Jul 022021
 


Vincent van Gogh The good Samaritan (after Delacroix) 1890

 

Not Enough Evidence To Back Covid Jabs For Children, Says UK Expert (G.)
Face Masks Cause Children to Inhale Dangerous Levels of Carbon Dioxide (LDS)
Fauci: “There Are Now Two Americas, The Vaccinated & The Unvaccinated” (SN)
Germany Weighs New Travel Rules Amid Rise Of Delta Variant (NIE)
Donald Trump Jr. Blasts Weisselberg Indictment As ‘Banana Republic Stuff’ (NYP)
Judge Rules To Unseal Dozens Of Ghislaine Maxwell Documents (DM)
Inside Biden’s New “Domestic Terrorism” Strategy (OffG)
US Adds Turkey to List of Countries Who Use Child Soldiers (GR)
The Self-Made Billionaire Who Is Sacrificing It All For God (Fed.)
Facebook To Warn When Your Friends Begin Thinking For Themselves (BBee)

 

 

The battlefield stances appear to be hardening. Facebook warns about extremism, there are more and more articles published in outlets belonging to the Trusted News Initiative (which is all major outlets) that deny and/or question anything related to dangers of vaccines and/or safety of ivermectin et al. The walls are closing in. Keep safe.

 

 

Brian Tyson

 

 

Daniel Kotzin @danielkotzin

If you’re a member of one or more of the following groups, the chance that exposure to Covid will harm you is ~0:
• You’ve had Covid and recovered.
• You’ve been vaxxed.
• You’re under 60 and not obese.
This covers virtually all Americans. There is literally no one left to “protect.”

 

 

McCullough treatment

 

 

 

 

Richard Fleming

 

 

Did this slip by the Guardian board?

Not Enough Evidence To Back Covid Jabs For Children, Says UK Expert (G.)

One of the UK’s leading childhood health experts has said there is not enough evidence to support vaccinating children against Covid, and the body that will make the decision on whether to jab under-18s has indicated it will take a cautious approach. Prof Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said there was “rock-solid data” to show that the risk of severe harm to children from Covid was “incredibly low”. Speaking to BBC Breakfast in a personal capacity, he said not enough was yet known about possible damaging side-effects if children were given Covid jabs. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been given approval by the UK medicines regulator for children aged 12-15, and it is being administered for these age groups in the US and Israel.

Prof Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said it would decide within weeks whether to allow children to be vaccinated. “JCVI are very aware of the issues surrounding both the pros and the cons of vaccinating their children, which we will talk about it in due course, but actually what we need to be absolutely sure is that these vaccines benefit children in some way … so we are looking at this data very carefully,” Harnden told BBC Radio 4 Today’s programme. He added: “Clearly we’re going to have to make a view on it over the forthcoming weeks.” Semple said: “There’s very nuanced debate going on here, but at the moment I don’t think there’s enough evidence to support vaccinating children.

“We’ve looked really carefully at Sars-Cov infection in children in the second wave and the first wave, so we’ve got really rock-solid data, and the risks of severe disease, and even the risk of long Covid and multi-inflammatory syndrome, are incredibly low.” He added: “Vaccines are safe, but not entirely risk free. We are aware in adults about clots, and there’s some safety data from America showing rare heart problems associated with some of the vaccines. So until that data is really complete for children. I’m not persuaded that the risk benefit for children has been clarified.”

Read more …

Normal CO2 level: 0.04%
Upper safety limit: 0.2%
With mask: 1.3%

Face Masks Cause Children to Inhale Dangerous Levels of Carbon Dioxide (LDS)

New research published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) has found that wearing a face mask causes children to inhale dangerous levels of carbon dioxide that becomes trapped behind the mask. The peer-reviewed research letter from Dr Harald Walach and colleagues found that the air masked children inhaled contained more than six times the legal safe limit set down for closed rooms by the German Federal Environmental Office. The safe limit is 0.2% while the air the masked children inhaled was over 1.3% carbon dioxide. The effect was worse for younger children, with one seven year-old child inhaling air with 2.5% carbon dioxide, over 12 times the safe limit. The study looked at two types of mask, FFP2 masks and surgical masks, and found no significant difference between the two.

The authors explained that this alarming result likely explains the complaints from children who wear face masks for long periods. “Most of the complaints reported by children can be understood as consequences of elevated carbon dioxide levels in inhaled air. This is because of the dead-space volume of the masks, which collects exhaled carbon dioxide quickly after a short time. This carbon dioxide mixes with fresh air and elevates the carbon dioxide content of inhaled air under the mask, and this was more pronounced in this study for younger children. This leads in turn to impairments attributable to hypercapnia. A recent review concluded that there was ample evidence for adverse effects of wearing such masks. We suggest that decision-makers weigh the hard evidence produced by these experimental measurements accordingly, which suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks.”

Tucker JAMA

Read more …

A second hand car salesman selling science.

Fauci: “There Are Now Two Americas, The Vaccinated & The Unvaccinated” (SN)

America’s favourite Chinese lab funding coronavirus doomonger doctor Anthony Fauci announced Tuesday that there are now two Americas, a vaccinated America and an unvaccinated America. In an appearance on Dom Lemon’s CNN panic hour, Fauci declared that “When you have such a low level of vaccination super-imposed upon a variant that has a high degree of efficiency of spread, what you are going to see among under-vaccinated regions, states, cities or counties you’re going to see these individual types of blips. It’s almost like it’s going to be two Americas.”


“You’re going to have areas where vaccination rate is high, where more than 70% of the population received at least one dose,” he continued, adding “When you compare that to areas where you may have 35% of the people vaccinated, you clearly have a high risk of seeing these spikes in those selected areas.” Inevitably, Fauci concluded “The thing that’s so frustrating about this, Don, is that this is entirely avoidable, entirely preventable.” “If you are vaccinated, you diminish dramatically your risk of getting infected and even more dramatically your risk of getting seriously ill. If you are not vaccinated, you are at considerable risk,” Fauci once again repeated.

Read more …

They’re loosening them.

Germany Weighs New Travel Rules Amid Rise Of Delta Variant (NIE)

The Delta variant of the coronavirus could be dominant in Germany in the next few days, meaning that current bans on most travellers from Britain or Portugal may be lifted, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Thursday. “I expect that in the course of July we will see Delta accounting for over 70 to 80 percent of infections in our country,” Spahn told a government press conference in Berlin. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) health agency reported on Wednesday that the Delta variant, first identified in India, already accounted for 37 percent of infections in Germany the week to June 20. The variant is expected to account for at least half of all new infections by this week, the experts said.


If the Delta variant becomes dominant in Germany, so-called coronavirus variant countries such as Britain and Portugal — from which most travel is currently banned — could be reclassified, Spahn said. Given the increasing spread of Delta and research showing that full vaccination protects well against it, “we will look at the situation in the next few days”, Spahn said. “If both of these things are confirmed, we will then be able to treat Portugal and the United Kingdom as high-incidence areas”, rather than variant countries, he said. Only citizens and residents of Germany are permitted to enter from a variant country and are subject to a two-week quarantine, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or can provide a negative Covid-19 test.

Read more …

“..it comes out to … closer to five grand a year if you take out the education. And that’s what they’ve got.”

Donald Trump Jr. Blasts Weisselberg Indictment As ‘Banana Republic Stuff’ (NYP)

Trump Organization Executive Vice President Donald Trump Jr. blasted the Manhattan DA’s office Thursday night for bringing tax fraud and other charges against the company’s longtime chief financial officer, calling the case “political persecution of a political enemy.” “This is what Vladimir Putin does,” the eldest son of former President Donald Trump told “Fox News Primetime,” later adding that “after … 3 million documents, countless witnesses and hours of grand jury testimony, outside forensic auditors, this is what they come up with: they’re going to charge a guy who’s 75 years old on crimes of avoiding paying taxes on a fringe benefit.” Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to charges of tax fraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records.

Prosecutors say Weisselberg and the company concocted a 15-year scheme to compensate the CFO and other Trump Organization executives “off the books.” In Weisselberg’s case, prosecutors say, he received “indirect compensation” of more than $1.7 million, as well as free rent at a Manhattan apartment, luxury cars and private school tuition for his family members — without paying taxes on any of it. “The taxable portion of that [$1.7 million] to New York State is 8 percent,” Trump Jr. said. “That’s $136,000 over 16 years. That’s 10 grand [actually $8,500] a year. Half of that, because my father’s a good guy, he paid for this guy’s grandchildren’s education. Our tax experts say that’s not even taxable. You can pay for someone’s education that way. So you cut it down, it comes out to … closer to five grand a year if you take out the education. And that’s what they’ve got.”

The charges against Weisselberg are the first brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who has been investigating Trump’s business empire for two years along with New York Attorney General Letitia James. In a statement Thursday, James vowed that her office’s investigation would go on, “and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead. “This is a farce. It’s a disgrace that they spent millions of dollars and years, instead of prosecuting actual murderous thugs on the streets of New York, they go after their political enemies,” raged Trump Jr., adding, “this is banana republic stuff, and if our press was even a little bit intellectually honest, they’d be calling it that … this is nonsense and it has to be called out as such.”

Read more …

Clintons.

Judge Rules To Unseal Dozens Of Ghislaine Maxwell Documents (DM)

A judge has ruled that dozens more documents about Ghislaine Maxwell’s personal affairs should be made public, including some that could reveal more about her finances and her relationship to the Clintons. Judge Loretta Preska said that unsealing the documents would not impact Maxwell’s right to a fair trial in November as her lawyers have claimed. Among the documents which will be made public in two weeks’ time will be Maxwell’s efforts to quash requests from Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who sued Maxwell for defamation, to obtain her financial records. Giuffre’s lawyers demanded a vast array of documents from Maxwell including ‘funding received from the Clinton Global Initiative and the Clinton Foundation,’ according to court filings.

The judge also ruled that documents relating to a request from Giuffre for email accounts that Maxwell allegedly kept secret from the court should also be made public. They could give an insight into powerful men who Maxwell knew, such and Prince Andrew of the British royal family. The documents are part of a tranche of material gradually being released by Judge Preska from the defamation case Giuffre filed against Maxwell in 2016 for calling her a liar. Giuffre claims Maxwell recruited her when she was 16 and took her to Jeffrey Epstein to be repeatedly raped and abused, including by Prince Andrew, which he denies.

The defamation case was settled in 2017 but after requests from the media organization the documents are gradually being unsealed. During a hearing at New York’s federal court, Judge Preska said she was not persuaded by Maxwell’s argument that ‘continued unsealing of these materials implicates her right to a fair trial in her pending criminal case’, which is due to start in November. Among the documents made public will be a motion for a protective order filed by Maxwell’s lawyers to limit the amount of information about her finances they had to hand over. Giuffre’s lawyers sought such information so they would be better informed if the case went to a settlement, which it did.

Read more …

“They can be left wing or right wing, religious or secular. They can be anybody who thinks anything.”

Inside Biden’s New “Domestic Terrorism” Strategy (OffG)

Following the (completely contrived) Capitol Hill “riot” on January 6th, Joe Biden made it clear – or rather, the people that control Joe Biden made it clear – “domestic terrorism” was going to be a defining issue of his presidency. Indeed, in an act of startling prescience, the incoming administration had been talking about a new “Domestic Terrorism Bill” for well over three months before the “riot” happened. The media had been calling for one for at least six. Major universities were writing papers about it. It’s funny how often that happens, isn’t it? I wrote at the time that the Capitol Hill “riot” could prove to be America’s Reichstag Fire – a fake attack, blamed on an invisible enemy and used to rush through restrictive legislation and emergency powers. A 9/11 sequel, extending the Patriot Act franchise.

Now, just a few short months later, the Biden White House has released their National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. Let’s take a look inside it, shall we? The first thing to say about the “strategy”…is that it’s not really a strategy. It’s more of a mission statement or even a press release. It hits talking points, but not real policies. Its watchword is “vague” – in both definition of the problem and proposed solutions (with a couple of noteworthy exceptions, but we’ll get to that.) For starters – who or what IS a “domestic terrorist”? Well, their answer to that is, essentially, potentially anybody. They’re not identifying any particular ideology or cause or group – but rather EVERY ideology cause or group. I wrote, back in January, that any definition would be kept intentionally loose, and the strategy does not disappoint.

The cause of “domestic terrorism” can be racism, religious intolerance, environmental protest, anti-government feeling, animal rights, anti-abortion campaigners, “perceived government overeach”, “incel ideology”, “anti-corporate globalization feeling” or a mixture of any of the above. “Domestic terrorists” may espouse violence or they may not espouse violence. They may work in groups, or be loners, or be loose associations with no organizational structure. They can be left wing or right wing, religious or secular. They can be anybody who thinks anything. There is a lot of entirely intentional vagueness here. Again and again, we are told that “the domestic terrorism threat is complex, multifaceted, and evolving”. They are keeping their options open.

Read more …

In NATO?!

US Adds Turkey to List of Countries Who Use Child Soldiers (GR)

The United States has put Turkey on a list of countries that are thought to have been using child soldiers since at least last year. The US State Department is compiling the list, known as 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP). Turkey is the first and only NATO ally to be added. The State Department found that Turkey was providing what they call “tangible support” to the Sultan Murad faction of Syrian opposition that frequently uses child soldiers. Turkey also has a military presence in Libya, which has used child soldiers as well. A senior State Department official addressed these findings in a statement made to the press:


“With respect to Turkey in particular…this is the first time a NATO member has been listed in the child soldier prevention act list,” the State Department official said. “As a respected regional leader and member of NATO, Turkey has the opportunity to address this issue, the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Syria and Libya.” Countries put on the State Department’s list could face regulations on security aid and the commercial licensing of military equipment, but the State Department has not said whether or not Turkey will be restricted. Turkey has fought in Syria and used Syrian armed forces three times. The United Nations has accused these forces of human rights violations, which Turkey has repeatedly denied.

Read more …

Interesting story.

The Self-Made Billionaire Who Is Sacrificing It All For God (Fed.)

In Hong Kong right now, Jimmy Lai is sacrificing all — his fortune and possibly his life — for his God, his fellow man, and for freedom. Lai is a billionaire, although he wasn’t always one. Born two years before the Communists defeated the nationalists in China’s civil war, his father fled and his mother was sent to a labor camp when he was a young child. Carrying bags for train passengers and getting by as a street vendor, he first tasted freedom when a man from British Hong Kong gave him a bar of chocolate. Lai is a British citizen, although he wasn’t always one. Having seen a glimpse of prosperity and freedom, he chased it to the then-free British island colony, stowing away aboard a ship when he was just 12 years old and working on the floor of a clothing factory.

Lai is a Catholic, although he wasn’t always one. He met the faith through his wife, a pious woman he accompanied to church, where he heard the homilies of Cardinal Joseph Zen and in 1997 was baptized into the church by the same great man. Today Lai is in a prison cell in Hong Kong, and the Communist dictatorship has once again seized one of his life’s works, shutting down his newspaper. But of all that has changed since he was a young boy, persecution by the communists has remained a constant. If you stand by your faith, in China there’s no way around it. “I have a soul,” he said in early 2019, and so the truth lives in him. “No one can say we didn’t fight… Prison life is the pinnacle of my life. I am completely at peace.”

Lai’s path to success in Hong Kong began on the floor of a garment factory. He rose quickly, eventually joining management. He saved his money, invested in the stock market, and used the profits to buy a factory and start making clothing for middle-class consumers. After the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, where peaceful pro-democracy protesters were trapped, shrouded in darkness, and run over and gunned down by tanks, Lai sacrificed his stake in his mainland business by printing and selling pro-democracy shirts and starting a tabloid magazine that covered scandal and corruption in the party. Undeterred by his loss, and still a very wealthy man, Lai channeled his time and fortune toward fighting their evil, enduring arrest, persecution, fire bombings, car attacks, and intimidation for it.

Last week he was arrested again, and his and his company’s finances seized under the auspices of China’s new “national security law.” Stories of his self-made riches and pro-democracy bravery dot corporate media, but unless you dig into the columns of those who’d met him, or read Christian news sources, you might miss what actually drives and fortifies him in the face of a vast and relentless enemy. You’d miss why a serial entrepreneur who has spent his life building and creating is willing to give it all, and you’d miss the truth behind why. “The Communists,” he told Economic Strategy Institute President Clyde Berkowitz, “think they can buy and or intimidate everyone off, create their own reality, and write their own history. Effectively, they assume the role of God. They are kind of a religion or an anti-religion.”

Read more …

“Yes, the camp is mostly brainwashing,” Mark Zuckerberg admitted, “but the food is pretty good.”

Facebook To Warn When Your Friends Begin Thinking For Themselves (BBee)

Facebook has introduced a new feature that will warn you when one of your friends is sharing free and independent thoughts on its network. Should you encounter an unapproved opinion, Facebook will provide a pop-up warning letting you know that if you’re concerned about a friend expressing opinions derived from free thought that is not in line with big tech companies, major corporations, Hollywood, universities, or the government, you can get them help. The social media platform will allow you to take steps to report people who are sharing unapproved opinions. You may report them to Facebook, who will reach out to them to help them by forcibly sending them to a Facebook reeducation camp.


“Yes, the camp is mostly brainwashing,” Mark Zuckerberg admitted, “but the food is pretty good. They serve mac and cheese with the little cut-up hot dogs in there every Tuesday. Plus, we’ve got one of those big inflatable launcher things out on the lake, which you can use to relax and launch each other into the water. It’s a ton of fun. If we kidnap you and take you to our camp, we guarantee you’ll love hanging out there on the lake.” “Once you finish your reeducation sessions, of course.”

Read more …

 

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Jun 202021
 
 June 20, 2021  Posted by at 8:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Femme au Béret et à la Robe Quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) 1937

 

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection (AJT)
The Mechanisms Of Action Of Ivermectin Against SARS-CoV-2 (JoA)
Regarding Dosing Of The Covid Genetic Vaccines (Malone)
How Many Lives are Expendable for a 100% Boost in Vaccine Revenue? (TSN)
South China Airport Cancels 100s of Flights After Covid Case (F24)
CDC Can’t Regulate Cruises: Judge (Hill)
Florida Lab Finds Dangerous Pathogens On Children’s Face Masks (ET)
Scientists Can Identify A City By Its Unique Mix Of Viruses And Bacteria (USci)
More Brits Bought Crypto Than Stocks Last Year (RT)
The “Technical Obstacles” Standing In The Way Of Global Corporate Tax Deal (ZH)
Facebook Promises To Clarify What It Considers Satire (RT)

 

 

See 1st article below

 

 

American Journal of Therapeutics

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection (AJT)

Therapeutic Advances: Meta-analysis of 15 trials found that ivermectin reduced risk of death compared with no ivermectin (average risk ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.19–0.73; n = 2438; I2 = 49%; moderate-certainty evidence). This result was confirmed in a trial sequential analysis using the same DerSimonian–Laird method that underpinned the unadjusted analysis. This was also robust against a trial sequential analysis using the Biggerstaff–Tweedie method. Low-certainty evidence found that ivermectin prophylaxis reduced COVID-19 infection by an average 86% (95% confidence interval 79%–91%). Secondary outcomes provided less certain evidence. Low-certainty evidence suggested that there may be no benefit with ivermectin for “need for mechanical ventilation,” whereas effect estimates for “improvement” and “deterioration” clearly favored ivermectin use. Severe adverse events were rare among treatment trials and evidence of no difference was assessed as low certainty. Evidence on other secondary outcomes was very low certainty.


