Oct 182022
 


Vincent van Gogh Self-portrait with dark felt hat at the easel 1886

 

A War Russia Set To Win (Bhadrakumar)
Borrell Tells EU Members ‘Don’t Worry About Money’ For Ukraine (RT)
Ukraine Can Retake Crimea By Next Summer, Former Top US Commander Says (ZH)
Turkish Hub May Solve Nord Stream Problems – Gazprom (RT)
US Poised For Slowdown In High-end Munitions Deliveries To Ukraine (Fox)
Musk Compares Crimea To Pearl Harbor
US To See Winter Spike In Natural Gas Prices (RT)
Ghislaine Maxwell Breaks Silence On ‘Special Friendship’ With Bill Clinton (CB)
American Inquisition (Jim Kunstler)
Devastating Report On PCR Test Covered Up (DAK)
Boston University Makes New Covid Strain With 80% Kill Rate (PM)
Cancer Is a Man-Made Disease – Controversial Study (LS)
Biden Export Controls ‘Wreaking Havoc’ On China’s Chip Industry (ZH)
Will Comey and Mueller Be Prosecuted for Lies John Durham Uncovered? (ET)
Why the Jan 6 Committee’s Timing is both Terrible and Telling (Turley)
The Dark Side of Nuclear Fusion (Pepi Cima)

 

 

Fmr. US ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack Matlock

 

 

 

 

Oborne

 

 

 

 

Bourla

 

 

 

 

“Contracted price for long-term Russian supply for Germany used to be about $280 per 1,000 cubic metres as against the current market price hovering around $2,000.”

“Russians will settle for nothing less than the ouster of the Zelenskyy regime.”

A War Russia Set To Win (Bhadrakumar)

Two massive terrorist strikes misfired spectacularly and a terrible beauty is born in the Ukraine war. These two carefully planned attacks in quick succession — on Nord Stream gas pipelines and Crimean Bridge — were intended as a knockout blow to Russia. According to President Vladimir Putin, people ‘who want to finally sever ties between Russia and the EU, weaken Europe’ are behind the Nord Stream blasts. He named the US, Ukraine and Poland as ‘beneficiaries’. India should expect the defeat of the US and NATO, which completes the transition to a multipolar world order. Last Wednesday, Russia’s domestic intelligence service FSB identified Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, as the mastermind behind the Crimean attack.

The New York Times and Washington Post also pointed fingers at Kiev, quoting ‘sources’. While Nord Stream-1 has been crippled, one of the strings of Nord Stream-2 remains intact. Putin said last week that the pipeline could be restored and Russia could deliver about 27 billion cubic metres of gas. ‘The ball is on the side of the European Union, if they want — let’s turn on the tap,’ he said. But mum’s the word from Brussels. It is a profoundly embarrassing moment for the EU. The triumphalism has vanished as Europe is threatened by years of recession caused by the blowback from sanctions against Russia, where the US insisted on the cut off of energy ties with Moscow.

The EU has now become a captive market for Big Oil and is left to buy LNG from the US at the asking price, which is six to seven times higher than the domestic price in the US. (Contracted price for long-term Russian supply for Germany used to be about $280 per 1,000 cubic metres as against the current market price hovering around $2,000.) Plainly put, the Europeans have been nicely played by the Americans. India should take note of the US’ sense of entitlement. Basically, the Biden administration created a contrived energy crisis whose real aim is war profiteering. The Crimean Bridge attack of October 8 is much more serious. Zelenskyy has crossed a red line that Moscow had repeatedly warned him against.

Putin has disclosed that there have also been three terrorist attacks against the Kursk NPP. Russians will settle for nothing less than the ouster of the Zelenskyy regime. Russia’s retaliation against Ukraine’s ‘critical infrastructure’, something Moscow refrained from so far, has serious implications. Since October 9, Russia has begun systematically targeting Ukraine’s power system and railways. Noted Russian military expert Vladislav Shurygin told Izvestia that if this tempo was kept up for a week or so, it ‘will disrupt the entire logistics of the Ukrainian military — system for transporting personnel, military equipment, ammunition, related cargo, as well as the functioning of military and repair plants.’

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Borrell is not a diplomat, even if they call him that. “Diplomat” and “diplomacy” are words that have an actual meaning. He fits none of that.

Borrell Tells EU Members ‘Don’t Worry About Money’ For Ukraine (RT)

The EU has enough funds to back member nations that send weapons to Ukraine’s military, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell said on Monday. His statement comes amid reports that the EU cannot fully reimburse states that are supporting Kiev’s forces. Speaking prior to a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, Borrell said “there is enough money, don’t worry about money” before walking away. Despite the diplomat’s assurances, last week, Politico reported that the European Peace Facility, a €1.5 billion fund meant to assist EU countries in replacing weapons sent to Kiev, was unable to satisfy more than half the requests that it received.

According to the report, this angered Poland, which is one of Ukraine’s main backers in terms of weapon deliveries, with Warsaw presenting a bill for €1.8 billion ($1.75 billion). Poland later backed down, agreeing to 46% compensation, the outlet said. Meanwhile, the US and Ukraine have both been pressing the EU to do more to support Kiev financially – and in a more expedient manner. Last week, in an apparent reference to Brussels, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged international donors “to keep stepping up” their aid efforts, stressing that assistance should go in direct cash payments rather than in loans. Speaking to the Washington Post, one former senior treasury official noted that “I know they’re very frustrated” about the slow progress of aid, adding that “US officials want to see Europe deliver far more quickly.”

Earlier this month Oleg Ustenko, a top economic adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called the delays in EU economic aid “unacceptable,” citing the “extreme high pressure” the finance ministry is under. Last week Zelensky said that his country needs as much as $38 billion to cover next year’s estimated budget deficit and another $17 billion to start to restore critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, Washington has committed $8.5 billion in economic aid to Ukraine, with another $4.5 billion slated to arrive by the end of the year. However, according to the Washington Post’s sources, the EU has pledged €11 billion ($10.7 billion) but has so far only handed over roughly one third of that, which was in the form of loans.

Green screen

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Any first year psychology student can tell you about projection.

“..they are doing everything they can to prolong the war..”

“..young men who are now being conscripted as cannon fodder..”

Ukraine Can Retake Crimea By Next Summer, Former Top US Commander Says (ZH)

A top US general, now retired, has said he believes that Ukrainian forces can retake the Crimean Peninsula by next summer. Ben Hodges is the former commanding general of the United States Army Europe, and he’s predicting that “Crimea will be free by summer.” He told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in statements published over the weekend, “When I look at the situation, I see that the situation of the Russians is getting worse with every week.” Hodges went on to explain that Ukraine’s military is likely to keep this momentum given “far superior” logistics and motivation to fight. “They say war is a test of will and logistics – and on both counts Ukraine is far superior,” Hodges told the German publication. “The Russians have to lose [the war]; otherwise, they’ll try again in two or three years.”

He said the Kremlin is betting big on its “one hope” that the West and NATO countries will lose resolve in their military support for Ukraine. The ex-top Army commander for Europe also said he expects to see more sabotage attacks against Russian assets and crucial logistics and resource hubs, such as with the recent bombings against the Kerch Strait Bridge and the Nord Stream pipelines: “So they are doing everything they can to prolong the war and spread fear and insecurity in the West. Any means will do: The young men who are now being conscripted as cannon fodder, as well as attacks on infrastructure in the West,” Hodges told FAZ. “I believe that we will therefore see more such acts of sabotage and attacks, or at least attempts, in the coming weeks and months.”

This comes as there’s been stepped up cross-border shelling and missile attacks against the Russian city of Belgorod, which lies just north of the Ukrainian border not far from the major Ukraine city of Kherson. But despite much of the past month witnessing headline after headline declare rapid advances of Ukrainian forces against the Russians in the east, the Kremlin on Sunday has announced significant new successes: Russia’s defense ministry says its forces repelled efforts by Ukrainian troops to advance in the Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, inflicting what it described as significant losses against the enemy. A ministry spokesperson said that “during fierce fighting, units of the Russian army held the positions they held, inflicting significant losses on the enemy.”

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South Stream.

Turkish Hub May Solve Nord Stream Problems – Gazprom (RT)

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said on Sunday that it would be possible to redirect all of the gas supplies halted due to the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines through a Turkish hub. “We are talking about all those volumes that we lost due to acts of international terrorism at the Nord Stream pipelines, so it can be significant volumes,” Miller said in an interview with Russia 1 TV, commenting on the prospects of creating a major energy hub in Türkiye. Miller highlighted that the company’s experience in preparing the South Stream pipeline project could be valuable.


The project, which would have brought an estimated 63 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and onward to other countries in Europe, ended up being canceled and replaced by TurkStream. “Thus, even if we talk about the technical documentation for the route, everything has been done for South Stream back then,” the CEO said. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed building a major gas hub in Türkiye to handle supplies previously directed through the Nord Stream pipelines. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed the idea, adding that both leaders had ordered their respective governments to present construction plans as soon as possible.

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Running out. Raytheon is raising its Christmas bonuses.

US Poised For Slowdown In High-end Munitions Deliveries To Ukraine (Fox)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signaled this week that the U.S. and its Western allies are having trouble keeping pace with Ukraine’s demand for the advanced weaponry it needs to fend off Russia’s invasion. That signal reflects dwindling supplies for Ukraine and fear in the White House of escalation that could lead to war between the U.S. and Russia. The risk of reduced U.S. stockpiles of high-end munitions has been reported almost since the U.S. began contributing to Ukraine’s defense. Now, nearly eight months since the start of the war, experts interviewed by Fox News Digital say the U.S. is at or very near the end of its capacity to give. They agreed that Austin’s remarks indicate that the initial rush of high-end munitions like HIMAR rocket launchers, Javelin anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft Stingers and M-777 Howitzers is over.

These sources said there may be two factors at play that are contributing to this reality. One factor is the issue that Austin addressed directly this week – the U.S. is running low on equipment that it can hand over to Ukraine. At a press conference Wednesday, Austin was asked whether the U.S. and other nations are worried about running so low on domestic supplies of critical munitions that they can no longer help Ukraine. Austin dodged the question by stressing that the desire is there to get Ukraine what it needs, but he left unsaid whether Ukraine’s allies can actually deliver. “Well, it certainly is not a question of lack of will,” Austin replied. Austin had just concluded a meeting with officials from dozens of countries about Ukraine’s munitions needs.

As he described that meeting, he again talked about willpower but hinted at strained capacity to provide more for Ukraine, which is using up munitions faster than the world can deliver them. “We will produce and deliver these highly effective capabilities over the course of the coming months — and in some cases years — even as we continue to meet Ukraine’s most pressing self-defense requirements in real time,” Austin said of the most recent commitment to send HIMARS, vehicles, radar systems and other equipment. Mark Cancian is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic & International Studies who spent seven years working on DOD procurement issues for the Office of Management and Budget. His assessment based on inventory levels, industrial capacity, and information from the Biden administration is that the U.S. has “limited” supplies of HIMARs, Javelins, Stingers and M-777 Howitzers. “There are some areas where we’re basically at the bottom of the barrel,” he told Fox News Digital.

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“From their standpoint losing Crimea is like [the] USA losing Hawaii & Pearl Harbor.”

Musk Compares Crimea To Pearl Harbor

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk argued on Monday that Russia views Crimea as an integral part of its territory, and that Ukrainian or Western attempts to seize the peninsula could end in nuclear war. While Musk has previously backtracked on pulling his technological support for Ukraine, he has courted controversy for insisting that Crimea is Russia. “If Russia is faced with the choice of losing Crimea or using battlefield nukes, they will choose the latter,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “We’ve already sanctioned/cutoff Russia in every possible way, so what more do they have left to lose?” he asked, in response to a commenter asking him whether he reckoned the Ukraine conflict could devolve into a nuclear war.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly stated that he intends to seize control of Crimea, along with the four former regions of Ukraine that recently voted to join the Russian Federation. Crimea overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia in 2014, and as such falls under the protection of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal. As President Vladimir Putin has stated, Russia’s nuclear doctrine allows the state to defend itself with “all available means” if its existence is threatened.“Whether one likes it or not, Crimea is absolutely seen as a core part of Russia by Russia,” Musk continued. “Crimea is also of critical national security importance to Russia, as it is their southern navy base. From their standpoint losing Crimea is like [the] USA losing Hawaii & Pearl Harbor.”

Crimea was formally a part of Russia from 1783 until it was gifted to the Ukrainian SSR by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. Musk claimed earlier this month that Khrushchev’s decision was a “mistake,” and suggested that Ukraine abandon its claim to the peninsula as part of a future peace deal with Russia.Musk’s peace plan was condemned by Ukrainian officials and their supporters online, with Ukraine’s former ambassador to Germany, Andrey Melnik, telling the billionaire to “f**k off.”Musk then said that he would take Melnik’s advice and stop providing free Starlink internet access to Ukraine, which he said would cost SpaceX $400 million to run throughout 2023.

Elon

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“..the real problem isn’t shortage but pricing.”

This is how the Ukraine is financed.

US To See Winter Spike In Natural Gas Prices (RT)

Natural gas bills are set to increase in all regions of the United States this winter, with surging demand and colder temperatures potentially forcing Americans to pay nearly 30% more over the previous year, according to projections by the US Department of Energy. A forecast published by the department’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) on Monday predicted a significant price hike over the winter months, suggesting some US households will pay an average of $931 for heating during the cold season – a 28% increase over 2021. Nearly half of all American homes are heated with natural gas.The agency went on to note that the Midwest will see the greatest increase in retail gas prices compared to other regions, though the South, West and Northeast will also experience climbing costs.

While comparatively colder temperatures are expected to contribute to the rising prices, the EIA previously said growing “constraints on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe from Russia” were creating “strong international demand” for American gas. The resulting boost in US exports has used “almost all” of the country’s available gas capacity and driven prices upward, with the US reporting its lowest natural gas storage levels in three years last April. Efforts by some European states to curtail Russian energy imports in retaliation for the war in Ukraine have also prompted fears that residents will be unable to heat their homes come winter. In comments to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Italy’s Energy Minister Roberto Cingolani warned the coming months could be “dominated by fear and uncertainty,” observing that “the real problem isn’t shortage but pricing.”

“Citizens may be unable to pay their bills and businesses risk closing down,” he said, though voiced hopes the continent will “get through the winter fine” barring any “catastrophes” such as exceptionally cold weather or a major spike in energy consumption. EU leaders are expected to meet later this week to discuss a price cap on natural gas for the bloc in an attempt to head off an energy crisis, with the European Commission reportedly planning to create a mechanism allowing it to intervene to force down prices when they surpass a “dynamic” maximum level.

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“..he is another victim, only because of his association with Jeffrey. I understand that he, like others, can no longer consider me as a friend..”

Ghislaine Maxwell Breaks Silence On ‘Special Friendship’ With Bill Clinton (CB)

Ghislaine Maxwell, the imprisoned former girlfriend of the late, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex trafficker, has broken her silence on those who were close friends. Among those friends was former President Bill Clinton whose friendship she described as “special,” she said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Mail. “It was a special friendship, which continued over the years,” she said of her friendship with the former president. “We had lots in common. I feel bad that he is another victim, only because of his association with Jeffrey. I understand that he, like others, can no longer consider me as a friend. “I said in open court in my statement that meeting Jeffrey Epstein was the greatest mistake of my life,” she said.

[..] She also spoke about her former friendship with Prince Andrew. “Yes, I follow what is happening to him,” she said. “He is paying such a price for the association with Jeffrey Epstein. I care about him, and I feel so bad for him. [..] Earlier this month it was reported that Maxwell, may be getting set to talk and that could mean a world of issues for some famous people. “Bill Clinton should be sweating bullets,” reporter Kari Donavan said for The Republic Brief. “It has long been suspected by court watchers that a notorious list of clientele for Epstein, allegedly including Clinton, would eventually emerge, and they may be right, according to investigators and lawyers who have followed the complex case.

“The shocking warning came out of a new documentary that investigated the role of Britain’s Prince Andrew and his close ties as a client of Epstein’s, when the comments were made that there could be further revelations about other clients of Epstein’s because his madame- Ghislaine Maxwell – who was recently convicted for crimes associated with Epstein has until June 2023 to cooperate with prosecutors, in possibly overturning more names,” she said. In a new documentary, “Prince Andrew Banished,’ Florida-based attorney Spencer Kuvin, who represents some of Epstein’s victims, said that Maxwell has until 2023 to cooperate with authorities to get her free from jail quicker.

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“The board accused her of “fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in her practice, “conduct that evidences a lack of ability or fitness,” and being “an immediate jeopardy” to public health.”

American Inquisition (Jim Kunstler)

Case in point: the persecution of Meryl Nass, MD, in the state of Maine by its Board of Licensure in Medicine. Dr. Nass is an internal medicine physician and a recognized expert in bioterrorism who famously uncovered the origin of the mysterious “Gulf War Syndrome” as a reaction to the US Army’s own anthrax vaccine. She has testified before Congress and in many state legislatures about vaccine safety. After the emergence of Covid-19, Dr. Nass spoke out and blogged about the dangers of the new vaccines, and in favor of early treatment protocols using ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. Her outspokeness attracted the ire of Maine Governor Janet Mills, and Mills’s sister, Dora Ann Mills, the “Chief Improvement Officer” at Maine Health, a huge network of twelve hospitals, 1,700 doctors, and 22,000 employees, deeply invested in the Covid vaccine program.

In January of this year, Dr. Nass’s license was suspended by the Licensure Board based on complaints by two “activists” that she was “spreading misinformation” and for her use of early treatment protocols with her own patients. The board compelled Dr. Nass to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to determine if she was a drug abuser or suffered from mental illness. (Flag that, since it implies official defamation of her character.) The board accused her of “fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in her practice, “conduct that evidences a lack of ability or fitness,” and being “an immediate jeopardy” to public health.

For most of this year, the board refused to entertain any defense by Dr. Nass for her suspension until a hearing held last week, October 11, when she appeared before the Licensure Board with her attorney, Gene Libby. The hearing in its entirety can be watched on video at Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense website. (The first two-thirds the board prosecutes its case; the last hour Dr. Nass presents her defense.) Days before the hearing, the Licensure Board withdrew all the “misinformation” charges against Dr. Nass without explanation and now bases its case on Dr. Nass’s use of early treatment protocols.

The hearing was highly instructive on the tactics and strategies for defeating official persecutions against doctors in America (and broadly across all of Western Civ these days), since the Maine licensure Board acted with obvious ignorance and malice that is easily revealed. Dr. Nass’s attorney Gene Libby deftly got the Board on-record attesting to their own deliberate misconduct. For instance, he repeatedly invoked their charges against “spreading misinformation,” forcing the chair, an eye doctor named Maroulla S. Gleaton, to affirm that the charges had been precipitously dropped days before. There was also some lively discussion of the board’s imputations against Dr. Nass’s mental health and insinuations of drug abuse — Dr. Nass testified that she’d never been treated for mental health issues, had never taken pharmaceuticals for them, never took illicit drugs or been accused of it, and, where alcohol was concerned, enjoyed “about five drinks a year.”

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Google translate.

Devastating Report On PCR Test Covered Up (DAK)

Researcher Dr. Rogier Louwen of Erasmus MC concluded after extensive lab research that the PCR test as it is currently used is “pointless”. But the publication of his research is hindered and Louwen was fired by his employer. The ‘resurgence’ of the coronavirus is once again widely in the news. The number of ‘infections’ is rising, the media report daily. Millions of people are still regularly tested for corona. But how reliable is the PCR test? Since the start of the corona crisis, there has been considerable criticism of the test, as it is used, outside the hospital, without additional diagnostics.

This criticism does not only come from opponents of the corona policy. Marion Koopmans, member of the OMT and head of the virology department of Erasmus MC, acknowledged in November 2020 on NPO Radio 1: “You only test whether someone carries a piece of RNA that can be months old”. RIVM acknowledged on its website that large-scale testing of people with mild or no complaints has no added value. This leads to far too many ‘false positive’ results. Rogier Louwen, assistant professor who has been employed by Erasmus MC for 22 years, decided with a number of colleagues to test what a ‘positive’ result from a PCR test means. That research, subsidized by the EU, has been completed.

Louwen concluded that “indiscriminately using the PCR test in a population without too many complaints, and using it as the basis of the policy, is not useful”. He showed that the test is not only positive for pieces of SARS-CoV-2, but also for the presence of other viruses, bacteria and human DNA. However, Louwen was unable to get these interesting results published. According to him, this is due to active “opposition”. In fact, he was fired on the spot in June. That may also have to do with criticism he expressed about the vaccinations. According to Louwen, his situation is symptomatic of the one-sided way in which corona is approached. An open debate is not possible, he says. “People want to destroy you scientifically and personally.”

RFK: FDA is having an public meeting on Oct 19 to discuss adding COVID-19 Vaccine to the childhood schedule. This would give the pharma companies full liability protection and also likely lead to any school requiring it in the US.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1582112199635783680

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Why?

Boston University Makes New Covid Strain With 80% Kill Rate (PM)

Researchers at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories have created a new strain of the Covid virus, echoing experiments which many believe led to the Covid-19 pandemic. The variant is a hybrid of the Omicron variant which spread over the winter and the original virus that was discovered in Wuhan, with this hybrid killing 80 percent of the mice researchers infected, according to the Daily Mail. Researchers found that when infected with the Omicron variant, a similar group of mice all survived and experienced “mild” symptoms. The new research, which has not been peer reviewed, centers around the role of spike proteins in the pathogenic and antigenic behaviors of the virus.

Researchers extracted Omicron’s spike protein, which binds to and invades human cells, and attached those to the original virus that emerged in Wuhan. Looking at how mice fared against the new hybrid strain, researchers wrote, “In…mice, while Omicron causes mild, non-fatal infection, the Omicron S-carrying virus inflicts severe disease with a mortality rate of 80 percent.” Researchers said that while the spike protein is responsible for rates of infectivity, other changes to the virus’ structure determine its deadliness. In addition to looking at mice, researchers also looked at how different strains affect human lung cells that were grown in the lab.

Researchers found that the new strain produced five times more infectious virus particles than the Omicron variant. Researchers noted that the hybrid virus is likely to be less deadly in humans due to differences in the immune systems of mice and humans. Boston University’s lab is one of 13 biosafety level 4 labs in the US. These labs are authorized to handle the most dangerous pathogens, and conduct experiments that often involve working with animal viruses to advance treatments and vaccines.

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“There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer.”

Cancer Is a Man-Made Disease – Controversial Study (LS)

Is the common nature of cancer worldwide purely a man-made phenomenon? That is what some researchers now suggest. Still, other specialists in cancer and in human fossils have strong doubts about this notion. Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for roughly one in eight of all deaths in 2004, according to the World Health Organization. However, scientists have only found one case of the disease in investigations of hundreds of Egyptian mummies, researcher Rosalie David at the University of Manchester in England said in a statement. The rarity of cancer in mummies suggests it was scarce in antiquity, and “that cancer-causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization,” researcher Michael Zimmerman at Villanova University in Pennsylvania said in a statement.

“In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases.” Zimmerman was the first to diagnose cancer in an Egyptian mummy by analyzing its tissues on a microscopic level, identifying rectal cancer in an unnamed mummy who had lived in the Dakhleh Oasis during the Ptolemaic period 1,600 to 1,800 years ago. David and Zimmerman also analyzed ancient literature from Egypt and Greece for hints of cancer, as well as medical studies of human and animal remains going back to the age of dinosaurs. They suggested evidence of cancer in animal fossils, non-human primates and early humans was scarce, with a few dozen uncertain examples.

As they analyzed ancient literature, they did not find descriptions of operations for breast and other cancers until the 17th century, and the first reports in the scientific literature of distinctive tumors have only occurred in the past 200 years, such as scrotal cancer in chimney sweepers in 1775, nasal cancer in snuff users in 1761 and Hodgkin’s disease in 1832. One possible reason cancers might have been comparatively rare in antiquity is that the short life span of individuals back then precluded the development of the disease. Still, the researchers did note some people in ancient Egypt and Greece did live long enough to develop such diseases as atherosclerosis, Paget’s disease of bone, and osteoporosis.

David and Zimmerman therefore argue that cancer nowadays is largely caused by man-made environmental factors such as pollution and diet. They detailed their findings in the October issue of the journal Nature Reviews Cancer. “In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death, but in ancient times, it was extremely rare,” David said in a statement. “There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer.”

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“..Biden has forced all Americans working in China to pick between quitting their jobs and losing American citizenship..”

Biden Export Controls ‘Wreaking Havoc’ On China’s Chip Industry (ZH)

A Twitter thread translated by Rhodium Group China expert Jordan Schneider provides keen insight into the effects of the Biden administration’s new export controls on the chip industry. To review, the Biden administration last week laid out new rules on chip exports based on US concerns that China will use AI to improve military capabilities, support surveillance for human rights abuses and “disrupt or manufacture outcomes that undermine democratic governance and sow social unrest,” according to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea D. Rozman Kendler. The sweeping regulations will curb the sale of semiconductors and chipmaking equipment to its #1 geopolitical rival – which, as Bloomberg puts it, is “sending shockwaves through the $440 billion industry.”

In a Friday Twitter thread which he translated from Hedgehog Computing Group founder Xinran Wang (@lidangzzz), Schneider lays out the carnage in English: “To put it simply, Biden has forced all Americans working in China to pick between quitting their jobs and losing American citizenship,” Schneider writes, adding “One round of sanctions from Biden did more damage than all four years of performative sanctioning under Trump.” Every American executive and engineer working in China’s semiconductor manufacturing industry resigned yesterday, paralyzing Chinese manufacturing overnight.One round of sanctions from Biden did more damage than all four years of performative sanctioning under Trump. — Jordan Schneider (@jordanschnyc) October 14, 2022

Although American semiconductor exporters had to apply for licenses during the Trump years, licenses were approved within a month. With the new Biden sanctions, all American suppliers of IP blocks, components, and services departed overnight —— thus cutting off all service [to China]. Long story short, every advanced node semiconductor company is currently facing comprehensive supply cut-off, resignations from all American staff, and immediate operations paralysis.This is what annihilation looks like: China’s semiconductor manufacturing industry was reduced to zero overnight. Complete collapse. No chance of survival.

