Jul 122021
 


Henri Matisse The goldfish 1912

 

No End In Sight For Sydney Lockdown As Delta Variant Outbreak Worsens (F.)
Covid Unlocking On 19 July Must Come With A Warning: Boris Johnson (G.)
Mask Wearing Will Be ‘Expected’ In UK After 19 July (G.)
40% Of Brits Want Mask Mandates Forever, Travel Ban For Unvaccinated (SN)
Lift All Mask Mandates (HART)
FBI Encourages Family Members To Rat Each Other Out For ‘Extremism’ (RT)
The Fed: The Captured Regulator That’s Wrecking The US Economy (Martens)
Private Equity And Public Ignorance (Buyniski)

 

 

We have reached the end of the usefuless of masks, lockdowns and vaccines. But it will take a long time before we acknowledge it. In the meantime, expect madness. You can’t lock down people for more than a very short time. You can’t make them wear masks for much longer than that. You can’t force them to get jabbed if those jabs don’t work, and instead prove very risky.

So our homework is: what are we going to do with masks, lockdowns and vaccines off the table? The answer is simple: vitamin D, ivermectin and HCQ. Prophylaxis and early treatment. But it will take a long time before we acknowledge that too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s fun when the police don’t stand up for the law


Anna de Buisseret: “Our expert psychologists evidence states that psychological warfare is being conducted on the population as a whole and on individuals. The expert analysis is that the impact of this is that not a single person is capable of giving informed consent as they have been brainwashed.”

 

 

 

 

Let’s see those white flags please.

No End In Sight For Sydney Lockdown As Delta Variant Outbreak Worsens (F.)

Sydney’s Delta-variant fueled Covid-19 outbreak has shown no signs of relenting as the city and surrounding areas reported yet another daily rise in new cases, a development which may force authorities to further extend the lockdown in the region which has been in place for two and a half weeks now. Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported a record 112 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Monday, most of them in and around its capital Sydney. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at least 34 of new cases had interactions with the community during their infectious period, while the movement of 18 other cases is still being investigated

Monday is the third straight day the state has reported a record high, which could force the local government to extend the current three-week-long lockdown which is scheduled to end on Friday. Berejiklian noted that the state would like to see the number of local infections drop close to zero before ending the lockdown. “A large part of it is dependent on all of us doing the right thing and being extra cautious,” Berejiklian said, adding this was “not the time to cut any corners.” Of the 63 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the state, 25 are under the age of 55, and 14 are younger than 35, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Of the 18 people currently in intensive care units, one is in their 20s, one in their 30s, and one in their forties. Local authorities have previously warned that the largely unvaccinated young population remains vulnerable to the more infectious delta variant.

8.37%. That’s the total population of New South Wales that has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s tracker. This is largely in line with the overall vaccine rollout across Australia which is just under 9%. While close to a quarter of NSW’s population has received at least one vaccine dose, the effectiveness of a single dose against the delta variant is significantly lower. Fearing a Delta variant outbreak, nearly half of Australia’s population went into lockdown for around three days last month with major urban centers across the country tightening their pandemic restrictions due to fears of a delta variant-fueled outbreak. However, the brunt of the current outbreak has largely been restricted to Sydney and its surrounding regions. Australia had previously managed to almost completely clamp down on the local spread of Covid-19 by using a mix of contact tracing, movement curbs, and strict quarantine measures for incoming travelers. But the country’s sluggish vaccine rollout threatens to undo its previous pandemic success.

Read more …

Make it as confusing as you can, please.

Covid Unlocking On 19 July Must Come With A Warning: Boris Johnson (G.)

Boris Johnson has said caution is “absolutely vital” before the abandonment of virtually all formal Covid restrictions as ministers toughen their language amid expectations of soaring infection rates. The Guardian understands that ministers have been told to brace for at least one to two million new cases of coronavirus in the coming weeks, though the vaccination programme means far smaller proportions of those infected will be hospitalised and die than in previous waves. The move into the final stage of unlocking on 19 July, to be announced by the prime minister on Monday afternoon, has been billed as the moment for people to rely on their own judgment over coronavirus precautions, rather than official prescriptions.

And while Johnson will outline the end of virtually all statutory restrictions on everything from business capacity to distancing and mask use, people will still be urged to wear masks in crowded enclosed spaces, with similar vigilance expected over the swift return to workplaces. The move “must come with a warning”, said Johnson, who will host a Downing Street press conference at the same time as Sajid Javid, the health secretary, briefs MPs in the Commons. “Cases will rise as we unlock, so as we confirm our plans today, our message will be clear. Caution is absolutely vital, and we must all take responsibility so we don’t undo our progress, ensuring we continue to protect our NHS.”

There has been a marked shift in the tone taken by ministers on the subject of mask-wearing amid government jitters about the risks of the so-called “big bang” approach to unlocking. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, stressed the need for the public to remain “cautious and careful”. He told Sky News: “The guidelines that we will set out tomorrow will demonstrate that, including guidelines that people are expected to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces, and of course to remain vigilant.” His comments contrast with the tone taken a week earlier by Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, who said he would abandon mask use when the restrictions ended, adding: “I don’t particularly want to wear a mask.”

Adverse

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They’re just trying to confuse you, don’t pay them any attention.

Mask Wearing Will Be ‘Expected’ In UK After 19 July (G.)

Masks will still be “expected” in crowded places such as public transport when most remaining Covid restrictions are lifted later this month, a minister has said, in a marked toughening up of rhetoric amid concerns over soaring infection rates. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, who in effect confirmed Boris Johnson would announce the reopening on Monday, said the government would provide very clear guidance on issues such as the wearing of masks, as England moves away from using laws to govern the response to Covid. “I think it’s important that we remain cautious and careful,” he told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme. “The guidelines that we will set out tomorrow will demonstrate that, including guidelines that people are expected to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces, and of course to remain vigilant.”

In another sign that the end of almost all lockdown rules on 19 July will be accompanied by robust messaging on the need for caution, a leading public health official said on Sunday that people should not rush back to offices if possible. “If you are able to do your business effectively from home then I think over the next four to six weeks we should try our best to do that,” said Dr Susan Hopkins, the incident director for Covid at Public Health England. Even once case rates started to fall, it would be better to see “a cautious return to the office”, Hopkins told Times Radio. The comments represent a change in tone from officials over the past week, with Johnson in particular having previously insisted there would be a move away from the government telling people what to do, towards people using their own judgment.

Zahawi said the move to the final stage of reopening from 19 July was responsible, despite predictions from the health secretary, Sajid Javid, that daily infection levels could top 100,000, a record for the pandemic, noting that almost 87% of adults in England had received a first vaccine dose, and that 65% had had two. The target was to double-vaccinate 66% of adults by 19 July, he said, in an earlier interview with BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show. “We will meet that target. So I am confident that we can proceed to step 4, but cautiously. “We will be setting out tomorrow guidelines on everything from mask wearing, the transition from mandating, or government by diktat, to taking personal responsibility, whether for our own actions or corporate responsibility.”

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Always a nation of sheep.

40% Of Brits Want Mask Mandates Forever, Travel Ban For Unvaccinated (SN)

A new poll finds that 40 per cent of Brits want mask mandates to remain in place forever, while almost half think unvaccinated people should be permanently banned from foreign travel. Yes, really. “New polling by Ipsos MORI for the Economist suggests that a high percentage of Brits believe a number of lockdown restrictions should stay in place “permanently”, including nighttime curfews (19%), travel quarantine (35%), and face masks (a whopping 40%!),” reports LockdownSceptics. “Well over 40% of Brits also believe that only those who have been vaccinated against Covid – and are able to prove it – should be allowed to travel abroad (again, “permanently”).” In other words, almost half of the population never want to unmuzzle and think those who haven’t taken the jab should remain under de facto lockdown forever.

That will be music to the ears of government adviser and lifetime Communist Party member Susan Michie, who when asked how long social distancing and mask mandates should remain in place, replied “forever.” More than one-fifth of Brits are also “very nervous” about the lifting of existing lockdown restrictions, which is due to take place on July 19th. The results of the poll once again underscore how behavioral psychologists have been so successful in terrifying the British public into absolute subservience. As we previously highlighted, scientists acting as government advisers acknowledged using “totalitarian” and “unethical” methods of instilling fear into the population as a means to scare them into complying with lockdown rules.


The comments were made by members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B), a sub-committee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) the government’s chief scientific advisory group. Scientists admitted exaggerating the risk of COVID to the public and using “dystopian” methods of “mind control” to make people more fearful than they should have been. As the poll results prove, this has resulted in large numbers of the population developing a form of PTSD which has traumatized them out of thinking life can ever return to the pre-coronavirus normal.

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The only approach that makes sense at this point.

Lift All Mask Mandates (HART)

HART welcomes Boris Johnson’s announcement of his intention to lift the mask mandates on 19 July, and allow people to take personal responsibility for deciding whether to wear one rather than relying on the government diktat. Some SAGE scientists are already expressing concern about lifting this restriction, with psychologists on the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) being the most vocal, predictably so given that mask wearing comprises a key element of their ethically-dubious covert ‘nudges’ that harness fear and peer pressure to promote compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

A major concern is that, even if the national mandates are removed, some local businesses will continue to insist that masks are worn on their premises. Persisting with a requirement for face coverings does not take account of the evidence that, in real-world settings, they are of little-to-no benefit in reducing viral transmission and are associated with a range of negative consequences. Nor — contrary to what Professor Whitty said — is it a ‘common courtesy’ to wear a mask because others may feel uncomfortable if they see a person without one. Many people, including the 1-in-5 of UK adults with hearing difficulties who may rely on lip reading, are at risk of social exclusion when around mask wearers. Furthermore, those who are aware of the profound social and psychological harms associated with masking the healthy in the community will also feel uneasy when around those with their faces covered.

It is encouraging to hear the Prime Minister say that we must now live alongside the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Continuously striving to minimise the danger posed by a virus, to the exclusion of the plethora of other risks we all manage as a routine part of a worthwhile life, is counterproductive. Indeed, the continuation of widespread mask wearing after 19 July will perpetuate the excessive fears many currently experience about returning to a normal life: ongoing mask usage is a ‘safety behaviour’ that may lead people to falsely conclude that their survival following social interaction was due to the mask rather than drawing the reassuring conclusion that it is now safe enough to return to normal activities.

HART has no objection to individuals using masks if they so choose, but turning them into a social superstition — and requiring others, such as hospitality staff to conform so as to give a false veneer of ‘safety’ — is wrong. An elderly resident in a care home, during a TV interview, recently said: ‘I want to live until I die’. In keeping with this expressed wisdom, HART believes we should all now be given the option to unmask, reclaim our humanity, and return to an enjoyable and worthwhile life.

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Divide and rule.

FBI Encourages Family Members To Rat Each Other Out For ‘Extremism’ (RT)

The FBI has asked Americans to examine their own family members for signs of “homegrown violent extremism,” and report them. The call for snitches comes as the FBI turns its surveillance powers on regular Americans. “Family members and peers are often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence,” read a tweet from the FBI on Sunday. To help prevent “homegrown violent extremism,” the agency advises Americans to visit its website, “to learn how to spot suspicious behaviors and report them to the FBI.” The link provided by the FBI brings visitors to a 2019 document listing “mobilization indicators” that may suggest an individual is preparing to engage in terrorism – for example, “preparing and disseminating a martyrdom video,” “communicating directly with violent extremists online,” and “preparing to travel to fight with or support terrorist groups.”

The indicators and imagery used in the document suggest that its focus was on radical Islamic terrorism, but the FBI, along with the rest of the US security apparatus, has in recent months has turned its surveillance powers on white, conservative America. Since the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill in January, FBI Director Christopher Wray has testified before Congress that the anti-government sentiment responsible for the affray has been “metastasizing” in the US for years, and that “the problem of domestic terrorism … is not going away anytime soon.” Former Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi was more explicit last month when he called for the arrest of high-level Republicans to “really tackle terrorism, this time domestically.”

President Joe Biden has linked the Capitol mob to “white supremacism,” which he called “the most lethal terrorist threat to our homeland today” during his first speech to Congress in April. Against this supposed “threat,” the Justice Department has asked for new powers of prosecution, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has claimed that right-wingers and conservatives, “inspired by foreign terrorist groups” and “emboldened by the breach of the US Capitol Building,” are “plotting attacks against government facilities” and “threatening violence against critical infrastructure.” In addition to their own powers, the DHS, FBI, and National Security Council also want to hire third-party ‘researchers’ to spy on Americans, recent reports have claimed.

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“..we have the three great asset classes moving into bubble territory simultaneously.”

The Fed: The Captured Regulator That’s Wrecking The US Economy (Martens)

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will take his seat before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday at noon and before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. for his semi-annual testimony on monetary policy. Some embarrassing questions may come up for Powell based on an investigative report on the Fed that’s airing earlier in the week. This Tuesday evening, the PBS investigative program, Frontline, will broadcast a documentary covering its year-long investigation of the Federal Reserve’s bailouts of Wall Street, from the financial crisis of 2008 to the present. According to the information about the program that Frontline has released, the documentary, titled “The Power of the Fed,” will include interviews with multiple people who believe that the Fed has been captured by Wall Street and is creating dangerous asset bubbles.

Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham will tell viewers this about the Fed’s policies: “They have the housing market, the stock market and the bond market all overpriced at the same time. And they will not be able to prevent, sooner or later, the asset prices coming back down. So we are playing with fire because we have the three great asset classes moving into bubble territory simultaneously.” Grantham characterizes what the Fed has created on Wall Street as a “giant bloodsucker,” that is “sucking more than twice the blood out of the rest of the economy.” Andrew Huszar, a former insider at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where the Federal Reserve has a serial habit of outsourcing its bailout programs for the mega banks on Wall Street (likely because it is literally owned by those same banks) will explain to viewers how he was “single-handedly responsible for directing the deployment of $1.25 trillion of Fed funds, and we did not see the knock-on benefits that we had hoped for the average American.”

Huszar is talking about the $1.25 trillion the Fed spent in buying up agency Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) following the 2008 financial crash on Wall Street. Despite the fact that the Fed saw no benefits accrue from that program to the average American, it doubled down on the same program during the pandemic, buying up $40 billion a month in agency MBS. The Fed’s current total of agency MBS on its balance sheet stands at $2.3 trillion as of last Wednesday. The custodian of the securities purchased in the Fed’s MBS program has been, from the outset, JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest owners of the New York Fed. The fact that the bank has received an unprecedented five felony counts from the Department of Justice since 2014 hasn’t changed the Fed’s mind about entrusting the bank with $2.3 trillion of its assets. (JPMorgan Chase admitted to all five felony counts.)

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“Other private equity funds have gotten their blood funnels into the hospital system – where the profits, driven by Covid-19, truly have no end.”

Private Equity And Public Ignorance (Buyniski)

As the US runs out of concrete resources to sell, bankers have had to get clever – whether this means repackaging assets already sold six times over or inventing new ways to cash in on items once considered intangible.
By the time Americans realized that the promised ‘trickle-down’ theory of neoliberal economics was in fact more of a speedy trickle-up, the government had all but destroyed the reputation of unions and the public sector that employed many of them, convincing the average American that these were corrupt and bad. Indeed, the whole public sector was supposed to be corrupt and bad, in the messaging of the Reagan era, but that corruption was somehow negated when offset by private corporations engaged in so-called public-private partnerships.

But far from attempting to reverse the financial bleed of money for social programs into private corporations, politicians have embraced the public-private partnership with a vengeance. This is unsurprising, given the generous handouts they receive from the non-profits who have cast themselves as the only truly righteous replacement for those government programs. This may sound like old news, but the extent to which those firms have morphed into horrifically powerful entities with trillions of dollars under management – including, most likely, your pension or the retirement savings of someone in your family – capable of setting international policy with a mere yearly memo, remains stubbornly unacknowledged by millions.

Perhaps for the sake of their sanity, they just can’t admit their retirement is in the hands of men who see nothing wrong with gambling away millions of Americans’ savings in precarious financial instruments just because they can. The kind of people who’d buy a boat with ill-gotten foreclosure gains, then spit in the face of those ex-homeowners by naming the boat ‘Su casa es mi casa’ [..] In the aftermath of the 2008 mortgage crisis, private equity firms realized they could package and sell anything they wanted – and it doesn’t seem they’ve stopped. Blackstone became notorious for slurping up foreclosed homes at below-market rates, then juicing rent and fees as they turned around to rent out those same properties, in some cases back to the same people. But Blackstone is far from the only private equity firm to participate in these loathsome schemes.

But fiendishly huge as their profits have been, the private equity bunch were still responsible for keeping the properties they rented in some degree of habitability – sometimes even for answering to angry retirement fund execs when the vultures gambled away their money. In order to further shore up profits, the firms have bought big into vertically integrated predation. Blackstone bought up an entire chain of self-storage units to complement its continuing acquisition of houses. The continued inflation of the already precariously bloated real estate bubble (and the mathematical certainty of time running out for the Covid-19 eviction moratorium) means people are going to have to throw their stuff somewhere when the financial feces hit the fan. Other private equity funds have gotten their blood funnels into the hospital system – where the profits, driven by Covid-19, truly have no end.

Read more …

 

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D-dimer test

 

 

 

 

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Jun 172021
 
 June 17, 2021  Posted by at 8:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Roy Lichtenstein Crying girl 1963

 

They Denied A Lab Leak At Wuhan. They Are Wrong About Other Things (Pfeiffer)
Novavax CEO: Covid-19 Booster To Be ‘Biggest Market’ In US (Fox)
A Quarter Of Parents Won’t Let Their Children Get Covid-19 Vaccine (F.)
Germany’s CureVac Vaccine Shows Only 47% Effect Against Covid-19 (RT)
Canada’s Treatment Of Religious Communities: Using Covid To Bully (RT)
Rand Paul Demands Exclusion Of Wuhan Lab Funders From Investigations (ZH)
Vladimir Putin Quotes Tolstoy As He Reveals His Dark Philosophy On Life (DM)
Unindicted Co-Conspirators in 1/6 Cases Raise Disturbing Questions (Rev.)
Is “Running Hot” Inflation Wise and Humane? (RIA)
Fed Says Might Need To Raise Interest Rates Sooner Than Expected (DM)

 

 

Ano Veli Samuel Turtiainen. Listen as he speaks in Finnish Parliament
https://twitter.com/i/status/1405096937813016576

 

 

IN-SA-NI-TY

 

 

“The choice was always vaccines OR treatment. Not both.”

“Viewed in the kindest possible way, that delay, that lost year, wasn’t so much intentional as institutionalized.. “

They Denied A Lab Leak At Wuhan. They Are Wrong About Other Things (Pfeiffer)

From the start, there was no room for both vaccines and treatments under the statute that has allowed millions of Americans to be vaccinated with an unlicensed, largely unstudied substance. The key mechanism on which this turned was the vaccine’s “Emergency Use Authorization,” which can be granted by the FDA only if there is “no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing or treating” a disease. But even as the vaccine was minimally tested and maximally hyped, there was an alternative. Ivermectin. “It’s the most effective antiviral agent we have,” Dr. Paul E. Marik, co-founder of Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, said in a conversation for this article. “If the WHO was to say that or the NIH — were they to approve ivermectin — the EUA for all the vaccines would become invalid.”

Ivermectin, said FLCCC president Dr. Pierre Kory, “would kneecap the entire global vaccine policy around the world.” The choice was always vaccines OR treatment. Not both. Operation Warp Speed spent three times as much — $18 billion — to develop a vaccine as it did to develop a treatment. Moreover, money for therapeutics went largely toward costly new drugs, some of which failed and others still in development. The media did not question the oversight of existing drugs and emerging research. Instead, it became an arm of government in a shared single fixed goal: Vaccinate quickly and at any expense. America’s COVID Czar Anthony Fauci predicted in July of 2020 that an antiviral would be available by that fall.

Then, last December he said his “highest priority” was a quick-acting COVID drug. In reality, NIH waited until April 29, 2021 to announce a large study of safety-tested, FDA-approved drugs. That was roughly 400 days – and nearly 600,000 U.S. deaths — into the pandemic. Forget a few dozen studies – most from other countries — that universally agreed on ivermectin’s efficacy. Forget a peer-reviewed meta-analysis that showed 83 percent fewer deaths. Forget the experiences of hundreds of real treating doctors in the U.S. and around the world.

Viewed in the kindest possible way, that delay, that lost year, wasn’t so much intentional as institutionalized. U.S. treatments are driven by the integral and outsized influence of pharmaceutical money on the regulatory process, and no one was putting up $20 million for what are considered, questionably, the “gold-standard” of evidence-based medicine: randomized control trials. Dr. Robert Malone, a vaccine researcher and inventor of mRNA technology, went bankrupt trying to repurpose old antiviral drugs to treat the Zika virus in the 2010s. “The investment community had zero interest because there’s no way to make a buck,” he said in a must-see podcast on pandemic missteps. “The financial incentives around drug repurposing are such that it doesn’t get done.”

Ivermectin is the penicillin of COVID, particularly when combined with other generics like fluvoxamine and the vilified but effective hydroxychloroquine. Now, however, as at the start of COVID, newly infected patients are still denied treatment and turned back into the community, often to infect others. As Malone put it, “We’re sending people home and telling them not to come back until your lips are blue.” “Were this a hundred years ago,” a Pennsylvania opthamologist named Neil Chasin told me months ago, “and Ivermectin was available, it would be used everywhere.”

See the script

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“The boosting story is going to be around for many years to come.”

Novavax CEO: Covid-19 Booster To Be ‘Biggest Market’ In US (Fox)

Novavax’s CEO said he believes boosters will be the company’s “biggest market” in the U.S. once it receives regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine. “That’ll be probably our biggest market in the U.S. for instance, late this year or next year we expect that it’ll have all the great characteristics of a good boost,” said CEO Stanley Erck during an appearance on FOX Business’ “Varney & Company” hours after the biotech company announced that its vaccine was found to be over 90% effective in a clinical trial. Erck noted that the timing of the trial saw nearly all infections detected stem from variants, which helped prove effective against strains currently gaining ground in the U.S. and elsewhere including the Alpha and Delta types.


“The vaccine works, and as they said 93% if you look at just the variants, the vaccine was 93% effective and that’s just terrific I think,” he said. Shares rose on the developments while other vaccine makers were mixed. Following approval, Erck said the company will likely focus on supplying countries outside of the U.S., including fulfilling agreements already made with Canada, Australia, and another to send 1.1 billion doses to COVAX, the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access program. Erck added that the company is already involved in a comparative mix and match trial in the U.K. The trial is evaluating safety and effectiveness of vaccine regimens that may include two doses of a mRNA jab and later involve a boost made by a different company. “We expect our vaccine to show the most benign side effects and I think we’re going to look good there,” he said. “The boosting story is going to be around for many years to come.”

Booster shots

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“26%. That’s the percentage of Americans ages 12-15 who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine..”

A Quarter Of Parents Won’t Let Their Children Get Covid-19 Vaccine (F.)

As vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue, approximately one in four parents say they do not intend to get their child vaccinated against Covid-19, a Harris poll finds—and more than 10% intend to only have their child receive one dose, which may not be enough to protect against the Delta variant now taking hold in the U.S. The poll, conducted June 11-13 among 2,015 U.S. adults, found the vast majority of parents will have their children fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including 62% of those with children under age 12, who are not eligible yet for the vaccine, and 54% of those ages 12 and older, with a further 9% saying their children are already vaccinated. The poll found 27% of parents of children under 12 and 25% of parents of older children say they will not get their children vaccinated.

Their reasons include wanting to wait for more research on vaccines’ safety and effectiveness in children, not thinking Covid-19 is serious enough in children to warrant vaccination and general anti-vaccine sentiment. A further 11% of parents of children under 12 and 12% of parents of children 12 and up say they will only have their children receive one of the two recommended doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. One vaccine dose has been shown to be far less effective against the Delta variant first identified in India—which could soon become the dominant strain in the U.S.—with Public Health England reporting one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provides only 36% protection against symptomatic disease.

[..] 26%. That’s the percentage of Americans ages 12-15 who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with 40% of 16- to 17-year-olds, who became eligible for the shot sooner. Only 12.8% of 12- to 15-year-olds and 29.6% of 16- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated.

Anti-vaxxer

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More mRNA.

Germany’s CureVac Vaccine Shows Only 47% Effect Against Covid-19 (RT)

Praised recently as “hope for the unvaccinated world,” a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Germany’s CureVac is only 47% effective against the coronavirus. As its stock collapsed, the company blamed new virus variants. Preliminary results from second and third-phase trials on 40,000 subjects in 10 countries of Europe and Latin America show that CureVac’s jab “did not meet pre-specified statistical success criteria,” the company announced on Wednesday. “In the unprecedented context of at least 13 variants circulating within the study population subset assessed at this interim analysis, CVnCoV demonstrated an interim vaccine efficacy of 47% against [Covid]-19 disease of any severity,” the Tubingen-based company said.

“Initial analyses suggest age and strain dependent efficacy,” the company added, as its stock collapsed on the news of failure. “While we were hoping for a stronger interim outcome, we recognize that demonstrating high efficacy in this unprecedented broad diversity of variants is challenging,” said CureVac CEO Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, adding that “the overall vaccine efficacy may change” as they continue towards the final analysis. The interim analysis assessed 134 cases of Covid-19 occurring at least two weeks after the second dose was administered, of which 124 were successfully sequenced to identify variants. Only one case was due to the original virus, CureVac said. Preliminary results also showed efficacy in younger participants, but not people older than 60; the elderly are the most at-risk group for Covid-19. CureVac said it has reported the results to the European Medicines Agency.


The failure of the trial is a bitter pill for CureVac, founded by one of the German pioneers of mRNA vaccine technology, which is currently used in the US-developed Pfizer and Moderna jabs. As late as May, its vaccine was praised by the New York Times as the jab that could “bring hope to the unvaccinated world.” Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the CureVac jab remains stable at refrigerator temperatures – just like the Russian-developed Sputnik V – which would have made it attractive to swathes of Africa, Asia, and Latin America that lack deep freeze facilities. It can even sit at room temperature for 24 hours without spoiling.

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“Recently, a Canadian police force was using a helicopter to hunt down religious services that are forced to be held in secret.”

Canada’s Treatment Of Religious Communities: Using Covid To Bully (RT)

More and more religious services have been cracked down on by Canadian government officials. Police choppers have tracked down services that are forced to hide, while the premiers enjoy lavish dinners. This is an abuse of power. Back in April, I wrote about Canada beginning to crack down on religious services. During that time, a pastor of Polish descent had said the country was turning into World War II Germany, branding police who raided his church ‘gestapo’. Though plainly the nation has not reached those Hitlerian extremes yet, Canada’s actions against religious gatherings continue to be concerning. Recently, a Canadian police force was using a helicopter to hunt down religious services that are forced to be held in secret. After this, several arrests were made, despite Canadian law stating it will protect the right for religious gathering and practice.