Conclusions: Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.

Read more …

The Journal of Antibiotics

The Mechanisms Of Action Of Ivermectin Against SARS-CoV-2 (JoA)

Although several drugs received Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 treatment with unsatisfactory supportive data, Ivermectin, on the other hand, has been sidelined irrespective of sufficient convincing data supporting its use. Nevertheless, many countries adopted ivermectin as one of the first-line treatment options for COVID-19. With the ongoing vaccine roll-out programs in full swing across the globe, the longevity of the immunity offered by these vaccines or their role in offering protection against new mutant strains is still a matter of debate. The adoption of Ivermectin as a “safety bridge” by some sections of the population that are still waiting for their turn for vaccination could be considered as a “logical” option.

Several doctor-initiated clinical trial protocols that aimed to evaluate outcomes, such as reduction in mortality figures, shortened length of intensive care unit stay and/or hospital stay and elimination of the virus with ivermectin use have been registered at the US ClinicalTrials.gov [7]. Real-time data is also available with a meta-analysis of 55 studies to date. As per data available on 16 May 2021, 100% of 36 early treatment and prophylaxis studies report positive effects (96% of all 55 studies). Of these, 26 studies show statistically significant improvements in isolation. Random effects meta-analysis with pooled effects using the most serious outcome reported 79% and 85% improvement for early treatment and prophylaxis respectively (RR 0.21 [0.11–0.37] and 0.15 [0.09–0.25]).

The results were similar after exclusion based sensitivity analysis: 81% and 87% (RR 0.19 [0.14–0.26] and 0.13 [0.07–0.25]), and after restriction to 29 peer-reviewed studies: 82% and 88% (RR 0.18 [0.11–0.31] and 0.12 [0.05–0.30]). Statistically significant improvements were seen for mortality, ventilation, hospitalization, cases, and viral clearance. 100% of the 17 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) for early treatment and prophylaxis report positive effects, with an estimated improvement of 73% and 83% respectively (RR 0.27 [0.18–0.41] and 0.17 [0.05–0.61]), and 93% of all 28 RCTs.

Read more …

mRNA-vaccine inventor:

“I know of no data wherein the mean, median, range etc of total amount of spike protein produced in a patient after administration of the COVID genetic vaccine has been defined.”

Regarding Dosing Of The Covid Genetic Vaccines (Malone)

Regarding dosing of the COVID genetic vaccines (mRNA, recombinant adenovirus) versus the more traditional vaccines (including Novavax). There are some inconvenient truths here. First, the current genetic vaccines (Sanofi, J&J, Pfizer, Moderna) did not undergo the time tested assessments of dose ranging and dose timing clinical studies, to the best of my knowledge. I have direct first person report of how the dose was selected for Moderna (confidential source), and it was basically a SWAG by committee consensus. Personally, for what it is worth, it is my opinion that the current mRNA vaccines selected a dose that was too high, too far up on the sigmoidal dose response curve – so that we may have excess adverse events. Dose selection with vaccines is usually about careful balancing of adverse events with potency/efficacy/effectiveness, with a bias towards safety.


Second big inconvenient truth is that the spike protein is the actual active agent, in terms of eliciting an immune response. And in the case of the traditional vaccines, the dose of spike protein is defined relatively precisely. With the genetic vaccines, it is not (to the best of my knowledge). I know of no data wherein the mean, median, range etc of total amount of spike protein produced in a patient after administration of the COVID genetic vaccine has been defined. Usually, the FDA is quite persnickety about such things, but I am not aware of this key variable having been determined. Therefore, the range and severety of adverse events potentially attributable to the level of expressed spike protein may reflect patient to patient differences in genetic transfer efficiency and subsequent spike expression.

Read more …

TrialSiteNews should do better than just a discussion about one or two doses. That ship has sailed.

How Many Lives are Expendable for a 100% Boost in Vaccine Revenue? (TSN)

Looking at the data from Pfizer’s Phase 3 trial, it becomes apparent that they reported a 94.6% relative risk reduction (aka: Vaccine Efficacy) for their two-dose regimen but only a 52.4% relative risk reduction for their single-dose regimen. From that data, it seems clear that the two-dose regimen confers far superior protection and makes the choice between the two regimens clear. This decision to follow a two-dose regimen versus a single dose had monumental consequences for the pace and complexity of the vaccine rollout in the United States and throughout the globe. Obviously, the supply shortage immediately doubled by requiring two doses for every person. This alone would cost countless lives by delaying protection.

However, the logistics of follow-up, reserving second doses, and ensuring the same vaccine is administered for both doses, were all added complexities stacked on top of an already daunting task that stalled the vaccine campaign in its early months. Another significant consequence is that the risk of adverse reactions greatly increased due to the two-dose regimen. Obviously, administering each dose poses some risk of an adverse reaction. However, the second dose is associated with far more frequent and severe reactions compared to the first dose. This is expected because the immune system has already been materially primed and will react robustly to the recognized antigen on the second dose. Now that we’ve seen the dramatic benefits that a single dose regimen would have provided, we’ll delve into the data to determine why the two-dose regimen was chosen, but first, let’s discuss some concepts of how immunity develops over time.

The human immune system is quite complex. It’s well understood that adaptive immunity takes time to develop. It starts to develop in days and ramps up quickly in weeks. However, over longer periods of time, it continues to improve through a process called affinity maturation. The details of these concepts go beyond the scope of this article but, in short, adaptive immunity takes time to develop and continues to improve over many weeks and even months. For this reason, in order to determine the most efficacious dosing regimen, the point in time that the Vaccine Efficacy should be measured must use the same offset from the start of the various dosing regimens being compared. For example, any positive cases that occur greater than 28 days after the first dose for both the single-dose and two-dose regimens would be counted.

Read more …

400 flights for one covid case.

South China Airport Cancels 100s of Flights After Covid Case (F24)

The airport in China’s southern city of Shenzhen cancelled hundreds of flights and tightened entry controls Saturday after a restaurant employee tested positive for the Delta coronavirus variant. Anyone entering the facility must show a negative virus test from the last 48 hours, Shenzhen Airport Group said in a statement on its official WeChat social media account. City health officials said a 21-year-old waitress at Shenzhen Baoan International Airport had been infected with the Delta variant of the virus. The woman tested positive during a routine test for airport staff conducted Thursday, they said.


Shenzhen, a mainland Chinese city neighbouring Hong Kong, is home to some of Asia’s biggest tech companies including telecoms equipment maker Huawei and gaming giant Tencent. China on Friday reported 30 new coronavirus cases, including six local transmissions in the southern province of Guangdong where Shenzhen is located. The airport entry restrictions came into effect from 1 pm local time Saturday (0500 GMT). Nearly 400 flights to and from the airport were cancelled Friday, data from flight tracker VariFlight showed. Dozens of flights scheduled for Saturday morning were also dropped.

Read more …

“..an overreach of power..”

CDC Can’t Regulate Cruises: Judge (Hill)

A federal judge in Florida on Friday ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus-era sailing orders were an overreach of power, issuing a preliminary injunction temporarily barring the CDC from enforcing the guidelines. Judge Steven Merryday for the Middle District of Florida in his ruling sided with the Sunshine State in its argument that the “CDC’s conditional sailing order and the implementing orders exceed the authority delegated to CDC.” As a result, Merryday approved Florida’s motion for a preliminary injunction suspending the mandatory guidelines for cruise ships, writing that the CDC is “preliminary enjoined from enforcing against a cruise ship arriving in, within, or departing from a port in Florida the conditional sailing order and the later measures.”


The injunction will stay in place until July 18, at which point the “conditional sailing order and the measures promulgated under the conditional sailing order will persist as only a non-binding ‘consideration,’ ‘recommendation’ or ‘guideline,’” as is the case for other industries such as restaurants, railroads and hotels, according to the ruling. The cruise industry had previously been under a conditional sailing order issued by the CDC since the end of October, under which cruise lines were required to commit to a phased approach of implementing testing and other safety measures before they could start sailing. The conditional sailing order followed the end of the CDC’s no-sail order amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the CDC last month released the final guidance for cruise lines to apply to run test ships with voluntary passengers.

Read more …

“Our kids have been in masks all day, seven hours a day in school,” Donoho told Fox & Friends on June 17. “The only break that they get is to eat or drink.”

Florida Lab Finds Dangerous Pathogens On Children’s Face Masks (ET)

A laboratory at the University of Florida that recently analyzed a small sample of face masks, detected the presence of 11 dangerous pathogens that included bacterias that cause diphtheria, pneumonia, and meningitis. Gainesville parents in Florida concerned about the harm caused to their children wearing face masks all day at school in 90 °F weather sent out six masks—five that were worn by children ages 6 to 11 for five to eight hours at school, and one worn by an adult—to be analyzed for contaminants at the University of Florida’s Mass Spectrometry Research and Education Center. Of the six masks, three were surgical, two cotton, and a poly gaiter. Masks that have not been worn and a t-shirt worn at school acted as the control samples.


Five of the masks were found to be contaminated with parasites, fungi, and bacteria, according to Rational Ground. Only one mask was found to contain a virus that can cause a fatal systemic disease in cattle and deer. Other less harmful pathogens that can cause ulcers, acne, and strep throat were also detected. None of the controls were contaminated with pathogens, while “samples from the front top and bottom of the t-shirt found proteins that are commonly found in skin and hair, along with some commonly found in soil.” Amanda Donoho, a mother of three elementary school children, teamed up with other parents to send the masks to the lab because her sons broke out in rashes from prolonged mask-wearing. “Our kids have been in masks all day, seven hours a day in school,” Donoho told Fox & Friends on June 17. “The only break that they get is to eat or drink.”

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“Although there are millions and millions of different species on Earth, scientists only have a decent genome reference for about 100.000 to 200.000 at this time.”

Scientists Can Identify A City By Its Unique Mix Of Viruses And Bacteria (USci)

A group of scientists examined the bacteria and viruses in 60 different cities worldwide. It turns out that each city has its own unique mix of microorganisms. According to Christopher Mason, one of the researchers, the teams’ detailed knowledge goes so far that they would be able to tell you from which city you came from with 90% accuracy by just giving them your shoe for analysis. The scientists collected microorganisms from urban public transport and hospitals. Samples were retrieved from such things as door handles, garbage cans, shoe soles, railings, and buttons on appliances, among other things. Among the 4,728 samples, they found no less than 11,000 new virus and bacterial species that had not yet been described. This shows that world cities are home to an unexpected diversity of species.

Although there are millions and millions of different species on Earth, scientists only have a decent genome reference for about 100.000 to 200.000 at this time. The finding of additional species can assist with the construction of microbial family trees enabling researchers to understand how different species are linked to each other. Mason stated that people often see tropical rain-forests as the pinnacle of biodiversity, but it appears that the same goes for a railing in the metro or a bench in a park. In each city they studied, the science team discovered a number of microorganisms or a specific mix of microorganisms that are typical for that particular city. Moreover, the larger the city, the more complex and diverse the micro-life found there. Cities such as Tokyo, Bogota, New York, and London participated in the study.

After analysis, the researchers were able to say with 90% certainty from which city a sample came. This could also be useful for forensic investigations in the future. The microbes a person carries can then reveal where he or she has been or has not been.

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Or did they?

Factoid: the World Bank has refused to help El Salvador with its switch to bitcoin, but it can’t refuse the bitcoin itself.

More Brits Bought Crypto Than Stocks Last Year (RT)

New research by UK investment firm AJ Bell shows that 7% of British adult respondents reported they had bought crypto over the last year, compared to 5% who invested in stocks and shares ISAs (individual savings accounts). The research suggests that Britons have become more eager to invest in cryptocurrencies than in traditional stocks and shares-based investments. “When more people are buying cryptocurrency than investing in a stock market ISA, you have to conclude the world’s gone crypto crazy,” financial analyst at AJ Bell Laith Khalaf said about the results.


According to the research, Britain’s crypto investors are predominantly male and under 35. More than 70% of those who said they had bought crypto assets claimed to have made a profit, while 12% reported making a loss in the past year. Meanwhile, 17% said they did not even know if they had made a profit or loss with their crypto investments. The survey, however, contrasts with UK think tank Parliament Street’s research from March which reveals that 52% of the 2,000 respondents in its survey were more likely to invest in the stock market and traditional assets, such as gold, than in crypto. A third of the respondents said they will not invest in crypto as they believe they have already “missed the boat.”

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Biden won’t live to see it. Too complicated.

The “Technical Obstacles” Standing In The Way Of Global Corporate Tax Deal (ZH)

As we have been saying for a while now, the Biden Administration’s push to create a new minimum corporate tax likely will never succeed despite all the optimistic reporting in the western press – a reality that will ultimately limit the degree by which the US corporate tax rate can be raised to finance Biden’s ‘Great Society’ ambitions. Even after the G-7 struck a tentative deal during its recent meeting, a comprehensive reworking of the OECD’s international tax framework – what would constitute the biggest shakeup on the international tax front in a century – will require the consent of dozens of nations, including countries like Ireland, Indonesia and Singapore which have successfully used their low tax rates to drive economic development. Any one of these can sabotage the deal by refusing to lower tax rates.

To try and compensate for this, the Biden Administration is promising foreign governments that they will be entitled to a bigger piece of the profits generated by American multinationals. The G-7 deal would have applied this “carrot” on “profit exceeding a 10% margin for the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises.” There have even been talks to specifically exclude Amazon’s low-margin e-commerce business, allowing the tax to be based on profits from its more lucrative divisions, like AWS. Over the coming weeks, diplomats will hold talks involving more than 100 governments about the new corporate tax framework ahead of a G-20 meeting in July where Washington hopes the outlines of a deal can come together. For the plan to succeed, more than 100 nations would ultimately need to agree on it.

Given the staggering scope of competing interests involved, as corporations jockey to be excluded from the tax while countries jockey for all sorts of special interest carve-outs, Bloomberg reports that the process could ultimately take years – even as the administration pushes for a significant breakthrough by the end of the summer – and involve a complex web of legislation to compensate for myriad “technical” complications.

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It’s things like this that make me despair for mankind.

Facebook Promises To Clarify What It Considers Satire (RT)

Facebook has pledged to provide a more detailed explanation of what constitutes satire on its platform, after the company’s oversight board ruled that a meme commenting on the Armenian genocide was wrongfully removed. The social media giant said it was committed to developing a “new satire framework” which will be used to assess facetious or sarcastic content that may be flagged as suspected hate speech. Information will also be added to the site’s community standards clarifying how satire factors into “context-specific decisions” about problematic content. The company already has a “satire exception” to its rules prohibiting hate speech, but the policy “is currently not communicated to users,” Facebook acknowledged.

The platform underscored that it takes the metaphysics of satire extremely seriously, noting that it had repeatedly engaged with “academic experts, journalists, comedians, representatives of satirical publications, and advocates for freedom of expression” to discuss the subtle intricacies of online jokes. According to Facebook, this army of satire experts said that humor is highly subjective and therefore requires “human review by individuals with cultural context” of the joke in question. The company was also told that “intent is key” when it comes to determining if something is legitimate satire – although admittedly this can be “tough to assess.” Content that is “simply derogatory” and not seen as “complex” or “subversive” is not satire, Facebook decreed.

Given the apparently vast complexities involved in sniffing out what is ‘real’ humor, the company conceded that it is not currently able to provide in-depth assessment of every suspected ‘case’ of satire. More time is needed to determine whether it is even feasible to improve the review process used to identify content that may qualify for the site’s satire exception, Facebook said. The company’s more transparent approach to assessing satire came in response to a May ruling issued by its oversight board which said that a popular “two buttons” meme, commenting on Turkey’s seemingly contradictory approach to dealing with Armenian genocide, should be reinstated. Facebook had initially deleted the image – which showed a man stressing over which “button” to press, “The Armenian Genocide is a lie” or “The Armenians were terrorists that deserved it” – because moderators believed it violated the site’s hate-speech rules, as well as guidelines banning cruel and insensitive content.

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Apr 102021
 


Vincent van Gogh Sprig of Flowering Almond in a Glass 1888

 

‘A Small, Sanitised Existence’ (Godwin)
Covid-19 Vaccine Passports Are Not Evidence Based (BMJ)
A&E ‘Swamped’ With Patients Seeking Help For Mild Covid Jab Side-effects (G.)
The Davos Set’s Dystopian Ambitions Are Very Clear (Clark)
Nearly 40% Of US Marines Have Rejected Coronavirus Vaccine (RT)
Biden Requests $753 Billion Defense Budget (Hill)
Infrastructure Bills Do Not Lead To Recovery, Only Increased Control (Smith)
The Two Faces Of Joe Biden (Matt Taibbi)
Will America Survive Joe Biden? (Kunstler)
Jimmy Kimmel Is The Latest To Embrace Hunter’s Scandal Spin (Turley)
Who Is The Most Powerful Doctor In The World? (IP)
Boeing Sounds Alarm On New Problem With 737 Max, Advises Grounding Again (RT)
Dumping Fukushima Radioactive Water in Pacific is Now “Unavoidable” (Marat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the effect of isolation on babies’ mental development. Bad enough for sure. But not a word on the stunted growth of their immune systems. Odd. It all comes together.

‘A Small, Sanitised Existence’ (Godwin)

My son, 0, doesn’t know any different. One of around 600,000 babies born in Britain in the plague year of 2020, he has spent all eight months of his life (and most of his gestation) in a world defined by distance and disease. His circle is small. He doesn’t get out much. When he does, the faces that peer in at his pushchair are concealed by masks. A baby is usually a magnet for human touch; I’d guess around 300 people had held his older brother by the time he was eight months old. Perhaps 20 people have made physical contact with Aubrey. To my mother-in-law, who is in the highest-risk category for coronavirus, he is at once a joy and a death risk. He has never been on a bus or train; he hasn’t met most of his extended family, nor most of our friends; and he doesn’t know any other babies – discounting the tiny person who laughs at him in the mirror.

The difference between babyhood now and babyhood as we first experienced it is vast. What was once a busy marketplace of events, activities and sociability has become a ghost town. What effect will this small, sanitised existence have on the babies of 2020-21? I console myself that, while his parents have been slowly losing their minds, Aubrey seems to have things fairly sussed. But as each milestone passes – as he grows out of the cardigans his grandmothers knitted for him, but never saw him wear – I can’t help but wonder what the long-term effects will be. Considering how fundamental these first months of a child’s life are to their cognitive and emotional development, what sort of mark will this strange period leave on him? How much are babies missing out on? And can what is lost be regained?

Dr Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez, a child development specialist at Oxford Brookes University, is leading a study into the effects of coronavirus on families with children aged 8-36 months. Unsurprisingly, she is finding experiences vary hugely across the social divide, with the closure of playgroups and other means of support hitting poorer families particularly hard. “Playgroups are really important,” says Gonzalez-Gomez. “They provide enriching activities, they promote child health, they provide links to formal support for parents who are struggling, and they help parents meet other parents. Those babies are missing out on all of that, and so are their parents.” The (anonymous) testimonies are strikingly varied. Some parents report their children’s language has “exploded”.

“We were astonished by the improvement in our daughter’s mood, behaviour and development,” writes one parent. Others say the opposite: “Child has become very clingy to me.” Another says their child has become terrified of other adults, particularly men. “If a man tries to talk to her, she becomes incredibly scared, panic crying, hiding her face in me.” “A lot of people have told us that their babies have developed a fear of strangers,” Gonzalez-Gomez adds. “If all a baby is used to is being indoors, they are missing out on so many interactions that will teach them how the social world works. We don’t know what the long-term effect will be – but it’s something to keep an eye on.”

