Oct 202021
 


Paul Gauguin Fatata te Miti (By the sea) 1892

 

Even Fully Vaccinated Older People Are At High Risk For Severe Covid (NatGeo)
Even Doctors In Red States Are Punished For Saving People From Covid (Blaze)
‘Terrible Mistake’ Could Send Execs To Jail Over Vaccine Certificates (AFR)
We Accidentally Solved the Flu. Now What? (Atl.)
Study Destroys Justification for Vaccine Mandates (Siri)
SF’s Only In-N-Out Refuses to Enforce the City’s Vaccination Mandate (SFE)
9 In 10 Large Employers Worry About Losing Employees Over Vaccine Mandate (CTH)
Southwest Drops Plan To Put Unvaccinated Staff On Unpaid Leave (CNBC)
Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi’s Italy (NC)
The Frightened Class (Harrington)
Andrew McCabe’s Settlement With The DOJ Is A Signal To John Durham (Brock)
Joe Biden and the Disappearing Elephant (Turley)

 

 

Fauci Fail

 

 

Brought to you by..

 

 

Seattle

 

 

 

“If you’re under 45, your chances of dying are almost nonexistent, and then it increases exponentially.”

Even Fully Vaccinated Older People Are At High Risk For Severe Covid (NatGeo)

Mounting data suggest that older people are at higher risk of severe disease from a breakthrough infection of COVID-19—and scientists say that should come as no surprise. After all, older age brackets have been disproportionately at risk throughout the pandemic, and that continues to be true even once someone is fully vaccinated. Concerns about breakthrough infections bubbled up again this week when news broke on October 18 that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had died after contracting COVID-19. Powell was 84, but his cause of death was more complex: The former statesman suffered from multiple myeloma, a cancer of white blood cells. People with this form of cancer tend not to respond well to vaccines.

But in addition to the immunocompromised, health officials are seeing worrying evidence that older age groups continue to be at higher risk from the pandemic. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over 65 account for 67 percent of hospitalizations and 85 percent of deaths from breakthrough cases. And recent media reports citing data from Seattle, Washington, and the United Kingdom show that older vaccinated people face similar—and, in some cases, greater—risks of severe disease than unvaccinated children. “The huge risk factor is age,” says William Petri, an immunologist at the University of Virginia. That’s why the U.S. prioritized vaccinating older people and those in long-term care facilities when it first rolled out the vaccines, he explains.

“If you’re under 45, your chances of dying are almost nonexistent, and then it increases exponentially.” [..] Experts say they still don’t have an adequate explanation for why older people were more susceptible to COVID-19 even before vaccines were available. “It’s just one of the great mysteries of the virus,” says Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona. Scientists who study aging say it likely has to do with some of the hallmarks of getting older. For example, the human body normally clears away cells that have become damaged due to disease, injury, or stress. But as the body ages, this process becomes less efficient, and it starts to accumulate so-called senescent cells, which are damaged but won’t die. These cells secrete chemicals that damage neighboring healthy cells and trigger inflammation. Senescent cells thus weaken the body and make it harder to fight off infections.

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Ryan Cole.

Even Doctors In Red States Are Punished For Saving People From Covid (Blaze)

You are not allowed to treat COVID outpatient. It’s not about any one drug. You will be punished if you dare treat patients with anything that works. What began as 15 days to flatten the hospital curve has grown into a ban on all treatment outside the hospital to ensure everyone sick with moderate disease lands in the ER. No, they will not prosecute a doctor, they will just threaten to pull his license, which is why doctors won’t even prescribe azithromycin or prednisone, much less ivermectin and other proven antiinflammatories. What if you are part of the 1% of doctors who actually save lives — who run toward the fire rather than away from it? Instead of getting a medal of honor, these national heroes are now losing their licenses.

Idaho is not California. In fact, many Californians are fleeing to Idaho to escape the progressive persecution of the once Golden State. Yet now, with their investigation of Dr. Ryan Cole, the Idaho Medical Board wants to ensure that no doctor will ever treat you for this virus. If you contract this virus, there is probably nobody in the world you’d want access to more than Dr. Cole. A Mayo Clinic-trained anatomic and clinical pathologist who is licensed in 12 states, Cole knows the mechanisms of pathogens and various medicines as well as you know the streets of your neighborhood. He has lived the COVID pandemic in his Idaho lab since last March, diagnosing over 100,000 cases, and has given up much of his regular work to treat patients on his own time and own dime for months. His record is remarkable, and I have many friends and listeners of my podcast who are alive today because of his brilliance and kindness.

So there will be a ceremony in the Oval Office next week to present Dr. Cole with a medal for treating people in a pandemic while others let their patients die, right? At least the Idaho governor, Brad Little, will offer him some state reward? Nope. Instead, they are threatening to yank his license. Steven Kohtz, MD, president of the Idaho Medical Association’s board of trustees, and Susie Keller, CEO of the association, wrote a letter to the state’s board of medicine on Oct. 7, lamenting that “he has treated patients ‘from Florida to California'” with ivermectin. The horror! He should have let them die and not treated them at all, like Kohtz and his colleagues have done since last March.

In the letter, they claim Cole’s statements have killed people. “Many of those statements have advocated that people not be treated appropriately and undoubtedly have led to and will continue to lead to poor health outcomes as people are encouraged not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain appropriate treatment for it when such treatment could improve their health.” Well, how could treating pulmonary symptoms with steroids and antiinflammatories be worse than not treating them at all? This is the ultimate exercise in projection. They assuage their own guilt of letting patients die by preventing others from treating people in the critical early days of the virus.