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That’s a lot of lies.

Will Comey and Mueller Be Prosecuted for Lies John Durham Uncovered? (ET)

While special counsel John Durham’s prosecution of Steele dossier source Igor Danchenko appears to be headed toward acquittal, Durham has used the trial to make public a number of revelations that cast the entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative in a fresh light. Most prominently, Durham revealed that on Oct. 3, 2016, the FBI had offered dossier author Christopher Steele up to $1 million to provide any information, physical evidence, or documentary evidence that could back up the claims in his dossier. But despite the huge reward on offer, Steele did not provide any such information.Crucially, despite Steele’s failure to back up his dossier, a mere 18 days later the FBI proceeded to obtain a FISA warrant against Trump 2016 presidential campaign adviser Carter Page.

In its application to the FISA court, the FBI used the Steele dossier—specifically, its claim that Page was acting as an agent of Russia—as evidence.Then, after Donald Trump won the presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016, the U.S. intelligence community, which included the FBI, began drafting an intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russian interference in the election. The ICA was issued in early January 2017, claiming that Russia had helped Trump win the election.The assessment included a summary of the dossier, claiming that it had been partly corroborated. The inclusion of Steele’s dossier in an official U.S. intelligence community product gave the dossier the credibility it had lacked up until that point.

It also gave the media, which had held back from reporting on the dossier between July 2016 and January 2017, the excuse it needed to start doing so. For the next several years, the dossier and its lurid claims became the centerpiece of the media’s campaign against Trump. As Durham has now made public, the inclusion of the dossier in the ICA was based on a lie.Another major revelation exposed by Durham in a pre-trial motion was that Danchenko had been on the FBI’s payroll between March 2017 and October 2020 as a confidential human source (CHS). By bestowing this coveted status on Danchenko, the FBI was able to conceal the existence of Danchenko from congressional and other investigators.

This was crucial, as Danchenko had told FBI investigators in January 2017 that the dossier was based on rumors and gossip made in jest. The admission that the Steele dossier was nothing more than bar talk needed to be concealed if the FBI was to continue its investigation of Trump. Appointing Danchenko as a CHS had another benefit for the FBI. As Danchenko’s handler, FBI agent Kevin Helson, confirmed in court last week, because he was an incoming CHS, Danchenko was directed to scrub his phone. Conveniently, that also meant scrubbing evidence of Danchenko’s alleged lies to the FBI, evidence that Durham now lacks.

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“Why, then, wait until the last hearing, especially if the House may flip to GOP control in a matter of weeks?”

Why the Jan 6 Committee’s Timing is both Terrible and Telling (Turley)

The Jan. 6 committee had a noble mandate but failed to use it to offer a credible investigation for citizens across the political spectrum. From the first to the final hearing, it presented a one-sided narrative in a tightly scripted, packaged production. No defense or alternative explanations for key events or statements were allowed; witnesses were largely asked specific questions to get them to repeat what they said in previously recorded interviews, as members read from a teleprompter. The committee could have been so much more. It could have followed the type of balanced inquiry that pursued allegations tied to the Pearl Harbor attack or Watergate. Even without Republican-appointed members, it could have insisted on balanced hearings with witnesses and dissenting views.

Nevertheless, the committee revealed important, often disturbing details. It was important for Americans to hear from figures like former attorney general Bill Barr and White House lawyers who struggled to counter unfounded advice given to Trump by outside lawyers on challenging the 2020 election. There were painful scenes of Capitol police overwhelmed at barricades and members of Congress hunkered down in offices. Yet, the focus on a single approved narrative gave the hearings the feel of an infomercial selling a product that most of us bought two years earlier. Subpoenaing Trump on the final scheduled hearing only reaffirmed how the committee was driven by political rather than investigative priorities. Indeed, the timing was embarrassingly transparent.

While Trump could appear without a challenge or the Democrats could retain the House, few experts are predicting either outcome. For more than a year, the committee said its investigation was focused on Trump’s intent and actions. Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) explained that the subpoena was essential because “he must be accountable. He is required to answer for his actions on Jan. 6. So we want to hear from him.” Why, then, wait until the last hearing, especially if the House may flip to GOP control in a matter of weeks?

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Via Ugo Bardi.

The Dark Side of Nuclear Fusion (Pepi Cima)

Reading what was written by the scientists who worked in nuclear fusion in the early years of the “atomic age” shows that the development of an energy source for peaceful use, energy “too cheap to meter”, is what motivated them more than anything else. The same arguments were brought forward by Claudio Descalzi, CEO of ENI, a major investor in fusion, addressing the Italian Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic (COPASIR) in a hearing of December 9th 2021: fusion will offer humanity large quantities of energy of a safe, clean and virtually inexhaustible kind.

Wishful thinking: with regard to “inexhaustible,” we cannot do anything in fusion without tritium (an isotope of hydrogen) which is nonexistent on this planet and most of the theoretical predictions, no experiments to date, say that magnetic confinement, the main hope of fusion, will not self-fertilize. Speaking of “clean” energy, Paola Batistoni, head of ENEA’s Fusion Energy Development Division, at reactor shutdown envisages the production of hundreds of thousands of tons of materials unapproachable by humans for hundreds of years. However, the problem I am worried about here is a military problem, mostly ignored, even by COPASIR, the Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic. There are many reasons to worry about nuclear fusion: the huge amount of magnetic energy in the reactor can cause explosions equivalent to hundreds of kilograms of TNT, resulting in the release of tritium, a very radioactive and difficult to contain gas.

On top of it, with the neutrons of nuclear fusion, it is possible to breed fissile materials. But the risks that seem to me most worrisome in the long run will come from new weapons, never seen before. To better understand this issue, let’s review how classical thermonuclear weapons work, the 70-year-old ones. Their exact characteristics are not in the public domain but Wikipedia describes them in sufficient detail. For a more complete introduction, I recommend the highly readable books by Richard Rhodes. There exist today “simple” fission bombs, which use only fissile reactions to generate energy, and “thermonuclear” bombs, which use both fission and fusion for that purpose. Thermonuclear bombs are an example of inertial confinement fusion (ICF), where everything happens so quickly that all the energy is released before the reacting matter has the time to disperse.

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Jun 262022
 


Caravaggio The Denial of St. Peter 1610

 

The Fantasy of Fanaticism (Scott Ritter)
US Commander: China’s ‘No-limits’ Support Of Russia Threatens Humanity (JTN)
G7 Face Battle For Unity As Cost Of Ukraine War Mounts (BBC)
Adding $37 Billion to Biden’s Military Budget (CD)
Russia On Brink Of Default As Debt Deadline Looms (BBC)
Germany Fears Russia Could Shut Nord Stream 1 Within Weeks (ZH)
Just 5% Call Abortion Top Concern (WE)
“It’s Infuriating”: DC Democrats In Chaos, Demand Biden Act On Abortion (ZH)
Democrats Lived Rent-free For 50 Years Off Roe v. Wade
The Dobbs Decision Unleashes Rage and Revisionism (Turley)
Biden Undermines Supreme Court In Ways Unlike Predecessors (JTN)
EU Renews Digital Covid Pass Despite 99% Negative Public Feedback (Kogon)
Birx Had A Tough Day In Congress (El Gato)
Ghislaine Maxwell On Suicide Watch, May Seek Sentencing Delay (R.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) “..the secretary general of the trans-Atlantic alliance responsible for pushing Ukraine into its current conflict with Russia is now proposing that Ukraine be willing to accept the permanent loss of sovereign territory because NATO miscalculated..”

2) “Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked..”

The Fantasy of Fanaticism (Scott Ritter)

Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, recently estimated that Ukraine was losing between 100 and 200 soldiers a day on the frontlines with Russia, and another 500 or so wounded. These are unsustainable losses, brought on by the ongoing disparity in combat capability between Russia and Ukraine symbolized, but not limited to, artillery. In recognition of this reality, NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg announced that Ukraine will more than likely have to make territorial concessions to Russia as part of any potential peace agreement, asking, “what price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory, how much independence, how much sovereignty…are you willing to sacrifice for peace?”

Stoltenberg, speaking in Finland, noted that similar territorial concessions made by Finland to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War was “one of the reasons Finland was able to come out of the Second World War as an independent sovereign nation.” To recap — the secretary general of the trans-Atlantic alliance responsible for pushing Ukraine into its current conflict with Russia is now proposing that Ukraine be willing to accept the permanent loss of sovereign territory because NATO miscalculated and Russia —instead of being humiliated on the field of battle and crushed economically — is winning on both fronts. Decisively. That the secretary general of NATO would make such an announcement is telling for several reasons.

First, Ukraine is requesting 1,000 artillery pieces and 300 multiple-launch rocket systems, more than the entire active-duty inventory of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps combined. Ukraine is also requesting 500 main battle tanks — more than the combined inventories of Germany and the United Kingdom. In short, to keep Ukraine competitive on the battlefield, NATO is being asked to strip its own defenses down to literally zero. More telling, however, is what the numbers say about NATO’s combat strength versus Russia. If NATO is being asked to empty its armory to keep Ukraine in the game, one must consider the losses suffered by Ukraine up to that point and that Russia appears able to sustain its current level of combat activity indefinitely. That’s right — Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked.

One can only imagine the calculations underway in Brussels as NATO military strategists ponder the fact that their alliance is incapable of defeating Russia in a large-scale European conventional land war. But there is another conclusion that these numbers reveal — that no matter what the U.S. and NATO do in terms of serving as Ukraine’s arsenal, Russia is going to win the war. The question now is how much time the West can buy Ukraine, and at what cost, in a futile effort to discover Russia’s pain threshold in order to bring the conflict to an end in a manner that reflects anything but the current path toward unconditional surrender.

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“..Jake Sullivan, said that a weak U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “would send a message to other would-be aggressors, including China, that they could do the same thing.”

For some reason he doesn’t appear to include the US in that group of “would-be aggressors”.

US Commander: China’s ‘No-limits’ Support Of Russia Threatens Humanity (JTN)

China’s assertion of a “no-limits” partnership with Russia has alarmed the Pentagon and risks endangering all of humanity should the two nations continue to grow closer, according to the commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific. “From where I sit, the most concerning aspect of [Russia’s war in Ukraine] is that the People’s Republic of China has declared a no-limits policy in support of Russia and what that means to both the Indo-Pacific and the globe,” Adm. John Aquilino, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said on Friday. “If those two nations were to truly demonstrate and deliver a no-limits policy, I think what that means is we’re currently in an extremely dangerous time and place in the history of humanity, if that were to come true,” said Aquilino, speaking at an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think-tank.

In February, Chinese leader Xi Jinping met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing, where they heralded their relationship in a sweeping joint statement. “Friendship between the two states has no limits,” the two leaders said. “There are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.” The meeting came three weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion and has echoed Russian talking points about the war. Aquilino praised the Ukrainian people for defending their country and touted the efforts of the U.S. military and U.S. allies to help Ukraine defend itself.

“Globally what we see is that the world is certainly unwilling to accept a single person’s actions — illegitimate, unprovoked — to change the world order, the status quo, the international rules-based order through an unprovoked, illicit invasion,” he said. The commander’s comments came after President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that a weak U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “would send a message to other would-be aggressors, including China, that they could do the same thing.”

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“..Germany has invited the leaders of India, Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina and South Africa to the summit..”

That’s two BRICS members, and three potential ones.

G7 Face Battle For Unity As Cost Of Ukraine War Mounts (BBC)

The Russian war against Ukraine will inevitably dominate the summit of G7 nations in Bavaria. And the leaders of the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan face a difficult challenge. They are aiming to put on a show of unity and resolve over the war. In recent months, the Western alliance has shown signs of strain and fatigue. Some voices – particularly in France, Germany and Italy – have asked if it might not be better for the war to end, even if it came at the cost of Ukraine having to cede territory. A recent cross-Europe opinion poll suggested some voters put solving the cost-of-living crisis ahead of punishing Russia. Others argue about the need to salvage some kind of relationship with Russia in the future.

Countries like the UK, Poland and the three Baltic States have been resisting these arguments, saying that any peace deal with Moscow that is not on Ukraine’s terms would lead to further Russian aggression in the future. President Zelensky is likely to reinforce this argument when he addresses the summit virtually on Monday. So the G7 leaders are expected to try to use the summit to clear these muddy waters, promising more weapons to Ukraine and more sanctions against Russia. The idea will be to send a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the West has the strategic patience to maintain its support for Ukraine, even if it faces domestic political pressure at home from voters concerned about rising prices. The problem for G7 leaders is they also face growing pressure to show they are tackling the global economic crisis. The soaring price of fuel and food is causing hunger and unrest across the world.

And some countries are pointing the finger at the West. Many countries in the global south do not share Western concerns about Russian aggression. They see the conflict as a European war and seem unmoved by Western arguments that Vladimir Putin is acting as a colonial aggressor. And they blame Western sanctions – as much as Russia’s invasion – for the rising costs of gas and oil, and the massive shortage of wheat and fertiliser. To try to resist this narrative, G7 countries are expected to use the summit to show they are acting to help countries round the world – with development aid, debt restructuring, climate finance, help finding alternative sources of energy and, of course, fresh efforts to get grain out of Ukraine’s ports. That is why Germany has invited the leaders of India, Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina and South Africa to the summit, to hear their perspective and show the rest of the world the G7 is listening.

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“If you’re supporting this amendment, you’re basically paving the way to a trillion-dollar defense [bill]..”

Adding $37 Billion to Biden’s Military Budget (CD)

Progressives expressed outrage after a House panel voted Wednesday to tack an additional $37 billion on top of President Joe Biden’s already gargantuan military spending request. The Biden administration’s March request for $813 billion in military spending for Fiscal Year 2023 already marked a $31 billion increase over the current, historically large sum of $782 billion. During its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House Armed Services Committee approved by a 42-17 margin Rep. Jared Golden’s (D-Maine) amendment to boost the topline budget by $37 billion. “Today members of the House Armed Services Committee put the demands of the military-industrial complex over the needs of the American people yet again,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement.

“Granting $37 billion to a war machine that can’t even pass an audit while saying that we ‘can’t afford’ what American families and communities need is quintessential hypocrisy,” said Weissman. “Congress can still correct this misstep — rerouting that funding into investments like economic stability, climate justice, and affordable healthcare for all Americans instead.” The House panel’s increase comes less than a week after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to add $45 billion to Biden’s $813 billion request, pushing the upper chamber’s total proposed budget for national military spending in the coming fiscal year to a whopping $857.6 billion — including $817 billion for the Pentagon, $30 billion for the Department of Energy and an additional $10.6 billion that falls outside NDAA jurisdiction.

During a speech Wednesday in which she explained why she voted against Golden’s “unconscionable” amendment, Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Cailf.) stressed that “there are simply not military solutions to every problem.” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) also voted against Golden’s amendment and explained his opposition in remarks delivered from the House floor. “If you’re supporting this amendment, you’re basically paving the way to a trillion-dollar defense [bill],” said Khanna. “Is that what we want in this country?” “I just want to be clear,” he added. “There is no country in the world that is putting over half its discretionary budget into defense and I would rather for us to be the preeminent economy of the 21st century by investing in the health of our people, in the education of our people, in the industries of the future.”

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“This whole situation looks like a farce.”

Russia On Brink Of Default As Debt Deadline Looms (BBC)

Russia is on the brink of its first debt default since 1998 as the Sunday deadline to make a $100m interest payment seems certain to be missed. Russia has the money and is willing to pay, but sanctions make it impossible to get the payments to international creditors. The Kremlin has been determined to avoid a first default since 1998, and a major blow to the nation’s prestige. The Russian finance minister branded the situation “a farce”. Russia has seemed on an inevitable path to default since sanctions were first imposed by the US and EU following the invasion of Ukraine.These restricted the country’s access to the international banking networks which would process payments from Russia to investors around the world.

The Russian government has said it wants to make all of its payments on time, and so far it has succeeded.About $40bn of Russia’s debts are denominated in dollars or euros, with around half held outside the country. A default would be the first since 1998, at the chaotic end of Boris Yeltsin’s regime. The $100m interest payment was due on 27 May. Russia says the money was sent to Euroclear, a bank which would then distribute the payment to investors. But that payment has been stuck there, according to Bloomberg News, and creditors have not received it. “They have not got it,” says Jay Auslander, a US lawyer who has worked on many government debt cases. “And the overwhelming probability is they’re not going to get it.”If this money has not arrived within 30 days of the due date, that is, Sunday evening, that will widely be considered a default.

Euroclear wouldn’t say if the payment had been blocked, but said it adheres to all sanctions. Default seemed inevitable when the US Treasury decided not to renew the special exemption in sanctions rules allowing investors to receive interest payments from Russia, which expired on 25 May. The Kremlin now appears to have accepted this inevitability too, decreeing on 23 June stating that all future debt payments would be made in roubles through a Russian bank, the National Settlements Depository, even when contracts state they should be in dollars or other international currencies. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov admitted foreign investors would “not be able to receive” the payments according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

This was for two reasons, he said. “The first is that foreign infrastructure – correspondent banks, settlement and clearing systems, depositories – ares prohibited from conducting any operations related to Russia. The second is that foreign investors are expressly prohibited from receiving payments from us.” Because Russia wants to pay and has plenty of money to do it, he denied that this amounts to a genuine default, which usually occur when governments refuse to pay, or their economies are so weak that they cannot find the money. “Everyone in the know understands that this is not a default at all,” RIA Novosti quoted him. “This whole situation looks like a farce.”

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Come -cold- winter, Europeans will not blame all this on Putin. They will demand their politicians make peace with Russia.

Germany Fears Russia Could Shut Nord Stream 1 Within Weeks (ZH)

The European Union has this week accused Russia of planning “rogue moves” regarding lowering natural gas flows to Europe, or in other words continuing to ‘weaponize’ its energy, to which the Kremlin has consistently responded with variations of ‘our gas, our rules’. This after Moscow has reduced Nord Stream 1 gas flows by 40% last week while citing technical issues, leading to a four- to sixfold rise in market prices, based on German energy officials. However, Berlin isn’t buying that needed maintenance on the key pipeline is all that’s happening here, instead seeing in it an underhanded Russian ploy to ramp up the pressure on Europe, giving way to fears that the saga could end in Russia halting its pipeline altogether.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” economy minister Robert Habeck said at a Thursday press conference while warning that his country is now approaching crisis supply levels which could see authorities turn to gas rationing. Habeck confirmed that the last days have seen a “significant deterioration of the gas supply situation” – following Gazprom’s Nord Stream 1 also having to now undergo what the Russian energy company has scheduled as “annual maintenance” for a period of ten days, from July 11 to July 21. Habeck was asked in an interview this week with German broadcaster ZDF about the negative scenario possibility of Russia artificially extending the repair and maintenance period: “I’d be lying if I said I’m ruling it out. In fact, Putin has gradually reduced the amount of gas more and more,” he responded.

According to the German language publication, the economy minister bluntly spelled out that Putin is trying to use energy to drive a wedge among European allies: Putin’s plan is to put pressure on the market to make prices in Europe more expensive. According to Habeck, it is mainly a matter of stirring up social unrest and breaking down unity. He wants to make sure that Putin “does not win,” the economy minister told ZDF heute Journal. Measures are also being taken to ensure the unity of society.

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“Only 5% said abortion was top issue. That might change a little, but not with people who can’t afford food or gas or rent or medical bills..”

Just 5% Call Abortion Top Concern (WE)

Abortion, the No. 1 concern in today’s media and politics, ranks nearly dead last among areas voters care about as they struggle with paying daily bills, soaring inflation, and interest rate hikes, according to a just-released survey. While the Supreme Court’s decision overruling the 1973 Roe v. Wade right to abortion has dominated today’s network and cable coverage, the latest McLaughlin & Associates poll said just 5% of voters call it a top concern. Just below abortion, at 1%, is reviewing the 2020 election, over which the media are also obsessing. By comparison, 54% cited the economy. “Only 5% said abortion was top issue. That might change a little, but not with people who can’t afford food or gas or rent or medical bills,” said pollster John McLaughlin, referencing the court’s decision today.

He also told Secrets, “This was no surprise. The decision was leaked a while ago. Most states will not change their laws. Biden’s handlers are desperate to change the subject from the imploding economy.” President Joe Biden said today that he plans to dig into ways to continue the rights under Roe, but John and Jim McLaughlin said their data show it’s a desperation play to recover his base. In their latest survey, just 23% of Democratic primary voters said Biden was their first pick to run in 2024. “People are focused right now on inflation, gas, cost of living, public safety, and the disintegration of America,” Jim McLaughlin said. “You know you’re struggling when 77% of Biden’s primary voters are looking for somebody else.”

And while the media were suggesting that the question of abortion will help drive a bigger Democratic turnout in fall elections, the McLaughlins said it also stands to help Republicans. In an April survey, they found that 93% agree with this statement: “Every human being represents a life that is precious and has value.” John McLaughlin said, “If the Republicans stand on principle and defend human life, Americans are on their side.”

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“Behind the carnival tent curtain..”

“It’s Infuriating”: DC Democrats In Chaos, Demand Biden Act On Abortion (ZH)

Democrats are seething with rage over Friday’s 6-3 majority decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, sending the question of abortion rights back to the state-level. “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” read the opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito. Pro-abortion protesters sprung to action, deploying posters which read “Bans off my Body” and other slogans. Hours after the news broke, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called the decision “illegitimate,” and encouraged people to get “into the streets” to protest.


Her call for what we’re sure will be ‘mostly peaceful’ protests prompted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to accuse the Democrat of ‘launching an insurrection,’ adding “Any violence and rioting is a direct result of Democrat marching orders.” “I will explain this to you slowly: exercising our right to protest is not obstruction of Congress nor an attempt to overturn democracy,” AOC replied, to which Greene asked AOC why she won’t support pardons for Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, why she is “a shill for the MIC (military industrial complex) funding war in Ukraine,” or “are you too busy organizing baby killing riots?” Behind the carnival tent curtain, DC insiders are furious and are demanding that the Biden administration DO SOMETHING! “It’s infuriating. What the hell have we been doing?” one Democratic strategist told The Hill. “Why are we not talking about this every single day? Why hasn’t Biden made this the issue for Democrats? If we don’t step up, we’ve got ourselves to blame.”

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“..American liberals have lived rent free for 50 years on the Blackmun decision. They didn’t have to frame arguments. They didn’t have to persuade 50 legislatures…”

Democrats Lived Rent-free For 50 Years Off Roe v. Wade

Maybe it’s time everyone slowed down and looked at Roe for what it was. It was legal malpractice of the highest order that disenfranchised hundreds of millions of Americans by rationalizing that the Constitution had settled the question of abortion. An issue that rightly belonged in state legislatures where citizens could argue for and against was commandeered by the Blackmun court and settled. This is not merely a conservative view. Since Roe became law in 1973, a powerful consensus has been building among legal authorities left and right that Roe was constructed not on the breakwater of constitutional logic but on the seafoam of judicial activism. Here’s just a brief sampling from the left. And understand, I could easily add 20 more examples just like these:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court Justice): “The political process was moving in the early 1970 …not swiftly enough for advocates for quick, complete change, but majoritarian institutions were listening and acting. (Roe’s) heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.” Edward Lazarus (attorney, clerk to Roe-author Justice Harry Blackmun): “As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible. I say this as someone utterly committed to the right to choose, as someone who believes such a right has grounding elsewhere in the Constitution instead of where Roe placed it, and as someone who loved Roe’s author like a grandfather. …(Roe) has little connection to the constitutional right it purportedly interpreted.”

Jeffrey Rosen (Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic): “In short, 30 years later, it seems increasingly clear that this pro-choice magazine was correct in 1973 when it criticized Roe on constitutional grounds. Its overturning would be the best thing that could happen to the federal judiciary, the pro-choice movement and the moderate majority of the American people.” Michael Kinsley (Opinion editor, Los Angeles Times; co-host of Crossfire): “Although I am pro-choice, I was taught in law school, and still believe, that Roe v. Wade is a muddle of bad reasoning and an authentic example of judicial overreaching. I also believe it was a political disaster for liberals. Roe is what first politicized religious conservatives while cutting off a political process that was legalizing abortion state by state anyway. Three decades later, that awakened giant controls the government.”

John Hart Ely (law professor; Yale, Harvard, Stanford; clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren): “(Roe) is, nevertheless, a very bad decision. Not because it will perceptibly weaken the Court — it won’t; and not because it conflicts with either my idea of progress or what the evidence suggests is society’s — it doesn’t. It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

On Friday, President Joe Biden ignored this consensus and railed against today’s justices who agree with it. “Make no mistake,” said Biden. “This decision is the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law. It’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court.” To the contrary, I’ve presented above just a fraction of the counterevidence that shows Biden is wrong. Just to restate, as early as the 1970s when Michael Kinsley was chasing paper at Harvard Law, it was common knowledge in Cambridge that Roe was “a muddle of bad reasoning” and judicial overreach. American liberals have lived rent free for 50 years on the Blackmun decision. They didn’t have to frame arguments. They didn’t have to persuade 50 legislatures. The Blackmun court handed them the ball, the game and the whistle when it was only just beginning.


CA bar exam

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[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be under- stood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

The Dobbs Decision Unleashes Rage and Revisionism (Turley)

In the aftermath of the historic ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, politicians and pundits have denounced the Supreme Court justices and the Court itself for holding opposing views on the interpretation of the Court. Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the justices “right-wing politicians” and many journalists called the Court “activists.” Most concerning were legal analysts who fueled misleading accounts of the opinion or the record of this Court. Notably, it is precisely what the Court anticipated in condemning those who would make arguments “designed to stoke unfounded fear.” Vice President Kamala Harris and others repeated the claims that same-sex marriage, contraceptives, and other rights are now in danger. The Court, however, expressly and repeatedly stated that this decision could not be used to undermine those rights: “Abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called ‘fetal life’ and what the law now before us describes as an ‘unborn human being.’”