Crackdowns on both Jewish and Christian religious gatherings, and the virtual canceling of Ramadan for Muslims, have happened all over Canada, and property seizures on top of these measures are not uncommon. All of this is done on the premise of stopping the spread of Covid-19, but the nation has already begun its vaccine rollout. In fact, Canada has had the vaccine since April, yet still is not allowing religious individuals to go back to their normal lives. But as the faithful continue to be denied the right to practice freely, Canadian government officials are meeting up and throwing a posh dinner at the Alberta Sky Palace, breaking the same rules that they are claiming these religious gatherings violate. There were no arrests made, and all that was given to the public was an empty apology.

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Seems obvious.

Rand Paul Demands Exclusion Of Wuhan Lab Funders From Investigations (ZH)

Senator Rand Paul urged Wednesday that those involved in funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s coronavirus ‘gain of function’ research cannot be allowed to be a part of investigations again. Appearing on Fox News, Paul said “Here’s the problem. The WHO investigated this the first time, we suggested three people to send to China. They rejected all three and they accepted a guy named Peter Daszak who was the one that funded the lab.” The Senator continued “So you can’t have the people—like Anthony Fauci or Peter Daszak—who are part of the funding mechanism to send these funds to Wuhan lab. You can’t have them investigating themselves.”

“They have a definite conflict of interest because if this pandemic started in a lab that the U.S. was funding, the people advocating for the funding obviously will have culpability—at least moral culpability,” Paul asserted. Referring to the World Health organisation’s 3 hour visit to the Wuhan lab in February, Paul stated “The WHO did a terrible job the first time. There needs to be an investigation but I’ve been advocating for a congressional investigation.” Paul was one of five GOP Senators to put his name to a letter made public this week demanding the unreacted release of “all records” from Fauci, his deputy Hugh Auchincloss, NIH Director Francis Collins and several other officials “referring or relating to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, COVID-19, coronavirus, EcoHealth Alliance, or Dr. Baric’s 2015 coronavirus study.”

The Senators noted that “release of approximately 4,000 pages of NIH email communications and other documents from early 2020 has raised serious questions about NIH’s handling of COVID-19.” “These documents, though heavily redacted, have shed new light on NIH’s awareness of the virus’ origins in the early stages of the COVID19 pandemic,” the senators noted in the letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and NIH Director Collins. The letter continues, “It is unclear the extent to which NIH officials, including Dr. Fauci, considered the possibility that the virus originated in a laboratory and what, if any, actions they took to seriously investigate this possibility.”

Read more …

‘There is no happiness in life, only a mirage of it on the horizon, so cherish that.’

Vladimir Putin Quotes Tolstoy As He Reveals His Dark Philosophy On Life (DM)

Vladimir Putin channelled his inner Bond villain as he made a dark comment after meeting with President Joe Biden in Geneva on Wednesday. The Russian leader was asked if there was a growing trust and happiness between him and the US president after their meeting. The strongman typically responded: ‘There is no happiness in life, only a mirage of it on the horizon, so cherish that.’ The response, translated to Western reporters at the summit, is attributed to the classic Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, who is said to have remarked it to fellow writer Ivan Bunin. Bunin, then 23, said he met Tolstoy on a frosty night in Moscow in 1894 when the War and Peace author was aged 65. Tolstoy gave words of wisdom to the aspiring novelist but also told him to ‘not expect too much from life’.


Bunin was so enamoured with his idol that he tried to emulate him, visiting sectarian settlements and even illegally distributing Tolstyoan literature. Bunin was later considered a true heir to the realist tradition in Russian literature started by Tolstoy and his contemporary Anton Chekhov. On social media, many said Putin’s remark was typical of his Bond villain image. One remarked it was ‘simultaneously the most Russian and the most Bond villain thing I’ve ever heard a world leader say’. Others compared him to a Marvel villain, saying his comment sounded like it came from the mouth of Thanos.

Read more …

The FBI organized 1/6?!

Unindicted Co-Conspirators in 1/6 Cases Raise Disturbing Questions (Rev.)

Of all the questions asked, words spoken, and ink spilled on the so-called “Capitol Siege” of January 6, 2021, none hold the key to the entire event quite like what Sen. Amy Klobuchar asked of Christopher Wray. The Democrat from Minnesota asked the Trump-appointed FBI Director: Did the federal government infiltrate any of the so-called “militia” organizations claimed to be responsible for planning and executing the Capitol Siege? Christopher Wray is able to uncomfortably weasel his way out of answering the question directly, partially because Klobuchar does him the courtesy of not asking him the question directly. Klobuchar instead asks the FBI director if he wishes he had infiltrated the militia organizations allegedly involved in 1/6 — assuming from the outset that there was in fact no infiltration, thereby providing the FBI director an easy way to avoid addressing the question one way or another.


Revolver News is willing to address the matter directly in the following three questions:
• In the year leading up to 1/6 and during 1/6 itself, to what extent were the three primary militia groups (the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and the Three Percenters) that the FBI, DOJ, Pentagon and network news have labeled most responsible for planning and executing a Capitol attack on 1/6 infiltrated by agencies of the federal government, or informants of said agencies?
• Exactly how many federal undercover agents or confidential informants were present at the Capitol or in the Capitol during the infamous “siege” and what roles did they play (merely passive informants or active instigators)?
• Finally, of all of the unindicted co-conspirators referenced in the charging documents of those indicted for crimes on 1/6, how many worked as a confidential informant or as an undercover operative for the federal government (FBI, Army Counterintelligence, etc.)?

Tucker Revolver
https://twitter.com/i/status/1404984630160203781

Read more …

“Resulting from surging income and reduced liabilities, retail sales are running about 15% above the trend of the prior decade.”

Is “Running Hot” Inflation Wise and Humane? (RIA)

The robust economic recovery is in part the result of nearly $5 trillion in deficit spending. To grasp how the government supported the economy, consider the graph below. The orange line is total personal income. After the second set of direct payments to citizens went out in March, personal income was 25% more than before the Pandemic. The blue line shows organic income, or that earned solely through employers. The difference, the gray area, is payments from the government, known as transfer payments. These direct benefits represented nearly a third of income on multiple occasions over the last year.


Personal consumption represents nearly two-thirds of economic activity (GDP). Over the last six months, consumption was significantly boosted by stimulus programs. Further, the government allowing forbearance of rent, mortgage, student loan, and utility payments provided many with additional money to spend. Resulting from surging income and reduced liabilities, retail sales are running about 15% above the trend of the prior decade. For historical recessionary context, consider retail sales fell by about 13% from its trend during the 2008 recession.

Read more …

End the Fed.

Fed Says Might Need To Raise Interest Rates Sooner Than Expected (DM)

Federal Reserve officials have said they might need to raise interest rates sooner than expected to keep inflation from spiraling out of control – as the US economy continues to grow at lightning speed. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a press conference Wednesday officials now expect to hike the interest rate from near zero to 0.6 percent by the end of 2023. Back in March, the central bank said it didn’t expect to raise it until at least 2024. The interest rate affects both consumer and business loans, impacting everything from credit cards to mortgages. When the rate set at near zero, borrowing costs are cheap and money ‘floods’ the system. This helps to goose growth, but also can send prices spiraling out of control.


With the economy recovering more rapidly than anticipated from the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer prices soared at a faster rate in May than any time since the Great Recession. Last week, the government warned that overall consumer prices rose 0.6 percent in May, bringing the annual inflation rate to 5 percent – the highest level since August 2008. The updated interest rate projection comes as the Federal Reserve attempts to put a brake on such out-of-control prices. A majority of 11 of 18 Fed officials pencil in at least two quarter-percentage-point rate increases for 2023, even as officials pledged in a statement to keep policy supportive for now to encourage an ongoing jobs recovery. Meanwhile, overall economic growth is expected to hit 7 percent this year.

Read more …

 

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May 292021
 


John Collier Lady Godiva c1897

 

National Horror Story Hour (Kunstler)
Chinese Scientists Created Covid-19 In A Wuhan Lab – Study (DM)
Fauci Backed Virus Experiments ‘Despite Pandemic Risk’ (Lauria)
Broken Parts Of COVID-19 Vaccines Mutate To Trigger Blood Clots (GGI)
European Regulators OK Pfizer Vaccine For Children 12-15 (AP)
For The Young: Choose Wisely (Denninger)
Oklahoma House Bans Mask Mandate, Vaccine Requirements in Schools (ET)
Georgia Bans Mask Mandates In Public Schools (JTN)
Employers Get Green Light To “Incentivize” Workers To Get Vaccinated (ZH)
The Fed Keeps Expanding Its Powers; That’s Making Some People Nervous (Cox)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Science.

National Horror Story Hour (Kunstler)

In the early going of the War on Covid-19, The Science told its soldiers, the doctors, to jam ventilators down patients’ throats. Whoops, that didn’t work so well. The Science told everybody to fuggeddabowt Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, and Vitamin D. The Science told New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to stash Covid-19 infected patients in nursing homes. The Science told everybody don’t bother with masks, then to definitely wear masks, then to maybe not wear masks, then to wear double masks, then to get vaccinated and wear masks. Golly, what to believe? Some people began to think that The Science was full of shit — which is, let’s face it, a dangerous thought, and something which, thank Gawd, Facebook, Twitter, and Google corrected for us.

One thing The Science remained adamant about for a whole year was that Covid-19 did not come from the Wuhan, China, Institute of Virology, where-and-to-which, it just happened, one of the US government’s Knights of The Science, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was funneling US taxpayer-funded grant money for the purpose of doing gain-of-function research on exotic bat corona viruses. Gosh, why would you even do that? (Doesn’t gain of function = make it more deadly?)

Supposedly to gain knowledge so that mankind will be prepared to fight the emergence of deadly bat viruses that somehow manage to sneak into the human population at some future date. These things can happen, you know. We’ve already tangled with bird flu and swine flu, so deadly bat flu could hardly be out of the question. Of course, one of the dangers, when you are playing with deadly respiratory viruses in a lab, is that lab workers might inhale a virus or two and become infected with a specimen that The Science has engineered to be especially troublesome… but that was very unlikely, maintained Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Science Advisor to the President.

Until this month when Dr. Fauci conceded to a Senate Committee that perhaps an investigation was warranted to find out if, perchance, Covid-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab — since, it turns out, the Wuhan lab was such a sloppy-ass operation that its level of safety was comparable to an ordinary dentist’s office. It also turns out, according to a Wall Street Journal report this week, that three Wuhan lab workers did indeed need to be hospitalized in November 2019, which was around the time the bug got loose among the civilians of Wuhan City, while Chinese tourists and workers were still winging around the world on airplanes by the tens of thousands — prompting one to wonder whether, also perchance, this was something that the CCP wanted to happen? ¿Quién sabe?

Now that “safe and effective” vaccines are available against Covid-19, The Science is urging everybody to take it, pronto, and the government is assisting in the distribution and deployment of vaccinations even to the very borderline of coercing citizens into it by turning the “vaccine hesitant” into social pariahs. No restaurant meals or ballgames for you Science-offending trolls! How’s that working? According to Dr. Fauci, and several other Knights of The Science, more than half of the people on their staffs got vaxed voluntarily. More than half! Now that’s a ringing vote of confidence in The Science!

Read more …

“..then tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus..”

Chinese Scientists Created Covid-19 In A Wuhan Lab – Study (DM)

An explosive new study claims that Chinese scientists created COVID-19 in a Wuhan lab, then tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats. The paper’s authors, British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen, wrote that they have had ‘prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China’ for a year – but were ignored by academics and major journals. Dalgleish is a professor of oncology at St George’s University, London, and is best known for his breakthrough creating the first working ‘HIV vaccine’, to treat diagnosed patients and allow them to go off medication for months.

Sørensen, a virologist, is chair of pharmaceutical company, Immunor, which developed a coronavirus vaccine candidate called Biovacc-19. Dalgleish also has share options in the firm. The shocking allegations in the study include accusations of ‘deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data’ at Chinese labs, and it notes the silencing and disappearance of scientists in the communist country who spoke out. The journal article, exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com and slated for publication in the coming days, is set to make waves among the scientific community, as the majority of experts have until recently staunchly denied the origins of COVID-19 were anything other than a natural infection leaping from animals to humans.

While analyzing COVID-19 samples last year in an attempt to create a vaccine, Dalgleish and Sørensen discovered ‘unique fingerprints’ in the virus that they say could only have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory. They said they tried to publish their findings but were rejected by major scientific journals which were at the time resolute that the virus jumped naturally from bats or other animals to humans. Even when former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove spoke out publicly saying the scientists’ theory should be investigated, the idea was dismissed as ‘fake news.’

Read more …

“..in December 2017 Fauci unilaterally reversed an Obama administration 2014 ban on such experiments precisely because of the danger that a leak could cause a pandemic.”

Fauci Backed Virus Experiments ‘Despite Pandemic Risk’ (Lauria)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wrote in an academic paper nine years ago that he supported “gain-of-function” research on viruses despite admitting a “remote” possibility that such “important work” could lead to a global pandemic if such a fortified virus escaped from a lab, The Australian newspaper reported on Friday. In October 2012, Fauci wrote a paper for the American Society for Microbiology, in which he said: “In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic? Many ask reasonable questions: given the possibility of such a scenario – however remote – should the initial experiments have been performed and/or published in the first place, and what were the processes involved in this decision?

Scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks. It is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky.” The newspaper’s revelation comes as President Joe Biden announced this week an investigation into whether the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)’s lab in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic first broke out. Fauci, who had dismissed that possibility and insisted the virus had natural transmission from another species to humans, on May 11 reversed himself, saying at a conference that he was “not convinced” of the coronavirus’ natural origins and said authorities needed to learn “exactly what happened.”

[..] in December 2017 Fauci unilaterally reversed an Obama administration 2014 ban on such experiments precisely because of the danger that a leak could cause a pandemic. The Australian quoted former Trump administration officials as saying that no one at the Trump White House knew that Fauci had lifted Obama’s ban. “It kind of just got rammed through,” one official told the newspaper. “I think there’s truth in the narrative that the (National Security Council) staff, the president, the White House chief-of-staff, those people were in the dark that he was switching back on the research.”

Read more …

“..parts of it break off and create mutated versions of themselves. The mutated versions then enter the body and trigger the blood clots.”

Broken Parts Of COVID-19 Vaccines Mutate To Trigger Blood Clots (GGI)

German scientists have found out how the broken parts of Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines branded as Covishield in India mutate to trigger blood clots in recipients. Scientists say the vaccine is sent into the cell nucleus instead of surrounding fluid, where parts of it break off and create mutated versions of themselves. The mutated versions then enter the body and trigger the blood clots. Two vaccines, one manufactured by Oxford-AstraZeneca branded as Covishield in India and the other by Johnson & Johnson, have been linked to blood clotting disorders, particularly among women under the age of 50.


Earlier, German scientists found the exact 2 step process how the COVID-19 vaccine causes blood clots in recipients. They describe a series of events that has to happen in the body before the vaccines create these large clots. Now, researchers at Goethe-University of Frankfurt and Ulm University, in Helmholtz, have found the problem which they say lies in the adenovirus vector — a common cold virus used so both vaccines can enter the body. Scientists believe that in some people, the immune system sees the vaccine as a threat and over-produces antibodies to fight it. These lead to the formation of clumps in the blood, which can become deadly if the clots move towards vital organs and cut off supply.

Read more …

Bhakdi is clear: this is criminal.

European Regulators OK Pfizer Vaccine For Children 12-15 (AP)

The European Medicines Agency on Friday recommended that the use of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech be expanded to children ages 12 to 15, a decision that offers younger and less at-risk populations across the continent access to a Covid-19 shot for the first time. The vaccine was the first one granted authorization across the European Union when it was licensed for use in anyone 16 and over in December. So far, about 173 million doses of the shot have been administered in the 27-nation bloc, about three quarters of the total given. “Extending the protection of a safe and effective vaccine in this younger population is an important step forward in the fight against this pandemic,” said Marco Cavaleri, who heads the EMA body that reviewed the vaccine.

The EU regulator had received the necessary data to authorize the vaccine for younger teens and found it to be highly effective against infection, he said. In a study involving 2,000 adolescents in the United States, none of those who received the vaccine got Covid-19, compared with 16 in a control group who received a placebo, said Cavaleri. “The vaccine was well tolerated and the side effect in this age group were very much similar (to) what we’ve seen in young adults and not raising major concern at this point in time,” he added. The EMA decision needs to be rubber-stamped by the European Commission, and individual national regulators must decide whether the vaccine will be administered to children under 16.

The recommendation follows similar decisions by regulators in Canada and the US last month, as rich countries slowly approach their vaccination targets for adults and look to immunize as many people as possible. Researchers will continue to monitor the shot’s long-term protection and safety in the children for another two years.

Bhakdi

https://twitter.com/wakeupfromcovid/status/1398293941305450499

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“Isn’t the first question to be asked “how dangerous is it if I say no and get infected, assuming I haven’t been already?” It should be.”

For The Young: Choose Wisely (Denninger)

Most young people — healthy people under the age of 30 — have no symptoms of significance associated with getting infected with Covid-19. They either get a mild head cold that could be mistaken for anything else or no symptoms at all. Obviously, if you don’t know you are sick or think it’s allergies, asthma or whatever because you never run a fever or really are significantly ill you have no reason to get tested, no reason to believe you had it, and no doctor sees you. You do not show up in the data but you did indeed have Covid-19. Some young people get what seems like a flu and very, very few get really sick or die.

If you had Covid, whether you were tested positive or not, you are presumably protected. The science is that the minimum protection is about 84%. This is a minimum number because not everyone who got it and seroconverted silently was known. This study was among health-care workers who obviously have very high risk as they’re around actively sick people all the time, and they were tested regularly so many “silent” infections were caught, where yours probably wouldn’t have been. Further a recent study funded by Fauci’s NIH showed that most people pick up memory of the infection in their bone marrow (incidentally, getting people to volunteer for that had to be quite a trick; the operation to get the marrow to test is quite painful, which is why the size was very small) which means that protection from at least moderate disease is likely to last decades if not your entire remaining life.

In short there is no science that says you should take the shot if you’ve already had Covid. There are plenty of people saying that but they cannot point to any scientific study that shows you actually lose protection from prior infection any faster than you do from the shots themselves. This is why someone who had the measles does not take a measles shot; you’re presumably protected by fighting off the infection. But what if you haven’t had Covid-19? What do you decide if you’re in that 0-25 age group and someone is trying to demand you get the jab, or all your friends are doing it? Isn’t the first question to be asked “how dangerous is it if I say no and get infected, assuming I haven’t been already?” It should be.

mRNA and pregnancy

Read more …

How many people will end up still wearing masks and getting “vaccinated”?

Oklahoma House Bans Mask Mandate, Vaccine Requirements in Schools (ET)

The Oklahoma House has passed a bill banning mask mandates in public schools and requirements for students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The bill, SB 658, passed the state House by 76–18 and was sent to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 26. The state Senate had passed the bill by 38–8 a day earlier. “For the sake of children throughout the state, I’m glad this bill is one step closer to becoming law,” Republican state Sen. Rob Standridge said in a statement. “With this legislation, vaccine passports for Oklahoma students will not exist.” Standridge is also one of the authors of the bill. SB 658 would prohibit the boards of education of all public school districts and technology center school districts—including those of higher education—from requiring vaccination against COVID-19 as “a condition of admittance to or attendance of the school or institution.”


It would also prevent vaccine passports or similar documentation from being required. Standridge explained during the session that the COVID-19 vaccine is different from other vaccines that are currently required, like those against diphtheria or tetanus, because it’s “still under emergency use authorization,” News9 reported. SB 658 further forbids implementing a mask mandate for students who haven’t received COVID-19 vaccines. Exceptions include when the governor declares an emergency or after the boards of education consult with their local county health department, but the mask mandate must be reconsidered at each regularly scheduled board meeting.

Read more …

State after state.

Georgia Bans Mask Mandates In Public Schools (JTN)

Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Friday that bans masks mandates inside Georgia public schools. The order also lifts most existing COVID-19 restrictions in the state. It blocks schools from implementing policies that would require students and staff to wear masks. Students and teachers still can wear masks if they choose, but they would be optional. “Georgians don’t need the government telling them what their children should do,” Kemp tweeted Thursday. Six Cobb County parents who sued the Cobb County School District over the district’s mask mandate have dropped the lawsuit in response to Kemp’s announcement.


Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had a public dispute last summer over Kemp’s order that restricted local governments from issuing face covering rules that were more restrictive than his. Kemp filed a lawsuit against Atlanta officials in July after the city enacted a face mask-wearing mandate when his executive order encouraged but did not require face coverings. Kemp later abandoned the lawsuit and issued an executive order that allowed certain local governments to issue the mandate. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported Friday the lowest COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. State records show 99 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms. According to the state’s daily status report, 9.9% of the tests returned were positive Friday for COVID-19.

Read more …

Playing footsie with anti-discrimination laws.

Employers Get Green Light To “Incentivize” Workers To Get Vaccinated (ZH)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has just quietly given American companies the green light to to do whatever it takes to “incentivize” American workers to accept the coronavirus vaccine. As vaccinations continue to slow, and states beef up incentives including lotteries and cash prizes to any adults who agree to get vaccinated who haven’t already, the EEOC has just issued some long-awaited guidance on how far companies can go in pushing workers to be vaccinated. Some companies, including Delta Air Lines, have said they won’t hire anyone who hasn’t already been vaccinated. The updated guidelines say employers may offer incentives for employees to provide documentation showing they have been vaccinated since requesting this proof “is not a disability-related inquiry” or an “unlawful request” under federal anti-discrimination laws.

What’s more, companies who choose to offer the vaccine on-site, or who incentivize employees to get vaccinated elsewhere, can’t offer perks or punishments substantial enough to be “coercive”. The questions, which were by far the most important pieces of the new guidance, were tucked away at the bottom of the update, making the changes an easy thing for reporters to miss before a long holiday weekend.

K.16. Under the ADA, may an employer offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community? (5/28/21) Yes. Requesting documentation or other confirmation showing that an employee received a COVID-19 vaccination in the community is not a disability-related inquiry covered by the ADA. Therefore, an employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation of a vaccination received in the community. As noted elsewhere, the employer is required to keep vaccination information confidential pursuant to the ADA.

K.17. Under the ADA, may an employer offer an incentive to employees for voluntarily receiving a vaccination administered by the employer or its agent? (5/28/21) Yes, if any incentive (which includes both rewards and penalties) is not so substantial as to be coercive. Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a very large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information. As explained in K.16., however, this incentive limitation does not apply if an employer offers an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a COVID-19 vaccination on their own from a third-party provider that is not their employer or an agent of their employer.

Employers including Dollar General, Aldi and Instacart have already moved to reward their employees for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine by offering paid time off and cash stipends. And in April, President Joe Biden called on every employer to offer paid time off for workers to recover from potential vaccine side effects.

Read more …

But independent it is not.

The Fed Keeps Expanding Its Powers; That’s Making Some People Nervous (Cox)

Bernanke’s successor, Janet Yellen, worked closely with Geithner. Yellen’s successor and current Chairman Jerome Powell had a tight relationship with former President Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Now, the dynamic has gotten even more intense. Powell and Yellen, who worked together on the Fed for nearly six years, now run the Fed and Treasury respectively. That’s never happened before, and it’s what has some on the Street nervous that the Fed may be tasked with implementing the White House’s economic program. The Fed has long been considered immune to outside pressures, free to move interest rates and otherwise implement policy in the way it deems most appropriate, outside of political concerns. The fear is that the Powell-Yellen dynamic could change that.

“You have the current Treasury secretary who was the boss of the current Fed chairman not so long ago. There’s obviously a very close relationship there,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “They’re still in lockstep. They’re espousing very similar philosophies that go beyond tradition.” Indeed, there’s not much difference between where Powell and Yellen stand on most matters germane to their respective roles. Powell has committed to keep interest rates low until the economy is farther along on the road to recovery, and Yellen has remarked on the pivotal role low rates play so the Biden administration can finance the trillions in spending that it wants. Yellen has been a leading advocate for that muscular fiscal policy, and Powell has said there are economic problems that low interest rates and money printing can’t solve.

But it’s their positions on social issues that have drawn much of the negative attention. The Fed has in the past several months stressed the importance of banks’ planning for climate change-related events. The central bank’s leading advocate for that cause has been Governor Lael Brainard, a close Yellen ally when they served on the Fed together. Along with that, Yellen has been outspoken on the importance of spreading economic benefits evenly at a time when the lowest earners have suffered the worst during the pandemic-era shutdowns. At the same time, the Fed last August changed its mission statement to say it is no longer focused merely on maximizing employment but now has a “a broad-based and inclusive goal” that goes to disparities in how gains are distributed.

“You certainly see some things that at a minimum are very different than how we’ve run things in the past, and it very much gets to the heart of independence in the Fed from overwhelming political influence,” Leuthold’s Paulsen said. “The most egregious departure from the past is the adoption by the Federal Reserve of several which I think many people would consider political goals or a political agenda of the current administration,” he continued. “They’re suddenly going far beyond a macro backstop for the cyclical economy to very much micro-oriented policy implementation.”

Read more …

 

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May 172021
 
 May 17, 2021  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon 1890

 

Second Stage Terror Wars (Edward Curtin)
Fear Is the Mind-Killer (Alice)
How To Cure Type 2 Diabetes – Without Medication (G.)
Covid-19 Testing Turns To T Cells (Nature)
Interview with Dr Bhakdi (Schultz)
The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill (Wired)
War of Words Over Inflation Stirs Questions for the Fed (Judy L. Shelton)
Druckenmiller: “There’s Been No Greater Engine Of Inequality Than The Fed” (ZH)
‘$40 Billion’ Robinhood App Tries To Vault SEC Hurdles (NYP)
Italian Port Workers Refuse To Load Arms Shipment Destined For Israel (NA)

 

 

“According to the scientific data…

Vaccinating 300,000 people under 18yo is statistically likely to prevent one COVID death and likely to cause 3 vaccine-reaction deaths.”

 

 

 

 

Testing? That’s so yesterday.

 

 

Must read.