ADE

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Oops.. There’s a reason your medical data are private.

‘Terrible Mistake’ Could Send Execs To Jail Over Vaccine Certificates (AFR)

Collecting COVID-19 vaccination certificates from customers or employees poses a serious legal and cyber security risk to businesses that exposes them to lawsuits, hefty fines and even executive jail sentences if the data isn’t handled properly, experts warn. The risk is so grave that businesses that have already stored images of government-issued vaccination certificates from employees or customers are advised to scour their email or human resource systems and delete the images, or at the very least remove a sensitive piece of information prominent on the certificate that exposes businesses to a “world of data security pain”, one expert says. As part of state and federal requirements for emerging out of the pandemic lockdown, businesses are asked to check whether customers and employees are vaccinated before allowing them to enter their premises.

Businesses storing information about whether someone has been vaccinated are therefore storing health information, quite possibly for the first time, exposing them to the Privacy Act, which requires they take “reasonable steps” to secure that information, said Anna Johnston, a former NSW deputy privacy commissioner who runs her own data privacy consultancy, Salinger Privacy. Worse than that, the federal government certificates contain a unique identifier, known as the Individual Health Identifier (IHI), that is covered by its own law, with much stricter data security requirements and with punishments that could include jail if that one piece of data is mishandled, Ms Johnston told The Australian Financial Review.

Together with the Tax File Number, the IHI is the most sensitive piece of data used by government, she said. It uniquely identifies Australians for healthcare purposes, far more so than a Medicare number, which can be shared by family members. It’s so sensitive that, when it was brought in 2010, it came with its own privacy legislation, the Healthcare Identifiers Act. “Including the IHI on the vaccination certificate, which is a document we’re supposed to be showing to our gyms, hairdressers and restaurants, as well as to our employers and customers, was a terrible mistake by the federal government,” she said. “It’s a bad data-security problem that the government has created.

“I really feel for small businesses in particular. They don’t have an in-house compliance officer telling them what to do. They don’t have an information security officer telling them how to secure these records. They probably don’t have the foggiest clue that there are special rules for the use and disclosure of the IHI that, if they breach those rules, expose them to both a civil penalty and a criminal penalty. “You face up to two years imprisonment for use or disclosure of the IHI for any purposes outside of supporting healthcare. And now that number is on a PDF that is being emailed around willy nilly.”


Australia’s vaccination certificate has a piece of data experts warn shouldn’t be there.

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Kimberley Strassel: “Here we go. Some of us wondered how long it would take for the liberal/media establishment to argue that we needed to keep pandemic measures going forever–even for things that we previously lived with, like the flu. It didn’t take long..”

We Accidentally Solved the Flu. Now What? (Atl.)

Perhaps the oddest consolation prize of America’s crushing, protracted battle with the coronavirus is the knowledge that flu season, as we’ve long known it, does not have to exist. It’s easy to think of the flu as an immutable fact of winter life, more inconvenience than calamity. But each year, on average, it sickens roughly 30 million Americans and kills more than 30,000 (though the numbers vary widely season to season). The elderly, the poor, and people of color are all overrepresented among the casualties. By some estimates, the disease’s annual economic cost amounts to nearly $90 billion. We accept this, when we think about it at all, as the way things are.

Except that this past year, things were different: During the 2020–21 flu season, the United States recorded only about 2,000 cases, 17,000 times fewer than the 35 million it recorded the season before. That season, the flu killed 199 children; this past season, as far as we know, it killed one. “We’ve looked for flu in communities and doctors’ offices and hospitals, and we’ve gotten almost zero,” says Emily Martin, a University of Michigan epidemiologist who’s part of the CDC’s flu-monitoring network. The same was true of other seasonal respiratory viruses last winter, says Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist at George Mason University in Virginia, though some have since rebounded. RSV, parainfluenza, rhinovirus, adenovirus—for a while, they all but vanished.

For this, perversely, we can thank the pandemic. The coronavirus itself may have played some role—infection could produce a general immune response that would also confer protection against the flu—but most of the epidemiologists I spoke with instead emphasized the importance of the behavioral changes adopted to slow the spread of the coronavirus: masking, distancing, remote learning, working from home, limiting indoor social gatherings. Despite the inconsistency with which America deployed them, these measures helped tamp down the spread of the virus, but they completely crushed influenza, a less transmissible foe to which the population has considerable preexisting immunity. We set out to flatten the curve, and we ended up stamping out the flu.

This was one of the few blessings in an otherwise abysmal winter, in which COVID cases and deaths surged to their highest levels ever in the U.S. At least we didn’t face the dreaded “twindemic.” But our triumph over the flu also poses a dilemma, as much ethical as epidemiological. We’ve demonstrated conclusively that saving nearly everyone who dies of the flu is within our power. To do nothing now—to return to the roughly 30,000-deaths-a-year status quo without even trying to save some of those lives—would seem irresponsible. So what do we do? Which measures do we maintain and which do we let go?

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You mean there was ever any justification?

Study Destroys Justification for Vaccine Mandates (Siri)

Civil and individual rights are only meaningful if they continue to protect individuals during difficult situations. It is why the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of neo-Nazis to march through Jewish neighborhoods. It is why it upheld the right to burn the American flag. Protecting these rights when it is difficult protects us all. It assures that government will not erode these civil and individual rights, including during a pandemic. The CDC and State Health Department scientists just released a study that again reflects the dangers of making civil and individual rights contingent on a medical procedure. This study, titled Shedding of Infectious SARS-CoV-2 Despite Vaccination, reviewed swab specimens from 36 counties in Wisconsin from the end of June to the end of July 2021. They then checked the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in each swab.

