower pace in May but momentum in the services and construction sectors quickened. A private survey showed a return to growth in May, though exports remained depressed. That helped lift MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan 2.1% to its highest since early March. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.7% to also reach a three-month peak.


[..] The resilience was notable given major U.S. cities were cleaning up streets strewn with broken glass and burned out cars as curfews failed to stop confrontations between activists and law enforcement. The turmoil was a fresh setback for the economy which was only just emerging from a downturn akin to the Great Depression. Following poor data on spending and trade out on Friday, the Atlanta Federal Reserve estimated economic output could drop a staggering 51% annualised in the second quarter. The May jobs report due out on Friday is forecast to show the unemployment rate surged to 19.8%, smashing April’s record 14.7%. Payrolls are expected to drop by 7.4 million, on top of the 20.5 million jobs lost the previous month.

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… this is far more interesting. Why are stocks “resilient” and hitting peaks as economies plunge?

Asia’s Factory Pain Worsens As China’s Recovery Fails To Lift Demand (R.)

Asia’s factory pain deepened in May as the slump in global trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic worsened, with export powerhouses Japan and South Korea suffering the sharpest declines in business activity in more than a decade. A series of manufacturing surveys released on Monday suggest any rebound in businesses will be some time off, even though China’s factory activity unexpectedly returned to growth in May. China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) hit 50.7 last month, marking the highest reading since January as easing of lockdowns allowed companies to get back to work and clear outstanding orders.


But with many of China’s trading partners still restricted, its new export orders remained in contraction, the private business survey showed on Monday. China’s official PMI survey on Sunday showed the recovery in the world’s second-largest economy intact but fragile. Japan’s factory activity shrank at the fastest pace since 2009 in May, a separate private sector survey showed while South Korea also saw manufacturing slump at the sharpest pace in more than a decade. [..] Taiwan’s manufacturing activity also fell in May. Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines saw PMIs rebound from April, though the indices all remained below the 50-mark threshold that separates contraction from expansion. Official data on Monday showed South Korea extending its exports plunge for a third straight month.

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Japan’s policy for years now hs been to force people to spend. The more -and longer- you do that, the more afraid they get and the less they spend.

Also, as mentioned 1000 times, talking about inflation means zilch unless velocity of money is included. The Deutsche bank graph down below gives that point a lot more perspective.

The Stunning Chart That Blows Up All Of Modern Central Banking (ZH)

[..] amusingly it was all the way back in 2015 that we predicted – correctly in retrospect – just what the monetary endgame is: “fear not: when even “moar” QE and NIRP do not work, and the economists of the ECB admit the “monetary twilight zone” was a disaster, there is one last “tool” they can and will use – helicopters. Because when it comes to printing money, whether in digital reserve format, or physical paper format, there is literally no limit how much can and will be created to achieve what is the endgame of the current monetary dead end: the total destruction of fiat as a store of wealth in order to preserve the global equity tranche while wiping away a few hundred trillion in debt.”


Thanks to covid-19, we have now moved beyond merely the “twilight” and are now in the “helicopter” zone. But what about the relationship between rates and savings, and by extension inflation? After all that is the topic of this post. Well, we can now confirm that our intuition from 2015 that negative rates are not only not inflationary but outright deflationary, and encourage consumers to save even more, was correct all along. Below we post a chart from the latest Research Investment Committee report by BofA titled “Stagnation, stagflation or elevation”, which with just one image blows up everything that is flawed with monetary policy. It shows that while lower rates indeed stimulate spending and lead to lower savings, this effect peaks at around 4% and then goes negative. In fact, the lower yields – and rates – drop below 4% – not to mention to 0% or below – the lower the propensity to spend and the higher the savings rate!