Second Stage Terror Wars (Edward Curtin)

It is well known that the endless US war on terror was overtly launched following the mass murders of September 11, 2001 and the linked anthrax attacks. The invasion of Afghanistan and the Patriot Act were immediately justified by those insider murders, and subsequently the wars against Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. So too the terrorizing of the American people with constant fear-mongering about imminent Islamic terrorist attacks from abroad that never came. It is less well known that the executive director of the U.S. cover story – the fictional 9/11 Commission Report – was Philip Zelikow, who controlled and shaped the report from start to finish.

It is even less well known that Zelikow, a professor at the University of Virginia, was closely associated with Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Dickey Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Brent Scowcroft, et al. and had served in various key intelligence positions in both the George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations. In 2011 President Obama named him to his President’s Intelligence Advisory Board as befits bi-partisan elite rule and coverup compensation across political parties. Perhaps it’s unknown or just forgotten that The Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission repeatedly called for Zelikow’s removal, claiming that his appointment made a farce of the claim that the Commission was independent. Zelikow said that for the Commission to consider alternative theories to the government’s claims about Osama bin Laden was akin to whacking moles.

This is the man, who at the request of his colleague Condoleezza Rice, became the primary author of (NSS 2002) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, that declared that the U.S. would no longer abide by international law but was adopting a policy of preemptive war, as declared by George W. Bush at West Point in June 2002. This was used as justification for the attack on Iraq in 2003 and was a rejection of the charter of the United Nations. So, based on Zelikow’s work creating a magic mountain of deception while disregarding so-called molehills, we have had twenty years of American terror wars around the world in which U.S. forces have murdered millions of innocent people. Wars that will be continuing for years to come despite rhetoric to the contrary. The rhetoric is simply propaganda to cover up the increasingly technological and space-based nature of these wars and the use of mercenaries and special forces.

Simultaneously, in a quasi-volte-face, the Biden administration has directed its resources inward toward domestic “terrorists”: that is, anyone who disagrees with its policies. This is especially aimed at those who question the COVID-19 story. Now Zelikow has been named to head a COVID Commission Planning Group based at the University of Virginia that is said to prepare the way for a National COVID Commission. The group is funded by the Schmidt Futures, the Skoll Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Stand Together, with more expected to join in.

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“This ideological mass psychosis is religion—not science.”

Fear Is the Mind-Killer (Alice)

Can you imagine what master propagandist Edward Bernays would have done with access to today’s mainstream media conglomerate combined with the global surveillance infrastructure of Big Tech? And you really think that’s not happening now—with another century of psychological, neurological, and technological research under their belts? The present ability to curate reality and coerce obedience is unprecedented, far beyond what Orwell envisioned in 1984, Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451, Huxley in Brave New World, and Burgess in A Clockwork Orange. A textbook example of Problem Reaction Solution, the current tsunami of worldwide hysteria is the latest and potentially most threatening example of mass control in history.

The recipe is simple. Take a naturally occurring phenomenon, say a seasonal virus, and exaggerate its threat far beyond every imagining—despite exhaustive evidence to the contrary. Suppress, silence, ostracize, and demonize every individual who dares present facts that expose the false mono-narrative. Whip up a witches’ brew of anger, envy, and, most importantly, fear, escalating emotions to a boil so as to short-circuit our faculties of reason and logic. Isolate us from one another, supplant real-world interactions with virtual feuds, label nonconformists as a threat to the group, and pump the public with a disinformation campaign designed to confuse and atomize. In essence, foster a cultlike mentality that shuts down thought to guarantee assent.

Cultivate and wield our cognitive biases—especially ingroup bias, conformity bias, and authority bias—against us in a comprehensive divide-and-conquer policy that keeps us too busy squabbling amongst each other to recognize and unite against those corralling us into a Matrix-like collective delusion that enables the powerful to extract our resources for their own gain. This ideological mass psychosis is religion—not science. If this were about science, the Media–Pharmaceutical–Big-Tech complex would not be memory-holing every dissenting voice, vilifying every thought criminal, and censoring every legitimate inquiry in quest of the truth.

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With obesity such a major factor in Covid deaths, two birds with one stone.

How To Cure Type 2 Diabetes – Without Medication (G.)

[..] Modest words for a man whose “useful contribution to society” has given hope to the 3.9m people diagnosed with the condition in the UK and who has shown doctors a new way to fight a disease which causes 185 amputations and 700 premature deaths every week. Now, he wants to go one step further and share everything he has learned directly with the public, in a new book, Your Simple Guide to Reversing Type 2 Diabetes. It’s a 153-page paperback that takes you through the latest research on how the disease develops and explains why rapid weight loss can be so effective at reversing the condition in the early stages – which usually means during the first six years of a diagnosis.

“If people really do want to make it happen, then in the first few years of diagnosis, it’s almost universal that their health can be returned to normal,” says Taylor, who is professor of medicine and metabolism at Newcastle University. In one study, he found that nine out of 10 people with “early” type 2 diabetes were cured after losing more than 2 1/2 st (15kg). The book also explains who is at greatest risk and why some people who have a “normal” Body Mass Index (BMI) develop the disease, when many people who are more overweight – or even obese – do not. Taylor’s “Newcastle” weight loss programme is a clinically proven method of reversing early type 2 diabetes and his approach is currently being rolled out to people with the condition by the NHS. It involves cutting your calorie intake to 700-800 calories a day.

In the book, he explains how the people in his programme managed to do this – typically by consuming only slimming meal shakes and non-starchy vegetables, plus one cup of tea or coffee each day with skimmed milk – lost a life-changing amount of weight in just eight weeks. And how you can do the same, safely, at home. [..] One of Taylor’s most important new discoveries is that everyone has their own fat threshold: an individual level of tolerance for levels of fat in the body. “It’s a personal thing. It’s nothing to do with the sort of information that’s often provided about obesity, which is about average BMI and what the population is doing. The bottom line is, a person will develop type 2 diabetes when they’ve become too heavy for their own body. It doesn’t matter if their BMI is within the ‘normal’ range. They’ve crossed their personal threshold and become unhealthy.”

He is currently in the middle of research to find out whether there’s any way of discovering, via a blood test, when people are heading into this dangerous territory and their fat cells are putting out what he describes as “distress signals”. What we do know already is that our bodies start to have trouble controlling blood sugar when fat can no longer be stored safely under the skin and it spills over into the liver and then the pancreas. If these organs get clogged with fat, they stop functioning properly and that is when you develop type 2 diabetes.

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Does this address only vaccine-related T cells?

Covid-19 Testing Turns To T Cells (Nature)

A diagnostic test based on sequencing long-lived SARS-CoV-2–specific memory T cells provides a complement to antibody testing for determining previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Following last month’s US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization for Adaptive Biotechnologies’ T-Detect COVID-19 test, routine T-cell testing has entered a new era. The Adaptive test involves laboratory-based next-generation sequencing to identify T cells that recognize SARS-CoV-2 antigens. The test is not intended for the diagnosis of active infection but is a complement to antibody tests used to confirm recent or previous infections. The lab-based procedure, which has a seven- to ten-day turnaround time, is now authorized for use on samples taken from individuals at least 15 days after the onset of symptoms.

Increasing interest is focused on the role of T-cell immunity in fighting SARS-CoV-2 infection and in providing resistance to re-infection. A new analysis of T cells from people who recovered from COVID-19 has confirmed that they remain active against three of the new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern: B1.1.7, B.351 and B.1.1.248. The study, conducted by a team from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Singapore-based biotech company ImmunoScape, will further boost confidence that the efficacy of vaccines developed against the original pandemic strain will not be overly compromised as these new variants—and others—spread more widely.

Until now, researchers have mostly relied on the use of lateral flow assay or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to determine whether a person has been exposed to the virus. Understanding the neutralizing antibody response has been considered central to establishing protection against the virus. “It’s easy to test,” says Andrew Redd of NIAID, who led the recent study. Although critical, antibodies are part of a larger and incompletely understood set of humoral and cellular immune responses, which has received little attention. These include additional antibody functions, such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, complement activation and phagocyte recruitment. Unravelling their contribution to SARS-CoV-2 immunity is an ongoing challenge. “There are assays to do that, it’s just complicated to do,” says Redd.

The same can be said for assaying T-cell-mediated immunity. The NIAID study relied on a complex laboratory test to identify T-cell epitopes specific to SARS-CoV-2, employing a combination of mass cytometry and combinatorial staining of peptide–major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-bound tetramers. The complexity of the assay and data generated necessarily confine the assay to use in specialist laboratories. “The data that it generates are massive. The analysis side of it is a big lift,” Redd says.

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You tell me what you think of the man.

Interview with Dr Bhakdi (Schultz)

According to the UK Government’s figures, more than 1,100 people have died due to an adverse effect caused by one of the vaccines currently being rolled out via Emergency Use Authorisation. But Dr Bhakdi reveals that worse is yet to come, with manufacturers, he says, creating a false sense of security. “It’s so easy to manipulate the nano-particles,” he said. “All you need to do is take out one component, one lipid, and the vaccine will not be taken up by the cells any more. And then you have no side-effects. And you will have a vaccine that is well-tolerated. “That is what’s happening now with the mRNA vaccines, so the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik will be removed from the market. So there will be a monopoly of the mRNA vaccines, which are being backed by Bill Gates.

“This plan was conceived years ago. Once this vaccine gets legally, fully approved, not approved for emergency use, but fully approved, no more risk analysis needs to be done. “Pfizer are going to submit an application for this in June. And the authorities have already released underground information that the approval will probably be given in October. When this happens, it means that every subsequent vaccine is automatically approved. They have to sign no more application, there will be no more trials, no more risk-benefit analysis. No more notification of side effects. “It’s such a nightmare. They can say, ‘well the care homes are overcrowded. India and South Africa…

“You know that with each subsequent vaccine the chances rise that you are going to kill people. That’s why they are starting to vaccinate children – they are going to show that the vaccine is tolerated by children – then they are going to use this wherever they want to. “Once that has come through, these guys have a free hand to do whatever they want, wherever they want. And no one can do anything about it. It’s so horrible. “How can people be so evil? How can people be so ignorant? It’s that combination of evil and ignorance that is making the world a living hell. And the only people who can do anything about it is us because we have to get the world around us to stand up and realise that they are being led to a living hell.

“It’s a devilish plan, satanic. But the very, very small chance we have is that they made a mistake, which was they thought that this vaccination programme would go through smoothly, as they were not aware that the adverse effects would be so severe and so widespread. “This is where they may trip if we can force them to turn back on the vaccination programme. Now there have been legal charges brought against the EU, for nullification against all the vaccines.”

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“Trapped in their group-specific jargon, the two camps on Zoom literally couldn’t understand one another.”

The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill (Wired)

Early one morning, Linsey Marr tiptoed to her dining room table, slipped on a headset, and fired up Zoom. On her computer screen, dozens of familiar faces began to appear. She also saw a few people she didn’t know, including Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for Covid-19, and other expert advisers to the WHO. It was just past 1 pm Geneva time on April 3, 2020, but in Blacksburg, Virginia, where Marr lives with her husband and two children, dawn was just beginning to break.

Marr is an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech and one of the few in the world who also studies infectious diseases. To her, the new coronavirus looked as if it could hang in the air, infecting anyone who breathed in enough of it. For people indoors, that posed a considerable risk. But the WHO didn’t seem to have caught on. Just days before, the organization had tweeted “FACT: #COVID19 is NOT airborne.” That’s why Marr was skipping her usual morning workout to join 35 other aerosol scientists. They were trying to warn the WHO it was making a big mistake.

Over Zoom, they laid out the case. They ticked through a growing list of superspreading events in restaurants, call centers, cruise ships, and a choir rehearsal, instances where people got sick even when they were across the room from a contagious person. The incidents contradicted the WHO’s main safety guidelines of keeping 3 to 6 feet of distance between people and frequent handwashing. If SARS-CoV-2 traveled only in large droplets that immediately fell to the ground, as the WHO was saying, then wouldn’t the distancing and the handwashing have prevented such outbreaks? Infectious air was the more likely culprit, they argued. But the WHO’s experts appeared to be unmoved. If they were going to call Covid-19 airborne, they wanted more direct evidence—proof, which could take months to gather, that the virus was abundant in the air. Meanwhile, thousands of people were falling ill every day.

On the video call, tensions rose. At one point, Lidia Morawska, a revered atmospheric physicist who had arranged the meeting, tried to explain how far infectious particles of different sizes could potentially travel. One of the WHO experts abruptly cut her off, telling her she was wrong, Marr recalls. His rudeness shocked her. “You just don’t argue with Lidia about physics,” she says.

Morawska had spent more than two decades advising a different branch of the WHO on the impacts of air pollution. When it came to flecks of soot and ash belched out by smokestacks and tailpipes, the organization readily accepted the physics she was describing—that particles of many sizes can hang aloft, travel far, and be inhaled. Now, though, the WHO’s advisers seemed to be saying those same laws didn’t apply to virus-laced respiratory particles. To them, the word airborne only applied to particles smaller than 5 microns. Trapped in their group-specific jargon, the two camps on Zoom literally couldn’t understand one another.

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Trump nominated her to the Fed. Her nomination stalled on November 17, 2020, with a 47–50 vote in the Senate.

War of Words Over Inflation Stirs Questions for the Fed (Judy L. Shelton)

Does it make sense, for a nation founded on the notion of individual liberty, equality under the law, and personal property rights, to allow a government agency to manipulate the value of the currency used by its citizens? Would it be better to have a stable monetary foundation to facilitate free-market outcomes, rather than empower the Federal Reserve to distort interest rates and dilute dollars in the service of government policy? It’s not as if we haven’t been here before. The question of whether rules-based monetary stability historically delivers better economic results in terms of increasing middle-class incomes than relying on the discretionary judgment of central bankers has been wholly analyzed and resolved.

In the 2015 Economic Report of the President issued under the Obama administration, a special section describes the period from 1948 to 1973 as the “Age of Shared Growth”—characterized by accelerating labor productivity, falling income inequality, and increased workforce participation. The report makes little mention of the fact that this period of remarkable growth, which increased living standards across all income levels, coincided with the existence of the Bretton Woods international monetary system under which the U.S. dollar was convertible into gold at a fixed price. The report does posit that if post-1973 productivity growth had continued at its pace from those previous 25 years, “incomes would have been 58% higher in 2013” and “the median household would have had an additional $30,000 in income.”

All of which should give pause to those who belittle the uneasiness felt by conservatives who fear that compromising monetary integrity not only violates founding principles but also economic rationality. And it’s not just conservatives per se, but rather an increasingly larger segment of the population expressing concerns about the wisdom of government officials and the correctness of government policies.

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Well, that’s what it’s for.

Druckenmiller: “There’s Been No Greater Engine Of Inequality Than The Fed” (ZH)

After his status-quo-shattering appearance on CNBC this week, during which he warned that “Fed policy is endangering the dollar’s reserve status,” billionaire fund manager Stan Druckenmiller spoke to The USC Marshall Center for Investment Studies’ Student Investment Fund Annual Meeting via Zoom, and shocked the on-lookers with his frank assessment of our current perceptions and realities. After The Bank of Canada sheepishly admitted this week that “some of the monetary policy tools it is using to address the COVID-19 pandemic, such as quantitative easing (QE), could widen wealth inequality,” Druckenmiller drops the proverbial hammer on all the hedged-speak (“could”), and blasts that

“I don’t think there has been a greater engine of inequality than the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States… so hearing the Chairman [Powell] talking about visiting homeless shelters is very rich indeed…” The outspoken fund manager went on to note that “everyone wealthy that I know is making fortunes” because “this guy [Powell] is printing money like there’s no tomorrow” adding that the kids is Harlem are not benefitting from money-printing but wealthy people are, exclaiming that “…for the life of me I can’t understand why the left is so excited about money-printing when all the data shows that the people who benefit from money-printing are rich people.”

“The odds-on bet is that we’re going to have inflation,” he continues: “and inflation is going to hurt poor people, again, a lot more than rich people.” How does this all end? “The asset bubble which [Powell] is blowing up into unbelievable proportions busts before the inflation ever really manifests itself, that’s what happened in the housing bubble in 08/09. We never really got to the inflation because the asset bubble burst… not dis-similar to what happened in 1929.” And Druck reminds us all, “there is no one, no group, that will be hurt more by a bust than the poor… they will be first in line to get screwed.”

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Gasparino.

‘$40 Billion’ Robinhood App Tries To Vault SEC Hurdles (NYP)

It’s a lot of money for a stock-trading app that’s supposedly free. Robinhood is slated to launch an initial public offering before summer’s end that could value the Silicon Valley-based company at $40 billion or more, people close to the underwriting group say. That would make it among the biggest deals of the year – and certainly the most anticipated as the day-trading app became a cultural phenom during the pandemic. A blowout IPO would be remarkable for a company created only in 2013 and which has survived its share of controversies. Last summer, I warned that Robinhood was luring in amateurs stuck at home during the COVID lockdowns who took on day trading as a sport. They would eventually lose their shirts trading stocks on its free and easy-to-use platform, and regulators would pounce.

The party, I predicted, wouldn’t end well and it almost didn’t. Amateur traders are the lifeblood of Robinhood and its user growth, and they lost lots of money on the wrong side of bets. Then came January’s meme – stock controversy, where clearing problems stymied trading of some high-volume stocks on the app, angering customers. The company s business model came under scrutiny. Congress held hearings about the episode following the wild swings in various stocks that traded over the platform, and the IPO that was planned for March was pushed off indefinitely. But for all the noise, the clients just kept coming – and the IPO is back on. The reason is simple, company execs tell me: Robinhood is printing money. Despite the hiccups, Robinhood added some 6 million additional new customers for its crypto platform alone in the first two months of the year.

Now the app’s explosive user growth has investors clamoring for a piece of the action, people close to the deal say. And mind you, underwriters and company officials are quietly calculating their $40 billion valuation for a product that founder Vlad Tenev essentially conjured up in his dorm room.

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While the US still blocks a UN ceasefire resolution.

Italian Port Workers Refuse To Load Arms Shipment Destined For Israel (NA)

A syndicate of port workers in the Italian city of Livorno in Tuscany on Friday protested a weapons and explosives shipment after discovering it was destined for the Israeli port of Ashdod. “The port of Livorno will not be an accomplice in the massacre of the Palestinian people,” said L’Unione Sindacale di Base (USB). The USB added that the ship contained “weapons and explosives that will serve to kill the Palestinian population, already hit by a severe attack this very night, which caused hundreds of civilian victims, including many children”. A report by The Weapon Watch, a Genoa-based NGO that monitors arms shipments in European and Meditteranean ports, informed the syndicate of the destination of the ship and its contents. The NGO urged the Italian government to consider whether it was “suspending some or all Italian military exports to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict areas.”


“The Union on Saturday will also be in the square in Livorno in solidarity with the Palestinian population and to ask for an immediate stop to the bombings on Gaza and a stop to the ‘expropriations’ Palestinian homes that have lived under military occupation for years,” the USB said in a statement. Although the shipment eventually embarked its journey to Naples, as most other port workers continued to load the ship, other Italian workers’ groups have called for increased coordination between port workers to prevent shipment of weapons that could be used to bomb Gaza. Protests took place in various Italian cities this week, following Israeli forces’ attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem and its escalation on the blockaded Palestinian Gaza Strip.

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Mar 182021
 
 March 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


John William Waterhouse Hylas and the Nymphs 1896

 

Russian Ambassador To US Summoned Back To Moscow For Consultations (RT)
Biden: Putin Is A Killer (Ind.)
Biden Talks Cuomo, Putin, Migrants, Vaccine (ABC)
Joe Biden’s ‘Putin Is A Killer’ Claim A ‘Tantrum Of Powerlessness’ – MP (RT)
Past Covid Infections Don’t Confer Strong Enough Immunity (F.)
Why Vaccine Safety Experts Put The Brakes On AstraZeneca’s Vaccine (ScienceM)
Blanket ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders Imposed On English Care Homes (G.)
Will Adam Schiff Be California’s Next Top Cop? (G.)
A Big Win Against Anti-Tax Zealotry (DP)
Ohio AG Sues Biden Administration Over Pandemic Bill (Hill)
Fed Expects Growth Surge, Inflation Jump In 2021 But No Rate Hike (R.)
It Is Time To Remove The Debt Barrier To Economic Growth (Hudson/PCR)
Bitcoin Bros Rediscovering Our Monetary Past (AIER)
Woman Who Thought Being A Princess Was Too Hard, To Run For President (BBee)

 

 

 

 

This is a carefully planned attack by Warmongers “R” Us.

Russian Ambassador To US Summoned Back To Moscow For Consultations (RT)

Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has been recalled to Moscow for in-person discussions on the country’s ongoing relations with Washington and Joe Biden’s administration, the Foreign Ministry has said.
In a statement announcing the envoy’s recall on Wednesday night, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the ambassador was needed in Moscow for “consultations to analyze what to do and where to head in the context of the relations with the US.” Representatives of the Foreign Ministry and other relevant agencies will participate in the discussions with Antonov about US relations going forward, she added.With the Biden team in power for almost two months, it was a good time to analyze “where it succeeds and where it fails,” she added.


For us, it’s important to determine possible ways of straightening out Russian-American relations, which remain in harsh conditions after being effectively led into a dead end by Washington in recent years. Moscow is “interested in avoiding the irreversible degradation” of its ties with Washington, Zakharova said, expressing the hope that Biden’s officials also understood the risks of such a scenario. The news of the ambassador’s recall came hours after the US Department of Commerce on Wednesday announced the expansion of Washington’s sanctions on exports to Russia. The fresh restrictions were imposed over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny – an allegation that Kremlin officials have repeatedly denied. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Moscow was “calm” about the new sanctions, as such measures had already been taken many times before. However, he pointed out that such moves by Washington reduced the chances of a “normalization of relations” between the parties.

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Bide plays some wise guy strongman role for which he is not suited.

Biden: Putin Is A Killer (Ind.)

US President Joe Biden said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “killer” when asked by ABC News host George Stephanopoulos. His question follows a federal investigation into Russian-linked cyber attacks and an intelligence report linking the Kremlin to election-related online interference that promoted Donald Trump and right-wing conspiracy theories in an attempt to discredit Mr Biden. Asked whether he believes Mr Putin is a “killer” in a pre-taped interview that aired on Wednesday, the president responded: “I do.” “The price he’s going to pay, you’ll see shortly,” he said. Mr Biden recalled meeting Mr Putin, during which he reportedly told him that he doesn’t “have a soul”: “I wasn’t being a wise guy.”

“He looked back at me and said, ‘We understand each other’,” Mr Biden said. A report released on Tuesday from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed that Russia sought to interfere with the 2020 presidential election with an expansive social media and online influence campaign similar to an operation from 2016. The newly declassified report also said that a network of Ukraine-linked individuals connected to Russian intelligence relied on “prominent US persons and media conduits to launder their narratives” alleging “corrupt ties” among members of Mr Biden’s family with Ukraine.


That 2020 misinformation campaign was aimed at “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US,” according to the report. Mr Biden said he had warned his Russian counterpart about a potential response from the US during a call in January. “He will pay a price,” Mr Biden said. “We had a long talk … and the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’”

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Biden has no idea what the vaccine does.

Biden Talks Cuomo, Putin, Migrants, Vaccine (ABC)

President Joe Biden sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for a wide-ranging interview Tuesday in which he said his message to migrants was to not come to the border and that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if allegations he committed sexual harassment are confirmed. Biden also told Stephanopoulos that he agreed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “killer” and would “pay a price” for interfering in U.S. elections. And he said it would be “tough” to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by May 1, a deadline set out in a deal former President Donald Trump’s administration made with the Taliban.


Biden told Stephanopoulos he was surprised that COVID-19 vaccinations were still so politicized. “How do you get the politics out of this vaccine talk?” Stephanopoulos asked. “I honest to God thought we had it out,” Biden said. “I honest to God thought that, once we guaranteed we had enough vaccine for everybody, things would start to calm down. Well, they have calmed down a great deal. But I don’t quite understand – you know – I just don’t understand this sort of macho thing about, ‘I’m not gonna get the vaccine. I have a right as an American, my freedom to not do it.’ Well, why don’t you be a patriot? Protect other people.” Biden said getting vaccinated himself has let him to show Americans doing so is safe – and has changed his life “because I can hug my grandkids now.” “They come over to the house,” the president said. “I can see them. I’m able to be with them.”

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“Even former president Donald Trump, he claimed, “despite the decisions that were being made on sanctions, maintained rhetoric appropriate to the level of head of state.”

Joe Biden’s ‘Putin Is A Killer’ Claim A ‘Tantrum Of Powerlessness’ – MP (RT)

Explosive comments made by US President Joe Biden, in which he suggested his Russian counterpart is “a killer,” have ignited a diplomatic row, as Moscow’s chief parliamentarian said the remarks constitute an attack on the country. In a statement posted to Telegram, the speaker of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said that “Biden has insulted the citizens of our country with his statement” about Vladimir Putin. “This is a tantrum that comes from powerlessness. Putin is our president, attacking him is an attack on our country,” he added. Volodin contrasted the tone of the criticism to that of previous US presidents, who, despite often overseeing tense relations with Russia, and the USSR before it, maintained mutual respect.


Even former president Donald Trump, he claimed, “despite the decisions that were being made on sanctions, maintained rhetoric appropriate to the level of head of state.” However, he argued, “Biden’s statement today is beyond common sense. This is no way for the leader of a country that claims to be a bearer of democratic principles and morality to behave.“ The American president made the remarks in an interview on Wednesday with the ABC news channel. He was asked by chief anchor George Stephanopoulos whether he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was “a killer.”“Mmm-hmm, I do,” Biden replied. Biden said he had warned Putin earlier this year that he would take action if evidence was found of Russian interference in the 2020 US election. “He will pay a price,” Biden said.

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How to sell a “vaccine”.

Past Covid Infections Don’t Confer Strong Enough Immunity (F.)

Most people who catch Covid-19 are unlikely to get sick from the disease again, but reinfection is more common than previously thought and older people face an especially high risk, according to a study Wednesday that researchers cast as proof that vaccines are the best form of protection against the coronavirus — even for people who have already been infected. The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, looked at millions of people who took PCR coronavirus tests through Denmark’s nationwide mass-testing initiative last year. Just 0.65% of those who tested positive for the virus during Denmark’s spring surge showed a positive result during the country’s second wave in the fall, suggesting a protection rate against reinfection of 80.5% according to a team of researchers from Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen.

Among people 65 and over, the protection rate was just 47.1%. Both are higher reinfections rate than other studies have found, a commentary published by Lancet noted.The study’s authors say elderly people could face a higher risk of reinfection from the coronavirus because their immune systems are less effective, a dire problem because the elderly are most vulnerable to severe illness and death from Covid-19.The researchers said this study shows vaccines are important for those who have already contracted the coronavirus, especially if they’re elderly, because “natural protection cannot be relied on.” The coronavirus vaccines that have been authorized so far vary in efficacy, but most appear to offer more protection than natural immunity.