What did they find? High viral load in “158 of 232 unvaccinated (68%…) and 156 of 225 fully vaccinated (69%…) symptomatic individuals.” Meaning there was effectively no difference between the symptomatic vaccinated and unvaccinated in terms of who was carrying, and therefore spreading, the virus. But the study does not end there. It also found high viral loads in “7 of 24 unvaccinated (29%…) and 9 of 11 fully vaccinated asymptomatic individuals (82%…).” Meaning, among asymptomatic individuals, the vaccinated had a higher percentage with a high viral load. As I explained in an interview with Shannon Bream, this reflects that the unvaccinated that catch the virus are more likely to be at home in bed with symptoms, while the vaccinated that catch the virus are more likely to have no symptoms and hence continue their daily routine unknowingly spreading the virus.

These findings are depicted in the following chart. Note that the lower the “N1 Ct value” the higher the viral load (and that a team at Oxford concluded that an N1 Ct value over 24 should not be taken to indicate the presence of any actual virus):

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Make In-N-Out your destination.

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government..”

SF’s Only In-N-Out Refuses to Enforce the City’s Vaccination Mandate (SFE)

The only San Francisco location of wildly popular California-based fast food chain In-N-Out Burger was temporarily shut down and remains closed for indoor dining after the SF Department of Public Health found the restaurant was not properly enforcing the city’s vaccination mandate for indoor dining, KRON4 reported first. The city shut down the restaurant at 333 Jefferson Street on Thursday, October 14, after learning staff weren’t checking diners’ proof of vaccination or preventing customers without proof of vaccination from entering. The restaurant has since resumed takeout and outdoor dining, but the company seems to be digging its heels on the vaccination mandate.

In a statement provided to Eater SF, In-N-Out Chief Legal & Business Officer Arnie Wensinger says the company believes requiring its staff to enforce a vaccination mandate constitutes government “overreach” and is refusing to do so. “We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business,” Wensinger’s statement reads. “This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.” In an email to Eater SF the San Francisco Department of Public Health says it’s been trying to get In-N-Out to adhere to the city’s vaccination order for weeks.

The city’s Joint Information Center Outreach Team first visited the restaurant on September 24 after receiving a complaint to the 311 non-emergency service line. Inspectors from the Environmental Health division who followed up on October 6, found the restaurant was still in violation of the health order and issued a Notice to Comply. The department finally issued a Notice of Closure on October 14, at which point the restaurant was “instructed to cease all operations on site immediately because of the threat it poses to public health,” according to the Department of Public Health. The owner of the property, Anchorage Holdings LP, which is based in Addison, Texas, was also issued a Notice of Violation.

The company says it has “properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements.” But In-N-Out also admits employees were not checking customers’ vaccinations cards and IDs, nor were they preventing customers who are not able to prove they’ve been vaccinated from entering the restaurant, which the health department told the company that staff must do. “As a Company, In-N-Out Burger strongly believes in the highest form of customer service and to us that means serving all Customers who visit us and making all Customers feel welcome,” the statement continues. “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant Associates to segregate Customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason.”

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“It will be interesting to see if, and how quickly, a parallel economy with a vaccination option workforce, will take root.”

9 In 10 Large Employers Worry About Losing Employees Over Vaccine Mandate (CTH)

In an unusual twist to the strength of the multinationals, many large corporations are worried they will lose critical employees to smaller organizations with less than 100 employees who do not have to enforce the national worker vaccine mandate. By itself the 100 worker rule, in combination with the exemptions being provided by the federal government for some politically connected union organizations, would seem to undercut the premise of the “national health emergency.” If the COVID pandemic is such a national threat, why would any groups be excluded from the mandate? However, until the Dept of Labor rule is officially registered, court cases to hear such arguments are not possible. A recent survey by The Society for Human Resource Management, as shared by The Hill, indicates that 9 out of 10 large employers are concerned about losing significant amounts of workers due to the federal mandate:

The Hill – […] “The survey reveals uneasiness among employers over the impending workplace rule, which will require employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or frequent testing. They’re most concerned about losing workers amid an extremely tight labor market. Another two-thirds of employers surveyed said that they cannot afford to pay for weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated workers. […] Others are worried that they could lose unvaccinated workers to rival firms with fewer than 100 employees or to independent contracting companies that aren’t subject to the rule.”

It will be interesting to see if, and how quickly, a parallel economy with a vaccination option workforce, will take root.

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Well, not really.

Southwest Drops Plan To Put Unvaccinated Staff On Unpaid Leave (CNBC)

Southwest Airlines has scrapped a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have applied for but haven’t received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave as of a federal deadline in December. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are among the carriers that are federal contractors and subject to a Biden administration requirement that their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 by Dec. 8 unless they are exempt for medical or religious reasons. Rules for federal contractors are stricter than those expected from the Biden administration for large companies, which will allow for regular Covid testing as an alternative to a vaccination.

Executives at both carriers in recent days have tried to reassure employees about job security under the mandate, urging them to apply for exemptions if they can’t get vaccinated for a medical reason or for a sincerely held religious belief. The airlines are expected to face more questions about the mandate when they report quarterly results Thursday morning. Pilots’ labor unions have sought to block the mandates or sought alternatives such as regular testing. Southwest’s senior vice president of operations and hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Julie Weber, vice president and chief people officer, wrote to staff on Friday that if employees’ requests for an exemption haven’t been approved by Dec. 8, they could continue to work while following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed.