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Maryanne Demasi, Researcher, journalist and Prof Peter Gotzsche, Institute for Scientific Freedom.

“Consequently, an enormous number of healthy people will be declared ill; they will be isolated; and many contacts will be asked to be tested, too. This situation is likely to spiral into chaos.”

Covid-19 Vaccine Passports Are Not Evidence Based (BMJ)

The hope is that vaccine passports will pave the way for economic recovery and restore people’s freedoms, but is it evidence-based and does it violate people’s right to choose? The most obvious issue is that it is still unclear whether vaccination prevents transmission. Vaccinated people may still be able to unknowingly spread the virus. That’s why, on 5 Feb, the World Health Organisation released a statement dissuading nations from using vaccine passports, stating that “there are still critical unknowns”(7) and recently, reiterated its opposition to them.(8) In addition, demonstrating “proof of antibodies” on a vaccine passport is problematic, as people can be infected more than once, particularly considering that the virus mutates.(9)

Twice weekly testing of UK citizens using rapid 30 minute tests, has been criticised by experts as “beyond reckless.”(10) They say the tests are not accurate, and the evidence to support their use is very weak.(10) Further, the PCR test used by many countries had 100% sensitivity and 97.8% specificity. This is a highly accurate test if used when infection is suspected. But it performs poorly when used as a screening test. In Denmark, only 0.5% of those tested are positive for COVID-19. Thus, for every 1000 people who are tested, we will get these results: “Infected, Healthy Test + 5, 22 Test – 0, 973. This means that 81% (22/27) of those who are told they are ‘infected’ are actually healthy.

A requirement for school attendance is a negative test twice a week, and in order to work at the Danish Technical University you must be able to present a Covid negative certificate, less than 72 hours old, to armed guards in the building. In Denmark, in the last week of March, 1.1 million PCR tests were carried out (population of 5.8 million). Consequently, an enormous number of healthy people will be declared ill; they will be isolated; and many contacts will be asked to be tested, too. This situation is likely to spiral into chaos. [..] Our biggest concern regarding vaccine passports is the potential violation of people’s freedom of choice. People are likely to be denied access to places or the opportunity to travel abroad unless they opt for the jab.

The proponents of vaccine passports say it is meant to incentivise people to be vaccinated, but it has created a bitter divide, with many arguing that it is treading a fine line between voluntary and mandatory vaccination. The Biden administration recently announced that it would not endorse a national vaccine passport and that it was a matter for individual States.(15) The Governors of Florida(16) and Texas(17) have both moved to prohibit vaccine passports saying that they reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy. Conversely, in the UK, political leaders continue to support the idea of vaccine passports,(1) and many UK citizens appear to agree. A recent survey of more than 8,300 people aged over 16 found that most were in favour of vaccine passports to travel abroad or to visit a relative living in a care home.(18)

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If they were all so mild, the GPs would not send them to a hospital. If only because those are full already, and dangerous places to be.

A&E ‘Swamped’ With Patients Seeking Help For Mild Covid Jab Side-effects (G.)

People who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are seeking help at A&E despite having only mild side-effects such as headaches, in the wake of the controversy over whether the jab causes blood clots. Emergency medicine doctors in England told the Health Service Journal that a growing but unspecified number of people who were anxious after having the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were coming to A&E units, some apparently after being advised to do so by a GP. Dr Katherine Henderson, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, confirmed the trend to the Guardian. “It’s definitely a thing. Colleagues across England are reporting this. All A&E departments are seeing an increase in the number of people reporting concerns after having the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“We are seeing people with mild headaches and persistent headaches but who are otherwise alright. “Emergency departments and GPs are getting a lot of queries. I think it’s an understandable reaction by the public. I can understand why people are anxious. If they are worried they need to get advice”, Henderson said. One A&E consultant told the HSJ: “We have seen huge numbers of AstraZeneca jab-associated headaches being sent in and, like all [emergency departments], we’re scrabbling to cobble together some guidance so as to sensibly reduce the number needing investigation. I gather some units are really, really struggling with this.”

An A&E doctor at a London hospital told the HSJ that their department was “swamped” with patients with headaches who had been sent there by their GP. But Dr Michael Mulholland, vice-president of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs will only recommend patients attend A&E if they think it’s the most appropriate place for them to go to get the care they need.”

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“But is masking up whenever we go out really the same as putting on a pair of trousers, to use the English term?”

The Davos Set’s Dystopian Ambitions Are Very Clear (Clark)

In their recent paper, ‘Evaluating England’s Road Map out of Lockdown‘, published on the UK government’s website, the Imperial College Covid-19 Response team state: “Whilst the impact of Test Trace Isolate, mask wearing, hand hygiene and COVID security on ‘R‘ is difficult to quantify it will be vital to emphasise the importance of normalising and ensuring adherence to all measures even after ‘full lifting’ is achieved.” Got that? Masks need to stay even after Boris Johnson says ‘Lockdown is over‘. It’s in this context that the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) enthusiastic promotion of the Chinese ‘smart face mask’ needs to be seen. It apparently reminds users when to wash it and checks if they’re wearing it properly.


If too much carbon dioxide builds up inside, a phone alert reminds the wearer to catch a few breaths of fresh air. If the user forgets to put it on, the same phone app sends them a reminder to mask up. This is not about public health, but all about making sure that measures introduced ostensibly to stop the spread of Covid-19 become permanent. Yes, once again the much-derided ‘crackpot conspiracy theorists’ of 2020 have been proved right. Remember how last summer, the WEF was promoting a ‘Common Pass‘ health passport scheme, not just for international travel but for access to domestic events too? It would never happen, we were told. That’s ‘David Icke stuff’, was the condescending brush-off. Well, that too has come to pass – no pun intended.

To find out why all this is happening, all we have to do is to follow the money trail. All the way to Davos. What does the pro-permanent mask Imperial College have in common with the pro-permanent mask WEF? Answer: the pro-permanent mask Bill Gates. Last month, Gates himself likened putting on a face mask to putting on a pair of trousers. “I just don’t think wearing a mask is such a deep inconvenience. I mean we ask people to wear pants. You know, why was this politicised?” Back in November, he made the same comparison. “We ask you to wear pants and, you know, no American says — or very few Americans say — that that’s, like, some terrible thing.” But is masking up whenever we go out really the same as putting on a pair of trousers, to use the English term?


Of course it isn’t. Unless you’re Batman or The Lone Ranger, or another Saturday morning cinema superhero, or indeed a bank-robber, wearing a mask in public isn’t normal, and no amount of WEF-spin makes it so. But what walking about with pieces of black cloth over our mouths and noses does do, is maintain the levels of fear in the community. If cases and deaths with Covid have plummeted to zero, but we want to make people live as if there is a permanent pandemic, to keep control over them, and to introduce ‘Covid-certification’ to restrict where they can and cannot go, how else can we keep Project Fear going without masks? It’s the only way we’d know that these were not ‘normal’ times. Which is, of course, precisely why they were introduced when deaths had dwindled to very low numbers. Smart masks? The really smart thing is to get wise to the WEF’s dystopian agenda.

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Coming soon: Vaccine hesitancy is a threat to national security.

Nearly 40% Of US Marines Have Rejected Coronavirus Vaccine (RT)

Just shy of 40 percent of Marine Corps service members have refused to take the coronavirus jab, new data provided to the media shows. The revelation comes as Democratic lawmakers push to make the vaccine mandatory for soldiers. Some 75,500 Marines have agreed to be vaccinated as of Thursday, while around 48,000 have declined the inoculation, CNN reported, citing numbers provided by the branch. That puts the rejection rate at 38.9%, slightly higher than the 33% rate for the whole military given by defense officials. Marine spokeswoman Colonel Kelly Frushour explained that Marines may be refusing the shot for a number of reasons, including allowing others in more vulnerable groups to take it first, allergies to the vaccine or obtaining it by other, non-military means.


Frushour stressed the need to “build vaccine confidence” among servicemen, adding that reluctant troops can always “change their mind and become vaccinated when next the opportunity presents itself.” Another 102,000 or so Marines, including active-duty and reserve troops, are still in line for the immunization and have not had a chance to accept or decline. The rejection rate was much higher at certain bases, such as Camp Lejeune, a major Marine installation in North Carolina, where 57% of service members have refused to take the shot. While the military is currently barred from mandating any of the coronavirus vaccines rolled out in the US, as each has received only emergency FDA approval rather than full authorization, some in Congress have pressed the Joe Biden administration to change that.

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“..the Defense Department budget “prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China as the department’s top challenge.”

Putin will be insulted.

Biden Requests $753 Billion Defense Budget (Hill)

President Biden is requesting a $753 billion defense budget for next fiscal year, with $715 billion of that going to the Pentagon. The fiscal 2022 proposed budget represents a slight increase over this year — likely to upset both progressives, who had sought cuts to Pentagon budgets, and defense hawks. The budget outline released Friday does not detail exactly what the money would buy, with a more comprehensive proposal expected later this spring. A fact sheet released by the White House said the Defense Department budget “prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China as the department’s top challenge.”

The budget also “proposes executable and responsible investments” in the Navy fleet, “supports ongoing nuclear modernization programs while ensuring that these efforts are sustainable,” and “continues to ensure that U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians remain the best trained and equipped force in the world,” while also supporting Pentagon plans to “divest legacy systems,” according to the fact sheet. It also said the budget would support “efforts to plan for and mitigate impacts of climate change” on Defense Department facilities and invest in “power and energy research and development.”

The overall defense budget includes both Pentagon funding and non-Pentagon programs such as Department of Energy nuclear weapons funding. Friday’s release officially kicks off the jockeying over the defense budget on Capitol Hill, though lawmakers have already been drawing their battle lines. While the administration proposes a budget, it is up to Congress to fund the government, and lawmakers routinely deviate from, or sometimes simply ignore, presidential budget requests. A $753 billion defense budget would be a modest increase over this year’s $740 billion, as would a $715 billion Pentagon budget compared to this year’s $704 billion.

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“..all other nations had to turn to the U.S. for manufacturing during the long rebuilding process. In Europe, this process carried on well into the 1950s.”

Infrastructure Bills Do Not Lead To Recovery, Only Increased Control (Smith)

Biden, in particular, has made historic stimulus spending the very first platform of his administration, and consistently cites FDR and Lyndon Johnson as patron saints of his infrastructure bill. If it worked for them, then obviously it will work for him… right? In reality, the public works and welfare programs of FDR in particular had very little to do with the ending of the Great Depression. In fact, the New Deal actually made the situation worse. Roosevelt’s own Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, lamented on May 6th, 1939 after two full terms of FDR’s presidency and stimulus programs that the New Deal was a complete failure. He stated to fellow Democrats during a session of the House Ways and Means Committee that:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” High unemployment and declining living standards were an epidemic in the U.S. throughout the 1930s and well into World War II. The Census Bureau outlines the dismal state of the financial system and the U.S. consumer throughout this period in its “Historical Statistics of the United States.”

By 1939 the stock market had crashed on multiple occasions, car sales imploded by 30%, business closures increased by 50%, and real estate foreclosures were still near record highs. The New Deal had achieved minimal benefits of limited scope, but not much else. For the average American, it was as if nothing had changed in a decade. That said, for certain major companies and big banks, the gains were incredible. Companies like General Electric, IBM, Proctor and Gamble and JP Morgan saw endless profits during the Great Depression while buying up smaller competitors for pennies on the dollar. Those companies involved in public works programs siphoned government money like a black hole while very little trickled down to American workers. All in all, the Great Depression was a windfall for the corporate elite as wealth was consolidated and centralized into fewer and fewer hands.

So we have to ask, if the New Deal was a failure and did nothing to solve the depression problem, what did solve it? Some historians and journalists suggest the beginning of World War II and increased defense spending saved America. This is incorrect. As noted by Robert Higgs, the U.S. standard of living continued to decline throughout World War II. It was not the beginning of the war that saved America, but “After the war genuine prosperity returned for the first time since 1929.” The U.S. was one of the only industrialized nations on the planet that had been left mostly untouched by the destruction. Because of this, all other nations had to turn to the U.S. for manufacturing during the long rebuilding process. In Europe, this process carried on well into the 1950s. The U.S. had very little competition, so much so that the U.S. dollar’s reserve status increased to the point of complete dominance. If you wanted access to manufactured goods, you had to trade with the U.S., and to trade with the U.S., you had to have a stockpile of U.S. dollars.

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JRB and FDR.

The Two Faces Of Joe Biden (Matt Taibbi)

On April Fool’s Day, CNN ran an “analysis” of Joe Biden’s presidency: Will JRB take his place alongside FDR and LBJ? CNN explained “JRB” had just unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure plan “to boost ordinary working Americans rather than the wealthy,” a program that together with his $1.9 trillion Covid rescue doubles “as a bid to lift millions of Americans out of poverty.” The news is like high school. One day, one kid comes in wearing Dior sneakers and Nike X Ambush pants, and two days later, that’s all you see in the halls. The “Biden-as-FDR” stories raced around News High, with headlines like “With nods to FDR, JFK and LBJ, Biden goes big on infrastructure plan” (Yahoo!) and “Can Biden achieve an FDR-style presidency? A historian sees surprising parallels” (Washington Post). Even the New Yorker’s naysaying take, “Is Biden Really the Second Coming of F.D.R. and L.B.J.?” read at first glance like an affirmation.

That this high-flown language came on the heels of Biden’s people whispering F.D.R. comparisons in the ears of reporters for weeks, and Biden himself calling his plan “a once-in-a-generation investment in America,” seemed not to bother anyone. We live in a time when a president can be said to have “sharply cut poverty” the moment he signs a relief bill, so why not say, as CNN editorialists Stephen Collison and Caitlin Hu did, that this new bill’s passage would immediately allow Biden to “lay claim to a spot in the Democratic pantheon alongside Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson?” This would only be natural, they said, since “Scranton Joe” has long despaired over the silver spoon inequities of Donald Trump’s trickle-down economy:

The President complained as he unveiled his plan in Pittsburgh — the kind of gritty blue-collar city he loves — that the top 1% saw their wealth rise by $4 trillion during the pandemic while millions of Americans lost jobs. “Just goes to show you how distorted and unfair our economy has become,” Biden said. “Wasn’t always this way. Well, it’s time to change that.” Left unmentioned was that the same gritty, blue-collar president oversaw the TARP bailout, which resulted in a similar Trumpian windfall for the 1%. The richest saw their share of America’s wealth increase from 30% in 2010 to 39% in 2016. Median household net worth fell 34% from a peak in 2007 to the end of the Obama-Biden presidency, while banks in 2009 had the best year they would have until 2020, that “unfair” bailout year Biden complained about.

Pundits have long been working on revising that history. By last summer, the Atlantic was writing this about Biden’s management of the other bailout: “Critics on the left faulted him and Obama for not making the stimulus package bigger (though keeping it below $1 trillion was the price of winning necessary Republican votes for its passage in the Senate).” That’s just not true. Certainly, Republicans would have hammered Obama for a stimulus of any size, but Obama officials decided on those levels on their own. We’ve known this since 2012, when the New Yorker published a piece outing the fact that Larry Summers advised the incoming president to prioritize deficit reduction over stimulus.

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“This body of unresolved allegations haunts the House of Biden like some stinking dead animal decaying under the Oval Office floorboards that everyone pretends not to notice.”

Will America Survive Joe Biden? (Kunstler)

If you want to understand the complete failure of moral authority in America, seek no further than the gothic doings of the Biden family, especially now that the President’s degenerate son, Hunter, has been rewarded with a $2-million advance-against royalties (i.e., money up-front) from Simon & Schuster, and a gala publicity tour of the national news media designed to conceal his criminal culpability in evidence contained on the “laptop from hell” that he stupidly abandoned in a Delaware repair shop while lurching through his daily doings on one of countless drug jags he’s enjoyed between rehabs since his dad stepped back into national politics.

The failure is shared by a national news media that refuses to scrutinize the obvious financial crimes documented on the laptop, the FBI, which sat on the laptop through the months of Trump Impeachment No. One — while the computer contained evidence of Hunter’s grifting and money-laundering directly benefiting “the Big Guy,” Joe Biden, at issue in the impeachment — and the Department of Justice, which has been sitting on its hands pretending to conduct an investigation into all this.

The moral darkness of the family is beyond Shakespearean. It ranges from fantastically sordid personal indecencies like Hunter posting drug-fueled selfie sex videos with whores on the PornHub website, to intimations of lewd consort with his teenage niece, to the admitted fact of him bird-dogging his dead brother’s wife, Hallie… and into financial misdeeds that suggest Hunter sold out his country by peddling Joe Biden’s favor to agents of the Chinese communist party and other foreign nations. This body of unresolved allegations haunts the House of Biden like some stinking dead animal decaying under the Oval Office floorboards that everyone pretends not to notice.

Most recently, in a striking instance of in-your-face duplicity, Joe Biden announced his new crusade against gun ownership the same week that credible evidence surfaced that Hunter had obtained a .38 caliber handgun by lying on the application about his drug use — well-documented in his discharge record from the Navy Reserve (for failing a cocaine blood test), as well as his repeat visits to drug rehab clinics. In 2018, it happened that his then-paramour, Hallie Biden, fearing for his behavior, took the gun from Hunter’s car and tossed it in a dumpster outside a Wilmington food market. Directly afterward, the Secret Service office in Wilmington went to the gun-shop, StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply, to ask for the forms Hunter had filled out and signed to buy the gun, which itself was never recovered.

Read more …

“Burisma and other companies not only gave massive payments to someone without any notable skills or experience, they hired someone who was a drug addict who was, by his own account, a total trainwreck.”

Jimmy Kimmel Is The Latest To Embrace Hunter’s Scandal Spin (Turley)

Hunter Biden has the prototypical resume of the progeny of the powerful in Washington. He seemed to land jobs far beyond his experience or proven skills. Most law school graduates work for six years just to make junior partner in a firm. Yet, directly out of law school in 1996, he was given a lucrative position with MBNA America, a bank that was not only a campaign contributor to his father but a business actively lobbying for lending changes in Congress. His father, then a powerful senator, supported changes that benefited the bank. Within a couple years of graduating, Hunter Biden amazingly ascended to the position of executive vice president. He was then given a position in the Commerce Department before he became an industry lobbyist.

In 2006, President Bush made him a member of the board of directors of Amtrak. No one seriously argued at the time that his resume even remotely qualified him for that position, any more than his assuming the board chairmanship of the United Nations World Food Program. At the time, Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware explained that Hunter Biden was qualified to get on the board of Amtrak because “Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains.” Ignoring conflicts in the interview was no easy task. Kimmel made reference to Hunter’s struggle with drugs without noting that Hunter admits to being a crack addict all the way up to his father’s 2020 presidential election. Hunter left that off of his description of his work on Burisma.

While Hunter was claiming blackouts of memory due to his crack addiction, he was also claiming that he was a natural choice for the board of an major energy company. Burisma and other companies not only gave massive payments to someone without any notable skills or experience, they hired someone who was a drug addict who was, by his own account, a total trainwreck. However, he was hired for abilities and insights on energy and corporate management? Kimmel also helps out Hunter in his convenient lapses of memory. When asked, Hunter just shrugged and took a dig at Rudy Giuliani: ”I think, within my rights to question anything that comes from the desk of Rudy Giuliani. And so I don’t know is the answer.”