There is another reason why this chart of such epic importance: it confirms what so many have known but were afraid to voice as it ran against decades of flawed economic theory: it demonstrates without a shadow of doubt, that hyper-easy monetary policy is not inflationary but is deflationary. Which is catastrophic for central banks, who publicly state that the only reason they are pursuing ultra easy monetary policy which includes QE and negative rates, is not to goose the market higher (even though by now we all know that’s the real reason) but to stimulate inflation. This is how Bank of America summarizes this stunning observation: As low growth & inflation make low-risk-asset income scarce (e.g. from government bonds), households are forced to reduce consumption and increase savings in order to meet retirement goals. Forced saving further depresses demand in a vicious cycle.


This means that the lower (and more negative) central banks push rates, the lower (not higher) the spending, the higher (not lower) the savings rate, the lower the inflation, the higher the disinflation (or outright deflation), which in turn forces central banks to cut rates even more, to add QE, yield curve control, buy junk bonds, buy ETFs, or pursue any of a host of other monetary policies that are even more devastating to consumer psychology, forcing even more savings, resulting in even more disinflation, causing even more intervention by central banks in what is without doubt the most diabolical feedback loop of modern monetary policy and economics. Said otherwise, monetary easing is deflationary. Let that sink in.

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Not entirely sure what this is. The DOJ supposedly tells the FBI’s top lawyer to leave. And there’s no protest, he just does.

Impossible to see this as something wholly separate from the entire developing issue, for which Susan Rice is an appropriate symbol.

FBI’s Top Lawyer Resigns As Agency Faces Pressure From Trump (R.)

The FBI said on Saturday that its top lawyer, Dana Boente, had announced his resignation as the agency faces scrutiny over its investigations of former staffers and supporters of President Donald Trump. As a senior Justice Department official, Boente was involved in the investigation of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The Justice Department has since asked a judge to drop those charges, arguing that prosecutors should not have brought them in the first place. Trump has repeatedly criticized the FBI for investigating Flynn and other allies.


NBC News, citing two sources, said Boente was asked to resign. Boente held several senior roles at the Justice Department and the FBI over the course of a 38-year career. He briefly served as acting Attorney General in 2017 after Trump fired Sally Yates, who held the job during the first weeks of his presidency. “Few people have served so well in so many critical, high-level roles at the Department,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a prepared statement.

Read more …

 

 

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May 042020
 


Underwood&Underwood Chicago framed by Gothic stonework high in the Tribune Tower 1952

 

‘Biggest Failure In A Generation’: Where Did Britain Go Wrong? (SMH)
UK Chafes At COVID19 Death Toll Comparison With Italy (R.)
UK Health Passports ‘Possible In Months’ (G.)
Boris Johnson: COVID19 Vaccine Hunt ‘Most Urgent Endeavour Of Our Lives’ (PA)
As Lockdowns Ease, Some Countries Report New Infection Peaks (SCMP)
DOJ Intervenes For Church In Virginia Restrictions Challenge (Solomon)
Pompeo: ‘Significant’ Evidence New Coronavirus Emerged From Chinese Lab (R.)
Trump Administration Pushing To Rip Global Supply Chains From China (R.,)
Post-Coronavirus, Expect Manufacturing To Make A Mass Exodus From China (SCMP)
Leaving Amazon (Tim Bray)
Australia, New Zealand Mull Creating ‘Travel Bubble’ (SCMP)
Greece Sees Economy Tanking This Year On Coronavirus Impact (R.)
My Dad Is An ICU Doctor Treating COVID-19 Patients (Bess Kalb)
How Bad is Belgium Doing? (Roosens)
Scrutiny Of FBI Behavior In Russia Case Increases Pressure On Wray (Solomon)

 

 

• U.S. CDC reports 1,122,486 coronavirus cases, 65,735 deaths

• Johns Hopkins University records over 1.15 million cases in the country as of 8:30 pm Sunday (0030 GMT Monday), with 67,674 deaths, with Sunday’s 24-hour toll, which was similar to Saturday’s, showing a decline after hitting 2,502 Wednesday

• Novel coronavirus deaths in the US climb by 1,450 in the past 24 hours, a tally by Johns Hopkins University shows

 

 

Deaths are lower at “only” 3,519, cases not so much.

 

Cases 3,582,889 (+ 82,237 from yesterday’s 3,500,652)

Deaths 248,567 (+ 3,519 from yesterday’s 245,048)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

View from Australia.