The company is giving employees until Nov. 24 to finish their vaccinations or apply for an exemption. It will continue paying them while the company reviews their requests and said it will allow those who are rejected to continue working “as we coordinate with them on meeting the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation).” “This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these Employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case,” they wrote in the note, which was reviewed by CNBC. Southwest confirmed the policy change, which comes just weeks before the deadline.

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“..if none of the unvaccinated workers were to cave in to the government’s demands — some will, of course, we just don’t know how many — the number of people without work in Italy would increase by well over 150% — in the space of just one week!”

Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi’s Italy (NC)

As of last Friday all residents of Italy need a covid passport, or Green Pass, to access not only public spaces but also public and private workplaces. The pass proves that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have recovered from the disease in the past six months or have recently tested negative. And now they need it to make a living, to feed their families. The “no jab, no job” rule applies to workers of all kinds, including the self employed, domestic staff and even people working remotely. If you’d still rather not get vaccinated, you have the option of showing proof of a negative test every two days. That can cost anywhere between €15 and €50 each time — far beyond the means of most low-paid workers. If you still refuse to get vaccinated or present proof of negative tests, you face unpaid suspension as well as a fine of up to €1,500. Public sector workers have five days to present the green pass before being suspended. Private sector workers without a green pass face suspension from the first day.

Here’s more from Politico: “By law, all workers must be able to show a so-called Green Pass, proving they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative in the past 48 hours. Roughly 81 percent of Italians over 12 are fully vaccinated. While polls suggest the majority of Italians are in favor of vaccine passes (just as the majority of people in all countries are in favour of vaccine passes, according to polls), there are still 3.8 million unvaccinated workers, many in strategic sectors and public services such as ports, trucking, health care and law enforcement, who will be unable to work.”

This is by any measure a massive cull of workers. Three point eight million is more than 5% of Italy’s entire population and over 16% of the country’s officially employed workforce (22.7 million). The total number of people currently unemployed in Italy is 2.3 million. In other words, if none of the unvaccinated workers were to cave in to the government’s demands — some will, of course, we just don’t know how many — the number of people without work in Italy would increase by well over 150% — in the space of just one week! And as the Politico article mentions, many of these workers are in strategic sectors and public services.

This is all happening as Europe — and the world at large — faces the worst supply chain crisis in decades as well as acute energy and labor shortages. The move also risks giving a huge boost to Italy’s already quite large informal economy. Given as much, this is a huge, high-stakes bluff on the part of Draghi’s technocratic government, which was formed eighth months ago. If it pays off, the vast majority of Italy’s vaccine holdouts will fall into line and go back to work, and other governments across Europe will follow suit with similar mandates. If it doesn’t, Italy’s economy could be plunged into chaos.

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Laptoppers.

The Frightened Class (Harrington)

They’re all around us, especially those of us who live in relatively prosperous metropolitan neighborhoods in the US or Western Europe. Despite being—at least in material terms—among the most fortunate people who have ever walked the earth, they are very scared. And they want you to be very frightened too. Indeed, many of them see your refusal to be as frightened as they are about life’s inevitable risks as a grave problem which entitles them and their often powerful and influential fellow travelers to recur to all manner of authoritarian practices to insure that you adhere to their increasingly neurotic view of reality.

This tendency has been in full bloom lately as the people who have sat safely behind their laptops during the last 20 months have harangued and threatened those who have been out on job sites and meatpacking plants mixing freely with others and the virus, to internalize their own obsessions. And when these supposedly ignorant others—whose storehouse of empirical evidence about the dangers of the virus easily outstrips that of the laptoppers—refuse to buckle to the demand to be scared, they are met with all sorts of opprobrium. Viewed in historical terms, it’s an odd phenomenon.

For most of recorded time prosperity and education have been the gateway to a life of relative freedom from worry. But now, the people who most enjoy these benefits are, it seems, wracked with anxiety and, in the not infrequent way of many people suffering that plague, and hellbent on sharing their misery with others. The point here is not to belittle the very real costs of anxiety in the lives of many people, nor to dismiss it as a real public health concern. Rather, it is to ask how and why it is proliferating so rapidly among those who, at least on the surface, have less reason than the vast majority of their fellow human beings to suffer from it.

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“.. the inspector general’s public report states that McCabe lied to investigators on four occasions, three of them while under oath. His firing followed the standards consistently applied to all other FBI agents.”

Andrew McCabe’s Settlement With The DOJ Is A Signal To John Durham (Brock)

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was un-fired when the Department of Justice (DOJ) — now firmly under a Democratic administration — agreed to settle with McCabe by fully restoring his FBI pension and removing all records from his FBI personnel file that indicate he was fired for cause. It wasn’t really a settlement. McCabe sued the government, and the DOJ said, “Okay, we’ll give you what you want.” The agreement does not change the findings of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz that McCabe lied under oath to investigators on three occasions; it simply eliminates all consequences for doing so. Oh, and it also forks over half a million dollars of taxpayer money to cover McCabe’s attorney’s fees. That’ll teach him a lesson for lying after raising his right hand three times and swearing not to.

DOJ’s magnanimity comes as special prosecutor John Durham has begun noose-tightening indictments in his probe of individuals involved in creating and furthering the discredited “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. The DOJ cannot prevent Durham from pursuing indictments of any former FBI executives, including McCabe, should the evidence lead to that. However, if he does, McCabe’s stunning absolution by a DOJ now controlled by the Democrats strongly indicates that a presidential pardon is likely in play for anyone who so vigorously investigated Republicans without an adequate basis to do so. In other words, it looks like these former FBI executives now have an “insurance policy” — to borrow an infamous phrase from former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

McCabe’s re-polishing also has the secondary salutary effect of perpetuating the longstanding Washington tradition of pushing blame as far down the hierarchy stack as possible, in order to leave unsullied the elite command staff who set the tone and lead the charge. [..] McCabe was hurriedly fired on the one-yard line just short of retirement eligibility, which affected his access to a full FBI pension. His beef with that action has some merit as inordinately punitive. Restoration of his retirement benefits is not something that most FBI agents are going to begrudge him, given his otherwise long career in the FBI. However, the inspector general’s public report states that McCabe lied to investigators on four occasions, three of them while under oath. His firing followed the standards consistently applied to all other FBI agents.

