Apr 282021
 


Juan de la Corte (1597–1660) Lot And His Daughters Escaping From The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah

 

COVID Pill That Cures Body At First Signs Of Infection May Come This Year (JTN)
Single Dose Of Covid Vaccine Can Nearly Halve Transmission Of Virus (G.)
The BBC & Bloomberg on India: B Stands For Bullshit. (Slog)
Oxford Jab ‘Could Be Banned For Under-40s’ After Blood Clot Reports Double (Metro)
A New World Order Brought To You By COVID-19 (Whitehead)
Scientists “Debunking” The Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Linked to CCP (NP)
Don’t Look Now (Jim Kunstler)
Supply Chains Implode As “Price Doesn’t Even Matter Anymore”
Gundlach Rejects The Fed’s “Inflation Is Transitory” Narrative (ZH)
CNN’s New “Reporter,” Natasha Bertrand, is a Deranged Conspiracy Theorist (Greenwald)
The Deep State Targets Matt Gaetz (AG)
Apple iOS 14.5 Update Includes ‘App Tracking Transparency’ Feature (G.)
Google Ad Surge Drives Up Profits For Parent Firm Alphabet (Y!)
Hunter Biden To Guest Teach A Class On “Fake News” This Fall (DM)

 

 

I forget who drew my attention to this UK government report, Covid-19 Response Spring 2021, but it paints a very stark and completely ignored reality: only 66% of people can ever be successfully vaccinated and may be protected.

34% either can’t be jabbed for medical reasons, or the vaccines don’t catch on. And that’s assuming full uptake, which of course you’ll never ever get. So the number of not successfully vaccinated will be higher than 34%, perhaps quite a bit, no matter the PR campaigns and threats.

This should put the entire Covid response on its head, but for some reason it doesn’t. Those 34+% would appear to be ineligible for a “vaccine passport” as well, depriving them of basic human rights.

 

 

 

 

Lemme guess: Pfizer waits until everyone has been vaccinated, and then introduces this pill?

COVID Pill That Cures Body At First Signs Of Infection May Come This Year (JTN)

The Pfizer pharmaceutical company is conducting trials on an antiviral drug could be ready for public use later this year that is intended to attack the spine of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and result in a cure to the sickness. The oral drug would stop the virus from mutating in the nose, throat and lungs, according to The Telegraph newspaper, ultimately causing the virus to dissipate. The possible home cure is being tested on 60 volunteers ages 18 and 60 at Pfizer facilities in the U.S. and Belgium. “We have designed PF-07321332 as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care,” said Mikael Dolsten, who leads the company’s worldwide research, development and medical division.


The first phase of the trial looks at the tolerance to the drug including “significant side effects, and how people feel after taking it,” according to documents. The second phase studies the response to several doses, and the third phase looks at food consumption while taking the pill. More trials would be needed to determine how the drug reacts with people who are infected with the virus. Pfizer says if the trials are successful the drug could be available for public use later this year.

Read more …

VItamin D can do that too. Ivermectin can do more.

Single Dose Of Covid Vaccine Can Nearly Halve Transmission Of Virus (G.)

A single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine can slash transmission of the virus by up to half, according to a Public Health England study. The PHE finding offers further hope that the pandemic can be brought under control as it indicates that vaccinated people are far less likely to pass the virus on to others. The study found that people given a single dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines – and who became infected at least three weeks later – were between 38% and 49% less likely to pass the virus on to people living in their homes, compared with those who were unvaccinated. Protection was seen from about 14 days after vaccination, with similar levels regardless of a person’s age. Other studies have already shown that both vaccines are highly effective at stopping people getting sick and ending up in hospital.

Experts will now assess whether two doses of vaccine can cut transmission of the virus even further, and more work is being carried out on transmission in the general population. PHE said similar results could be expected in places where the risk of transmission is like in the home, such as shared accommodation and prisons. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “This is terrific news – we already know vaccines save lives and this study is the most comprehensive real-world data showing they also cut transmission of this deadly virus. “It further reinforces that vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic as they protect you and they may prevent you from unknowingly infecting someone in your household.

Read more …

I’m guessing the truth is somewhere in the middle. India is not doing great right now, but it’s also not collapsing.

The BBC & Bloomberg on India: B Stands For Bullshit. (Slog)

Unless you made an early getaway to Planet Drongo before the lockdown, you will have read pretty much everywhere that “India sees world’s highest daily cases amid oxygen shortage”. In fact, the BBC tells us that “some people” have died waiting for oxygen, the Indian health service is “completely overwhelmed” and the country now has “sixteen million cases”. So it’s a disaster, right? Well actually, no – it isn’t. The Indian health ministry has already made it clear that the Covid19 variant they’re dealing with this year has “a considerably lower death rate than the previous version”. Go to the Worldometer site, and you’ll see that India’s deaths per million is a minute 134: that’s 7% of the US and French figures, 6% of the UK and Italy’s and the lowest by far of any country in the Top 30 for cases.

Virtually no vaccination has been undertaken in India (only 1.3% are fully vaccinated) and the country is not using lockdowns. The Times of India has just denied the BBC’s ‘deaths from oxygen shortage’ fakery. What India IS doing, however, is employing the anti-inflammatory drugs tocilizumab and itolizumab and the antivirals favipiravir and hydroxychloroquine on a very wide scale. Go to Pharma site/accolyte spaces, and you’ll see all four drugs being rubbished: the Pharmafia and their bureaucratic whores don’t want any signs of a success to get out. But the Truth already is out there: India is doing spectacularly well without either vaccines or lockdown. You won’t find that reality expressed anywhere in the Western MSM, but the facts show that its infection management drugs have delivered one of the lowest case to death rates on the planet.

Not that you’d notice, reading Bloomberg: “India saw the world’s biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases ever as a ferocious new wave grips the country, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums and prompting frantic cries for help on social media. The South Asian nation reported 314,835 new infections Thursday, topping a peak of 314,312 recorded in the U.S. on Dec. 21. People took to Twitter and Instagram to call for everything from hospital beds to medicine and doorstep Covid-19 tests. The grim milestone shows how the pandemic crisis has shifted firmly to the developing world, where variants and complacency are threatening containment measures and there’s a lack of vaccines, with supplies dominated by richer nations.”

It’s a pack of lies from end to end. India has a population of 1.4 billion people – so overcrowding is almost generic – and being four times more people than the US, the comparison with America is completely ludicrous. Hospitals do not get overwhelmed when 134 folks out of a million get ill. India’s water purity and basic hygiene measures are very Third World. Yet despite all that, it is doing phenomenally well against Covid….by having and doing respectively none of the advantages and policies of the West.

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“..the total number of people in the UK who developed blood clots after getting one dose has gone from 79 to 168 in a fortnight..”

Oxford Jab ‘Could Be Banned For Under-40s’ After Blood Clot Reports Double (Metro)

Under-40s may be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after blood clot reports doubled, reports claim. The chance of dying from a blood clot after having the jab is about one in one million – with 19 fatalities from around 20 million vaccinations. However, the total number of people in the UK who developed blood clots after getting one dose has gone from 79 to 168 in a fortnight, Medical Healthcare Products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) data suggests. These new cases have taken the odds of experiencing a blood clot up from one in 250,000 to one in 126,000. The MHRA has reiterated that the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab outweigh the risks for most people – but is considering offering under-40s the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine given that younger people are more likely to be affected by blood clots, The Telegraph claims.


It comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided that under-30s should be offered an alternative to the Oxford jab. Currently, anyone over the age of 45 can get a jab in England. Over-50s in Scotland and Wales are being offered their doses, while Northern Ireland has already started vaccinating over-35s. Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said on April 7 that 0.8 per 100,000 30 to 39-year-olds suffered serious blood clots after getting their Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. This was compared to 2.7 in 100,000 who would be kept out of intensive care by taking the vaccine. But these figures were based on fewer cases and the MHRA is yet to release what these odds are now 168 people have had blood clots.

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“The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate.”

A New World Order Brought To You By COVID-19 (Whitehead)

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled us into a whole new global frontier. Those hoping to navigate this interconnected and highly technological world of contact tracing, vaccine passports and digital passes will find themselves grappling with issues that touch on deep-seated moral, political, religious and personal questions for which there may be no clear-cut answers. We are about to find our ability to access, engage and move about in the world dependent on which camp we fall into: those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not. “It is the latest status symbol. Flash it at the people, and you can get access to concerts, sports arenas or long-forbidden restaurant tables. Some day, it may even help you cross a border without having to quarantine,” writes Heather Murphy for the New York Times.


“The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate.” This is what M.I.T. professor Ramesh Raskar refers to as the new “currency for health,” an apt moniker given the potentially lucrative role that Big Business (Big Pharma and Big Tech, especially) will play in establishing this pay-to-play marketplace. The airline industry has been working on a Travel Pass. IBM is developing a Digital Health Pass. And the U.S. government has been all-too-happy to allow the corporate sector to take the lead. Spearheaded by the National Security Agency (NSA), which has shown itself to care little for constitutional limits or privacy, the surveillance state has come to dominate our government and our lives. Yet the government does not operate alone. It cannot. It requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of our massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental bureaucracy.

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I’m not much into CCP bashing, but also not into too many coincidences.

Scientists “Debunking” The Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Linked to CCP (NP)

Several researchers used by leading corporate media outlets to debunk claims that COVID-19 originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have previously attended events or accepted awards from the controversial lab, The National Pulse can reveal. The researchers’ Chinese Communist Party ties – which present a clear conflict of interest – are omitted from the media reports, which instead present the scientists as unbiased adjudicators of COVID-19’s origins. In March 2020, NBC Science Contributor Dr. Joseph Fair called for the Trump administration to “stop blaming China” for the outbreak of the virus, despite mounting evidence – even at the time – that China was hiding information and data, and silencing whistleblowers. Dr. Fair equated called the lab leak theory – now increasingly mainstream – as a “conspiracy.”

Fair spoke at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in 2013, The National Pulse can reveal. “During the visit, he attended “Ge Hong Elite Forum” and gave an excellent academic report named “Biosafety Level 4 Containment Research and Recombinant Biology: How advances in molecular biology can advance in-vitro product design”. Many teachers and students, including Director Chen Xinwen and researchers such as Hu Zhihong and Wei Hongping, listened to the report,” a summary notes. “Dr. Joseph Fair is now engaged in the rapid diagnosis work of virulent viruses for GVFI and looks forward to cooperating with the Institute in the relevant research field in future,” the description adds. Fair’s Twitter account also contains posts describing WIV researchers as “collaborators,” “colleagues” and friends,” adding “I’ve very much enjoyed working with them over the years.”

Fair has praised the labs “openness with regards to sharing data” despite the institute erasing 16,000 virus samples in late 2019 and continuing to do so throughout the pandemic. Dr. Ian Lipkin, who’s seen his claims that there is “no evidence to suggest that [COVID-19] was created in a lab” amplified by outlets such as CBS and USA Today, also spoke at the WIV, in 2015. “He had given an excellent report on “Small game hunting”, which was presided by Professor Zhengli Shi, to the teachers and students in our institute,” a WIV summary revealed. The unearthed visit follows National Pulse reports highlighting Lipkin receiving awards from the Chinese Communist Party and describing himself as a “consultant” for the communist regime.

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“..the supernatural victory on Super Tuesday that rescued his pitiful old ass from the glue factory of broken-down political war-horses.”:

Don’t Look Now (Jim Kunstler)

This was only one of countless mysteries orbiting around the dimming star that is Joe Biden. The biggest one, the planet Jupiter of all puzzlements, is how the guy managed to get elected occupant of the oval office. Or, more to the point, how did others manage to get him elected? I mean, considering those few embarrassing campaign forays from the basement to a bunch of empty parking lots back in the fall of 2020, not to mention the supernatural victory on Super Tuesday that rescued his pitiful old ass from the glue factory of broken-down political war-horses. We may be about to find out as Arizona’s State Senate finally got around to approving a full audit of the November 3rd vote in Maricopa County, comprising Phoenix and its asteroid belt of suburbs, which amounts to more than two-thirds of the state’s population.