The Court noted: “Perhaps this is designed to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights, but the dissent’s analogy is objectionable for a more important reason: what it reveals about the dissent’s views on the protection of what Roe called “potential life.” The exercise of the rights at issue in Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell does not destroy a “potential life,” but an abortion has that effect. So if the rights at issue in those cases are fundamentally the same as the right recognized in Roe and Casey, the implication is clear: The Constitution does not permit the States to regard the destruction of a “potential life” as a matter of any significance.”

Indeed, I cannot recall an opinion when the Court was more adamant in prospectively blocking the use of a holding in future cases. Only one justice, Clarence Thomas, suggested that the Court should reexamine the rationale for such rights but also emphasized that the majority of the Court was clearly holding that the opinion could not be used in that way. Thomas wrote: “The Court’s abortion cases are unique, see ante, at 31–32, 66, 71–72, and no party has asked us to decide “whether our entire Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence must be preserved or revised,” McDonald, 561 U. S., at 813 (opinion of THOMAS, J.). Thus, I agree that “[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be under- stood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

Nevertheless, on CNN, legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers echoed the common claim that this decision could now be used to unravel an array of other rights and “criminalizing every single aspect” of women’s reproductive healthcare. However, Rodgers went even further. She suggested that states could ban menstrual cycle tracking: “Are they going to be able to search your apps—you know there’s apps that track your menstrual cycle. You know how far are these states going to try and go?”

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“Biden trampled his own promise to embrace government and the rule of law.”

Biden Undermines Supreme Court In Ways Unlike Predecessors (JTN)

Two months into his presidency, as he did often on the campaign trial, President Joe Biden asked America to embrace the legitimacy of government. “Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people,” the 46th president implored his country in a March 2021 speech on the anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdowns. On Friday, after being stung by abortion and gun rights rulings by the Supreme Court that he disagreed with, the president changed his tune and launched a verbal assault on America’s judicial branch of government and its iconic marbled court of nine justices. The president took a blowtorch to the Supreme Court in language clearly designed to undermine its legitimacy.

He accused the justices of waging a “deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law” and decried their “extreme and dangerous path”, as he insisted the nation’s highest court had made the “United States an outlier among developed nations” by reversing the half-century-old Roe v. Wade decision. A day earlier, he slammed the court’s verdict that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms extended to carrying in public, calling that decision “unconstitutional.” In so doing, Biden trampled his own promise to embrace government and the rule of law. He also veered from the civility most presidents and senior political leaders have shown the court, even when it ruled against their wishes.

Barack Obama, for instance, didn’t like the famed Heller gun ruling in 2008 that overturned DC’s restrictive handgun laws, but issued a statement that suggested good people could find common ground in it. “I will uphold the Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen,” Obama said. “I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws.” George W. Bush showed the same deference when the justices rejected his arguments that Guantanamo Bay terrorist prisoners didn’t deserve full rights in the courts. “We’ll abide by the court’s decision,” Bush said. “That doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.”

Likewise, Al Gore upheld the legitimacy of the legal system after losing the 2000 election in an epic Supreme Court ruling: ““I accept the finality of the outcome … And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession,” the then-vice president said. Biden’s angry strike at the court’s legitimacy drew a rebuke from many corridors, including from a famed liberal law professor who voted for him. “I am concerned about that,” Harvard University law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told “Just the News, Not Noise” television program Friday night when asked about Biden’s reaction.

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“And so on and so forth through 385,191 responses.”

EU Renews Digital Covid Pass Despite 99% Negative Public Feedback (Kogon)

Acting on a proposal of the European Commission, the European Parliament, as expected, voted yesterday to renew the EU Digital Covid Certificate for another year. The vote was 453 for, 119 against and 19 abstentions. The certificate regulation had been scheduled to expire on June 30. Earlier this month, a delegation from the parliament had already reached a “political agreement” with the Commission on renewing the certificate, thus making yesterday’s vote virtually a foregone conclusion. The certificate regulation was originally adopted in June of last year, ostensibly to facilitate “safe travel” between EU member states. But the EU digital certificate quickly evolved into the model and sometimes infrastructure for the domestic “health” or Covid passes that would serve to restrict access to many other areas of social life over the following year.

The EU has opted to extend the covid certificate despite the overwhelmingly negative results of a public consultation on the subject that was launched by the European Commission under the heading of “Have Your Say” and that was open to the public from February 3 to April 8. The consultation elicited over 385,000 responses – almost all of which appear to be opposed to renewal! In a letter to the European Ombudsman that the French member of the parliament Virginie Joron posted on her Twitter feed, Joron writes: “I read hundreds of responses at random with my team. I did not find any in favor of extending the QR code [i.e. the digital certificate]. Based on this large survey, it seems obvious that virtually all the responses were negative.”

The overwhelmingly negative tendency of the responses was indeed evident from the outset. The first full page of responses, all of them dating from February 4, is available here. They are, of course, in a variety of European Union languages: French, German, Italian, and also one in English. To provide readers an idea of the tenor, here is a translation of just the first line or two of the first several responses (starting from the bottom of the page): “I am completely opposed to the establishment of this certificate given what is currently happening with the EU’s disastrous handling of Covid…” “I want this cst [probably a reference to Belgium’s “Covid Safe Ticket”] or vaccine passport simply to be eliminated… ” “There are claims made in the draft document that are not scientifically supported. For example, it is claimed that the Covid certificate represents effective protection against the spread of the virus – what data can support this claim?…

“Hello, I am shocked and disgusted by the freedom-killing decisions taken in the EU … as regards this “European certificate” … ” “The covid certificate or green pass SHOULD BE ABOLISHED immediately as discriminatory and unconstitutional and not supported by any scientific data, because it is exclusively based on PUNITIVE measures for citizens… ” “I am opposed to the extension of the green pass, which serves no purpose other than creating discrimination… ” “I never want to be subjected to a discriminatory certificate again…” “And, finally, the English-language entry: “The digital Covid certificate should end immediately. There is so much data that supports the fact that digital passports have zero positive impact on transmission rates and in fact in the most vaccinated and highly regulated countries, there [sic.] covid rates are insane…” And so on and so forth through 385,191 responses.

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“Digging further into this is going to get really good. It’s clear these people are neither smart nor informed. They hipshot and hoped. And all the carnage and calamity it drove is going to land on them.”

Birx Had A Tough Day In Congress (El Gato)

Leaders do not, mostly, lead. They follow the public mood. And as that mood is shifting, it’s becoming ok to ask the pointy questions and start getting to the bottom of things. Debbie had a tough outing here and gets pinned on a simple and vital issue: When public health officials and agencies stridently told america that the covid vaccines would be a “dead end for the virus” and stop infection and spread, upon what did they base that claim and how did they get it so wrong? Once Jordan gets a hold of her, this is like a tuna filled piñata in a tiger cage. jj: Was the government lying when they said this? db: i don’t know. i was not part of the taskforce discussions Strong start. Non-denial denial, offers up others for the trip under the bus. Both evasive and self-protective. Politics 101.

She then speaks of her family still using “layered protection” because she knew that vaccine immunity would wane like natural immunity. This is both inaccurate and deeply dishonest. If she and her compatriots “knew” that, they certainly were not saying it in public. And boy oh boy do we have the receipts on that one… Jj: when the government told us the vaccinated could not transmit it (covid), was that a lie or a guess? db: “i think it was hope” See, now that seems like a pretty poor pretext for pushing vaccination as social duty, mandating jabs, and endless campaigns of vilification, othering and claims to be on the “side of science.” “we did it cuz hope.” Digging further into this is going to get really good. It’s clear these people are neither smart nor informed. They hipshot and hoped. And all the carnage and calamity it drove is going to land on them.

It’s clear they lack basic justification for their towering, condescending certitude. This fallback to “and that’s why i think scientists and public health leaders always have to be at the table being very clear what we know and don’t know” is awe inspiring in its manipulative mendacity. Sure, the statement is true, but could anyone produce a standard that less describes what was actually done? They expressed as iron bar certainty that which they now admit was “a hope.” They attacked viciously anyone who dared call their narrative into question. I seriously cannot believe she just said that. That she did not actually burst into flame getting that out is near certain proof that she’s wearing asbestos underpants.

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“If Ms. Maxwell remains on suicide watch, is prohibited from reviewing legal materials prior to sentencing, becomes sleep-deprived, and is denied sufficient time to meet with and confer with counsel, we will be formally moving on Monday for an adjournmen..”

You know who else is on suicide watch?

Ghislaine Maxwell On Suicide Watch, May Seek Sentencing Delay (R.)

Ghislaine Maxwell has been put on suicide watch at a Brooklyn jail, and may seek to delay her Tuesday sentencing for aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls, her lawyer said on Saturday night. In a letter to the judge overseeing Maxwell’s case, Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, said her client is “unable to properly prepare, for sentencing,” after officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center on Friday declared the suicide watch and abruptly moved Maxwell to solitary confinement. Sternheim said Maxwell was given a “suicide smock,” and her clothing, toothpaste, soap and legal papers were taken away. The lawyer also said Maxwell “is not suicidal,” a conclusion she said a psychologist who evaluated the 60-year-old British socialite on Saturday morning also reached.


“If Ms. Maxwell remains on suicide watch, is prohibited from reviewing legal materials prior to sentencing, becomes sleep-deprived, and is denied sufficient time to meet with and confer with counsel, we will be formally moving on Monday for an adjournment,” Sternheim wrote. Maxwell was convicted on Dec. 29 on five criminal counts, including sex trafficking, for recruiting and grooming four girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004. Prosecutors have said Maxwell should spend at least 30 years in prison, citing her “utter lack of remorse.” Maxwell wants a term shorter than 20 years.

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Chicken Dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1540598804742668288

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jun 232022
 
 June 23, 2022  Posted by at 8:28 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  28 Responses »


Georges Seurat Study for “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” 1884

 

Why Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky Won’t Say Ukraine Is Winning the War (NW)
Jay Powell: Not Russia That Created U.S. Inflation, It Is Joe Biden Policy (CTH)
Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away (Escobar)
Russia Says West Is Spreading Lies About Causes of World’s Food Crisis (R.)
Letter from Faina Savenkova (Saker)
Covid Vaccines More Likely to Put You in Hospital Than Keep You Out (DS)
We Must Never Forget (Siglaugsson)
The Neocon’s Dream – Decolonize Russia, Re-colonize China (MoA)
China’s Ties to Russia Looms Large at NATO’s Madrid Meeting (Celente)
Sri Lanka Economy Has ‘Completely Collapsed’ – PM (Sky)
Ghislaine Maxwell: US Prosecutors Urge 30-Year Minimum Prison Sentence (G.)
Extraditing Assange Would Be a “Legalized” Rendition to US Torture (Kanji)
Assange Put on Suicide Watch After Patel Decision (Lauria)

 

 

My initial take was slightly different: Get your photo taken with Ben Stiller, and you’ll be taken down shortly afterward…

 

 

Bottom Gun

 

 

 

 

“Germany shuts down nuclear reactors.
Then buys gas from Russia.
Then Russia cuts gas supply.
Then Germany reopens coal plants.
The coal is bought from Russia.”

 

 

Dore Tucker

 

 

 

 

 

 

Priceless. Newsweek outperforms itself.

Why Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky Won’t Say Ukraine Is Winning the War (NW)

Russia had lots of guns and materiel but it proved to be a hulking monster on the ground: poorly led, badly trained. Seventy-two hours became a week, then another, then the week after, then right after the next victory, then next month, and now, in the words of NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “years.” Yet despite the setbacks, somehow the widespread notion has remained that mighty Russia will inevitably prevail over a weaker Ukraine. It won’t. At some turning point, after those 72 hours, after the bogged-down convoy, after the valiant and heartbreaking defense of Mariupol, after the failure to establish air superiority, after running low on precision weapons, after the withdrawal from the north, after more and more friends entered the fight on Ukraine’s side—Javelin, Stinger, Switchblade, M777—after deaths and injuries in the thousands, after desertions and refusals to fight, after failure upon failure on the battlefield, after one month, after two, after 100 days, the tide turned.

Yet scarcely anyone wants to say that Russia has lost. Ukrainian President Zelensky, desperate for external support and more guns, motivator of the people and rouser of the troops, has to keep the tension high and the prospects dire, lest all of the urgency and attention dissipate. President Biden and his fellow Western leaders speak of the defense of freedom and democracy, of the heightened threat to Europe and the free world, of the inevitability of China following Putin’s path, all to feed the military beast, excite the public, keep “national security” at the top of everyone’s agenda. And Putin obviously can’t admit it, determined equally to stay in power and to avoid the humiliation and danger of defeat. Putin doesn’t motivate the troops—he sends them. For weeks, Ukraine has been releasing snippets of intercepted conversations between these lowly soldiers and their parents, wives and girlfriends back home.

The soldiers complain that there is no information and no support. They are confused about the point of the war and its objectives. They are not allowed to take a break from fighting. They are poorly equipped and supplied. There is not enough medicine or doctors. “Our command has left,” one soldier told his wife, referring to platoon and company commanders who were deserting their units and the battlefield. “Well, they didn’t leave– they dropped their weapons.” It’s a myth, the soldier says, that “Russians do not let Russians down.” They’ve been let down and they all know it. Morale is so bad, British intelligence says, that there have been armed standoffs between political enforcers and individuals and even units on the battlefield that have refused to follow their orders. Russia is suffering “very heavy casualties, combat stress, continued poor logistics, and problems with pay,” the U.K. reported.

“Morale problems in the Russian force are likely so significant that they are limiting Russia’s ability to achieve operational objectives.” Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, head of the British Armed Forces was more blunt. “Russia will never take control of Ukraine,” he said. “Ukraine has shown how courageous it really is. Russia has vulnerabilities because it’s running out of people, it’s running out of hi-tech missiles,” Radakin said. “Any notion that this is a success for Russia is nonsense. Russia is failing. It might be getting some tactical successes over the last few weeks. And those might continue for the next few weeks. But Russia is losing.”

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Under the bus.

Jay Powell: Not Russia That Created U.S. Inflation, It Is Joe Biden Policy (CTH)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell admitted the obvious in his senate testimony today when asked about U.S. inflation. However, his testimony directly contradicts the White House claims. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), member of the Senate Banking Committee, walked through the inflation timeline and asked Chairman Powell about the cause of the escalated inflation in 2021. Powell admitted the massive rise in inflation had nothing to do with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Jay Powell

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“The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it..”

Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away (Escobar)

The era of the unipolar world is over. The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it. Russia has renewed with its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority. The EU has completely lost its political sovereignty. The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just en ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty. Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony. Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and euro-democracy. Russia will supply grains to the poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East. Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the U.S.

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states. The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back. How does it feel, for the collective West, to be caught in such a crossfire hurricane? Well, it gets more devastating when we add to the new roadmap the latest on the energy front. Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, in St. Petersburg, stressed that the global economic crisis is gaining momentum not because of sanctions, but exacerbated by them; Europe “commits energy suicide” by sanctioning Russia; sanctions against Russia have done away with the much lauded “green transition”, as that is no longer needed to manipulate markets; and Russia, with its vast energy potential, “is the Noah’s Ark of the world economy.”

For his part Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller could not be more scathing on the sharp decline in the gas flow to the EU due to Siemens’ refusal and/or incapacity to repair the Nord Stream 1 pumping engine: “Well, of course, Gazprom was forced to reduce the volume of gas supplies to Europe by 20%+. But you know, prices have increased not by 20%+, but by several times! Therefore, I’m sorry if I say that we don’t feel offended by anyone, we are not particularly concerned by this situation.” If this pain dial overdrive was not enough to hurl the collective West – or NATOstan – into Terminal Hysteria, then Putin’s sharp comment on possibly allowing Mr. Sarmat to present his business card to “decision-making centers in Kiev”, those that are ordering the current shelling and killing of civilians in Donetsk, definitely did the trick:

“As for the red lines, let me keep them to myself, because this will mean quite tough actions on the decision-making centers. But this is an area that shouldn’t be disclosed to people outside the military-political leadership of the country. Those who deserve appropriate actions on our part should draw a conclusion for themselves – what they may face if they cross the line.”

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“..disrupting payment systems, shipping, insurance which had prevented many Russian exports of food and fertiliser..”

Russia Says West Is Spreading Lies About Causes of World’s Food Crisis (R.)

Russia on Wednesday said the West was spreading lies about the causes of the global food crisis which Moscow said was being stoked by the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and European Union due to the invasion of Ukraine.[..] Western sanctions, Zakharova said, had tipped agricultural markets towards the edge of the abyss by disrupting payment systems, shipping, insurance which had prevented many Russian exports of food and fertiliser. “It is illogical – on the one hand the European Union… says a threat to global food security is being created but at the same time they block the delivery routes of goods to themselves on their own continent,” Zakharova said. President Vladimir Putin and Russian officials do not use the words “war” or “invasion”. They cast the action as a “special military operation” aimed at preventing the persecution of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.


Putin also casts the war as a revolt against the United States, which he says has humiliated Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union by pushing for the enlargement of the NATO military alliance westwards. Ukraine says it is fighting for its survival against a land grab by Russia and that it will fight to the end to free its territory from Russian control. Kyiv dismisses claims that Russian-speakers have been persecuted. Eritrea, Armenia, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Somalia, Belarus, Turkey, Madagascar, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan depend on Russia or Ukraine for more than 70% of their wheat imports in 2021, according to United Nations data. Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia, Honduras and Ghana rely on Russia for 50% or more of their fertiliser imports in 2021, according to the data.

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“If there is chaos around, there must be people who can show the way out to the others..”

Letter from Faina Savenkova (Saker)

Truth is the way out of chaos. To Journalist Tucker Carlson. Hello, Tucker. I am 13 years old and I live in Lugansk. I think many people from the American authorities do not even know where it is, but they continue to supply weapons to Ukraine for the war with Russia. For a week now, Ukrainian artillery has been mercilessly shelling Donetsk, killing civilians in the Donbass. It’s one thing to fight with the army, and another to just shoot guns at schools, kindergartens and sleeping residents. Many will say that this is deception and propaganda, but it is not so. I was born and live in Lugansk. I spent the entire war – since 2014 – in my hometown. Living in a war for 8 years is very hard. It’s very scary when your childhood is spent in such conditions. 8 years of hope for peace, which never came. But it didn’t break me. I keep telling the truth about what’s going on here.

And I know that you do the same thing when you talk about America. I do not consider you a friend of Russia, but the fact that you are telling the truth and do not want a war with Russia pleases me. After all, if there is a nuclear war, there will be no winners in it. I’ve had to turn to world leaders a lot. I’ve been trying to stop the war for three years, but they, like musicians and politicians, are deaf and dumb. Perhaps someone wants to calmly meet old age, someone is afraid of change, and someone simply does not understand what war is. After all, it is not next to them. Last year, Ukrainian nationalists entered my personal data on the “myrotvorets.center” (english: “Peacemaker”) website, posting them in open access. After that, I started receiving threats. You may ask, “What is a myrotvorets.center?” Indeed, many in the US do not know what it is.

If we compare, imagine if the Ku Klux Klan in the USA created its own website and posted there the addresses, bank accounts and other personal data of all politicians, actors and musicians who disagree with them. And the authorities would help them at the same time. This is what is happening in Ukraine now. A lot of my friends from Ukraine faced the same problem: “myrotvorets.center ” published their personal data, including address and phone number. Can you imagine such a thing in the USA? No. It’s hard for me to say what will happen to me tomorrow. After all, I live in a war where shells arrive every day. But I believe that the war will end, just like the confrontation between Russia and the United States. And personally, Tucker, I want to wish you good luck. Thank you for trying to tell the truth, because someone has to do it. If there is chaos around, there must be people who can show the way out to the others.

Faina Savenkova, playwright and writer, 13-year-old girl, Lugansk

Read more …

“… BMJ Editor’s Analysis of Pfizer and Moderna Trial Data Finds..”

Whatever mistakes BMJ Editor Dr. Peter Doshi may have made, this is still significant.

Covid Vaccines More Likely to Put You in Hospital Than Keep You Out (DS)

A new paper by BMJ Editor Dr. Peter Doshi and colleagues has analysed data from the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccine trials and found that the vaccines are more likely to put you in hospital with a serious adverse event than keep you out by protecting you from Covid. The pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed) focuses on serious adverse events highlighted in a WHO-endorsed “priority list of potential adverse events relevant to COVID-19 vaccines”. The authors evaluated these serious adverse events of special interest as observed in “phase III randomised trials of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines”. A serious adverse event was defined as per the trial protocols as an adverse event that results in any of the following conditions:

• death; • life-threatening at the time of the event; • inpatient hospitalisation or prolongation of existing hospitalisation; • persistent or significant disability/incapacity; • a congenital anomaly/birth defect; • medically important event, based on medical judgement. Dr. Doshi and colleagues found that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest of 10.1 events per 10,000 vaccinated for Pfizer and 15.1 events per 10,000 for Moderna (95% CI -0.4 to 20.6 and -3.6 to 33.8, respectively). When combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with a risk increase of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000 vaccinated (95% CI 2.1 to 22.9).

The authors note that this level of increased risk post-vaccine is greater than the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalisation in both Pfizer and Moderna trials, which was 2.3 per 10,000 participants for Pfizer and 6.4 per 10,000 for Moderna. This means that on this measure, the Pfizer vaccine results in a net increase in serious adverse events of 7.8 per 10,000 vaccinated and the Moderna vaccine of 8.7 per 10,000 vaccinated. Addressing the difference between their findings and those of the FDA when it approved the vaccines, the authors note that the FDA’s analysis of serious adverse events “included thousands of additional participants with very little follow-up, of which the large majority had only received one dose”.

The FDA also counted ‘people affected’ rather than individual events, despite there being twice as many individuals in the vaccine group than the placebo group who experienced multiple serious adverse events. The authors wonder where the U.S. Government’s own studies of adverse events are. They note that in July 2021, the FDA reported detecting four potential adverse events of interest following Pfizer vaccination – pulmonary embolism, acute myocardial infarction, immune thrombocytopenia and disseminated intravascular coagulation – and stated it would further investigate the findings. However, no update has yet appeared. They also note that “while CDC published a protocol in early 2021 for using proportional reporting ratios for signal detection in the VAERS database, the agency has not yet reported such a study”.

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“There will be a scramble for alternative truths once the narrative starts crumbling..”

We Must Never Forget (Siglaugsson)

Recently the Icelandic chief epidemiologist said in an interview the lockdowns hadn‘t been stringent enough. And he blamed those few politicians who voiced their doubts and worried about the well-being of society as a whole, for undermining the solidarity behind the measures. As if he were the emperor, the politicians only his servants. And he is not alone. Many of those people will continue pushing the narrative even as it crumbles around them. They will be the first targets of people‘s anger. Then it will be the politicians, pharmaceuticals, media and big tech. There will of course be strong pushback. There will be a scramble for alternative truths once the narrative starts crumbling; for something to keep the veil on the lies and atrocities. The push for continued masking, lockdowns, vaccine mandates will continue for a while.

And we shouldn‘t forget there are huge interests at stake here, to certain very big business sectors, lockdowns are a godsend; human interaction is a threat to them. The censorship will be ramped up even further. But despite all the power, money and technology, the facts will emerge, the truth will prevail in the end. It always does. Some might say I‘m too optimistic, that we are already under the control of conspiring media, big-tech and corrupt officials, with no way out. But is it really so? Recently a US attempt at handing unprecedented powers over to the WHO was averted, thanks mostly to African leaders and strong public opposition. The vaccine mandates are disappearing and what will eventually come of the still existing plans for health passes is unclear. But of course the danger is still there.

What really matters is how we react as the narrative crumbles. Will we just shrug and move on with our daily lives, not caring about the threat to our freedom and humanity? Or will we face the consequences of our failure to think critically, of our gullibility, our lack of moral integrity, as the German people were forced to do after World War II, as the Icelanders had to do after 2008? Will we bring those responsible to court? Will we learn, once again the hard way, how the only thing that can prevent such catastrophes in the future is taking responsibility as thinking, doubting individuals?

And will we finally understand the true meaning of Hannah Arendt‘s conclusion in The Origins of Totaliarianism, that flawed as it may be, it is only a sovereign nation state of free people, governed by elected representatives who take their responsibility seriously; as they did in the tiny Faroe Islands during the pandemic; and not unelected officials, supranational organizations or huge corporations; that only the nation state is really able to protect universal human rights? We have to move on. We have to rebuild our societies, reestablish our moral values and our rights, rebuild trust in science and trust within our communities. But to truly move on, we must face, understand and act on the roots of the catastrophe, and take full responsibility for the part each of us played. This is why we must not forget. We must never forget.

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“Russia sells its oil to China and India where it gets refined. The resulting gasoline and diesel is then exported to the U.S.. That is good for India and China as they buy the oil with a rebate and sell the end products with a substantial margin..”