‘Biggest Failure In A Generation’: Where Did Britain Go Wrong? (SMH)

Says Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an adviser to the World Health Organisation: “The countries that moved fast have curtailed the epidemic. The countries that delayed have not. It’s as simple as that.” Dr Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet medical journal, is even more damning: “The handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK is the most serious science policy failure in a generation.” Hancock and Johnson had their first discussion together about the virus on January 7. The government’s crisis committee, COBRA, would meet several times over the following weeks and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies started crunching the numbers.

The government knew a threat existed but did it fully understand just how bad it could get? By March 12 a full-scale outbreak had taken hold in Italy and the illness was spreading across Europe. More than 1000 Italians had already died and thousands more were gravely ill in packed hospitals in the country’s hard-hit north. The deadly potential of an invisible killer was becoming more obvious by the hour. That day, Johnson announced Britain would move from the “contain” phase of the emergency to the “delay” phase. This decision would prove a pivotal moment. The shift meant contact tracing would be abandoned, and testing would be restricted to those only in hospital with symptoms. The move was at odds with the WHO, which urged countries to “test, test, test”, as well as Germany’s much-lauded program of mass testing.

The Prime Minister warned at the March 12 press conference that the “worst public health crisis for a generation” was about to hit the country and that “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”. What he did not announce was a lockdown. Or anything close to it. Tougher measures would come but not yet, Johnson said, citing the need to introduce measures when they would have the most impact. But his chief scientific adviser also cast serious doubt on whether closing schools, banning mass gatherings or stopping international flights would ever be effective levers to pull.

Instead, Brits were encouraged to wash their hands and stay home for seven days if they had symptoms. Schools remained open, restaurants and bars traded as usual, and visitors were still allowed into care homes. Flights were arriving from mainland China, even though Australia had banned them six weeks earlier. Heaving public events were still allowed. A Champions League match in Liverpool drew a crowd of 52,000, about 3000 of whom came from Madrid, where a partial lockdown was already in force. More than 250,000 tickets were sold for the Cheltenham horse racing festival. Both events are now being investigated by health officials who suspect they may have contributed to the rapid spread of the disease in the areas surrounding the venues.

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Yeah, it’s not fair! Lombardy has a much better health care system!

UK Chafes At COVID19 Death Toll Comparison With Italy (R.)

The British government sought on Sunday to deflect questions over a coronavirus death toll that is Europe’s second worst after Italy, with officials saying it would take a long time before the full picture became clear. Deaths rose to 28,446 as of May 2 – just short of Italy – increasing pressure on the government which has been accused of acting too slowly in the early stages of the outbreak. Cabinet minister Michael Gove, leading a daily coronavirus briefing, sidestepped a question on whether many lives could have been saved if mass testing had been rolled out earlier. “This government, like all governments, will have made mistakes, but it will be impossible to determine exactly which were the areas of greatest concern until some time in the future, when we have all the information that we need,” he said.

Only the United States has suffered more deaths than Italy and Britain. Ministers dislike comparisons of the headline death toll, saying that excess mortality – the number of deaths from all causes that exceed the average for the time of year – is a more meaningful metric. The most recent available data showed there were almost 12,000 excess deaths in England and Wales in the week to April 17. Of these, just under 9,000 were linked on death certificates to the COVID-19 respiratory disease. [..] the medical director of England’s health service, Stephen Powis, said during the briefing it would be some time before international comparisons of excess deaths could be made.

Earlier, the UK National Statistician Ian Diamond also cautioned against relying on rankings. “I’m not saying that we’re at the bottom of any potential league table – it’s almost impossible to calculate a league table – but I’m not prepared to say that we’re heading for the top,” he told BBC News.

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The UK wants to force people to use these things. What a great idea.

UK Health Passports ‘Possible In Months’ (G.)