“These data are all confirmation, if it were needed, that for SARS-CoV-2 the hope of protective immunity through natural infections might not be within our reach, and a global vaccination programme with high efficacy vaccines is the enduring solution,” the Lancet said in a commentary released alongside the study.

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How not to sell a vaccine.

Why Vaccine Safety Experts Put The Brakes On AstraZeneca’s Vaccine (ScienceM)

The decision this week by more than 20 European countries to temporarily stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has opened a rift between vaccine safety experts, who say the cases of serious clotting and bleeding that triggered the pause are alarming and unusual, and public health officials concerned that the immunization pause on a continent in the grip of the pandemic’s third wave could take a heavy toll. “The harm caused by depriving people of access to a vaccine will likely vastly outweigh even the worst case scenario if any link to the clotting disorders is eventually found,” University of Leeds virologist Stephen Griffin told the United Kingdom’s Science Media Centre. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization have recommended that countries continue immunizations while they investigate the reports.

Scientists don’t know whether the vaccine causes the syndrome, and if so, what the mechanism is. “Everyone’s scratching their heads: Is this a real signal?” says Robert Brodsky, a hematologist at Johns Hopkins University. But vaccine safety officials say they did not take the decision lightly, and that symptoms seen in at least 13 patients, all between ages 20 and 50 and previously healthy, in at least five countries are more frequent than would be expected by chance. The patients, at least seven of whom have died, suffer from widespread blood clots, low platelet counts, and internal bleeding—not typical strokes or blood clots. “It’s a very special picture” of symptoms, says Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency. “Our leading hematologist said he had never seen anything quite like it.”

A somewhat similar blood disorder, called immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), has been seen in at least 36 people in the United States who had received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19, The New York Times recently reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating these cases, but also said the syndrome did not appear to be more common in vaccinated people, and immunizations in the United States have continued. But Madsen says the cases seen in Europe in recent weeks are distinct from ITP, which lacks the widespread blood clots seen in the European patients. The United Kingdom, which has administered the AstraZeneca vaccine to more than 10 million people, has so far not reported similar clusters of unusual clotting or bleeding disorders.

In Europe, a 49-year-old intensive care nurse in Austria was one of the first cases. She died last week from what officials called “clotting disorders” that culminated in internal bleeding. (A colleague at the same hospital who received the vaccine developed lung embolisms, but was expected to recover.) A similar constellation of symptoms has been identified in four patients in Norway, two of whom have died, Madsen says.

Read more …

Imagine living in one and then reading this.

Blanket ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders Imposed On English Care Homes (G.)

Blanket orders not to resuscitate some care home residents at the start of the Covid pandemic have been identified in a report by England’s care regulator. A report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found disturbing variations in people’s experiences of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions during the pandemic. Best practice is for proper discussions to be held with the person involved and/or their relatives. While examples of good practice were identified, some people were not properly involved in decisions or were unaware that such an important decision about their care had been made. Poor record-keeping, and a lack of oversight and scrutiny of the decisions being made, was identified.

The report, Protect, respect, connect – decisions about living and dying well during Covid-19, calls for a ministerial oversight group – working with partners in health and social care, local government and the voluntary sector – to take responsibility for delivering improvements in this area. The report surveyed a range of individuals and organisations, including care providers and members of the public, and identified: • Serious concerns about breaches of some individuals’ human rights • Significant increase in DNACPRs put in place in care homes at the beginning of the pandemic, from 16,876 to 26,555 • 119 adult social care providers felt they had been subjected to blanket DNACPR decisions since the start of the pandemic • A GP sent DNACPR letters to care homes asking them to put blanket DNACPRs in place • In one care home a blanket DNACPR was applied to everyone over 80 with dementia.


Healthcare professionals emphasise that resuscitation is both invasive and traumatic with only a 15-20% survival rate when performed in hospitals and a 5-10% success rate when performed outside hospitals. However, concerns have been raised about both blanket DNACPR orders being put in place and such instructions being recorded on patients’ records without discussion or informed consent being given.

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“..his record as state senator and congressman, authoring legislation to increase the criminalization and incarceration of Black and brown Californians..”

“Here in California, we know him as someone who was, in many ways, one of the chief architects of mass incarceration..”

He sounds just like Kamala.

Will Adam Schiff Be California’s Next Top Cop? (G.)

As the lead prosecutor in Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, Adam Schiff, the representative from southern California, became a household name, an icon of the anti-Trump resistance, and a rising star in the Democratic party. A year on, the congressman looks increasingly well positioned to be appointed as California’s next attorney general. But in Schiff’s home district, criminal justice and immigrant rights advocates say that his record as state senator and congressman, authoring legislation to increase the criminalization and incarceration of Black and brown Californians, should disqualify him from holding the position. “There’s this real disconnect,” said Jody Armour, a University of Southern California law professor who studies the intersection of race and legal decision making.

“The country knows Schiff as sort of an icon. Here in California, we know him as someone who was, in many ways, one of the chief architects of mass incarceration.” Schiff has reportedly been lobbying governor Gavin Newsom for the attorney general spot that will open up if the US Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as the Health and Human Services secretary later this week. House speaker Nancy Pelosi has given her blessings, and reportedly even a personal endorsement. Schiff, 60, began his career at a US district court in California, first as a law clerk and eventually as an assistant US attorney, rising to prominence for prosecuting the case against a former FBI agent convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.


He was elected to the California state senate in 1996, and four years later moved to the US House of Representatives. There, he served as the chair of the powerful Intelligence Committee, becoming one of Pelosi’s closest confidants. As the lead impeachment manager pursuing Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Schiff’s fiery speeches gained him lavish praise from liberals, begrudging recognition from conservatives and $41m in campaign funds last election cycle. Schiff’s star power, his powerful allies in the Democratic party and fundraising prowess have set him up as a top contender for attorney general.

Read more …

“The language, slipped into the legislation at the last minute by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is designed to prevent federal money from subsidizing new tax cuts..”

Q: what’s the difference between Anti-Tax Zealotry and Anti-Vax Zealotry?

A Big Win Against Anti-Tax Zealotry (DP)

The American Rescue Plan’s $1.9 trillion of spending represents a significant and long overdue break with the budget-cutting, deficit-obsessed austerity ideology that has held sway since the Reagan Era. But that’s not all it does. A provision tucked into the final bill also aims to halt the anti-tax movement that has drained state and local coffers of resources to fund infrastructure, public education, and other basic social services. The language, slipped into the legislation at the last minute by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is designed to prevent federal money from subsidizing new tax cuts at a moment when some Republican-led states have been considering them.

“Money from COVID relief needs to go to helping every day Americans get through the pandemic, not paying for tax cuts for the rich,” Schumer said in a statement to The Daily Poster. “The American Rescue Plan explicitly prohibits states from using emergency COVID relief dollars to fund frivolous tax cuts. Governors should use this money to maintain public health and social assistance programs to fight the pandemic, and keep millions of other essential employees on the job and working for our communities.” The provision, coupled with Biden’s upcoming plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, represents the first significant effort to explicitly combat the anti-tax movement that has dominated American politics for the last half century.


Such efforts suggest Democrats have learned a valuable lesson since their 2009 economic stimulus bill about the importance of prioritizing public aid for local and state governments — and keeping that aid from being waylaid by Republicans’ anti-tax zealotry.

Read more …

Washington wants more power.

Ohio AG Sues Biden Administration Over Pandemic Bill (Hill)

Ohio’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Wednesday over a provision of the recently signed pandemic relief bill. In a complaint filed in federal district court in Ohio, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) challenged a provision in the legislation that forbids state and local government from using pandemic aid to offset tax cuts. “Ohio seeks to enjoin federal officials from enforcing the unconstitutional Tax Mandate, and seeks declaratory relief establishing that the State of Ohio, under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, retains the freedom to manage its own tax policy,” the lawsuit reads. The lawsuit was filed against Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the Treasury Department. Neither the White House nor the Treasury Department immediately responded when asked for comment.

President Biden signed the bill last week, authorizing aid including direct payments for individuals and $195.3 billion for states and Washington, D.C. — including about $5.5 billion for Ohio, according to the lawsuit. The aid is largely distributed based on each state’s number of unemployed workers. Yost argues in his lawsuit that Congress violated constitutional restraints in seeking to control how states set their tax policies. “By accepting that money, the State must sacrifice its sovereign authority to set tax policy as it sees fit, because changes to tax policy that reduce revenues violate the Tax Mandate,” the lawsuit reads. “Such violations could be used to force the State to return funding received through the Act.” [..] Carl Davis, the research director for the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said that the rhetoric from the conservative attorneys general has been overblown.


“There’s a lot of potential very positive uses for this money that states and localities could find in this moment,” Davis told The Hill. “It’s not intended to be a way to help states to go ahead and cut taxes, particularly for folks at the top, which is really what we’re talking about in a lot of these states that are objecting most loudly to the provision.” “So I think if a state believes that its budget is so strong, and it can afford to actually cut taxes and it’s not going to be doing those kinds of investments, dealing with the economic situation of the hardship we’re seeing right now, it would forego an equivalent amount of aid,” he added. Daniel Hemel, a tax law professor at the University of Chicago law school, agrees that the rhetoric from the attorneys general has been overblown but says that the tax provision in the relief bill is not “Congress’s best work.”

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Stop talking about markets, there’s only the Fed.

Fed Expects Growth Surge, Inflation Jump In 2021 But No Rate Hike (R.)

The U.S. economy is heading for its strongest growth in nearly 40 years, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, and central bank policymakers are pledging to keep their foot on the gas despite an expected surge of inflation. “Strong data are ahead of us,” a confident Fed Chair Jerome Powell said after a two-day policy meeting, ticking off the list of forces Fed officials expect will produce 6.5% GDP growth this year – from massive federal fiscal stimulus to optimism around the success of coronavirus vaccines.“The (stimulus) checks are going out … COVID cases are coming down. Vaccination is moving quickly,” Powell said, marking a moment in which a body of top U.S. economic officials expect growth in the United States to rival that of China this year, not to mention surging quickly beyond that of Europe and Japan.


Fed officials, in fact, expect economic growth to remain above trend for at least two years to come, at 3.3% in 2022 and 2.2% in 2023, compared to estimated long-term potential growth of just 1.8%. While inflation is expected to jump to 2.4% this year, above the central bank’s 2% target, Powell said that is viewed as a temporary surge that will not change the Fed’s pledge to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero as part of an effort to ensure the economic wounds from the pandemic are fully healed. [..] in overlooking the expected jump in inflation this year without a policy response, the Fed held true to its new framework and a pledge not to overreact at the first hint of rising prices, a reaction that has in the past been felt to nip off periods of growth before workers felt the full benefits.

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Michael Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts.

It Is Time To Remove The Debt Barrier To Economic Growth (Hudson/PCR)

Out of habit, American economists worry about federal debt. But federal debt can be redeemed by the Federal Reserve printing the money with which to retire the bonds. The debt problem rests with individuals, companies, and state and local governments. They have no printing press. We have explained that the indebtedness of the population means there is little discretionary income with which to drive the economy. The offshoring of middle class jobs lowered incomes, and after paying debt service—mortgage interest, car payments, credit card interest, student loan debt—Americans’ pockets are empty. This situation has been worsened by Covid lockdowns. In the US the federal government has sent out a few Covid payments to help keep people’s heads above water as they face expenses without income.

The financial press refers to these Covid checks as “fiscal stimulus,” but there is no stimulus. The Covid checks do not come close to replacing the missing wages, salaries and business profits from lockdowns. Corporations have indebted themselves and impaired their capitalization by borrowing money with which to repurchase their stock. This has built up their debt in the face of stagnant or declining consumer discretionary income. We propose to deal with the debt crisis by forgiving debts as was done in ancient times. Our basic premise is that debts that cannot be paid won’t be. Widespread foreclosures and evictions would further worsen the distribution of income and wealth and further contrain the ability of the economy to grow. Writing debt down to levels that can be serviced would clear the decks tor a real recovery.

Income that would be siphoned off in debt service would instead be available to purchase new goods and services. A few economists muttered that we were overlooking the “moral hazzard” of absolving people of their debts. But leaving the economy stagnated in debt is also a moral hazzard. Policymakers did not endorse our proposal, but, in effect, policymakers adopted our policy. However, instead of forgiving the debt itself, they forgave payment of the debt service. Individuals and businesses who cannot pay their landlords or lenders cannot be evicted or foreclosed until June. This doesn’t hurt the lenders or banks, because the loans are not in default, and their balance sheet is not impaired. The banks add the unpaid payments to their assets, and their balance sheets remain sound.

When June arrives, the prohibition against eviction and foreclosure will have to be extended as the accrued debt service cannot be paid. Extending the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions will just build up arrears. Is the implication a perpetual moratorium? The question is: If policymakers are willing to forgive debt service, why not just forgive the debt. The latter is neater and clears the decks for an economic renewal.

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Solid discussion. Welcome.

Bitcoin Bros Rediscovering Our Monetary Past (AIER)

All eyes on bitcoin, it seems, as the price hits new all-time-highs, its proponents celebrate, and the economists who have long pronounced it dead and useless scratch their head in confusion (any “bubble” pronouncements as of late?)“The discomforting reality for the early idealists,” wrote Izabella Kaminska, a long-time critic of cryptocurrencies, before the price explosion in recent months, “is that 12 years on, the bitcoin ecosystem has more in common with the incumbent one it was hoping to displace than that original utopian vision.” She’s more right than she knows. In one sense, we should probably celebrate this as it means that bitcoin is approaching the monetary commodity dream it always harbored: it is running into some eternal troubles common to all monetary systems.

Even better, we should take the opportunity to teach some monetary history, as those in the crypto world have never been particularly well-versed in our monetary past. The audience they cater to is even less informed and so the “bitcoin heroes” – Saifedean Ammous, Robert Breedlove etc – are celebrated for their wisdom, no matter how rudimentary or inaccurate. It’s easy to discard an entire field of centuries-long academic inquiries, especially if you’ve never been exposed to it, or only investigated a caricature. Some humility is recommended since, as Denis Patrick O’Brien writes in his collection of scholarly articles The Development of Monetary Economics, “Monetary economics has attracted some of the very best people to have written about economic problems.”

In contrast to Bitcoin’s money supply mechanism, set in stone since its origin, many of bitcoin’s rivals – “alt-coins” or “sh**coins” – want to set their own monetary policy, laid down arcane rules in fancy white papers that only the insiders have the discretion to change. This dispute over rules and discretion about who runs the printing press is about three centuries old if not more, and was thoroughly investigated by the likes of Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Tooke, Horsley Palmer, Walter Bagehot, John Clapham and others. Some of the seemingly novel features of many cryptocurrency innovations are not so novel, and quickly run into precisely the problems that plagued past economies; these were promptly examined and argued over by monetary economists long since dead and forgotten.

When Bitcoin was small and insignificant, the dollar-cost of sending value across the network was minuscule. For the first few years of the cryptocurrency’s existence, this was among the best reasons to use it: you could send any amount, to anyone in the world, much cheaper and much faster than the legacy banking system of the 2000s. That was roughly correct. Legacy systems were slow and expensive, and doing international banking only 15-20 years ago caused headaches to plenty more people than money launderers.

The Internet, effective competition, and the rise of fintechs changed all that – but the most vocal bitcoiners remained in the past that the legacy system had long left behind, thinking that their magnificent invention still trumped the system against which bitcoin was created. For most uses it doesn’t: unless you’re living under authoritarian regimes or are trying to do business in the legal grey (two very important, yet comparatively small, market segments), using bitcoin for its initial transactional purposes isn’t that great.

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“Experts say that Markle may be the most qualified presidential candidate to ever run for office since she is a Democrat woman of color and has a ton of useful experience as a princess.”

Woman Who Thought Being A Princess Was Too Hard, To Run For President (BBee)

The former Duchess of Sussex, who left the royal family after realizing how hard it was to be a princess, is now eyeing a presidential run. According to sources, Meghan Markle is networking with Democratic leaders for a possible shot at becoming America’s first female president. “Being a princess was, like, the absolute worst,” said Markle to some trusted political consultants. “There were so many things to do, and so many annoying obligations I had to fulfill. I think being President of the United States will be much easier. Let’s do that instead!” Experts say that Markle may be the most qualified presidential candidate to ever run for office since she is a Democrat woman of color and has a ton of useful experience as a princess.


“Meghan Markle may be the one to finally save America and get all those migrant kids out of cages,” said local Meghan Markle enthusiast Camy Fumbertook. “Obama was a letdown, and Biden was a letdown, but I think Markle will be totally different due to her womanness and person-of-colorness.” In a statement, Biden announced support of Markle’s future run. “Don’t worry, sweetie,” he said as he descended his basement stairs for another nap. “The presidency is way easier than being a princess.”

Read more …

 

 

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International trash-talk:

5. You are a potato with the face of a guinea pig (French)
4. Your brain is like two walnuts in a bag (Arabic)
3. My foot is in your butt’s destiny (Urdu)
2. You’re the son of a gender-neutral dog (Bengali)
1. Your gran masturbates standing up (German)

 

 

You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.


Lá fhéile pádraig

Seamus Heaney

 

 

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Feb 152021
 
 February 15, 2021  Posted by at 3:05 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  25 Responses »


Giorgione The Tempest 1508

 

 

“Mankind’s only chance to not destroy its planet lies in diverging from all other species in that not all energy available to it, is used up as fast as possible. But that’s a big challenge. It would, speaking from a purely philosophical angle, truly separate us from nature for the first time ever, and we must wonder if that’s desirable.”

 

I wrote that 4 years and 2 months ago today, and I’m still thinking about it. It came to mind again, along with the article it comes from, see below, when I saw a few recent references to climate change, and to how any policy to halt it should be financed. It’s all painfully obvious.

Bill Gates, while on a virtual book tour, says governments should pay. In particular for the innovation needed. We’re going to solve it all with things we haven’t invented yet. That kind of thinking never fails to greatly boost my confidence in people and their ideas.

Overall, Gates’ words feel like a stale same old same old been there done that tone. But one thing is changing. Since Joe Biden became the most popular US president ever, according to his vote count, there is now a climate czar at the US Treasury, and a climate change team at the US Fed. Progress! At least for those seeking to use your money to solve their problems.

 

Bill Gates: Solving Covid Easy Compared With Climate

Mr Gates’s new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, is a guide to tackling global warming. [..] Net zero is where we need to get to. This means cutting emissions to a level where any remaining greenhouse gas releases are balanced out by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. One way to do this is by planting trees, which soak up CO2 through their leaves. Mr Gates’ focus is on how technology can help us make that journey. Renewable sources like wind and solar can help us decarbonise electricity but, as Mr Gates points out, that’s less than 30% of total emissions.

We are also going to have to decarbonise the other 70% of the world economy – steel, cement, transport systems, fertiliser production and much, much more. We simply don’t have ways of doing that at the moment for many of these sectors. The answer, says Mr Gates, will be an innovation effort on a scale the world has never seen before. This has to start with governments, he argues. At the moment, the economic system doesn’t price in the real cost of using fossil fuels. Most users don’t pay anything for the damage to the environment done by pollution from the petrol in their car or the coal or gas that created the electricity in their home.

“Right now, you don’t see the pain you’re causing as you emit carbon dioxide,” is how Mr Gates puts it. That’s why he says governments have to intervene. “We need to have price signals to tell the private sector that we want green products,” he says. That is going to require a huge investment by governments in research and development, Mr Gates argues, as well as support to allow the market for new products and technologies to grow, thereby helping drive down prices.

 

Yes, a climate change team at the US Fed. Which has been handed yet another mandate. Because the Treasury can only do so much, after all. What you want and need is something unlimited to pay for all those yet-to-be-invented tools that Bill Gates and his ilk will be happy to research with your money. Jim Rickards has this:

 

Green New Deal Is Underway

The overall Green New Deal calls for ending the use of oil and natural gas, moving to electric vehicles, solar, wind and geothermal power, imposing carbon taxes to reduce C02 emissions and providing government subsidies to non-carbon-based energy technologies. The U.S. would also seek to embed these policies and priorities in new trade treaties and multilateral agreements. President Biden has already begun this process by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, which actually doesn’t mean much; it’s mostly for show. The Paris Accord is also a platform for pursuing the Green New Deal.

[..] With the job creation mandate in its portfolio, the Fed was empowered to interfere with almost every aspect of the real economy, including jobs, inflation, interest rates, liquidity and financial regulation. As if that weren’t enough, economist Barry Eichengreen now calls on central banks, especially the Fed, to use their regulatory powers to control climate change! Part of the agenda would address racial inequality, income inequality and credit access for underprivileged groups. These may be laudable goals, but it’s a long way from the Fed’s role as lender of last resort.

What’s frightening about this push to expand the Fed’s mandate is not that it can’t work, but that it could. A central bank could require commercial banks to lend money to solar and wind generating companies and deny credit to oil companies. A central bank could require more loans to disadvantaged neighborhoods and require that no credit be made available to gun manufacturers or gun dealers. There is no aspect of the economy and business activity that could not be affected positively by mandatory credit or destroyed by the lack of credit and access to the payments system.

This is already being done to some extent by cabals of commercial banks. It would be even more powerful if required by central banks. This is exactly the outcome that has been warned about for centuries by philosophers and political scientists. It is exactly the reason Americans abolished two U.S. central banks in the 19th century.

 

This is precisely what I was warning about in December 2016, when the protagonists were Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg, who wrote “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change”. If you are serious about saving your planet, you’re not going to listen to the ideas of billionaires and central bankers. Because they are the people behind the original problem, and the only tools they know of are the ones who created that problem.

You can’t solve a problem with the same tools that created it. And you’re not going to solve the climate problem by seeking to make a profit from it. Here’s from 2016. Oh wait, do remember that our societies and economies don’t run on using energy, but on wasting it. If you haven’t internalized that one, take a few steps back and try again.

 

 

Heal the Planet for Profit (December 16, 2016)

 


Parisians duck down to evade German sniper fire following Nazi surrender of Paris, 1945

 

 

If you ever wondered what the odds are of mankind surviving, let alone ‘defeating’, climate change, look no further than the essay the Guardian published this week, written by Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney. It proves beyond a moonlight shadow of a doubt that the odds are infinitesimally close to absolute zero (Kelvin, no Hobbes).

Yes, Bloomberg is the media tycoon and former mayor of New York (which he famously turned into a 100% clean and recyclable city). And since central bankers are as we all know without exception experts on climate change, as much as they are on full-contact crochet, it makes perfect sense that Bank of England governor Carney adds his two -trillion- cents.

Conveniently, you don’t even have to read the piece, the headline tells you all you need and then some: “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change” really nails it. The entire mindset on display in just a few words. If that’s what they went for, kudo’s are due.

These fine gents probably actually believe that this is perfectly in line with our knowledge of, say, human history, of evolution, of the laws of physics, and of -mass- psychology. All of which undoubtedly indicate to them that we can and will defeat the problems we have created -and still are-, literally with the same tools and ideas -money and profit- that we use to create them with. Nothing ever made more sense.

That these problems originated in the same relentless quest for profit that they now claim will help us get rid of them, is likely a step too far for them; must have been a class they missed. “We destroyed it for profit” apparently does not in their eyes contradict “we’ll fix it for profit too”. Not one bit. It does, though. It’s indeed the very core of what is going wrong.

Profit, or money in general, is all these people live for, it’s their altar. That’s why they are successful in this world. It’s also why the world is doomed. Is there any chance I could persuade you to dwell on that for a few seconds? That, say, Bloomberg and Carney, and all they represent, are the problem dressed up as the solution? That our definition of success is what dooms us?

Philosophers, religious people, or you and me, may struggle with the question “what’s the purpose of life?”. These guys do not. The purpose of life is to make a profit. The earth and all the life it harbors exist to kill, drill, excavate and burn down, if that means you can make a profit. And after that you repair it all for a profit. In their view, the earth doesn’t turn of its own accord after all, it’s money that makes it go round.

 

The worrisome thing is that Mark and Michael will be listened to, that they are allowed a seat at the table in the first place, whereas you and I are not. A table that will be filled with plenty more of their ilk, as the announcement of Bill Gates’ billionaire philantropist energy fund says loud and clear:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and a group of high-profile executives are investing $1 billion in a fund to spur clean energy technology and address global climate change a year after the Paris climate agreement. Gates launched the Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund on Monday along with billionaire entrepreneurs such as Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg, Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma and Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos. The fund seeks to increase financing of emerging energy research and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to help meet goals set in Paris, according to a statement by the investor group known as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Yes, many of the same folk and/or their minions were sitting at the table with Trump on Dec 14. To see if there are any profits to be made. When a profit is involved they have no trouble sitting down with the same guy they insulted and warned against day after grueling day mere weeks ago. They have no trouble doing it because they insulted him for a potential profit too. It’s business, it’s not personal.

Billionaires will save us from ourselves, and make us -and themselves- rich while doing it. What is not to like? Well, for one thing, has anybody lately checked the energy footprint of Messrs. Bloomberg, Gates, Ma, Zuckerberg, Bezos et al? Is it possible that perhaps they’re trying to pull our collective wool over our eyes by pretending to care about those footprints? That maybe these ‘clean energy’ initiatives are merely a veil behind which they intend to extend -and expand- said footprints?

The ones in that sphere who wind up being most successful are those who are most convincing in making us believe that all we need to do to avert a climate disaster is to use some different form of energy. That all the talk about zero emissions and clean energy is indeed reflecting our one and only possible reality.

That all we need to do is to switch to solar and wind and electric cars to save ourselves (and they’ll build them for a subsidy). That that will end the threat and we can keep on doing what we always did, and keep on growing it all and as the cherry on the cake, make a profit off the endeavor.

 

None of it flies even a little. First of all, as I said last week in Mass Extinction and Mass Insanity, there are many more problems with our present lifestyles than ‘only’ climate change, or the use of carbon. Like the extinction of two-thirds of all vertebrate life in just 50 years leading up to 2020. There’s -close to- nothing wind and solar will do to alleviate that.

Because it’s not oil itself, or carbon in general, that kills; our use of it does. And the rush to build an entire new global infrastructure that is needed to use new energy forms, which will depend on using huge amounts of carbon, is more likely to kill off that globe than to save it. “Carbon got us in this, let’s use lots more of it to get us out”.

The trillions in -public- investment that would be needed will make us all dirt poor too, except for the gentlemen mentioned above and a handful of others who invent stuff that they manage to make us believe will save us. Still convinced?