The Democratic Party tried pretty hard to stop the durned thing, sending its gnarliest Lawfare warrior, one Marc Elias from the Clinton-indentured DC firm of Perkins Coie, and a posse of 70 other attorneys, to bury the proceedings in court orders. But all they got was a weekend pause from an Arizona judge who imposed a $1-million-dollar bond payment on the Democrats to cover expenses for the interruption — which would then be forfeited if the audit went forward. The Dems declined to pay up, so the pause was lifted and the audit goes forward today. The usual suspects in the mainstream media attempted to bury the Arizona vote audit story or denigrate it — for instance the The New York Times, which characterized the inquiry in its Saturday lede as “false claims of a stolen election,” and then “a snipe hunt for skullduggery,” before asserting the boilerplate “baseless theories of election theft” to seal the deal with its avidly credulous readership.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC practically jumped up and down going woo-woo-woo to discredit the audit. What do you suppose they’re afraid of? I’ll tell you: For one thing, if the vote turns out to have been compromised by fraud, Arizona is liable to lose a Democratic senator elected on Mr. Biden’s (possibly) phantom coattails — Mark Kelly (D) who defeated incumbent Martha McSally (R) — which would cancel the Democrats’ current one-vote majority grip on the body. The result of that would be the end of the party’s effort to jam various new laws down America’s craw: DC statehood, the HR-1 voter fraud act, the Supreme Court-packing bill, and, actually, anything else on the party’s Satanic wish-list for disassembling the republic.

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“.. it will almost feel like trade is coming to a halt.”

Supply Chains Implode As “Price Doesn’t Even Matter Anymore”

The number of container ships stuck at anchor off Los Angeles and Long Beach is down to around 20 per day, from 30 a few months ago. Does this mean the capacity crunch in the trans-Pacific market is finally easing? Absolutely not, warned Nerijus Poskus, vice president of global ocean at freight forwarder Flexport. “It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse,” he told American Shipper in an interview on Monday. “What I’m seeing is unprecedented. We are seeing a tsunami of freight,” he reported. “For the month of May, everything on the trans-Pacific is basically sold out. We had one client who needed something loaded in May that was extremely urgent and who was ready to pay $15,000 per container. I couldn’t get it loaded — and we are a growing company that ships a lot of TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units]. Price doesn’t always even matter anymore.”

Poskus said that trans-Pacific import volumes are still rising. He noted that January trans-Pacific imports were up 10% versus 2019 (comparisons to 2020 numbers are skewed by COVID) and 13.5% in February, then jumped 51% in March. “So, we’re now at 1.5 times pre-pandemic levels.” With imports far outpacing retail sales growth, he attributed volumes to inventory restocking. “The restocking is actually affecting the trade even more than growth in demand. That tells me that this will last even longer. Let’s say U.S. consumer demand slows down in Q3 and Q4. That’s not expected, but even if it does, [capacity availability and rates] shouldn’t improve quickly, simply because of the huge restocking demand.”

Poskus also believes there is a growing export backlog piling up each day in Asia, awaiting available ship slots. If that backlog grows too big, he said, “I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen.” As a result of the backlog and restocking demand, he thinks “prices will remain high and shipping will probably remain difficult for the rest of this year. And then after that, you have the peak for Chinese New Year in 2022.” He said that the situation today is the worst he’s witnessed — and he believes it’s about to get even more severe. “Buckle up. The month of May will be the worst people have ever seen,” he predicted. Because some shippers will have to wait in line behind the growing backlog in Asia, he expects “what’s going to happen soon is that some importers won’t even be able to get on the boat. For them, it will almost feel like trade is coming to a halt.”

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“.. it really depends on just how much manipulation the authorities are willing to do.”

Gundlach Rejects The Fed’s “Inflation Is Transitory” Narrative (ZH)

Don’t believe your lying eyes, will be the message tomorrow from The Fed’s Jay Powell as he hypnotizes investors to believe that “inflation is transitory” and they have “the tools” to manage it. ‘Bond King’ Jeff Gundlach is not buying that line and told BNN Bloomberg in an interview this morning. “…more importantly, I’m not sure why they think they know it’s transitory… how do they know that?” “…there’s plenty of money-printing that’s been going on, and we’ve seen commodity prices going up massively… home prices in the US are inflating very substantially… so there’s a lot of inflation that’s already baked in to input prices.” Gundlach does admit that Powell has a point in the very near term as the prints were about to see “which could be as high as 4% [for CPI]” are off of year-ago, very depressed levels.

“…what he means by transitory is that the base effect will lead to problems in the next few months but then the base effect will become less problematic.” But, Gundlach adds, “it’s not clear to me that inflation is going to go back down to around 2 to 2.5%… we don’t know, nobody knows… but we’re most concerned with the fact that The Fed thinks they know.” This is worrisome because The Fed’s track record is anything but inspiring… “when I go back to the global financial crisis, when we almost had a complete meltdown of the financial system, Ben Bernanke completely missed all of the problems that led to the crisis.” Bernanke’s infamous “contained to subprime… and subprime is only a sliver of the market” comments could be about to be trumped by Powell’s “inflation is transitory” comments as Gundlach warns “there’s plenty of indicators that suggest inflation is going to go higher and not just on a transitory basis.”

The Fed is “trying to paint the picture” of control, but Gundlach tries to make clear: “they’re guessing.” So, what does that mean for markets? While some fear “we ain’t seen nothing yet” in terms of yields rising (and multiple contraction), Gundlach notes that “it really depends on just how much manipulation the authorities are willing to do.” The billionaire fund manager notes that yields are “still very low… well below the current inflation rate… so we have negative yields everywhere on the yield curve.” It’s also “hard to figure out who’s going to buy the bonds,” he notes, “as we are about to see issuance like we have never seen before.” Foreigners have been selling bonds for years and domestically there is little demand, so Gundlach notes the only one left to soak up all this extra supply is The Federal Reserve, which has already expanded its balance sheet massively in the last 12 months.

“Who’s going to buy all these many trillions of dollars of bonds? Foreigners have been selling for years and they’ve accelerated their selling in the last several quarters, domestic buyers are not exactly selling, but they’re not adding to their holdings. So what’s left to absorb all of the spawn supply is the Federal Reserve.“ “Left to true, free markets, bond yields at the long-end would obviously be higher than they are now.”

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“Each month, Bertrand produced dozens of Russiagate articles for the site that were so unhinged that they made Rachel Maddow look sober, cautious and reliable.”

CNN’s New “Reporter,” Natasha Bertrand, is a Deranged Conspiracy Theorist (Greenwald)

The most important axiom for understanding how the U.S. corporate media functions is that there is never accountability for those who serve as propagandists for the U.S. security state. The opposite is true: the more aggressively and recklessly you spread CIA narratives or pro-war manipulation, the more rewarded you will be in that world. [..] On Monday, CNN made clear that this dynamic still drives the corporate media world. The network proudly announced that it had hired Natasha Bertrand away from Politico. In doing so, they added to their stable of former CIA operatives, NSA spies, Pentagon Generals and FBI agents a reporter who has done as much as anyone, if not more so, to advance the scripts of those agencies.

Bertrand’s career began taking off when, while at Business Insider, she abandoned her obsession with Russia’s role in Syria in 2016 in order to monomaniacally fixate on every last conspiracy theory and gossip item that drove the Russiagate fraud during the 2016 campaign and then into the Trump presidency. Each month, Bertrand produced dozens of Russiagate articles for the site that were so unhinged that they made Rachel Maddow look sober, cautious and reliable. In 2018, it was Jeffrey Goldberg himself — knowing a star CIA propagandist when he sees one — who gave Bertrand her first big break by hiring her away from Business Insider to cover Russiagate for The Atlantic. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Queen of Russiagate conspiracies herself by becoming a national security analyst for MSNBC and NBC News.

From there, it was onto Politico and now CNN: the ideal, rapid career climb that is the dream of every liberal security state servant calling themselves a journalist. Her final conspiratorial article for The Atlantic before moving to Politico is the perfect illustration of who and what she is. CNN’s new national security star was no ordinary Russiagate fanatic. There was no conspiracy theory too unhinged or evidence-free for her to promote. As The Washington Post’s media reporter Erik Wemple documented once the Steele Dossier was debunked, there was arguably nobody in media other than Rachel Maddow who promoted and ratified that hoax as aggressively, uncritically and persistently as Bertrand. She defended it even after the Mueller Report corroborated virtually none of its key claims.

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Smear sells.

The Deep State Targets Matt Gaetz (AG)

It’s now been over three weeks since a torrent of sensational headlines about U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) blared from corporate media newsrooms. It sounded about as bad as it could get for the representative from Florida’s 1st Congressional District; breathless claims that he was “under investigation for underage sex trafficking” touched off a media frenzy. No stranger to controversy, Gaetz’s initial instinct was to confront the allegations live on Fox News with Tucker Carlson. While many saw it as a bizarre interview, it may at least have been the right move in terms of staring down a bloodthirsty establishment. As several weeks have passed, though, the controversy seems to have generated more heat than light. Indeed, this might be the longest running “sex scandal” in the nation’s history without an accuser.

But the media has been busy. Since the original story broke, there’s been a drip of follow-on stories at outlets like the Daily Beast, Politico, the Washington Post, and CNN—all using a shady collection of off-the-record and dubious government sources. Unsurprisingly, given that sourcing, none of the stories have contained anything close to serious detail or evidence. Reporters keep dropping tidbits of evidence likely to be emanating from within the Justice Department, yet none of which confirms any of the headline-grabbing allegations. Few of these articles even attempt to deal with the wild allegations first made about the congressman. Writing in Politico on Tuesday, Betsy Woodruff Swan stated: “[Gaetz] has not been charged with a crime, and no women have publicly accused him of sexual misconduct in the three weeks since the New York Times first reported on the investigation. He has denied any wrongdoing.”

Note how—after making a sensational media splash for maximum public relations damage—the accusations against Gaetz have shifted, from shocking and unsupported claims of underage sex trafficking and pedophilia to the less scurrilous (and still unsupported) accusation that Gaetz had sex at parties. Crucially, there has not been any evidence of payments, prostitution, or underage girls. As Scott Adams recently said, while some may first cringe at hearing too much about the sex life of a politician, deep down, they’re more likely to be indifferent. CNN even had to note in a recent report: “One of the women who spoke to CNN said she did so in part because the picture of Gaetz as potentially connected to sex trafficking that has emerged in recent days does not align with what she saw. Both women said that they never saw anyone at the parties who appeared to be underage.”

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Seems hard to argue against, but sure enough many are trying.

Apple iOS 14.5 Update Includes ‘App Tracking Transparency’ Feature (G.)

Users of iPhones can now prevent advertisers tracking them across their apps, after the release of the latest software update from Apple introduced the controversial feature despite the protests of Facebook and the advertising industry. The update, iOS 14.5, includes a setting called “app tracking transparency”, which for the first time requires applications to ask for users’ consent before they are able to track their activity across other apps and websites. If users decline, then applications will not be able to access the unique user ID that they need to follow individuals as they live their digital lives. The prompt, which will say “Allow [app game] to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?” will show up for apps that request access to the ID number.

They may be able to use other methods, known as “fingerprinting”, to achieve the same goal, but Apple says that doing so could cause them to be expelled from the App Store. First announced last summer, app tracking transparency led to immediate pushback from the wider advertising industry. Initially slated for release in the autumn, Apple delayed its implementation for six months in order to give the industry time to prepare. But the delay wasn’t enough for some, and in December, Facebook launched an all-out assault on Apple, with the company’s head of ads and business products, Dan Levy, claiming that the setting was actually “about control of the entire internet”. “This is about a long-term view that is anti-personalised advertising and we think is trying to take the world back 10 or 20 years,” he added.

Facebook launched a glossy advertising campaign arguing that the real victim of the changes are “your neighbourhood coffee brewery, your friend who owns their own retail business, your cousin who started an event planning service and the game developers who build the apps you use for free”. Those small businesses, the company said, would lose out if they were no longer able to target customers with personalised adverts. The social network is not alone in its opposition: a group of Germany’s biggest media, tech and advertising companies, led by digital publishing house Axel Springer, have filed a complaint with the German competition regulator arguing that the new rules could lead to a 60% fall in advertising revenues for app developers.

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Looking at ad reveue here, I can assure you they’re keeping it all for themselves.

Google Ad Surge Drives Up Profits For Parent Firm Alphabet (Y!)

Google parent Alphabet on Tuesday reported that quarterly profit more than doubled as digital advertising surged with more people relying on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic. Profit in the first quarter leapt to $17.9 billion from $6.8 billion in the same period a year ago while revenues jumped 34 percent to $55.3 billion, led by gains in advertising and cloud computing services. “Over the last year, people have turned to Google Search and many online services to stay informed, connected and entertained,” said Alphabet and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai. The surge in Alphabet’s earnings comes as the tech giant faces increased scrutiny from regulators regarding its power.

“Google essentially manufactures money; they are almost entirely ads,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group. “There is not a risk of downturn in revenue, it is that regulatory action strips the revenue from them.” Facebook and Google are the “short list” when it comes to scrutiny by regulators in Europe and the United States because of “their broad impact on the political process and almost complete dominance of ad revenues,” the analyst maintained. Google is among internet giants in the crosshairs of regulators and critics concerned about whether it unfairly wields its power to dominate markets and fend off competition.

[..] Alphabet shares were up nearly five percent in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures. “Google had an absolute monster quarter with ads leading the way,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy. “YouTube grew an eye-watering 49 percent year-over-year, which I attribute to increased YouTube viewing and increased YouTube TV subscribers.”