Tech firms are in talks with ministers about creating health passports to help Britons return safely to work using coronavirus testing and facial recognition. Facial biometrics could be used to help provide a digital certificate – sometimes known as an immunity passport – proving which workers have had Covid-19, as a possible way of easing the impact on the economy and businesses from ongoing physical distancing even after current lockdown measures are eased. The UK-based firm Onfido, which specialises in verifying people’s identities using facial biometrics, has delivered detailed plans to the government and is involved in a number of conversations about what could be rolled out across the country, it is understood.


Its proposals, which have reached pilot stages in other countries, could be executed within months, it says. The firm could use antibody tests – proving whether someone has had the virus – or antigen tests, which show current infections. Digital identity experts say they are in the “discovery stage” of what could be tailored for the UK government, but developing a type of health certificate through app technology is gaining traction. The government is understood to be moving away from the phrase “immunity passport” as evidence continues to emerge on exactly how immunity develops after someone has had Covid-19. The World Health Organization has also issued a stark warning over attempts to give people false assurance through a passport scheme.

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It better not be. The track record on corona vaccines is dismal.

Boris Johnson: COVID19 Vaccine Hunt ‘Most Urgent Endeavour Of Our Lives’ (PA)

The race for a coronavirus vaccine is “the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes”, Boris Johnson will tell an international conference as he urges countries to “pull together” and share their expertise in a bid to halt the global pandemic. The UK prime minister is co-hosting the virtual coronavirus global response international pledging conference on Monday. As well as the UK, eight other countries and organisations are also co-hosting the forum which aims to bring in more than $8bn (£6.4bn) in funding to support the global response. The UK has pledged to give £388m in aid funding for research into tests, treatments and vaccines – part of a £744m commitment to help end the pandemic and support the global economy.


Johnson is expected to say: “To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producing a vaccine. “The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed. The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes. “It’s humanity against the virus – we are in this together and together we will prevail.” The government believes tackling the virus globally is crucial to preventing a second wave reemerging in the UK and it will speed up the creation of vaccines, tests and treatment.

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A growing consensus appears to see 20,000 new US cases and 1,000-2,000 new deaths everyday through the summer.

As Lockdowns Ease, Some Countries Report New Infection Peaks (SCMP)

US President Donald Trump has revised upwards the number of Americans he expects to die from the coronavirus to as many as 100,000, as global cases surpassed 3.5 million on Monday, with deaths nearing a quarter of a million. North America and European countries accounted for most of the new cases reported in recent days, but numbers were rising from smaller bases in Latin America, Africa and Russia. India, second in population only to China, reported its biggest single-day jump yet with more than 2,600 new infections. And in Russia, new coronavirus cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time. The confirmed death toll in Britain climbed near that of Italy, the epicentre of Europe’s outbreak, even though the UK population is younger than Italy’s and Britain had more time to prepare before the pandemic hit.


The United States continues to see tens of thousands of new infections each day, with more than 1,400 new deaths reported Saturday. Health experts warn that a second wave of infections could hit unless testing is expanded dramatically after lockdowns are eased. But pressure to reopen economies keeps building after the weeks-long shutdown of businesses worldwide plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s and wiped out millions of jobs. China, which reported only three new cases on Monday, has seen a surge in visitors to newly reopened tourist spots after domestic travel restrictions were relaxed ahead of a five-day holiday that runs through Tuesday. Nearly 1.7 million people visited Beijing parks on the first two days of the holiday, and Shanghai’s main tourist spots welcomed more than 1 million visitors, according to Chinese media. Many spots limited daily visitors to 30 per cent of capacity.

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Just a terribly sad story. Junks and hookers.

DOJ Intervenes For Church In Virginia Restrictions Challenge (Solomon)

The Justice Department on Sunday intervened on behalf of a church fighting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northman’s virus restrictions in a federal court case that may determine whether religion is an essential service. The department filed a Statement of Interest in federal court in support of Lighthouse Fellowship Church, a congregation in Chincoteague Island, Virginia, that serves, among others, recovering drug addicts and former prostitutes. The church says it held a 16-person worship service in its 225-seat sanctuary on Palm Sunday while maintaining rigorous social distancing. At the end of the service, Chincoteague police issued Lighthouse’s pastor a criminal citation and summons, based on the Northam’s executive order.