The Neocon’s Dream – Decolonize Russia, Re-colonize China (MoA)

The neo-conservatives are back using a new narrative to push their old agenda. Russian officials will love such talk: “Today’s panel is a further step forward in that it tells ordinary Russians that even regime change and democracy is not good enough for them. They require the partition of their country into smaller (more easily controlled) polities, so that they can be free. Needless to say, this is a propaganda coup for Putin and the Kremlin as it allows them to paint the conflict in Ukraine as an existential fight.” The Kremlin has no need to ‘paint’ the conflict as an existential fight. The Russians know that it is such a fight. Biden’s haplessness continues to tank the Democrats chances to keep house majority. In a meager attempt to tackle the high fuel price he will today call on Congress to suspend the tax on fuel for three month. It is just a gimmick which would have little effect at the pump and has no chance to pass Congress:

“GOP lawmakers have been hammering Biden and Democrats on the campaign trail over inflation and fuel prices. They argue that such measures are political theater that will do little to make long-term dents in oil prices. The best way to reduce oil prices, they say, is to loosen regulations and increase U.S. oil production. … California had the highest average gas price of any state at $6.398 per gallon. The gas tax suspension would reduce the cost of a gallon of diesel fuel by 24 cents.” The real reason for high fuel prices is Biden’s misguided foreign policy. Three of the biggest oil producers on the globe, Venezuela, Iran and Russia, are under U.S. sanctions that limit their oil exports:

The sanctions have made it more difficult for Russia to sell its oil. Biden has also banned the import of Russian oil, and last month Europe announced it was imposing a partial embargo on it. As of 2020, Russia was the world’s third-largest producer of petroleum, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As the New York Times correctly headlines: “Western Move to Choke Russia’s Oil Exports Boomerangs, for Now”. That move will continue to boomerang. Russia sells it oil to China and India where it gets refined. The resulting gasoline and diesel is then exported to the U.S.. That is good for India and China as they buy the oil with a rebate and sell the end products with a substantial margin. It is a ‘win’ ‘win’ ‘win’ for Russia, India and China with the sole loser being the ‘west’. Whatever NYT hope of sanction success is expressed in its ‘for now’ addition to the headline is not going to change that.

Meanwhile Russia is announcing the next target of its campaign to counter ‘western’ misbehavior – the reserve status of the U.S. dollar and the Euro: “MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. The issue of creating an international reserve currency based on currencies of BRICS member-states is under consideration, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday in the welcome address to BRICS Business Forum participants. “The matter of creating the international reserve currency based on the basket of currencies of our countries is under review,” the Russian leader said. BRICS currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Together those countries represent 3.2 billion people and a third of the world’s purchase power GDP. The new international reserve currency would therefore have a much larger backing than the U.S. dollar or the Euro.

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Still longing for total control.

China’s Ties to Russia Looms Large at NATO’s Madrid Meeting (Celente)

Less than a month after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, he took a 10-minute drive from the White House to the Pentagon to meet with his top military leaders, including Lloyd Austin, his new defense secretary. Biden was there for one reason: China. Biden told workers there that he was briefed about a Defense Department-wide task force headed by Austin that would look at “operational concepts, technology, and force posture,” to counter the growing competition from Beijing. Biden said the U.S. will “meet the China challenge” by taking a “whole-of-government effort, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and strong alliances and partnerships.” No presidency is ever without surprises, but even with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it seems that it’s China that keeps Washington awake at night.

Need proof? About a month before Russia’s 24 February invasion of Ukraine, Biden announced that U.S. troops will not fight Russians in Ukraine, which was not protected by NATO’s Article 5. But he said twice -in roughly the same time frame – that U.S. would defend Taiwan against China. (The White House on both occasions corrected the record and said Washington’s position of strategic ambiguity has not changed, but the sentiment was there.) China has recognized Russia’s security concern over an expanding NATO while calling an end to the conflict. Hua Chunying, the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the invasion of Ukraine was not what Beijing hoped to see. “China has taken a responsible attitude and persuaded all parties not to escalate tensions or incite war,” she said.

“Those who follow the U.S.’s lead in fanning up flame and then shifting the blame onto others are truly irresponsible.” Beijing has lashed out at the U.S. over its interference over Taiwan. It is widely believed that Putin informed his Chinese counterpart about his intention to invade Ukraine during their meeting at the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. “The Chinese side stands ready to work with the Russian side to push for steady and long-term development of practical bilateral cooperation,” President Xi JinPing said, after a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Xi said trade with Russia over the first half of this year has been [in the tens of billions of U.S. dollars] and we “can expect new records in upcoming months, which is a testament to the great cooperation between our two nations.”

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Test case?!

Sri Lanka Economy Has ‘Completely Collapsed’ – PM (Sky)

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said the country’s economy has “completely collapsed”, leaving it unable to pay for essentials such as oil imports. It follows months of shortages of food, fuel, and electricity, and the realisation that even the credit lines from neighbouring India that have sustained the country so far will not be enough. Mr Wickremesinghe told Sri Lanka’s parliament: “We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food. “Our economy has completely collapsed – that is the most serious issue before us today.” Mr Wickremesinghe said that the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is $700m (£572m) in debt, adding: “As a result, no country or organisation in the world is willing to provide fuel to us.

“They are even reluctant to provide fuel for cash.” Sri Lanka has been struggling under the weight of its debt, combined with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including a loss of tourism revenue and the rising cost of commodities. In April, it suspended payment on the equivalent of £9.8bn in foreign debt. Mr Wickremesinghe said that efforts to turn the situation around had failed, adding: “If steps had at least been taken to slow down the collapse of the economy at the beginning, we would not be facing this difficult situation today. “But we lost out on this opportunity. “We are now seeing signs of a possible fall to rock bottom.” Previous prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned in May after months of protests and clashes between government supporters and those demanding a change in leadership.

This brought veteran Mr Wickremesinghe to the role for a sixth time, in a move that opposition politicians said was aimed at protecting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family from protesters’ anger. A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Colombo earlier this week and talks with them have made progress, Mr Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday, adding that an agreement was likely by the end of this month. “We have discussed multiple points including fiscal policy, debt restructuring and direct cash transfers,” he said. “Parallel to this, we have also started talks on a debt restructuring framework, which we hope will be completed in July.”

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“She will be sentenced on 28 June..” How about her clients?

Ghislaine Maxwell: US Prosecutors Urge 30-Year Minimum Prison Sentence (G.)

Ghislaine Maxwell should get at least 30 years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking when she is sentenced next week for her role in facilitating the abuse of teenage girls by Jeffrey Epstein, New York federal prosecutors have said in court filings. “Ghislaine Maxwell sexually exploited young girls for years. It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of her crimes and the harm she caused. Her crimes demand justice,” they said in a court filing on Wednesday. “The government urges the court to impose a sentence within the applicable guidelines range of 360 to 660 months’ imprisonment.” The prosecution’s filing comes one week after Maxwell’s lawyers argued that she should receive “well below” the 20-year sentence recommended by sentencing officials.


Although Maxwell’s defense attorneys and prosecutors each make their arguments for an appropriate sentence, the decision ultimately rests with Alison Nathan, the judge. “Maxwell’s conduct was shockingly predatory,” prosecutors said in arguing for a lengthy sentence. “She was a calculating, sophisticated, and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and groomed them for sexual abuse. “Not only did her conduct exhibit a callous disregard for other human beings, but her practice of targeting vulnerable victims reflects her view that struggling young girls could be treated like disposable objects.” Maxwell was convicted on 29 December for her role in the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls, some as young as 14, who she brought into his orbit. She will be sentenced on 28 June. She maintains her innocence.

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Very good angle.

Extraditing Assange Would Be a “Legalized” Rendition to US Torture (Kanji)

As the British government moves ever closer to extraditing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, the pantomime of “justice” cloaking his persecution in the regalia of the “rule of law” continues to unfold: a torture rendition by another name, inching forward as the world watches in real time. On June 17, the U.K.’s Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of Assange to the United States, following the magistrate court’s order that the transfer should proceed. In this fundamentally skewed process, Assange’s capacity to meaningfully defend himself has been systematically assaulted by government smear campaigns; surveillance of his lawyers; and stultifying, arbitrary rules and restrictions obstructing him from participating in his own case — as documented in detail by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer in his recent book, The Trial of Julian Assange.

Previously, U.S. officials discussed “options” for kidnapping Assange and assassinating him by poison — tactics ultimately dismissed as “something we’d do in Afghanistan,” Egypt or Pakistan, but not the U.K. Therefore, they’ve opted for the more “civilized” alternative. Instead of kidnapping, extradition. And instead of assassination, entombment in the torturous U.S. carceral system, where Assange faces a death-in-prison sentence of 175 years for exposing U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. How is this, in essence and effect, anything but the “legal” equivalent of an extraordinary rendition — defined by the American Civil Liberties Union as “the practice of capturing people and sending them to countries that use torture or abuse in interrogations”?

While the U.S.’s infamous extraordinary rendition program has (now) been officially condemned and supposedly ceased, rendition to torture via legalized means is enduringly embraced. In “extraordinary” rendition, hundreds of “war on terror” detainees were secretly imprisoned and brutalized in CIA black sites around the world. In “legalized” rendition, the torture chambers are not foreign black sites but prisons transformed into “Guantánamo Norths” within the U.S. itself. In “extraordinary” rendition, victims were seized off the streets extrajudicially by the CIA. In the “legalized” version, the condemned are delivered into U.S. hands through judicially sanctioned means such as extradition — abusive processes accorded an aura of legal legitimacy.

U.S. courts have upheld transfers into U.S. custody even when the targets have been abducted at gunpoint, severely beaten, burned, kept in secret offshore captivity for weeks or months (an increasingly popular practice with U.S. law enforcement), and electrocuted in their feet and genitals: acts of violence for which the courts have refused to provide any legal redress because they occurred outside the U.S. In “legalized” rendition, as in “extraordinary” rendition, detainees have been subjected to intensive solitary confinement, forced nudity, sexual humiliation, sensory deprivation, extreme light and temperature exposure, and other mechanisms of deliberate “psychic demolition”; although the degree of isolation and control achieved in domestic U.S. prisons under regimes such as “special administrative measures” is in many ways even more totalizing than at Guantánamo Bay.

Dail Assange

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Sweet Jesus….

Assange Put on Suicide Watch After Patel Decision (Lauria)

After British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Julian Assange’s extradition order on Friday the authorities in Belmarsh prison stripped Julian Assange and threw him into a completely empty cell in an attempt to prevent his suicide, Assange’s father has said. It was just one more instance in which the prison humiliated his son, Shipton told a rally on Tuesday night at the offices of the junge Welt newspaper in Berlin. About 300 people attended, with an overflow crowd watching on close circuit TV in the courtyard. Testimony was heard from expert defense witnesses during Assange’s extradition hearing that he might try to end his life in prison once he learned he was going to the United States.

It is not the end of the road for Assange legally, however. His lawyers have until July 1 to file for an appeal of Patel’s decision to the High Court. They also intend to apply for a cross appeal of issues such as the political nature of the charges, the threat to free speech and the reported C.I.A. plot to kidnap or kill Assange before his arrest. Shipton and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, are in Berlin to lobby the German government to put pressure on the United States to drop the case against Assange. On Monday, the Shiptons met with Tobias Lindner, the minister of state, at the German foreign ministry. “It was a practical and appropriate step for Tobias to take, to welcome Julian Assange’s father and bother into the foreign ministry,” John Shipton said.

“The invitation in itself and the meeting in the foreign ministry indicates that the German government is sincere in bringing about the freedom of Julian Assange.” But Shipton said he would like to hear a public statement from Germany in support of his son. “We’d like Tobias to confirm what he’s said.” A German government spokesman on Monday said however that Germany was unlikely to intervene with either the U.K. or the U.S. “This is a legal process that is already in motion, so I would be a little wary of political intervention,” he said, the French Press Agency (AFP) reported.

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Imagine the collapse of this…..

 

 

Mike Lynch

 

 

Cave of El Castillo, Spain. Hands and a Bison. Some of the hand stencils, mostly near the front and middle sections of the cave, were painted more than 37,000 years ago, but some of the more recent hand stencils are 24,000 years old.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jul 162021
 


Vincent van Gogh Bridge in the rain (after Hiroshige) 1887

 

Biden Admin ‘Flagging Problematic Social Media Posts’ (PM)
Question Everything (Ballan)
Spain’s Top Court Rules Lockdown Unconstitutional (BBC)
Long Covid Has Over 200 Symptoms And Leaves 1 In 5 Unable To Work
Huge Study Supporting Ivermectin For Covid Withdrawn Over Ethical Concerns (G.)
Top General Feared Trump Would Attempt A Coup After Losing The Election (DM)
Kremlin Papers Appear To Show Putin’s Plot To Put Trump In White House (G.)
Kremlin Says Guardian Claims Are ‘Fundamentally Untrue’ (RT)
Russia Accuses US Of ‘Staging’ Anti-Government Protests In Cuba (RT)
Illinois Becomes First State To Prohibit Police From Lying To Kids (JTN)
59 of 96 Phones Assigned To Mueller Probe Missing (JTN)
Bill Clinton Took Two More Trips On The Lolita Express (DM)
Capitol Police To Use Army Surveillance Gear To Monitor Americans (AMN)

 

 

Which country will recover faster?

 

 

Why am I getting the idea that we no longer comprehend just how bizarre this is? That our minds have become so blunted by censorship we do not recognize it as such any longer?

Biden Admin ‘Flagging Problematic Social Media Posts’ (PM)

After Biden administration Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued an advisory urging big tech companies to “impose clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki used it to call for big tech companies to crack down harder on social media users with “fact-checks” on “misinformation.” A reporter requested that Psaki expand a bit more on “the request for tech companies to be more aggressive” as regards “misinformation. Has the administration been in touch with any of these companies and are there any actions that the federal government can take to ensure their cooperation, because we’ve seen from the start there’s not a lot of action on some of these platforms.”

“Sure, well first, we are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team. Given as, Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue of misinformation specifically on the pandemic,” Psaki said. “In terms of actions… that we have taken or are working to take from the federal government. We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s office. We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical professionals to connect two connected medical experts who are popular with their audiences with accurate information and boost trusted content.

“So we’re helping get trusted content out there. We also created the COVID Community Corps to get factual information into the hands of local messengers. And we’re also investing in the President’s, the Vice President’s and Dr. Fauci’s time in meeting with influencers who also have large reaches to a lot of these target audiences who can spread and share accurate information. “We saw an example of that yesterday, I believe that video will be out Friday,” Psaki said. “There are also proposed changes that we have made to social media platforms including Facebook, and those specifically four key steps:

“1) That they measure and publicly share the impact of misinformation on their platform. Facebook should provide publicly and transparently data on the reach of COVID-19, COVID vaccine misinformation. Not just engagement, but the reach of the misinformation and the audience that it’s reaching. That will make sure we’re getting accurate information to people. This should be provided not just to researchers but to the public so that public knows and understands what is accurate and inaccurate.
“2) We have recommended, proposed, that they create a robust and enforcement strategy that bridges their properties and provides transparency about the rules. So… there’s about 12 people who are producing 65 percent of anti-vaccination misinformation on social media platforms. All of them remain active on Facebook despite some even being banned on other platforms, including ones that Facebook owns.
“3) It’s important to take faster action against harmful posts. As you all know, information travels quite quickly on social media platforms. Sometimes it’s not accurate, and Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts, posts that are within their policies for removal often remain up for days. That’s too long. The information spreads to quickly.

“Finally,” Psaki said, “we have proposed they promote quality information sources in their feed algorithm. Facebook has repeatedly shown that they have the leverage to promote quality information, we’ve seen them effectively do this in their algorithm over low-quality information and they’ve chosen not to use it in this case. That’s certainly an area where we have an impact.” She said that Facebook “certainly understands what our asks are.”

Psaki
https://twitter.com/i/status/1415728046930268160

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“Fear is not good for us. It’s not good for our immunity, our health or our ability to think rationally. To calm the fear, we need to know that cases are meaningless, deaths are overestimated and immunity – whether natural or vaccine-induced – is long-lasting and can protect us from future variants.”

Question Everything (Ballan)

The WHO flip-flopped on the definition of herd immunity, which is the point at which an infectious disease stops being a cause for concern because most of the population is immune to it. They removed natural immunity from the definition and limited herd immunity to that reached via vaccination only. After this meddling caused an uproar, they went back again and included both forms of immunity as contributing to herd immunity. Furthermore, they changed their recommendations about the PCR test, first allowing very high cycle thresholds of 45 (which is the number of times the genetic material of the virus is multiplied until it is detected) and recommending that cases are diagnosed based on a positive PCR test, regardless of symptoms – previously unheard of in medicine.

Patients are usually diagnosed with a disease if they are sick. Later the WHO rectified their stance, clarifying that the diagnosis of cases requires clinical symptoms and that high cycle thresholds lead to false positives. Why did the WHO make recommendations contrary to established medical practice for infectious diseases? The PCR test was not designed to diagnose infectiousness. It merely detects viral genetic material, dead or alive. Studies indicate that 25 cycles are enough to detect an infectious virus. How much have the false positive results affected the number of cases and in turn the number of deaths? How many deaths were wrongly attributed to COVID instead of other diseases?

Science doesn’t flip-flop like that. Politics does. Science has become politicized. We need to decouple science from politics. It is being manipulated to serve corporate and political agendas. Anyone criticizing ‘The Science’ is silenced harshly. People are smart and if given accurate information they can make the right decisions for themselves and their communities. Unfortunately, people are being misinformed and fear-mongered with non-stop death reports, apparently vanishing immunity and the threat of new variants. Fear is not good for us. It’s not good for our immunity, our health or our ability to think rationally. To calm the fear, we need to know that cases are meaningless, deaths are overestimated and immunity – whether natural or vaccine-induced – is long-lasting and can protect us from future variants.

Variants are not unique to COVID. All respiratory viruses mutate. The variants are so minutely different from each other that our immune system will recognize them and protect us. It’s like your friend wearing a cap. Can you still recognize him? In the same way, your immune system also recognizes the variants. How much longer should we let those variants haunt us?

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After the flood.

Spain’s Top Court Rules Lockdown Unconstitutional (BBC)

Spain’s top court has ruled that last year’s strict coronavirus lockdown was unconstitutional. The ruling leaves the door open for people who were fined for breaking the rules to reclaim the money they paid. But the court said it would not accept lawsuits from people and businesses who want to sue the government because they lost money due to the lockdown. The government declared a state of emergency on 14 March 2020 to curb the first wave of Covid-19 infections. At the time, coronavirus cases and deaths were rising and hospitals were quickly becoming overwhelmed. Since then, more than 81,000 people in Spain have died with coronavirus.


Spain has three levels of emergency: state of emergency, state of exception, and the highest level, state of siege. Under the emergency rules almost all people in the country were ordered to stay at home, and were only permitted to leave for essential reasons. All but essential businesses were closed. The laws were in place until June 2020, though some restrictions were reinstated later in the year when the country faced a second wave. But Spain’s Constitutional Court said in a statement that it had voted, by a slim majority of six to five, to find that the state of emergency was not enough to give the restrictions constitutional backing. This is because the rules were equivalent to a suppression of fundamental rights, it said.

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There’s a stiff competition between long covid and vaccines for the number of symptoms.

Long Covid Has Over 200 Symptoms And Leaves 1 In 5 Unable To Work

There are more than 200 symptoms associated with long Covid spanning 10 organ systems—including memory loss, hallucinations, tremors and fatigue—according to a new study published Thursday, providing one of the most comprehensive insights yet into the lingering and debilitating illness that can affect patients for months or years after infection. Covid long haulers reported a total of 203 different symptoms in the seven months between Dec. 2019 and May 2020, ranging from rashes, peeling skin and digestive issues to muscle spasms, hearing loss and tinnitus, according to research published in the Lancet’s E Clinical Medicine journal.


The study, based on surveys from nearly 4,000 people from 56 countries, identified fatigue, brain fog and post-exertional malaise (where symptoms worsen after physical or mental effort) as the most common symptoms. On average, patients suffered from 56 different symptoms and those still suffering after six months—nearly two-thirds of participants taking the survey—were still experiencing an average of 14 symptoms. Almost half (45%) of the study’s participants reported needing a reduced work schedule on account of their illness and around one-fifth (22%) were unable to work at all. Dr. Athena Akrami, a neuroscientist at University College London and senior author of the study, said it highlights “a clear need to widen medical guidelines” to assess a wider range of symptoms than respiratory and cardiovascular issues for long Covid.”

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They take one study and use it to discredit 80 others. The Guardian for you.

Huge Study Supporting Ivermectin For Covid Withdrawn Over Ethical Concerns (G.)

The efficacy of a drug being promoted by rightwing figures worldwide for treating Covid-19 is in serious doubt after a major study suggesting the treatment is effective against the virus was withdrawn due to “ethical concerns”. The preprint study on the efficacy and safety of ivermectin – a drug used against parasites such as worms and headlice – in treating Covid-19, led by Dr Ahmed Elgazzar from Benha University in Egypt, was published on the Research Square website in November. It claimed to be a randomised control trial, a type of study crucial in medicine because it is considered to provide the most reliable evidence on the effectiveness of interventions due to the minimal risk of confounding factors influencing the results. Elgazzar is listed as chief editor of the Benha Medical Journal, and is an editorial board member.

The study found that patients with Covid-19 treated in hospital who “received ivermectin early reported substantial recovery” and that there was “a substantial improvement and reduction in mortality rate in ivermectin treated groups” by 90%. But the drug’s promise as a treatment for the virus is in serious doubt after the Elgazzar study was pulled from the Research Square website on Thursday “due to ethical concerns”. Research Square did not outline what those concerns were. A medical student in London, Jack Lawrence, was among the first to identify serious concerns about the paper, leading to the retraction. He first became aware of the Elgazzar preprint when it was assigned to him by one of his lecturers for an assignment that formed part of his master’s degree. He found the introduction section of the paper appeared to have been almost entirely plagiarised.

It appeared that the authors had run entire paragraphs from press releases and websites about ivermectin and Covid-19 through a thesaurus to change key words. “Humorously, this led to them changing ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome’ to ‘extreme intense respiratory syndrome’ on one occasion,” Lawrence said. The data also looked suspicious to Lawrence, with the raw data apparently contradicting the study protocol on several occasions.

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Not sure what Trump did this time, but they want him again. Is it his lawsuit vs Big Tech?

Top General Feared Trump Would Attempt A Coup After Losing The Election (DM)

The country’s top military officer was so convinced that then-President Donald Trump would attempt a coup after his election loss to Joe Biden that he and other senior generals made plans to stop him, according to a new book. General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his deputies reportedly pledged to resign en masse if they were given an order by Trump that was illegal or unconstitutional. ‘They may try, but they’re not going to f***ing succeed,’ Milley told his deputies. ‘You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. ‘We’re the guys with the guns.’ The dramatic quote excerpted by CNN was revealed in a new book authored by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig titled I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year. The book is scheduled for release next week.

Days before the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, Milley warned confidantes of a ‘Reichstag moment’ facing the country. According to the book, his concern stemmed from the fact that Trump was preaching ‘the gospel of the Führer.’ Milly referred to Trump supporters at a march to protest the election as ‘brownshirts in the streets.’ In 1933, after Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany, the Nazis used a fire at the Reichstag building, home to Germany’s parliament, as a pretext to suspend civil liberties and consolidate power by claiming the country was under threat from communists. The brownshirts were Nazi paramilitaries who helped Hitler rise to power. ‘Milley told his staff that he believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military,’ Rucker and Leonnig write.

The joint chiefs chairman was especially worried by the fact that Trump purged the Defense Department of those who raised objections to his ideas and replaced them with loyalists after the November election. Days after the election, Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and replaced him with Christopher Miller. Other deputies to Esper were also fired and replaced with those who shared the then-president’s views. In December, Attorney General William Barr resigned after he refused to endorse Trump’s claims of rampant voter fraud. The departures of Barr and Esper left Milley concerned, according to the book. Milley reportedly told friends that he felt he needed to be ‘on guard’ in anticipation of what might happen.

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Luke Harding was one of the people at the Guardian working with Julian Assange on releases of WikiLeaks files back in 2009/10. He wanted to write Assange’s biography, but Julian declined. Then the revenge started. First, Harding and David Leigh published a secret password in a book, then a preposterous lying story of Paul Manafort visiting the Ecuador embassy multiple times followed, which conveniently combined anti-Assange with anti-Trump, and now there’s more hollow filth.

Kremlin Papers Appear To Show Putin’s Plot To Put Trump In White House (G.)

Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents. The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present. They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position.


Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature. By this point Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican party’s nomination race. A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use “all possible force” to ensure a Trump victory. Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin. The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say they appear to be genuine. Incidental details come across as accurate. The overall tone and thrust is said to be consistent with Kremlin security thinking.

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Why on earth react?

Kremlin Says Guardian Claims Are ‘Fundamentally Untrue’ (RT)

Moscow has reacted furiously to a series of claims, backed up with anonymous and unverifiable sources, that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his security officials to support Donald Trump’s campaign to become US president. In comments made exclusively to RT on Thursday evening, Putin’s spokesman slammed the report, published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper earlier that day. “This is total fiction,” Dmitry Peskov remarked. “Strictly speaking, it is complete nonsense. Of course, this is the hallmark of an absolutely low-quality publication. Either the newspaper is trying to somehow increase its popularity or is sticking to a rabidly Russophobic line.”

The article, authored by British journalist Luke Harding and two other staffers at the outlet, claimed that Putin had “Personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election, during a closed session of Russia’s national security council.” The bombshell revelations were purportedly based on “what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.” Harding has a history of publishing false stories related to the so-called “Russiagate” conspiracy theory, which became popular after Trump was elected to America’s highest office. In 2018, for instance, he published a completely fake tale about dissident publisher Julian Assange and the American lobbyist Paul Manafort supposedly having met in London.

The article was also based on anonymous ‘sources.’ Although the allegation has been thoroughly debunked, the Guardian has refused to correct the record. While working in Moscow in 2007, Harding was accused of plagiarism by The Exile, a small, independent and now defunct magazine. His employer issued an apology at the time.

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Duh!

Russia Accuses US Of ‘Staging’ Anti-Government Protests In Cuba (RT)

Wide-scale protests and rioting that have rocked the Caribbean nation of Cuba are, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, part of an orchestrated campaign by American officials to oust the country’s socialist government. In a statement issued on Thursday, one of Moscow’s top diplomatic representatives, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, blasted American “impudence” for suggesting that the demonstrations were a result of the Cuban government’s own mistakes. Instead, she described the approach a part of “yet another political staging.” “Washington’s cynicism is shown by the fact that throughout the entire period of the existence of revolutionary Cuba, it purposefully pursued a strategy of strangling the country, discriminating against its people and destroying the economy,” she went on.