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“Committee Chairman Adam Schiff assured that public that “this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.”

Joe Biden and the Disappearing Elephant (Turley)

How Houdini made his 10,000 pound elephant Jennie disappear every night in New York’s Hippodrome remains a matter of some debate. There are no good pictures of his famous cabinet and Houdini later threatened to sue those claiming “disappearing elephants.” What is clear is that the sheer size and the audacity of the act (like that of the Bidens) contributed to the trick. The fact is that Jennie never left the large cabinet, people just didn’t see it. The Bidens achieved the same effect. They made a full-sized scandal disappear with the help of media and members who did not want the public to see it. Twitter banned postings about the laptop until after Biden was elected. The media dismissed the story as a conspiracy theory with some mocking the “New York Post and everyone else who got suckered into the ridiculous Hunter Biden Laptop story. Take a bow.”

Committee Chairman Adam Schiff assured that public that “this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.” Some 50 former intelligence officials, including Obama’s CIA directors John Brennan and Leon Panetta, also insisted the laptop story was likely the work of Russian intelligence. The laptop is, of course, now recognized as genuine even by some of the early deniers. Hunter remains under criminal investigation for possible tax and money laundering violations. But the greatest “reveal” is the person referred to as “the Big Guy” and “Celtic” in these emails: President Biden.

Recently released emails reference payments to President Biden from son’s accounts and indicate the possible commingling of funds. Even more embarrassing, the shared account may have been used to pay a Russian prostitute named “Yanna.” In one text, a former secret service agent warns Hunter (who was holed up with a prostitute in an expensive hotel) “Come on H this is linked to Celtic’s account.” The question is whether prosecutors will continue to act like they do not see the elephant.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oct 272020
 


Henri Matisse Bathers by a River 1910

 

Hillary Clinton Says Trump & Russian Media ‘Stole’ Election From Her (RT)
Meacham Attacks Trump Supporters As Lizard Brains (Turley)
Supreme Court Rules Wisconsin Ballots Must Be Received By Election Day (Fox)
Biden’s Parade of Horribles For Changing The Supreme Court (Turley)
Debt-To-Income Ratios Are Worse Than They Appear (RIA)
Confirmed Influenza Cases Hit Rock-Bottom, Puzzling Experts (JTN)
China Moves To Legalise Digital Yuan, Ban Competitors (SCMP)
China Launches Crackdown On Mobile Web Browsers, ‘Chaos’ Of Information (R.)
Social Media’s Erasure Of Palestinians Is A Grim Warning For Our Future (Cook)
The Revelations Of Wikileaks: No. 9 – Opening the CIA’s Vault (CN)
‘Iraq War Diaries’ At Ten Years: Truth is Treason (Ron Paul)
US Pulls Plan To Give Early Vaccine To Santa Claus (BBC)

 

 

Making Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation an election issue may not be the smartest move ever for the Dems.

But not as bad as Hillary again blaming her loss on the Russians. Look, people don’t like you. Go home. Stay home. Like Joe.

 

 

 

 

Lincoln Project

 

 

Strassel Hunter

 

 

Nothing is ever my fault.

Hillary Clinton Says Trump & Russian Media ‘Stole’ Election From Her (RT)

Failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is claiming Trump “basically stole the election” from her four years after her loss, a statement that is earning her plenty of ridicule on social media. In an interview with journalist Kara Swisher’s podcast for the New York Times Opinions network released on Monday, Clinton spoke about losing in 2016 because of a “disinformation campaign” run by then-Republican candidate Donald Trump and “Russian media.” She even claimed the election was “stolen” from her. “I think that Trump and a lot of the people around him know that his victory was not on the up and up. They had an extensive campaign to suppress black voters. We now know much more about that than we did,” the former secretary of state said.


She also blamed third party voters who handed Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein historic results for their parties and claimed they were “boosted” by “Russian media.” “They had third party candidates boosted, particularly by Russian media. And the lies and ridiculous stories made up about me were meant to either keep you at home, or drive you third party if they couldn’t get you to vote for Trump,” she said. Trump, she said, holds a presidency that has an “air of illegitimacy,” something she has said many times over the past four years. She now drives Trump and Republicans “crazy” because “I was the candidate that they basically stole an election from.”

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Here, have some more deplorables.

Meacham Attacks Trump Supporters As Lizard Brains (Turley)

We recently discussed how Vanderbilt professor and historian Jon Meacham gave a quiz in his course on the 2020 Election in which students were asked “Was the Constitution designed to perpetuate white supremacy and protect the institution of slavery?” You had to answer “yes” or get points deducted. It appears that the final exam in the class could prove even more demanding for any intellectually honest student if Meacham asks about the voters themselves. The NBC analyst this week declared that President Trump and his supporters are examples of being controlled by what is called “the lizard brain”. It only got worse from there.