Lighthouse sued on Friday, but a judge denied the church’s request for preliminary relief, ruling that “[a]lthough [professional-services] businesses may not be essential, the exception crafted on their behalf is essential to prevent joblessness.” DOJ’s filing argues the church can’t be treated differently than other businesses and that faith is essential during a pandemic. “For many people of faith, exercising religion is essential, especially during a crisis,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said. “The Commonwealth of Virginia has offered no good reason for refusing to trust congregants who promise to use care in worship in the same way it trusts accountants, lawyers, and other workers to do the same.”

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Pompeo has played good cop bad cop all his life. But it only works for a while. Then people stop taking you serious.

Pompeo: ‘Significant’ Evidence New Coronavirus Emerged From Chinese Lab (R.)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday there was “a significant amount of evidence” that the new coronavirus emerged from a Chinese laboratory, but did not dispute U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it was not man-made. “There is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the virus that emerged late last year in China and has killed about 240,000 people around the world, including more than 67,000 in the United States. Pompeo then briefly contradicted a statement issued last Thursday by the top U.S. spy agency that said the virus did not appear to be man-made or genetically modified.


That statement undercut conspiracy theories promoted by anti-China activists and some supporters of President Donald Trump who suggest it was developed in a Chinese government biological weapons laboratory. “The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” Pompeo said. When the interviewer pointed out that was not the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, Pompeo backtracked, saying: “I’ve seen what the intelligence community has said. I have no reasonto believe that they’ve got it wrong.” China’s Global Times, run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said in an editorial responding to Pompeo’s Sunday interview that he did not have any evidence the virus came from the lab in Wuhan and that he was “bluffing,” calling on the United States to present the evidence.

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Leaving globalization and just-in-time behind will take a lot of effort.

Trump Administration Pushing To Rip Global Supply Chains From China (R.,)

The Trump administration is “turbocharging” an initiative to remove global industrial supply chains from China as it weighs new tariffs to punish Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to officials familiar with U.S. planning. President Donald Trump, who has stepped up recent attacks on China ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, has long pledged to bring manufacturing back from overseas. Now, economic destruction and the massive U.S. coronavirus death toll are driving a government-wide push to move U.S. production and supply chain dependency away from China, even if it goes to other more friendly nations instead, current and former senior U.S. administration officials said.

“We’ve been working on [reducing the reliance of our supply chains in China] over the last few years but we are now turbo-charging that initiative,” Keith Krach, undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment at the U.S. State Department told Reuters. “I think it is essential to understand where the critical areas are and where critical bottlenecks exist,” Krach said, adding that the matter was key to U.S. security and one the government could announce new action on soon. The U.S. Commerce Department, State and other agencies are looking for ways to push companies to move both sourcing and manufacturing out of China. Tax incentives and potential re-shoring subsidies are among measures being considered to spur changes, the current and former officials told Reuters.

“There is a whole of government push on this,” said one. Agencies are probing which manufacturing should be deemed “essential” and how to produce these goods outside of China. [..] “This moment is a perfect storm; the pandemic has crystallized all the worries that people have had about doing business with China,” said another senior U.S. official. “All the money that people think they made by making deals with China before, now they’ve been eclipsed many fold by the economic damage” from the coronavirus, the official said.

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Not a great take. Japan is furthest ahead in this.

Post-Coronavirus, Expect Manufacturing To Make A Mass Exodus From China (SCMP)

Already a few years ago, rising manufacturing costs in China along with weakening domestic economies in Japan and Taiwan had prompted some repatriation of manufacturing and decentralisation of supply chains. In 2016 the Japan External Trade Organisation estimated, based on its annual surveys of everything made and sold by Japanese companies, that goods “made and sold” overseas peaked at 58.3 per cent. That year foreign direct investment into China from Japan fell by 14.3 per cent. This year, we may see a mass exodus from China as the Japanese government tries to encourage Japanese firms to hasten the move of their factories back home, something the Europeans and Americans are also keen to do.