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I must admit I didn’t see this coming. Hunter, that is. That fake news producers would teach on fake news is all too predictable.

Hunter Biden To Guest Teach A Class On “Fake News” This Fall (DM)

Hunter Biden is helping teach a class on fake news at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana this fall. The course titled ‘Media Polarization and Public Policy Impacts’ will include several guest speakers throughout its 10 weeks, including the president’s son. The course description, according to a copy of the syllabus obtained by DailyMail.com, says: ‘America’s rapidly advancing partisan divide is fueled substantially by the growing political polarization increasingly evident in our news media.’ ‘This course will explore the current state of the media landscape in the United States and how media polarization, fake news, and the economics of the news business impact public policymaking in Washington, D.C,’ it continues. Hunter, 51, is a Yale-educated lawyer and has never, in any capacities, worked as a journalist, reporter or in the media world.


‘Hunter Biden has no background in media,’ conservative filmmaker Phelim McAleer said. ‘He has never worked for a newspaper or a media outlet.’ ‘Hunter Biden lecturing a class on fake news is like Harvey Weinstein teaching a course to prevent sexual harassment. It shouldn’t be happening. Period.’ the ‘My Son Hunter’ producer continued. Tulane University confirmed the course in a statement to DailyMail.com and confirmed the list of speaker, including:
Hunter Biden
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator under President Donald Trump
Juan Williams, political analyst for Fox News Channel
Susan Glasser, columnist for The New Yorker
Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post columnist; Kylie Atwood, national security correspondent for CNN
Margaret Brennan, Face the Nation moderator
Bret Stephens, New York Times columnist
Dr. Michael Fauntroy, a professor in the Political Science Department at Howard University.

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Apr 122021
 


Ernest R. Ashton Evening near the Pyramids 1898

 

Pentagon Scientists Reveal A Microchip That Senses Covid-19 In Your Body (DM)
Report On Addressing Vitamin D Deficiency In Ireland (Oireachtas)
Vitamin D Insufficiency May Account for Almost 9 of 10 COVID-19 Deaths (MDPI)
Doubts Raised About Ethics & Efficacy Behind AstraZeneca “Vaccine” (Slog)
Verdict In Weimar: No More Masks, No Tests And No More Distance For Students (BZ)
Ardern To New Zealand Border Staff: Get Vaccine Now Or Be Redeployed (G.)
New Studies Suggest ‘Long Covid’ More Common Than Previously Thought (F.)
Austria May Buy A Million Russian Vaccine Doses (RT)
China Considers Mixing Covid-19 Vaccines To Boost Protection Rate (R.)
Did Joe Biden Pack The Supreme Court Commission To Simply Fail? (Turley)
Twitter Censors Criticism of BLM Founder Buying $1.4 Million Home (Turley)
Due Process, Adult Sexual Morality and the Case of Rep. Matt Gaetz (Greenwald)
Major Corporations Plan To Oppose Election Integrity Measures (DC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s your microchip!

Pentagon Scientists Reveal A Microchip That Senses Covid-19 In Your Body (DM)

Pentagon scientists working inside a secretive unit set up at the height of the Cold War have created a microchip to be inserted under the skin, which will detect COVID-19 infection, and a revolutionary filter that can remove the virus from the blood when attached to a dialysis machine. The team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been working for years on preventing and ending pandemics. They assess the issues and come up with ingenious solutions, which at times appear more from a science fiction novel than a working laboratory. One of their recent inventions, they told 60 Minutes on Sunday night, was a microchip which detects COVID infection in an individual before it can become an outbreak.

The microchip is sure to spark worries among some about a government agency implanting a microchip in a citizen. Officials who spoke to the 60 Minutes team said the Pentagon isn’t looking to track your every move. A more detailed explanation was not given. Retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician leading DARPA’s response to the pandemic, showed the 60 Minutes team a tissue-like gel, engineered to continuously test your blood. ‘You put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,’ he explained.

He said they were inspired by the struggle to stem the virus’ spread onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, where 1,271 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus. ‘It’s like a “check engine” light,’ said Hepburn. ‘Sailors would get the signal, then self-administer a blood draw and test themselves on site. ‘We can have that information in three to five minutes. ‘As you truncate that time, as you diagnose and treat, what you do is you stop the infection in its tracks.’ Troops are likely to be highly skeptical of the new invention.

Yeadon

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Finally a country’s health board supports vitamin D, but then they recommend a far too low daily dose. Sigh…

Report On Addressing Vitamin D Deficiency In Ireland (Oireachtas)

The Joint Committee on Health, today launched its Report on addressing Vitamin D deficiency as a public health measure in Ireland. The Committee heard evidence that Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent across the population and the report recommends that public health measures are established to address that deficiency. These public health measures are preventative in nature and are recommended to reduce the risk of respiratory and other illnesses such as osteoporosis. The Committee’s report makes four recommendations:

• That daily Vitamin D supplementation of 20-25µg/day should be recommended to the entire adult population as a public health measure, with higher doses recommended for vulnerable groups under medical supervision.

• That a public health policy, which promotes better knowledge of the benefits of Vitamin D, and which encourages Vitamin D supplementation, should be developed in time for consideration in Budget 2022.

• That reducing the cost of Vitamin D supplementation, in order to promote its uptake, should be considered, through the reduction or indeed the elimination of the current VAT rate; and

• That specific measures need to be put in place for vulnerable groups, and for frontline and healthcare workers, so that Vitamin D supplementation is administered on an opt-out basis, and for the duration of this pandemic, people should be offered Vitamin D supplements when presenting at Covid-19 test centres.

Welcoming the publication of the report, Health Committee Chairman Seán Crowe TD said:“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, international studies, and the experience of Finland in particular, show just how effective daily Vitamin D supplementation can be when it is implemented as part of an enhanced public health policy. This supplementation represents a safe, practical, and effective means of protecting human health. “The State needs to review preventative measures that might have led to fewer mortalities and lower morbidity. In that regard, the role of Vitamin D needs to be addressed as part of an enhanced public health policy to protect the population against respiratory infections and other illnesses. “

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And the vitamin D case really is strong.

From November 2020.

Vitamin D Insufficiency May Account for Almost 9 of 10 COVID-19 Deaths (MDPI)

Evidence from observational studies is accumulating, suggesting that the majority of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 infections are statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency and could potentially be prevented by vitamin D supplementation. Given the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, rational vitamin D supplementation whose safety has been proven in an extensive body of research should be promoted and initiated to limit the toll of the pandemic even before the final proof of efficacy in preventing COVID-19 deaths by randomized trials.


We read, with great interest, the recent article by Radujkovic et al. that reported associations between vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 12 ng/mL) or insufficiency (25(OH)D < 20 ng/mL) and death in a cohort of 185 consecutive symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-positive patients admitted to the Medical University Hospital Heidelberg, who were diagnosed and treated between 18 March and 18 June 2020 [1]. In this cohort, 118 patients (64%) had vitamin D insufficiency at recruitment (including 41 patients with vitamin D deficiency), and 16 patients died of the infection. With a covariate-adjusted relative risk of death of 11.3, mortality was much higher among vitamin D insufficient patients than among other patients. When translated to the proportion of deaths in the population that is statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency (“population attributable risk proportion”), a key measure of public health relevance of risk factors [2], these results imply that 87% of COVID-19 deaths may be statistically attributed to vitamin D insufficiency and could potentially be avoided by eliminating vitamin D insufficiency.

[..] Although final proof of causality and prevention of deaths by vitamin D supplementation would have to come from randomized trials which meanwhile have been initiated (e.g., [5]), the results of such trials will not be available in the short run. Given the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and the proven safety of vitamin D supplementation, it therefore appears highly debatable and potentially even unethical to await results of such trials before public health action is taken. Besides other population-wide measures of prevention, widespread vitamin D3 supplementation at least for high-risk groups, such as older adults or people with relevant comorbidity, which has been proven by randomized controlled trials to be beneficial with respect to prevention of other acute respiratory infections and acute acerbation of asthma and chronic pulmonary disease [6,7,8,9,10], should be promoted.

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Ran the story of this report a few days ago, but it warrants repeating.

“The explosive statement there is ‘immunisation failures account for more serious illness than unvaccinated individuals’”

Doubts Raised About Ethics & Efficacy Behind AstraZeneca “Vaccine” (Slog)

SP-I-MO stands for Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling. It reports into the SAGE/Secretary of State Number Ten Group. Almost nobody in the UK has ever heard of it, and its pronouncements online are stored in an unexpected place under the “assets publishing service”. What follows aren’t leaks; they’re representative extracts from the latest SPIMO report, issued on March 31st last, and discussed in Downing Street some ten days ago. As far as can be gleaned the data reports are given sporadically….as in, when SPIMO has something to say. [..]


Unsurprisingly – albeit incomprehensibly, given their track-record – SPIMO gives advice entirely on the basis of models. The document under scrutiny here was almost entirely to do with the effects of Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” for exit from lockdown – allegedly a one-way street, but already showing signs of roadworks delays. Taken as a whole, it is at times contradictory and prone to almost surreal conclusions: my IQ is allegedly 142, but having read all 23 pages three times, I confess that, were I the Secretary of State, I’d be utterly confused about what to do. That aside, however, some of the observations are astonishing. This first one below is bare-faced in its admission of failure:

The explosive statement there is ‘immunisation failures account for more serious illness than unvaccinated individuals’. Five pages later, reference is made to data used to make further modelled projections as follows: ”assuming two doses of AstraZeneca provide only 31% effectiveness against transmission”. So in short, SPIMO is working on the basis of a supposed ‘vaccine’ that fails to stop the spread of infection in more than two out of three cases. This is radically different to the impression government publicity has given us – viz, that “even after vaccination, it may still be possible for you to infect others”. It sounds cautionary and responsible, but asking around a sample of acquaintances yesterday, they imagined a figure of around 80% – not 31%. Under 1 in 3 is, let’s face it, a risible result.

But the initial statement cuts the legs off continuing the vaccination rollout, because it rejects the benefit such might bring with the haunting words, “Immunisation failures account for more serious illnesses than unvaccinated individuals”. So much for “Don’t be selfish, get the jab”. But ever the man obsessed with a bone, Hancock is ploughing forward doggedly with a vaccine programme that simply isn’t justified by the facts. Equally however, it further justifies the claim I made a fortnight ago, that government insistence on a causal relationship between vacination on one hand, and reduced cases and deaths on the other is pure baloney. Fast forward to the “further discussion” promised on this topic, and try to contain your laughter at this gem, referring to an associated chart:

“56. This shows that most deaths and admissions in a post-Roadmap resurgence are in people who have received two vaccine doses, even without vaccine protection waning or a variant emerging that escapes vaccines. This is not the result of vaccines being ineffective, merely uptake being so high.” You couldn’t make this up: even without left-field factors, there’ll be a resurgence after lockdown exit, but this is not Astrazeneca’s fault – the “problem” was high uptake. By vaccinating the vulnerable bigtime, we killed more people, but a drug struggling to demonstrate efficacy had nothing to do with it.

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Google translate from Berliner Zeitung.

Verdict In Weimar: No More Masks, No Tests And No More Distance For Students (BZ)

The Weimar District Court has passed a sensational judgment. The court ruled that the “obligation to wear a mask, to maintain minimum distances and to perform rapid tests in schools pose a threat to the mental, physical or emotional well-being of the child”. And said measures are prohibited. After doubts about the authenticity were initially expressed online, Steffen Dittes, Deputy Chairman of the Left in Thuringia, confirmed the authenticity. The judgment has the file number: 9 F 148/21. In the judgment it is said that the “directors and teachers of the schools” of two children, whose parents went to court, are forbidden to “arrange or prescribe the following for these and all other children and pupils taught at these schools:


In class and on the school premises, to wear face masks of all kinds, in particular mouth and nose covers, so-called qualified masks (OP or FFP2 mask) or others, to maintain minimum distances between each other or to other people that go beyond what was known before 2020, and to take part in rapid tests to determine the Sars-CoV-2 virus ”. The judge justified his decision with, among other things, according to the court, “the lack of use of wearing a mask and the observance of distance regulations for the children themselves and third parties”. In addition, the judge cites the “unsuitability of PCR tests and rapid tests for measuring the incidence of infection” as one of the reasons for his judgment. Steffen Dittes, the deputy chairman of the Left in the Thuringian state parliament, confirmed the authenticity of the judgment on Saturday. Dittes wrote on Twitter: “The decision of the AG Weimar is known.” At the same time, he sharply criticized the judgment.

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Can a government or another employer force you to get vaccinated with an unapproved substance when you are perfectly healthy? Where are the legal opinions on this?

Ardern To New Zealand Border Staff: Get Vaccine Now Or Be Redeployed (G.)