“Their thinking here is simple – it has already been repeatedly deployed by Washington in different situations. But in every case, there is the same goal – sparking ‘color revolutions’ in response to unwanted regimes.” The approach, the official added, hinges on applying sanctions and provoking tensions by worsening the socio-economic situation in the country. Zakharova said that the idea authorities in Havana alone were to blame for fomenting discontent was patently false. “Despite all the measures taken by the central Cuban authorities to support the country’s economy and provide assistance to the population, it is they who are accused by Washington of the current crisis situation,” she said. “At the same time, the Americans, as always, keep silent about their own subversive actions and opportunistic aspirations.”

She went on to compare the incident to scenes in Washington in January, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump forced their way into the seat of government in protest of his election defeat. “Where were their concerns about humanitarian values, political pluralism and democratic freedoms,” she asked, “when those who stormed the Capitol… were detained across America, accused of ‘domestic terrorism’ and are now facing criminal charges?” Earlier this week, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the circumstances that led to tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets were down to the “actions and inactions, mismanagement, corruption of the Cuban regime” and not because of “anything the United States has done.” “We are always considering options available to us that would allow us to support the Cuban people, to support their humanitarian needs, which are indeed profound,” Price told reporters.

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How about adults?

Illinois Becomes First State To Prohibit Police From Lying To Kids (JTN)

Illinois has become the first state to ban law enforcement officers from lying to juveniles during interrogations. The law was part of a package of criminal justice reform measures put forth by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker Thursday. Senate Bill 2122, which prohibits the use of deceptive tactics by all law enforcement when interrogating a minor, takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022. “It is time that we move towards a new era of public safety,” said state Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, a co-sponsor of the bill. “Public safety for all, public safety by the people, public safety that belongs to us.” Also attending the bill signing was Terrell Swift, one of the so-called “Englewood Four.” Swift served 15 years in prison for rape and murder before he was released in 2012 after it was ruled that his confession as a 17-year-old was coerced by Chicago police.

That confession led to his conviction despite no evidence tying him to the crime, and the city eventually paid Swift $7 million in a settlement after his release. “This bill, I truly believe, could have saved my life,” Swift said. Along with SB 2122, Pritzker signed three other bills: Senate Bill 64, which encourages the use of restorative justice practices by making statements during these practices privileged.Senate Bill 2129, which allows the State’s Attorney of a county in which a defendant was sentenced to petition for re-sentencing of the offender if the original sentence no long advances the interests of justice. Senate Bill 3587, which creates the Re-sentencing Task Force Act to study ways to reduce the state’s prison population through re-sentencing motions.

In February, Pritzker signed a criminal justice reform plan which eliminates cash bail within two years, makes it easier to decertify police officers by eliminating signed affidavits of complaint, and mandates the use of police body cameras for all officers by 2025. Law enforcement officials statewide condemned the reform plan as hindering police from preventing crime, ultimately emboldening criminals and threatening police officers.

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“..not all the phones were subject to record preservation.”

59 of 96 Phones Assigned To Mueller Probe Missing (JTN)

Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa sent a letter to the Justice Department Wednesday asking for more information regarding missing phones used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team during the Russian collusion investigation. The senators sent the letter after finding out the Justice Department “could not locate 59 of the 96 phones used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team,” according to Grassley’s website. The two senators wrote to the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General in September 2020 regarding allegations that cell phones assigned to “multiple people on then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team were ‘wiped’ for various reasons during [the Russia investigation].”

In a response on May 11, 2021, the OIG reported that 59 of the 96 phones assigned the Special Counsel’s Office were unaccounted for. That report showed that in June 2019, the DOJ took possession of 79 of 96 phones that belonged to members of Muller’s team to be reviewed for official records. The records included notes and text messages, which were then sent to DOJ or FBI email systems for preservation. However, not all the phones were subject to record preservation. The two lawmakers are now following up with requests for further information including:

• the names of SCO employees whose cell phones were not reviewed for official records
• what, if any, actions are being taken by the DOJ to recover the 59 phones the department has been unable to locate
• whether the DOJ reviewed the phones to ascertain “whether they were used to leak sensitive or classified information.”

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Oh, how lovely.

Bill Clinton Took Two More Trips On The Lolita Express (DM)

Bill Clinton took two trips with Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein – including one on the pedophile’s private jet – that have not been previously disclosed. A new podcast reveals that the former President flew on Epstein’s jet, which was dubbed the ‘Lolita Express’, in February 2005 while visiting Japan, Taiwan and China. Clinton also flew on a private jet owned by billionaire Ron Burkle with Maxwell as a passenger during a trip to India in November 2003. That visit was part of Clinton’s work with the Clinton Foundation, his philanthropic initiative, to lower the cost of AIDS drugs. According to journalist Vicky Ward, Maxwell was part of the official Clinton party and even stayed at the same hotel as him. Ward reveals the details in her new podcast ‘Chasing Ghislaine’, which is available from Thursday on Audible Originals.

The podcast claims that Maxwell used Clinton for her ‘escape’ from Epstein in the 2000s when her relationship with the financier was cooling. Maxwell was considered by Clinton’s personal staff to be ‘just as important’ as Epstein for raising money for the Clinton Foundation and was the ‘go-to person’ when it came to asking for donations from the pedophile. The claims put new focus on the friendship between the former President and Epstein, who hanged himself in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Flight logs showed that Clinton took at least 26 trips aboard the ‘Lolita Express’ — even apparently ditching his Secret Service detail for at least five of the flights between 2001 and 2003. The period where Epstein and Clinton were closest – the early 2000s – coincides with the period that Epstein was charged with running a sex trafficking ring.

Clinton has always denied any involvement in any criminality and has claimed that has never visited Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean as some reports have suggested. But the connections between the two appear to have been strong and there were financial as well as social links lasting many years. Maxwell is currently awaiting a November trial for allegedly procuring and trafficking underage girls for Epstein, charges she denies. Ward has reported on the Epstein case for nearly two decades, first for Vanity Fair and now in her role as a CNN journalist. She wrote a profile of Epstein for Vanity Fair in 2003 but the details of his alleged abuse of two young sisters was left out after Epstein contacted her editor, Graydon Carter, she claims.

According to ‘Chasing Ghislaine’, during the 2000s Maxwell was trying to escape the ‘sick partnership’ she had built with Epstein, who she dated during the early 1990s and allegedly abused underage girls with. In the podcast, Ward says: ‘Ghislaine used former President Bill Clinton for her escape. ‘Remember, Clinton’s post-presidency was an exciting, very attractive place to be. He and an entourage went on fascinating trips to Europe, to Asia, to Africa and he met with extremely interesting people. ‘Now, records I’ve seen recently show that in 2003, Ghislaine visited the Taj Mahal with Bill Clinton and a group of around 20 others. This trip has not previously been reported. Jeffrey wasn’t on it. And that was key in cementing Ghislaine’s rise as a VIP in her own right in Clinton World, according to sources close to Bill Clinton’.

Read more …

J6 has turned them into a national force. But why exactly?

Capitol Police To Use Army Surveillance Gear To Monitor Americans (AMN)

U.S. Capitol Police will start using Army surveillance equipment to monitor Americans as part of a larger effort to improve security and turn the force into “an intelligence-based protective agency” in the wake of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Last week, the USCP took possession of eight Persistent Surveillance Systems Ground – Medium (PSSG-M) units, fulfilling a request that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved on June 2. The units capture high-definition video and include night vision, but do not feature facial recognition capabilities. “This technology will be integrated with existing USCP camera infrastructure, providing greater high definition surveillance capacity to meet steady-state mission requirements and help identify emerging threats,” the Pentagon said.

The same technology was used by troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to observe large areas day and night. The Army will install the units and train Capitol Police on how to operate the systems, the Pentagon said. In a statement last week, the USCP called the technology “state-of-the-art campus surveillance technology, which will enhance the ability to detect and monitor threat activity.” The Capitol Police did not provide further details regarding how or where the surveillance equipment would be used, and didn’t provide information on whether data collected would be stored or distributed. These latest efforts by the Capitol Police have raised some concerns relating to Americans’ privacy rights.

Last month, a federal appeals court found similar surveillance technology used by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) violated the constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. A New York University School of Law independent audit of the systems used by the BPD found the technology allowed the department to track individuals for multiple days. William Owen, a member of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said the Capitol Police’s new technology is cause for concern. “These so-called improvements that the Capitol Police have implemented after the insurrection represent an expansion of police power and surveillance that STOP cautioned against in January,” he said, according to The Washington Times.

Read more …

 

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Highlights of journalism.

 

 

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Jul 022021
 


Vincent van Gogh The good Samaritan (after Delacroix) 1890

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Brian Tyson

 

 

Daniel Kotzin @danielkotzin

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

 

 

McCullough treatment

 

 

 

 

Richard Fleming

 

 

Did this slip by the Guardian board?

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

Tucker JAMA

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A second hand car salesman selling science.

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

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


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

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They’re loosening them.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

Clintons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

In NATO?!

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

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


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

Read more …

Interesting story.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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


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

Read more …

 

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Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1965

 

Hunter Biden Story Is Russian Disinfo: Over 50 Former Intel Officials (Pol.)
The Damage Russiagate Has Done (Patrick Lawrence)
DNI: Hunter Biden Laptop Not Part Of Russian Disinformation Campaign (Turley)
MIT: Twitter Ban ‘Nearly Doubled’ Visibility Of Hunter Biden Laptop Story (DW)
Wikipedia Says Hunter Biden Scandal ‘Debunked’ (RT)
American Gothic Horror (Jim Kunstler)
The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead (NR)
Presidential Debate Commission Will Mute Mics During Final Debate (sundance)
The Politics of Restraint (RCW)
DC Lobbyists See Dollar Signs Under Potential Biden Win (ZH)
“Health Is About More Than Controlling The Virus” (Sky)
Ghislaine Maxwell Deposition About Sex Life Will Be Made Public (NYP)

 

 

Scott Adams

 

 

The damage these people are doing to their country is no longer measurable.

If it was the Russians, Biden could simply deny this is true. He hasn’t.

“Former intel officials sharing their “belief” that factual, embarrassing info about a Democrat candidate — which that candidate does not even deny — is all Russia’s fault has all the classic earmarks of a Russiagate disinformation operation.”


“They say they “want to emphasize…that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement” but that are “just…deeply suspicious” that Russia played a “significant role in this case.”

Hunter Biden Story Is Russian Disinfo: Over 50 Former Intel Officials (Pol.)

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” The letter, signed on Monday, centers around a batch of documents released by the New York Post last week that purport to tie the Democratic nominee to his son Hunter’s business dealings. Under the banner headline “Biden Secret E-mails,” the Post reported it was given a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said he got it from a Mac shop owner in Delaware who also alerted the FBI.

While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work. “If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.” Nick Shapiro, a former top aide under CIA director John Brennan, provided POLITICO with the letter on Monday. He noted that “the IC leaders who have signed this letter worked for the past four presidents, including Trump. The real power here however is the number of former, working-level IC officers who want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering.”

The former Trump administration officials who signed the letter include Russ Travers, who served as National Counterterrorism Center acting director; Glenn Gerstell, the former NSA general counsel; Rick Ledgett, the former deputy NSA director; Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA senior operations officer; and Cynthia Strand, who served as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for global issues. Former CIA directors or acting directors Brennan, Leon Panetta, Gen. Michael Hayden, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell also signed the letter, along with more than three dozen other intelligence veterans. Several of the former officials on the list have endorsed Biden. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Monday that the information on Biden’s laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” though the FBI is reportedly conducting an ongoing investigation into whether Russia was involved.

[..] “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” the letter reads. But, it continues, “there are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.” “Such an operation would be consistent with Russian objectives, as outlined publicly and recently by the Intelligence Community, to create political chaos in the United States and to deepen political divisions here but also to undermine the candidacy of former Vice President Biden and thereby help the candidacy of President Trump,” the letter reads.

Trump calls media criminal for not reporting on Joe Biden

Read more …

Excellent takedown.

The Damage Russiagate Has Done (Patrick Lawrence)

An inhabitant of Twitterland named “Willow Inski” took to the keyboard on Oct. 11, asking why anyone still accepts official accounts of the crucial theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta in the spring of 2016.

Excellently observed, Willow. And at just the right moment. At this point we are amid a frenzy of what Hannah Arendt called “defactualization” in a 1971 essay she titled “Lying in Politics.” Facts are fragile, Arendt astutely observed, because they can so easily be manipulated to produce a desired image. “It is this fragility,” she wrote, “that makes deception so very easy up to a point, and so tempting.”The latest example of this phenom concerns the emails of Hunter Biden, candidate Joe’s errant son, which persuasively incriminate both in very profitable influence-peddling schemes when Papa was Barack Obama’s veep. Nobody denies the facts as published last week in The New York Post, not even Biden père et fils, but the facts are once again mutilated with assertions that it is another case of the Rrrrrrussians spreading disinformation.

This is what we get after four years of the Russia collusion b.s., otherwise known as Russiagate. Anything goes if implicating Russia solves a political problem for the Democrats and keeps the war machine going for the Pentagon and the national security state. It defers the moment — at some point it will come — when the press is exposed for its radically stupid overinvestment in the Russiagate nonsense. The price America has already begun to pay is very high. Willow’s expression of perplexity comes after an especially lively season of revelations as regards what must count as the largest disinformation op in U.S. history. It is now six months since the Russiagate hoax — and I am fine with President Donald Trump’s term for it — began its final crash into a pile of piffle.

While it remains to be seen whether more evidence of political chicanery is coming, what evidence we already have is more than sufficient to identify Russiagate as the probable criminal fraud it was from the start. I am refreshed that Willow Inski, who describes herself as an “attorney, wife, mother, proud American,” sees through this extravagant ruse. And yet, as she notes, a lot of people don’t. A lot of people are “still taking at face value” all the misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies our newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters have purveyed incessantly for the past four years.

Why is a very large question. All possible answers are disturbing. But here is another big one we get to before that: When we consider together all its many consequences, has Russiagate destroyed what remained of American democracy before illiberal liberals, spooks, law enforcement, and the press colluded to erect the dreadful edifice? Your columnist’s answer rests on the most scrupulously precise definition of Russiagate one can manage: What we have witnessed these past four years is an attempted palace coup against a sitting president. Cold comfort it is that the gang that couldn’t shoot straight bungled the job. It has also created a Democratic default position: When wrongdoing by Democrats is credibly exposed, automatically blame Russia. Among much else, that has led to unnecessary tension with a nuclear power. This damage will long stay with us.

[..] In 1787, when he was our new nation’s minister in Paris, Jefferson wrote home to a friend that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” We are stuck with a government without newspapers now, given the ties our press has consolidated its ties with political and bureaucratic power in the course of imposing the Russiagate ruse upon us. They only look like newspapers now.


Joe Biden, foreground, and son Hunter during inauguration of President Barack Obama, Jan. 20, 2009. (acaben, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

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Ratcliffe calls Schiff a liar.

DNI: Hunter Biden Laptop Not Part Of Russian Disinformation Campaign (Turley)

Recently, we discussed how House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff stated publicly that the recently disclosed laptop information from Hunter Biden was clearly part of a Russian intelligence operation. This morning, John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, stated categorically that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. What is most notable is that Ratcliffe has stated that Schiff and his Committee were given that conclusion by the intelligence community. The incident has raised lingering criticism of Schiff who previously told the public that he had clear evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after that allegation was rejected in repeated investigations, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Schiff never produced the incriminating evidence and later it was shown that the widely cited Steele dossier was based on a source who was considered to be a Russian agent. There is ample reason to suspicious about the timing of this disclosure. However, I have written that this serious concern is separate from the question of whether the emails are fabricated. The Biden campaign has not given the most obvious responses to such a scandal. It is important to keep in mind that Hillary Clinton and the DNC were actually hacked by Russian intelligence but the underlying emails were true. Schiff now finds himself, again, in the position of supporting a claim of evidence of Russian collusion. He will have to show that this laptop discovery was engineered by Russian intelligence. If the owner is speaking the truth, the computer was dropped off in April 2019 with the intent to be used in the 2020 campaign.

Ratcliffe stated in an interview that “it’s funny that some of the people that complained the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing intelligence and unfortunately in this case, it is Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who as you pointed out on Friday said that the intelligence community believes that Hunter Biden’s laptop and e-mails on it are part of some Russian disinformation campaign. Let me be clear, the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports and we shared no intelligence with chairman Schiff or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign. It’s simply not true.”

Ratcliffe accused Schiff of politicizing intelligence and stated “Don’t drag the intelligence community into this. Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign and I think it’s clear the American people know that.” Schiff should explain the basis for his conclusion that this is part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Someone is clearly misrepresenting the intelligence and the public should know the basis for these irreconcilable statements.

Trump dumb bastards

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Streisand.

MIT: Twitter Ban ‘Nearly Doubled’ Visibility Of Hunter Biden Laptop Story (DW)

Twitter’s crackdown on a controversial New York Post story that “purported to show new emails from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, about his business dealings while Joe Biden was the vice president in the Obama administration,” “nearly doubled” the story’s visibility and triggered the so-called “Streisand Effect,” amplifying the Post’s claims, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a high-profile media intelligence firm. “When Twitter banned, and then unbanned, links to a questionably sourced New York Post article about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, its stated intention was to prevent people from spreading harmful false material as America heads into the final stretch of the election campaign,” MIT’s Technology Review reported Monday.

“But thanks to the cycle of misinformation—and claims from conservatives that social-media platforms are deliberately censoring their views—Twitter managed to do the opposite of what it intended.” In fact, Twitter’s efforts triggered a massive spike in interest in the story. “According to Zignal Labs, a media intelligence firm, shares of the Post article ‘nearly doubled’ after Twitter started suppressing it,” MIT noted. The incident was a real-time example of what Zignal Lab’s calls the “Streisand Effect” — a “social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information, often via the Internet,” according to Wikipedia. The name comes from singer Barbra Streisand’s efforts, in 2003, to suppress a photo of her Malibu, California, residence over security concerns.

According to Zignal Labs, the effect was immediate and significant. “Zignal found a surge of shares immediately after Twitter instituted the block, jumping from about 5.5 thousand shares every 15 minutes to about 10 thousand. This doesn’t necessarily mean the block caused the explosion in interest, but the surge corresponds with a series of widely shared tweets from Trump supporters and conservatives accusing the platform of political censorship,” MIT noted Monday. “The New York Post story, which was blocked on Twitter for about a day, was shared 352,200 times on the platform,” they added.

Dobbs, Powell, Fitton, Solomon

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How you get your information.

Wikipedia Says Hunter Biden Scandal ‘Debunked’ (RT)

Allegations of corruption against ex-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter have apparently been “debunked” and are merely a “conspiracy theory” according to Wikipedia, where editors are battling over the terms.
Hunter Biden was the subject of an explosive report last week as the New York Post published emails alleging that he involved his father in dodgy business dealings in Ukraine and China. While the story is still unfolding, the Wikipedia page for Hunter Biden simply states that “he and his father have been the subjects of debunked right-wing conspiracy theories pushed by [President] Donald Trump and his allies.” The curious framing was highlighted by conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong on Twitter on Tuesday.

Eight sources are listed for this one sentence, intending to support the view that any accusations of corruption against the Democratic presidential candidate and his son have already been proven false. In recent days, Wikipedia editors have been engaged in regular spats about the inclusion of the word “debunked.” The eighth source was added on Sunday by a frequent contributor to Biden’s son’s page, whose username is ‘Soibangla’. A regular editor of American political topics on Wikipedia, Soibangla was previously found tweaking pedophile sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s page, specifically to note that there is “no evidence” that he and former President Bill Clinton were “friends” – despite the ex-commander-in-chief traveling on the disgraced financier’s plane 26 times, according to flight logs.

Curiously, the same Soibangla is one of the top authors on a new Wikipedia page titled, ‘Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory’. The page was created on October 15, the day after the Post published Hunter’s alleged email history. The article calls the controversy “a series of false allegations” and references an almost identical list of eight sources to back it up. A war over Hunter Biden’s page has been raging since December 2019, when the word ‘debunked’ was initially added in reference to the scandal involving the former VP’s role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who said he was investigating the Burisma gas company where Hunter sat on the board.

It kicked off again on September 30, when user ‘Php2000’ removed ‘debunked’, noting that “Sources state [Hunter Biden] was making 50,000 USD a month as a board member in Ukraine gas company. Hardly ‘debunked.’” Just two minutes later, according to the website’s timeline, editor ‘Billmckern’ reverted the change, adding, “it’s been debunked and we have consensus language here.” Php2000 once again deleted the word, explaining that Hunter Biden making a lot of money in Ukraine was a well-documented fact. “What exactly has been debunked?” they asked. “Read the references,” wrote Billmckern a mere four minutes later, once again restoring the controversial phrasing.

Veritas Big Tech

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“..trailing rather pathetically in the primary elections after being dubbed an old racist by his opponents, and drubbed in Iowa and New Hampshire, Joe somehow managed to sweep the table on Super Tuesday..”

American Gothic Horror (Jim Kunstler)

Now we know why Nancy Pelosi has been running around in a fright mask with her hair on fire, and it’s not just a ghoulish anticipation of Halloween. Her Democratic Party is in extremis. It is shot through with the cancer of falsehood and the wormholes of crime, acquired through decades of playing fast and loose with the machinery of government. Nancy has been informed and she remains stuck in the rage stage of the grief cycle. Somebody sent her a copy of that hard-drive. The thing she feared would not end well is actually turning out worse than she thought. I have a theory about Joe Biden: He didn’t want to run for president. Not one eensy-weensy bit.

He wanted a nice, quiet retirement with his fat government pension plus sundry millions that had somehow found its way into his bank account over the years. He had a fabulous $16-million gentleman’s estate to gambol upon with his beloved grandchildren. The developing brain-fog was actually a comfort, allowing him to forget the rigors of public service and all the tedious gathering of… honoraria, shall we say. But then they came for him…! The Party called. Rather specifically, his old Kemosabe, Barack Obama, called him in for that ominous sit-down and gave him the bad news: Joe, you’ve gotta run. Bernie, Liz, and the rest of those bozos, they won’t keep a lid on it. You’re in this thing as deep as we are and it’s getting a little hairy. You’ve got to do it for the sake of the party, and all our… friends….

And so, Joe Biden was shanghaied into running for president. He was given a bodyguard of news media, including those crucial new additions, the social media, Twitter and Facebook, where, increasingly, information was hubbed for transmission among the voters. They would protect him infallibly from any damaging narratives. In fact, they would generate powerful counter-narratives to keep their adversaries off-balance. If Joe could just roll with it until November 3rd, they could lay all their… problems… to rest, bury all that annoying insinuendo about the hobgoblin Deep State (ha!), and finally breathe easy.

And so, trailing rather pathetically in the primary elections after being dubbed an old racist by his opponents, and drubbed in Iowa and New Hampshire, Joe somehow managed to sweep the table on Super Tuesday — apparently due to the single, magical endorsement of one congressman James Clyburn (SC, 6th District), a narrative that was swallowed like a May River oyster by the credulous all over the land. And thus anointed, Joe retreated to his fabled basement for the whole election season, venturing intermittently into empty parking lots and airplane hangars to offer proof-of-life while a polling disinfo campaign by his media bodyguard vouchsafed his inevitable victory. Looked like a sure thing in September… pack up all my cares and woe… and so forth….

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The pic is on Wisconsin only.

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead (NR)

Much of Trafalgar’s approach focuses on accounting for the so-called social-desirability bias. As Cahaly puts it, that’s when a respondent gives you “an answer that is designed to make the person asking the question be less judgmental of the person who answers it.” Cahaly notes that this phenomenon showed up as long ago as the 1980s, in the so-called Bradley effect, when the African-American mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, underperformed his polling in a gubernatorial race. It has been a hallmark of the Trump era and is one reason other pollsters missed the impending victory of Ron DeSantis over Andrew Gillum in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race. “I’ve got to get past what you want to say in public and get to what you really feel,” Cahaly says. “Because what’s in your heart is going to be what’s on that ballot.”

There are a number of methodological differences in how Trafalgar goes about its work. One is the number of questions on its surveys. “I don’t believe in long questionnaires,” Cahaly says. “I think when you’re calling up Mom or Dad on a school night, and they’re trying to get the kids dinner and get them to bed, and that phone rings at seven o’clock — and they’re supposed to stop what they’re doing and take a 25- to 30-question poll? No way.” Why does that matter? “You end up disproportionately representing the people who will like to talk about politics, which is going to skew toward the very, very conservative and the very, very liberal and the very, very bored, “Cahaly explains. “And the kind of people that win elections are the people in the middle. So I think they miss people in the middle when they do things that way.”

According to Cahaly, most polls are more than 25 questions. He keeps it between seven and nine, so respondents can answer in a matter of minutes. Then there is how the questions are asked. “We do not like to do all live calls,” Cahaly says. This goes back to the social-desirability bias. People with opinions that are unpopular “don’t want to be judged by somebody on the phone that they don’t know.” If this was always true, it’s particularly so now: “They’ve seen all this stuff of people being shamed for their opinion, people losing their jobs.” So Trafalgar mixes up how it contacts people, and especially wants respondents to feel safe in responding.

“We use collection methods of live calls, auto calls, texts, emails, and a couple that we call our proprietary digital technology that we don’t explain, but it’s also digital,” Cahaly says. The point, he continues, is to “really push the anonymous part — this is your anonymous say-so.” Another factor, is that “conservatives are less likely to participate in polls in general,” he says. “We see a five-to-one refusal rate among conservatives.” That means “you’ve got to work very hard to get a fair representation of conservatives, when you do any kind of a survey.”

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So Joe can read his teleprompter and listen to his wires in peace.