With unemployment surging and companies furloughing a significant percentage of staff, less money and more debt will linger after the coronavirus crisis. Like many governments, the UK is pumping enormous amounts of money into businesses to support cashflows and salaries, and Downing Street expects that the funds will put firms in a stronger position to tackle future crises. In my opinion, there are three strategic changes that investors will need to see take place to feel comfortable with business continuity risk.

1. Managers of small and medium-sized businesses as well as the planning departments of large firms will have realised the need to pay greater attention to supply-chain risk. The evidence of this would be some kind of “supply chain continuity planning”, much the same as Business Continuity Planning which has been a fixture of the finance industry for the last 30 years. I expect this to be particularly prevalent in pharmaceutical and medical industries, but it will affect all companies sourcing small and cheap, but critical, components overseas.

2. The dependence on logistics will have been reduced, resulting in greater sourcing of local components and suppliers integrating vertically with manufacturing. Additionally, production of goods will need to move closer to target markets. This year we have seen shipping severely hampered, and airfreight unable to pick up the slack, despite higher costs, due to border restrictions. This especially impacts perishable goods, as highlighted by the problems facing farmers in Europe.

3. Companies will have stocked up on more emergency cash. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the bankruptcy rate of well-known and smaller firms alike is set to rise, and this is likely to continue long after we return to some kind of “normal”.
Activist investors who have long criticised cash hoarding and have pushed for distributions to shareholders will face stronger headwinds. Company management will have good reason to simply say they are saving for a rainy day and point to the cash crisis of 2020. Inefficient use of capital – by activist investor standards – may just become the normal again.

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Nice letter from an Amazon VP.

Leaving Amazon (Tim Bray)

May 1st was my last day as a VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, after five years and five months of rewarding fun. I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19. What with big-tech salaries and share vestings, this will probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars, not to mention the best job I’ve ever had, working with awfully good people. So I’m pretty blue. What happened · Last year, Amazonians on the tech side banded together as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), first coming to the world’s notice with an open letter promoting a shareholders’ resolution calling for dramatic action and leadership from Amazon on the global climate emergency. I was one of its 8,702 signatories.

While the resolution got a lot of votes, it didn’t pass. Four months later, 3,000 Amazon tech workers from around the world joined in the Global Climate Strike walkout. The day before the walkout, Amazon announced a large-scale plan aimed at making the company part of the climate-crisis solution. It’s not as though the activists were acknowledged by their employer for being forward-thinking; in fact, leaders were threatened with dismissal. Fast-forward to the Covid-19 era. Stories surfaced of unrest in Amazon warehouses, workers raising alarms about being uninformed, unprotected, and frightened. Official statements claimed every possible safety precaution was being taken. Then a worker organizing for better safety conditions was fired, and brutally insensitive remarks appeared in leaked executive meeting notes where the focus was on defending Amazon “talking points”.

Warehouse workers reached out to AECJ for support. They responded by internally promoting a petition and organizing a video call for Thursday April 16 featuring warehouse workers from around the world, with guest activist Naomi Klein. An announcement sent to internal mailing lists on Friday April 10th was apparently the flashpoint. Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, two visible AECJ leaders, were fired on the spot that day. The justifications were laughable; it was clear to any reasonable observer that they were turfed for whistleblowing.

Management could have objected to the event, or demanded that outsiders be excluded, or that leadership be represented, or any number of other things; there was plenty of time. Instead, they just fired the activists. At that point I snapped. VPs shouldn’t go publicly rogue, so I escalated through the proper channels and by the book. I’m not at liberty to disclose those discussions, but I made many of the arguments appearing in this essay. I think I made them to the appropriate people. That done, remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned.

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Will we have such bubbles everywhere? Frannce has said its new quarantine rules don’t count for EU, UK.