Border workers have until the end of April to be vaccinated before being moved to lower risk roles, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said after a third worker from Auckland’s Grand Millenium managed isolation facility tested positive for Covid-19. “We want everyone to be vaccinated on our frontline,” she told TVNZ’s Breakfast on Monday. “From Monday through until the end of April, that becomes the final window where if people are not vaccinated in that period of time then they are redeployed, they are moved on. And that was always the point we had to get to.” Her comments came hours before it was confirmed that the worker, known as case C, had not been vaccinated, adding to concerns raised last week when it was made public that case B had missed two vaccine appointments.


Case C, a close contact of last week’s case, known as case B, was reported to have the virus late on Sunday. The Ministry of Health said that as they had already been isolating at home there was little additional risk to the community and that they and their partner had now been moved to a quarantine facility. Ardern said 79% of those employed by the security company for which cases B and C worked had so far been immunised, adding that the figure was not good enough. “We believe we have a health and safety obligation to people who are at the frontline in managed isolation,” she said. New Zealand began rolling out its vaccine programme in February, with border staff and managed isolation and quarantine workers at the front of the queue for the Pfizer jab.

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Thread on this in yesterday’s comments.

New Studies Suggest ‘Long Covid’ More Common Than Previously Thought (F.)

A survey earlier this month from the Office for National Statistics in Britain polled more than 20,000 participants who’d tested positive for Covid-19 in the last year and found that one in five survivors reported having symptoms after five weeks—and at 12 weeks, the number was still 13.7% (almost one in seven people). The most common symptoms experienced at five weeks were fatigue (11.8%), cough (11%), headache (10%), and muscle pain (7.7%). (Loss of taste and smell followed, each affecting about 6.3% of participants.) At 12 weeks, the prevalence of symptoms was slightly lower, but still distributed similarly and much higher than a control group who hadn’t had Covid-19.

In terms of the big picture, when the authors extrapolated the numbers to the whole of the UK, they suggest that more than a million residents may have experienced long Covid by the beginning of March 2021. Studies have also shown the striking array of acute effects the coronavirus can have on the body and its organ systems, from cardiovascular to pulmonary to neurological-psychological to kidney and more. That Covid-19 is now considered a multi-organ disease may translate to a wider spectrum of long Covid symptoms than previously understood.

In fact, a new study from researchers at hospitals around the country found that long Covid symptoms included fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, loss of sense of smell or taste, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, headache/migraine, and non-restorative sleep. The authors offer guidelines on how to treat patients with long Covid, and urge a multidisciplinary approach to support both the physical and the mental health of those living with long Covid. “Covid-19 is the first infectious disease that I’ve come across that has such an effect on a wide variety of organs. It’s changed my clinical practice,” said Columbia University’s Elaine Y. Wan in a statement. “No matter what the patient comes in for, I now ask if they ever had Covid-19. It changes the possible range of diagnoses.”

While it seems that people with more severe Covid-19, especially those who were hospitalized, are at higher risk for long Covid (a study from Wuhan found that after six months, three-quarters of these patients still had at least one symptom), this doesn’t mean that people with mild illness are off the hook. A study out last week from the Karolinska Institute reported that among a group of healthcare workers who’d had mild Covid-19, 10% still had at least one symptom severe enough to impact their work, home, or social lives eight months later (the most common symptoms were loss of smell and taste, fatigue, and respiratory problems). While the study was quite small and the results should be interpreted with some caution, other studies have also suggested that even mild initial illness can lead to long-term effects.

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“Despite the shortages of coronavirus jabs in the EU, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) seems to be in no hurry to register Sputnik V..”

Austria May Buy A Million Russian Vaccine Doses (RT)

Austria may soon be purchasing Russia’s Sputnik V jab to give an “additional turbo boost” to its anti-Covid vaccination drive, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told the media in Vienna after negotiations with Moscow concluded. The negotiations on the contract to acquire Sputnik V have “de facto come to an end,” Kurz announced on Saturday. “It’s now possible to purchase it for us in Austria,” he added. A “million” doses of the vaccine from Russia, which boasts an efficacy of more than 91% percent and lacks significant side-effects, would provide an “additional turbo boost” to Austria’s immunization campaign, the Chancellor said, without specifying when those supplies might begin.


Austria, which has a population of almost nine million, has recorded more than 570,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and over 9,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Kurz also promised to ask questions of the European Union regarding the bloc’s inability to be as fast and efficient as the US and UK in acquiring and approving vaccines against the deadly disease. Despite the shortages of coronavirus jabs in the EU, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) seems to be in no hurry to register Sputnik V, despite all the required paperwork being provided earlier this year. EU laws allow member states the emergency use of vaccines even if they haven’t been approved by the EMA. Hungary and Slovakia have already taken advantage of this clause and started giving Sputnik V shots to their citizens, and Austria may well follow their example.

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We don’t see much news about China’s vaccination campaigns.

China Considers Mixing Covid-19 Vaccines To Boost Protection Rate (R.)

China’s top disease control official has said the country is formally considering mixing COVID-19 vaccines as a way of further boosting vaccine efficacy. Available data shows Chinese vaccines lag behind others including Pfizer and Moderna in terms of efficacy, but require less stringent temperature controls during storage. Giving people doses of different vaccines is one way to improve vaccines that “don’t have very high rates of protection”, Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Saturday, without specifying whether he was referring to foreign or domestic vaccines “Inoculation using vaccines of different technical lines is being considered,” Gao told a conference in the Chinese city of Chengdu.


Gao said that taking steps to “optimise” the vaccine process including changing the number of doses and the length of time between doses was a “definite” solution to efficacy issues. Two injections of a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, when given shorter than three weeks apart, was 49.1% effective based on data from a Phase III trial in Brazil, below the 50% threshold set by World Health Organization, according to a paper published by Brazilian researchers on Sunday ahead of peer review. But data from a small subgroup showed that the efficacy rate increased to 62.3% when the doses were given at intervals of three weeks and longer. The overall efficacy rate for the vaccine was slightly above 50% in the trial.

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Ol’ Joe Biden had a farm…

Did Joe Biden Pack The Supreme Court Commission To Simply Fail? (Turley)

With the establishment of his commission to study the possible packing of the Supreme Court, President Biden has adjoined his name to one of the most inglorious efforts of Franklin Roosevelt. Court packing has long been anathema in the United States, and polls have consistently shown the vast majority of Americans oppose the idea. Biden himself once denounced it as a “boneheaded” idea, but that was back in 1983, when there remained a real space in politics for at least the pretense of principle.

Now Biden and others seem to think the Supreme Court must be canceled for its failure to yield to the demands of our age of rage. Many of us were surprised when he pandered to court packing calls in the 2020 primaries. Some of us have called for expanding the court over a lengthy transitional period, but commentators and some Democrats called for an immediate infusion of new justices to give liberals the controlling majority. Unhappy with conservative rulings, Democrats demanded that the Supreme Court be replaced by a much larger and more reliably liberal body.

Washington already looks like many of our campuses, where opposition of such liberal measures results in isolation and condemnation. Take Justice Stephen Breyer. One would think he would be immune from the mob as one of the most consistently liberal justices in our history. However, this week Breyer warned against any move to expand the Supreme Court. He was swiftly denounced by figures like cable news host Mehdi Hasan who called him “naive” and called for his retirement. Demand Justice, a liberal group calling for court packing, had a billboard truck in Washington the next day telling Breyer to retire. Demand Justice once employed White House press secretary Jen Psaki as a communications consultant, and Psaki was on the advisory board of one of its voting projects.

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Corporate Marxism?!

Twitter Censors Criticism of BLM Founder Buying $1.4 Million Home (Turley)

We have been discussing the expanding censorship on Twitter and social media. The latest example involves the story of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, 37, and her purchase of a $1.4 million home in a secluded area of Los Angeles whose population is reputedly less than 2% black. The professed Marxist received considerable criticism for the purchase, including from Jason Whitlock, an African-America sports critic who has also been a critic of BLM. When Whitlock called out Khan-Cullors, Twitter promptly censored the tweet — leaving a notice that it was “no longer available.” Last week, various sites like dirt.com reported, “A secluded mini-compound tucked into L.A.’s rustic and semi-remote Topanga Canyon was recently sold for a tad more than $1.4 million to a corporate entity that public records show is controlled by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, 37-year-old social justice visionary and co-founder of the galvanizing and, for some, controversial Black Lives Matter movement.”

It produced a firestorm of critics who noted that Cullors has long insisted that she and her BLM co-founder “are trained Marxists. We are super versed on, sort of, ideological theories.” Critics like Nick Arama of RedState pointed out: “[I]t’s interesting to note that the demographics of the area are only about 1.4% black people there. So not exactly living up to her creed there.” [..] The controversy is illustrative of the age of Internet censors. Tweets, and in some cases Twitter accounts, vanish without explanation. Twitter is notorious for not responding to media inquiries over such censorship and even less forthcoming on the decisionmaking process behind such decisions. [..] The New York Post and other publications have reported that Cullors is eyeing expensive properties in other locations, including the Bahamas.

However, it is not clear if this money came from BLM which has reportedly raised almost $100 million in donations from corporations and other sources. Indeed, Cullors seems to have ample sources of funds. She is married to Janaya Khan, a leader of BLM in Toronto, and published a best selling memoir of her life and then a follow up book. She also signed a lucrative deal with Warner Bros to develop and produce original programming across all platforms, including broadcast, cable and streaming. She has also been featured in various magazines like her recent collaboration with Jane Fonda. [..] Indeed, the greatest irony may not be the home purchase by the corporate support. A professed Marxist, Cullors has not only been paid handsomely by corporations like Warner but is being actively protected by corporations like Twitter. When it comes to free speech, I support them both. The question is whether both have an equal opportunity to speak on platforms like Twitter.

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Innocent until…

Due Process, Adult Sexual Morality and the Case of Rep. Matt Gaetz (Greenwald)

That Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is a pedophile, a sex trafficker, and an abuser of women who forces them to prostitute themselves and use drugs with him is a widespread assumption in many media and political circles. That is true despite the rather significant fact that not only has he never been charged with (let alone convicted of) such crimes, but also no evidence has been publicly presented that any of it is true. He has also vehemently denied all of it. All or some of these accusations very well may be true and, one day — perhaps imminently — there will be ample publicly available evidence demonstrating this. But that day has not yet arrived.

As of now, we know very little beyond what The New York Times initially reported about all of this on March 30: that “people close to the investigation” told the paper that “a Justice Department investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and an indicted Florida politician is focusing on their involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments.” The article also said the DOJ “inquiry is also examining whether Mr. Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl and whether she received anything of material value.” Both the NYT and, later, The Daily Beast, indicated the existence of financial transactions involving payments by Gaetz to his associate Joel Greenberg, currently charged with multiple felonies. The New York Times article made clear: “No charges have been brought against Mr. Gaetz, and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear.”

That is still true. But no matter. One is hard-pressed to find people willing to urge that his guilt not be assumed before evidence of it is presented (amazingly, just six months ago, many of the same people now treating these accusations as proven fact had no trouble casually asserting or strongly implying that Gaetz was having sex with a 19-year-old male whom he said he had been parentally raising for years, all without the slightest regard for the impact of such innuendo on that other person). So reckless is the discourse around this case that it is now frequently asserted in major outlets that Rep. Gaetz faces “charges” of sex trafficking and sex with a minor, even though that claim is, at least as of now, blatantly untrue.

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Still don’t really get why some are so adamant that people should vote without an ID. And that CEOs want to be part of it is another story altogether.

Major Corporations Plan To Oppose Election Integrity Measures (DC)

The leaders of over 100 major corporations spoke via Zoom on Saturday about how they could combat election integrity laws similar to the one passed in Georgia, according to multiple reports. The executives on the call reportedly expressed concern about legislation that they view as restricting voting rights. They included the owner of the Atlanta Falcons, who also co-founded Home Depot, the chairwoman of the Starbucks board, and the CEO of AMC Entertainment, the Wall Street Journal reported. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale School of Management professor who helped organize the meeting, told the Washington Post that the corporate leaders on the call “felt very strongly that these voting restrictions are based on a flawed premise and are dangerous.”

“There was a defiance of the threats that businesses should stay out of politics,” he continued. “They were obviously rejecting that even with their presence. But they were there out of concern about voting restrictions not being in the public interest.” Corporations including Citibank, Coca-Cola, Delta, and Microsoft criticized Georgia’s new election integrity bill, SB 202. The law expands early voting opportunities for most counties, while expanding voter ID requirements to include absentee ballots. In response to corporate criticism, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell slammed the use of “economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.”

Major League Baseball moved its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in response to pressure from President Joe Biden and corporate leaders over the law. Colorado also requires voters to present identification when they cast in-person and absentee ballots. Prominent Georgia Democrats, including Sen. Jon Ossoff and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, were skeptical of the boycott efforts. Companies involved on the call are expected to release a statement expressing their opposition to election law changes like Georgia’s in the coming days, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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

 

 

Fareed with some honesty on China.