Presidential Debate Commission Will Mute Mics During Final Debate (sundance)

In yet another transparent effort to support Joe Biden, the presidential debate commission has announced they will mute microphones during the two minute answer sessions as part of a strategy to assist the promotion of disinformation. (Via New York Post) “The Commission on Presidential Debates has decided to mute microphones to allow each candidate the opportunity for uninterrupted remarks during this week’s final forum. The mute button will be featured at the start of each 15-minute segment during opening comments, according to the commission. After that time, both mics will be turned on without a mute option to enable debate.” The Trump campaign responds:

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Feels like wishful thinking.

The Politics of Restraint (RCW)

During this election season, there is much discussion around the increasing polarization of the American electorate. While these conversations can seem overwrought, there is clear data showing an increasing divide on issues like race relations and the economy. However, on foreign policy, the American people are more united. There is an increasingly shared belief across party lines that the United States needs to end its endless wars and adventurism abroad. Based on a bevy of recent polls and research, American voters will likely reward candidates who support foreign policy restraint, while punishing those who advocate for the maintenance of a failed status quo.

For most of the post-9/11 era, the conventional wisdom reinforced by the political pundits and the consultant class was that foreign policy hawkishness was a political strength. Even politicians such as President Barack Obama, who owed part of his political success to opposing the Iraq War, still felt the need to show hawkishness regarding other military conflicts. The perceived political incentives contributed to Obama ignoring the lessons of the Iraq War and initiating the disastrous intervention in Libya in 2011, along with the failed surge of American forces in Afghanistan from 2009-2012. A lack of significant political accountability by Republicans — who only seemed to try to “out-hawk” Obama — in the 2012 election for these failures reinforced the notion that support for primacy abroad was the politically safe position.

That conventional wisdom reigned into the early days of the 2016 election, but was shattered by two candidates, one during each major party’s primaries. In the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave the presumptive nominee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an unexpectedly strong challenge. Sanders has been a consistent critic of American foreign policy in the Middle East, while Clinton supported the Iraq War and the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. While Sanders did not make foreign policy the centerpiece of his campaign in 2016, his record on those issues further strengthened his appeal with the progressive left, which is traditionally wary of military intervention.

More so than Sanders, Donald Trump completely upended the conventional wisdom around what a candidate needed to say on foreign policy to win. During the 2016 Republican primary, Trump frequently and aggressively criticized America’s wars in the Middle East. During a primary debate in South Carolina, Trump excoriated former President George W. Bush for invading Iraq, and for his administration’s lies about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Prominent Republican pundits criticized Trump’s remarks and claimed that his comments would hurt his chances in South Carolina, a state heavily populated by military service members and veterans who were thought to be more hawkish.

Yet Trump easily won the South Carolina primary and the Republican nomination. During the general election, while by no means portraying himself as a dove, Trump would continue his criticism of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while tying Clinton to America’s broader failures in the Middle East. This messaging likely played a key role in Trump’s 2016 general election victory. According to research conducted by two political scientists following the 2016 election, Trump’s perception as the less interventionist candidate among voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin likely drove his victory in those critical states.

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They’ll win either way.

DC Lobbyists See Dollar Signs Under Potential Biden Win (ZH)

DC lobbyists are licking their chops at the prospect of a Biden win in November, as a flood of new regulations means they’ll have their work cut out for them. “There is a huge amount of planning going on in our client base for what this could look like,” according to Holland & Knight LLP lobbyist, Rich Gold. “It’s highly likely the first six months of 2021 are some of the biggest legislative months I will have in my career in terms of things moving.” Gold represents the American Chemistry Council, education technology provider Zovio, Inc., agriculture giant Corteva and several local governments. According to Bloomberg, K Street lobbyists began planning for major changes when polling began to show former Vice President Biden leading President Trump, as well as the possibility that Democrats would regain control of the Senate.

“Not since 2008, when President George W. Bush was leaving the White House, have lobbyists planned for the possibility of so sweeping a change in Washington’s corridors of power,” writes Bloomberg’s Jennifer Dlouhy and Ben Brody. “The presidential race remains tight in key states and the firms remain vigilant for another Trump victory like the one that caught many by surprise in 2016. But they are hedging their bets and increasingly planning around Biden’s polling lead. One firm is developing dossiers on potential appointees, selling them to clients under the maxim “people are policy.” Another has created flow charts outlining possible committee leadership changes on Capitol Hill. And at least one group has established a war room to brainstorm strategies for countering policy proposals. -Bloomberg

One oil lobbyist told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity that the election would be a “rack-and-stack” exercise when it comes to the multitude of actions the Biden administration could undertake, while a Democratic sweep of the Senate has caused many lobbyists to begin cultivating relationships with moderate Democrats, including Jon Tester of Montana, Kyrsten Sinema of Zrizona, and Joe Machin of West Virginia.

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Headline was about hospitals running out of beds, but the numbers cast doubt on that. The headline I gave is from the mayor of Manchester.

“It’s not unusual for 80% to 85% of ICU beds to be in use at this time of year..” “.. the NHS usually say they’re “at capacity” when they hit 85%, not 100% of beds filled.”

“Health Is About More Than Controlling The Virus” (Sky)

Stalemate seems to remain in negotiations about tougher restrictions for Greater Manchester, as hospitals in the region run low on beds to treat coronavirus patients. [..] data from the Greater Manchester Critical Care Network (GMCCN) suggested some of the region’s 12 hospitals were running out of space on Friday. It also showed the Royal Bolton Hospital was running at 94% capacity .The figures show hospitals across Greater Manchester are operating at an average of 82% capacity. The NHS said in a statement: “We are monitoring the situation with our hospital admissions, overall beds and ITU beds very, very closely.


The figures showed the Stepping Hill Hospital and the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust were operating at full capacity.”It’s not unusual for 80% to 85% of ICU beds to be in use at this time of year and our hospitals work together if there are particular pressures in any one area, to ensure the best care for patients who need the high level of support ICU provides, both for COVID and for other reasons.” A source at the GMCCN told Sky News the NHS usually say they’re “at capacity” when they hit 85%, not 100% of beds filled.

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Will they still label her a “socialite” after reading this, or will she get a new label?

Ghislaine Maxwell Deposition About Sex Life Will Be Made Public (NYP)

A federal appeals court Monday ordered the unsealing of a deposition related to Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex life — after the defense fought tooth and nail to keep it secret. A three-judge panel from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals issued the brief, two-page ruling after hearing arguments on the matter last week. “We cannot conclude that the District Court abused its discretion in ordering the unsealing of the deposition materials,” the panel wrote. It’s unclear when the documents will be released. The seven-hour, 418-page deposition is from testimony Maxwell gave in April 2016 in a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit filed against her by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre. In the interview, Maxwell made statements about “consensual, and intimate conduct with other adults,” according to court papers. US District Judge Loretta Preska, who is overseeing the litigation over the release of the materials, had ordered the documents unsealed in July, but Maxwell’s lawyers had appealed the decision.

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Inge Morath Street Corner at World’s End London 1954

 

100s Of Georgia Campers Infected With Corona At YMCA Camp In Days – CDC (WSB)
College Students Who Get Tested Every Two Days Can Return To Campus Safely (F.)
Visiting People At Home Banned In Parts Of Northern England (BBC)
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the Pandemic (Sav)
Trump Says Will Ban TikTok Through Executive Action As Soon As Saturday (CNBC)
US Dollar Net Shorts Soar To Highest In Nine Years (R.)
Eurozone Economy Records Its Deepest Contraction On Record In Q2 (R.)
The End of Housing as We Know It (TNR)
Judge Rips Into Ghislaine Maxwell As Sealed Documents Begin To Emerge (McC)
US Appeals Court Delays Release Of Ghislaine Maxwell Deposition (R.)
UK Government Refuses To Release Information About Assange Judge (DecUK)
When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Get Punked (Kunstler)
The Triumph Of Small People In An Era Of Great Events (Turley)
Susan Rice’s Testimony on Being Out of Russiagate Loop Doesn’t Add Up (RCI)

 

 

WHO posted a new record, Worldometer is 195 cases short. Numbers remain stubbornly high. US deaths at 1462 vs two consecutive days of 1465. No progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taleb WHO 1

Taleb 2

 

 

“We’ve confirmed YMCA Camp High Harbor is the un-named camp in new @CDCgov camp outbreak investigation. 51% of campers ages 6-10 contracted COVID19.”

100s Of Georgia Campers Infected With Corona At YMCA Camp In Days – CDC (WSB)

A CDC report released Friday reveals that hundreds of campers at a north Georgia YMCA camp were infected with coronavirus in just days before the camp was shut down. Channel 2 Action News has confirmed that the report documents COVID-19 cases at the YMCA’s Camp High Harbor on Lake Burton in Rabun County. According to the report, of the 597 residents who attended the camp, 344 were tested and 260 tested positive for the virus. The camp was only open for four days before being shut down because of the virus, and officials followed all recommended safety protocols. In total, the virus attacked 44% of the children, staff members and trainees who attended the camp.

The CDC said that what happened at High Harbor shows that earlier thinking that children might not be as susceptible to COVID-19 is wrong. According to the report, the age group with the most positive coronavirus tests was 6 – 10 years old. Under Gov. Kemp’s executive orders, overnight summer camps in Georgia were allowed to open on May 31. All campers and staff members had to test negative for the coronavirus before attending. Channel 2 Action News first reported on June 24 that a teenage counselor at the camp tested positive for the virus. Camp officials started sending campers home on June 24 and shut the camp down on June 27. Camp Harbour’s second location at Lake Allatoona in Bartow County was also closed.

“The counselor… passed the mandated safety protocols and screening, inclusive of providing a negative COVID-19 test, before arriving at camp and did not exhibit any symptoms upon arrival,” officials said. “In fact, all counselors and campers attending passed all mandatory screenings.” The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) was notified and initiated an investigation. DPH recommended that all attendees be tested and self-quarantine, and isolate if they had a positive test result. By July 10, 85 campers and staff members had tested positive. “These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission,” the report said.

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Until the first one comes in infected.

College Students Who Get Tested Every Two Days Can Return To Campus Safely (F.)

A study published today says that college students living on campus can be kept safe from contracting the coronavirus if they are tested every two days for Covid-19. The study pegs the cost at $470 per student per semester. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Open Network, the study was authored by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. One interesting finding: Even when tests aren’t 100% accurate, if they are given with the study’s recommended frequency, they ensure a safe environment for students. The researchers used a computer simulation where they took a hypothetical pool of 4,990 healthy students and exposed them to 10 students infected with the virus.

They assumed that students would be on campus for an abbreviated 80-day semester, which is the plan at many schools that have said they are reopening campuses. The study also said students who test positive should quarantine in an isolated setting. The model assumed that students would strictly follow safety precautions like frequent handwashing, wearing masks indoors, “limited bathroom sharing with frequent cleaning, dedensifying campuses and classrooms and other best practices.” But the study’s lead author, A. David Paltiel, a professor at Yale’s school of public health, says he and his team also took into account the fact that students would occasionally deviate from safety protocols. “Colleges aren’t going to be able to create a hermetically sealed, walled garden,” he says.

“We assumed that once in a while students would go to a face-to-face party or a dining hall worker who traveled on the subway would come into contact with a student or somebody would cough on a student.” Even with occasional exposure, getting a rapid-response test every two days would make it safe for students to live on campus, he says. In the Boston area, inexpensive, quick-turnaround nasal swab tests are being made available from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The tests will be provided at cost, for $25-$30 each. Schools will administer the tests and the institute will process them within 24 hours.

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But they can meet up in the pub?!

Visiting People At Home Banned In Parts Of Northern England (BBC)

Millions of people in parts of northern England are now facing new restrictions, banning separate households from meeting each other at home after a spike in Covid-19 cases. The rules impact people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire. The health secretary told the BBC the increase in transmission was due to people visiting friends and relatives. Labour criticised the timing of the announcement – late on Thursday night. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast the government had taken “targeted” action based on information gathered from contact tracing, which he said showed that “most of the transmission is happening between households visiting each other, and people visiting relatives and friends”.


The new lockdown rules, which came into force at midnight, mean people from different households will not be allowed to meet in homes or private gardens. They also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs and restaurants, although individual households will still be able to visit such hospitality venues. The changes come as Muslim communities prepare to celebrate Eid this weekend, and nearly four weeks after restrictions were eased across England – allowing people to meet indoors for the first time since late March. The same restrictions will apply in Leicester, where a local lockdown has been in place for the last month. However, pubs, restaurants and other facilities will be allowed to reopen in the city from Monday, as some of the stricter measures are lifted.

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Simple is elegant.

Podcast: https://www.econtalk.org/nassim-nicholas-taleb-on-the-pandemic/

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the Pandemic (Sav)

On Societal Risk There’s a big difference between risks that simply lead to different outcomes and risks of ruin, particularly on the systemic level. We should be worrying about multiplicative risks — such as pandemics. On the other hand, car accidents are not a societal risk of ruin, as car accidents don’t lead to other car accidents. If you found out that 1 billion people died in a single year, and didn’t know how, your guess wouldn’t be car accidents. It would be something fat-tailed like nuclear war or pandemics. It’s worthwhile figuring out what the systemic risks that we should be avoiding are — it liberates us and allows us to take lots of risks elsewhere.

On Personal Risk If you don’t behave conservatively, you’ll increase collective risk dramatically because risk due to pandemics doesn’t scale linearly. You wear a mask more for the systemic effect, not to mitigate personal risk. Prudence on the individual level may seem like ‘overreacting’, and it would be ‘rational’ not to overreact. However, it’s important to note that rationality doesn’t scale; what’s rational for the collective may seem irrational for you personally. People doing the right thing will look irrational.

How to Deal With Pandemics Any infectious disease with over 1000 deaths can be considered a pandemic. If the count is below that, you don’t have to worry about it. If above, it means you’re dealing with a fat-tailed event. Treat all pandemics the same way — the moment they kill 1000, take measures. The most effective way to prevent pandemics is to do systemic quarantine. Follow a protocol and don’t take chances — it was foolish to quarantine people only coming from China, as the virus could have came from anywhere (and it did). Reduce connectivity. Close borders. You don’t need cases at 0, just make sure that the cases don’t overwhelm your system. Identify superspreaders. Subways, elevators, big gatherings, things like that. Do this for all pandemics, no matter how impactful, until we figure out the specific properties of the one we’re dealing with.

Absence of Evidence ≠ Evidence of Absence For example, if you have no evidence of cases, it doesn’t mean you have no cases. Or if you have no evidence that masks work, it doesn’t mean that masks don’t work. Err on the side of prudence when dealing with risks of ruin. “If you don’t know if masks work, wear them.”

The central idea of the Incerto is: when you have uncertainty in a system, it makes your decision making much much easier rather than harder. “If I tell you that I’m not certain about the quality of this water, would you drink it?” “If I tell you that we have uncertainty about the pilot’s skills — he could be excellent, but we’re not sure — would you get on the plane?”

The WHO Initially, WHO, CDC, and others said not to wear masks. The WHO made two mistakes. First, they didn’t realize scaling: if the probability of infection is p, if both people wear masks it becomes p squared. For example, if p=0.50, both people wearing a mask would lower p to 0.25. Second mistake: if I reduce the viral load by half, I don’t decrease probability of infection by half — I may decrease it by 99%. That’s because the probability of infection is nonlinear — it’s an S-curve. In addition, they lied because they were worried about a mask shortage. People’s instincts were much better than what the WHO, CDC, etc advised. “All of these people are completely incompetent when it comes to basic things that your grandmother gets.” Have the WHO removed — it’s a bureaucratic organization that has been harmful to mankind by telling people not to wear masks.

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Good thing for him that schoolgirls don’t vote.

Trump Says Will Ban TikTok Through Executive Action As Soon As Saturday (CNBC)

President Donald Trump on Friday told reporters he will act as soon as Saturday to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok from the United States, NBC News reported. Trump made the comments while chatting with reporters on Air Force One during the flight back to Washington from Florida. “As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said, calling the action a “severance.” Trump did not specify whether he will act through an executive order, or another method. such as a designation, according to NBC News. “Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that,” Trump said.


Trump’s comments come as it was reported Friday that Microsoft has held talks to buy the TikTok video-sharing mobile app from Chinese owner ByteDance, one person close to the situation told CNBC. This person characterized the talks as having been underway for some time, rather than being brand new. Trump told reporters that he didn’t support the reported spinoff deal involving Microsoft buying TikTok, NBC News reported. A TikTok acquisition could make Microsoft, a major provider of business software, more concentrated on consumer technology, which Microsoft has moved away from somewhat in recent years, by exiting the smartphone hardware, fitness hardware and e-book markets.

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The casino is open and the house always wins.

US Dollar Net Shorts Soar To Highest In Nine Years (R.)

Speculators’ net short U.S. dollar positioning soared to the highest level since August 2011, according to calculations by Reuters and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday. The position hit $24.27 billion in the week ended July 28, up from $18.81 billion the prior period. U.S. net shorts rose for a fourth straight week as bets against the greenback have persisted since mid-March. U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts of International Monetary Market speculators in the Japanese yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc as well as the Canadian and Australian dollars. In a wider measure of dollar positioning that includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real, and Russian ruble, the U.S. dollar posted a net short position of $24.53 billion, compared with net shorts of $19.37 billion the week before.


This week’s net short position was largest since April 2018, according to Reuters data. In contrast, net euro longs hit a record high, CFTC data showed. Net euro longs were 157,559 contracts this week. The greenback has struggled over the last few months, driven by factors including near-zero interest rates as well as Federal Reserve measures that flooded the international market with dollars via swap lines. The buck was down about 10% from the year’s high hit in March against a basket of currencies. On Friday the dollar fell to its lowest in more than two years. “The combination of falling real rates and rising risk assets has been a dominating force across markets over the past few months, which has likely contributed to the dollar sell-off over the same period,” said Goldman Sachs in a research note on Friday.

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And with the euro surging vs the USD, the EU economy is crashing.

Forget about the inflation talk, velocity of money is in the gutter. Sure some prices may rise for a bit, everyone’s trying to stay alive. But who has the money left to afford the higher prices? Or better yet: who will by Christmas?

Eurozone Economy Records Its Deepest Contraction On Record In Q2 (R.)

The euro zone’s economy recorded its deepest contraction on record in the second quarter, preliminary estimates showed on Friday, while the bloc’s inflation unexpectedly ticked up in July. In the months from April to June, gross domestic product in the 19-country currency bloc shrank by 12.1% from the previous quarter, the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said in its flash estimates. The deepest GDP fall since the time series started in 1995 coincided with coronavirus lockdowns which many euro zone countries began to ease only from May. The contraction was slightly more pronounced than market expectations of a 12.0% fall, and followed the 3.6% GDP drop recorded in the first quarter of the year.

Among the countries for which data were available, Spain posted the worst output slump, with its economy shrinking by 18.5% quarter-on-quarter, worse than expected and wiping out all the post-financial crisis recovery of the last six years. GDP in Italy and France also fell sharply but less than forecast, respectively by 12.4% and 13.8%. Germany, the largest economy in the bloc, saw a 10.1% contraction in the second quarter, worse than expectations of a 9.0% slump. Inflation continued instead its upward trend, defying expectations of a slowdown, supporting the European Central Bank’s expectation that a negative headline reading may be avoided. Eurostat said consumer prices in the bloc rose 0.4% on an annual basis in July from 0.3% in June and 0.1% in May. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2% increase in July.

Underlying price pressure also accelerated. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, a key measure watched by the ECB, inflation rose by 1.3% from 1.1% in June, Eurostat’s flash estimates showed. An even narrower gauge, which also excludes alcohol and tobacco, jumped to 1.2% from 0.8% in June. The acceleration in headline inflation was driven by higher prices of industrial goods which rose by 1.7% after a 0.2% increase in June. Food, alcohol and tobacco prices went up by 2.0% on the year, but slowed from the 3.2% rise recorded in June. Energy prices fell by 8.3% in July, after plunging 9.3% in June.

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The bottom is falling out.

The End of Housing as We Know It (TNR)

In 2018, 44 percent of New York renter households paid at least 30 percent of their incomes on rent. Half of those were severely rent-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing. Relief is also hard to come by: For a family of three earning less than $30,720 a year—a household that would be classified by the city as “extremely low income”—there are 650 applications for each apartment in the affordable housing lottery. This was before the pandemic. In the months since, an untold number of New York’s working-class immigrants have lost their jobs, with some social service organizations in the city reporting that upward of 90 percent of their immigrant clients are out of work, according to a study by the Center for an Urban Future.

The city comptroller’s office found that 900,000 fewer New Yorkers reported working in May than in February, with job losses mostly concentrated among people of color and young people. Now, with temporary protective measures like rent moratoriums lasting only through the end of the pandemic and enhanced unemployment benefits set to expire (and with millions of undocumented immigrants shut out of many of those protections in the first place), New York City is on the brink of a new phase of its long-festering housing crisis. “They do not have to worry about what we have been through,” Ramirez, who has been on rent strike with other tenants in her building since March, said of the big landlords who own buildings like hers. “They do not worry about what their children are going to eat, what they are going to do, what is going to happen with that.”

[..] A recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness shows that the wealth of New York’s billionaires increased by $77 billion from March to June. Juxtapose that obscene accumulation of wealth to the $9 billion deficit New York City is facing for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Despite this, Governor Andrew Cuomo balked at calls to tax the wealthy to fill the shortfall that might result in cutbacks to vital services and, after public pressure, offered a mere $100 million in relief through the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. And instead of providing support for renters, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio approved a budget that cuts investment in affordable housing by 40 percent.

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Nice set of names. Let the denials emerge.

Judge Rips Into Ghislaine Maxwell As Sealed Documents Begin To Emerge (McC)

A much-anticipated batch of newly unsealed documents from a settled defamation suit began trickling out Thursday night over the objections of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of sex trafficking and alleged to be the madam of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. In a 2015 e-mail Epstein advised Maxwell to return to the high-society world the two had inhabited without any shame. “You have done nothing wrong and i would urge you to start acting like it,” Epstein wrote. “[G]o outside, head high, not as an escaping convict. go to parties. deal with it.” Maxwell, awaiting trial in a federal prosecution, had delayed the planned release of the documents from a 2015 civil suit by filing objections at the last minute, provoking the ire of U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska. The judge ruled last week that the documents should be unsealed.

“The Court is troubled — but not surprised — that Ms. Maxwell has yet again sought to muddy the water as the clock clicks closer to midnight,” Preska wrote in a filing denying a request from Maxwell’s lawyers for an emergency phone conference. They argued, unsuccessfully, that the documents threaten her defense and complained she had already been convicted by the media. The judge had allowed two key depositions to be exempt from release while Maxwell filed an appeal Thursday with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. But Preska ordered a second large tranche of documents from the case settled in 2017 unsealed and released Thursday night.

[..] That same transcript also names people who traveled with Epstein. While many of the names have been publicly linked to Epstein before, seeing them in the context of the document was jarring. Giuffre tells of celebrities traveling with Epstein like magician David Copperfield, model Naomi Campbell, former Sony Records President Tommy Mottola and Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the famed undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau. Giuffre also provides a sworn statement about former President Bill Clinton visiting Epstein’s Little St. James Island. “When you say you asked him why is Bill Clinton here, where was he?” Giuffre was asked in her deposition, answering, “On the island.”

In the newly released 24-page transcript of “Document 16,” Giuffre added that two young girls from New York and Maxwell were on the island at the same time as Clinton, who has denied any improper relations. So have the numerous men she identified. The earlier documents also included the names of a number of men whom Giuffre said she and other victims were directed to have sex with, including former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Hyatt hotels magnate Tom Pritzker, the late scientist Marvin Minsky, modeling scout Jean-Luc Brunel, and prominent hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin.

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Well, she has one win. But it’s Pyrrhic.

US Appeals Court Delays Release Of Ghislaine Maxwell Deposition (R.)

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order after last-ditch scrambles by Maxwell to keep potentially embarrassing information, which her lawyer said could make it “difficult if not impossible” to find an impartial jury, out of the public eye. Maxwell’s appeal will be heard on an expedited basis, with oral argument scheduled for Sept. 22. Her deposition had been taken in April 2016 for a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit against the British socialite by Virginia Giuffre, who had accused Epstein of having kept her as a “sex slave” with Maxwell’s assistance. Dozens of other documents from that case were released late on Thursday, after the presiding judge concluded that the public had a right to see them.= The release of Maxwell’s deposition had been scheduled for Monday, pending the outcome of the appeal.


[..] In seeking to keep Maxwell’s deposition sealed, her lawyers said in court papers on Thursday she had been promised confidentiality by Giuffre’s lawyers and the presiding judge at the time, through an agreed-upon protective order, before answering many personal, sensitive and “allegedly incriminatory” questions about her dealings with Epstein. They said further that Maxwell was blindsided when prosecutors quoted from the deposition in her indictment, and accusing Giuffre of leaking the deposition to the government. In a court filing on Friday, Giuffre’s lawyers called Maxwell’s appeal “frivolous, and a transparent attempt to further delay the release of documents to which the public has a clear and unequivocal right to access.” The lawyers also called the allegation Giuffre leaked the deposition “completely and utterly false.”

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This is not about something being rotten IN the state, this is a rotten state. It’s the core.

UK Government Refuses To Release Information About Assange Judge (DecUK)

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice is blocking the release of basic information about the judge who is to rule on Julian Assange’s extradition to the US in what appears to be an irregular application of the Freedom of Information Act, it can be revealed. Declassified has also discovered that the judge, Vanessa Baraitser, has ordered extradition in 96% of the cases she has presided over for which information is publicly available. Baraitser was appointed a district judge in October 2011 based at the Chief Magistrate’s Office in London, after being admitted as a solicitor in 1994. Next to no other information is available about her in the public domain.