Australia, New Zealand Mull Creating ‘Travel Bubble’ (SCMP)

New Zealand and Australia are discussing the potential creation of a “travel bubble” between the two countries, sources said on Monday, even as Australia reported its highest number of coronavirus cases in two weeks. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will take part in a meeting of Australia’s emergency coronavirus cabinet on Tuesday, the Australian government said, stoking speculation that two-way travel could be permitted in the near future. “The idea of a bubble with Australia was floated two weeks ago, and this is an example of the sort of action that could happen within it, while always ensuring the protection of public health,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement. “Officials in both countries are considering all aspects of the trans-Tasman concept, and planning how this could happen more broadly.”


The prospect of two-way travel was first proposed by Peters, though Ardern in April insisted it was a “long-term goal” and would need to include other Pacific countries. Australia and New Zealand have both slowed the spread of coronavirus in recent weeks to levels significantly below the those reported in the United States, Britain and Europe. Both governments attribute their success to social distancing restrictions and widespread testing. However, Australia on Monday reported 26 new cases, including a seven-year-old boy, its biggest daily jump in two weeks. That could rise as more states report throughout the day. Overall, Australia has recorded around 6,800 infections and 95 deaths, and New Zealand 1,137 cases and 20 fatalities.

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Going down due to the success of the lockdown.

Greece Sees Economy Tanking This Year On Coronavirus Impact (R.)

Greece expects its economy to contract by 4.7% to 8.9% this year under baseline and adverse scenarios taking into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the government’s 2020-21 stability programme submitted to the EU Commission projects. “The coronavirus outbreak has imposed a burden on the Greek economy as on the rest of the world economy, reversing the initial favourable short-term forecast,” the finance ministry said. The pandemic clouds the outlook for the global economy with a high degree of uncertainty. Demand, supply and liquidity shocks to the world economy set the stage for a deep global recession, worse than that of the 2008 financial crisis, the report said.


The Greek economy is exposed to external shocks due to a considerable dependency on tourism and transportation receipts,” it said, noting that the government’s main goals now were to bridge the growth gap caused by the health crisis and attract investment. The baseline projection for a 4.7% contraction takes into account the impact of policy response measures and assumes that the public health crisis fades in the second half of 2020. But under an alternative set of more adverse assumptions, the programme projects a significantly deeper contraction of up to 8.9% due to a steeper drop of exports and broader negative spillover effects. Either way, the primary budget balance, which excludes debt servicing outlays, will be in the red, according to the ministry projections – with a deficit of 1.9% under the baseline assumptions and a 2.8% hole under the adverse scenario.

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A Twitter thread. “You die alone from COVID. And you will be buried alone. Stay home.”

My Dad Is An ICU Doctor Treating COVID-19 Patients (Bess Kalb)

My dad is an ICU doctor treating COVID-19 patients. In the past WEEK he has set more “I’ve never seen a heart rate/RBC count/etc. like this” records than in his decades-long career. What this virus does to the body is like “sticking your finger in an electric socket.” Stay home. He had a patient who needed 8 blood transfusions in a morning even though he wasn’t bleeding. The coronavirus was just eating his red blood cells faster than his bone marrow could make them. It’s fucking mystifying and brutal. EIGHT. Eight blood transfusions. If you are lucky enough to make it off a ventilator (the equivalent exertion required for that is running a marathon without training), you will likely get put on dialysis and a feeding tube next.

It’s a nightmare. It’s hell. It’s what you’re risking on your beach day. Young, healthy people are dying from a COVID-19 effect called a “cytokine storm.” Basically, you make it off a ventilator (maybe!), you get your appetite back a little, you think you’re turning a corner, and then your immune system rips through your lung tissue and you drown. The other common way young people are falling off the face of the earth from this are the random strokes it causes. Talking one minute, stroking out the next, and then the nurses have to go through the cell phone to find “Dad” because “Mom” usually insists on coming.

There have been a few “Papa Bear”s or “Daddy-O”s in the cell phones who have tried to come in to hold the bodies. They can’t, of course. You die alone from COVID. And you will be buried alone. Stay home. Send this thread to any idiot fucker who posts an Instagram at the beach or a crowded park. Tell them my dad says see you later.

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Not as bad as we think. But still bad. Another Twitter thread.