Meacham addressed a simple question of whether Trump helped himself with his base in the second presidential debate Thursday night. It is impossible on NBC, however, to refer to Trump voters without some derisive or insulting precursor. Meacham did not disappoint his audience. “I think Trump did himself good with his base tonight,” Meacham said. “The question for America is how big that base is. There is a lizard brain in this country. Donald Trump is a product of the White man’s, the anguished, nervous White guy’s lizard brain.” Meacham was referring to a primitive part of the brain in psychological literature: “Many people call it the ‘Lizard Brain,’ because the limbic system is about all a lizard has for brain function. It is in charge of fight, flight, feeding, fear, freezing up, and fornication.”

Of course, even with the lead held by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the polls, roughly half of this country still supports Trump (or at least rejects Biden, who Meacham has endorsed). That is a lot of lizard people. What is striking is that Meacham is supposed to give what NBC, MSNBC and PBS present as neutral, scholarly analysis. But his comment about Trump supporters having lizard brains captures why conservative or independent voters view the networks as biased and gratuitously insulting. Indeed, these comments show that networks like NBC are now focusing entirely on Democratic and liberal viewers — writing off half of the American people as gag lines.

[..] I have watched the stereotyping of Trump supporters at media conferences for years. It suggests that roughly 63 million people in this country who voted for Trump in 2016 are knuckle-dragging racists. The media have simply never tried to see any nuance or gain any insight into what is motivating Trump supporters. It is easier to dismiss them as a whole as racists and lizard people. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin has declared that Trump supporters as a whole are racists. That common stereotyping of Trump supporters is uncontested, even as the media object to Trump’s generalizations about other groups. Miami Herald columnist and NBC analyst Leonard Pitts wrote a column headlined: “No, it’s not the economy, stupid. Trump supporters fear a black and brown America.”

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I know we use the term ‘election year’, but I don’t think it was ever meant to be used in this sense. It was always ‘election day’.

Supreme Court Rules Wisconsin Ballots Must Be Received By Election Day (Fox)

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a request by Wisconsin Democrats to allow an extension for mail-in ballots that are received after Election Day. In a 5-3 ruling, the justices refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the Nov. 3 election. A federal appeals court had already put that order on hold. Democrats argued that the flood of absentee ballots and other challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic makes it necessary to extend the period in which ballots can be counted. Wisconsin is one of the nation’s hot spots for COVID-19, with hospitals treating a record high number of patients with the disease.


Republicans had opposed extending the Nov. 3 deadline, saying that voters have plenty of opportunities to cast their ballots by the close of polls on Election Day and that the rules should not be changed so close to the election. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said that more than 201,000 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had approved a six-day extension of a deadline for absentee ballots to be received in Wisconsin. Absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day would have been counted as long as they came in before Nov. 9. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with his conservative colleagues. Justice Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

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“He insists Democrats can change the system to guarantee Republicans “will never win another election..”

Biden’s Parade of Horribles For Changing The Supreme Court (Turley)

The vote on Monday to make Judge Amy Coney Barrett the 115th Supreme Court justice will be more than a confirmation. It will be a dispensation, according to former Vice President Joe Biden and various Democratic senators. They have cited the vote as relieving them of any guilt in fundamentally changing the court to manufacture a liberal majority. Like school kids daring others to step over a line as an excuse to fight, Democrats insist that filling this vacancy will invite changes ranging from “packing” the court to stripping it of authority to rule in certain cases. The problem is that the line the Senate will step over is set by the Constitution, while the proposals by Democrats would retaliate against the use of a power granted by the Constitution. Democrats are floating a parade of horribles to “reform” the Supreme Court and negate its growing conservative majority.

Biden said this week that the court is “out of whack” and, as president, he would assemble a commission of “experts” to explore “a number of alternatives that go well beyond packing.” The commission would report to him 180 days after his inauguration. Polls show almost 60 percent of Americans oppose the court packing scheme supported by Democrats, including Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris. One person not polled was the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who denounced such a scheme as guaranteeing the court’s destruction. A New York Times and Siena College poll found only 31 percent favor court packing. That is a familiar figure: For the last four years, the same 30 percent of both parties have supported the most destructive political measures and rhetoric.

Those extremes continue to control our politics, while the vast majority of us in the middle watch in disbelief as virtually every Democratic senator embraces one of the most reviled tactics in American history. Those senators are not alone. A host of professors (who likely will be on the short list for Biden’s commission) are giving credibility to court packing. Harvard professor Michael Klarman attacked the foundations of Congress before attacking the foundations of the court. Klarman condemned a “malapportionment” in the Senate that he believes gives Republicans greater power, and referred to their refusal to vote on Obama court nominee Merrick Garland as “stealing a seat.” While controversial (and I was among those calling for a vote on Garland), that decision was clearly constitutional.

Yet Klarman illogically calls it “court packing” to justify any act of retaliation: “Democrats are not initiating this spiral. They are simply responding in kind.” He then says not to worry about Republicans responding with their own court packing when they return to power. He insists Democrats can change the system to guarantee Republicans “will never win another election,” at least not without abandoning their values. Of course, Klarman concedes “the Supreme Court could strike down everything I just described” so the court must be packed in advance to allow these changes to occur. Here are some of the other wacky ideas to get the court back into “whack.”

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Only needed to read the headline to understand why.

Debt-To-Income Ratios Are Worse Than They Appear (RIA)

I recently published an article discussing why “recessions” are a good thing by reverting debt buildups excesses during expansions. The argument against debt reversions is always the same in that “debt-to-income” ratios low. To wit: “One reason (of many) we don’t need a debt reversion is that household debt service costs (interest etc.) as a % of household incomes are currently at a 40 year low.” – S. Porter If you look at a chart, it certainly would seem that would be the case. But, like most data from the Federal Reserve, you have to dig behind the numbers to reveal the real story. So let’s do that, shall we?