 

The lifestyles of the last 10 generations of us, especially westerners, are characterized more than anything else by the huge increase in the use of energy, of calories and joules. As we went from wood to peat to coal to oil and gas, the energy return on energy investment kept going higher. But that stopped with oil and gas. And from now on in it will keep going down.

“Free carbon excess” was a one-off ‘gift’ from nature. It will not continue and it will not return. Different forms of carbon have offered us a one-time source of free energy that we will not have again. The idea that we can replace it with ‘clean energy’ is ludicrous. The energy return on energy investment doesn’t even come close. And you can’t run a society with our present levels of complexity on a much lower ‘net energy’. We must dress down. No profit in that, sorry.

We built what we have now with oil at an EROEI of 100:1. There are no forms of energy left that come remotely close, including new, unconventional, forms of oil itself. Peak oil has been a much maligned and misunderstood concept, but its essence stands: when it takes more energy to ‘produce’ energy than it delivers, there will be no production.

This graph is a few years old, and wind and solar may have gained a few percentage points in yield, but it’s still largely correct. And it will continue to be.

 

 

We have done with all that free energy what all other life forms do when ‘gifted’ with an excess of available energy: spend it as fast as possible, proliferate to speed up the process (we went from less than 1 billion people to 7 billion in under 200 years, 2 billion to 7 billion in 100 years) and, most of all, waste it.

Ever wonder why everybody drives a car that is ten times heavier then her/himself and has a 10% efficiency rate in its energy use? Why there’s an infrastructure everywhere that necessitates for every individual to use 1000 times more energy than it would take herself to get from A to B on foot? Sounds a lot like deliberately wasteful behavior, doesn’t it?

The essence here is that while we were building this entire wasteful world of us, we engaged in the denying and lying behavior that typifies us as a species more than anything: we disregarded externalities. And there is no reason to believe we would not continue to do just that when we make the illusionary switch to ‘clean’ energy.

To begin with, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says there’s no such thing as clean energy. So stop using the term. Second, that we call wind and solar ‘clean energy’ means we’re already ignoring externalities again. We pretend that producing windmills and solar panels does not produce pollution (or we wouldn’t call it ‘clean’). While enormous amounts of carbon are used in the production process, and it involves pollution, loss of land, loss of life, loss of resources (once you burn it it’s gone).

 

An example: If we want to ‘save’ the earth, we would do good to start by overthrowing the way we produce food. It presently easily takes more than 10 calories of energy -mostly carbon- for every calorie of food we make. Then we wrap it all in (oil-based) plastic and transport it sometimes 1000s of miles before it’s on our plates. And at the end of this process, we will have thrown away half of it. It’s hard to think of a more wasteful process.

It’s a process obviously devised and executed by idiots. But it’s profitable. There is a profit to be made in wasting precious resources. And there is a key lesson in that. There is no profit in producing food in a more efficient way. At least not for the industries that produce it. And perhaps not even for you, if you produce most of your food – it takes ‘precious’ time.

It would still be hugely beneficial, though. And there’s the key. There is no direct link between what is good for us, and the planet, on the one side, and profit, money, on the other. What follows from that is that it’s not the people whose entire lives are centered around money who are the most obvious choices to ‘save the planet’. If anything, they are the least obvious.

But in an economic and political system that is itself as focused on money as ours is, they are still the ones who are allowed to assume this role. It’s a circle jerk around, and then into, a drain.

 

Mankind’s only chance to not destroy its planet lies in diverging from all other species in that not all energy available to it, is used up as fast as possible. But that’s a big challenge. It would, speaking from a purely philosophical angle, truly separate us from nature for the first time ever, and we must wonder if that’s desirable.

We would need to gain much more knowledge of who we are and what makes us do what we do, and why. But that is not going to happen if we focus on making a profit. Using less energy means less waste means less profit.

Yes, there may be energy sources that produce a bit less waste, a bit less pollution, than those that are carbon based. But first, our whole infrastructure has been built by carbon, and second, even if another energy source would become available, we would push to grow its use ever more, and end up initially in the same mess, and then a worse one.

 

 

I stumbled upon an excellent example of the effects of all this today:

The Shattering Effect Of Roads On Nature

Rampant road building has shattered the Earth’s land into 600,000 fragments, most of which are too tiny to support significant wildlife, a new study has revealed. The researchers warn roadless areas are disappearing and that urgent action is needed to protect these last wildernesses, which help provide vital natural services to humanity such as clean water and air. The impact of roads extends far beyond the roads themselves, the scientists said, by enabling forest destruction, pollution, the splintering of animal populations and the introduction of deadly pests.

An international team of researchers analysed open-access maps of 36m km of road and found that over half of the 600,000 fragments of land in between roads are very small – less than 1km2. A mere 7% are bigger than 100km2, equivalent to a square area just 10km by 10km (6mi by 6 mi). Furthermore, only a third of the roadless areas were truly wild, with the rest affected by farming or people.

The last remaining large roadless areas are rainforests in the Amazon and Indonesia and the tundra and forests in the north of Russia and Canada. Virtually all of western Europe, the eastern US and Japan have no areas at all that are unaffected by roads.

 

 

It’s a good example because it raises the question: how much of this particular issue do you think will be solved by the promotion of electric cars, or windmills? How much of it do you think can be solved for a profit? Because if there’s no profit in it, it will not happen.

One more for the philosophy class: I know many people will be inclined to suggest options like nuclear fusion. Or zero point energy. And I would suggest that not only do these things exist in theory only, which is always a bad thing if you have an immediate problem. But more than that: imagine providing the human race with a source of endless energy, and then look at what it’s done with the free energy available to it over the past 10 generations.

Give man more energy and he’ll just destroy his world faster. It’s not about carbon, it’s about energy and about what you yourself do with it. And no, money and profit will not reverse climate change, or any other detrimental effects they have on our lives. They will only make them worse.

 

 

 

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Feb 042021
 
 February 4, 2021  Posted by at 10:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


MC Escher Balcony 1945

 

‘Deadly Carrot’-Derived Antiviral Could Be Magic Bullet (RT)
5.8 Million Fewer Babies: America’s Lost Decade in Fertility (IFS)
Dallas Fed’s Kaplan: Reddit-Fueled Trading Frenzy Driven Partly By Fed (R.)
Beware Of Social Media-Fuelled Bubbles In Market – French Regulator (R.)
The Stock Market Is Broken, Now for All to See (WS)
The Insiders’ Game (Sacks)
SWIFT Sets Up Digital Currency Joint Venture With China’s Central Bank (R.)
“It Can’t Happen Here” (Rickards)
Andrew Cuomo Was a Villain All Along (NR)
Media Runs Defense as Amazon Caught Stealing Millions From Workers (MPN)
Defense Sec. Orders 60-Day Stand-down To Confront Extremism In Military (MT)
US Admiral Warns Nuclear War With Russia, China a ‘Real Possibility’ (Antiwar)
Xi, Putin Make The Case For Win-Win, Not Zero-Sum (Escobar)
If BlacK Lives Matter Wins Nobel, Rename It ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Prize (RT)

 

 

The Working Class pay taxes.
The Middle Class pay accountants.
The Upper Class pay politicians.

 

 

There’s a new meme in town: #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett. No comment.

 

 

Psaki calls out RT and Sputnik in front of the MSM. It’s too much.

 

 

“..several hundred times more effective than the current arsenal of antiviral treatments and is also effective against combined infections.”

‘Deadly Carrot’-Derived Antiviral Could Be Magic Bullet (RT)

Scientists are extolling the efficacy of a wonder drug in combating not only Covid-19 but influenza and other respiratory illnesses, in what may pave the way for a new generation of medicines to prevent future pandemics. Researchers led by a team at the University of Nottingham discovered that the broad spectrum antiviral thapsigargin has shown to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19), a common cold coronavirus, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as well as influenza A virus. Acute respiratory infections can be somewhat indistinguishable from one another on initial presentation to a doctor, which may result in lost time in terms of deploying the correct treatment. However, with an effective, broad-spectrum antiviral that can handle many of the main, more serious culprits with ease, it could yield far more positive outcomes for patients and medical practitioners.

Furthermore, it could also turn the tide against spontaneous community outbreaks of certain infections, including the dreaded clusters of Covid-19 which humanity can expect even after widespread vaccine rollout. The researchers, led by Professor Kin-Chow Chang, closely examined the plant-derived antiviral and put it through its paces against a number of pathogens. They found that it triggers a highly effective antiviral immune response against three major types of human respiratory viruses, and works before or during active infection, while preventing a virus from self-replicating for at least 48-hours, a critical component in stamping out community infections.

The drug remains stable in hostile, acidic environments, such as the human stomach, meaning it can be administered orally, without the need for injection or hospital admission, saving precious resources in the process. The researchers also claim the drug, derived from the ‘deadly carrot’ thapsia plant, is several hundred times more effective than the current arsenal of antiviral treatments and is also effective against combined infections. A derivative of the drug has been used in prostate cancer treatment, so concerns about safety in humans have already been allayed.


“The current pandemic highlights the need for effective antivirals to treat active infections, as well as vaccines, to prevent the infection,” Chang said, adding that future pandemics are likely to be zoonotic in nature, either animal-to-human or vice versa, so treating viral infections in humans and animals is crucial to prevent future catastrophe. The drug may mark the beginning of a new generation of powerful, host-centred antivirals, resulting in a holistic “One Health” approach to control both human and animal viruses and, hopefully at least, prevent further pandemics from inflicting such damage on the human race.

Read more …

And that’s before suspected COVID influence on -male- fertility.

5.8 Million Fewer Babies: America’s Lost Decade in Fertility (IFS)

Fertility rates have fallen around the world over the last decade—even in countries with generous social welfare states, which experts had long expected to be holdouts in the face of fertility declines. But while demographers often talk about this change in terms of “fertility rates” or “births per woman,” another way to tally the total is in terms of missing births. That is, if the population of women who might have kids changed the way it did over the last decade, and if fertility rates had remained at their 2008 levels (the last time we had replacement-rate fertility in America), how many more babies would have been born?


The answer is 5.8 million babies. Since births in the U.S. actually tend to run around 4 million per year, that’s almost like saying nobody had a baby for a year and a half. Figure 1 below shows the difference between the number of babies actually born to moms of each major racial or ethnic group tracked by the CDC from 2009-2019, and the number that would have been born, had 2008 fertility rates remained stable but underlying population totals changed in the same way.

The lion’s share of “missing babies” would have been born to Hispanic moms. That’s because in 2008, Hispanic moms could expect to have about 2.8 kids on average; now, they can expect to have about 2. Fertility rates declining by almost a third is a huge change, resulting in a loss of 2.7 million Hispanic babies that would otherwise have been born. Non-Hispanic whites make up the second biggest category of missing babies, with almost 2 million missing births. But that’s a bit of an illusion: in fact, non-Hispanic white fertility rates experienced the least amount of decline of any group (from 1.9 children per woman to 1.6; Asian-Americans have always been lower, falling from 1.8 to 1.5). But the number of potential non-Hispanic white moms is very large. Figure 2 below shows the percentage difference between actual births each year, and the expected number of births for that group and year.

Read more …

“Some of the current situation you are seeing – one of the factors – is there is a lot of liquidity, and some of that relates to Fed purchases..”

Dallas Fed’s Kaplan: Reddit-Fueled Trading Frenzy Driven Partly By Fed (R.)

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said Tuesday that while the Fed’s massive bond-buying program is creating plenty of liquidity in financial markets, there are no signs of broad market instability at present. “I don’t see anything right now systemic,” Kaplan said in a CNBC interview, responding to a question about a possible link between the Reddit-fueled frenzy in GameStop Corp shares and monetary policy. Kaplan did not comment on GameStop directly, and instead addressed the broader question of how Fed policy affects financial markets.


“Some of the current situation you are seeing – one of the factors – is there is a lot of liquidity, and some of that relates to Fed purchases of $80 billion of Treasuries and $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities every month: I think it’s wise for us to acknowledge that.” The Fed has kept interest rates near zero since last March and has pledged to keep them there until the economy has returned to full employment and inflation has reached, and is on track to overshoot, the Fed’s 2% goal. It has also said it will keep buying at least $120 billion of bonds each month until there is “substantial further progress” toward the Fed’s full employment and 2% inflation goals, a benchmark that Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida has said may not be reached until next year.

Read more …

“Customers with direct market access are welcome, but raises questions about… new ways to manipulate markets..”

Let’s stick with the old ways.

Beware Of Social Media-Fuelled Bubbles In Market – French Regulator (R.)

An increase in retail investors flocking to online brokers during the coronavirus pandemic risks creating “bubbles” engineered by social media, France’s top markets regulator said on Wednesday. Robert Ophele, chair of France’s AMF markets watchdog, said the trading frenzy fuelled by posts on the Reddit forum and surge in bitcoin prices have shown how technology and social media can bring “irrationality” to financial markets. “Customers with direct market access are welcome, but raises questions about… new ways to manipulate markets with a social media dimension,” Ophele told an Afore Consulting webinar.

Read more …

Step 1: stop calling it a market.

The Stock Market Is Broken, Now for All to See (WS)

It has finally blown into the open for all to see. The stock market has been broken for a while, for a long time, actually. The idea that the stock market is where price discovery takes place on a rational transparent basis, with ups and downs, and some amount of chaos, but free of rampant manipulations – that idea has now totally imploded. What has been visible for a long time but now blew into the open is just how manipulated the market is, by all sides, how overleveraged the big players are because the Fed encouraged them to, and how enormous the risks are, and how crazy the trading strategies are. And the stock market soared to record out-of-whack valuations, in a terrible economy where at least 10 million people have lost their jobs and are still out of work, and where entire industries have gotten crushed.


The whole thing is propped up by stimulus and bailout payments to consumers and companies alike. And then came a new force – or rather the force wasn’t new, but the magnitude was: regular folks ganging together in the social media, particularly on Reddit’s WallStreetBets, and they were deeply cynical about the fake markets and they saw an opportunity, and they conspired to make a ton of money and push some hedge funds over the cliff, by buying long the most shorted stocks, in other words, they conspired to engineer a historic short-squeeze. This coordinated buying by the crowd on WallStreetBets, of a handful of small most-shorted stocks, drove up their prices sometimes by 100% or more in a day, which pushed the hedge funds that were short these stocks to the brink. And it pushed online broker Robinhood to the brink. And it revealed for all to see just how broken the stock market has been.

Read more …

“With the Town Square now digitized, centralized, and privatized in the hands of a cartel of Big Tech companies, the protections of the First Amendment no longer apply.”

The Insiders’ Game (Sacks)

Some of us warned of a slippery slope when Parler was taken down and a sitting president was systematically ghosted from every online speech platform. But we could not have foreseen how slippery the slope would be, or how fast we would slide down it. We were told that the curbs on speech of President Trump and his supporters were necessary to prevent further “insurrection” and protect the peaceful transition of power. However, much like the troops and barricades that still ring the Capitol, these speech restrictions remain in place well after the transition of power has occurred. The censorship power is always justified in response to a genuine outrage or crisis, but it is rarely relinquished once the threat passes. Rather it gets weaponized to protect powerful, connected insiders, as the GameStop fiasco illustrates.

How do we suppose Discord chose that moment to enforce its “Community Guidelines” against WallStreetBets? Almost certainly, one of the hedge funds whose ox was being gored combed through their message boards looking for anything that might violate the terms of service. And surely they found it, as these boards contain the same raunchy language you would hear if you visited any trading floor or boiler room on Wall Street. They presumably reported the content to Discord, which took the group down. Did Discord warn WallStreetBets of content violations before last Wednesday? I’m sure they did. Amazon sent such a warning letter to Parler as well. Frankly, such a letter could be, and likely is, sent to every large message board on the web.

The founder of a user-generated content site described it to me as “the One Percent Problem.” Every user-generated content site will have a small percentage of offensive material that gets through, no matter how many content moderators are hired. For example, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube allowed far more content advocating for and planning the Capitol riot than Parler. But instead of acknowledging this, they were eager to blame the upstart, which had recently taken over the top spot in the social networking category in the app store. Scapegoating Parler served the dual purpose of deflecting blame and squashing a competitor. Critics of social networks insist that these sites simply need to double down on censorship in order to finally rid us of problematic speech. But that ignores how social media moderation actually works.


Algorithms set to recognize keywords capture only a small fraction of problematic posts, leaving millions of posts for humans to review. The work is so voluminous that it’s outsourced to far-flung locales where English may not even be the first language. Low-level employees must decipher complicated guidelines while navigating our increasingly Byzantine world of political and cultural hot-buttons. Mistakes are inevitable, and the harder a company tightens the standards to get the One Percent Problem down to 0.1 or 0.01 percent, the more undeserving accounts—from Ron Paul to the Socialist Equality Party—will be swept up in the dragnet. With the Town Square now digitized, centralized, and privatized in the hands of a cartel of Big Tech companies, the protections of the First Amendment no longer apply.

Read more …

The battle against Bitcoin will be fierce.

SWIFT Sets Up Digital Currency Joint Venture With China’s Central Bank (R.)

SWIFT, the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments, has set up a joint venture with the Chinese central bank’s digital currency research institute and clearing centre, in a sign that China is exploring global use of its planned digital yuan. Other shareholders of the Beijing-based venture include China’s Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) and the Payment & Clearing Association of China, both supervised by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), according to public information.


The new entity, called Finance Gateway Information Services Co, was established in Beijing on Jan. 16, and its business scope includes information system integration, data processing and technological consultancy, according to the website of the National Enterprise Credit Information Public System. China is a front-runner in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies, having launched domestic trials in several major cities including Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Its digital currency will help increase oversight of money flows, while also raising the efficiency of cross-border payments and facilitate yuan internationalization, HSBC said in a recent report. China’s cross-border payment system CIPS both partners and competes with SWIFT amid growing Sino-U.S. tensions.

Read more …

Rickards recognizes the role of money velocity in inflation, but doesn’t explain why he sees it change.

“It Can’t Happen Here” (Rickards)

The Federal Reserve printed $4 trillion in the years following the 2008 crash, expanding its pre-crisis balance sheet of about $900 billion to roughly $4.5 trillion. Many people thought, if hyperinflation were ever going to happen in the U.S., it would have already. Well, it never happened. Today, in response to the pandemic and the economic lockdowns that followed, the Fed has cranked up the printing press to even higher levels. It’s printed almost as much money in one year as it printed in the several years after the financial crisis. On February 26, 2020, the balance sheet was $4.16 trillion. Less than one year later, it’s roughly $7.3 trillion. Meanwhile, America’s M1 money supply spiked 70% last year.

But this blizzard of money-printing has not caused the level of alarm that the post-financial crisis money creation caused. If we didn’t get the hyperinflation then, they say, why should we get it now? Most people are complacent. They have a point. We still have no hyperinflation or even moderate inflation (except maybe in asset prices). But I’ve even argued that we won’t see inflation right away. Inflation is not only a product of money creation but also of money velocity. You can print as much money as you want, but if it’s not exchanging hands and there isn’t much turnover, it won’t lead to inflation. Inflation is at least as much a psychological phenomenon as a monetary phenomenon. And expectations right now are for disinflation.


Because of the lockdowns and their economic fallout, we will likely suffer a recession in the first quarter of 2021. Money velocity is low, so disinflation is the problem in the short term. But that doesn’t mean inflation isn’t coming back or even that hyperinflation isn’t possible once it does. Inflation will return, and when it does, it could be massive and potentially lead to hyperinflation. All this can happen faster than most people think.

Read more …

A useful scapegoat is past his best before date.

Andrew Cuomo Was a Villain All Along (NR)

For much of the past year, the mainstream media and Democrats have largely blamed former president Donald Trump and his administration for most of America’s COVID-19 deaths. Trump did indeed fail in certain aspects of coordination, messaging, and inserting politics into the parts of the process where it didn’t belong. He deserves credit, however, for Operation Warp Speed, the initiative that (ultimately successfully) fostered the development of coronavirus vaccines, one of the most successful public-private ventures in modern history. But Trump’s overbearing personality tended to absorb all the attention, leaving little room for real debate on the successes and failures of other politicians, except when the media found time to criticize Republican governors. But serious criticism of Democrats in this period was rare. Until now.

Last week, New York attorney general Letitia James, a Democrat, released a long-awaited report on the state of New York’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as led by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Her findings were stunning in their demonstration of both gross incompetence and outright malfeasance, and were recently reinforced by a New York Times report this week on Cuomo’s leadership failures and staffing troubles during the coronavirus period. The Times now reports that nine leading health-care experts for the state of New York resigned during the last summer and through the fall, all of whom complained that Cuomo had politicized health-care decisions and was ignoring the experts on long-standing plans for the pandemic, including regarding vaccinations.

Why the discrepancy? First, the state refused to count those patients who were transferred to, and later died at, hospitals. Why this loophole? Nobody has ever provided a good answer. Every other state in the country counts these deaths in the nursing-home numbers, because that is the practical and commonsense way to count it. New York specifically chose to be an outlier. The real failure, however, was New York’s unwillingness to be transparent with the data after the fact. For many who analyzed the data in April and May, it quickly became apparent that the state was not being fully transparent on nursing-home deaths. Many individuals were reporting that their family members died at the hospital, but only after getting severely ill at their extended-care facilities first. But somehow the numbers did not appear to bear that out.


An objective observer might be willing to give anyone in charge during such horrific events the benefit of the doubt. New York was at the time the worldwide center of COVID deaths, and it continued in this manner all through the spring. The vast majority of the more than 40,000 deaths in the state occurred during a horrific twelve-week period, when hospitals and health professionals faced war-like situations as patients died left and right.

Read more …

Please don’t send anyone to jail!

Media Runs Defense as Amazon Caught Stealing Millions From Workers (MPN)

It has been a turbulent 24 hours for retail giant Amazon. First, the company’s founder (and world’s richest individual) Jeff Bezos announced that he would step down as CEO. Then, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that the company had illegally stolen more than $61 million worth of customer tips meant for its delivery drivers. Under their contracts, Amazon drivers were supposed to make between $18 and $25 per hour and keep all their tips. However, since at least 2016, the company had been secretly confiscating tips customers sent through an app, using their contributions to reduce their own wage payouts, meaning they were swindling both customers and employees. “In total, Amazon stole nearly one-third of drivers’ tips to pad its own bottom line,” said FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.

Unlike corporate crime cases in other nations, Amazon will merely be required to pay back the money it took from employees. Thus, it will face no negative consequences, except a possible public relations backlash due to bad press. Yet, instead of grilling Amazon, the media appear to be working hard to run defense for it, downplaying the nature of the crime in their headlines. The word “steal” was noticeably absent from much of the reporting, despite the fact that the original Reuters report used the word in its title — a direct reflection of the FTC’s ruling. Many newspapers instead decided to go with “withhold” instead. Even worse, many more framed the news as a mere allegation, despite the fact that the FTC had made a formal ruling.

Forbes, for instance, led with the headline “Amazon Will Pay $61.7 Million Settlement After Allegedly Withholding Tips From Delivery Drivers.” Others (Daily Caller, Daily Mail) did the same. Meanwhile, in a tweet on the news, Vox claimed that (emphasis added) “Amazon will pay $61.7 million in a settlement over allegations that the company used customer tips to subsidize the hourly wages of some delivery drivers.” Thus, the fact that Amazon had been caught stealing was watered down into a claim that it was merely “subsidizing” “some” of its employees’ wages.


Perhaps the worst offender was business and tech news site ZDNet, whose headline was “Amazon will pay $61.7 million to settle Flex driver tip dispute with FTC,” which obscured the matter into a foggy and very technical sounding financial dispute. Only a very small number of outlets, including Slate and The Huffington Post, echoed the FTC’s decision by using the word “stole” in their headlines.

Read more …

The most extreme things in the US military take place in far-away lands.

Defense Sec. Orders 60-Day Stand-down To Confront Extremism In Military (MT)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has called on the services to conduct a 60-day stand-down on the issue of extremism in the military, prompted by the Jan. 6 attack on the the Capitol and subsequent reports of both active-duty and former service members attending a rally calling to overturn the 2020 election and the riot that ensued. Austin held a meeting Wednesday of the service secretaries and Joint Chiefs, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters, to ask them about their concerns and ideas for improving the situation. “Even though the numbers might be small, they may not be as small as we would like them to be, or we believe them to be,“ Kirby said of the prevalence of troops with extremists views, ties or activities. “And that no matter what it is, it is not an insignificant problem.”


Guidance is forthcoming on what Austin expects to see after the 60 days. “It wasn’t a blithe, ‘Hey, just go talk to your people,’” Kirby said of Austin’s direction to the service secretaries and Joint Chiefs. “He was very clear that he wants commands to take the necessary time. And I didn’t hear him be overly proscriptive about that … to speak with troops about the scope of this problem, and certainly to get a sense from them about what they’re seeing at their level.” The Defense Department does not centrally track troops who have been investigated for domestic terrorism or extremist sentiment, and neither do the services, making it difficult to get a read on how prevalent the problem is. Kirby told reporters on Jan. 28 that the FBI opened 143 investigations into troops and veterans in 2020, 68 of those for domestic extremism.

Read more …

The MIC needs orders.

US Admiral Warns Nuclear War With Russia, China a ‘Real Possibility’ (Antiwar)

The head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) warned that a nuclear war with Russia or China is a “real possibility” and is calling for a change in US policy that reflects this threat. “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” Vice Adm. Charles Richard wrote in the February edition of the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine. Richard said the US military must “shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality.”


The STRATCOM chief said Russia and China “have begun to aggressively challenge international norms and global peace using instruments of power and threats of force in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.” Richard hyped up Russia and China’s nuclear modernization, calling for the US to compete with the two nations. When it comes to China’s nuclear weapons, the US and Russia have vastly larger arsenals. Current estimates put Beijing’s nuclear arsenal at about 320 warheads, while Washington and Moscow have about 6,000 warheads each.

Read more …

Was it Trump’s policies that made them stronger, or was it the way America handled Trump?

Xi, Putin Make The Case For Win-Win, Not Zero-Sum (Escobar)

The best in-depth analysis of Putin’s extraordinary speech , hands down, was provided by Rostislav Ishchenko, whom I had the pleasure to meet in Moscow in 2018. Ishchenko stresses how, “in terms of scale and impact on historical processes, this is steeper than the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk combined.” The speech, he adds, was totally unexpected, as much as Putin’s stunning intervention at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, “the crushing defeat” imposed on Georgia in 2008, and the return of Crimea in 2014. Ishchenko also reveals something that will never be acknowledged in the West: “80 people from among the most influential on the planet did not laugh in Putin’s face, as it was in 2007 in Munich, and without noise immediately after his open speech signed up for a closed conference with him.”