Read more …

Ha!

Who Is The Most Powerful Doctor In The World? (IP)

So who is the most powerful doctor in the world? Google tells you that it’s the Microsoft founder Bill Gates. We’re not kidding, you can try to search it yourself. The result is based on a 2017 article outlining Bill Gates’ “sway” over the World Health Organization. So why is Bill Gates listed as the most powerful doctor in the world when searched on Google? Since the keywords used in the query also appear in the headline of a Politico article titled “Meet the world’s most powerful doctor: Bill Gates,” which was published in 2017. That’s why, the Microsoft founder is listed as the top-ranking answer (even in snippet-results) of the Google search. Below is the excerpt from the Politico article: “Meet the world’s most powerful doctor: Bill Gates “

The software mogul’s sway over the World Health Organization spurs criticism about misplaced priorities and undue influence. If you look, Bill Gates’ name actually appear on majority of the results on the front page for this query. A user on Twitter wrote, “Who is the most powerful doctor? Google it. The results will shock you. Good morning” Another user said, “Google ‘who is the most powerful doctor in the world’, tell me what comes up, and then try to tell me I’m a conspiracy theorist.” “Why is it when you google the most powerful Doctor in the world Bill Gates pops up?,” a user on Twitter raised a question. One user attached the Politico article in his tweet and wrote, “Here is the reason why many think that Bill Gates is considered to be the most powerful doctor, when he is not. In Google, the most searched word, along with keywords always come at the top of the list.”


Not just Google: Many users pointed out that it’s not just Google but also Siri that gives you the same answer. It is because when you ask Siri the same question discussed in this article, then it will show you the same search results, the answer to which is Bill Gates. We are sure, if you ask the same question to other Voice assistants they will also give the same answer. A user tweeted, “Interestingly enough I asked Siri who is the most powerful doctor in the world she said Bill Gates, I then asked who was the most powerful medical doctor in the world, again Bill Gates… crazy!!”

Read more …

These things are flying again? Incredible.

Boeing Sounds Alarm On New Problem With 737 Max, Advises Grounding Again (RT)

Just a few months after Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft were allowed to return to the skies the company announced a new problem with the ill-fated jets, calling for dozens of planes to be grounded over issues with the electrical system. “Boeing has recommended to 16 customers that they address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 MAX airplanes prior to further operations,” the Chicago-based manufacturer said in a statement on Friday. The multinational said it was working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the “production issue.” It also said that the problem doesn’t affect the entire fleet, but a specific group of planes. The company has pledged to provide further directions on “appropriate corrective actions.”


“The recommendation is being made to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system,” the corporation said.Boeing neither specified which 16 airlines are affected by this alert nor disclosed the number of planes with the problem. The Boeing 737 MAX passenger airliner made headlines after two nearly new planes crashed within five months. The fatal crashes, which occurred in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killed all 346 people on board. The incidents prompted a lengthy safety review and all the jets were grounded worldwide for 20 months, from March 2019 through November of 2020.

Read more …

Safe clean energy.

Dumping Fukushima Radioactive Water in Pacific is Now “Unavoidable” (Marat)

While Japan last month marked the 10th anniversary of the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami with solemn ceremonies, the government has also been stressing the successes of its recovery efforts in the country’s northeast. In truth, however, the country is still coping with the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, which has already cost Japan trillions of yen and whose exclusion zone will require up to 40 more years to fully rehabilitate. And with contaminated water continuing to build up at the ruined Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says that the government must finally begin dumping it into the Pacific Ocean.

With nuclear waste and fuel rods still contaminating the area, over one million tons of radioactive waste water continue to seep from the facility, according to The Japan Times, forcing authorities into what Suga describes as the “unavoidable” position of having to dump the water. Officials claim that the water would be purified to the maximum extent possible, but environmentalist groups like Greenpeace warn that the water contains hazardous material that could damage human DNA and the health of marine life. Fishers also fear that consumers will refuse to buy fish caught in contaminated waters, worsening their plight amid a restriction of imports from Fukushima prefecture imposed by 15 countries and regions.

Regardless, authorities argue they must deal with the cards that have been dealt. “What to do with the [treated] water is a task that the government can no longer put off without setting a policy,” Japanese trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said on Wednesday. Suga is expected to formally decide on the course of action by next Tuesday. If he proceeds, authorities will dilute tritium to 2.5 percent of the maximum concentration allowed by the country before it is dumped.

Read more …

 

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Tucker Jimmy Dore AOC
https://twitter.com/i/status/1380698955634274305

 

 

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Mar 262021
 


Filothei Skitzi Strapping girl 2021

 

 

Yesterday was Greece’s version of Independence Day, in their case the day the War of Independence from the Ottoman empire started in 1821. Unfortunately, it was so brutally cold -for Greece, that is, at 0ºC- that festivities were “dampened”. Moreover, due to Covid restrictions, people were barred from attending the traditional military parade (due to 1821, and having Turkey as a neighbor, many Greeks still love having an army) in the streets of Athens.

The only ones “allowed” to watch the parade were now the likes of Prince Charles and his horse wife, plus some ambassadors etc. While after almost 5 months of severe lockdown, and spring on the horizon, people really needed some relief in the form of a party. And a national party works best for that. Oh well, spring will come soon, and then soon after that, 39.9ºC. That’s where the weather service always seems to stop counting. It’s like the Y2K bug. A running gag.

I was re-reading the last things I wrote about the Monastiraki kitchen, November and December 2020, just to get back in the spirit, and to find things that I have already talked about, so as not to repeat myself. Cooking food is not the most exciting activity in the world by itself, to write about, or to film, as I always notice when I happenstance upon some TV cooking show.

 

What’s interesting about the social kitchen we run here is all the stories around it, not the cooking itself. I -and you, my readers- have been supporting this initiative for almost 6 years already, imagine that!. Many things have happened, many things have changed along the way, and wouldn’t you know, in the hardest time of all, the lockdowns that take everyone’s breath and life away, being involved in “the kitchen” -as we call it- feels better than ever.

It’s not just that the homeless need us more than ever before, though that is undoubtedly true, it’s also that the volunteers who work in the kitchen get even more of a sense of pride and self-worth from doing something that really changes human lives. Don’t underestimate the loss of pride, of having a goal in life, there are so many facets to this, of not being able to do your job for 5 months. And then to be able to contribute to helping the neediest people in your society, it gains a whole new meaning.

After a year of lockdowns, off and on, societies that have lived through them will irreparably change, even if the people that live in them, will not recognize that now. Most people still think of a return to “normal”. There will be no such thing. Once governments stop propping up businesses and workers financially, which they will have to, there will be a flood of unemployment and business closures. We will need a new “paradigm”, but that will take time.

Greece depends on tourism and hospitality to a much larger extent than most economies. And tourism won’t come back to former heights, this year or next. The virus is not gone, and vaccinating everyone will not solve the issue. Not that politicians and “experts” won’t pretend it will. Greece will win back some part of its tourism industry, but that risks bringing more virus into the country. And tourists, like the British, will be told not to come, by their own governments. Some “repair”, but far short of full.

So once the bars and restaurants open here, they are going to start firing people. The government is well aware of this, and talks about 100s of 1000s of job losses. This will happen everywhere, but in an economy so dependent on hospitality, much more. Summer will feel sort of okay, but after that, we will have many more clients in the Monastiraki kitchen. It’s as clear as day.

 

 

 

Filothei and I went to purchase €1,000 more in supermarket checks, from your donations, on Tuesday. She managed to spread the first €1,000 worth out over 3 months. Me, I like that she is aware of value, respect etc., but I also say sometimes that it’s alright to spend some money. For her, it‘s about every penny, every comma. But that has disadvantages as well: she spends so much time trying to get the best deal on everything that at some point I am sure that her time could be spent in a better way. And that people will understand that.

Example: the kitchen needs plates. We had a donation, 2 years ago, from a company that makes them, of 21,000 plates (they were misprints). We want, in industry terms, “bio-boxes”. As in, not plastic, but paper/cardboard. Those plates are now gone, and we need more. But these things are expensive, and Filothei thinks all donations should go to buying food. I agree, but at the same time, a social kitchen must do what it should do. I personally think some company should donate them to us, and they can put their logo on it, and feel good about supporting us, but in lockdown, no companies make any money. And we still need the plates.

We will buy maybe 6,000 of them soon, and pay maybe €600 for that, and yes, it’s not food, but it’s necessary. In these times, you can look at these companies’ websites, and their products, but most “bio-boxes” are for sandwiches, not hot meals. Yeah, entirely new issues for me too 😉 And all the companies are closed too, so it’s very hard to go check them out. That’s when you realize how crazy these times really are.

 

Other things we did this winter: we bought an umbrella. I told you the place where the cooking takes place is a little stone yard, with no roof. I also said we would pay the €200 for the umbrella with €100 from donations and I would pay the rest. And then it took 40 days, 30 phone calls, and people from the kitchen going there themselves, to finally get it. Welcome to the lockdown economy .

 

 

But isn’t it beautiful? It covers almost the entire yard. Yeah, again, it’s money not spent on food, but it’s needed nonetheless. It has been on several occasions already, and it will be there for years to come. Money well spent.

 

 

Another thing I bought is more facemasks, I paid for those myself, not from your donations. I don’t like the mandates for them much, with people wearing masks outside in the street, that doesn’t make much sense. But for the kitchen, with people working close together, and later handing out the food to the homeless, it does. Risk assessment. Only, wear the best ones then, why wouldn’t you? Why wear a sock on your face when you can get actual protection? These are FFP3 masks, in US terms that would be N95+, they have extra strips inside to connect them to your face, and their active ingredient is activated carbon, not salt. Why not do it well if you do it anyway?

 

 

Oh wait, that’s true, Filothei last week made 60 kilos (!) of lemon marmalade (which probably took 70 kilos of sugar) to hand out, because “the homeless need sugar and salt when it’s cold outside”.

 

 

We are up to 2 cookings a week at Monastiraki now, plus another one at Piraeus that depends on our staples to a large extent. And we’re not going to stop, or halt, or pause. Yes, the summer weather will relieve the pressure somewhat on the “immediate front”, but we need to look ahead too. The economic troubles won’t go away, and neither will the virus. And the people to be first hurt by that are always the same, the poorest, and their legions are growing. And that’s why we do what we do. This team is unbeatable. Despite all the police threats of fines and prison and what not, people always show up for “work”, and the food always gets delivered.

And we do it with love. Lots of it.

 

I’ll leave you with the same last paragraphs I’ve used the past few times when I wrote about the Monastiraki kitchen. You know how this works.

 

 

Most of you will know the drill of this by now: any Paypal donations ending in $0.99 or $0.37 go straight to the Monastiraki kitchen, while other donations go to the Automatic Earth -which also badly needs them. (Note: a lot of Automatic Earth donations also went to the kitchen this winter).

I dislike few things more than asking people for money, even though the Automatic Earth now runs primarily on donations, and there’s some sweet justice in that as well, in depending on people’s appreciation of what we do, instead of ad revenues.

But I cannot do this on my own right now. The Monastiraki kitchen will realistically need about €1,500 per month. I don’t have that to spare. So I’m calling on you. Unashamedly, because I know there is no reason to be ashamed of the cause.

I love all you people, and I’m sorry I can’t thank you all individually who have supported -and still do- the Monastiraki kitchen and the Automatic Earth all this time, and I ask you to keep on doing just that. The details for donations on Paypal and Patreon, for both causes, are in the top of the two sidebars of this site. Could not be much easier. If you’d rather send a check, go to our Store and Donations page. Bitcoin: 1HYLLUR2JFs24X1zTS4XbNJidGo2XNHiTT.

Love you. Thank you. This kitchen would not exist without you, these people would not get fed.

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

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

 

Mar 132021
 
 March 13, 2021  Posted by at 9:41 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Times Square, New York 1954

 

DeSantis to Biden: Thought of Reinstating COVID-19 Restrictions ‘Insane’ (Hill)
Lockdowns Wrecked Democracy around the World (AIER)
3 Million Masks Used Globally Every Minute: Environmental Catastrophe (JTN)
More Countries Suspend AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine (USN)
US And Pacific Partners To Flood Asia With Vaccines (Pol.)
EU’s Green Pass Will Only Be Valid With EMA-Approved COVID Vaccinations (EN)
Europe’s COVID Vaccine Rollout Faces Even More Delays (ZH)
Previews of Coming Attractions (Kunstler)
OPCW Chief Must ‘Find The Courage To Address’ Douma Coverup Allegations (RT)
Andrew Cuomo’s Hilarious ‘Cancel Culture’ Excuse (NYP)
The Sovietization of the American Press (Taibbi)
Criticizing Public Figures is Not Harassment or Abuse (Greenwald)
A Green New Deal Is More Expensive Than Joe Biden Realizes (Mises)
Boris Johnson Says UK ‘Legally’ Obtained Elgin Marbles, Won’t Return Them (RT)

 

 

The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I’ll make it
– James Baldwin

 

 

UK: By end of January 88% of over 80s had been vaccinated. By end of February 95% of over 80s had been vaccinated. In that time, 75,000 over 80s died. 75% of them had been vaccinated by the time they died.

 

 

 

 

“We’re gonna continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain anything of the sort.”

DeSantis to Biden: Thought of Reinstating COVID-19 Restrictions ‘Insane’ (Hill)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday blasted President Biden’s warning that the U.S. could need to reinstate certain coronavirus restrictions if the public does not stay “vigilant” about defeating COVID-19. “To even contemplate doing any type of lockdown, honestly it’s insane,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Florida, touting the state’s efforts to administer vaccines to the elderly and other populations. “That’s not gonna happen in the state of Florida,” the governor continued, referring to reinstating restrictions. “We’re gonna continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain anything of the sort.”


Biden has repeatedly vowed to not lock down the country but warned in a prime-time address Thursday night that some restrictions may have to be revisited if current downward trends change and the virus resurges. He emphasized, though, that his administration is focused on helping the nation return to normal. “Even if we devote every resource we have, beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity,” Biden said. “And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington, what the loudest voices say on cable or online. Unity is what we do as fellow Americans. Because if we don’t say vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track.” “And, please, we don’t want to do that again,” he added.

Read more …

“The logic of these policies is that we must be locked down for ever simply because the world is a dangerous place.”

Lockdowns Wrecked Democracy around the World (AIER)

While the number of fatalities attributed to Covid-19 is carefully tracked by governments, few people have recognized how pandemic-spurred crackdowns have devastated democracy around the world. Emergency proclamations have entitled presidents and other government officials to seize vast new powers previously forbidden to them. Government bureaucrats became a new priesthood that could sanctify unlimited sacrifices merely by invoking dubious statistical extrapolations of future perils. In October, Freedom House issued a report, Democracy under Lockdown – The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Freedom, which warned that since the pandemic started, “the condition of democracy and human rights has worsened in 80 countries.”

Sarah Repucci, co-author of the report, warned that “governments’ responses to the pandemic are eroding the pillars of democracy around the world.” Abuses of power have been propelled by a presumption that government officials are entitled to all the power they claim to need to keep people safe. When the pandemic arrived in America, governors in many states responded by dropping the equivalent of a Reverse Neutron Bomb – something which destroys the economy while supposedly leaving human beings unharmed. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set the standard when he effectively declared that he was entitled to inflict any burden on his state’s residents to “save just one life.” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer prohibited anyone from leaving their home to visit family or friends.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti banned people from walking or bicycling outside. More than ten million jobs were lost thanks to lockdowns, a major reason why life expectancy in the United States last year had its sharpest plunge since World War Two. Australia imposed some of the most heavy-handed restrictions. In August, the state of Victoria dictated an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for the Melbourne area and prohibited people from venturing more than three miles from their residence. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews decreed: “Where you slept last night is where you’ll need to stay for the next six weeks.” Melbourne has been hit by repeated lockdowns since then. Britain unleashed some of the most absurd restrictions. In June, it prohibited couples who live in different homes from having sex indoors. The Independent (U.K.) noted, “People who have sex outside can be punished under pre-existing laws on outraging public decency and indecent exposure.”

Steve Watson reported in January for Summit News that British cabinet ministers “ have privately debated preventing people from talking to each other in the street and in supermarkets, and even preventing people from leaving home more than once per week, and introducing curfews.” British vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi fretted, “I’m worried about some of the pictures I’ve seen of social interactions in parks, if you have to exercise you can go out for exercise only.” Apparently, a national vow of silence is necessary to fight Covid. Summit News noted, “Police are also demanding new powers to force entry into the homes of suspected lockdown violators.” Former British Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption complained last month, “Foreign travel is being prohibited, turning us into a hermit island on the basis we cannot know what mutations may be lurking out there. The logic of these policies is that we must be locked down for ever simply because the world is a dangerous place.”

Read more …

“129 billion face masks [are] being used globally every month” to achieve, according to the CDC, a 1.32% reduction in virus spread.

3 Million Masks Used Globally Every Minute: Environmental Catastrophe (JTN)

Researchers are warning that heavy mask usage over the course of the coronavirus pandemic could be contributing to a looming environmental disaster, with millions of masks being used every minute and many of them polluting local ecosystems in the process. Researchers in the U.S. and Denmark estimated in a study in Frontiers in Environmental Science that “an astounding 129 billion face masks [are] being used globally every month,” a number that works out to three million every minute. “Most are disposable face masks made from plastic microfibers,” the researchers note.


With mask usage skyrocketing to unprecedented highs over the past year due to beliefs that masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19, the scientists note that “there is no official guidance on mask recycle, making it more likely to be disposed of as solid waste.” “When not properly collected and managed, masks can be transported from land into freshwater and marine environments by surface run-off, river flows, oceanic currents, wind, and animals,” they warn. The researchers note that, due to the likelihood of COVID-19 becoming an endemic disease among the global population, “It is imperative to launch coordinated efforts from environmental scientists, medical agencies, and solid waste managing organizations, and the general public to minimize the negative impacts of disposal mask, and eventually prevent it from becoming another too-big-to- handle problem.”

Read more …

Bad PR.

More Countries Suspend AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine (USN)

Bulgaria and Thailand join a growing list of countries that are pausing the vaccine’s rollout over health concerns, including Denmark, Iceland and Norway. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha canceled plans to publicly receive the vaccine and Thai officials have delayed the vaccine rollout while they consider the issue of any potential link between the vaccine and adverse outcomes, Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, a senior member of Thailand’s vaccine committee, said in a news conference on Friday. Officials say they will wait for the results of investigations in Denmark, which paused the vaccine’s use for two weeks, and by health organizations in Europe before making any further decisions. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has asked the European Medicines Agency to dismiss doubts about the vaccine’s safety before resuming vaccinations in the country.


“I have temporarily suspended the administration of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in Bulgaria until a written statement came from the European Medicines Agency that it is safe,” he said. “Until all doubts are dropped and experts do not guarantee that it does not pose a risk to humans, the immunization with this vaccine in our country will be stopped.” Despite the pause in some countries, Germany will continue to immunize its residents with the vaccine. “We are planning to continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca, just like an overall majority of other European countries,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Thursday. The United Kingdom, Spain, France and the Netherlands have all also said they will continue using the vaccine.

Read more …

This feels very incompetent.

US And Pacific Partners To Flood Asia With Vaccines (Pol.)