Every year, most Americans go further into debt just to “sustain” their standard of living. To wit: “In 1998, monetary velocity peaked and began to turn lower. Such coincides with the point that consumers were forced into debt to sustain their standard of living. For decades, WallStreet, advertisers, and corporate powerhouses flooded consumers with advertising to induce them into buying bigger houses, televisions, and cars. The age of ‘consumerism’ took hold.“

The idea of “maintaining a certain standard of living” has become a foundation in society currently. The average American believes they are “entitled” to a specific type of house, car, and general lifestyle. Such includes living necessities such as food, running water, electricity, and the latest mobile phone, computer, and high-speed internet connection. (Really, what would be the point of living if you didn’t have access to Facebook every two minutes?) However, maintaining this “entitled” lifestyle requires money, and as shown above, when income and savings run short, debt fills the gap.

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Are all COVID patients tested for flu?

Confirmed Influenza Cases Hit Rock-Bottom, Puzzling Experts (JTN)

Even as worries persist over increasing COVID-19 cases in the United States, cases of another virus — influenza — have plummeted relative to their number a year ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s FluView influenza tracker lists an influenza-positive test percentage of 0.3% for week 42 of 2020 — a total of 33 positive tests out of 10,809 specimens. That’s down sharply from 2.4% during the same week last year. Visits to healthcare providers for “influenza-like illnesses” during week 42 were also down this year from the last, though not as sharply: This week that rate was 1.2% of all such visits, while last year it was 1.7%.

Sharp drops in influenza have also been observed elsewhere throughout the world over the past several months. World Health Organization global flu surveillance shows a severe dropoff in flu cases starting in early April; whereas in past years flu cases are sustained at a steady plateau over the mid-year months — driven by the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season — WHO observation has cases more or less disappearing from April onwards. “Globally, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year,” the WHO wrote earlier this month, “though increased detections were reported in some countries.”

[..] Some experts have, perhaps unsurprisingly, cited the still-ongoing lockdowns, mitigation measures, mask mandates and social distancing orders as possible explanations for reduced flu rates worldwide. “It does seem that the rates are lower,” Phyllis Kanki, an infectious disease professor at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Just the News. “I think COVID mitigation measures are likely to lower levels. Some of these mitigation measures may have been particularly effective for high-risk groups for flu, like the elderly and immunosuppressed.” Nevertheless, she acknowledged, at this point there are “more questions than answers.”

[..] Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, is skeptical about the conventional wisdom that COVID mitigation efforts suppressed this year’s flu. “I think we can dismiss out of hand that that masks and social distancing are responsible for the decline in flu incidence this season,” he told Just the News, while also confessing to being uncertain as to why levels were so low. “First, why would they work for the flu, but not for COVID? Second, there is randomized evidence that those interventions do not work to suppress influenza incidence.” Bhattacharya was referring to a substantial body of evidence indicating that masks do not stop the spread of influenza. A World Health Organization review from last year found “no evidence” that masks helped to stop influenza transmission.

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Does this mean they’ll ban Bitcoin?

China Moves To Legalise Digital Yuan, Ban Competitors (SCMP)

China is inching closer to the launch of its own sovereign digital currency by giving it a legal foundation in an upcoming law revision, while the central bank is also addressing problems that emerged in pilot tests for the digital yuan. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) published a draft law on Friday that would give legal status to the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) system, and for the first time the digital yuan has been included and defined as part of the country’s sovereign fiat currency. The draft law would also forbid any party from making or issuing yuan-backed digital tokens to replace the renminbi in the market.

Mu Changchun, head of the central bank’s digital currency research institute, said on Sunday at the Bund Summit in Shanghai that the DCEP will be allowed to circulate and be converted like physical banknotes and coins. “Its centralised management will be good to fight against cryptocurrencies and global stablecoins and prevent their erosion of currency-issuance rights,” he said. China released its design framework for the digital yuan soon after Facebook unveiled its ambitious Libra token project in the summer of last year, with plans for a two-tier issuance structure and a focus on small retail application scenarios. China appears to be the front runner in the race to issue the world’s first digital currency, having conducted a series of trials in four cities – Suzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Xiongan – as well as at venues for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.


Earlier this month, a district in Shenzhen, just across the mainland border from Hong Kong, gave away 50,000 digital “red packets”, totalling 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million), to local residents in the largest-scale test so far. The central government has made it clear that the goals of the DCEP include replacing cash, maintaining government control over the currency and creating as many small retail application scenarios as possible. China is also looking to internationalise the yuan by enhancing its use in international settlements.

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“..dissemination of chaos by ‘self-media’. Don’t think I’ve seen that term before.

China Launches Crackdown On Mobile Web Browsers, ‘Chaos’ Of Information (R.)

China’s top cyber authority said on Monday it would carry out a “rectification” of Chinese mobile internet browsers to address what it called social concerns over the “chaos” of information being published online. China’s strict internet censorship rules have been tightened numerous times in recent years and in the latest crackdown, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has told firms operating mobile browsers that they have until Nov. 9 to conduct a “self examination” and rectify problems. The problems include the spreading of rumours, the use of sensationalist headlines and the publishing of content that violates the core values of socialism, it said in a statement.


“For some time, mobile browsers have grown in an uncivilised way … and have become a gathering place and amplifier for dissemination of chaos by ‘self-media’,” the CAC said, referring to independently operated social media accounts, many of which publish news. “After the rectification, mobile browsers that still have outstanding problems will be dealt with strictly according to laws and regulations until related businesses are banned.” The campaign will initially focus on eight of the most influential mobile browsers in China, including those operated by Huawei, Alibaba Group Holding’s UCWeb and Xiaomi Corp, it said.