Putin’s very important reference to the ominous 1930s – “the inability and unwillingness to find substantive solutions to problems like this in the 20th century led to World War 2 catastrophe” – was juxtaposed with a common sense warning: the necessity of preventing the takeover of global policy by Big Tech , which “are de facto competing with states”. Xi and Putin’s speeches were de facto complementary – emphasizing sustainable, win-win economic development for all actors, especially across the Global South, coupled with the necessity of a new socio-political contract in international relations. This drive should be based on two pillars: sovereignty – that is, the good old Westphalian model (and not Great Reset, hyper-concentrated, one world “governance”) and sustainable development propelled by techno-scientific progress (and not techno-feudalism).


So what Putin-Xi proposed, in fact, was a concerted effort to expand the basic foundations of the Russia-China strategic partnership to the whole Global South: the crucial choice ahead is between win-win and the Exceptionalist zero-sum game.

Read more …

Amen.

If BlacK Lives Matter Wins Nobel, Rename It ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Prize (RT)

While 2020 may be remembered as the year Orwell turned over in his grave – and also the year deemed the perfect “match” for Satan – 2021 might well be remembered for the year Alfred Nobel did back flips in his. The Nobel Peace Prize has often generated controversy over many of its dubious nominees and recipients. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shared the prize with his counterpart, Le Duc Tho, “for jointly having negotiated a cease fire in Vietnam in 1973.” Kissinger won despite his role in the bombings in Cambodia and in the killings in ‘Operation Candor’. President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, inspiring him to bomb seven countries as he managed to out-Bush G.W. Bush. The former Nobel secretary told the AP news agency in 2015 that in awarding the prize to Obama, “the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.” You don’t say?

Yet, one of the biggest jaw-droppers may be a current contender, the corporate-funded Marxist front group, Black Lives Matter. The nomination must make BLM’s sponsors proud. And how much do corporate socialists like Black Lives Matter? As of June 2020, corporate America had pledged BLM over $1.678 billion, led by Bank of America and cheap-labor lover Nike. BLM was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Norwegian lawmaker. NBC News reported: “In his nomination letter, Petter Eide, a Socialist Left member of the Storting, Norway’s parliament, wrote that he had nominated Black Lives Matter ‘for their struggle against racism and racially motivated violence.’”

By now, much has been said about BLM’s violent roots. I discovered attempts by BLM (and its enablers) to disguise its history and ideology. But BLM’s scrubbing of its shady past has been to no avail, since its goals and tactics were on full display in the BLM-inspired riots. Protests and riots, including looting and arson, rampaged through the US from May to December 2020. The violence that resulted in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was the first “multi-state catastrophe event” ever declared for civil disorder by claim-tracking company Property Claim Services, Triple-I has said. BLM demonstrations have included calling for the murder of police officers: “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now!” On August 29, 2015, during a Black Lives Matter march outside the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, a chant rang out: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.” Inspired by BLM, at least two police officers were murdered, one at point-blank range.


On September 16, 2020, Axios headlined: “$1 billion-plus riot damage is most expensive in insurance history.” But noted in the report was the obligatory leftist cover for those who looted and set many cities ablaze. “The protests that took place in 140 U.S. cities this spring were mostly peaceful, but the arson, vandalism and looting that did occur will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion of paid insurance claims.”

Read more …

 

 

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Jan 142021
 
 January 14, 2021  Posted by at 10:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Jackson Pollock Male and female 1942

 

House Votes To Impeach Trump For ‘Insurrection’ (RT)
Twitter CEO Defends Banning Trump But Says It Was A “Dangerous” “Failure” (JTN)
Putin Orders Mass Vaccination Against COVID19 With Sputnik V Jab (RT)
Moderna CEO Says The World Will Have To Live With Covid ‘Forever’ (CNBC)
WHO Team Arrives In Wuhan To Investigate Pandemic Origins (AP)
Two NYC Residents Reported To Have UK COVID-19 Variant (AMNY)
EU Leaders Demand “Standardised” Vaccine Passport For Travel (SN)
Polarization, Then a Crash – Michael Hudson (AN)
Biden To Propose Massive $2 Trillion Stimulus (ZH)
Biden Taps Veteran Interventionist Samantha Power to Head USAID (Antiwar)
As Biden Vows To ‘Defeat The NRA,’ Gun Sales Continue To Soar (JTN)
Former Michigan Gov. Snyder Charged For Flint Water Crisis (JTN)
Unemployment Rate Above 20% For Lowest-Paid Workers – Fed’s Brainard (CNBC)
Cancel Yourself (Michael Krieger)
New Zealand City Closes Busy Road For Weeks To Protect Sea Lions (G.)

 

 

 

 

What would need to be proven in a courtroom, does not in Congress.

House Votes To Impeach Trump For ‘Insurrection’ (RT)

Arguing he incited an “armed rebellion” against the US, the Democrat-dominated House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump again. But with his term expiring in a week, it is unclear when the trial will proceed. After several hours of debate on Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to formally impeach the president over the January 6 unrest at the US Capitol, when a group of Trump supporters broke into the building and interrupted the joint session of Congress meeting to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 US presidential election. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Senate will reconvene on an emergency schedule to conduct the trial, however.

Reports in mainstream US media were conflicted, with some outlets citing anonymous sources to claim that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was eager to do so and help the Democrats get rid of Trump. However, McConnell’s spokesman said on Wednesday he would “not consent” to doing so before January 19, putting the trial into Biden’s term as president. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) told CNN on Sunday that the Democrats might even give Biden a hundred days “to get his agenda off and running” before they send the articles to the Senate. The delays and calculations are at odds with rhetoric coming from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and her impeachment managers, who called Trump a danger to the country and urged his immediate removal.

Democrats have even argued that Trump and anyone supporting him ought to be barred from holding any office under the 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War to punish leaders of the Confederacy. “We know that we face the enemies of the Constitution,” Pelosi said on the House floor on Wednesday. “We know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people’s capital – an attempt to overturn the duly recorded will of the American people. And we know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go.”

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“..those moves “over the long term … will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.”

Twitter CEO Defends Banning Trump But Says It Was A “Dangerous” “Failure” (JTN)

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday evening composed a 13-tweet-long thread on the social media platform he leads in which he defended the company’s recent permanent ban of President Donald Trump while still claiming that the ban constituted a “dangerous” “failure.” Dorsey, who helped found the microblogging platform in early 2006, said in the thread that, though banning Trump out of fears that he was promoting violence was “the right decision for Twitter,” an account ban nevertheless “has real and significant ramifications.” “While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation,” Dorsey said. “And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us.”


In addition to fragmenting the public conversation, Dorsey said, such a ban “sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.” Referring to the recent purge of the social media app Parler from multiple digital platforms, Dorsey argued that those moves “over the long term … will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.” “Everything we learn in this moment will better our effort, and push us to be what we are: one humanity working together,” Dorsey said in the thread.

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“move from large-scale vaccination to mass vaccination.”

Putin Orders Mass Vaccination Against COVID19 With Sputnik V Jab (RT)

President Vladimir Putin has instructed the Russian government to begin rolling out a coronavirus vaccine for the entire population from next week, with more than 1.5 million people having already received the jab.
In a meeting with ministers on Wednesday, Putin said that the time had come to “move from large-scale vaccination to mass vaccination.” He added that the Sputnik V formula, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, was “the best in the world.” While comparisons between different vaccines are hard to draw, given the unique circumstances under which they have been developed, he insisted that “no others demonstrate this level of protection and such a degree of safety.”

However, the president expressed concern over the global fight against Covid-19, saying that “we see across the world, unfortunately, that it is not yet possible to strangle this disease, and we cannot prevent all the negative consequences associated with it.” Responding to the new directive, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova reported that the mass immunization program will begin next week, from 18 January. While 1.5 million people in the country have already received their first jab, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed Sputnik V, the list of those eligible was still subject to a number of restrictions.

Doctors, teachers, factory workers, municipal officials and those working in finance and the media were initially offered appointments first. However, there was speculation that, in practice, few checks were put in place before people were given their injection. It is still unclear how the mass-immunization program will be administered, and whether all Russians will be offered shots at once, or staggered based on their age group. Putin added that Sputnik V was particularly well-suited to being made available across the entirety of the world’s largest country because “thank God, our vaccine does not require any unusual conditions for transportation,” and can be stored at ordinary refrigerator temperatures.

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A good thing if you’re a vaccine maker?!

Moderna CEO Says The World Will Have To Live With Covid ‘Forever’ (CNBC)

The CEO of Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna warned Wednesday that the coronavirus that has brought world economies to a standstill and overwhelmed hospitals will be around “forever.” Public health officials and infectious disease experts have said there is a high likelihood that Covid-19 will become an endemic disease, meaning it will become present in communities at all times, though likely at lower levels than it is now. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel appeared to agree Wednesday that Covid-19 will become endemic, saying “SARS-CoV-2 is not going away.” “We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever,” he said during a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.


Health officials will have to continuously watch for new variants of the virus, so scientists can produce vaccines to fight them, he said. Researchers in Ohio said Wednesday they’ve discovered two new variants likely originating in the U.S. and that one of them quickly became the dominant strain in Columbus, Ohio, over a three-week period in late December and early January. Pfizer researchers said its vaccine developed with BioNTech appeared to be effective against a key mutation in the U.K. strain as well as a variant found in South Africa. Moderna’s vaccine has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use in Americans who are 18 years old and older. Additional studies still needed to be completed in children, whose immune systems can respond differently to vaccines than those of adults.

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Two have already been refused entry because of positive PCR tests.

WHO Team Arrives In Wuhan To Investigate Pandemic Origins (AP)

A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries. The 10-member team sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping’s government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of the WHO. Scientists suspect the virus that has killed 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China’s southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, says the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but scientists reject that.


CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV, reported the WHO team’s arrival. The members include virus and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam. A government spokesman said this week they will “exchange views” with Chinese scientists but gave no indication whether they would be allowed to gather evidence. They will undergo a two-week quarantine as well as a throat swab test and an antibody test for COVID-19, according to a post on CGTN’s official Weibo account. They are to start working with Chinese experts via video conference while in quarantine. China rejected demands for an international investigation after the Trump administration blamed Beijing for the virus’s spread, which plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s.

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In Holland, with 5,000 new cases on Tuesday, a warning yesterday that in February B.1.1.7 could cause 150,000 new cases per day.

Two NYC Residents Reported To Have UK COVID-19 Variant (AMNY)

Two New York City residents, one from Manhattan and the other from Queens, have contracted the mutated COVID-19 strain that was first identified in the United Kingdom—leading to a second nationwide lockdown of the country—Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. Both people were originally diagnosed in late-December using genetic sequencing — a method used to identify the new strain — which returned results “within the last few hours,” according to city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. Over 30 countries have reported cases of a new COVID variant, known as B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK last fall. In response, several countries have shut their doors to travelers from the United Kingdom in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.


Earlier this week, Washington announced that all international travelers will be required show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight starting Jan. 26 in response to the variant’s spread. But on Wednesday, de Blasio said that the measure fell short of what is needed to control the virus and again called for the federal government to issue a travel ban from Britain. “That’s not good enough,” de Blasio told reporters. “Here is proof positive that someone who was in the UK has brought the variant back here. We need that stopped. All flights from the United Kingdom should be canceled immediately by the federal government.” State officials reported the first case of the new variant on Jan. 4. Since then, officials have reported a total of 12 people in New York state have contracted the B.1.1.7.

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“..so called ‘immunity’ passports “pose extremely high risks in terms of social cohesion, discrimination, exclusion and vulnerability.”

EU Leaders Demand “Standardised” Vaccine Passport For Travel (SN)

EU leaders are demanding that the Commission should ‘standardise’ a vaccine passport across all member countries, and that it should be required for people to travel throughout the area. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has penned a letter to EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, outlining that “Persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel.” The letter calls for a “standardised certificate, which will prove that a person has been successfully vaccinated.” While it stops short at advocating mandatory vaccination, the letter further urges that “It is urgent to adopt a common understanding on how a vaccination certificate should be structured so as to be accepted in all member states.”

Mitsotakis has pledged to raise the issue during an upcoming EU summit on January 21, declaring that “there is an urgent need for a high-level EU-wide mobilization to move things forward.” Vaccine passports have previously been touted by the EU, with officials suggesting back in April that visa applicants would also be required to be vaccinated. EU countries including Spain, Estonia, Iceland, and Belgium have all indicated that they are open to some form of vaccine passports, as well as sharing the data across borders. This week, it was also revealed that Denmark is the latest country to announce that it is rolling out a ‘Covid passport’, to allow those who have taken the vaccine to engage in society without any restrictions.

However, the EU’s data protection chief Wojciech Wiewiorowski recently labeled the idea of an immunity passport “extreme” and has repeatedly said it is alarming, and ‘disgusting’. The spectre of so called ‘immunity passports’ is looming globally. Having left the EU, Britain would not be part of any standardised European scheme, however it has now confirmed that it is rolling out vaccine passports, despite previous denials that it would do so. Recently, the government in Ontario, Canada admitted that it is exploring ‘immunity passports’ in conjunction with restrictions on travel and access to social venues for the unvaccinated. Last month, Israel announced that citizens who get the COVID-19 vaccine will be given ‘green passports’ that will enable them to attend venues and eat at restaurants.

A litany of other government and travel industry figures in both the US, Britain and beyond have suggested that ‘COVID passports’ are coming in order for ‘life to get back to normal’. Anna Beduschi, an academic from Exeter University, commented on the potential move toward vaccine passports by EU, noting that it “poses essential questions for the protection of data privacy and human rights.” Beduschi added that the vaccine passports may “create a new distinction between individuals based on their health status, which can then be used to determine the degree of freedoms and rights they may enjoy.” A report compiled last year by AI research body the Ada Lovelace Institute said so called ‘immunity’ passports “pose extremely high risks in terms of social cohesion, discrimination, exclusion and vulnerability.” Sam Grant, campaign manager at the civili liberties advocacy group Liberty has warned that “any form of immunity passport risks creating a two-tier system in which some of us have access to freedoms and support while others are shut out.”

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“..the city let the landlords keep all of the gains in land value. And they just raised the income taxes and went into debt to pay for the subway.”

Polarization, Then a Crash – Michael Hudson (AN)

[..] ever since the Bronze Age you had the temples and the palaces providing basic needs. Because if you leave this to the private sector, then you’re going to have a situation where the private supplier has a chokehold on the economy and can say: your money or your life. There are certain things that governments are supposed to supply and which industrial capitalism wanted government to supply. Because they didn’t want employers or their employees to have to pay for them. These are a number of things. Governments obviously have to supply military defense. You can’t leave that private people but also healthcare, for instance. The conservative party in England, Benjamin Disraeli said: health is everything; we have to spend on health.

And you don’t want to, in principle, make money off crime. But in America we’re privatizing the penal system, the jail system. So you have increasing pressure on government, on governors, to arrest people, put them in jail especially on drug use, where you can employ them at 10 cents an hour. And lease them out to companies as low priced labor. But most of all, government is supposed to provide the infrastructure: the transportation, the communication, the telephone system. And the idea is that if you leave like cable TV to private suppliers, they are natural monopolies. The idea throughout history from classical Greece and Rome, medieval times in Europe is that natural monopolies should be in the public domain.

Because you don’t want to provide opportunities for monopoly rent. Because monopoly rent, like land rent and natural resource rent, is not a necessary cost to production. You want the necessary cost of production to be the material costs and normal profit. Because obviously you need people to have some incentive to do things. But the incentive is supposed to be normal profit, not super profits, not just a free lunch. And so if you let transportation become privatized, then it is going to cost the workforce much more money to get to work and to get to a job. If you let the oil industry be privatized and the profits from the natural resource, and that’s the patrimony of mineral rights, oil and gas is all going to go to the private financial sector not to be used as the tax base.

And if you have the land rent, essentially if the government, for instance, in New York City, they spent let’s say a billion dollars on extending the second Avenue subway line up along the wealthy Upper East Side. That increased land values for landlords all by about twice the amount by about $2 billion. Because people now were closer to the subway station, they didn’t have to walk. They had better transport. All of this increase in land prices could have financed the extension of the subway and still been able to lower the subway fares for the rest of new Yorkers. Instead, the city let the landlords keep all of the gains in land value. And they just raised the income taxes and went into debt to pay for the subway.

So, you have a privatization of wealth that is not created by landlords, not created by individuals. Certainly the oil companies don’t create the oil in the ground. And the mining companies don’t create the mineral resources. All of these things are given away freely. The United States lets forestry logging companies and mining companies get whatever they can take from the public domain for free instead of getting the results of this publicly owned land to finance the public budget. Taxes in the United States could be drastically reduced on wages and on profits, if you would just tax the unearned monopoly rent, the economic rent that is not necessary for production.

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How to spook markets.

Biden To Propose Massive $2 Trillion Stimulus (ZH)

Last week, Goldman sparked a buying frenzy in the market (and selling in treasuries) when the bank said it expects the Biden admin would unveil a “modest” $750 billion fiscal stimulus plan, including some $300 billion in “stimmy” checks to Americans. However, as bank after bank tried to upstage Goldman and threw around stimulus estimates as high as $1 trillion or even more, the market barely noticed when late this afternoon, incoming Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer reportedly “pressed” (in Bloomberg’s words) Joe Biden to propose more than $1.3 trillion in spending for his initial round of Covid-19 relief.

According to Bloomberg, “the two have discussed Biden’s plans ahead of the president-elect’s announcement on his economic-rebuilding proposals… Biden is set to speak at 7:15 p.m. Thursday to outline “his vaccination and economic rescue legislative package,” his transition team said in a statement.” But if markets ignored the Schumer report, they sure as hell noticed the CNN report which hit just after 9pmET, which prompted traders to take a double take because apparently Schumer “pressed” Biden so hard to expand the next stimulus round, he literally squashed the president-elect, who is now “expected to unveil a major Covid-19 relief package on Thursday and his advisers have recently told allies in Congress to expect a price tag in the ballpark of $2 trillion,” CNN reported citing two people briefed on the deliberations.

The Biden team is taking a “shoot for the moon” approach with the package, one lawmaker in close contact with them told CNN, though they added that the price tag could still change. The proposal, which is just shy of the Democrats’ demand late last year when they sought a $2.2 trillion stimulus, only to agree on a $900 billion enacted last December, “will include sizable direct payments to American families, significant state and local funding – including for coronavirus vaccine distribution and other emergency spending measures – to help those struggling during the pandemic.”

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Why does the US have so many neocon women in high places?

Biden Taps Veteran Interventionist Samantha Power to Head USAID (Antiwar)

On Wednesday, Joe Biden announced that he will nominate Samantha Power to head the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Power served as ambassador to the UN for President Obama from 2013 to 2017. Before that, she worked on Obama’s National Security Council, where she played an instrumental role in pushing for US intervention in Libya in 2011. Power argued in favor of US intervention in Libya under the guise of protecting human rights and preventing genocide. She was joined in her crusade by then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Susan Rice, who served as the UN ambassador at the time. Reports from 2011 say the pressure from Power, Rice, and Clinton is what led Obama to intervene militarily in Libya, even though his other top advisors were against it.

Then-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates would later say that in a “51 to 49” decision, Obama decided to bomb Libya. The US-NATO intervention in Libya that led to the brutal murder of former Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi was an absolute disaster. Destabilizing Libya turned the country into a haven for al-Qaeda-linked militants, resulted in targeted killings of black Africans, sparked a refugee crisis in North Africa, and even led to the creation of slave markets. For her efforts in convincing Obama to destroy Libya, Power was promoted. As the US ambassador to the UN, Power advocated for US intervention in Syria and stood by as the Obama administration backed the Saudis in their brutal war against Yemen’s Houthis.

While Powers has since taken a public stance against the war in Yemen, she omitted her early role in supporting the vicious war from her memoir that was published in 2019. In the book, Power defended her decision to intervene in Libya and argued that more intervention in Syria could have prevented some of the war’s atrocities. While it’s not exactly a national security position, Power will have a lot of influence on foreign policy from her future role as the head of USAID. The agency is often used to fund US regime change efforts. For example, in September 2019, USAID announced it would be providing $52 million to Juan Guaido, who the US recognizes as president of Venezuela, despite the fact that Nicolas Maduro holds the office. Earlier in 2019, the US supported Guaido in a failed coup attempt.

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Peaceful protests coming.

As Biden Vows To ‘Defeat The NRA,’ Gun Sales Continue To Soar (JTN)

The FBI’s firearm statistics show that 2020 was a record-breaking year in the firearm industry with a 39.9% increase in FBI firearm background checks. With a worldwide pandemic, a summer of violence in cities across the country, the U.S. presidential election and now the transitioning of administrations, 2020 was no ordinary year. With a total of 39,695,315 completed background checks – up from 28,369,750 in 2019 – the year marked the most firearm checks in history, based on FBI data as far back as 1998. Since 1998, nine out of the top ten highest firearm-check weeks occurred in 2020, with the highest check weeks being in the middle of March and the beginning of June.


December, in the midst of election irregularity claims by Trump, saw the highest month of background checks. At over 7.4 million, Illinois saw the most background checks in the country. The fear of the unknown and what’s to come continue to drive sales through the roof. Since the breaching of the Capitol on Jan. 6, gun stores have seen an increase in sales from a fairly even mix of Republicans and Democrats, according to research from TMZ. Gun shops reported increased sales up 400% this past week compared to the week before, with many stores being sold out of guns and ammunition. As Inauguration Day draws closer, sales could continue to stay high with Biden recently saying he will “defeat the NRA.”

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Abominable.

Former Michigan Gov. Snyder Charged For Flint Water Crisis (JTN)

Former Republican governor of Michigan Rick Snyder has been charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty in connection with an investigation pertaining to the Flint, Michigan water crisis, which received much national attention at the time. The Associated Press reported that, according to the state archivist, there has never before been a sitting or former governor charged with wrongdoing connected to their tenure as Michigan governor. “Flint was in chronic financial trouble in 2014 when a Snyder-appointed manager who was running the majority Black city carried out a money-saving decision to use the Flint River for water while a regional pipeline from Lake Huron was under construction,” the outlet noted.


“The corrosive water, however, wasn’t treated properly and released lead from old plumbing into homes in one of the worst manmade environmental disasters in U.S. history,” the wire service reported. As reports have shown, such as from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General, there was plenty of blame to go around. CNN reported that the IG report “strongly criticizes the local, state and federal government’s response to the Flint water crisis in 2015 and 2016.”

Read more …

So what has the Fed done to help?

Unemployment Rate Above 20% For Lowest-Paid Workers – Fed’s Brainard (CNBC)

Unemployment for the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. is above 20%, a figure that Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said underscores the importance of policy help for the economy. The figure indicates how uneven the recovery has seen since efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the biggest quarterly GDP drop since the Great Depression. “The damage from COVID-19 is concentrated among already challenged groups,” Brainard said in a speech Wednesday. “The K-shaped recovery remains highly uneven, with certain sectors and groups experiencing substantial hardship.”


At a time when the national unemployment rate has come down from the pandemic peak of 14.7% to the current 6.7%, Fed economists estimate the jobless rate for the lowest quartile of earners is “likely above 20%,” Brainard said. That comes as the Black unemployment rate is 9.9% and the Hispanic rate is at 9.3% while the rate for Whites is 6%. Fed officials have made “inclusive” employment gains a priority and have adjusted policy to try to make that happen. A new approach will allow inflation to run higher than the central bank’s 2% goal and the unemployment rate to fall beneath what had traditionally been an indicator of higher inflation before the Fed will raise interest rates.

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“We can’t run and hide hoping to be the last one hauled off to the abattoir. It’s time to step up.”

Cancel Yourself (Michael Krieger)

There’s no reason to rehash what happened over the last several days, but the gist of it is that significant components of internet infrastructure were weaponized for ideological and political purposes. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we all knew this day was coming. We just didn’t want to admit it or confront it, because it’s not a comforting or easy thing to admit or confront. But the day has arrived and we’re no longer in a position to ignore it. The most concerning aspect isn’t that it happened, but that it could happen at all. The internet is clearly broken, possibly dying, and if we want to digitally associate freely again at some point in the future, we have no choice but to fix it.

Although I have no team in the parochial political fight, I’ve chosen one in the broader ideological battle. The wielding of such concentrated and unaccountable power over human communication has crossed a very serious line and sets us up for a future world I’m uninterested in participating in. As such, we have no choice but to confront the issue head on. People who think this is about Trump for me are the most ridiculous people. I never voted for him, supported him or took him seriously. While I recognize the role he played in the greater scheme of this massive historical cycle, the best thing that can happen is for him to disappear as a political force and be understood as the spectacle and distraction he was. I’m not here to lecture anyone about who they voted for, but I’m here to connect with people of all political persuasions ready to become serious and admit that a real strategy is needed to address the unaccountable power of the national security state oligarchy. Conventional political avenues are a dead end at this point.

I recognize that tens of millions of frustrated, angry and concerned minds are trying to make sense of it all and reorient themselves. This presents a giant opportunity, but also very real danger. All the emotion being felt currently can be channeled into negative avenues such as violence, aimless spectacles, Trump martyrdom or a futile search for the next political savior guaranteed to disappoint, or it can be channeled in productive ways. That’s why I’m here writing this post at this moment. Enough people are finally motivated to respond, but what really matters is the nature of this response. The dominant aggregate reaction is what will determine the future.

Most of us eagerly, or more likely lazily, embraced the current insipid and dull paradigm in the name of convenience, low prices, and free shipping, but we never stopped to consider the sacrifices made along the way. We swallowed it whole, became comfortable fat and happy, and now the facade’s about to be slowly stripped away unless we bend the knee to an ever narrowing Overton Window of speech and behavior parameters. It begins with social media purges, but it won’t end there. All the special things we sacrificed from the prior era are gone, yet the consequences are here to stay. We can’t run and hide hoping to be the last one hauled off to the abattoir. It’s time to step up.

Read more …

This should be the most normal thing in the world. Instead, it’s news.

New Zealand City Closes Busy Road For Weeks To Protect Sea Lions (G.)

The second largest city on New Zealand’s South Island has closed a popular road for an entire month in order for a sea lion to nest safely with its pup. Dunedin City council said in a Facebook post it would close John Wilson Drive above the city’s St Claire beach for a month to allow “some special residents to use the road safely”. “A New Zealand sea lion and her pup have taken up residence at the golf course next door and are regularly crossing the road to get to the beach,” the council said. “You can still visit the area by foot or bicycle, but please give the sea lions lots of space (at least 20m) … New Zealand sea lions are endangered and one of the rarest sea lion species in the world.”