Baraitser has been criticised for a number of her judgments so far concerning Assange, who has been incarcerated in a maximum security prison, HMP Belmarsh in London, since April 2019. These decisions include refusing Assange’s request for emergency bail during the Covid-19 pandemic and making him sit behind a glass screen during the hearing, rather than with his lawyers. Declassified recently revealed that Assange is one of just two of the 797 inmates in Belmarsh being held for violating bail conditions. Over 20% of inmates are held for murder. Declassified has also seen evidence that the UK Home Office is blocking the release of information about home secretary Priti Patel’s role in the Assange extradition case.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was sent by Declassified to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on 28 February 2020 requesting a list of all the cases on which Baraitser has ruled since she was appointed in 2011. The MOJ noted in response that it was obliged to send a reply within 20 working days. Two months later, on 29 April 2020, an information officer at the HM Courts and Tribunals Service responded that it could “confirm” that it held “some of the information that you have requested”. But the request was rejected since the officer claimed it was not consistent with the Constitutional Reform Act. “The judiciary is not a public body for the purposes of FOIA… and requests asking to disclose all the cases a named judge ruled on are therefore outside the scope of the FOIA,” the officer stated.

A British barrister, who wished to remain anonymous, but who is not involved with the Assange case, told Declassified: “The resistance to disclosure here is curious. A court is a public authority for the purposes of the Human Rights Act and a judge is an officer of the court. It is therefore more than surprising that the first refusal argued that, for the purposes of the FOIA, there is no public body here subject to disclosure.” The barrister added: “The alternative argument on data doesn’t stack up. A court acts in public. There is no default anonymity of the names of cases, unless children are involved or other certain limited circumstances, nor the judges who rule on them. Justice has to be seen to be done.”

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“..selling postcards of the hanging..”

When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Get Punked (Kunstler)

The election itself is another front in this undeclared civil war. How exactly did the Democratic Party come to settle on a candidate with no credible capacity to serve as president? Who is Joe Biden fronting for, and who do they think they’re fooling? How can he possibly deliver an acceptance speech three weeks from now without giving away the game? That will be something to see — but I doubt we will actually see it. If the Dems don’t switch him out, there is no way Mr. Biden can survive the three-month homestretch of an election campaign. He can barely make it through a ten-minute appearance in front of twenty-three hand-picked partisans in a TV studio. Life imitates art, as Oscar Wilde tartly observed. The Manchurian candidate is truly here.


Mr. Barr is quite correct when he avers that an election by mail-in ballots is an invitation to fraud. The parallel campaign by the news media to ramp up extra hysteria over the corona virus is designed to ensure that scam. Keeping kids out of school is another angle on it, to plant a narrative that parents can’t possibly leave the house to go to a polling station. Wait for it. The result would be an election that can’t be resolved even by the Supreme Court. What will happen then? I’ll tell you how it goes: Donald Trump will stand aside and yield to the military, to some general or committee of generals, and the country will be under martial law until the election is sorted out or re-run. And by then, the election may be the least of our problems, with tens of millions out-of-work, out-of-business, penniless, homeless, and hungry. That’s when they’ll truly be selling postcards of the hanging, as the old song goes. Then comes America’s Bonaparte moment. Yes, things can get that weird.

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“..the hearing had as much class as a demolition derby..”

The Triumph Of Small People In An Era Of Great Events (Turley)

Winston Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” If he knew members of the House Judiciary Committee, he could have cut that time in half, as they might convince people that democracy is a failed experiment. The hearing with Attorney General William Barr had been long awaited for weeks as a way to get answers on issues ranging from the controversial clearing of Lafayette Park, to the intervention in the case of Roger Stone, to the violence across various cities. Instead, the public watched as both parties engaged in hours of primal scream therapy, with Barr for the most part forced to remain as silent as some life size anatomical doll. The videos shown by the rival parties captured the utter absurdity of the day.

Republicans played what could only be described as eight minutes of virtual “riot porn” for the hard right. By the end, one would think much of the nation is a smoking dystopian hellscape. Democrats then played their alternate reality video showing thousands of protesters chanting together in perfect harmony. Add a soundtrack to the scene and you would have a soda commercial. There was nothing in the middle: either the protests are either our final Armageddon or the Garden of Eden. After testifying recently on the Lafayette Park controversy, I was one of those who had great expectations for answers to significant questions. Instead, Democrats dramatically demanded answers and then stopped Barr from answering by immediately “taking back the time.” It happened over and over during the hearing. Democrats simply did not want to hear any answers that would undermine the popular narratives.

Several Democrats insisted the clearing of Lafayette Park was for the sole purpose of a photo for President Trump in front of Saint John Church. Barr sought to explain that there was no connection between the plan formed the weekend before and the photo, but he was stopped by members like Hank Johnson saying “you clearly will not answer the question” before he could even start to answer. It got more and more bizarre. Barr was repeatedly cut off by Democrats, while Republicans, who have done the same thing to witnesses in other hearings, raged against their colleagues. The result was mayhem. While Barr sarcastically referred to Jerrold Nadler as a “real class act” after Nadler refused a request for a break, the hearing had as much class as a demolition derby.

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Lying under oath?!

Susan Rice’s Testimony on Being Out of Russiagate Loop Doesn’t Add Up (RCI)

Rice insisted she knew nothing about the FBI’s counterintelligence probe regarding Trump and Russia, let alone anything that could be characterized as spying on the incoming administration. She had her lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, write a letter to Sens. Charles Grassley, Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, and Sheldon Whitehouse. “While serving as National Security Advisor, Ambassador Rice was not briefed on the existence of any FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia,” Ruemmler wrote, “and she later learned of the fact of this investigation from Director Comey’s subsequent public testimony” – testimony that didn’t occur until March 20, 2017 On Wednesday, September 8, 2017, Rice repeated that she knew nothing of the FBI’s investigation while in the White House. This time she made the claim under oath.


Rice was at the Capitol, sitting in a secure room used by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The official reason for the interview was to ask what the Obama administration had done to thwart Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Behind those questions was a different query: Had Barack Obama’s team used the power of the presidency to spy on and smear the Trump campaign? With the expectation of facing unfriendly questions, Rice arrived with two attorneys from the law firm Latham & Watkins. The Republican staffer running the interview emphasized to Rice the importance of telling the truth: “You are reminded that it is unlawful to deliberately provide false information to members of Congress or staff.” She was asked to raise her right hand and take an oath: “Madam Ambassador, do you swear or affirm that the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” “I do,” Rice said.

[..] Comey told Horowitz that in August 2016 “he did mention to President Obama and others at a meeting in the Situation Room that the FBI was trying to determine whether any U.S. person had worked with the Russians in their efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.”“[A]lthough [Comey] did not recall exactly what he said,” Horowitz writes, “he may have said there were four individuals with ‘some association or connection to the Trump campaign.’” This revelation failed to strike anyone at the meeting as remarkable: “Comey stated that after he provided this information, no one in the Situation Room responded or followed up with any questions.” [..] Comey provided Horowitz with a list of those at the meeting. The inspector general shares that list in footnote 194 to his report: President Obama was there, as well as his chief of staff, Dennis McDonough; also present were James Clapper, John Brennan, Michael Rogers and Susan Rice.

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Jul 292020
 


Fresco from the Minoan Palace in Knossos, Crete, Greece. 16th century B C.

 

Coronavirus To Spread In One Big Wave and Won’t Go Away – WHO (RT)
WHO Says Keeping Borders Shut To Thwart COVID-19 Not “Sustainable” (CBS)
Six US States See Record COVID19 Deaths, Latinos Hit Hard In California (R.)
Hong Kong Warns City On Verge Of Large Coronavirus Outbreak (R.)
China’s Surging Crude Imports Mask Weakness In The Rest Of Asia (R.)
OPEC Prepares For An Age Of Dwindling Demand (R.)
Big Tech CEOs To Defend Their Companies By Listing Competitors (R.)
“People Have Too Much Money To Play With” (BBG)
It Is Time to Abandon Dollar Hegemony (Foriegn Affairs)
DOJ Could Pursue Treason Charges Over Russia Probe Misconduct – Steube (JTN)
Ghislaine Maxwell Fights To Keep Nude Photos And Sexualised Videos Secret (RT)
Assange Spied On Like ‘In A Film,’ Lawyer Says (Rap)
It’s Not Assange Who Should Be Facing Prosecution (Can.)

 

 

I was watching some of the Bill Barr hearing yesterday, bewildered by the lack of manners exhibited. Not because I’m a Trump or Bill Barr fan, but come on, this is Congress, and if you can’t show respect for the US Attorney General, no matter how much you may dislike him, you’re not showing respect for the House you’re sitting in, or its history, or its meaning for the country.

Several of the Representatives didn’t start with a question, but began by telling Barr what a despicable human being he is, something that only makes sense if you aim it at the camera’s, then at last asked questions and refused to let him answer them.

 

 

 

New cases for the world and US remain somewhat subdued, but the US new daily deaths number is the highest since May 27. Let’s hope that is an anomaly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have the same problem as Ben Hunt. Very much so.

 

 

Byron York

 

 

Not seasonal. That took only 7 months.

Coronavirus To Spread In One Big Wave and Won’t Go Away – WHO (RT)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has quashed hopes that the coronavirus might simply disappear over the summer. It urged the world to instead brace itself for “one big wave” of infections. WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told reporters via conference call that, contrary to some expectations, the coronavirus will not wane during warmer seasons like the flu would. People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and… this one is behaving differently. Harris warned that there will be “one big wave” of coronavirus infections that will “go up and down a bit,” instead of several distinct waves one after another. “The best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet,” she said.


Many European countries have been gradually lifting or relaxing their quarantine restrictions since May. Because there is still no vaccine, the governments are calibrating their Covid-19 response while bracing for a potential second wave of the infection. Asian countries, like China and South Korea, as well as several US states were forced to re-impose some of the lockdown measures after infection rates went up again and new coronavirus hotspots were discovered. Harris reiterated the call to slow the spread of the virus by avoiding mass gatherings. This has proven to be challenging in recent months due to recurring large-scale anti-racism and police brutality protests in a number of Western countries.

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Here’s looking at you, Jacinda Ardern?!

WHO Says Keeping Borders Shut To Thwart COVID-19 Not “Sustainable” (CBS)

Keeping borders closed to halt the spread of COVID-19 is unsustainable, the World Health Organization said Monday, urging countries to adopt comprehensive strategies based on local knowledge of where the virus is spreading. Border closures and travel restrictions remain an important part of many countries’ strategy to combat the novel coronavirus. At the same time, rising cases in a range of countries in Europe and elsewhere that had loosened measures after appearing to get their outbreaks under control have spurred discussions of possible fresh border closures. But the UN health body warned that such measures cannot be kept up indefinitely, and are also only useful when combined with a wide range of other measures to detect and break chains of transmission.

“Continuing to keep international borders sealed is not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world’s economy, for the world’s poor, or for anybody else,” Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, told journalists in a virtual briefing. “It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future,” he said, pointing out that “economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume.” He acknowledged that when it comes to COVID-19, it is impossible to have a “global one size fits all policy” because outbreaks are developing differently in different countries. While countries with rampant community transmission may need to use the blunt instrument of lockdowns to gain control of the situation, others should be burrowing down to get a clear overview of where and how the virus is spreading at a local level.

They should be prepared to tighten or loosen measures accordingly, he said, warning against “releasing pressure” on the virus, which has killed some 650,000 people and infected 16.3 million worldwide.”Release pressure on the virus and the numbers can creep back up.” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said that instead of expecting drastic measures to keep the virus in check, people need to adapt their behaviours for the long haul. “What we’re going to have to figure out… is what our new normal looks like?” she told reporters. “Our new normal includes physical distancing from others, (and) wearing masks where appropriate,” she said. “Our new normal includes us knowing where this virus is each and every day, where we live, where we work, where we want to travel.”

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Wonder what the situation will be in one week, two weeks.

Six US States See Record COVID19 Deaths, Latinos Hit Hard In California (R.)

A half-dozen U.S. states in the South and West reported one-day records for coronavirus deaths on Tuesday and cases in Texas passed the 400,000 mark as California health officials said Latinos made up more than half its cases. Arkansas, California, Florida, Montana, Oregon and Texas each reported record spikes in fatalities. In the United States more than 1,300 lives were lost nation wide on Tuesday, the biggest one-day increase since May, according to a Reuters tally. California health officials said Latinos, who make up just over a third of the most populous U.S. state, account for 56% of COVID-19 infections and 46% of deaths. Cases are soaring in the Central Valley agricultural region, with its heavily Latino population, overwhelming hospitals. The state on Tuesday reported 171 deaths.


Florida saw 191 coronavirus deaths in the prior 24 hours, the state health department said. Texas added more than 6,000 new cases on Monday, pushing its total to 401,477, according to a Reuters tally. Only three other states – California, Florida and New York – have more than 400,000 total cases. The four are the most populous U.S. states. California and Texas both reported decreases in overall hospitalizations as Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top U.S. infectious diseases expert, saw signs the surge could be peaking in the South and West while other areas were on the cusp of new outbreaks. Fauci said early indications showed the percentage of positive coronavirus tests rising in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky.

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Panic over low numbers.

Hong Kong Warns City On Verge Of Large Coronavirus Outbreak (R.)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread take effect on Wednesday. The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak. The government has also tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea and air crew members, effective on Wednesday.


“We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly,” Lam said in a statement late on Tuesday. “In order to protect our loved ones, our healthcare staff and Hong Kong, I appeal to you to follow strictly the social distancing measures and stay at home as far as possible.” The new measures, which will be in place for at least seven days, were announced on Monday after the global financial hub saw a spike in locally transmitted cases over the past three weeks. On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 106 new coronavirus cases, including 98 that were locally transmitted. Since late January, more than 2,880 people have been infected in the former British colony, 23 of whom have died.

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Imports of vast quantities of oil that was bought in April means China’s buying a whole lot less now. And their storage is rapidly filling up.

China’s Surging Crude Imports Mask Weakness In The Rest Of Asia (R.)

The ongoing flood of crude oil into China is obscuring the fact that demand in the rest of Asia remains weak, and that countries in the world’s top-consuming region didn’t join China is stocking up when prices slumped. China’s crude imports set consecutive records in May and June, and will remain at high levels in July and likely August too, as the massive volumes of oil bought during a brief price war in April enter the country. China imported 12.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, eclipsing the prior all-time high of 11.3 million bpd in May, according to official data. Imports for July may set a new record high, with Refinitiv Oil Research estimating 13.04 million bpd will be offloaded in the month.

Tracking China’s imports has been made more tricky by the sheer volume of tankers heading to, or waiting at, ports. Delays in discharging cargoes mean that August’s figures may get a bit of a boost from the earlier buying spree. Crude prices plunged to the lowest in 17 years in late April after Saudi Arabia and Russia, the leading producers in the group known as OPEC+, disagreed on whether to extend and deepen output cuts in a bid to support prices. The Saudis said they would sell as much oil as they could, and the sheer volume of oil being made available, coupled with the economic hit from the spreading novel coronavirus pandemic, saw benchmark Brent futures drop as low as $15.98 a barrel on April 22, some 78% down from this year’s peak of $71.75 in early January.

While the price war didn’t persist, with OPEC+ agreeing to extend and deepen output cuts, it did last long enough to give refiners an opportunity to stock up with bargain-basement crude. However, it appears that only Chinese refiners took up the offer, and perhaps trading houses with access to storage tanks, with many Asian buyers apparently more worried about the demand hit from the coronavirus than they were tempted by the low crude prices.

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OPEC, the whole structure of it, is not made for downsizing. It won’t survive it.

OPEC Prepares For An Age Of Dwindling Demand (R.)

The coronavirus crisis may have triggered the long-anticipated tipping point in oil demand and it is focusing minds in OPEC. The pandemic drove down daily crude consumption by as much as a third earlier this year, at a time when the rise of electric vehicles and a shift to renewable energy sources were already prompting downward revisions in forecasts for long-term oil demand. It has prompted some officials in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, oil’s most powerful proponent since it was founded 60 years ago, to ask whether this year’s dramatic demand destruction heralds a permanent shift and how best to manage supplies if the age of oil is drawing to a close.

“People are waking up to a new reality and trying to work their heads around it all,” an industry source close to OPEC told Reuters, adding the “possibility exists in the minds of all the key players” that consumption might never fully recover. Reuters interviewed seven current and former officials or other sources involved in OPEC, most of whom asked not to be named. They said this year’s crisis that sent oil below $16 a barrel had prompted OPEC and its 13 members to question long-held views on the demand growth outlook. Just 12 years ago, OPEC states were flush with cash when oil peaked above $145 a barrel as demand surged. Now it faces a dramatic adjustment if consumption starts a permanent decline. The group will need to manage even more closely its cooperation with other producers, such as Russia, to maximise falling revenues and will have to work to ensure relations inside the group are not frayed by any fratricidal dash to defend market share in a shrinking businesses.

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Their only real line is they compete with each other.

Nothing will happen, though, because they all work with and for US intelligence.

Big Tech CEOs To Defend Their Companies By Listing Competitors (R.)

The chief executives of four of the world’s largest tech companies, Amazon.com, Facebook, Apple and Alphabet’s Google , plan to argue in a congressional hearing on antitrust on Wednesday that they face intense competition from each other and from other rivals. The testimony from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook, which was released Tuesday, portrays four chief executives who are looking over their shoulders at competitors who could render them obsolete. Pichai argued that search – which Google dominates by most metrics – was broader than just typing a query into Google, and said he remained concerned about being relevant as people turn to Twitter, Pinterest or other websites for information.

“We know Google’s continued success is not guaranteed. Google operates in highly competitive and dynamic global markets, in which prices are free or falling, and products are constantly improving,” Pichai said in the prepared remarks. The four will testify reut.rs/2DhrEFT to a panel of lawmakers investigating how their business practices and data gathering have hurt smaller rivals as they seek to retain their dominance, or expand. In his remarks, Bezos said Amazon occupies a small share of the overall retail market and competes with retailers like Walmart (WMT.N), which is twice its size. He also said the coronavirus pandemic boosted e-commerce businesses across the spectrum and not just Amazon.

Bezos also lays out how small sellers have succeeded on Amazon’s third-party marketplace, a practice that has come under scrutiny from lawmakers. In his prepared testimony, Zuckerberg argued that Facebook competes against other companies appearing at the hearing and against others globally. Zuckerberg will also defend Facebook’s acquisitions by saying the social media platform helped companies like WhatsApp and Instagram grow. Both are owned by Facebook. He will also remind lawmakers of the competitive threat U.S. tech companies face from China, saying that China is building its “own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.”

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Investing in bankrupt companies. Thanks, Jay Powell.

“People Have Too Much Money To Play With” (BBG)

The warning to shareholders of newly bankrupt Ascena Retail Group Inc. could hardly have been more direct. There it is, in black-and-white, on page 5 of the court declaration filed by Ascena’s most senior official just hours into the case: “Existing common equity in Ascena will be canceled.” Full stop. Creditors will take ownership of the retail chain, which Ascena also made plain. So how did stock investors respond? By bidding up the shares just shy of 120%, on off-the-charts volume. It was a similar story for bankrupt Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. The airborne Wi-Fi service jumped more than 50% on July 24 after its court filing, despite warning shareholders earlier in July that they stood to lose everything to creditors in a Chapter 11 case.


And it hearkens back to Hertz Global Holdings Inc., whose stock became Example A of post-bankruptcy rallies. The persistent mania for busted companies baffles financial advisers. “What’s going on here? I really couldn’t tell you; it’s not something I would ever recommend to anyone,” said George Gagliardi at Coromandel Wealth Management in Lexington, Massachusetts. “People have too much money to play with,” said Dennis Nolte, an adviser at Florida’s Seacoast Investment Services. “Most of these traders won’t be around when the bankruptcy proceedings are complete. Just turn the light off when you leave the room, if the lights aren’t turned off by the utility company because there’s no money to pay the bill.”

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Bet you didn’t think the Council on Foreign Relations would come with this.

It Is Time to Abandon Dollar Hegemony (Foriegn Affairs)

In the 1960s, French Finance Minister Valéry Giscard d’Estaing complained that the dominance of the U.S. dollar gave the United States an “exorbitant privilege” to borrow cheaply from the rest of the world and live beyond its means. U.S. allies and adversaries alike have often echoed the gripe since. But the exorbitant privilege also entails exorbitant burdens that weigh on U.S. trade competitiveness and employment and that are likely to grow heavier and more destabilizing as the United States’ share of the global economy shrinks. The benefits of dollar primacy accrue mainly to financial institutions and big businesses, but the costs are generally borne by workers.

For this reason, continued dollar hegemony threatens to deepen inequality as well as political polarization in the United States. Dollar hegemony isn’t foreordained. For years, analysts have warned that China and other powers might decide to abandon the dollar and diversify their currency reserves for economic or strategic reasons. To date, there is little reason to think that global demand for dollars is drying up. But there is another way the United States could lose its status as issuer of the world’s dominant reserve currency: it could voluntarily abandon dollar hegemony because the domestic economic and political costs have grown too high.

The United States has already abandoned multilateral and security commitments during the administration of President Donald Trump—prompting international relations scholars to debate whether the country is abandoning hegemony in a broader strategic sense. The United States could abandon its commitment to dollar hegemony in a similar way: even if much of the rest of the world wants the United States to maintain the dollar’s role as a reserve currency—just as much of the world wants the United States to continue to provide security—Washington could decide that it can no longer afford to do so. It is an idea that has received surprisingly little discussion in policy circles, but it could benefit the United States and ultimately, the rest of the world.

The dollar’s dominance stems from the demand for it around the world. Foreign capital flows into the United States because it is a safe place to put money and because there are few other alternatives. These capital inflows dwarf those needed to finance trade many times over, and they cause the United States to run a large current account deficit. In other words, the United States is not so much living beyond its means as accommodating the world’s excess capital. Dollar hegemony also has domestic distributional consequences—that is, it creates winners and losers within the United States. The main winners are the banks that act as the intermediaries and recipients of the capital inflows and that exercise excessive influence over U.S economic policy. The losers are the manufacturers and the workers they employ. Demand for the dollar pushes up its value, which makes U.S. exports more expensive and curtails demand for them abroad, thus leading to earnings and job losses in manufacturing.

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Treason sounds big, any charge in that direction would suffice. Problem is, they have only 3 months left.

DOJ Could Pursue Treason Charges Over Russia Probe Misconduct – Steube (JTN)

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., sharply rebuked the FBI and suggested that the Department of Justice could potentially pursue charges of treason in connection with conduct related to the Trump-Russia investigation. “If it’s not clear to you now, it should be abundantly clear when these indictments start coming out for individuals involved in this through the Durham probe, that … this was a politicized, weaponized FBI at the highest level that was solely trying to take down a presidential campaign and then an incumbent president once he got sworn in—and that should scare every American,” Steube said during an interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast.


The Florida Republican, an Army veteran who has worked as an Airborne Infantry Officer and JAG Corps Officer, said that he believes “the level to which this agency and these individuals were trying to thwart an incoming president, to me, is treasonous.” The congressman believes the DOJ should be able to pursue charges of lying to Congress—he also said that there should be consequences for “misrepresentations” before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Steube said that the FBI’s reputation has been severely damaged. “We’re not talking about individual agents operating in field offices across the country. We’re talking about the leadership of the FBI operating the FBI in a way that they’re deceiving the FISA Court, that they’re surveilling on American citizens for political purposes. And it completely discredited an agency that was once esteemed throughout law enforcement,” the congressman noted.

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First reaction: yes, sure, gag the victims.

Ironically, though, if the material IS widely distributed it may help Maxwell in trying to have the case thrown out.

Ghislaine Maxwell Fights To Keep Nude Photos And Sexualised Videos Secret (RT)

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of grooming underage girls for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has requested a gag order against prosecutors to keep evidence including naked photos and ‘sexualised’ videos private. Maxwell, 58, was arrested earlier in July and is scheduled to be tried for sex-trafficking offenses in a Manhattan federal court in July next year. She has pleaded not guilty to charges that she’d groomed and aided the abuse by Epstein of at least three girls throughout the 1990s. Court documents show that Maxwell’s lawyers want to keep the evidence, which they describe as “highly confidential information” and including “nude, partially-nude, or otherwise sexualised images, videos or depictions of individuals” private, to prevent it appearing online and potentially impacting a series of civil lawsuits leveled against her by survivors of Epstein’s abuse.


“There is a substantial concern that these individuals will seek to use discovery materials to support their civil cases and future public statements,” Maxwell’s attorney Christian Everdell, the prosecutor who brought Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to justice, explained. The proposed order, submitted Monday, is somewhat routine in sex-abuse cases but prosecutors have refused the request that witnesses and lawyers in the trial would be subject to any gag orders, and are expected to reply officially later on Tuesday. “The defense believes that potential government witnesses and their counsel should be subject to the same restrictions as the defense concerning appropriate use of the discovery materials – namely, if these individuals are given access to discovery materials during trial preparation, they may not use those materials for any purpose other than preparing for trial in the criminal case, and may not post those materials on the Internet,” the affidavit said.

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Two cases came before a court on the 27th. One on London, and one in Madrid. Spying on clients and their attorneys, spying on a president, it should be enough to have the entire case vs Assange thrown out.

Assange Spied On Like ‘In A Film,’ Lawyer Says (Rap)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was spied on while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London like “in a film,” his lawyer Baltasar Garzon said Monday, July 27, after testifying at a top Spanish court probing the allegations. Assange, who is in a British prison after being removed from the embassy last year, filed a lawsuit against private Spanish security firm Undercover Global, accusing it of spying on him and passing the information to the United States. The company was in charge of providing security at the embassy during the bulk of the seven years which the 49-year-old Australian spent inside the building.