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We all heard of Big Brother. We just never understood who he is.

Social Media’s Erasure Of Palestinians Is A Grim Warning For Our Future (Cook)

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants. The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role. Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago.

Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”. Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.


The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer. In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

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At least Merkel said she was angry. But after that, crickets.

The Revelations Of Wikileaks: No. 9 – Opening the CIA’s Vault (CN)

As its publisher remains in prison awaiting judgment on his extradition case, we continue our series of looking at WikiLeaks’ significant revelations contributing to the public’s right to know. On Feb. 6, 2017, WikiLeaks released documents detailing the Central Intelligence Agency’s espionage program in the months leading up to and following France’s presidential election in 2012. The agency used spies and cyberweapons to infiltrate and hack into the major political parties with competing candidates — the Socialists, the National Front and the Union for a Popular Movement. Their candidates — respectively François Hollande, Marine Le Pen and incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy — were also spied upon individually, as were many other prominent political figures.

The objectives of the program included ascertaining the contending parties’ political strategies and platforms, their views of the U.S., and their relations with the European Union, with other European nations (Germany, Britain) as well as Israel, Palestine, Libya, Syria, and others. The CIA’s French operation lasted 10 months, beginning in November 2011 and enduring until September 2012, several months after Hollande won the election and formed a Socialist government. WikiLeaks’ disclosure of the agency’s project bears a special irony: It was just as WikiLeaks published this material in 2017 that the CIA helped propagate unsubstantiated (and later discounted) “intelligence” that Russian hackers and propagandists were interfering with France’s presidential election that year.


Similar allegations (similarly lacking in evidence) were floated as the European Union held parliamentary elections in May 2019. As WikiLeaks reported at the time of the releases on the CIA’s covert activities in France, those revelations were to serve “as context for its forthcoming CIA Vault 7 series.” WikiLeaks’ apparent intent was to display a CIA’s hacking operation in action. Vault 7, the subject of this latest report on the history of WikiLeaks disclosures, stands as the most extensive publication on record of classified and confidential CIA documents. Never before and not since have the agency’s innumerable programs and capabilities been so thoroughly exposed to public scrutiny.

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“People who knowingly lied us into the war like Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, the Beltway neocon “experts,” and most of the media, faced neither punishment nor professional shaming for their acts.”

‘Iraq War Diaries’ At Ten Years: Truth is Treason (Ron Paul)

The purpose of journalism is to uncover truth – especially uncomfortable truth – and to publish it for the benefit of society. In a free society, we must be informed of the criminal acts carried out by governments in the name of the people. Throughout history, journalists have uncovered the many ways governments lie, cheat, and steal – and the great lengths they will go to keep the people from finding out. Great journalists like Seymour Hersh, who reported to us the tragedy of the Mai Lai Massacre and the horrors that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, are essential. Ten years ago last week, Julian Assange’s Wikileaks organization published an exposé of US government wrongdoing on par with the above Hersh bombshell stories.

Publication of the “Iraq War Diaries” showed us all the brutality of the US attack on Iraq. It told us the truth about the US invasion and occupation of that country. This was no war of defense against a nation threatening us with weapons of mass destruction. This was no liberation of the country. We were not “bringing democracy” to Iraq. No, the release of nearly 400,000 classified US Army field reports showed us in dirty detail that the US attack was a war of aggression, based on lies, where hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and injured. We learned that the US military classified anyone they killed in Iraq as “enemy combatants.” We learned that more than 700 Iraqi civilians were killed for “driving too close” to one of the hundreds of US military checkpoints – including pregnant mothers-to-be rushing to the hospital.

We learned that US military personnel routinely handed “detainees” over to Iraqi security forces where they would be tortured and often killed. Ten years after Assange’s brave act of journalism changed the world and exposed one of the crimes of the century, he sits alone in solitary confinement in a UK prison. He sits literally fighting for his life, as if he is successfully extradited to the United States he faces 175 years in a “supermax” prison for committing “espionage” against a country of which he is not a citizen. On the Iraq war we have punished the truth-tellers and rewarded the criminals. People who knowingly lied us into the war like Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, the Beltway neocon “experts,” and most of the media, faced neither punishment nor professional shaming for their acts. In fact, they got off scot free and many even prospered.

Julian Assange explained that he published the Iraq War Diaries because he “hoped to correct some of the attack on truth that occurred before the war, and that continued on since that war officially ended.” We used to praise brave journalists not afraid to take on the “bad guys.” Now we torture and imprison them.

Assange 10 years later

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Read it twice, still can’t decide if it’s serious.

US Pulls Plan To Give Early Vaccine To Santa Claus (BBC)

The US has cancelled plans to offer Santa Claus performers early access to a coronavirus vaccine in exchange for their help in promoting it publicly. Those who perform as Mrs Claus and elves would also have been eligible for the jabs. The festive collaboration was part of a $250m (£192m) government campaign to garner celebrity endorsements of vaccinations once they are approved. But health authorities confirmed the advertising campaign had been scrapped. Ric Erwin, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, called the news “extremely disappointing.”


“This was our greatest hope for Christmas 2020, and now it looks like it won’t happen,” he told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has since confirmed the existence of the Santa plan to the New York Times. The idea was initially conceived by Michael Caputo, a former assistant secretary at the department. Mr Caputo announced last month that he would be going on leave, shortly after posting a video to Facebook where he accused government scientists of engaging in “sedition” against President Donald Trump.

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