The harbour city, home to 120,000 people, regularly shuts roads during the summer months to allow wildlife to cross safely, but typically only for a day or two at most. The month-long closure has been applauded by locals, many of whom urged the council the make it permanent to protect vulnerable wildlife. Sea lions are threatened in New Zealand and are often attacked by dogs or chase humans if they get too close. The animals, which can weigh up to 200kg, have been giving birth in and around Dunedin since 1993, and since protection efforts have ramped up – both official and otherwise – the sea lion breeding season has become a fixture of the summer months, with at least 20 pups expected in the city this year.

Read more …

 

 

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Oct 292020
 
 October 29, 2020  Posted by at 9:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


Gustav Klimt Pine forest II 1901

 

Senate Committee: All Bobulinski Materials Reviewed To Date Legitimate (DC)
Tucker Carlson: Bobulinski Documents Intercepted and Removed (sundance)
Zuckerberg: ‘I Would Guess That Our Employee Base Skews Left-Leaning’ (JTN)
Gundlach: Trump Will Win Next Week, “Some Sort Of Revolution” By 2027 (ZH)
Professor Deliberately Catches COVID19 To Test His Immune Response (ST)
Cable News October Ratings Explode As Fox News Hits Historic Highs (Hill)
CNN Won’t Run Trump Ad Warning Biden Will Raise Taxes On Middle Class (Hill)
‘Anonymous’ Anti-Trump Official Revealed As CNN Pundit Miles Taylor (Fox)
ALICE Doesn’t Work Here Anymore (CHS)
The Fed MUST Have Inflation (Rickards)
Ornstein: Impeach Amy Coney Barrett (Turley)
Bellingcat Smears OPCW Whistleblower, Journalists With False Letter (Maté)
Greece Has Protected Its Jobs Better Than The Rest Of The EU (K.)
Jack Dorsey Hires Homeless Man To Fill In For Him At Senate Hearings (BBee)

 

 

“If you can’t expose crime in the government you don’t really have a government. You have a dictatorship that is dressed up like a government.”

– Joe Rogan

 

 

Joe Rogan Greenwald

 

 

“I appreciate that the FBI has a job to do, and I am glad they are finally taking an interest in these concerning financial matters that our Committees have been investigating for months..”

Senate Committee: All Bobulinski Materials Reviewed To Date Legitimate (DC)

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has been successful in verifying all materials reviewed so far from Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner Tony Bobulinski, the Daily Caller has learned. Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson will not call Bobulinski to testify before the November 3 elections, as the committee is working to review all the information provided to the committee by Bobulinski. The information has to be verified, as it is subject to the same false information to Congress laws that verbal or written testimony does. However, a Johnson spokesperson told the Caller that all the material provided by Bobulinski that has been reviewed so far has turned out to be legitimate. The committee has “also” not come across any “signs” or evidence to suggest the content is false, the spokesperson added.


Bobulinski, who said Tuesday he believes “Joe Biden and the Biden family are compromised” in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, has turned over evidence to the FBI alleging he met twice in the past with the former vice president in regards to business with his son Hunter. The Biden family has not yet disputed this information. [..] Johnson had the chance to interview Bobulinski on Friday and released a statement shortly after saying: “I appreciate that the FBI has a job to do, and I am glad they are finally taking an interest in these concerning financial matters that our Committees have been investigating for months,” Sen. Johnson said. “I expect that Mr. Bobulinski will speak with our committee as soon as possible and fully share his insights into the Biden family’s business dealings.”

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Strange story. He has copies.

Tucker Carlson: Bobulinski Documents Intercepted and Removed (sundance)

Tucker Carlson revealed this evening that someone intercepted an envelope containing documents of evidence supporting the claims by Tony Bobulinski. The documents were mailed by a “well known overnight transport” company and mysteriously were removed in transit from New York to LA. I have a hunch what happened…. but first, WATCH:

Tucker missing documents

I review this story from a position that I cannot fully explain. However, I have personal experience -recent experience- with a similar and rather unusual situation that cannot be explained by any method other than DHS surveillance. So here’s what I think took place. The package, likely a Fed-X delivery, was intercepted by FBI agents using mechanisms for tracking and surveillance that open targeting through portals connected to DHS. As an outcome of the U.S. Patriot Act, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has an agreement in place with mail shipping companies, public/private services, that essentially allows them a portal to track all in-state and interstate mail deliveries.

The FBI has access to this data network in the same way the FBI has access to federal transportation records. Just like when you book a flight and DHS portals are open that allow FBI to track your movements domestically. This type of portal is also accessed in private company transportation like Uber, Lyft etc. DHS, and as a consequence the FBI, can easily track your whereabouts. Without much hesitation I will bet the FBI was monitoring the communication of Bobulinski, and by extension the entire Tucker Carlson production network. Once the shipment was known to be taking place, the DHS portals are opened; the package is tracked; and the FBI moves in to intercept the delivery.

The transport company doesn’t need to be participating because they are essentially unneeded. Their system network is connected to the FBI. That’s the likely scenario. Wanna bet?

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Every time these people come in for questioning, nothing happens.

Zuckerberg: ‘I Would Guess That Our Employee Base Skews Left-Leaning’ (JTN)

Under questioning from Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday that the employees at his company “skew left-leaning.” “Would you say that the political ideology of the employees at your company is, let’s say, 50:50, conservative versus liberal progressive or do you think it’s closer to 90% liberal and 10% conservative?” Johnson asked during a hearing with the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. “I don’t know the makeup of our employees because it’s not something we ask or focus on,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded. “It’s not something I look for.”

In response to the same question, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said more than 50% of Google’s 100,000 employees are from outside of California. “It does tend to be proportionate to the areas that we are in,” he said. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “I don’t know the exact number but I would guess that our employee base skews left-leaning.” According to OpenSecrets.org, the employees of Facebook, Google and Twitter favored Democrats over Republicans with political contributions in this election cycle. Johnson also asked Dorsey and Zuckerberg if they had “any evidence” that the New York Post’s recent reporting on content from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden was based on Russian disinformation.

“We don’t,” Dorsey said. Later in the hearing, GOP Sen. Roger Wicker, the committee chairman, asked Zuckerberg if he has evidence that Russia was the source of the information in the New York Post’s reporting. “I would rely on the FBI to make that assessment,” Zuckerberg said but added that he personally does not have that evidence. “I do not, myself.”

@tedcruz and @jack

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“Some people will hedge their bets and split their vote towards retaining the Republican Senate because they view Biden as risky..”

Gundlach: Trump Will Win Next Week, “Some Sort Of Revolution” By 2027 (ZH)

Back at the start of 2016, when nobody else would even consider such an outcome, DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeff Gundlach shocked the economic, financial and political establishments when during the January Barron’s roundtable of that year, he predicted that Donald Trump would become the next US president. He was right. Fast forward to today when one week before the elections, and in an environment when most polls predict that Biden will crush Trump and where Nate Silver gives Trump just as 13% chance of defeating Trump, Jeffrey Gundlach is predicting another victory for President Donald Trump.


As Financial Advisor magazine reported, during a Tuesday webcast as part of Schwab’s 2020 IMPACT conference, Gundlach said that despite polls, analysis and betting odds that suggest otherwise, Trump is likely to outpace former Democratic vice president Joe Biden in the contest. “The polls right now say he isn’t going to win, but they said that four years ago,” said Gundlach referring to the following chart. “Mind you, my conviction is way lower than it was four years ago. But back in [that period], when Trump was little more than an asterisk in the betting odds, I predicted he was going to win. This one is much more murky, but in my eyes, it favors a Trump win.”

Addressing the elephant in the room, Gundlach said that public political polls are often “designed to create impressions” rather than illustrate reality, said Gundlach, and shouldn’t be trusted. He also argued that many Trump voters are unwilling to engage with pollsters and the media because they fear retribution for their political beliefs, also known as the “shy voter” phenomenon according to which “Over 10% Of Trump Voters Won’t Admit Preferences To Pollsters.” Biden also faces an enthusiasm problem, said Gundlach. Gundlach then went on to crush hopes of a Blue Wave, arguing that Republicans will likely keep the Senate regardless of who wins – mainly because of uncertainty around Biden.


“Some people will hedge their bets and split their vote towards retaining the Republican Senate because they view Biden as risky,” said Gundlach, who noted that Trump is often portrayed as riskier than Biden. And yet, in the four years of his presidency, there have been no international conflicts, despite some outrageous and bellicose language. “You might dislike Trump or some of his policies, but risk is not what you’re getting with him, particularly compared to turning the presidency over to another party, and particularly when that party’s candidate isn’t saying what some of his policy positions are.”

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“His conclusion is that there will be no collective immunity to coronavirus despite earlier hopes. The virus is here to stay for a long while, and while vaccines may give immunity this is likely to be temporary.”

Professor Deliberately Catches COVID19 To Test His Immune Response (ST)

Alexander Chepurnov had already recovered once when he re-infected himself in an experiment. The virologist experimented with his own health to check how long the body’s immune response lasted after his first bout of COVID-19. A former researcher at the Vector Centre of Virology and Biotechnology who currently works at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Chepurnov was first infected at the end of February 2020. ‘I was on my way to a skiing holiday from Siberia to France with a stopover in Moscow,’ he said. ‘After getting to the mountains I felt unwell with a high fever and sharp chest pain. My sense of smell has gone, too.’ It was impossible back then to do a COVID-19 test in Europe, he told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in Novosibirsk.

He cut the holiday short, returned home to Novosibirsk, and was promptly diagnosed with double pneumonia. A month later in March he did a test which showed antibodies to Covid, confirming that he had been infected with the new virus. ‘I was the first in my team who had COVID-19,’ he said. ‘We started to follow the way antibodies ‘behaved’, how strong they were, and how long they stayed in the body. ‘The observation showed that they were fast to decrease. By the end of the third month from the moment I felt sick the antibodies were no longer detected.’ The scientist, 68 when he was first hit by COVID-19, said that he wanted to study the probability of getting re-infected.

To test the strength of his own immune response, Chepurnov deliberately exposed himself to COVID-19-positive patients wearing no protection. ‘My body’s defence fell exactly six months after I got the first infection. The first sign was a sore throat. The nasopharyngeal PCR smear immediately showed a positive reaction to COVID-19 on the 27th cycle, and two days later already on the 17th cycle, which corresponds to a high viral titre’, Chepurnov said of the second bout. The second illness was more acute, with Chepurnov needing hospitalisation after his saturation fell below 93. ‘For five days, my body temperature remained above 39C,’ he said. ‘I lost the sense of smell, my taste perception changed.

‘On the sixth day of the illness, the CT scan of the lungs was clear, and three days after the scan the X-ray showed double pneumonia. ‘The virus went away rather quickly – after two weeks it was no longer detected in the nasopharyngeal or in other samples.’ His conclusion is that there will be no collective immunity to coronavirus despite earlier hopes. The virus is here to stay for a long while, and while vaccines may give immunity this is likely to be temporary. ‘We need a vaccine that can be used multiple times, a recombinant vaccine will not suit,’ he said. ‘Once injected with the adenoviral vector-based vaccine we won’t be able to repeat it because the immunity against the adenoviral carrier will keep interfering.’

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I’d be more interested in seeing these numbers for social media.

Cable News October Ratings Explode As Fox News Hits Historic Highs (Hill)

Cable news ratings exploded in October across Fox News, CNN and MSNBC as all three networks saw record numbers for the month, with Fox News having the highest-rated month in cable news history, according to Nielsen Media Research. The month included a positive coronavirus test for the president, who was briefly hospitalized, and a fever pitch on the presidential campaign trail. The month also included a presidential debate, a vice presidential debate and multiple town hall events. Fox News led the way with a whopping 4.9 million total viewers in prime time, the highest number in the history of cable news dating back 40 years. MSNBC was second with 2.7 million viewers, followed by CNN with 2.4 million.


The top five shows for the month included Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with an average of 5.3 million viewers, followed by “Hannity” with 5.2 million and “The Five” with 4.1 million despite airing before prime time in the 5 p.m. EDT slot. “The Ingraham Angle” delivered an average of just over 4 million total viewers, finishing fourth overall, with MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” rounding out the top five with 3.7 million. All three of the major cable news networks also saw substantial growth when compared to the same month last year. Fox News was up 83 percent year-over-year in total viewers and 139 percent in the key 25-54 demographic that advertisers covet most in prime time. CNN saw a 98 percent increase in total viewers when compared to October 2019, and a 116 percent jump in the demographic, while MSNBC is up 38 percent in total viewers and 45 percent in the younger category.

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“..the ad has been approved to run on ABC, AMC, Cooking, CBS, Comcast, DIY, Discovery, ESPN, Food Network, Fox, HGTV, History, Lifetime and The Weather Channel.”

CNN Won’t Run Trump Ad Warning Biden Will Raise Taxes On Middle Class (Hill)

CNN has informed the largest outside group supporting President Trump’s reelection that it will not run one of its new ads, saying the ad is false because it warns Democratic nominee Joe Biden will raise taxes on the middle class and implies that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports socialist policies. The ad, from America First Action (AFA), says Biden “sided with socialists,” while showing pictures of Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The narrator of the ad also warns that Biden will “raise taxes on the middle class” and that “his liberal agenda will cost millions of jobs.” America First Action says the ad has been approved to run on ABC, AMC, Cooking, CBS, Comcast, DIY, Discovery, ESPN, Food Network, Fox, HGTV, History, Lifetime and The Weather Channel.

But in an email, an account executive at Warner Media said the clearance team rejected it. “WarnerMedia Commercial Clearance has not accepted America First Action’s advertisement ‘We Are America’ for its networks as the ad does not meet its commercial clearance standards,” the email states. “Specifically, the ad asserts that Biden will raise taxes on the middle class. That claim is not adequately substantiated and has been judged false by independent fact-checkers. The advertisement also mischaracterizes Nancy Pelosi as a socialist.” [..] In a letter to lawyers at Warner Media, an attorney representing AFA accused the media company of censoring normal political speech that is “at the very least a matter worthy of debate.”

“While AFA’s opponents are, of course, permitted to purchase air time to try to rebut AFA’s claims, it is not the job of your network to censor a statement that is factually supported and relates to an important issue in the upcoming election,” wrote Stephen Kenny of Jones Day. “Indeed, every other cable network is currently airing AFA’s ad. If you continue to decline to air the ad, please let us know why the factual support outlined above is insufficient.”

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The New York Times offers anonymous editorial space to complete nobodies these days. Sweet Jesus. Anything to smear Trump.

‘Anonymous’ Anti-Trump Official Revealed As CNN Pundit Miles Taylor (Fox)

The anonymous senior Trump administration official who authored the infamous New York Times op-ed in 2018 declaring to be part of the “resistance” revealed himself on Wednesday to be former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor. Taylor, who previously came forward as a critic of President Trump and a supporter of Joe Biden in August, explained that he wrote his 2019 book “A Warning” as Anonymous as a “caution to voters that it wasn’t as bad as it looked inside the Trump administration – it was worse.” “While I claim sole authorship of the work, the sentiments expressed within it were widely held among officials at the highest levels of the federal government,” Taylor wrote in a statement published on Medium. “In other words, Trump’s own lieutenants were alarmed by his instability.”

Taylor was hired by CNN as a contributor in September. However, it is now known that he lied to the network by denying authorship of the op-ed during an Aug. 21 interview with his now-colleague Anderson Cooper. “There was an op-ed, there was a book by someone calling themselves ‘Anonymous.’ Are you aware of who that is?” Cooper asked. “I’m not,” Taylor responded. “Look, that was a parlor game that happened in Washington D.C. of a lot of folks trying to think of who that might be. I’ve got my own thoughts about who that might be, but-” “You’re not Anonymous,” Cooper interjected. “I wear a mask for two things, Anderson: Halloweens and pandemics. So, no,” Taylor answered.

[..] According to CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who broke the news on his network on Wednesday afternoon, “We did not know this until today. [..] White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement knocking Taylor as a “low-level, disgruntled former staffer,” as well as “a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading. “He was ineffective and incompetent during his time as DHS Chief of Staff which is why he was promptly fired after only serving in this role for a matter of weeks,” McEnany added. “It is appalling a low-ranking official would be granted anonymity and it is clear the New York Times is doing the bidding of Never-Trumpers and Democrats.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also piled on the former Trump official. You have got to be kidding me. Miles Taylor? That’s who the New York Times granted an anonymous editorial article? I’ve seen more exciting reveals in Scooby-Doo episodes. What a monumental embarrassment,” Meadows tweeted.

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“ALICE will never go back to her insecure, low-wage job, ever.”

ALICE Doesn’t Work Here Anymore (CHS)

Meet ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, at least she was employed until the pandemic presented impossible choices between taking care of her children and their education, and her aging parents, and keeping her demanding, low-wage job. Though it doesn’t fit in with the cute mythology of “capitalism” that apologists love to promote, ALICE wasn’t working to get ahead–she was working to barely survive in an economy where wages have stagnated for decades and recently lost ground at an alarming rate as costs for everything from rent to childcare to utilities have soared while her hours have been cut.

This is the neofeudalism I’ve often described here: the modern-day equivalent of the landless (i.e. owns no capital) serf is a landless (i.e. owns no capital) debt-serf with student loans, an auto loan and credit card debt and income that is constrained by globalization, financialization and the scarcity of high-paying work that isn’t reserved for insiders and the privileged few who chose their wealthy, well-educated, socially connected parents wisely. Lacking capital and any realistic means of acquiring any, the debt-serf has only labor to sell, and in a globalized world in which everyone selling their labor is competing globally for work producing tradable goods and services, ordinary labor has lost purchasing power for the past 45 years (see charts below).

The dominance of Big Tech monopoly platforms has created new fields for the exploitation of ordinary labor in the low-paid gig economy and fulfillment centers. The traditional neofeudal fiefdoms (retail outlets, hospitality and restaurants) have been hit by the pandemic pullback in consumer spending, and the other low-wage fiefdoms (fast food and domestic service) have been in structural decline for years. Meanwhile, the owners of the Financial Nobility’s fiefdoms and Big Tech monopolies have enjoyed unprecedented gains in income and wealth (see charts below) as wages’ share of the economy has declined for decades, in effect transferring trillions from labor to the Financial Nobility.

This neofeudal arrangement is about to change as Universal Basic Income (UBI) or its equivalent becomes the accepted status quo solution to neofeudalism’s soaring inequality. Since there’s no limit to how much currency can be created by the Federal Reserve, then why not distribute enough “free money” to the serfs to tamp down the brewing revolt? What the political class and the Financial Nobility don’t yet grasp (due to their complete disconnect from neofeudal daily life) is that ALICE will never go back to her insecure, low-wage job, ever. No matter how meager the UBI, permanent unemployment, stimulus or whatever the political class calls the distribution of “Fed free money,” ALICE will find a way to escape the bonds of neofeudal serfdom.

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But can’t create it, or print it. I’m not a fan of using all sorts of different kids of inflation, but in this case the point remains the same.

The Fed MUST Have Inflation (Rickards)

The Fed says that “price stability” is part of their dual mandate and they are committed to maintaining the purchasing power of the dollar. But the Fed has a funny definition of price stability. Common sense says price stability should be zero inflation and zero deflation. A dollar five years from now should have the same purchasing power as a dollar today. Of course, this purchasing power would be “on average,” since some items are always going up or down in price for reasons that have nothing to do with the Fed. And how you construct the price index matters also. It’s an inexact science, but zero inflation seems like the right target. But the Fed target is 2%, not zero. If that sounds low, it’s not. Inflation of 2% cuts the purchasing power of a dollar in half in 35 years and in half again in another 35 years.


That means in an average lifetime of 70 years, 2% will cause the dollar to 75% of its purchasing power! Just 3% inflation will cut the purchasing power of a dollar by almost 90% in the same average lifetime. But for the Fed, there’s a problem: They can’t produce 2% inflation. Inflation depends on consumer psychology. We have not had much consumer price inflation, but we have had huge asset price inflation. The “inflation” is not in consumer prices; it’s in asset prices. The printed money has to go somewhere. Instead of chasing goods, investors have been chasing yield. Inflation would help diminish the real value of the debt, but central banks have obviously proved impotent at generating inflation. Now central banks face the new depression and more deflation with few policy options to fight it.

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” There is not a single case in history where such a recusal of the justice has occurred under this type of flimsy claim.”

Ornstein: Impeach Amy Coney Barrett (Turley)

My column this morning in the Hill discussed a call by columnist and professor Norm Ornstein to impeach Amy Coney Barrett if she does not yield to a demand to recuse herself from any election challenge before the Court. A demand for such recusal was filed yesterday in the Supreme Court. Ornstein’s call for impeachment is the latest unhinged response to Barrett nomination and further decouples our national debate from any sense rationality and restraint. Ornstein declared on Twitter: “If Amy Coney Barrett goes on the Court and immediately votes for PA voter suppression, she should quickly be impeached. Trump asked her openly to act to tilt the scales of the election.”

I have already addressed the recusal calls as entirely baseless. Recusal under these circumstances would create a dangerous precedent for future nominees who are pressured to recuse solely to influence the outcome of pending or expected cases. There is not a single case in history where such a recusal of the justice has occurred under this type of flimsy claim. Barrett has no personal, professional, or financial interest in pending election cases. We have had only one justice ever impeached in our history. That was Samuel Chase in 1804 and he was acquitted by the Senate in 1805.

The Chase case is a telling point of comparison. Like today, the politics of the time were lethal and hysterical. Chase was a highly partisan Federalist who was tainted by the use of the Alien and Sedition Acts to attack political critics during the Administration of John Adams. The impeachment, supported by Thomas Jefferson, was based on Chase’s presiding on controversial trials for figures like James Callender. Despite the Federalist being in the minority in the Senate, the senators overwhelmingly rejected the case against Chase. It remains to be seen if we have a bipartisan majority of senators equally committed to the integrity of the Court and the Constitution today.

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Bellingcat is a dangerous arm of US, UK intelligence. We will see that soon again in the MH17 mess.

Bellingcat Smears OPCW Whistleblower, Journalists With False Letter (Maté)

Bellingcat, the NATO member state-funded website that has participated in a propaganda effort to accuse Syria of a chemical weapons attack in April 2018 and justify the US-led bombing that followed, has published a new falsehood-ridden attack on an OPCW whistleblower whose suppressed findings exposed the pro-war deception. According to Bellingcat, a leak that it has obtained not only “proves that a chemical attack did occur,” in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018, but also, “shows that any notion of a cover-up at the OPCW is false.” Contrary to Bellingcat’s account, the website has only added a new chapter to the OPCW cover-up scandal by publishing an article beset with multiple demonstrable falsehoods and outlandish or unsupported claims.

It also features a malicious effort to dox and discredit a veteran, highly-regarded OPCW inspector who challenged the censorship of his team’s investigation. The anonymously authored Bellingcat article’s problems begin with its very premise, which turns out to be a blatant falsehood. The article is based on excerpts of a leaked draft letter that, Bellingcat claims, was sent in June 2019 by OPCW Director General Fernando Arias to Brendan Whelan, a member of the OPCW’s Douma team. However, The Grayzone can reveal that the text that Bellingcat published was never actually sent to Whelan. Indeed, the text of the letter featured by Bellingcat was actually an unsent draft that Whelan never received. This fact dismantles the heart of the NATO state-backed website’s argument.

Dr. Whelan, a 16-year OPCW veteran, first challenged the censorship of his team’s investigation in June 2018, weeks after the OPCW team returned from Syria. A series of leaks show that Whelan and the other OPCW inspectors who deployed to Syria found evidence that undermined allegations of a chemical attack in Douma. Yet their data was suppressed, and, when the censorship was challenged, the inspectors were removed from their own investigation. The cover-up coincided with pressure on the OPCW from the U.S. government, which had bombed Syria, along with the UK and France, in April 2018 based on the pretext that the Syrian government was culpable. The OPCW’s final report in March 2019 omitted the suppressed findings and strongly implied Syrian government guilt.

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Well, it’s something.

Greece Has Protected Its Jobs Better Than The Rest Of The EU (K.)

The Greek government’s measures to protect workers from the effects of the pandemic have served as a shield against unemployment, according to the course of the jobless rate in Greece and the rest of the European Union as revealed by Eurostat figures. In the second quarter of the year, when most of the bloc was in lockdown, the share of workers in Greece who lost their job was below 2% of those employed, against over 6.5% in Spain and between 3.5% and 5% in Italy. Across most EU countries, that rate ranged between 2% and 3.5%, according to an experimental study by the bloc’s statistical service.


Greece achieved that thanks to the introduction of contract suspensions and the subsidy of 534 euros per month to each worker furloughed, which is continuing for more than 160,000 recipients. This puts this country among the member-states that proved best at protecting jobs in the April-June period. On Thursday 116,860 workers will receive the special-purpose compensation for September, adding up to €58 million, and another 41,504 will collect a total of €10.6 million through the Syn-Ergasia labor subsidy program.

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“Don’t harsh my mellow, man. I’m doing this for a couple bags of blow and a $20, man. You suck!”

Jack Dorsey Hires Homeless Man To Fill In For Him At Senate Hearings (BBee)

Jack Dorsey was summoned to the Senate’s hearing on Big Tech today, but he was tripping on acid with the spider-monkeys off the southern coast of St. Bart’s, so he quickly called up his office and had his people hire a homeless man hanging out in front of Twitter’s headquarters to fill in for him. The hobo was holding up a sign reading “Will Go to Senate Hearing for Crack,” and Dorsey’s assistants quickly hired him for the hearing. “Yeah, uh, censorship, I like that. That’s good stuff,” said the hobo to the confused panel. “The apocalypse is coming, man. The signs are all around us!”

“Sorry, Mr., uh, Dorsey, we were expecting a professional-looking CEO, but you’re clearly just a hobo off the streets of San Francisco,” said Senator Mike Lee. “Couldn’t you at least have taken a shower before talking to the United States Senate?” “Hey, bro, chill out,” the hobo responded. “Don’t harsh my mellow, man. I’m doing this for a couple bags of blow and a $20, man. You suck!” For his part, Mark Zuckerberg programmed a lookalike android to testify.