A new vaccine partnership agreed between the United States, Japan, India and Australia plans to flood Asian and Pacific island nations with “at least” 1 billion Covid vaccine doses by 2022. There’s of course a political strategy behind the humanitarianism — to outflank Chinese influence across Asia. The rhetoric is lofty: “It is the Indo-Pacific that will now shape the destiny of our world in the 21st century,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a video message launching the partnership. The early focus of the Quad alliance on “positive sum cooperation” and “public goods provision” would be a difficult narrative for China to counter, said Andrew Small, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Asia program, who suggested this might provide a model for American alliance-building during the Biden administration.

The centerpiece of the Quad Vaccine Partnership is an Indian production drive to deliver the billion extra doses by the end of 2022, building on what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called India’s “formidable vaccine production capacity.” But the Quad is joining the global vaccine diplomacy game late — China and Russia have been striking deals and delivering donated doses to more than 50 countries largely shunned by Western vaccine makers. The Quad partnership launching as a set of goals without an implementation plan — leaders promised to set up an expert group to manage the partnership — there’s a lot of catching up to do. The Quad will also need to navigate carefully with COVAX, which has begun delivering the first 300 million of a planned 2 billion doses to mostly low and middle-income countries.

While the Quad partners are all members of COVAX and insist they will work cooperatively with the project, delivering the billion extra doses may be more complicated than simply boosting Indian capacity. Officials from the World Health Organization and the Serum Institute of India have warned that an existing U.S. ban on exporting raw materials for vaccines is straining COVAX’s ability to quickly deliver the doses it has promised the world.

Read more …

Nobody wants to understand how scary this is. Freedom is a basic right.

EU’s Green Pass Will Only Be Valid With EMA-Approved COVID Vaccinations (EN)

An EU source has told Euronews that the Green Pass proposal, to be put forward on March 17th to aid free movement within the bloc, will only be valid with EMA-approved vaccinations. Why? Because the vaccinations from unapproved companies will not be covered by the EU liability clause and quality control. The source reported that EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders made it clear that member states were free to get their citizens vaccinated by other products, but they would not be allocated a licensed travel certificate unless their jab had been from an approved company, of which there are currently four. Pfizer/BioNtech, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson&Johnson.

The duration of the digital green certificate should be limited to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU source said, adding that tests and quarantine will continue to be the enablers of free movement. Thus, vaccination does not become a pre-condition for free movement. The certificate will be available in digital and paper-based format. Reynders indicated Thursday that data protection and possible discrimination remained key concerns for the European Commission working on a proposal for a COVID-19 travel certificate. But Friday’s leak shows that there is a focus on vaccination selection. Reynders is aiming to fast-track the proposal at the European Parliament, leading to a “binding instrument” for all member states before the summer.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said it would be technically possible to develop a “green pass” within about three months using data indicating whether a person has been vaccinated, tested negative, or is immune after contracting the disease, but that many political issues must first be resolved. The certificates could help smooth a return to air travel and possibly avoid another disastrous summer holiday season, as the tourism industry and broader economies suffer from restrictions. Southern European countries dependent on tourism, like Greece, Spain and Portugal, support such a system, but their northern EU partners, like Germany, have reservations over whether such certificates would work.

Read more …

There will be many more of these issues.

Europe’s COVID Vaccine Rollout Faces Even More Delays (ZH)

Earlier today, a smattering of European nations halted vaccinations for at least some AstraZeneca COVID vaccine jabs amid an investigation into whether the jabs contributed to dangerous blood clots that led to at least one death. And as if this wasn’t a big enough problem for one day, Bloomberg reports that manufacturing issues are plaguing AstraZeneca’s manufacturing facilities, creating more obstacles to distribution. And now European governments are bracing for further delays. Good thing Italy refused to send that one shipment of jabs to Australia. Here’s more from Bloomberg:

“European Union governments are bracing for further possible delays in the distribution of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine after a warning from the European Commission that the manufacturer remains a problem, according to a diplomatic note seen by Bloomberg. Astra Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said last month the company would look at tapping international supply chains to make up for some of the shortfall, including production in the U.S. It’s revised its delivery schedule multiple times, most recently committing to 40 million doses this quarter and 180 million in the second from an earlier goal of about 280 million across both periods. But at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, diplomats were told by senior EU officials that Astra continues to be “problematic.” They also heard that Johnson & Johnson, which could get market authorization from the European Medicines Agency on Thursday, has yet to provide a delivery schedule for its vaccine.”

As a result, Brussels said Thursday it plans to extend its vaccine export control mechanism to the end of June from mid-March, citing “persistent delays” in some deliveries. On the US side, President Joe Biden just ordered another 100MM jabs from JNJ, and it’s possible more might be on the way, limiting the supply available for absorption by Germany, France and the other 25 EU members. “On J&J, the EU had said in January that under the contract, the company would fill and finish a portion of its EU supply in the U.S., prompting concerns among some governments. The EU said at the time that it didn’t expect this to impact deliveries. This week the commission told diplomats that it was looking into the possibility of finding some of that fill-finish capacity in other third countries as it wasn’t readily available in the EU, according to the note of the meeting.”:

In what could be a silver lining, a UK study published Thursday showed the Novovax jab was found to offer 100% protection from “severe” COVID. At this point, the US will soon be facing a glut of supply, so Europe’s problem will likely clear up once the next round of vaccines are approved in the US.

Read more …

“Mostly what did not fly is the idea that the Covid-19 virus can still be used as a cattle-prod for herding citizens into feedlots of compliance — Americans are buffalos, not steers. ”

Previews of Coming Attractions (Kunstler)

How reassured were you by Joe Biden’s speech to the nation Thursday night? The more his managers pretend that he’s in charge of anything, the more unlikely it actually seems. So, they wound him up — Adderall would be my guess, to fortify the attention span — and rolled him out like the mummy of Amenhotep III, and one could just imagine the leaders of this-and-that foreign nation cringing (or cackling) in their seats to see this embodiment of collapsing America go through his spiritless ritual motions. Mostly what did not fly is the idea that the Covid-19 virus can still be used as a cattle-prod for herding citizens into feedlots of compliance — Americans are buffalos, not steers.

They are determined now to take care of business, and the main business of people with any initiative will be to rig up some sort of gainful occupation while the lumbering old systems break down. They will do it despite orders to operate at fifty percent capacity, or close at nine o’clock, or be handcuffed by rinky-dink regulations. They’ll have to get creative to figure out ways around all the official impediments to making a living. This group of the not-yet-undead will resist further attempts to restrict their liberty and to steal the fruits of their own enterprise to pay for other people’s failures or lack of enterprise. The federal government is one system visibly working to destroy itself with epic giveaways of money it pretends to command and the Covid-19 Stimulus bill will only accelerate its loss of credibility.

A $1,400 check won’t “solve” the problem of someone a year behind on mortgage payments or rent. It sure won’t solve the problems of their creditors and landlords. And if you think shortchanging that class of people is a good idea, you’re beating a path straight to the death of credit per se, and then of our money, the dollar, which is based on credit. Taxpayers are not so stupid that they’ll fail to notice who is being asked to bail out bankrupt states, irresponsible cities, and pension funds and there’s going to be trouble over that. The trouble will express itself both in political strife and in the further decay of the relationship between work and wealth. It means a collapsing standard of living for most people. Turning the one-shot $1,400 into a monthly Guaranteed Basic Income can only be a short-term shuck-and-jive when a loaf of bread goes from $5 to $15 to $50 — which can happen easily, and quickly, too, as lots of “free” money chases crashing productivity. Wait for it.

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And take Bellingcat down with it please.

OPCW Chief Must ‘Find The Courage To Address’ Douma Coverup Allegations (RT)

The scandal surrounding alleged manipulation of scientific data in the chemical weapons watchdog the OPCW, ignored by both the organization and the mainstream media, is only getting worse with time, a pro-whistleblower group said. A new statement from whistleblower-supporting organization the Courage Foundation complains that the leadership of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has failed to properly address accusations of a coverup involving the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018. Instead it tried to “side-step the issue” entirely by targeting directly and apparently indirectly the whistleblowers who brought their concerns about the integrity of the OPCW’s investigation of the incident into public view.

The statement was signed by almost 30 public figures, including author Noam Chomsky, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, and musician and activist Roger Waters. The list also includes multiple scientists, including four former OPCW inspectors, as well as the organization’s founding director, Jose Bustani. “We believe that the interests of the OPCW are best served by the Director General [Fernando Arias] providing a transparent and neutral forum in which the concerns of all the investigators can be heard as well as ensuring that a fully objective and scientific investigation is completed,” the group said.

Arias should “find the courage to address the problems within his organization relating to this investigation and ensure States Parties and the United Nations are informed accordingly. In this way we hope and believe that the credibility and integrity of the OPCW can be restored.” The Douma incident happened in a jihadist-controlled neighbourhood of Damascus, which was on the cusp of being captured by the Syrian government forces at the time. The predominant narrative about it in the Western media was that the Syrian army deployed chlorine gas by dropping canisters from a helicopter, killing scores of civilians as a result. The US, the UK and France launched barrages of missiles at Syrian government targets days later in retaliation for the purported atrocity.

Tucker OPCW
https://twitter.com/i/status/1370571845267681280

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I think Cuomo is going to fight till the end. That’s his mindset.

Andrew Cuomo’s Hilarious ‘Cancel Culture’ Excuse (NYP)

In keeping with his obstinate posture of denial and deflection, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come up with a new excuse for his woes: cancel culture. Yes, Albany’s tyrant, accused now by seven women of sexual harassment, the target of a federal investigation into underreporting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, asked to resign by the majority of New York house Democrats and the National Organization for Women, abandoned by the New York Times, New York magazine and other house organs of the left-leaning media, subject of a just-opened police investigation in Albany — yes, Andrew Cuomo is simply a victim of the woke mob (e.g. crazy, hysterical ladies). “People know the difference between playing to politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth,” Cuomo said Friday afternoon.

This is as laughable as his brother Chris’s claim last week that to cover his brother’s scandals would be journalistically unethical — despite Chris hosting Andrew on CNN constantly during the pandemic’s height. “Politicians who don’t know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are, in my opinion, reckless and dangerous,” Cuomo said. “The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes an opinion without knowing any facts or substance.” Says the man who demanded Eric Schneiderman immediately resign after abuse claims, no investigation necessary. Says the man who insisted that Brett Kavanaugh needed to take a lie detector test.

Clearly, Andrew Cuomo still considers himself America’s hero. Remember “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” — the quickie book he wrote in the middle of this nightmare, New York among the worst-hit in the country, pocketing a reported seven-figure advance despite dead bodies stacked in unrefrigerated trucks and buried in mass graves here? Square that circle.

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“He checks almost every box as a comic subject..”

The Sovietization of the American Press (Taibbi)

The most Soviet of the recent efforts didn’t have a classically Soviet headline. “Comedians are struggling to parody Biden. Let’s hope this doesn’t last,” read the Washington Post opinion piece by Richard Zoglin, arguing that Biden is the first president in generations who might be “impervious to impressionists.” Zoglin contended Biden is “impregnable” to parody, his voice being too “devoid of obvious quirks,” his manner too “muted and self-effacing” to offer comedians much to work with. [..] Forget that the “impregnable to parody” pol spent the last campaign year jamming fingers in the sternums of voters, challenging them to pushup contests, calling them “lying dog-faced pony soldiers,” and forgetting what state he was in. Biden, on the day Zoglin ran his piece, couldn’t remember the name of his Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and referred to the Department of Defense as “that outfit over there”:

It doesn’t take much looking to find comedians like James Adomian and Anthony Atamaniuk ab-libbing riffs on Biden with ease. He checks almost every box as a comic subject, saying inappropriate things, engaging in wacky Inspector Clouseau-style physical stunts (like biting his wife’s finger), and switching back and forth between outbursts of splenetic certainty and total cluelessness. The parody doesn’t even have to be mean — you could make it endearing cluelessness. But to say nothing’s there to work with is bananas. The first 50 days of Biden’s administration have been a surprise on multiple fronts. The breadth of his stimulus suggests a real change from the Obama years, while hints that this administration wants to pick a unionization fight with Amazon go against every tendency of Clintonian politics.

But it’s hard to know what much of it means, because coverage of Biden increasingly resembles official press releases, often featuring embarrassing, Soviet-style contortions. When Biden decided not to punish Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi on the grounds that the “cost” of “breaching the relationship with one of America’s key Arab allies” was too high, the New York Times headline read: “Biden Won’t Penalize Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi’s Killing, Fearing Relations Breach.” When Donald Trump made the same calculation, saying he couldn’t cut ties because “the world is a very dangerous place” and “our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the paper joined most of the rest of the press corps in howling in outrage.

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Some strange people at the Paper of Record.

Criticizing Public Figures is Not Harassment or Abuse (Greenwald)

One of the Paper of Record’s star reporters, Taylor Lorenz, has been much discussed of late. That is so for three reasons. The first is that the thirty-six-year-old tech and culture reporter has helped innovate a new kind of reportorial beat that seems to have a couple of purposes. She publishes articles exploring in great detail the online culture of teenagers and very young adults, which, as a father of two young Tik-Tok-using children, I have found occasionally and mildly interesting. She also seeks to catch famous and non-famous people alike using bad words or being in close digital proximity to bad people so that she can alert the rest of the world to these important findings. It is natural that journalists who pioneer a new form of reporting this way are going to be discussed.

The second reason Lorenz is the topic of recent discussion is that she has been repeatedly caught fabricating claims about influential people, and attempting to ruin the reputations and lives of decidedly non-famous people. In the last six weeks alone, she twice publicly lied about Netscape founder Marc Andreessen: once claiming he used the word “retarded” in a Clubhouse room in which she was lurking (he had not) and then accusing him of plotting with a white nationalist in a different Clubhouse room to attack her (he, in fact, had said nothing).

She also often uses her large, powerful public platform to malign private citizens without any power or public standing by accusing them of harboring bad beliefs and/or associating with others who do. (She is currently being sued by a citizen named Arya Toufanian, who claims Lorenz has used her private Twitter account to destroy her reputation and business, particularly with a tweet that Lorenz kept pinned at the top of her Twitter page for eight months, while several other non-public figures complain that Lorenz has “reported” on their non-public activities). It is to be expected that a New York Times journalist who gets caught lying as she did against Andreessen and trying to destroy the reputations of non-public figures will be a topic of conversation.

The third reason this New York Times reporter is receiving attention is because she has become a leading advocate and symbol for a toxic tactic now frequently used by wealthy and influential public figures (like her) to delegitimize criticisms and even render off-limits any attempt to hold them accountable. Specifically, she and her media allies constantly conflate criticisms of people like them with “harassment,” “abuse” and even “violence.” That is what Lorenz did on Tuesday when she co-opted International Women’s Day to announce that “it is not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I have had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life.” She began her story by proclaiming: “For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment.” She finished it with this: “No one should have to go through this.”

Notably, there was no mention, by her or her many media defenders, of the lives she has harmed or otherwise deleteriously affected with her massive journalistic platform. That is deliberate. Under this formulation, if you criticize the ways Lorenz uses her very influential media perch — including by pointing out that she probably should stop fabricating accusations against people and monitoring the private acts of non-public people — then you are guilty of harassing a “young woman” and inflicting emotional pain and violence on her (it’s quite a bizarre dynamic, best left to psychologists, how her supporters insist on infantilizing this fully grown, close-to-middle-aged successful journalist by talking about her as if she’s a fragile high school junior; it’s particularly creepy when her good male Allies speak of her this way).

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The Green New Deal is for people who don’t understand energy. Or economics.

A Green New Deal Is More Expensive Than Joe Biden Realizes (Mises)

The concept of “net energy” illustrates why replacing fossil fuels with large-scale renewable energy is often counterproductive. In Carbon Shift, a 2009 book discussing peak oil and climate change, David Hughes summarizes it like this: “A two-megawatt windmill contains 260 tonnes of steel requiring 170 tonnes of coking coal and 300 tonnes of iron ore, all mined, transported and produced by hydrocarbons. The question is: how long must a windmill generate energy before it creates more energy than it took to build it? At a good wind site, the energy payback day could be in three years or less; in a poor location, energy payback may be never. That is, a windmill could spin until it falls apart and never generate as much energy as was invested in building it.”

This life-cycle accounting of “energy return on energy invested” (EROEI) succinctly describes multiple stages of intermediate capital within a hydrocarbon-based structure of production. Hughes also hints at the basic questions facing all entrepreneurs—namely, where they should place their investments and how they should configure heterogeneous capital to recoup up-front costs plus some profit or “windfall.” Wind turbines and solar panels do enjoy a wide market in off-grid applications, such as remote farm properties and on oceangoing sailboats, where the abundance of wind and scarcity of petroleum products makes the investment a no-brainer. In sunny parts of the country, solar has reached “grid parity.”

States like Texas, however, have failed to heed considerations of both net energy and supply and demand in installing massive wind farms at great taxpayer expense where fossil fuels would be far cheaper and more reliable. Lacking price signals, the central planner is blind to the economic consequences of his grand designs. The president revealed his ignorance of the technological and economic problem at hand when he stated matter of factly, “We know what to do, we’ve just got to do it.” On the contrary, we have no idea how to create a nonpolluting electrical grid without emitting much more carbon in the process than we otherwise would have.

[..] The Green New Deal is, if anything, a formula for a new dark age. Texas’s recent power outages show the difficulty of the task facing grid managers. There, an attempt to prematurely transition to unreliable wind energy exacerbated the strain on the grid when turbines froze at the crucial moment when they were most needed. The grid managers failed to keep a maintain a sufficient buffer, even without the additional mandate of ensuring the creation of new green jobs and mitigating the discriminatory effects of climate change. It is ironic that a state and nation so rich in natural energy resources would be leading the charge to cancel fossil fuels in favor of technology that has never been proven effective, or even environmentally friendly, at a large scale.

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The Greeks should refuse to be bullied. “I legally bought them from Nazis” is nonsense.

Boris Johnson Says UK ‘Legally’ Obtained Elgin Marbles, Won’t Return Them (RT)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dashed Athens’ hopes of getting back the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles by saying that the British Museum remains their “rightful” owner following “legal” acquisition in the 19th century. The ancient sculptures that once adorned the famed fifth century BC Parthenon temple in Athens were “legally acquired” by the British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, Johnson told the Greek newspaper Ta Nea on Friday. The UK prime minister left no room for the idea of returning the ancient works of art to Greece, saying that although he “understands” the “strong feelings” of the Greeks, he still considers the commissioners of the British Museum in London to be “the rightful owners” of the Elgin Marbles.


“The British government has a firm and long-standing position” on the issue, Johnson – himself a former student of Classical Philology and Philosophy at Oxford, who once called Homer “the greatest writer of all time” and named ancient Greek statesman, Pericles, his “hero” – told Ta Nea. The row between London and Athens over the fate of the sculptures constituting roughly a half of the 160-meter frieze of the ancient temple has come to the fore in the context of post-Brexit trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. The EU demanded the return of “unlawfully removed cultural objects” while London, which quickly linked the demand to the Marbles, said they were “not up for discussion.” The sculptures were taken from Greece, which was under Ottoman Turkish rule at that time, under an agreement Elgin struck with the Ottomans. The Greeks argue they were “stolen” while the British Museum insists it was a “legal contract.”