 

 

 

 

Apr 042021
 


Georgia O’Keeffe New York night 1929

 

We Cannot Afford to Censor Dissenting Voices During a Pandemic (Kulldorff)
Boris Johnson Ditches Plans For Covid Vaccine Passport For Pubs (Sun)
Policymakers Use Panic To Shift Blame For Covid-19 Onto Us, The People (RT)
Do We Now Need Permission To Be Free? (Black)
The Texas Neanderthals Were Right (Spiked)
Rapid Test Result To Be Confirmed With PCR Amid Hunt For New Variants (Ind.)
Persistence Of Covid-19 Antibodies Varies Widely From Person To Person (F.)
JPMorgan Reveals ‘Big’ Bitcoin Price Prediction (F.)
The Crazy Claims Against Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (NYP)
‘Your Life Is Not About Yourself’: Jimmy Lai (HKAD)
Giant Pieces Of Ancient Alien Planet May Be Lodged Under Earth’s Surface (JTN)

 

 

 

 

Epic. This same pastor, Artur Pawlowski in Calgary, was fined $1,200 a year ago for feeding the homeless.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1378506465158303747

 

 

“If the Prime Minister needs the comfort of company with other politicians, get in touch with Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida.”

We Cannot Afford to Censor Dissenting Voices During a Pandemic (Kulldorff)

The media has been very reluctant to report reliable scientific and public health information about the pandemic. Instead they have broadcast unverified information such as the model predictions from Imperial College, they have spread unwarranted fear that undermine people’s trust in public health and they have promoted naïve and inefficient counter measures such as lockdowns, masks and contact tracing. While I wished that neither SAGE nor anyone else would argue against long-standing principles of public health, the media should not censor such information. During a pandemic, it is more important than ever that media can report freely. There are two major reasons for this: (i) While similar to existing coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that we are constantly learning more about and because of that, it takes time to reach scientific conclusions.

With censorship it takes longer and we cannot afford that during a pandemic. (ii) In order to maintain trust in public health, it is important that any thoughts and ideas about the pandemic can be voiced, debated and either confirmed or debunked. [..] I hope that the UK Government will quickly reverse course to avoid further unnecessary damage from both COVID-19 and the lockdowns. Why the UK Government and SAGE are not looking at public health more broadly is incomprehensible to me. Chris and Patrick got it right in early March 2020, when they argued for focused protection of high-risk older people without a destructive lockdown for children and young adults. Chris, Patrick, take advice from yourself from a little over a year ago.

You can complement that with the extensive knowledge of epidemiology professors such as Sunetra Gupta and Carl Heneghan at Oxford University, Ellen Townsend at the University of Nottingham, Francoix Balloux at University College London and Paul McKeigue at University of Edinburgh. It should now be obvious to everyone that lockdowns, masks and contract tracing failed to protect older high-risk people, as it could not suppress and contain COVID-19, with far too many deaths as a result. Lockdowns are just a dragged out let-it-rip strategy. That was clear to most infectious disease epidemiologists already a year ago. The fatal logical flaw of the lockdowners has been that we must lock down because COVID-19 is dangerous. The opposite is true. Because it is a very dangerous disease among the old, they should have been properly protected through focused protection.

Instead of continuing to take advice from those who were wrong then, Boris should listen to those who were right. In the UK, you have the world’s preeminent infectious disease epidemiologist in professor Sunetra Gupta. She can help implement a focused protection strategy of older high-risk individuals through vaccination and other means, while removing the lockdowns. If the Prime Minister needs the comfort of company with other politicians, get in touch with Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida.

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Logic is overrated.

Boris Johnson Ditches Plans For Covid Vaccine Passport For Pubs (Sun)

Boris Johnson has ditched plans to force customers to show a vaccine passport every time they go into a pub. In a major boost for the hospitality trade, the PM will exempt bars and restaurants from new Covid safety rules. Only those attending mass gatherings, such as festivals or major sports events, will be required to provide proof of a jab, test or natural immunity. Landlords, who can reopen outdoors-only a week tomorrow in England, will soon be free to admit anyone who follows existing guidelines on social distancing and mask-wearing. Boris’s change of heart came after an angry backlash from 72 MPs who branded the idea “divisive and discriminatory”. But he will tomorrow announce his determination to press ahead with a “vaccine certification” system for larger venues from next month.

NHS chiefs are developing a new app members of the public will have to show to gain access to sports stadiums, theatres, festivals and nightclubs. Those without a smartphone will get a paper certificate. The system will be trialled at nine pilot events over the next few weeks, where experts will also explore how high-tech ventilation and Covid tests on entry are working. Mr Johnson will study the feedback to help decide how to manage other large-scale gatherings as restrictions are lifted. The PM said: “We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible, and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen.”


Liverpool will be a key test centre for the opening up of the rest of the country — with four pilot events being held at a comedy club, a cinema, a nightclub and a business conference arena from next week. And some fans will be allowed at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on April 25, the FA Cup final on May 15 and a semi-final on April 18. The World Snooker Championship in Sheffield and a mass participation run at Hatfield, Herts, are also involved.

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Ashley Frawley, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at Swansea University and the author of Semiotics of Happiness: Rhetorical Beginnings of a Public Problem.

Policymakers Use Panic To Shift Blame For Covid-19 Onto Us, The People (RT)

The message is clear: Regardless of who you are, you are at risk. Stay home, clap for the NHS. Or this could be you. This expansion of risk is a common tactic in public health messaging. While risks tend to be patterned, officials find it politically useful to play down patterns and ‘democratise risks’: Take a risk specific to some people and generalise it to everyone so everyone feels equally afraid. This avoids accusations of discrimination against any one group, and officials can never be accused of playing down risks. But it also encourages us to see the world as much riskier and scarier than it is. Is it any wonder that levels of health anxiety have steadily increased, particularly among young people who in many ways have least to fear?

But for policymakers, anxiety is useful. Ideally, citizens imagine any risk, no matter how small, as quite likely to happen and act accordingly. Indeed, a level of crippling anxiety that means you cannot leave the house is the goal. But as we have seen with overblown risks regarding, for example, child abduction, this level of fear cannot simply be switched off. The profound effects on society long outlive the initial panic – which is why children’s unsupervised play has dwindled. Yet as audiences, we knew that in the balance of probabilities, the cropped-headed patient on the gurney would not be us. For all the attempts by government officials to claim that ‘the virus does not discriminate’, it was difficult to deny that, in terms of deaths, it clearly did.

But behavioural scientists viewed people’s level-headed appraisals of risks as another problem to be overcome. In a report by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (with the fittingly dystopian acronym ‘SPI-B’), the authors bemoaned the fact that people were comforted by low death rates in their own age groups. “A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened,” they lamented. In response, they advised governments to ramp up fears. To accomplish this, a different approach was needed. In a series of posters released weeks later, a yellow and red filtered NHS worker in full PPE looks at audiences with a slightly cocked head and serious eyes. Her surgical mask looks more like a gas mask than a protective covering. This grainy, dystopian aesthetic was beamed out on social media with the message:

‘IF YOU GO OUT, YOU CAN SPREAD IT. PEOPLE WILL DIE.’ It is this emphasis on threats to others that became the dominant tactic of the campaign. You are at risk. But more importantly, you are A risk. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in the ‘look into my eyes’ campaign, where extreme close ups of coronavirus patients in oxygen masks accompanied by messages like, ‘Look him in the eyes. And tell him you always keep a safe distance.’ If things have gone wrong, it is not because of government failures to, for example, protect care homes or stop the virus leaking out of hospitals. No, it must be you.

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“You might be wondering why the government has been using the Public Health Act, rather than including a general lockdown clause in the Coronavirus Act, or even using the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which was designed precisely for an emergency such as Covid-19. The reason is simple: to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.”

Do We Now Need Permission To Be Free? (Black)

As Britain was heading into lockdown on 23 March 2020, UK health secretary Matt Hancock was busy introducing the accompanying legislation in parliament. ‘To defeat [Covid-19]’, he said, ‘we are proposing extraordinary measures of a kind never seen before in peacetime’. He was underselling them. In their repressiveness, their illiberalism and often their sheer arbitrariness, the ‘extraordinary measures’ the government was then about to impose on British society had never been seen before in wartime, either. They exceeded powers granted by the Defence of the Realm Act 1914. And they went beyond those of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939. These were draconian pieces of legislation, placing people and property at the service of the state. But they certainly didn’t authorise the de facto imprisonment of every single citizen in his or her home.

Because that is what Hancock’s ‘extraordinary measures’ amounted to: the quarantining of everybody, regardless of health. As Lord Justice Hickinbottom described it, the government’s response to Covid represented ‘possibly the most restrictive regime on the public life of persons and businesses ever’. Take the Coronavirus Act itself. This hulking 348-page document, rushed through parliament in just four days, was focused mainly on marshalling the nation’s medical resources and authorising the massive public expenditure that was to come. But it still found room to stamp all over civil liberties. It granted the state unprecedented powers of detention, allowing police, public-health officials and immigration officers to detain for up to 14 days those whom they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect of being ‘potentially infectious’.

Which gave them the power to detain, well, anyone. The act also invested the government with the powers to close premises, cancel events, prohibit gatherings and ban protests. That act is now halfway through its two-year lifespan, but, troublingly, it can be extended if the government decides ‘it is prudent to do so’. Not that it seems to need the Coronavirus Act to deprive us of our most basic freedoms. No, for this the government has principally used the Public Health Act 1984 (as amended in 2008). This authorises it to create a regulatory regime ‘for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public-health response to the incidence or spread of infection or contamination’.

Indeed, it was on the basis of the Public Health Act that the government first created the regulations that, in steadily expanding form, have dominated and restricted our lives for a year, from closing all businesses to confining people to their homes unless they had a ‘reasonable excuse’. You might be wondering why the government has been using the Public Health Act, rather than including a general lockdown clause in the Coronavirus Act, or even using the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which was designed precisely for an emergency such as Covid-19. The reason is simple: to avoid parliamentary scrutiny. General lockdown measures in the Coronavirus Act would have rightly demanded a lot more interrogation. And, under the conditions of the Civil Contingencies Act, regulations have to be put before parliament in draft form before they are issued. And even if approved, they will lapse within 30 days.

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Yes, but stop the “vaccine” propaganda.

The Texas Neanderthals Were Right (Spiked)

In early March, Texas governor Greg Abbott announced he was ending the state’s mandate for people to wear masks, and reopening businesses at full capacity. Media outlets went into overdrive to denounce him and predict catastrophe. CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza called Abbott’s decision ‘head-scratching, anti-science’. ‘Model projections for Texas show worst-case scenario without mask mandate’, warned an ABC TV station in Houston. Abbott’s move was part of a ‘bold plan to kill another 500,000 Americans’, screamed Vanity Fair. Politicians also rushed to criticise Abbott. Former representative and failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke called his decision a ‘death warrant for Texans’. California governor Gavin Newsom said Texas was ‘absolutely reckless’ for lifting its Covid rules.

No less than President Joe Biden felt obliged to speak out and condemn Abbott. ‘The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine – take off your mask, forget it. It still matters.’ Well, it appears the Neanderthals in Texas got it right, and Biden is the one whose thinking is caveman-like. Now, three weeks after Abbott’s order to lift the mask mandate went into effect, the Covid situation has improved in Texas. New cases are down, to their lowest level since June. Hospitalisations have fallen to their lowest level since autumn. Death rates have plummeted. Furthermore, the outlook for vaccinations in the state appears bright, with a record daily number of people receiving shots. Adults of all ages are now eligible for a vaccine jab, a faster pace than many other states.

Have Biden and the media apologised for slandering Texas? And have they learned that lifting mandates on mask-wearing and removing other restrictions does not lead to Covid-spreading? Of course not. Instead, Biden cited an uptick in new cases nationally to bang on again about masks. ‘I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor, and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate’, he said earlier this week. ‘Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down.’ Biden’s plea came on the same day that CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned of ‘impending doom’. Holding back tears, she said: ‘Right now, I am scared.’

Overwrought emotionalism from the head of the CDC is not helpful, to put it mildly. Nor is a president insisting on state-mandated mask-wearing. Biden’s message implied that the latest increase in cases was down to states like Texas that have loosened restrictions on activity, but that is not true. In fact, the national increase was driven mainly by New York, New Jersey and Michigan – states that have imposed the most onerous of restrictions. As it happens, there is no need for alarm in the US. Yes, new cases are up in some states, but far below the January peak. The levels are much too low to talk about a ‘fourth wave’.