How Bad is Belgium Doing? (Roosens)

For all those at home and abroad who think that small and densely populated Belgium has been worst hit by COVID19 on a per capita basis, and at the same time wonder why you haven’t seen pictures of flooded hospitals and/or field hospitals being set up in our country. A thread. 1/ As a densely populated country at the crossroads of all big transport axes in Europe, Belgium has indeed been hit severely by COVID19. We had our share of COVID19-outbreaks in care homes, but COVID19-hospital capacity was never filled more than 2/3rds. 2/


How come then we get the highest per capita numbers of officially registered COVID19-patients? Well, that’s because we count the COVID19-victims in an extremely correct and exhaustive way. Including in care homes and including the non-confirmed (but suspected COVID) cases. 3/ As a result, at the moment we are one of the rare countries where COVID19-death count is roughly a match with the excess deaths reported through mortality statistics. Indeed, between mid March and mid-April our official COVID19 death count, accounted for 93% of excess deaths. 4/

This of course makes us jump up in international ‘worst hit’-rankings of ‘officially recorded’ COVID19-deaths on a per capita basis. But that’s because we’re about the only country with correct figures… The only good comparison that can be done, is on excess death-figures…5/ So that’s what we’ve done for the mid March-mid April periode, based on The Economist-Euro MoMo figures on excess deaths. We just added population statistics to get to a per capita result. And this is what we then get as a reasonable comparison of the worst hit countries/regions.

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They’re all up against Sidney Powell. Flynn will be exonarated just to get rid of her role in digging up the dirt.

Scrutiny Of FBI Behavior In Russia Case Increases Pressure On Wray (Solomon)

The IG report in December and subsequent declassified information showed the FBI engaged in 17 major mistakes and acts of misconduct in seeking a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign starting in October 2016, including the falsification of a document, the submission of false information to a court, and the submission of unsubstantiated evidence in a warrant application marked as “verified.” In addition, newly declassified footnotes from the report showed the FBI had strong reasons to distrust the information in Christopher Steele’s dossier — including denials from his main source and warnings he was being fed Russian disinformation — but nonetheless proceeded to use the dossier as the key evidence in seeking a year’s worth of surveillance warrants.

The problems exposed during the Russia case started with the Comey regime, but have stretched into Wray’s watch. An IG report last fall flagged widespread failures in the FBI’s handling of confidential human sources like Steele. And a new IG report a few weeks ago found that 29 of 29 FISA applications — many filed during Wray’s tenure — contained significant flaws that violated the bureau’s own rules designed to ensure the accuracy of evidence submitted to the courts. The concerns about Wray were exacerbated by the revelations last week — from documents long withheld from a federal court — that FBI agents had recommended in January 2017 closing down a Russia-related probe of Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lack of evidence, only to be overruled by the bureau’s leadership.

The extraordinary intervention of FBI leaders — then under the command of Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe — led one official to write handwritten notes questioning whether the bureau was “playing games” and trying to get Flynn to lie “so we could prosecute him, or get him fired.” The double-barreled revelations about FISA and Flynn have left Republican lawmakers with grave concerns about Wray’s leadership and his willingness to recognize the magnitude of problems inside the bureau exposed by the Russia case fallout. “Director Wray owes the American people an explanation about the FBI’s misconduct with General Flynn,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. “It’s becoming more and more apparent that the FBI ruined the life of a respected general in its goal to take down President Trump.”

Jordan added: “The FBI’s actions were part of a larger pattern of wrongdoing, which were all directed against the president and his advisers. If they can do it to a president, they can do it to any of us.” Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, was even more harsh in her assessment, accusing Wray’s FBI of hiding the truth. “Wray knew about the evidence we were requesting for General Flynn,” Powell told Just the News. “My request was even discussed in the Director’s meeting. Most of what has been produced so far and what will be produced has been in FBI files all along–now more than three years. If the Prosecutors refused to produce it, he should have taken it to the AG or filed a whistle blower complaint himself. Instead, it would appear he was part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice and Congress, and we don’t know what else.”

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