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Mar 082021
 
 March 8, 2021  Posted by at 10:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  27 Responses »


Grete Stern Sueño No. 27: No destiñe con el agua 1951

 

CDC: Face Masks Have Negligible Impact On Coronavirus Numbers (OAN)
Stay-at-Home Policy Is A Case Of Exception Fallacy (Nature)
World On Brink Of Fourth Wave Of Coronavirus (Hill)
Dutch Virologist Asks Cabinet For More Guts: “Open Terraces And Gyms” (P.)
Pressure To Reopen Greek Society Mounts As Virus Holds (K.)
Leaving UK Now Requires A ‘Special Validation To Travel’ (Calder)
Swiss Voters Support ‘Burqa Ban’ (RT)
Biden’s Historic Victory For America – No Thanks To GOP (CNN)
5 Women Now Accuse Cuomo Of Inappropriate Behavior (NYP)
New York State Senate’s Top Democrat Calls On Cuomo To Resign (F.)
Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Trigger Domino Effect (Sp.)
Approaching Zero Velocity! (CI)
Forget $15 an Hour — the Minimum Wage Should Be $24 (IC)

 

 

Something I’ve noted a few times: the changing definition of herd immunity. Pretty blatant.

 

 

 

The report is here. Sometimes I feel these reports are written with the express intent to confuse. Entirely different conclusions of course ensue.

CDC: Face Masks Have Negligible Impact On Coronavirus Numbers (OAN)

The CDC has admitted face masks do little to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid mounting pressure to lift mask mandates across the U.S. In a new study, the CDC found face masks had a negligible impact on coronavirus numbers that didn’t exceed statistical margins of error. The study found that between March and December 2020, face mask orders reduced infection rates by 1.5 percent over the rolling periods of two months each. The masks were 0.5 percent effective in the first 20 days of the mandates and less than 2 percent effective after 100 days. The CDC added it still recommends wearing face masks, although it admitted such mandates do not make any statistical difference. In the meantime, some states across the nation have slowly returned to normalcy by putting an end to mask mandates.

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Nature, not the least, also has some questions.

Stay-at-Home Policy Is A Case Of Exception Fallacy (Nature)

A recent mathematical model has suggested that staying at home did not play a dominant role in reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second wave of cases in Europe, in regions that were considered as COVID-19 controlled, may raise some concerns. Our objective was to assess the association between staying at home (%) and the reduction/increase in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in several regions in the world. In this ecological study, data from www.google.com/covid19/mobility/, ourworldindata.org and covid.saude.gov.br were combined. Countries with >100 deaths and with a Healthcare Access and Quality Index of ≥ 67 were included.


Data were preprocessed and analyzed using the difference between number of deaths/million between 2 regions and the difference between the percentage of staying at home. The analysis was performed using linear regression with special attention to residual analysis. After preprocessing the data, 87 regions around the world were included, yielding 3741 pairwise comparisons for linear regression analysis. Only 63 (1.6%) comparisons were significant. With our results, we were not able to explain if COVID-19 mortality is reduced by staying at home in ~98% of the comparisons after epidemiological weeks 9 to 34.

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But the WHO stays the panic course.

World On Brink Of Fourth Wave Of Coronavirus (Hill)

A year after the frightening beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the world stands on the brink of a fourth wave of infection as nations race to vaccinate their populations and stave off a new surge in hospitalizations and deaths. Total reported cases rose across the globe in the last week of February after six weeks of decline, driven in part by new, more virulent variants that transmit between people at startlingly higher rates than the initial strains out of Wuhan, China, and northern Italy. “This is disappointing, but not surprising,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters last week. “This is a global crisis that requires a consistent and coordinated global response.”

The United States recorded about 66,000 new cases a day over the last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), down 73 percent from the apex reached in early January and similar to levels of transmission from October. But the precipitous decline of late January and early February has plateaued in recent days, raising fears that a new wave is just around the corner. “We could not have made a more wonderful environment for this virus to take off than we have right now,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Prevention at the University of Minnesota. “We are not driving this tiger, we’re riding it. And the first time we may be able to drive it is with widespread use of the vaccine, and we’re not there yet.”

A total of 107 million doses of the three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration have been shipped to states across the nation, according to CDC data. About 53 million people have received at least one dose, 16 percent of the population, while 27 million have received two doses. The first doses of the one-shot vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson were administered last week. Globally, 115 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed, a quarter — 28.7 million — in the United States. The 518,000 Americans who have died represents about 20 percent of the global death toll. The latest data from the CDC shows 41,000 are still hospitalized.

[..] Some models show an increase in cases just around the corner. One model maintained by the PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows reproduction rates — the measure of how many people are infected by someone who has the virus — rising in three quarters of the counties surveyed. States in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest showed higher transmission rates last week. Several states have loosened restrictions on businesses and gatherings imposed over the summer, even though infections continue at higher levels today than when those mandates were initially put in place. “You’re seeing a lot of states loosening mask restrictions at a point where they’re having more cases per day than they had over the summer when they put the mask restrictions in place,” said Rich Besser, a former CDC director who now runs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “That just doesn’t make sense.”

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A heathen pagan virologist? What’s next?

Dutch Virologist Asks Cabinet For More Guts: “Open Terraces And Gyms” (P.)

Wanted: more risk, more guts with the corona approach. “Not every relaxation should be seen as a step closer to the abyss.” Louis Kroes is not alone in pushing for a less restrictive policy in the corona crisis. But within the world of virologists and epidemiologists, where the emphasis is usually on reducing the number of infections, arguments that criticize the current lockdown are not really common. Nevertheless, as professor of clinical virology (Leiden University Medical Center), Kroes sees room for relaxation. If the omens do not deceive, he will again be disappointed by the cabinet on Monday, which finds the figures in terms of infections and hospital admissions still too worrying. It confirms Kroes’s idea that a “zero-risk policy” is being pursued, in which every corona death is one too many.

“You shouldn’t look for just maximizing this security. You are also not going to stop motorized traffic because there are road deaths every year. A zero-risk policy for IC occupancy is not realistic. ” The alarming forecasts by the RIVM about the British variant of the coronavirus, which in reality has less drastic consequences, confirm in Kroes’ eyes that policymakers and their advisers always assume the worst case. Under that pressure, the Dutch are locked up at home after nine in the evening. According to Kroes, the cabinet assumes “extremely gloomy scenarios with” large margins of uncertainty “. “The simple idea is then: better safe than sorry; just assume the worst case, then it can only be better than expected. But that is also risky.

Because in addition to the group of vulnerable people at risk from the corona virus, there are also the interests of millions of Dutch people who are at risk due to the stringent corona approach. Their health suffers from passivity, for entrepreneurs income is at stake, for pupils and students their future, people become lonely. You have to take those risks into account. ” Kroes therefore believes that the margin that he believes there is for easing should be maximized. “I understand the principles of the policy. In the first wave, with the doom of ICU flooding, I found the lockdown understandable. But that extreme scenario is no longer clearly visible. That does not happen overnight either. That is no reason to go to great lengths to contain the pandemic. ”

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Greece can no longer afford the policies that failed so miserably, which they will never admit. Like all other governments. No, it’s the new variants, it’s the young people, it’s general behavior.

I think this is not an incident, but our overall approach to healthcare. We don’t encourage people to be healthy, we don’t prevent illness, we treat them only when they are already sick. Is this just a GDP thing, or does it go deeper?

Pressure To Reopen Greek Society Mounts As Virus Holds (K.)

With health officials unable at the moment to predict when the viral load in Attica and other badly affected areas will start to subside, the government is striving to chart the way forward under pressure from the heavy economic and social toll exacted by successive lockdowns. What is clear is that the ominous daily rates of hospitalizations, intubations and deaths make any plans for the resumption of retail on March 16, immediately after Clean Monday, highly unlikely. Bearing this in mind, the most optimistic scenario for the government foresees the opening of retail stores with limits to the numbers of customers per square meter by the end of the March. This scenario also provides for the opening of restaurants, but only with outdoor seating, some time in April.

What’s more, with the completion of the first round of vaccinations in May, it is hoped that it will be possible to return to some form of normalcy for the economy. Any decision taken will depend on the resilience of the national health system and not so much on the infection rate, which is growing among younger age groups and is likely to continue in the foreseeable future though it is not, however, expected to burden hospitals to a large degree. Although the current restrictive measures are not very different form the ones last March – with the exception that more economic activities are now allowed – they have failed to yield the desired results for two main reasons.

Firstly, because a sense of fatigue has set in among the public, which has also impacted inspection mechanisms. A second reason that has been postulated is that, compared to last March, fear of the coronavirus has subsided, especially among younger people. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ aides say that the rationale behind not adopting a tough general lockdown and why an attempt will be made to open retail and then catering is that the financial costs of supporting workers and businesses affected by the existing constraints are already untenable. The 2021 budget provided €7.5 billion for support measures. However, the relevant budget has already reached €11.5 billion. At the same time, only from the suspension of the operation of the retail trade, the state is losing about €1.1 to €1.2 billion per month in revenues.

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“Americans who wish to travel to North Korea are obliged to do just that.”

Leaving UK Now Requires A ‘Special Validation To Travel’ (Calder)

Imagine being told you must have a “special validation to travel”. Americans who wish to travel to North Korea are obliged to do just that. Prospective visitors, says the US State Department, must also “discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets, funeral wishes, etc” and “draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries”. That’s enough to make you lose the will to travel. Which is exactly what the UK’s home secretary had in mind when she decided to impose a special validation to travel on anyone seeking to leave the country. “There are still too many people coming in and out of our country each day,” Priti Patel told parliament in January.

UK residents are entitled to return home, making the inbound portion of that “too many” difficult to suppress – though deterrents such as the prospect of hotel quarantine are working some magic. Instead, the home secretary set about increasing controls on anyone seeking to leave the UK. She decided to impose a requirement for a “Declaration to Travel” – a very British version of that “special validation”. With just 58 hours remaining before it became a criminal offence even to turn up at an airport, railway station or ferry port without a completed form, the document was finally published. It does not involve a side order of custody of children, funeral wishes and a last will and testament – though given the increasingly draconian travel restrictions put in place by the government, I wouldn’t have put it past them.

Ms Patel calls the Declaration to Travel “a necessary step to protect the public and our world-class vaccination programme”. I call it the antithesis of the “Global Britain” for which we are expected to strive after Brexit – as well as an unnecessary and alarming extension of the government’s powers. The four UK nations share a perfectly powerful law at present: stay at home, and venture outside only if you can claim exemption such as caring, shopping for essentials, exercise or education. Heading for an airport and hoping to board a plane somewhere warmer (and possibly less in tune with North Korea) is most definitely not on the list of excuses for being out of the house.

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Brilliant. The Swiss ban face coverings just when their own laws make them mandatory.

Swiss Voters Support ‘Burqa Ban’ (RT)

Covering your face in public for non-medical reasons will become illegal in Switzerland after a proposal dubbed a “burqa ban” was accepted by a narrow margin of voters in a binding national referendum on Sunday.
Supporters of the “burqa ban” have prevailed in the Alpine country, with 51.2 percent being in favor and 48.8 percent being against, official data showed after votes were counted. In line with the Swiss system of direct democracy, the country’s constitution will now be amended to forbid face coverings in public places for all but three specific reasons. The legislation, which had been promoted by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) since 2016, did not mention Islam directly and was claimed by proponents to be aimed at preventing violent rioters from hiding their identities.


It was nonetheless dubbed the “burqa ban” by the media and politicians due to also restricting the face coverings worn by Muslim women. Back in 2009, the SVP initiated a referendum on preventing the construction of new minarets in Switzerland, and also won that vote. There are several exceptions to the “burqa ban” – it allows the covering of one’s face for security, climate, or health reasons. As such, it wouldn’t contradict the anti-coronavirus measures that oblige Swiss citizens to wear face masks in public places, on public transport, and in indoor workspaces. Muslim women would also be allowed to don burqas and niqabs in places of worship. By greenlighting the ban, Switzerland has joined France, where full-face veils in public were outlawed in 2011, and such countries as Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Bulgaria, where full or partial bans on face coverings are currently in place. Two Swiss cantons had already introduced similar restrictions on burqas some years back.

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Meanwhile, in CNN’s parallel universe, there’s apparently also a parallel president….

Biden’s Historic Victory For America – No Thanks To GOP (CNN)

President Joe Biden is on the cusp of a major legislative victory. If all goes according to plan and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is signed into law, Biden will have scored an early triumph in his presidency. The Covid-19 relief bill will provide a wide range of benefits, from direct payments to American families, money for vaccine development and distribution, small business relief, more substantial subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, a child tax credit, a higher Earned Income Tax Credit, federal funds for state and local governments and much more. Given the scale and scope of this measure, it is an accomplishment that will cement Biden’s historic role in overseeing the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite last minute concessions to appease moderate Democrats on Friday night, as journalist Ezra Klein tweeted, “This still looks like the most ambitious and progressive economic package Congress has passed in my lifetime. It will do more to cut poverty, and push full employment, than anything else I’ve covered.” So far, it looks like Biden has learned some important lessons on how to deal with the modern Republican Party. After Biden watched congressional Republicans obstruct the agenda of his former boss, Barack Obama, he saw Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, whose presidency was capped off with a violent insurrection against Congress, expose the radicalization of the GOP.

[..] There were certainly defeats along the way. The amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 failed. On Friday night, Senate Democrats finally won over Sen. Joe Manchin — a moderate Democrat who threatened to derail the relief bill — by dropping the bid to increase unemployment benefits from $300 a week to $400. To satisfy moderate Democrats, Biden had also agreed to narrow the income eligibility for the $1400 stimulus checks, cutting off couples who earn more than $160,000 a year or individuals who earn more than $80,000 a year. But most of the package has remained intact. While Biden was certainly open to Republican support, he did not cater to their demands in the elusive hope that they would join him.

Read more …

Drip drip.

5 Women Now Accuse Cuomo Of Inappropriate Behavior (NYP)

Two more women came forward Saturday to accuse Gov. Cuomo of sexually harassing behavior, including a former press aide who describes struggling to free herself from his repeated hugs, and a young assistant who now says he left her feeling like “just a skirt.” Former press aide Karen Hinton endured a “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate” embrace from Cuomo in a dimly lit Los Angeles hotel room in December 2000, she told the Washington Post. The married Hinton pulled away, but “he pulls me back for another intimate embrace,” she told the paper. “I thought at that moment it could lead to a kiss, it could lead to other things, so I just pull away again, and I leave.” At the time, Cuomo led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A current rep for Cuomo strongly denied Hinton’s allegation to the newspaper, claiming “this did not happen.”


Hinton’s claims are made all the more startling given that her husband is lobbyist Howard Glaser, a longtime Cuomo ally and confidante who worked as his director of state operations and senior policy advisor until 2014. The other new accuser, Ana Liss, a policy and operations aide who worked for the governor from 2013 to 2015, said he’d behaved inappropriately while on the job in Albany. The governor called her “sweetheart” and asked if she had a boyfriend, Liss recalled to the Wall Street Journal. Liss said Cuomo touched her on her lower back during an event, once kissed her hand and asked her if she was dating. “It’s not appropriate, really, in any setting,” she told the newspaper. Liss is the third former state employee and fourth woman overall to accuse the governor of varying degrees of sexual harassment. Hinton brings the total of accusers to five.

Read more …

“Cuomo Says There’s ‘No Way’ He’ll Resign After Fifth Accuser Comes Forward”

New York State Senate’s Top Democrat Calls On Cuomo To Resign (F.)

The top-ranking democrats who lead New York’s State Senate and State Assembly both signaled Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) should resign following a wave of new allegations from two of the governor’s former aides. New York State Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement Sunday afternoon that Cuomo “must resign” for “the good of the state,” adding: “Everyday there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government. State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said soon after that he shared the sentiment of Stewart-Cousins “regarding the governor’s ability to continue to lead this state.” “We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” Heastie said.

These statements from the top-ranking democrats come hours after Cuomo, speaking to reporters on a phone call prompted by the new allegations from two former aides (compounding allegations from three other women over the past few weeks), reiterated that he has no plans to resign. “I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” Cuomo said during a Sunday afternoon phone presser, asking the public to wait until the New York Attorney General’s office finishes its investigation into the claims. Cuomo called the new allegations from Karen Hinton—one of the governor’s former press aides—that he called her to his hotel room and acted inappropriately toward her after a work event in 2000 “not true,” labeling Hinton a “long-time political adversary of mine.”

Responding to separate allegations from Anna Liss, another former aide, who said she felt patronized and diminished by the governor, recounting questions about her love life, Cuomo kissing her hand and touching her lower back at a reception, Cuomo said he would often engage in “friendly banter” with staff, but did not have malicious intent.

Read more …

“As a member of one of New York’s best known political dynasties, Cuomo is a protected species..”

“I personally find it difficult to imagine such a deeply entrenched political animal of the swamp variety facing any serious repercussion..”

Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Trigger Domino Effect (Sp.)

Andrew Cuomo has found himself in a heap of trouble over long-term care facility residents’ COVID-related deaths and sexual harassment allegations. Although Cuomo is not going to resign, his cases may have repercussions for his political future and hit Democratic governors who issued similar nursing home orders during the pandemic. On 5 March, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose time in office has recently been mired by two separate scandals, was stripped of emergency powers by the Democratic-dominated state legislature. The same day, the Democratic majority’s leader in New York’s state Senate said that the governor should resign if “any further people” come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.

Five women have made sexual harassment or bullying claims against Cuomo so far. NY Attorney General Letitia James has requested that the governor and his staff preserve all records that may be relevant to the sexual harassment probe. A day earlier, The New York Times broke that top members of Gov. Cuomo’s COVID-19 taskforce rewrote a report from the state’s health department to hide the real number of deaths among nursing home residents last June. The FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are investigating the governor’s handling of nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to an 18 February ABC News report. Although Cuomo has repeatedly tried to downplay both scandals, he has nevertheless hired Elkan Abramowitz, a prominent criminal defence lawyer and former federal prosecutor, to represent his office in the investigation into New York’s misreporting of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

Hiring a prominent criminal defence attorney is an indication that Governor Cuomo is taking the growing scandal seriously, suggests Jason Goodman, US investigative journalist and Crowdsource the Truth founder. “So far, no significant information about the probe has been revealed to the public beyond the fact that it is underway or at least being contemplated”, Goodman says. “It is difficult to say at this point what federal prosecutors may do or what determinations may be made”. Still, one needs to keep in mind that previously Andrew Cuomo served as the state’s attorney general, the secretary of housing and urban development, and campaign manager for his own father’s gubernatorial campaign, so he likely knows or has worked with many of those who would be investigating him, according to Goodman.

“I personally find it difficult to imagine such a deeply entrenched political animal of the swamp variety facing any serious repercussions”, the journalist remarks. Previously, Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who exposed General Electric’s massive financial discrepancies in 2008, raised serious questions about Cuomo’s non-profit, Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged, but no investigation has come about, Goodman recalls. “As a member of one of New York’s best known political dynasties, Cuomo is a protected species”, the journalist adds.

Read more …

Money ain’t moving anywhere.

Approaching Zero Velocity! (CI)

Since its creation in 1913, The Federal Reserve has helped obliterate the purchasing power of the US Dollar.

And just wait for Biden’s $1.9 trillion in government spending (the first of many) to hit the economy.


Now you can see why investors seek out gold, silver, Bitcoin and other sources of protection from The Federal Reserve.

Read more …

Inequality explained.