With the rollout of vaccines in progress, it is important for any discussion of Covid’s spread to break down findings by age group. And here we find encouraging developments. Nearly three-quarters of those aged 65 and older have been vaccinated, a group that has accounted for about 80 per cent of all Covid-related deaths. Accordingly, hospitalisations and deaths among seniors have been reduced dramatically. The latest increase in new cases is concentrated among younger people. This spread from older to younger was seen in Israel as vaccines were implemented there, but proved to be a temporary phenomenon. Also, we know that younger people are much less likely to be hospitalised or die from Covid. That’s why it is unlikely the latest increase in cases will lead to a corresponding increase in deaths.

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Self testing is all the rage suddenly.

Rapid Test Result To Be Confirmed With PCR Amid Hunt For New Variants (Ind.)

The government is to use standard PCR testing to confirm positive Covid-19 results returned via rapid, on-the-spot tests which are now being used by millions of people every day across the UK. This comes as part of efforts to quickly detect new and emerging “variants of concern”, some of which are partially capable of evading immunity triggered by infection or vaccination. For those people who test positive via a lateral flow device (LFD), which is capable of returning a result in 30 minutes, the result will then be cross-checked using a PCR test. These are more accurate than the LFDs and also make use of new technology, known as genotype assay testing, which could halve the time it takes to identify if a positive Covid test is caused by a variant of concern.

This will allow positive cases to be traced sooner and stop the spread of variants on UK soil, the government has said. Genotype assay testing is compatible only with PCR tests and not LFDs, meaning the latter is unable to detect or trace the spread of variants. The UK has bought millions of LFD tests as part of plans to reopen society. Teachers, schoolchildren and their families without any symptoms are being asked to test themselves using the kits twice a week. Contact tracing will continue to be implemented in the eventuality of a positive LFD result, but will be stopped automatically after receipt of a negative confirmatory PCR test.

NHS Test and Trace has introduced new features that will automatically inform anyone self-isolating from a positive LFD, along with their contacts, to stop isolating if the confirmatory PCR is taken within two days and is negative. Jon Deeks, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Birmingham, said the new policy was “very welcome”. “This will ensure that the risk that individuals are unnecessarily isolated through false positives is reduced,” he told The Independent. “It is only a shame that it has taken so many weeks for concerns raised by the Royal Statistical Society and others to be addressed, with many children unnecessarily missing school as a result.”

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Curious pattern.

Persistence Of Covid-19 Antibodies Varies Widely From Person To Person (F.)

One of the greatest unsolved mysteries of Covid-19 is why the neutralizing antibodies our bodies generate in response to the virus tend to dwindle in number so quickly. A small minority of studies, including one completed in Iceland last summer, have observed lengthier periods of persistence in their participants, but the vast majority—spanning a wide breadth of people and places, from specialized Covid-19 hospitals in China to healthcare workers in Tennessee—concluded that anti-Covid-19 antibodies were fast to fade, so much so that some patients didn’t even appear to develop any, at least not at levels that could be detected by researchers. Another way of interpreting this array of data, however, is that antibody persistence varies from person to person—meaning people with longer-lasting antibodies wouldn’t be outliers, but just one clause of a general rule.

This is the argument made by a new study published in The Lancet last week, which sorted participants into five different categories based on the titer and duration of their neutralizing antibody response. While distribution between them was by no means equal, it ranged enough to beg the question of whether current conceptions of immunity from Covid-19, which influence everything from nationwide vaccine strategies to our individual choices and behaviors, require revision. The subjects of the study were 164 Covid-19 patients living in Singapore. Researchers collected data on these patients using both neutralizing and binding assays over a period of 180 days, then plugged that data into an algorithmic model to predict how long their antibodies would last in the years and even decades following initial infection.

Based on the longevity of their antibody responses, patients were sorted into one of five groups: the negative group, or patients whose antibodies never reached detectable levels; the rapid waning group, or patients whose antibody levels were detectable within 20 days of infection, but dropped in less than 180 days; the slow waning group, or patients who still tested antibody-positive 180 days after infection; the persistent group, or patients whose antibody levels, over many months, showed little to no signs of decay; and the delayed response group, or patients who, against all odds, had a late surge in antibody levels later in their recovery as opposed to after infection.

Earlier immunological research on Covid-19 placed most patients in one of the first two categories—negative or rapid waning. But this study found that the spread between the rapid waning, slow waning, and persistent groups was as close to even as it gets, with about 29.8 percent of participants falling in the rapid waning group, 29 percent in the slow waning group, and 31.7 percent in the persistent group. Just below 12 percent landed in the negative group, with a small sliver—just 1.8 percent—rounding out the curve in the delayed response group.


Table 1. A table based on data from the persistent antibody study. “DYNAMICS OF SARS-COV-2 NEUTRALISING ANTIBODY RESPONSES AND DURATION OF IMMUNITY: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY” HTTPS://WWW.THELANCET.COM/JOURNALS/LANMIC/ARTICLE/PIIS2666-5247(21)00025-2/FULLTEXT

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Any self-interest?

JPMorgan Reveals ‘Big’ Bitcoin Price Prediction (F.)

Bitcoin has won its fair share of Wall Street supporters this year amid a bull run that’s seen it soar around 500%. The bitcoin price hit highs of just over $60,000 per bitcoin last month before falling back slightly but has since made up lost ground. Meanwhile, the broader cryptocurrency market has surged to almost $2 trillion—boosted by decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens. Now, analysts at Wall Street banking giant and former bitcoin skeptic JPMorgan have said bitcoin could climb as high as $130,000 in the long-term if it continues to see its volatility converge with that of gold’s. “Considering how big the financial investment into gold is, any such crowding out of gold as an ‘alternative’ currency implies big upside for bitcoin over the long term,” JPMorgan analysts led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note to clients this week.


The bank found that a six-month measure of bitcoin volatility appeared to be stabilizing around the 73% mark—suggesting “tentative signs of bitcoin volatility normalization” that could help to “reinvigorate” interest from institutional investors. High volatility “acts as a headwind towards further institutional adoption,” according to JPMorgan. The bitcoin price has soared as institutional investors including London-based asset manager Ruffer and insurance giant MassMutual have bought into bitcoin—with Elon Musk’s Tesla topping off a series of high-profile bitcoin bets. The bitcoin price has climbed from around $10,000 per bitcoin to around $60,000 as a result, but JPMorgan thinks it could still have some way to run. “Mechanically, the bitcoin price would have to rise [to] $130,000, to match the total private sector investment in gold,” JPMorgan analysts wrote.

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Quite the story. Stay tuned.

The Crazy Claims Against Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (NYP)

An alleged orgy with prostitutes. Accusations of sex with an underage girl. A trophy photo of a woman wearing only a hula hoop. And a convoluted extortion plot involving a likely dead American hostage in Iran. Even by Florida standards, the Matt Gaetz saga is downright bizarre – and getting weirder by the day. Before this week, the young Sunshine State congressman and ally of former President Donald Trump was best known, like his mentor, for his ambitious conservatism and promontory coiffure. But this week, the Republican has faced a daily flurry of scandalous ≠headlines. Most seriously, he is being investigated by the Justice Department for allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old girl, and for paying for her to travel with him across state lines, potentially violating federal sex-trafficking laws.

Gaetz denies the allegations – but not the fact of the investigation. Then, on Thursday, CNN alleged that he had shown fellow lawmakers nude photos of women he said he’d slept with, including one photographed wearing a hula hoop, and nothing else. There have also been claims by two of Gaetz’s enemies that the FBI has photos of him in a “sexual orgy with underage prostitutes.” It’s all enough to make his penchant for posing on Instagram without pants, as he did in a July posting he captioned, “Covid work!” seem tame by comparison. This is how the latest Gaetz drama has played out so far: News of the sex-trafficking investigation, launched in the final months of the last administration, broke Tuesday in The New York Times.

The Pensacola bachelor, 38 — whose engagement to Harvard business school student Ginger Luckey, 26, was announced on Twitter by Fox’s Jeanine Pirro in December — immediately denied he had sex with a minor or transported one across state lines. “In the strongest possible terms. I deny that I have ever been with someone underage,” he told The Post on Tuesday. “That is false,” he insisted. [..] Then there’s the Iranian hostage angle. McGee and ex-Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent didn’t want the money for themselves, necessarily, Gaetz is alleging. They wanted to use the money to free Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent taken hostage by Iran in 2007, and declared dead by his family last year. McGee, meanwhile, has denied Gaetz’s hostage-extortion plot allegations, calling them “a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking of minors,” as he told The Washington Post. And McGee is fighting Gaetz with banner-headline dirt of his own.

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Jimmy Lai was just convicted, with 6 others, for organizing a protest. He faces years in prison.

‘Your Life Is Not About Yourself’: Jimmy Lai (HKAD)

Lai was born in 1948 in Guangzhou to a family of wealthy landowners, who saw their properties confiscated by the Chinese Communist Party. His father fled to Hong Kong amid political persecution, while his mother was taken to labor camps. As a child, Lai scavenged and sold illegal cigarettes to feed his sisters. When the country was hit by famine in the late 1950s, he escaped to Hong Kong as a stowaway at the age of 12 with only a dollar in his pocket. On the second day of his arrival, he got a job at a glove factory on Fuk Wing Street, beginning his career in manufacturing and working his way up from an apprentice to a manager. In 1975, the 26-year-old set out as an entrepreneur and established his own textile factory along with two partners.

Six years later, he began his foray in the retail industry and founded the Hong Kong clothing brand, Giordano, which rapidly expanded into a chain after a drastic reform. Lai could have retired in his 40s, but the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 set his life on a different trajectory. You must live remembering the shame of June Fourth. Even as the country celebrates its prosperity, you must hold on to this torch in a dark corner, Lai wrote to his children on the 20th anniversary of the event. A year after the bloody crackdown in Beijing, Lai founded Next Magazine in Hong Kong and withdrew his business from China. Because of his belief that a free flow of information would push China towards democracy, Lai started Apple Daily, a newspaper that stands firm on the universal values of democracy and freedom.

The paper remains fiercely critical of the authorities, even as other media outlets in Hong Kong are gradually undermined and bought up by Chinese corporations. Advertising revenues plummeted amid the political pressure and the newsroom was raided by nearly 200 police officers in August 2020, a month after Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on Hong Kong. I will stay and fight till the last day, Lai pledged, even as he was taken away in handcuffs. “If we give up on the fight for freedom and justice, we also surrender our dignity as humans,” he wrote on the 20th anniversary of Apple Daily in 2015. “Your life is not about yourself.” And six years on, the rebel tycoon still holds fast to his belief and remains defiant against oppression, even at the price of his own freedom.

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Theia.

Giant Pieces Of Ancient Alien Planet May Be Lodged Under Earth’s Surface (JTN)

Scientists seeking to explain a series of seemingly inexplicable formations deep within the Earth’s surface may have found an explanation: They came from outer space. Researchers with Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration said in a recently published paper that the “continent-sized Large Low Shear Velocity provinces” identified in Earth’s mantle—essentially giant formations of rock the origins of which scientists have struggled for decades to explain—may have been formed by Theia, the proto-planet thought to have slammed into the ancient Earth billions of years ago.


The collision between Earth and Theia is hypothesized to have ejected a significant portion of Earth into outer space; those fragments would have eventually coalesced under Earth’s gravity to form the Moon. In the paper, the Arizona State researchers argue that “the left-over Theia mantle materials may [have sunk] to the bottom of Earth’s mantle and cause[d] the LLSVPs.” Theia’s geological mantle, they argue, may have been “several percent intrinsically denser than Earth’s mantle,” leading it to sink down through the Earth and form the mysterious provinces. The Theia impact theory is widely regarded as the prevailing explanation for the Moon’s origin.

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Pendulum

 

 

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 March 31, 2021  Posted by at 8:53 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  65 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The old fisherman 1895

 

Amazon’s Twitter Army Was Handpicked For “Great Sense Of Humor” (IC)
Twitter Censors Famed Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff (AIER)
The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different. (Atl.)
It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin (NC)
The “Unvaccinated” Question (CJ Hopkins)
In Germany, AstraZeneca Vaccine Only For People Over 60 After 9 Deaths (RT)
‘Concerns’ Over Lack Of Data In WHO Report on Covid-19 Origins (RT)
Tanzania’s Late President Magufuli: ‘Science Denier’ or Threat to Empire? (UH)
New Minimum Wage Legislation: Millions Of Europeans Will Earn More (AD)
A Fourth Stimulus Check? Momentum Grows For Recurring Payments (Fox32)
Biden To Unveil $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal (Hill)
Many Capitol Rioters Unlikely To Serve Jail Time (Pol.)
Matt Gaetz Claims Former DOJ Lawyer Was Extorting Him (CTH)

 

 

Wall-E after Ever Given

 

 

Collateral Crucifixion. See video at the bottom of this post.

 

 

Lacy Hunt

 

 

An army to protect Bezos.