Ron Johnson @jack

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Joe Rogan Greenwald Clapper

 

 

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Oct 182020
 


Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1906

 

Prince Andrew, The Oligarchs And A New Bombshell For Joe Biden (DM)
Twitter Won’t Unlock NYPost Account Unless Hunter Biden Tweets Deleted (ZH)
Yes, The Hunter Biden Emails Are Authentic (Larry C Johnson)
Biden Attacks CBS Reporter For Asking About The Hunter Biden Scandal (Turley)
The Clocks Struck Thirteen (Kunstler)
Facebook, Twitter Intervention Sets Dangerous New Double Standard (Taibbi)
The Barrett Hearing Left The Democrats Holding An Empty Sack (Turley)
Fed Officials Call For Tougher Regulation To Prevent Asset Bubbles (R.)
Multi-Organ Impairment In Low-Risk Individuals With Long COVID (medrxiv)
Halted Trials Raise New Safety Questions About ‘Rushed’ COVID19 Vaccines (ZH)
Fauci’s ‘Standard Of Care’ COVID19 Treatment Doesn’t Work (JS)
Berlin Court Overturns Restaurant Curfew (RT)
UK Fishing: Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fire (YBL)

 

 

And we’re right back into Hunter Biden. All it takes for me is to hear James Clapper say only once that it’s all Russian disinformation. If there’s anyone here who still believes that, I feel for you,

 

 

Jon Stewart JoeBiden

 

 

Does anyone know if the Daily Mail still has an active Twitter account?

Prince Andrew, The Oligarchs And A New Bombshell For Joe Biden (DM)

Hunter Biden is a 50-year-old American lawyer whose elderly father Joe hopes in just over a fortnight to unseat Donald Trump at the U.S. Presidential election. He’s also a twice-married father of five kids (one via a fleeting affair with a former stripper) who has struggled with cocaine and alcohol addiction for most of his adult life and in 2014, when his dad was Barack Obama’s Vice President, managed to get booted out of the U.S. Naval Reserve for failing a drug test. This week saw a vintage ‘October surprise’ when the New York Post obtained footage of Hunter variously: lying in bed smoking a crack pipe; reclining in the bath with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth; and starring in a 12-minute mobile phone video that, in the newspaper’s words, saw him hoofing class A narcotics ‘while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman’.

Most sensationally — if you believe the Trump camp, that is — it also published leaked emails that appear to implicate Joe in long-standing controversy over his son’s rackety business career. To understand why, you must first know that Biden Jr has for years been criticised for his lucrative but ethically questionable work overseas, which has often created apparent conflicts of interest with Joe’s official roles. For example, in 2014, when Joe, as Vice President, was helping to implement U.S. policy in Ukraine, Hunter took a highly-paid job with a Ukranian energy company called Burisma (of which more later). Around the same time, he built murky and contentious connections with Russia, helping his investment advisory firm Rosemont Seneca receive some $3.5m from the billionaire widow of former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhov (best known on these shores for once donating £138,000 to Sadiq Khan’s Mayor’s Fund for London).

Then there was a somewhat dubious episode in China, where Hunter arranged for an entrepreneur called Jonathan Li, with whom he was setting up an investment fund, to hold a meeting (and enjoy a very public handshake) with Joe in a Beijing hotel lobby during an official visit. Such ventures, in regions of the world hardly known for their probity, have always smelled distinctly whiffy. So what, then, ought we to make of the revelation that, when his father was Vice President, Biden Jr was doing business in a fourth cash-soaked but highly corrupt country? Namely: Kazakhstan. The Mail can reveal that between 2012 and 2014, Hunter worked as a sort of go-between for Kenes Rakishev, a self-styled ‘international businessman, investor and entrepreneur’ with close family connections to the kleptocratic regime of his homeland’s despotic former president Nursultan Nazarbayev.


Hunter and Joe Biden (pictured left and right centre respectively) with oligarch Kenes Rakishev (far left).

Emails passed to this newspaper via anti-corruption campaigners from the Central Asian country reveal that Biden Jr held extensive meetings with Rakishev, who was looking to invest a portion of his personal fortune in New York and Washington DC. He also travelled to the Kazakh capital of Astana to hold business discussions. Hunter Biden then attempted to persuade Rakishev to buy into a Nevadan mining company, brokering a series of meetings with the firm, before convincing him to invest a cool million dollars with Alexandra Forbes Kerry, the film-maker daughter of Democrat Senator and former Presidential candidate John Kerry. Rakishev, who wrote messages in broken English, appears to have become intimate with the Vice President’s son, calling Hunter ‘my brother!’ and ‘my brother from another mother!’.

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Cut them into little pieces, take their political power away.

Twitter Won’t Unlock NYPost Account Unless Hunter Biden Tweets Deleted (ZH)

By immediately condemning the Hunter Biden emails and photos published by the New York Post as the work of Russian hackers colluding with Rudy Giuliani, the MSM destroyed any credibility it might have had. As we pointed out earlier, more evidence has emerged to support Giuliani’s version of events – namely, that he was given a copy of the laptop’s hard drive and all of its contents by the owner of a Delaware computer-repair shop. But despite apologizing and acknowledging “straight up blocking of URLs was wrong”, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has apparently not finished punishing the New York Post, because three days after the account was initially frozen, the New York Post hasn’t been able to tweet, and according to a NY Post report, Twitter has frozen the New York Post’s account until the paper’s social media managers agree to delete six tweets about Hunter Biden.


“Anyone who looks at The Post’s Twitter feed can’t even see the tweets about the Biden stories, which have been replaced by messages saying, ‘This Tweet is no longer available,'” the Post wrote on Friday. Twitter previously said the Post’s Hunter Biden stories violated the website’s Hacked Media Policy which prohibits the display of “hacked” information, an allegation that the Post called “baseless.” However, on Friday, Twitter updated that policy, saying it will start labeling content that violates its rules rather than remove it altogether “unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them.” Confusingly, though, the company said that these changes wouldn’t apply retroactively, meaning that the NYP still must delete the tweets if it wants to use its account again, even though readers can’t even see them.

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Johnson knows the Issac family.

Yes, The Hunter Biden Emails Are Authentic (Larry C Johnson)

This story is very simple–Hunter Biden dropped off three computers with liquid damage at a repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware on April 12, 2019. The owner, John Mac Issac, examined the three and determined that one was beyond recovery, one was okay and the data on the harddrive of the third could be recoverd. Hunter signed the service ticket and John Paul Mac Issac repaired the hard drive and down loaded the data. During this process he saw some disturbing images and a number of emails that concerned Ukraine, Burisma, China and other issues. With the work completed, Mr. Mac Issac prepared an invoice, sent it to Hunter Biden and notified him that the computer was ready to be retrieved. Hunter did not respond.

In the ensuing four months (May, June, July and August), Mr. Mac Issac made repeated efforts to contact Hunter Biden. Biden never answered and never responded. More importantly, Biden stiffed John Paul Mac Issac–i.e., he did not pay the bill. When the manufactured Ukraine crisis surfaced in August 2019, John Paul realized he was sitting on radioactive material that might be relevant to the investigation. After conferring with his father, Mac and John Paul decided that Mac would take the information to the FBI office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mac walked into the Albuquerque FBI office and spoke with an agent who refused to give his name. Mac explained the material he had, but was rebuffed by the FBI. He was told basically, get lost. This was mid-September 2019.

Two months passed and then, out of the blue, the FBI contacted John Paul Mac Issac. Two FBI agents from the Wilmington FBI office–Joshua Williams and Mike Dzielak–came to John Paul’s business. He offered immediately to give them the hard drive, no strings attached. Agents Williams and Dzielak declined to take the device. Two weeks later, the intrepid agents called and asked to come and image the hard drive. John Paul agreed but, instead of taking the hard drive or imaging the drive, they gave him a subpoena. It was part of a grand jury proceeding but neither agent said anything about the purpose of the grand jury. John Paul complied with the subpoena and turned over the hard drive and the computer.

In the ensuing months, starting with the impeachment trial of President Trump, he heard nothing from the FBI and knew that none of the evidence from the hard drive had been shared with President Trump’s defense team. The lack of action and communication with the FBI led John Paul to make the fateful decision to contact Rudy Giuliani’s office and offer a copy of the drive to the former mayor. We now know that Rudy accepted John Paul’s offer and that Rudy’s team shared the information with the New York Post.

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Precisely what Trump has been accused of for years: attack the press. Note: Bo Erickson works for CBS, not exactly known as an anti-Biden network. So where’s the outrage?

Biden Attacks CBS Reporter For Asking About The Hunter Biden Scandal (Turley)

For years, many of us have criticized President Donald Trump for his attacks on the media when they asked him about controversies involving him or his family. The media however has been largely silent as Democratic leaders have ratcheted up attacks on any journalists who question their positions or the party lines. That was evident recently when Speaker Nancy Pelosi bizarrely attacked CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer as an apologist for the Trump Administration simply because he pressed her on blocking the stimulus package. Other liberals piled on Blitzer for daring to challenge the party line. Now Joe Biden has attacked the first reporter from one of the networks who simply asked for a response to the unfolding scandal involving his son Hunter Biden. In emails found on the laptop,

Joe Biden is named in communications with foreign figures seeking influence over U.S. policy. Biden refused to comment and then disparaged CBS News reporter Bo Erickson for even asking him the question. Erickson simply asked “Mr. Biden, what is your response to the New York Post story about your son, sir?” Biden responded “I have no response.” Then Biden added “I know you’d ask it. I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask.” Biden has been hammered for refusing to tell voters whether he will support packing the Supreme Court. This however concerns emails where there are not just allegations of influence peddling worth millions coming from China, Russia, and Ukraine but references to his knowledge or possible involvement. As I wrote recently, there is a striking refusal of the Biden campaign to offer the obvious responses to such allegations.

I have expressed my skepticism over how this laptop was found and when it was disclosed publicly. This could very well be the work of foreign intelligence. However, as I discussed this morning in the Hill, that does not mean that the emails and photos are fabricated. Many of us have long denounced Hunter Biden’s work as a classic influence peddling scheme. That does not make it a crime, but it is common form of corruption in Washington. These emails however, if true, would contradict Joe Biden’s past statements of his lack of knowledge or involvement. Moreover, it would shatter Joe Biden’s repeated assurance that his son did “nothing wrong.” One can argue over whether this is a crime, but few would say that there is nothing wrong with raw influence peddling worth millions with foreign entities.

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“..lawyers and lawfare do not amount to a supernatural protection force..”

The Clocks Struck Thirteen (Kunstler)

[..] one might suppose that Rudy Giuliani, working on an extremely consequential case for a sitting president, and being a former distinguished federal attorney experienced with, and fastidious about, the handling of evidence, took some pains to ascertain the authenticity of the documents he received. Having done so, one might also suppose that Mr. Giuliani had handed off this material to the Attorney General, Mr. Barr — along with documentation he’s known to have collected about the Biden family’s money-laundering trail through the Baltic states to process additional payments for services rendered above and beyond the millions paid to R. Hunter Biden by Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company whose board of directors he was installed on in 2014.

What all that evidence speaks of is a Biden & Co. foreign influence-peddling scheme that amounts to selling out the USA while Ol’ White Joe was vice-president carrying out official tasks in the countries that paid his son enormous sums of money. The evidence clearly contradicts Mr. Biden’s basic claim that he never spoke with his son, Hunter, about his business dealings. The evidence also indicates clearly that Mr. Biden, then vice-president, received a cut of the collected lucre distributed among the family members. In a normal America, these issues would prompt some sort of official inquiry possibly leading to indictments. But these are the most abnormal times, and the final weeks of a vicious national election that is an existential threat to that coterie of Deep State seditionists whose careers, reputations, and livelihoods are at stake in the outcome.

So, of course, their Ministry of Truth is pulling out all the stops to squash the story. But their hubris is showing. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter, being mega-billionaires, probably think that they have the resources to hire every attorney in the known universe to guard their empires. One important lesson for the nation might come out of this: that lawyers and lawfare do not amount to a supernatural protection force. The truth has a mighty power of its own and there are moments in history when it manages to overcome organized evil.

Schachtel timeline

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“The decision to ban a New York Post expose about Hunter Biden flies in the face of years of “hack and leak” stories..”

Facebook, Twitter Intervention Sets Dangerous New Double Standard (Taibbi)

The only thing that should matter, when it comes to stories like this, is whether or not the material is true and in the public interest. This disturbing new confederation of media outlets and tech firms is rewriting that standard.The optics of a former Democratic Party spokesman suddenly donning a Facebook official’s hat to announce a ban of a story damaging to Democrats couldn’t be worse. Moreover, the Orwellian construct described in papers like the Times suggests that for tech executives, pundits, and Democratic Party officials alike, the lines between fake news and bad news, between actual misinformation and information that is merely politically adverse, have been blurred. It’s no longer clear that some of these people see a meaningful distinction between the two ideas.

The public can’t help but see this. While papers like the Times denounce the true Podesta emails as “misinformation,” and Facebook says the New York Post story must be kept out of sight until verified, the standard for, say, the Steele dossier was and is opposite. In that case, we were told “raw intelligence” should be published so that “Americans can make up their own minds” about information that, while “salacious and unverified,” may still be freely read on Twitter and Facebook, reported on in the New York Times and Washington Post, and talked about on NBC, so long as it has not been completely “disproven.”

As Erik Wemple of the Washington Post points out, even that last point is no longer true, but the Steele dossier and plenty of other products of what Axios calls “hack and leak” journalism continue to be embraced and freely distributed. The obvious double-standard guarantees that the tech platforms will henceforth be viewed by a huge portion of the population as political censors instead of standards enforcers, and moreover that mainstream press pronouncements about such controversies will be deemed automatically untrustworthy by that same population. A secondary problem involves the Hunter Biden/Ukraine story itself, which from the start teetered on conflicting narratives.

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It was all only ever an election podium.

The Barrett Hearing Left The Democrats Holding An Empty Sack (Turley)

Benjamin Franklin once said, “it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.” It took almost 300 years, but Franklin’s observation finally has been proven demonstrably true. The three-day Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for federal appellate judge and Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett can best be described as an empty-sack confirmation that simply would not stand upright. From the outset, committee Democrats were dealing with a highly qualified nominee who has the intellect, the temperament and the background to be an exceptional justice. And that was the problem. Democrats decided to use the hearing as a springboard for the coming election. They never intended to put anything in the sack against Barrett.

Yet, to frame this effort, they advanced a number of false premises that collapsed on their own weight: “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is about to be killed”. Barrett was surrounded in the hearing room by photos of ill individuals who could perish without national health care. It made Barrett look like some judicial serial-killer. However, these were not her victims. Indeed, the entire premise was false. Senate Democrats were suggesting that the pending case of California v. Texas was just one vote shy of striking down the ACA. It left many of us watching in disbelief. While a district court struck down the whole act, an appellate court wanted to send it back to consider the elements of “severability.” The vast majority of experts believe that the striking down of one provision — the individual mandate provision — should not result in the loss of the entire act.

More importantly, a clear majority of the Supreme Court appears to believe that. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh both are expected to vote to uphold the rest of the act. Indeed, a Justice Barrett could well vote with them. What is clear is that it is extremely unlikely that the ACA is teetering on destruction. Numerically, the current head-counting means that it is as likely that a unanimous court would support severability as a five justice majority would strike down the whole act. None of that mattered, however, as Democratic committee members spun a conspiracy theory that Barrett’s nomination was all about supplying that needed fifth vote just before a Nov. 10 court hearing on the case. It was an empty sack that just laid there as Barrett explained this was a narrow question of severability and she has never ruled on the issue of severability.

“Abortions are about to become illegal in America”. Barrett is undeniably pro-life. She’s said so over and over. She also said she does not consider Roe v. Wade to be a “super precedent.” As such, the case is not inviolate and can be revisited. However, even if Barrett were to supply the fifth vote on the court to overturn Roe — which remains unlikely — it would not make abortion illegal. Indeed, former Vice President Joe Biden himself has explained why. He said recently that if Barrett helped overturn Roe, his “only response [would be] … [to] pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.” Put aside for the moment that forcing states to accept abortion, if it is no longer a constitutional right, could be challenging under the 10th Amendment.

The broader point is still valid: Such a decision would simply return the question to the states. And the majority of states likely would continue to guarantee the right to abortion as a legislative matter. In other words, Roe might end — but it would not end the right to choose, as a matter of state law. Ironically, Barrett is a huge defender of states’ rights and would likely defend pro-choice states in asserting such federalism powers.

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They are used to people taking their nonsense serious.

Fed Officials Call For Tougher Regulation To Prevent Asset Bubbles (R.)

Tougher U.S. financial regulation is needed to avoid the rise of excessive risk-taking and asset bubbles in the markets at a time when the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates low, two senior Fed officials told the Financial Times in an article published on Saturday. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren told the newspaper that the Fed lacked sufficient tools to prevent companies and households from taking on “excessive leverage” and called for a rethink on issues related to U.S. financial stability. “If you want to follow a monetary policy … that applies low interest rates for a long time, you want robust financial supervisory authority in order to be able to restrict the amount of excessive risk-taking occurring at the same time,” the FT quoted him as saying.


“(Otherwise) you’re much more likely to get into a situation where the interest rates can be low for long but be counterproductive,” Rosengren said. Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said there was a need for stricter regulation to avert repeated interventions in the market by the Fed. “I don’t know what the best policy solution is, but I know we can’t just keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he told the newspaper. “As soon as there’s a risk that hits, everybody flees and the Federal Reserve has to step in and bail out that market, and that’s crazy. And we need to take a hard look at that,” he said.

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Yes, it is serious.

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

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

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

Findings: Between April and September 2020, 201 individuals (mean age 44 (SD 11.0) years, 70% female, 87% white, 31% healthcare workers) completed assessments following SARS-CoV-2 infection (median 140, IQR 105-160 days after initial symptoms). The prevalence of pre-existing conditions (obesity: 20%, hypertension: 6%; diabetes: 2%; heart disease: 4%) was low, and only 18% of individuals had been hospitalised with COVID-19. Fatigue (98%), muscle aches (88%), breathlessness (87%), and headaches (83%) were the most frequently reported symptoms. Ongoing cardiorespiratory (92%) and gastrointestinal (73%) symptoms were common, and 42% of individuals had ten or more symptoms. There was evidence of mild organ impairment in heart (32%), lungs (33%), kidneys (12%), liver (10%), pancreas (17%), and spleen (6%). Single (66%) and multi-organ (25%) impairment was observed, and was significantly associated with risk of prior COVID-19 hospitalisation (p<0.05).

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

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Be a bit nicer to Putin perhaps?

Halted Trials Raise New Safety Questions About ‘Rushed’ COVID19 Vaccines (ZH)

In the interest of “transparency”, Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourlas released a statement on Friday outlining the timeline for when its experimental COVID-19 vaccine might be ready for approval for regular, non-emergency use. Much to Trump’s chagrin, CEO Dr. Albert Bourla said the earlier the company expects to apply for an emergency-use approval from the FDA would be the third week of November, after the election has come and gone. The news capped off what was a busy week for vaccine news, which started Monday night with reports that Phase 3 trials for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine have been paused after a participant came down with an “unspecified” illness.

While JNJ executives insisted their vaccine candidate likely wasn’t the cause, they brought in investigators and are now working to get the trial going again as quickly as possible. If what happened with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is any guide, it could be weeks before US regulators sign off on allowing the trial to resume. AstraZeneca-Oxford trial in the US has been paused for more than a month. Back in September, AstraZeneca briefly halted global studies after UK regulators investigated a pair of patients who came down with symptoms of a rare illness which scientists worried might be connected with the vaccine. Trials in the UK and elsewhere restarted days later, but in the US, regulators have refused to allow the trials to resume.

Already, the time lost by JNJ and AstraZeneca-Oxford has pushed them out of the lead in the race to apply for an emergency use authorization from the FDA. Vaccine candidates being developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have taken the lead. But as Bloomberg pointed out in a piece published Saturday morning, both the AZ and JNJ vaccines relied on the same technique: the so-called adenovirus vector which was also used by the Gameleya Institute’s vaccine (aka Sputnik 5) and at least one of the leading Chinese vaccines. Still, if these investigations determine a link between the illnesses and the vaccines, this could bolster public skepticism, something that surveys have shown is already alarmingly high.

And this year, with Covid-19 vaccines entering strongly into the politics of the hour, transparency and trust are key to fighting a virus that’s hit more than 39 million people globally and hamstrung economies. If concerns about side effects in experimental vaccines in trials using adenoviruses are validated, it could boost skepticism in the general public and raise questions for other drugmakers.

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“Gilead recently inked a $1 billion deal with the European Union for a six-month supply fo the drug.”

Allegedly, this happened after Gilead knew the study results, but before publication. They had a few days’ window.

Fauci’s ‘Standard Of Care’ COVID19 Treatment Doesn’t Work (JS)

A pharmaceutical giant’s antiviral medication, which has been frequently touted by Dr. Anthony Fauci as the “standard of care” for COVID-19 treatments, does not work whatsoever, according to the biggest and most comprehensive study to date on the super expensive drug. Gilead’s Remdesivir, which costs Americans over $3,000 per treatment course after private insurance, is a total dud, according to a World Health Organization study that tracked over 11,000 COVID-19 patients in 30 different countries. The study concluded that Remdesivir (and several other COVID-19 “treatments”) has no positive effects for COVID-19 patients whatsoever. In fact, there was no demonstrable difference between patients in the control group and the treatment group.

The New York Times summarized the results of the study: “In the end, no drug or combination reduced mortality, the chances that mechanical ventilation would be needed, or time spent in the hospital, compared with the patients without drug treatment,” Dr. Fauci is heavily invested in Remdesivir succeeding. Since 2014, he has dedicated massive taxpayer resources into studying and hyping Gilead’s product through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which he has led since 1984. Fauci’s NIAID both conducted and funded much of the development of Remdesivir. Over $40 million in taxpayer dollars used in the development of Remdesivir can be traced directly to grants delivered by Fauci’s agency. Additionally, the NIAID is currently sponsoring two separate, major clinical trials on the Gilead product.

In April, the Dr. Fauci chief touted Remdesivir as the best available product to combat COVID-19: “The data shows that Remdesivir has a clear cut significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery. This is really quite important. It’s highly significant,” he said in an April press conference. “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” Fauci added, describing the drug as the “standard of care” for COVID-19 patients. Fauci’s optimism was not backed by any particular evidence. The “successful” study that he was touting in April was funded by Gilead itself. And even that study showed a lack of success in treating COVID-19 patients. Still, with the backing of Fauci and others in the public health bureaucracy, Gilead secured a $1.2 billion deal with the U.S. government for 500,000 treatment courses. Additionally, Gilead recently inked a $1 billion deal with the European Union for a six-month supply fo the drug.

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“According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), most new cases of the disease are being traced to meetings between families and friends, religious gatherings, meat-processing plants, hospitals, nursing homes and other sources, the court explained.”

Berlin Court Overturns Restaurant Curfew (RT)

There is no evidence that keeping restaurants shut at night would significantly slow down Covid-19, so Berlin’s curfew order infringes on business freedoms, a court in the German capital has ruled. The Friday decision deals a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s response to the latest surge in coronavirus cases, under which all German federal states agreed earlier this week to enforce common social distancing guidelines. The Berlin administrative court sided with the owners of 11 restaurants, which petitioned for an emergency injunction to overturn an order that forced them to remain closed between 11pm and 6am. The measure came into force last Saturday, putting Berlin under curfew for the first time in seven decades.

Berlin authorities failed to prove that the measure was necessary to slow down the spread of Covid-19, the ruling said. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), most new cases of the disease are being traced to meetings between families and friends, religious gatherings, meat-processing plants, hospitals, nursing homes and other sources, the court explained. So, the curfew constituted a disproportionate infringement of business freedom. The court also rejected the idea that the curfew was necessary to enforce a ban on serving alcohol at night, which the restaurant owners didn’t challenge in their complaint. People should be presumed to be complying with the ban, it said. The ruling can be appealed to a higher court.

Earlier this week, Germany’s 16 federal states agreed on a set of measures meant to curb the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases. They include harsher restrictions on gatherings, stricter mandates for wearing facemasks and curfews. Chancellor Merkel said she was not satisfied with the new guidelines because she believed they were not harsh enough “to avert disaster.”

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A treaty from 1666…

UK Fishing: Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fire (YBL)

Somebody once said, when Britain left the EU we didn’t fall into a void but into something far worse. This was in respect of aviation and the thicket of international agreements which preceded the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA), but it applies equally to fishing and the common fisheries policy. Leaving the common fisheries policy, meant we actually fell into the 1964 London Convention on Fisheries, which gave 13 other European states the right to fish in British waters between six and 12 nautical miles from our coast. So, we had to withdraw from that convention, which we did by announcing in July 2017 that we intended to do so and DEFRA Secretary Michael Gove then gave the required two years notice.

This initiated a period of consultation with stakeholders, leading to a new fisheries bill that is about to drop anchor on Tuesday as it reaches the report stage in the House of Commons. However, the Belgium ambassador Willem van de Voorde, has put a dogfish among the prawns, so to speak, by raising the question of a treaty dating back to 1666 signed by King Charles II, which granted 50 Flemish fishermen from Bruges “eternal rights” to fish in English waters. This caused a bit of a flurry in British newspapers, with the Daily Express as usual suggesting that “desperate Brussels” were using it to try and settle the “Brexit fishing row.” But Belgian newspapers were reporting this back in 2017. NWS Flanders News quoted the then Flemish prime minister Geert Bourgeois suggesting a solution to the fishing problems was this 350-year-old treaty. Mr Bourgeois even produced a copy of it on television.

The treaty was discovered in an archive in 1963. Apparently, a Bruges alderman then “ventured out into British waters to test it out”. “He deliberately had himself arrested by the British hoping they would take him to court. However, this didn’t happen. Documents from the British archives later revealed that it was advised against taking the Belgian to court, because of fears concerning the 1666 Charter. They were afraid it would still be in force”, Bourgeois’ spokesperson explained afterwards. The spokesperson admitted the chances the 1666 Charter would still apply are small, but added: “It’s not completely impossible that it still grants Bruges fishermen certain rights”. It’s not clear how Gove intends to withdraw from that one. But no doubt if it gets to that stage, he will give it a try.

However humorous it might be, British fishermen are unlikely to be laughing at the guidance for UK fish exports to the EU, released in September by the UK government and updated again last week. It looks formidable to me. After 1 January 2021, UK fishermen will need to follow the same byzantine rules that are currently in place for exports of fish from non-EU countries. The guidance says they will need an export health certificate, except for direct landings of fresh fish in EU ports from UK-flagged fishing vessels, plus a catch certificate that needs to be validated and sent to the importer. They may also need direct landing documents, and a storage document if the product has been stored, and a processing statement if the product has been processed.

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Morgan Freeman. Black History Month. “How are we going to get rid of racism?” Stop talking about it.

 

 

Supercomputer virus spread

 

 

 

 

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