Forget $15 an Hour — the Minimum Wage Should Be $24 (IC)

The coronavirus pandemic relief bill passed by the House of Representatives this week would raise the federal minimum wage in steps until it reached $15 an hour in 2025. But an increase in the minimum wage has been removed from the Senate’s legislation. At least for now, it is stuck at $7.25. This is bad enough in itself, but even worse is that almost no Americans understand how low we’ve allowed our aspirations to become. Our country’s productivity gains in recent decades should have translated into a minimum wage today of $24 an hour — and by 2025, it should be almost $30. This may sound preposterous. But in fact, U.S. society was once on a path to this destination. We simply chose to step off that path.

From both a moral and practical perspective, the minimum wage should go up in step with the productivity of the U.S. economy — that is, our ever-increasing ability to create more wealth with the same amount of work. Morally, as a country grows richer, everyone should share in the increased wealth. Practically, companies that sell things need lots of people with the money to buy them. We know that this can work because it already did. During the 30 years from the establishment of a minimum wage in 1938 to 1968, Congress repeatedly upped the minimum wage so that it did in fact go up hand in hand with U.S. productivity. By the end of that period, it was worth the equivalent of $12 per hour today.

Since 1968, American productivity has substantially increased. Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, points out that if the minimum wage had gone up at the same rate, it would now be over $24. At that level, as Baker says, a couple who both worked full time at minimum-wage jobs would take home $96,000 a year. Baker also calculates that by 2025, rising productivity would bring the minimum wage close to $30 an hour. But instead we’ve gone in the other direction. After the late 1960s, Congress stopped raising the minimum wage in step with productivity. Instead, over the past 50 years, Congress has allowed the minimum wage to plummet in real terms. That is, minimum-wage workers of the past were actually paid more than minimum-wage workers make today — even though today’s workers live in a much richer society.

Indeed, since 1950, the hourly minimum wage has almost never been lower than it is now. Of course, 1950 is literally a lifetime ago, and the U.S. is now a completely different country. Our per capita GDP is now four times greater.

Read more …

 

 

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Feb 042021
 


John William Godward Dolce Far Niente (Sweet Idleness, or A Pompeian Fishpond) 1904

 

 

One year into the continuing COVID emergency, it’s high time to ask questions about the “legal status” of various measures and restrictions applied by various governments- as well as their other policies. Having those questions asked out in the open is good for everyone, not least for the governments themselves. If only because a government doesn’t make law, it is only supposed to abide by it while governing.

Which means the law has to be tested by courts. That someone would have to start a court case to do this in these unusual and “extreme” times is already a step too far; courts should take that upon themselves (and I know, courts don’t usually do that). Whenever a government announces another measure or restriction, its legality should be tested immediately. It is not a good sign that this hardly appears to happen. The government itself should initiate the process.

Imagine if a court waits a year or more to issue an opinion on the measures, and finds -some of- them to be illegal. How do you explain that to people, as a government, or as a court? People who’ve lost their jobs, their savings, their businesses, and are then told it was all illegal to begin with?! Nobody should want that mess.

 

Much of what governments decide is presented as being justified by the term “emergency”. But this particular “emergency” has lasted for a year now, and you could begin by asking a court how long an “emergency” can and should be able to last. Also, what extra powers can a government claim just because it chooses to label something an emergency? Before you know it, it starts to feel like a dictatorship.

Applicable legislation will differ from country to country, but there is little doubt that in most western democracies, laws concerning the legal powers of a government will be quite similar. If only because they copied from each other all the time. Governments do all appear to think they have a lot of power, though, and I personally would like to see where that power is engraved in their respective laws, and what part of it is truly democratic.

A bit of an aside, something I’ve talked about multiple times, and something I think perhaps originates in legal overreach: Our societies appear to have become one dimensional (never a good idea) : governments act as if there is only one problem, COVID, and discard all others, cancers, mental health, economic bereavement.

Also one dimensional: the only response to COVID is a vaccine; all other possible responses are ignored. This is curious in a 3-dimensional world, though perhaps not in a one dimensional one. Still, even there too, the law must be tested.

 

Back to legal issues: Does a government have the legal standing to force millions of people not to work, millions of businesses not to open, millions of kids not to go to school? My answer would be: perhaps, but certainly never before they’ve exhausted every single other avenue to solve the problem they seek to solve.

And that is something no government I’ve seen has done. Still, what does the law say? If and when you, as a government, allow an emergency to last for a year, then what part of the blame for that falls on you?

For instance, none have attempted to boost the immune systems of their citizens, they’ve simply put facemasks on weak immune systems. But COVID is a disease that attacks weaknesses in the immune system. And we know most westerners have a vitamin D deficiency, especially in winter, which hugely weakens their immune systems. Still, governments declare month after month of lockdowns and measures without having provided adequate vitamin D, which is dirt cheap, to their citizens, and then tell them to go get vaccinated, or else.

And there’s more: Professor of Medicine Dr Peter McCullough says: “..the virus invades inside cells, so we have to use drugs that go inside the cell and work to reduce viral replication“. “The drugs that work within the cell and actually reduce viral replication are hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, doxycycline and azithromycin” Have you seen those drugs made available, let alone promoted, where you live?

You don’t even have to make vitamin D and ivermectin mandatory to make them work, people will take them voluntarily. Plenty studies say that boosting your vitamin D levels decreases your risk of getting infected with COVID as well as dying from it by 50% or more. And then you take it from there: things will add up: 50% now, becomes 50%+x next week, and so on. Who needs a vaccine at all? And that’s before you even mention ivermectin, of which Dr Pierre Kory said: “If you take ivermectin, you won’t get sick”. As in: end of story, end of problem.

 

Whether a government can make a vaccine mandatory is questionable to begin with. But a vaccine that hasn’t been approved, other than through an emergency authorization, and for which proper research won’t be completed for at least two-three years? What is the legal basis for that? On top of that, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA technology that has never before been tested on humans. How do you legally make those mandatory? How slippery is this legal scale, and how far have we already slid down it?

And then we want to issue vaccination passports to prove people have had a jab or two of these untested things? Look, they may well work, but we don’t know that, and we won’t for quite some time. But in the meantime we still want to curtail people’s freedom of movement for not getting an untested vaccine?

These questions have nothing to do with anti-vaxxers, if anything they’re about blind pro-vaxxers. And about the law. Go ask a judge, go ask the highest court in your land, what their respective laws say about this situation.

 

The following, sent to me by a friend, is from a Greek lady, Nelly Psarrou, who has a background in Political science and Law. She’s asking the questions in her country that everybody should ask in theirs. You can’t let a government absorb emergency powers without asking these questions. It is too dangerous.

 

 

Whether or not you get vaccinated, get informed!

 

1. Vaccination, like any medical action, requires citizen consent. Consent is not regarded as valid if it is not fully informed, nor “if it is the result of deceit, fraud or threat, or conflicts with the demands of decency” (Medical Code of Ethics, Greek law 3418/2005). Failing this, the consent is waived and the person/body who has exerted the pressure or extortion to vaccinate is subject to penal sanctions and/or civil damages in the event of harm.

2. Vaccination is not a prerequisite for the exercise of any other institutional requirement, such as education or otherwise recognized basic right such as the right to employment and free movement. Correspondingly, no private company has the legal authority to impose restrictions violating citizens’ constitutional rights. Discrimination and Stigmatization are forbidden (Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, UNESCO). Moreover, imposition of a medical action in any manner constitutes torture and is illegal.

3. Non-consensual participation by citizens in medical research is specifically forbidden, as prescribed by the Nuremberg Code instituted following the trial of the Nazi-collaborator doctors. Any coercion of people to participate in research transforms them into experimental animals and amounts to a reintroduction of Nazi practices and crimes on a public health pretext.

The COVID19 vaccine has an emergency licence (not final approval), which means that research and clinical studies are still under way (they are to be completed in 2023)! It is INVESTIGATIONAL, as declared by the companies themselves, and any forced vaccination with it by any means (legal obligation, extortion, fraud) falls in the category of coercion in research, which is BANNED under numerous laws and international agreements and has penal and civil consequences.

4. As indicated by doctors and companies, the vaccines HAVE NOT BEEN STUDIED to determine whether they reduce viral infection or to ascertain the duration of immunity and/or the effects of their interaction with other drugs or vaccines. Therefore, neither are other people protected from infection by the virus, nor will restrictions be lifted – as is now announced.

5. The measures themselves which have been imposed are both illegal and unscientific. They are illegal in so far as they impose medical actions (e.g. the mask), they impose individual administrative measures restricting freedoms without individual legal mandate (Article 5 of the Constitution) and THEY ARE NOT EMERGENCY AND TEMPORARY (for example since June everybody talks about a second wave of viral infection, and this has already lasted for months).

The measures are unscientific in many ways. Specifically a) they ignore the strengthening of primary health care, which is demanded by all scientific specialists. b) they impose lockdown, which is classifiable, from a medical viewpoint, as a criminal policy (it does not reduce infections and it increases mortality from other causes, worsening health overall – mental illness, cancellation of programmed examinations and operations, c) they impose masks (which is a medical action) outdoors, which does not provide protection against the virus as they themselves assert: “they are a “symbolic measure”, a slogan which says MASKS EVERYWHERE! ) d) they focus on vaccination as the only solution, instead of including the existing possibility of effective treatment with pharmaceutical drugs.

6. From the moment that vaccinations started, serious side-effects have already been recorded, auto-immune reactions but also deaths, which are, however, attributed to underlying conditions. The provision of new vaccines stopped immediately, the official justification being the impossibility of production – which had just commenced. At the same time doctors working with the government as advisors are evidently in receipt of funding from the same companies that are producing the vaccines: that amounts to, and/or would amount to, “conflict of interest”. Finally, the Prime Minister has claimed falsely that vaccination is voluntary, yet as early as 25/2/2020 the Parliament had voted the relevant laws: they are simply not in a position yet to enforce them because they do not have the vaccines.

What is most important is that citizens are denied information and doctors of alternative persuasion are muzzled, ridiculed and hounded! The mass media have already been paid for spreading this disinformation, with the 40 million euros “for strengthening information on the Corona virus” and the writing off of 30 million euros of debt. And we know that information is the most precious value in a society of freely thinking citizens. This, informing our fellow human beings is the number one priority and a socially responsible action. Seek out the information and disseminate it freely.

1. For all the above, articles with data: www.nellypsarrou.com
2. The views of numerous specialists: Radio Crete (the programs of the journalist Sachinis (in Greek) https://www.youtube.com/user/984radio

 

 

As for point 6 and 7, I think it’s not very useful to claim doctors and media are being paid off, without linking to evidence you have of that. Stick with the legal issues if you can’t.

And the legal issues raised by Nelly Psarrou look strong. Time for a lawyer and a court.

 

 

 

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Jan 062021
 


Georgia O’Keeffe Street of New York II 1926

 

The Assange Verdict: What Happens Now (Craig Murray)
Will Biden DOJ Pursue Assange Extradition? Outgoing Prosecutor Isn’t Sure (NRP)
2 People Die In Norway Nursing Home Days After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine (RT)
Rate Of Adverse Reactions To COVID Vaccines 50x Higher Than Flu Shot (ZH)
Peru Clashes With Pfizer Over Legal Immunity For Vaccine Side Effects (RT)
Wuhan Coronavirus Infections 10 Times Higher Than Reported (NI)
Australia Says China Should Allow In WHO Covid Investigators (G.)
China Arrests US Lawyer During “Massive Crackdown” In Hong Kong (ZH)
The US Has Lost More Than 110,000 Restaurants (Snyder)
Biden To Tap More Obama Vets To Fill Key National Security Roles
Biden Taps Architect of 2014 Ukraine Coup for State Department (Antiwar)
Catastrophe Is All Around Us (AIER)
More Than 1.5 Billion Face Masks Will Pollute Oceans This Year (NYP)
US Doctor Forgives $650,000 In Medical Bills For Cancer Patients (BBC)

 

 

If Julian Assange’s bail is denied today, that will be a huge disappointment for many people. Craig Murray doesn’t think it will be denied, because the US appeal risks opening can of worms for them.

 

 

Big day for Assange, big day also for Trump?!

 

 

Tulsi Kamala

 

 

Murray remains very optimistic.

The Assange Verdict: What Happens Now (Craig Murray)

I am not sure that at this stage the High Court would accept a new guarantee from the USA that Assange would not be kept in isolation or in a Supermax prison; that would be contrary to the affidavit from Assistant Secretary of State Kromberg and thus would probably be ruled to amount to new evidence. Not to mention that Baraitser heard other evidence that such assurances had been received in the case of Abu Hamza, but had been broken. Hamza is not only kept in total isolation, but as a man with no hands he is deprived of prosthetics that would enable him to brush his teeth, and he has no means of cutting his nails nor assistance to do so, and cannot effectively wipe himself in the toilet. Not only is it hard to see the point of law on which the USA could launch an appeal, it is far from plain that they have a motive to do so.

Baraitser agreed with all the substantive points of argument put forward by the US government. She stated that there was no bar on extradition from the UK for political offences; she agreed that publication of national security material did constitute an offence in the USA under the Espionage Act and would do so in the UK under the Official Secrets Act, with no public interest defence in either jurisdiction; she agreed that encouraging a source to leak classified information is a crime; she agreed Wikileaks’ publications had put lives at risk. On all of these points she dismissed virtually without comment all the defence arguments and evidence. As a US Justice Department spokesman said yesterday: “While we are extremely disappointed in the court’s ultimate decision, we are gratified that the United States prevailed on every point of law raised.

In particular, the court rejected all of Mr Assange’s arguments regarding political motivation, political offence, fair trial, and freedom of speech. We will continue to seek Mr Assange’s extradition to the United States.” That is a fair categorisation of what happened. Appealing a verdict that is such a good result for the United States does not necessarily make sense for the Justice Department. Edward Fitzgerald explained to me yesterday that, if the USA appeals the decision on the health and prison condition grounds, it becomes open to the defence to counter-appeal on all the other grounds, which would be very desirable indeed given the stark implications of Baraitser’s ruling for media freedom. I have always believed that Baraitser would rule as she did on the substantial points, but I have always also believed that those extreme security state arguments would never survive the scrutiny of better judges in a higher court.

Unlike the health ruling, the dispute over Baraitser’s judgement on all the other points does come down to classic errors in law which can successfully be argued on appeal. If the USA does appeal the judgement, it is far more likely that not only will the health grounds be upheld, but also that Baraitser’s positions on extradition for political offences and freedom of the media will be overturned, than it is likely that the US will achieve extradition. They have fourteen days in which to lodge the appeal – now thirteen. An appeal result is in short likely to be humiliating for the USA. It would be much wiser for the US to let sleeping dogs lie. But pride and the wound to the US sense of omnipotence and exceptionalism may drive them to an appeal which, for the reasons given above, I would actually welcome provided Julian is out on bail. Which I expect he shall be shortly.

Read more …

Not sure the DOJ has much say in this.

Will Biden DOJ Pursue Assange Extradition? Outgoing Prosecutor Isn’t Sure (NRP)

The federal prosecutor seeking to try WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Espionage Act charges said he’s uncertain about whether the administration of President-elect Joe Biden would continue the extradition effort. Zachary Terwilliger, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, pointed out that the Assange case had already consumed years of work by line prosecutors and other officials. A judge in the United Kingdom dealt American prosecutors a blow Monday by rejecting their efforts to transfer Assange to the United States, citing his mental health troubles. The Justice Department pledged that it would appeal — a process that could drag on for months, if not longer. That means the issue of how to handle Assange, accused in one of the largest compromises of classified information in history, will be one of many questions for the new leadership team at the Justice Department.


“It will be very interesting to see what happens with this case,” Terwilliger said. “There’ll be some decisions to be made. Some of this does come down to resources and where you’re going to focus your energies.” For its part, the Biden transition didn’t comment directly on what position it would take in the Assange matter. But a spokesperson pointed out that Biden has called for an independent Justice Department in his administration. Terwilliger spoke to NPR on one of his final days in government service. Later this month, he’s set to join the law firm Vinson & Elkins. Terwilliger, 39, will beef up the firm’s white collar crime practice, after spending his entire career –a dozen years — on the other side of the courtroom as a career prosecutor and political appointee at the Justice Department.

Read more …

These reports keep coming in.

2 People Die In Norway Nursing Home Days After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine (RT)

The Norwegian Medicines Agency has announced that two nursing home residents passed away days after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and that an investigation has been launched into the deaths. “We have to assess whether the vaccine is the cause of death, or if it is a coincidence that it happened soon after vaccination,” Medical Director Steiner Madsen said in a statement about the deaths. He also noted that, because people of advanced age are receiving the vaccine first, it is entirely possible the deaths could be coincidental. Around 400 people die every week in Norwegian nursing homes.


The agency, along with the National Institute of Public Health, are looking into the deaths. Reported side effects from the vaccine have been minor and temporary, although there have been reports of allergic reactions in the US and UK among people who had a history of such. Numerous government officials have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including US Vice President Mike Pence. Vaccinations with the drug began in Norway on December 27.

Read more …

That’s a lot.

Rate Of Adverse Reactions To COVID Vaccines 50x Higher Than Flu Shot (ZH)

With reports this morning of another otherwise-healthy patient dying suddenly after receiving her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, many skeptics in both Europe and the US still have serious reservations about the jabs, even as big pharma and their allies in the US and British governments insist that they are 100% safe. Everyone claiming otherwise is not only wrongheaded, but acting in a deliberately malicious manner. This is why commentary like a video posted by DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach where he questions the sky-high efficacy numbers published after the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech trials has elicited such vehement repudiation.

However, as new questions about efficacy and timing arise, independent journalist Alex Berenson, one of the most prominent skeptics of lockdowns and masks in the US, noted in a twitter thread earlier on Tuesday that the percentage of patients experiencing severe or potentially life-threatening reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines could be much higher than the data collected by the CDC are letting on. The CDC’s VAERS reporting system was set up to track vaccine-related injury, Most patients can expect to experience some kind of adverse reaction, but for the vast majority of patients, symptoms will be relatively mild and clear up within a couple of days.

But amid a rush of reports about patient deaths, Berenson points out that the number of patients seeing serious complications per the number of doses distributed is roughly 50x higher than the rate of ‘adverse’ reactions caused by the flu vaccine. Berenson also speculated that this number might be even higher due to possible delays in updating the CDC’s data sets. This would seemingly confirm rates of adverse reactions seen during clinical trials. What’s more, clinical trials, generally speaking, tend to “UNDERSTATE” unpleasant or unwanted side effects, while they “OVERSTATE” the drug’s efficacy.

Read more …

“it is quite clear that they are not responsible for any side effects. If you become an alligator, it’s your problem.”

Peru Clashes With Pfizer Over Legal Immunity For Vaccine Side Effects (RT)

Peru has reached an impasse with Pfizer as it negotiates a deal for a Covid-19 vaccine, the country’s health minister said, citing a conflict over legal immunity for the pharma firm that could undermine Peru’s sovereignty. While officials have remained in “constant contact” with Pfizer since the summer, the talks ran into trouble last month amid “controversy” over some clauses of the agreement, including those linked to pricing and delivery, as well as legal immunities for the pharmaceutical giant in the case its inoculation leads to death or injury, health minister Pilar Mazzetti told lawmakers on Tuesday. “With Pfizer there are some details where there is no agreement,” Mazzetti said, adding “This has to do with prices and the delivery schedule” as well as “the waiving of important elements such as … jurisdictional immunity.”