Amazon’s Twitter Army Was Handpicked For “Great Sense Of Humor” (IC)

Amazon’s small twitter army of “ambassadors” was quietly conceived in 2018 under the codename “Veritas,” which sought to train and dispatch select employees to the social media trenches to defend Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, according to an internal description of the program obtained exclusively by The Intercept. Amazon ambassadors drew attention this week as they responded to a wave of online criticism for the company’s treatment of workers amid a union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. Anticipating criticisms of worker conditions at their fulfillment centers in particular, Amazon designed Veritas to train fulfillment center workers chosen for their “great sense of humor” to confront critics — including policymakers — on Twitter in a “blunt” manner.

The document, produced as part of the pilot program in 2018 and marked “Amazon.com Confidential,” also includes examples of how its ambassadors can snarkily respond to criticisms of the company and its CEO. Several examples involve Sen. Bernie Sanders, a longtime critic of the $1 trillion firm who has been targeted by it in recent days. It also provides examples of how to defend Bezos. “To address speculation and false assertions in social media and online forums about the quality of the FC [Fulfillment Center] associate experience, we are creating a new social team staffed with active, tenured FC employees, who will be empowered to respond in a polite—but blunt—way to every untruth,” the project description reads. “FC Ambassadors (‘FCA’) will respond to all posts and comments from customers, influencers (including policymakers), and media questioning the FC associate experience.”

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said via email: “FC Ambassadors are employees who work in our fulfillment centers and choose to share their personal experience — the FC ambassador program helps show what it’s actually like inside our fulfillment centers, along with the public tours we provide.” In 2018, Amazon admitted that the ambassadors were employees paid to “honestly share the facts” about what working in its fulfillment centers is like. Many Twitter users had at first believed the ambassadors were automated “bot” accounts due to the nearly identical format of their account bios, all of which feature the Amazon smile logo and begin with the handle “@AmazonFC.” But that format was specifically mandated by Amazon, The Intercept’s document shows. “We could also add an emoji to the username to give personality, for example a small box emoji,” the document suggests.

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And Amazon is not alone: this is what the Twitter “Great Sense Of Humor” army does.

Twitter Censors Famed Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff (AIER)

We’ve been witness to Twitter censorship for more than a year, beginning with obviously objectionable extremists then gradually moving to silence people based on merely having an opinion that contradicts lockdown orthodoxy. There have been days when I wondered whether I would cross the invisible line and even whether AIER would itself be silenced. Stanford public health expert Scott Atlas has been censored, and Naomi Wolf, visiting senior fellow at AIER, was put in Twitter jail for a week for landing on the wrong side of the high priests of allowable content. Well, a new line has been crossed. Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff and co-creator of the Great Barrington Declaration, one of the most cited epidemiologists and infectious -disease experts in the world (latest count of citations: 25,290) has been censored by Twitter. His tweet on how not everyone needs a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 was not taken down. He had a warning slapped on it and users have been prevented from liking or retweeting the post.

Keep in mind, too, that Dr. Kulldorff serves on the Covid-19 vaccine safety subgroup that the CDC, NIH, and FDA rely upon for technical expertise on this very subject..

So here we have some geeks at Twitter curating science, in areas totally outside the specialization of web nerds, in a way that skews public understanding of the scientific debate. Dr. Kulldorff’s censorship directly coincides with Anthony Fauci making a political push to retain social distancing and mask restrictions and forced separation for children until they are vaccinated. He was all over Sunday TV shows doing that. This attempt to silence accredited experts completely distorts the process of scientific inquiry, discovery, and public opinion. And to what end? Twitter has generally been biased in a lockdown direction. If you want to be cynical about it, you could observe that everyone who works there can get by on laptops and houseshoes for the duration.


Its stock price has more than doubled in the course of lockdowns and user engagement has risen dramatically. It would appear that with this latest act of censorship – we are not talking about political extremism or anything else that violates normal terms of use – we have entered into a new realm. Twitter is now curating the scientific debate in ways that exclude alternative points of view, particularly those that raise doubts about the need for universalized vaccines and vaccine passports. To be sure, Dr. Kulldorff is not an anti-vaxxer (why should I have to say that?) but instead has a nuanced position in light of his professional understanding of the demographics of risk of this virus.

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Zeynep Tufekci with an unabashed promo piece on vaccines. She says 100 million Americans may have been infected, and therefore developed the same antibodies a vaccination might provide, but let’s inject them all regardless.

The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different. (Atl.)

the United States has had one of the largest outbreaks in the world. This has caused us immense suffering and loss, but it also means that we are now less vulnerable to future waves. So far, 30 million people in the United States have had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, although the real (unmeasured) number is perhaps as high as 100 million. As expected, those people retain some level of immunity for a substantial amount of time. It’s hard to know exactly how long, because the virus is so new, but for SARS (the related coronavirus that almost sparked a pandemic in 2003), people who were infected retained an antibody response, and thus protection, for an average of two years. Though amazingly, the vaccines appear to provide better immunity than natural infection, those previously infected also gain defenses.

Carefully done studies on large populations show a very low rate of reinfection for this coronavirus: less than 1 percent. Plus, many documented reinfections tend to be mild or asymptomatic, an unsurprising outcome given that in these cases the virus is no longer totally novel for the immune system, and thus not as catastrophic in its consequences. It’s pretty clear that large numbers of people in the U.S. already are, or will soon be, protected from COVID-19’s more severe outcomes, such as death and hospitalization, which the vaccines reduce so close to zero that clinical trials have reported hardly any such cases. And it gets better: Yesterday, the CDC released real-life data showing that, just two weeks after even a single dose, the two mRNA vaccines were 80 percent effective in preventing infection. The effectiveness rose to 90 percent after the second, booster dose.

People in the study were routinely tested regardless of whether they had symptoms, so we know that vaccines prevented not just symptomatic illness—the vaccine-efficacy rate reported in the trials—but any infection. People who are not infected by a virus cannot transmit it at all, and even people who have a breakthrough case despite vaccination have been shown to have lower viral loads compared with unvaccinated people, and so are likely much less contagious. All of this doesn’t mean that there will be zero deaths or illnesses among the vaccinated. The elderly, who tend to have weaker immune systems, are especially prone to having vaccines fail. In nursing homes, even the common cold can cause deadly outbreaks. But for the vaccinated, the risk from COVID-19 clearly has become comparable to “baseline risk”—it’s not zero, but just like the risks presented by the flu and other viruses, it’s not something for which most of us would put our lives on hold.

How do we square all this good news with what happened during a White House briefing yesterday, when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky interrupted the flow, saying, “I’m going to lose the script,” and talked of “the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.” She was visibly emotional and her voice cracked as she said was “scared,” and pleaded with Americans to “hold on a little longer.” I can’t read her mind, but if I were Walensky, I’d be scared because those who are not protected through vaccination or past infection are still at grave risk, a fact that may be overshadowed by all the good news. Even as our vaccines continue to work very well against it, the particular variant we’re facing in this surge is both more transmissible and more deadly for the unvaccinated.

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Has been for a long time.

It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin (NC)

On December 29th of last year, Mexico’s Institute of Socal Security (IMSS) allowed ivermectin to be prescribed to outpatients with Covid. On the same day the Secretariat of Health of Mexico City and the State of Mexico decided to adopt a protocol in which anyone testing positive at any one of the city’s 250 rapid testing sites would be given ivermectin. As you can see in the graphs below, courtesy of Juan Chamie, a data scientist from EAFIT University in Colombia, based on data provided by Mexico City authorities, the number of hospitalizations due to Covid and excess deaths peaked shortly after the New Year and have been falling sharply ever since. They are now almost back to their prior base line.


Mexico City is the first major global city to adopt what amounts to a test-and-treat approach to covid-19 involving ivermectin. But it was the largely indigenous southern state of Chiapas that led the way last summer. In July 2020, as Mexico was buckling under its first wave of the pandemic, the state decided to distribute ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment, having already deployed the medicine in its battle against mosquito-borne RNA viruses such as Zika and Chikungunya. Since October Chiapas has consistently occupied the lowest risk level on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight map. Thanks to ivermectin’s apparent success in Chiapas, IMSS allowed the medicine to be prescribed nationwide. It also helped launch the pilot program in Mexico City, for which it received a barrage of criticism.

An official group of health experts argued that there’s no scientific evidence that the drug is effective, and called for the immediate repeal of its use. To their credit, both the Secretariat and IMSS have stuck to their guns. Of course, there’s no way of definitively proving that the rapid falloff in hospitalizations and deaths, first in Chiapas and then Mexico City, is due to the use of ivermectin. Correlation, as we well know, is not causation. It’s also true that Mexico City authorities have introduced tougher social distancing measures and travel restrictions since December. But similar dramatic drop offs have been witnessed in other regions and countries where ivermectin has been used widely, including across the length and breadth of Peru and Iran as well as parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and India.

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“You can positive-PCR-test a pawpaw fruit … but you might want to be careful who you tell if you do that.”

The “Unvaccinated” Question (CJ Hopkins)

Here in Germany, the government is considering banning us from working outside our homes. We are already banned from flying on commercial airlines. (We can still use the trains, if we dress up like New Normals.) In the village of Potsdam, just down the road from Wannsee (which name you might recall from your 20th-Century history lessons), we are banned from entering shops and restaurants. (I’m not sure whether we can still use the sidewalks, or whether we have to walk in the gutters.) In Saxony, we are forbidden from attending schools. At the Berliner Ensemble (the theater founded by Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel, lifelong opponents of totalitarianism and fascism), we are banned from attending New Normal performances.

In the USA, we are being banned by universities. Our children are being banned from public schools. In New York, the new “Excelsior Pass” will allow New Normals to attend cultural and sports events (and patronize bars and restaurants, eventually) secure in the knowledge that the Unvaccinated have been prevented from entering or segregated in an “Unvaccinated Only” section. The pass system, designed by IBM, which, if history is any guide, is pretty good at designing such systems (OK, technically, it was Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft, IBM’s Nazi-Germany subsidiary), was launched this past weekend to considerable fanfare. And this is only the very beginning. Israel’s “Green Pass” is the model for the future, which makes sense, in a sick, fascistic kind of way. When you’re already an apartheid state, what’s a little more apartheid?

OK, I know what the New Normals are thinking. They’re thinking I’m “misleading” people again. That I’m exaggerating. That this isn’t really segregation, and certainly nothing like “medical apartheid.” After all (as the New Normals will sternly remind me), no one is forcing us to get “vaccinated.” If we choose not to, or can’t for medical reasons, all we have to do is submit to a “test” — you know, the one where they ram that 9-inch swab up into your sinus cavities — within 24 hours before we want to go out to dinner, or attend the theater or a sports event, or visit a museum, or attend a university, or take our children to school or a playground, and our test results will serve as our “vaccine passports!” We just present them to the appropriate Covid Compliance Officer, and (assuming the results are negative, of course) we will be allowed to take part in New Normal society just as if we’d been “vaccinated.”

Either way, “vaccine” or “test,” the New Normal officials will be satisfied, because the tests and passes are really just stage props. The point is the display of mindless obedience. Even if you take the New Normals at their word, if you are under 65 and in relatively good health, getting “vaccinated” is more or less pointless, except as a public display of compliance and belief in the official Covid-19 narrative (the foundation stone of the New Normal ideology). Even the high priests of their “Science” confess that it doesn’t prevent you spreading the “plague.” And the PCR tests are virtually meaningless, as even the WHO finally admitted. (You can positive-PCR-test a pawpaw fruit … but you might want to be careful who you tell if you do that.)

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Canada: under 55. Germany: under 60. How many people will now say: thanks, but no, thank you?

In Germany, AstraZeneca Vaccine Only For People Over 60 After 9 Deaths (RT)

Germany has restricted the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as a precautionary measure amid reports the jab is being linked to more cases of suspected adverse effects, some resulting in death. The country’s Standing Vaccination Commission recommended on Tuesday that AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria only be given to men and women over the age of 60, or in exceptional cases. The decision was made due to “available, albeit limited, evidence” concerning the drug’s safety. The commission announced its recommendation hours after the city of Berlin introduced an identical policy. Earlier, two state-owned clinics in the city halted AstraZeneca shots for women under 55 years of age. Munich followed suit with its own rule banning the shot for people under 60.

Health Minister Jens Spahn was scheduled to speak with regional counterparts about the AstraZeneca drug later on Tuesday, a ministry spokesperson announced. Germany had suspended emergency use of the AstraZeneca shot earlier this month, but then lifted the temporary ban after EU regulators deemed it to be safe. The latest restrictions placed on the drug come after Germany’s vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, disclosed that as of March 29, the country has recorded 31 cases of cerebral sinus vein thrombosis (CSVT), nine of which resulted in death, after people were given the Vaxzevria injection. CSVT is a rare form of blood clot that forms in the brain.

Of the 31 cases of CSVT, all except two involved women between the ages of 20 and 63. Before the new guidelines were issued in Berlin, a district in North Rhine-Westphalia state suspended shots for women under 55 after two women suffered from blood clots. Nearly 2.7 million first doses of Vaxzevria have been administered in Germany. According to official figures, women under the age of 70 make up two-thirds of those vaccinated with the AstraZeneca drug. It’s believed that more women than men have received the shot because nurses were among the first group in Germany to take the jab.

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“Two months earlier, the WHO chief praised China’s response to the pandemic..”

‘Concerns’ Over Lack Of Data In WHO Report on Covid-19 Origins (RT)

Fourteen countries including the US and UK have expressed “concerns” over a new report into the origins of Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) after the agency’s own chief also highlighted data-access issues. “It is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples,” a joint statement from the nations read. The signatories included the governments of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, South Korea, Slovenia, the UK and US. The statement also called for a further analysis of the outbreak of Covid-19 that is “transparent”,”free from interference” and “unimpeded.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China had “offered necessary facilitation for the team’s work”, and warned against “politicizing” efforts to identify the origins of Covid-19. The joint statement echoes comments made by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said that the UN health agency’s scientists had trouble “accessing raw data” while in China. “I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing,” he said during a news briefing on Tuesday, adding he did not believe the report was “extensive enough.” Two months earlier, the WHO chief praised China’s response to the pandemic, adding that President Xi Jinping had “encouraged and impressed” him with his knowledge of the coronavirus.

The 120-page WHO report was published on Tuesday after a team of international scientists visited the Chinese city of Wuhan between January 14 and February 10, 2021. The scientists visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the virus is believed to have spread from. The team did not find the source of Covid-19, but their report effectively ruled out its origin from a laboratory accident, saying it was “extremely unlikely,” while the virus’s introduction through frozen food chains was considered “possible.”

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Jeremy Loffredo and Whitney Webb on a virtually unknown Covid story.

Tanzania’s Late President Magufuli: ‘Science Denier’ or Threat to Empire? (UH)

Less than 2 weeks ago, Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan delivered the news that her country’s president, John Pombe Magufuli, had died of heart failure. President Magufuli had been described as missing since the end of February, with several anti-government parties circulating stories that he had fallen ill with COVID-19. During his presidency, Magufuli had consistently challenged neocolonialism in Tanzania, whether it manifested through the exploitation of his country’s natural resources by predatory multinationals or the West’s influence over his country’s food supply. In the months leading up to his death, Magufuli had become better known and particularly demonized in the West for opposing the authority of international organizations like the WHO in determining his government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

However, Magufuli had spurned many of the same interests and organizations angered by his response to COVID for years, having kicked out Bill Gates-funded trials of genetically-modified crops and more recently angering some of the most powerful mining companies in the West, companies with ties to the World Economic Forum and the Forum’s efforts to guide the course of the 4th industrial revolution. Indeed, more threatening than his recent COVID controversies was the threat Magufuli posed to foreign control over the world’s largest, ready-to-develop nickel deposit, a metal essential to electric car batteries and thus the current effort to usher in an electric, autonomous vehicle revolution. For instance, just a month before he disappeared, Magufuli had signed an agreement to begin developing that nickel deposit, a deposit that had been previously co-owned by Barrick Gold and Glencore, the commodity giant deeply tied to Israel’s Mossad, until Magufuli revoked their licenses for the project in 2018.

Running afoul of the most powerful corporate and banking cartels followed then by the mysterious onset of sudden regime change would normally garner considerable coverage from anti-imperialist independent media outlets, which recently covered similar events in Bolivia that led to the removal of Evo Morales from power. However, the very outlets that have extensively covered Western-backed regime change efforts for years have been entirely silent on the very convenient death of Magufuli. Presumably, their silence is related to Magufuli’s flouting of COVID-19 narrative orthodoxy, as these same outlets have largely promoted the official narrative of the pandemic.

[..] In contrast to Magufuli, who routinely stood up to predatory corporations and imperialist designs on his country, Samia Suhulhu and Tanzanian opposition politician Tundu Lissu are poised to offer up their country’s resources, and their population, on the altar of the Western elite-driven 4th industrial revolution.

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Google translate. It’s not just the US. “..minimum hourly wage to 14 euros. Now that is 9.72 euros (40-hour working week) or 10.80 euros (for 36 hours)”

New Minimum Wage Legislation: Millions Of Europeans Will Earn More (AD)

At least 24 million employees in 25 of the 27 EU member states will earn more in one punch in two years at the latest. That’s because all of Europe will have a decent minimum wage by then. The two largest groups in Europe, of Christian and Social Democrats, have reached an agreement on this, which they are sending to the rest of the European Parliament today. The Member States, led by the Portuguese socialist António Costa, are also in a hurry. Prime Minister Costa wants to align the member states before handing over his presidency to his Slovenian colleague, the conservative Janez Jansa, on 1 July. The two Parliament rapporteurs, Agnes Jongerius (PvdA) and her German colleague Dennis Radtke (EPP), assume a minimum wage that meets a double threshold across Europe: at least 60 percent of the median (half is lower, half higher) and 50 percent of the average wage.

For the Netherlands, according to Jongerius, this means an increase of the minimum hourly wage to 14 euros. Now that is 9.72 euros (40-hour working week) or 10.80 euros (for 36 hours). The intervention must end a period of thirty years in which the minimum wage has only deteriorated. “Costa has already shown after the banking crisis that the economy will benefit if you increase the minimum wage,” says Jongerius. “Greece went the other way under pressure from Europe and only got extra misery.” She wants a minimum wage “of which you can normally support your family with the occasional extra: a laptop for the children or a vacation”. But we are still a long way from that.

In at least nine Member States, minimum wages fall through the poverty threshold, in many more Member States entire groups are excluded. Jongerius: ,, Corona has made that even worse, especially in low-paid sectors such as retail and tourism. The youths who kept running for us in supermarkets were grossly underpaid. “”

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“The measure could include as much as $3 trillion in new taxes and $4 trillion in new spending.”

A Fourth Stimulus Check? Momentum Grows For Recurring Payments (Fox32)

A growing number of Democrats are calling on President Joe Biden to send recurring stimulus checks for low-income Americans as part of his sweeping infrastructure package, arguing the cash payments are necessary until the U.S. economy fully recovers from the pandemic. In a Tuesday letter addressed to the president, 21 senators – led by Ron Wyden of Oregon – asked the administration to automatically extend unemployment insurance benefits and send recurring direct checks that would be tied to certain economic conditions. Text of the letter first emerged at the beginning of March, but the lawmakers waited until they had received additional support to officially send it to the White House.

In the span of one month, the coalition secured the backing of another 11 Democrats, including Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin and moderates like Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Jack Reed, D-R.I. “This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” the lawmakers wrote. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.” The senators did not mention many specifics, including the size and frequency of the payments, the income eligibility level for recipients or the economic conditions that would cause the federal government to cut off the money.

The proposal garnered the support of Democrats across the ideological spectrum, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. The expanded financial assistance would be part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, a wide-ranging plan that aims to make massive investments in infrastructure, revive domestic manufacturing and combat climate change, among other issues. Biden is planning to unveil details of the first part of the package on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, including how he intends to pay for it. The measure could include as much as $3 trillion in new taxes and $4 trillion in new spending.

The senators are pairing their request with a grassroots push from the left-leaning Progressive Change Institute and Economic Security Project, which is calling on other lawmakers to sign the proposal. “These 21 senators have joined the overwhelming majority of the American people in calling for more checks,” Greg Nasif, a spokesperson with Humanity Forward, said in a statement to FOX Business. “This is about more than giving families the support they need. This is about protecting our economy and securing an equitable future.”

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Only $2 trillion?

Biden To Unveil $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal (Hill)

President Biden will unveil a $2 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday as he prepares to pitch his next big-ticket agenda item. Details of the forthcoming plans were shared with lawmakers during a conference call with White House staff on Tuesday. The plan will be funded by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from the current level of 21 percent as well as creating a global tax on corporate earnings, a source familiar with the call confirmed to The Hill. Biden will travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to formally unveil the plan, which is expected to include funding for roads, bridges and broadband, as well addressing manufacturing, among other things. The plan is part of a larger two-part package.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told Fox News Tuesday that Biden will unveil the second part, which will deal with child care and health care, in April. “What the American people will hear from him this week is that part of his plan — the first step of his plan towards recovery — which will include an investment in infrastructure. We shouldn’t be 13th in the world; I don’t think anyone believes that [of] the wealthiest, most innovative country in the world,” Psaki said. Though infrastructure attracts broad bipartisan support, Republicans are likely to balk at raising corporate taxes to pay for a plan. Democrats have said they want the final product to be bipartisan, but have acknowledged that they are likely to have to go it alone through reconciliation, a budget process that allows certain bills to bypass the 60-vote filibuster in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is exploring if Democrats could use the Congressional Budget Act to pass at least three bills under reconciliation, instead of the two Democrats expect to be limited to. They’ve already used one of their opportunities to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan. Schumer’s staff recently made a case to the Senate parliamentarian that they could use Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act, which green lights the use of reconciliation, to tee up passing at least a third bill this year by a simple majority, an aide for the New York Democrat confirmed on Monday. “Schumer wants to maximize his options to allow Senate Democrats multiple pathways to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda if Senate Republicans try to obstruct or water down a bipartisan agreement,” the majority leader’s aide said.

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“..as long as the people who are trying to express their view do not engage in violence, misdemeanors may be more appropriate than felonies.”

Many Capitol Rioters Unlikely To Serve Jail Time (Pol.)

Americans outraged by the storming of Capitol Hill are in for a jarring reality check: Many of those who invaded the halls of Congress on Jan. 6 are likely to get little or no jail time. While public and media attention in recent weeks has been focused on high-profile conspiracy cases against right-wing, paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, the most urgent decisions for prosecutors involve resolving scores of lower-level cases that have clogged D.C.’s federal district court. A POLITICO analysis of the Capitol riot-related cases shows that almost a quarter of the more than 230 defendants formally and publicly charged so far face only misdemeanors. Dozens of those arrested are awaiting formal charges, even as new cases are being unsealed nearly every day.

In recent days, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys have all indicated that they expect few of these “MAGA tourists” to face harsh sentences. There are two main reasons: Although prosecutors have loaded up their charging documents with language about the existential threat of the insurrection to the republic, the actions of many of the individual rioters often boiled down to trespassing. And judges have wrestled with how aggressively to lump those cases in with those of the more sinister suspects. “My bet is a lot of these cases will get resolved and probably without prison time or jail time,” said Erica Hashimoto, a former federal public defender who is now a law professor at Georgetown.

“One of the core values of this country is that we can protest if we disagree with our government. Of course, some protests involve criminal acts, but as long as the people who are trying to express their view do not engage in violence, misdemeanors may be more appropriate than felonies.” The prospect of dozens of Jan. 6 rioters cutting deals for minor sentences could be hard to explain for the Biden administration, which has characterized the Capitol Hill mob as a uniquely dangerous threat. Before assuming office, Biden said the rioters’ attempt to overturn the election results by force “borders on sedition”; Attorney General Merrick Garland has called the prosecutions his top early priority, describing the storming of Congress as “a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

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What an insane story.

Matt Gaetz Claims Former DOJ Lawyer Was Extorting Him (CTH)

Two people inside the DOJ leaked a story about Matt Gaetz (R-FL) being under DOJ/FBI investigation to the New York Times. The essential elements of the article are that Gaetz had a relationship with a 17-year-old woman, and paid for her to travel; ergo the DOJ/FBI is investigating “sex trafficking.” Presumably AG Bill Barr opened the investigation. However, Matt Gaetz vehemently denies everything about the claims, and instead says the FBI and DOJ were recently conducting a sting operation -with his cooperation- against a former DOJ lawyer named David McGee who was extorting Gaetz for $25 million. According to Gaetz his father was contacted by McGee in March of this year and told he would release the details of a relationship with the woman if Gaetz did not pay $25 million.


Gaetz contacted the FBI, and his father wore a wire in his conversation with McGee where the FBI were recording the extortion attempt. Now that someone has leaked the erroneous background of the investigation to the New York Times, Gaetz is demanding the DOJ release the tapes of the extortion attempt. Tonight Matt Gaetz appeared on Tucker Carlson to discuss the details of the situation. Apparently there was an FBI sting operation underway which included a payment tomorrow. The New York Times article tipped-off McGee to the sting. Congressman Gaetz denies any wrongdoing, legal or otherwise, and denies paying for a minor to cross state lines to meet him. When Carlson asked Gaetz who was the former DOJ official attempting extortion, Gaetz named David McGee, a former DOJ lawyer currently working for Beggs and Lane lawfirm.

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Collateral Crucifixion

 

 

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