“It is true that one needs the vaccine but it is also true that there are aspects related to aspects of our sovereignty that the country has to protect … it has to do with risk for future generations.” The health chief noted that since most aspects of the negotiations are protected under a confidentiality agreement, she could not offer further detail on the ongoing row, but assured that the talks continue. “We hope that the controversy will be resolved so we will be able to determine when the vaccine will arrive,” she went on. Though the country announced a final deal with Pfizer for nearly 10 million vaccine doses in late November, Mazzetti said the process stalled after some clauses in the agreement required “more in-depth analysis” to determine whether they are compatible with Peruvian law.

The Latin American nation is not the first to voice concerns about legal liability waivers in their talks with the pharma firm, with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro observing last month that “it is quite clear that they are not responsible for any side effects. If you become an alligator, it’s your problem.” Officials in Argentina have raised similar worries. As the liability concerns become a major obstacle for some nations, the World Bank said on Tuesday that it is working with over 100 countries to address the issue, whether through local legislative efforts or other processes. The World Bank Group’s president, David Malpass, also noted that the agency aims to distribute $160 billion in resources by June to help developing countries obtain immunizations and fight the pandemic.

Read more …

Surprised?

Wuhan Coronavirus Infections 10 Times Higher Than Reported (NI)

Roughly half a million residents of Wuhan—the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic is believed to have originated—may have been infected with the virus, a figure that is about ten times higher than what was initially reported. The study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed more than thirty-four thousand people in April, and it eventually discovered that 4.4 percent of those tested were found to be carrying the antibodies for the coronavirus. The presence of antibodies means that individuals, at one point in time, had been carriers of the virus. As of Sunday, Wuhan, which has a population of 11 million, had reported a total of 50,354 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.


The Chinese CDC noted that the study was conducted a month after China “contained the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.” The study also indicated that the infection rate in Wuhan was significantly higher than in other major cities and provinces. For example, it revealed that only 0.44 percent of Hubei residents were found to be carrying the antibodies. “Exactly how much we have missed we don’t exactly know, but this gives us an idea that we have missed quite a bit,” Ian Mackay, an associated professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, told the South China Morning Post. Song Fujian, of Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in Britain, told the paper that “given the chaotic situation and limited testing capability during the early phase of the epidemic in Wuhan,” the serological survey results might be “more accurate than the reported number of confirmed cases.”

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It’s only been a year.

Australia Says China Should Allow In WHO Covid Investigators (G.)

The Australian government has called on China to allow a visit by World Health Organization experts investigating how the coronavirus pandemic started, insisting the country should grant them visas “without delay”. Canberra raised its concerns on Wednesday over reports that Chinese authorities had blocked the arrival of a WHO team investigating the early cases of Covid-19 in Wuhan. With China arguing the team’s visas had not yet been approved, even as some members of the group were on their way to the country, the development has heightened fears among Australian politicians about whether the WHO mission will be able to uncover answers needed to better prepare the world for the next pandemic.


The Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, said she hoped “that the necessary permissions for the WHO team’s travel to China can be issued without delay”. Speaking after months of rocky relations between the two countries, partly triggered by Australia’s calls for such an investigation, Payne said Australia had “consistently sought transparency in relation to the origins of, and responses to the coronavirus, as have other countries”. “The WHO-convened scientific study is an important part of this work and we look forward to the findings from the international field mission to China,” she said. “During this global pandemic that has affected all countries, international cooperation and partnerships will maximise our ability to respond, and to equip us for the next pandemic.”

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53 arrests reported. Including activists’ lawyers.

China Arrests US Lawyer During “Massive Crackdown” In Hong Kong (ZH)

Update 11:00pm ET: In what would be a shocking development, Bloomberg reports that during its “massive crackdown” purging countless local activists and politicians, the Hong Kong police – i.e. China – has arrested American Lawyer, John Clancey, using as a pretext the National Security Law, which everyone warned China would use as strawman to crack down on Hong Kong citizens and activists. Well, it now appears that the emboldened Beijing – which is delighted by the ascent of pro-China pushover Joe Biden to the White House – is also using that law to arrest American citizens.

H.K. ARRESTS AMERICAN LAWYER JOHN CLANCEY, COLLEAGUE SAYS
CLANCEY ARRESTED UNDER NATIONAL SECURITY LAW: COLLEAGUE

In response, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sent out a harshly worded tweet, warning China that the “Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy.” We eagerly await to see just what the Blinken Biden administration will do, besides tweeting angrily in China’s general direction, to secure release of an American citizen unjustly arrested by Chinese proxies in Hong Kong.

Earlier: “Massive Crackdown”: Hong Kong Police Arrest Dozens Of Politicians & Activists 2021 is less than a week old and already Beijing is ramping up its efforts to suppress what’s left of the pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong. Right now, China hawks are preoccupied right now by a number of issues: the disappearance of Jack Ma (note: CNBC claims the Alibaba founder is just “laying low”), Beijing’s refusal to allow international investigators inside the Wuhan Institue of Virology and, finally, the CCP’s abusive treatment of China’s Uyghur Muslim minority. Now, less than two months after the last 19 members of the HK LegCo’s pro-democracy opposition quit en masse over Beijing’s demands that they swear a loyalty oath to uphold the new national security law and the supremacy of the CCP, Hong Kong police have rounded up dozens of pro-democracy activists.

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“..more than 500,000 restaurants of every business type — franchise, chain and independent — are in an economic free fall.”

The US Has Lost More Than 110,000 Restaurants (Snyder)

The restaurant industry is in the midst of a complete and total meltdown that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before. If you ask Google how many restaurants there are in the United States, it will tell you that there are 660,755, although that number is a few years old. But for the purposes of this article, that is a good enough estimate. Americans love to eat out, and restaurant workers are some of the hardest working people in the entire country. So it is incredibly sad to see more restaurants constantly going under. In some cases, restaurants that have served their communities for decades are deciding to permanently close their doors. For example, over the weekend Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse in New York City announced that it had finally reached the end of the road…

[..] Unfortunately, Sammy’s is far from alone. In fact, in a recent article that he penned for Fox Business, Adam Piper lamented the fact that more than 100,000 U.S. restaurants have gone out of business during this pandemic… “State and local governments have wielded the coronavirus pandemic as license to steal freedom and opportunity in pursuit of unprecedented omnipotence. Unreasonable, unnecessary and hypocritical actions have forced over 100,000 restaurants to close and endanger countless others.” And according to Bloomberg, the true number of dead restaurants is now over 110,000… “More than 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently or long-term across the country as the industry grapples with the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Just think about that. More than one out of every six restaurants in the U.S. is already gone, and the National Restaurant Association is warning that there will be more carnage in the months ahead because the industry is in “an economic free fall”… “The restaurant industry simply cannot wait for relief any longer,” Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs at the association, said in a letter to Congress. “What these findings make clear is that more than 500,000 restaurants of every business type — franchise, chain and independent — are in an economic free fall.” This is what an economic depression looks like. With tens of thousands of restaurants sitting empty, and with tens of thousands of others not paying rent, the stage has been set for a commercial real estate disaster of unprecedented scope and size.

Of course there are millions of square feet of office space and retail space that are not being productive right now as well. In a recent article, Lee Adler referred to this looming commercial real estate nightmare as “a monster in the room”… “I think that if there’s anything that illustrates the head in the sand problem of the banks, it’s this. Commercial real estate (CRE) finance. There’s a monster in the room. All that empty space. No longer income producing.” For now, big financial institutions are doing their best to hide their coming losses, but according to Adler for certain sectors the losses will simply be unavoidable… “Multifamily will take a haircut but will survive. My guess is that industrial, while overpriced and overvalued, will produce enough income to get by. Office and retail? Kiss it goodbye. It’s done. Over. Kaput.”

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Victoria Nuland is the worst America has to offer.

Biden To Tap More Obama Vets To Fill Key National Security Roles

President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team have begun to fill out top positions on the incoming National Security Council and at the State Department, with key roles like deputy national security adviser and deputy secretary of State going to veterans of the Obama administration. At the State Department, longtime diplomat Wendy Sherman will be nominated to serve as Secretary of State-designee Tony Blinken’s deputy, according to two people close to the transition. Sherman previously served as under secretary of State for political affairs in the Obama administration and was a lead negotiator for the Iran deal. Sherman is currently a senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, the same firm where Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s pick to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also worked as a senior counselor.

Another veteran diplomat, Victoria Nuland, will be nominated for the role of under secretary of State for political affairs, one of the people said. Nuland also previously served in the Obama administration, as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs. Nuland and Sherman, who entered academia and the think tank world after leaving the Obama administration, have been outspoken critics of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy — particularly his appeasement of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the National Security Council, former State Department official Jon Finer will be named deputy national security adviser, the people said, reporting up to incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Finer, a former journalist, joined the Obama White House as a fellow in 2009 and served in various roles throughout Obama’s tenure, including as a foreign policy speechwriter for Biden and a senior adviser to then-deputy national security adviser Blinken. Finer had been working in political risk and public policy at the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which was co-founded by Blinken’s father, since leaving government in 2017. The key NSC role of senior director for European Affairs will go to Amanda Sloat, a Brookings Institution fellow who served as deputy assistant secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean affairs at the State Department in the Obama administration.

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And Nuland’s co-conspirator Geoffrey Pyatt is now US ambassador here in Greece.

Biden Taps Architect of 2014 Ukraine Coup for State Department (Antiwar)

According to a report from Politico, Joe Biden’s transition team is expected to nominate Victoria Nuland to be the under secretary of state for political affairs for the incoming administration’s State Department. Nuland, who is married to neoconservative Robert Kagan, is known for her role in orchestrating the 2014 coup in Ukraine while she was the assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian affairs in the Obama administration. A recording of a phone call between Nuland and then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was leaked and released on YouTube on February 4th, 2014. In the call, Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should replace the government of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who was forced to step down on February 22nd, 2014.

The US-backed coup sparked the war in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and led to the Russian annexation of Crimea. Both regions have a majority ethnic-Russian population who rejected the nationalist, anti-Russian post-coup government that even had neo-Nazis in its midst. In a 2020 column for Foreign Affairs titled, “Pinning Down Putin,” Nuland said Russian President Vladimir Putin “seized” on the 2014 coup and other “democratic struggles” to “fuel the perception at home of Russian interests under siege by external enemies.” She also cited the war in the Donbas and annexation of Crimea as examples of Russian aggression, as most in Washington do.

Currently, Nuland is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and works for the Albright Stonebridge Group. She is also a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, a US-taxpayer funded nonprofit that funds “pro-democracy” movements across the world.

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“..the entire litany of brutality to which we’ve been subjected for nearly a year, all summed up in the word lockdown. Dr. Henderson warned against it all…”

Catastrophe Is All Around Us (AIER)

As a naturally optimistic person, it vexes me that the word catastrophe has echoed in my mind since early March 2020. It’s the word the great smallpox eradicator Donald Henderson used in his 2006 prediction of the consequences of lockdown, a word that wasn’t around then. His masterful article addressed the idea of travel restrictions, forced human separation, business and school closings, mask mandates, limits on public gatherings, quarantines, and the entire litany of brutality to which we’ve been subjected for nearly a year, all summed up in the word lockdown. Dr. Henderson warned against it all. This is not how you deal with disease, he said; at a minimum society needs to function so that medical professionals can do their work.

Diseases are managed one person at a time, not with grand central plans. That was the old wisdom in any case. Under the influence of vainglorious modelers, ideological resetters, and politicians hoping to make names for themselves, most of the world tried the lockdown experiment anyway. Here we are nearly a year since I wrote my first article warning that governments presumed themselves to possess the quarantine power. They could use it if they wanted to. I didn’t expect they would. I wrote this piece as a “for your information” public service just to let people know how terrible governments could be.

I had no idea that quarantines would be only the beginning. At this point we know what we did not know then. They are capable – by they I mean even governments in presumably civilized countries with functioning democracies – of the unthinkable, and they are capable of persisting in the unthinkable for an appalling amount of time. Now the lockdowns are our life in the US, unless you are lucky enough to live in Florida, Georgia, South Dakota, South Carolina, and perhaps a few other places. Here in these outposts of what we used to call civilization, life seems normal. Our readers in these states don’t even think about the virus much, and they read my articles and find them overwrought, like I’m describing life on another planet.

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Externalities.

More Than 1.5 Billion Face Masks Will Pollute Oceans This Year (NYP)

More than 1.5 billion disposable face masks will wind up in the world’s oceans this year — polluting the water with tons of plastic and endangering marine wildlife, according to a Hong Kong-based environmental group. A report by OceansAsia cites a global market research report that estimates 52 billion masks were made this year to meet the demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It also says that a “conservative” calculation means at least 3 percent of them will be washed out to sea. “Single-use face masks are made from a variety of meltblown plastics and are difficult to recycle due to both composition and risk of contamination and infection,” the report says.


“These masks enter our oceans when they are littered or otherwise improperly discarded, when waste management systems are inadequate or non-existent, or when these systems become overwhelmed due to increased volumes of waste.” With each mask weighing three to four grams, the situation could lead to 6,800-plus tons of plastic pollution that “will take as long as 450 years to break down,” according to the report. In addition to the harmful effects of micro-plastic and nano-plastic particles, elastic ear loops pose a “possible entanglement risk for wildlife,” the report says. The report cites several examples of marine animals killed by masks, including a “dead bloated pufferfish” found tangled in the loops of a disposable blue mask by volunteers cleaning a Miami beach in August.

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And sometimes you look up from whatever it is you’re doing and suddenly you see life.

US Doctor Forgives $650,000 In Medical Bills For Cancer Patients (BBC)

A US oncologist has wiped out nearly $650,000 worth of debts for 200 cancer patients after realising that many of them were struggling to pay. Dr Omar Atiq closed his cancer treatment centre in Arkansas last year after nearly 30 years in business. He worked with a debt collection firm to gather outstanding payments, but then realised many families had been hit hard financially by the pandemic. Over Christmas, he wrote to patients telling them any debts would be erased. “Over time I realised that there are people who just are unable to pay,” Dr Atiq told ABC’s Good Morning America. “So my wife and I, as a family, we thought about it and looked at forgiving all the debt. We saw that we could do it and then just went ahead and did it.” Dr Atiq, who is originally from Pakistan, founded the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in Pine Bluff in 1991, providing treatments including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and CAT scans.


He is now a professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock. “We thought there was not a better time to do this than during a pandemic that has decimated homes, people’s lives and businesses and all sorts of stuff,” Dr Atiq said, quoted by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He said the outstanding bills from about 200 patients totalled nearly $650,000 (£480,000). In his Christmas greeting card to patients, he wrote: “The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to serve you as a patient. Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome. Unfortunately, that is the way our health care system currently works. The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients. Happy Holidays.”

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Dec 282020
 


Eugene Delacroix Greece expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi 1826

 

 

A little personal thank you note from the Automatic Earth is in order. 2020 has been an annus horribilis across the world, but we have been blessed with lots of attention and comments, as well as great support from our readers throughout the year, both for the Automatic Earth itself and for the Monastiraki social kitchen in Athens. Problem is, I have so many people to say thank you to.

We started covering the coronavirus early on, in January, and never looked back. Many people got their first exposure to the virus through us (pun very much intended). What developed throughout 2020 was not just a solid reader-base, but also a maturing comments section, that taught me as much as it did readers.

Thank you for that. The comments from medical professionals and others became a strong part of the entire story. And it was by no means a one-sided thing; opinions were always all over the place, as they should be.

That’s the big problem in my view that we face these days: our media have become one-dimensional, the exact opposite of what they should be. This became clear through the Trump era, and the incessant hammering of one actor vs the deafening silence about all others in the same theater and on the same stage.

 

And we see that again today: try, if you can, to find in the MSM a critical opinion about lockdowns, or facemasks, or about the newly-fangled vaccines. It’s very hard if not impossible. This one-dimensionality hides behind “the science”. Which is something that doesn’t really exist, as we know because scientists in different countries contradict each other, as do those in the same country, and scientists even often contradict themselves.

If you want people to “follow the science”, you need to convince them that this is the right thing to do. You can’t just force them to do it. Or, rather, you can try that for a short period of time, and then they will come after you. People don’t live their lives in one dimension; they can’t.

Are facemasks useful? Sure, in crowded indoor spaces. But outdoors? I have yet to see the first evidence of that, and I do read an awful lot. Let’s inject some nuance here: if there is a risk of 1 in 100,000 that someone gets infected outdoors, it that worth forcing 99,999 people to put facemasks on? Or would you rather ask them to wear those where it demonstrably matters?

Are lockdowns useful? Sure, but they can only ever be emergency measures, short and “sweet”. Because they risk destroying entire economies and societies. Lockdowns should only be used when there are no other measures available anymore.

But we haven’t exhausted the scope of all other measures, not at all. There are no governments promoting the large scale use of vitamin D, or the proper use of hydroxychloroquine, and Chris Martenson even sees his videos about ivermectin banned from YouTube. As all three substances show great promise in preventing infections, and/or limiting the consequences of being infected.

We’ve been reduced to one-dimensional lives. By now, politicians and “scientists” would rather see everyone be infected, and then “cured” by a vaccine, then not get infected in the first place. In one dimension, the world easily gets turned upside down. You just wouldn’t be able to see it, because you need three dimensions to recognize what “upside down” looks like.

 

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines may work very well, but we don’t know, because we haven’t researched that. Which, if you want to “follow the science”, is a very strange thing to do. Of course we would all like the virus to be gone, but ignoring the science doesn’t look like the way to achieve that. And that’s what we’re doing: we’re not following the science, we’re ignoring it where that fits our purposes.

We don’t know if the Pfizer vaccine protects you from being infected, we don’t know if it keeps you from infecting others, but we do know governments and airlines are talking about requiring evidence that you’ve received a dose. But for what purpose, then, exactly? Just to let all the MPs and CEOs people claim they did what they could?

-Too- many people have lost their jobs and their businesses without any country seriously having tried to stop people from becoming infected through the use of vit. D, HCQ, ivermectin. Many of these jobs and businesses will never come back. Is this worth it? Maybe if we could say we tried everything we could, but we obviously haven’t.

We sold our souls to the “science” and then to the vaccine. Which are two very very different things.

If there’s ever been a time to ask questions, it must be now. About lockdowns, facemasks and viruses, about people, communities, societies, economies. That we are being pressured into not asking those questions, makes them even more necessary.

 

Anyway, those are all issues and questions that will need to be addressed in 2021, we’ve run out of 2020 time. It’s just that it wouldn’t have been necessary; we could easily have done much if not most of it this year. But we have become information-poor, and by design to boot. Which is the opposite of what the Automatic Earth wants to be and do. We want to present all the information, and that without paywalls or things like that.

There are too many of those already, and their main effect is to restrict information at a time when people arguably need more of it. Our model of increasingly relying on donations has worked out alright in 2020, and we hope the same will be true in the new year. Thank you again so kindly for making that possible.

 

A last word, again, about the Monastiraki kitchen: when you see things get harder for yourself, as so many have, it should be a natural reflex to wonder how they are for those less fortunate, because it’s a safe bet they will be hit even harder. It took me way too long to learn that. The team at the kitchen have that down: give, give, and never take. Enormous thanks to all of them.

That you allow me to support them is an honor, and a great responsibility which I take very seriously, both to those who donate and those who receive. Thank you, all of you.

One day when you’re old, and you ask yourself what has been the most important thing you did in your life, the answer will have to be what you did for other people. That is both the only possible outcome, and it’s also at the same time the very thing that is threatened most by the incessant lockdowns and facemask mandates. People need people.

Have a great 2021, stick with the Automatic Earth, and stick with each other.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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