Garzon, a prominent former Spanish judge, said he had seen images taken inside of the embassy of Assange talking to his lawyers which were allegedly recorded by the company. “This is scandalous, we think this only happens in spy movies but this is not a spy movie because someone’s life is at stake,” he told reporters after testifying at Spain’s National Court in Madrid. Assange has accused the firm of gathering information on him through video cameras and hidden microphones, copying identity documents and monitoring visitors’ mobile phones, and then passing the information to the US intelligence services. The lawsuit is key to Assange’s efforts to fight an extradition request by the US Justice Department which wants to put him on trial for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

Garzon said Assange’s legal team has provided British courts with information about the alleged spying because it has “a direct impact on the extradition and shows, in our view, that Julian Assange was the target of political persecution.” Assange’s extradition hearing will take place on September 7. Spain’s National Court in June opened an investigation into a complaint by Ecuador’s ex-president Rafael Correa that Undercover Global also spied on him. Correa accuses the firm, which provided him with security services until 2019, of “monitoring and taking photos” of his meetings with Garzon, who made global headlines in 1998 when former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London.

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The law has been rendered meaningless. Therefore, so have the courts that are tasked with upholding it. That is not a trifle matter.

It’s Not Assange Who Should Be Facing Prosecution (Can.)

On 27 July two court hearings took place – one in the UK, the other in Spain. Both concerned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. From their proceedings, it became clear that it’s not Assange who should be facing prosecution, but the current office holder of the US presidency and his associates. At the 27 July ‘administrative hearing’ at Westminster magistrates court, Judge Vanessa Baraitser stated that the prosecution had failed to present its latest ‘superseding indictment‘. That superseding indictment was first made public on 24 June, just prior to the last court hearing, though the prosecution failed to submit the document to that hearing too. Defence lawyer Edward Fitzgerald made it clear to the court that he was concerned the prosecution might still try to present the superseding indictment later, so as to delay the extradition hearings. He argued:

“We are concerned about a fresh request being made at this stage with the potential consequence of derailing proceedings and that the US attorney-general is doing this for political reasons.” Indeed, prosecution barrister Joel Smith refused to comply with any timeline to serve the superseding indictment. However, Baraitser told Smith that the deadline to submit the superseding indictment had passed. Controversially, the superseding indictment provided testimony from known (but unnamed) FBI informants, both of whom have criminal convictions and were engaged in entrapment operations. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the prosecution did not formally present a copy of the superseding indictment to the court. What the judge did not address, however, is that by publishing the superseding indictment on the internet, the US department of justice may have prejudiced the case against Assange – and that could be grounds for dismissal of all charges.

Meanwhile in Spain, the prosecution of David Morales, who is charged with organising the surveillance of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, proceeds, with testimony from former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who is representing Assange. Morales, via his company UC Global, is also accused of providing that surveillance to US intelligence services. Assange lawyer Geoffrey Robertson commented that the surveillance constituted a “serious crime in European law”. Also monitored were meetings between Assange and some of his other lawyers, including Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson, and Garzón. Surveillance also included logging of visitors, such as Gareth Peirce, another of Assange’s lawyers, as well as a seven-hour session between Assange and his legal team on 19 June 2016.

Read more …

 

 

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Berenice Abbott Murray Hill Hotel, New York 1935

 

Trump Commutes Roger Stone’s Sentence (Hill)
Blood Clots Found In ‘Almost Every Organ’ Of COVID Victims (NZH)
Official Covid-19 Statistics Are Missing Something Critical (EM)
The Risk-Free Upsides For China In The WHO’s Coronavirus Origin Quest (SCMP)
Ghislaine Maxwell Wants Bail Release Due To ‘Unprecedented’ COVID19 Risks (G.)
Catholic Church Lobbied For Taxpayer Funds, Got $3.5 Billion (AP)
Now What? (Jim Kunstler)
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice (CP)
American Airlines Tells Boeing: No Financing, No 737 MAX Deliveries (CNBC)
NYPD Limits Retirement Applications Amid 400% Surge This Week (NYP)
Erdogan Declares Hagia Sophia A Mosque After Turkish Court Ruling (R.)

 

 

Like the election of Donald Trump is the perfect symbol for what America has become, Roger Stone is the embodiment of Washington DC. There must be so much to be found out there if they want to go after him. But it’s not about him. Stone made the mistake of bragging about his links to Wikileaks, which he never had. If not for that, they would have left him alone.

That link was needed because from Wikileaks Robert Mueller could get to Russia on the entirely fabricated claims of connections Julian Assange was alleged to have had to Russian hackers (DNC files). Mueller’s investigation ended in absolute and embarrassing failure, and zero evidence, but what he could leave standing, because they could not defend themselves, were accusations against Assange and “13 Russians”.

Mueller chose that route. Which is why I have called him a coward and a liar.

I was reading earlier about the insane pre-dawn FBI raid on Stone’s home, executed by an entire army of agents, and including even helicopters. While they could have simply rung his doorbell. No love lost here for the man, but yeah, let him be.

 

 

Another round of new records all over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Hunt

 

 

Commuted, nor pardoned, in order for Stone to be able to fight on in court,

Trump Commutes Roger Stone’s Sentence (Hill)

President Trump on Friday commuted the prison sentence of longtime confidant Roger Stone after the former campaign adviser was sentenced to three years and four months in prison in connection with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The decision capped a months-long saga that has roiled the Justice Department and divided some of the president’s advisers. Stone was set to report to prison July 14, but his allies had lobbied for a pardon or a commutation, citing his risk of contracting coronavirus while in jail. The move Friday did not come as a particular surprise, as Trump had at various points in recent months signaled he was leaning toward intervening in Stone’s case. Trump told reporters he was considering a commutation or pardon for Stone as the date he was scheduled to report to prison loomed.

The announcement from the White House came roughly an hour after an appeals court denied Stone’s motion to delay the start of his prison term, scheduled to begin Tuesday. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement Friday evening describing Stone as “a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.” McEnany said that Trump had signed an executive grant of clemency commuting his “unjust” sentence. Trump has regularly railed against the prosecutors involved in the case, singled out the Obama-appointed federal judge overseeing the trial for criticism and complained that the conservative provocateur was the victim of a “ridiculous” process.

Stone, who has maintained his innocence and tried to appeal his conviction, was the last of six Trump associates to be charged in connection with Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia that dogged the president’s first two years in office. Mueller did not find evidence to charge Trump campaign associates with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, but found that the campaign welcomed Moscow’s interference efforts. Justice Department leadership moved to reduce Stone’s sentencing recommendation in February in a highly controversial move, leading all four career prosecutors working on his case to quit. Stone was convicted in November by a jury in Washington, D.C., of all counts he was charged with, including lying to Congress in connection with its separate investigation into Russian interference, witness tampering and obstructing an official proceeding.

McEnany argued Friday that Stone was charged with “alleged crimes” arising “solely” from Mueller’s “improper” investigation and that the GOP operative’s imprisonment would put him at “serious medical risk.” However, she said that Trump did not want to “interfere” with Stone’s efforts to appeal his conviction, meaning that those efforts will move forward and his conviction will stand. “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

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It’s the blood, not the lungs.

Blood Clots Found In ‘Almost Every Organ’ Of COVID Victims (NZH)

Doctors have revealed fresh details on the terrible toll taken on the body by Covid-19, releasing the results of autopsies of those who have died in the pandemic. In a study published in The Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine, Dr Amy Rapkiewicz, the chair of the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Medical Centre, showed the role played by blood clots in the progression of the disease. Describing how scientists found clotting in tiny blood vessels throughout the body, Rapkiewicz told CNN the findings were “dramatic”. “Because though we might have expected it in the lungs, we found it in almost every organ that we looked at in our autopsy study.” The autopsies also showed the extensive presence of megakaryocytes, large bone marrow cells that don’t usually appear outside the lungs and bones.


“We found them in the heart and the kidneys and the liver and other organs,” Rapkiewicz said. “Notably in the heart, megakaryocytes produce something called platelets that are intimately involved in blood clotting.” “I could not remember a case before where we saw that,” Rapkiewicz told the Washington Post. “It was remarkable they were in the heart.” Speaking to TCTMD, Rapkiewicz said it is “a very interesting observation that seems to be consistent across multiple Covid cases.” Noting that Covid’s effect on blood clotting is at the opposite end of the spectrum from other killer viruses such as ebola, Rapkiewicz said researchers need to be diligent and “learn from our history” and explore what is known about other contagious diseases that affect the body’s coagulation systems.

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Mortality vs Morbidity. The Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) and its sister statistic, the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY).

Official Covid-19 Statistics Are Missing Something Critical (EM)

At the moment, official record-keeping offers only three options when it comes to Covid-19: infection, recovery, or death. This misses a broad range of other potential outcomes for people who catch the virus — many of them bad. In medicine, physicians talk about “M&M,” or “Mortality and Morbidity.” Many hospitals even hold closed-door “M&M” conferences, where their providers discuss everything that’s gone wrong with their patients over the last week or month. Mortality is a pretty straightforward concept. Have patients died from a particular disease process, and if so, how? Were their deaths avoidable? Can the field of medicine learn anything from them which will improve patient care in the future?

Morbidity, though, is a much trickier concept. It includes the complications, health issues, and other negative outcomes (other than death) that a disease causes. Basically, it’s all the ways that a disease can make you unwell, even if it doesn’t actually kill you. Official statistics capture deaths that occur from Covid-19 reasonably well. Reporting methods are often updated, and epidemiologists have gone back and attempted to quantify Covid-19 deaths that were originally missed. But overall, death counts are a relatively easy metric to apply. Patients are either alive or dead. Knowing the difference is comparatively simple. But these official statistics miss quite a lot. Specifically, they fail to represent Covid-19 morbidity — the harm that the disease causes, even in people that it doesn’t kill.

In terms of measuring the long-term impact of the disease — and accurately evaluating risk — that’s a big problem. Mounting evidence shows that even if Covid-19 kills less than 1% of patients, it doesn’t necessarily leave the others it infects unharmed. Even those who have “recovered” may have long-term impacts from it. Morbidity can happen over a long-term period, so it is a harder variable to study and track in the early stages of a pandemic than death. Anecdotal reports and early data, though, show that Covid-19 morbidity may be a very real concern. According to a report in The Atlantic which followed several people with Covid-19 over multiple months, many had long-lasting symptoms and impairments (including headaches and debilitating fatigue) that didn’t resolve when their active infection stopped.

All of these cases were considered “mild” and didn’t result in the use of a ventilator or a stay in the ICU. And they occurred in people from a variety of age groups, not only older adults and the infirm. Yet despite these “low risk” factors, patients were still experiencing major impacts from the disease months after contracting it. A handful of studies about Covid-19 (as well as scholarship on previous coronaviruses) bears this out. Covid-19 infection can have long-term impacts on the lungs, heart, immune system, and even the brain. These include an increased risk for heart attacks, future respiratory infections (including more severe cases of flu), and neurological impacts like cognitive impairment.

[..] As risk professionals like Nassim Nicholas Taleb have pointed out, the failure to measure Covid-19 morbidity makes it far harder to evaluate the true risk from the pandemic. Simply looking at deaths is not enough. Mortality statistics fail to account for the people who survive the disease but suffer long-term harm — or those who die from its complications long after their initial infection has subsided. This blindness to morbidity may push populations toward more aggressive reopening, or away from risk-reduction measures like mandating face coverings. If deaths are declining, the picture may appear rosy. But in reality, the disease may be causing irreparable harm to millions of people — just in a way that’s invisible in current statistics.

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How much control do they really have? Are they sending their best people?

The Risk-Free Upsides For China In The WHO’s Coronavirus Origin Quest (SCMP)

China’s decision to allow in a WHO-led coronavirus investigation could offer a risk-free boost to its reputation and help to find an answer to a big question – how the disease began. That was the assessment of health specialists, who said the answers were needed to prevent future outbreaks. Two World Health Organisation experts, an animal health specialist and an epidemiologist, are expected to arrive in Beijing this weekend to meet Chinese scientists and doctors to discuss the terms of a WHO-led mission to trace the origin of the coronavirus. China agreed to the mission after a resolution passed unanimously in May at the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s governing body, calling for the WHO to work to identify the virus’ animal source.

Countries like Australia and the United States had previously led a call for a broader investigation into China’s handling of the outbreak, which was first identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Sara Davies, an international relations professor specialising in global health governance at Griffith University in Australia, said China might have given approval because WHO officials were clear that the investigation was not about laying blame. “This is a scientific investigation, and that is a deliberate attempt to establish a clear marker that this is not about fault. It’s not the type of investigation that Australia and others were proposing earlier this year,” Davies said. The message was underlined earlier this week when Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stressed that the search for the origin would not just be in China.

Zhao said China had reached a “fundamental consensus” with the WHO that tracing the source of the disease should take place around the globe, a process that the WHO suggested would be ongoing and involve many countries. Wang Huiyao, president of the Centre for China and Globalisation, said China was honouring its promise to allow a WHO-led investigation when domestic outbreaks were under control. Wang added that China would benefit by addressing persistent claims about the pathogen’s origins. “There have been some doubts and rumours internationally, like the conspiracy theory concerning the laboratory in Wuhan. The investigation will help quash such rumours,” he said.

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So does Assange.

Ghislaine Maxwell Wants Bail Release Due To ‘Unprecedented’ COVID19 Risks (G.)

Ghislaine Maxwell should be released on bail while awaiting trial for her alleged involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring because of “the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on detained defendants”, the British socialite’s lawyers argued in Manhattan federal court papers filed on Friday. Maxwell, 58, was arrested on 2 July at her Bradford, New Hampshire, home. She faces up to 35 years in federal prison if convicted. Her lawyers insisted that Maxwell is not a flight risk, and said she is trying to keep a low profile amid unrelenting “carnival-like” media scrutiny. “As this court has noted, the Covid-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented health risk to incarcerated individuals, and Covid-19-related restrictions on attorney communications with pre-trial detainees significantly impair a defendant’s ability to prepare her defense,” Maxwell’s lawyers claimed in their bail argument.

“Simply put, under these circumstances, if Ms Maxwell continues to be detained, her health will be at serious risk and she will not be able to receive a fair trial.” Maxwell’s legal team proposed several bail conditions, including a $5m personal recognizance bond co-signed by six financially responsible people, backed by property in the UK worth over $3.75m. They also proposed limiting her travel to the New York City area, turning in all her travel documents, imposing home confinement in New York City with GPS monitoring, and restricting visitors to her immediate family, close friends and lawyers. A judge has set a hearing for Tuesday to hear bail arguments and to arraign Maxwell on multiple charges, including that she conspired to entice girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sex acts with Epstein from 1994 through 1997 at his homes in New York City, Florida and New Mexico, and at Maxwell’s residence in London.

[..] “Ever since Epstein’s arrest, Ms Maxwell has been at the center of a crushing onslaught of press articles, television specials and social media posts painting her in the most damning light possible and prejudging her guilt. The sheer volume of media reporting mentioning Ms Maxwell is staggering,” her lawyers argued in the court papers. “The ‘open season’ declared on Ms Maxwell after Epstein’s death has come with an even darker cost – she has been the target of alarming physical threats, even death threats, and has had to hire security guards to ensure her safety. The media feeding frenzy, which has only intensified in recent months, has also deeply affected her family and friends,” they said. They said later that “Ms Maxwell will be at significant risk of contracting Covid-19 if she is detained, and she will not be able to meaningfully participate in the preparation of her defense due to the restrictions that have been placed on attorney visits and phone calls in light of the pandemic.”

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And here’s some more rich sex offenders.

“Catholic dioceses whose financial stress was due not simply to the pandemic, but also to recent payouts to victims of clergy sex abuse…”

Catholic Church Lobbied For Taxpayer Funds, Got $3.5 Billion (AP)

The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups. The church’s haul may have reached — or even exceeded — $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found. Houses of worship and faith-based organizations that promote religious beliefs aren’t usually eligible for money from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

But as the economy plummeted and jobless rates soared, Congress let faith groups and other nonprofits tap into the Paycheck Protection Program, a $659 billion fund created to keep Main Street open and Americans employed. By aggressively promoting the payroll program and marshaling resources to help affiliates navigate its shifting rules, Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools and other ministries have so far received approval for at least 3,500 forgivable loans, AP found. The Archdiocese of New York, for example, received 15 loans worth at least $28 million just for its top executive offices. Its iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue was approved for at least $1 million. In Orange County, California, where a sparkling glass cathedral estimated to cost over $70 million recently opened, diocesan officials working at the complex received four loans worth at least $3 million.

[..] There is no doubt that state shelter-in-place orders disrupted houses of worship and businesses alike. Masses were canceled, even during the Holy Week and Easter holidays, depriving parishes of expected revenue and contributing to layoffs in some dioceses. Some families of Catholic school students are struggling to make tuition payments. And the expense of disinfecting classrooms once classes resume will put additional pressure on budgets. But other problems were self-inflicted. Long before the pandemic, scores of dioceses faced increasing financial pressure because of a dramatic rise in recent clergy sex abuse claims.

The scandals that erupted in 2018 reverberated throughout the world. Pope Francis ordered the former archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to a life of “prayer and penance” following allegations he abused minors and adult seminarians. And a damning grand jury report about abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses revealed bishops had long covered for predator priests, spurring investigations in more than 20 other states. As the church again reckoned with its longtime crisis, abuse reports tripled during the year ending June 2019 to a total of nearly 4,500 nationally. Meanwhile, dioceses and religious orders shelled out $282 million that year — up from $106 million just five years earlier. Most of that went to settlements, in addition to legal fees and support for offending clergy.

Loan recipients included about 40 dioceses that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few years paying victims through compensation funds or bankruptcy proceedings. AP’s review found that these dioceses were approved for about $200 million, though the value is likely much higher.

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“..this bare ruin of a crooked old pol..”

Now What? (Jim Kunstler)

[..] the linchpin of Wokesterism: it’s Whitey’s fault. Whitey is racism incarnate. White Fragility makes redemption impossible. No amount of penance, apology, or remediation can fix it. Which raises another question: why even bother entertaining reparations for slavery? It will never be enough. Which may be exactly why the Woke Inquisition’s real aim is to undermine all of America’s institutions and then bust up the republic. The petulant “Resistance” that dug in after Hillary’s shocking 2016 election loss did the groundwork by enlisting the FBI, CIA, NSC, DOJ and other federal agencies into seditious intrigues that made the federal apparatus of justice look (and act) corrupt and untrustworthy.

Everything about the Mueller inquiry was an exercise in bad faith and perfidy, leaving the engines of official justice so broken that their misdeeds can barely be corrected, let alone prosecuted. To this day, the Lawfare cadres sponsor the continued persecution of General Michael Flynn, months after the DOJ formally dropped its case against him. Do you suppose these turpitudes don’t rankle the substantial number of citizens who still refuse to be driven insane by the Woke terror? And who is the figurehead leading this Democratic Woke party wrecking crew of coercion? The empty shell of Joe Biden, a bumbling senator turned grifting vice-president, now a mere hologram of a candidate.

The renewed campaign of Covid-19 hysteria in the Woke press may be just a psy-op to stuff poor Joe back in his basement and make sure he stays off public view. They took him out for a brief airing yesterday in Pennsylvania, a low-grade fiasco. In a formal speech, Mr. Biden said, “So today, I’m releasing a brewplint [sic] — I think the press had — how to create millions of good-paying union jobs, using Protestant technology [say what?] that we need now, and in the future.” Hmmm. Protestant technology? What could that be? Sounds like another one of Whitey’s endless tricks.

After the speech, some media cornered the candidate beside a campaign limo. He managed to decline taking any questions and waddled stiffly away, glassy-eyed, his hands strangely splayed like seal flippers (another symptom?). Who are they kidding with this pathetic wind-up mummy, this bare ruin of a crooked old pol? What treacherous game are they playing now? What’s next…?

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Excellent from Rob Urie.

The Russiagate allegations shifted attention away from rejection of the Democrat’s political program in 2016 so that they could run the same program again in 2020…

Democracy and the Illusion of Choice (CP)

[..] from the potential victory of a social democratic program five months ago, electoral choice is now between a right-wing demagogue and the chief architect of the carceral state, militarization of the police and liberal obeisance to capital. There is a connection between the Democrats three-plus years spent pushing the un/disproven Russiagate story and Joe Biden’s miraculous ascent as the establishment candidate in 2020. The Russiagate allegations shifted attention away from rejection of the Democrat’s political program in 2016 so that they could run the same program again in 2020. Amongst the political variables open for ‘discussion,’ the choice of candidate is all there is. The political program is determined at the intersection of campaign contributions, the needs and desires of capital, and the ids of oligarchs freed from public accountability. Democracy has nothing to do with it.

The ‘left’ argument for electing Joe Biden is as a placeholder, without precisely explaining how placeholding has supported the upward redistribution of political and economic power for four decades running. Donald Trump made himself known— seemingly to his political detriment, while five decades in public life left Joe Biden a political unknown who oversaw the writing of the 1994 Crime Bill and the Patriot Act, supported the misguided U.S. war against Iraq, and acted as collection agent for the credit card company MBNA. That both men represent the interests of capital and disjoint constituencies within the neoliberal order again suggests political guidance from outside of electoral politics.

This description is difficult for Democrats because they never took account of their loss in 2016. The stories they told themselves of foreign intrigue and racial backlash weren’t, and still aren’t, supported by the data. The Russiagate pillars have fallen one by one until nothing is left but tribal shorthand for aesthetic aversion to ‘Trump!’ Otherwise, the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) has been the gold standard of ‘ascendance of hate’ reporting since the 2000s. Outside of its made-for-the-establishment-press headlines, the number of racist and neo-Nazi hate groups is falling.

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Barely an industry anymore.

American Airlines Tells Boeing: No Financing, No 737 MAX Deliveries (CNBC)

American Airlines executives have told Boeing they will not take delivery of 17 737 Max airplanes unless the carrier can secure financing to pay for the aircraft, people familiar with the discussions told CNBC. The 17 Max planes are already built, but will not be delivered until the Federal Aviation Administration recertifies the aircraft and removes a grounding order, which is expected to happen later this summer or by early fall. When the FAA grounded the Max in March 2019, it meant Boeing was not allowed to deliver the 17 Max planes it had built for American. During the 15 months since the grounding, the financing for some of the 737 Max planes expired, leaving them unfunded.

The situation means Boeing Capital, which is Boeing’s financing division, will have to find a way to arrange financing for those planes. This could involve Boeing Capital buying the planes and leasing them to American. Another possible scenario could involve third-party aircraft leasing companies financing the planes in question. While Boeing will not comment specifically on its discussions with American, or on any other order, the company told CNBC: “Our focus continues to be on working with global regulators on the rigorous process they have put in place to safely return the 737 MAX to commercial service. We are not going to comment on discussions with our customers. It is an unprecedented time for our industry as operators confront a steep drop in traffic.

“We continue to work closely with our customers to support their operations, while balancing supply and demand with the realities of the market.” American has already taken delivery of 24 Max planes, and has another 76 ordered with Boeing. The Wall Street Journal previously reported American executives have threatened to cancel some of its Max orders.

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Who wants the job?

NYPD Limits Retirement Applications Amid 400% Surge This Week (NYP)

New York’s Finest are putting in for retirement faster than the NYPD can handle — while citing a lack of respect and the loss of overtime pay, The Post has learned. A surge of city cops filing papers during the past week more than quadrupled last year’s number — as the city grapples with a surge of shootings — and the stampede caused a bottleneck that’s forcing others to delay putting in their papers, officials and sources said. The NYPD said Wednesday that 179 cops filed for retirement between June 29 and Monday, an astounding 411 percent increase over the 35 who filed during the same period in 2019. The astonishing rush for the door came as 503 cops filed for retirement between May 25 — the day George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, sparking anti-cop protests around the country — and July 3, the NYPD said.

That number represents a 75 percent increase over the 287 who filed for retirement during the same time last year, the NYPD said. Sources said the deluge of applications had overwhelmed the department — due to cancellation of overtime for the workers who process them — and that the number of daily applicants was being limited as a result. On Tuesday, The Post spotted a line of cops waiting outside the office at One Police Plaza where retirement papers get filed. “Apparently, the pension section is only taking a certain amount of people per day and I think they are backed up ’til late July, early August,” one cop said. “That’s why you don’t see like 100 a day, because they are only doing like 35 to 40 a day, by appointment.” A spokeswoman for the NYPD confirmed the “surge in the number of officers filing for retirement.”

“While the decision to retire is a personal one and can be attributed to a range of factors, it is a troubling trend that we are closely monitoring,” the spokesperson added. An NYPD spokeswoman noted that the department is not turning down any applications for officers retiring in the next 30 days — but has told cops putting in to retire after that to come back when a month out due to the increased activity. Sources blamed the situation — which comes amid an alarming spike in shootings — on growing anti-cop sentiment, coupled with a pending city law that would make it a crime for cops to use chokeholds while trying to subdue violent suspects. “There’s just droves and droves of people retiring. But there’s no surprise here, who the hell wants to stay on this job?” one cop said. “Why would you want to stay on this job when people don’t appreciate what you do?”

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Erdogan turns his back on Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk and reaches back to 15th century Ottoman empire.

“For those who don’t know, really near to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Turks built the Blue Mosque, which is newer and big enough for all the muslims in the area (and then some). Erdogan is just trying to provoke christians and show to muslims worldwide he is their leader.”

Erdogan Declares Hagia Sophia A Mosque After Turkish Court Ruling (R.)

President Tayyip Erdogan declared Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia a mosque on Friday with the first Muslim prayers to begin in two weeks, after a top court ruled the ancient building’s conversion to a museum by modern Turkey’s founding statesman was illegal. Erdogan spoke on Friday just hours after the court ruling was published, brushing aside international warnings not to change the status of the nearly 1,500-year-old monument that is revered by Christians and Muslims alike. The United States, Russia and church leaders were among those to express concern about changing the status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and now one of the most visited monuments in Turkey.

Greece’s culture ministry described the court decision as an “open provocation” to the civilized world, while UNESCO said it regretted it was not notified ahead of time and would now review the building’s status. Erdogan has sought to shift Islam into the mainstream of Turkish politics in his 17 years at the helm. He has long floated restoring the mosque status of the sixth-century building, which was converted into a museum in the early days of the modern secular Turkish state under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. “With this court ruling, and with the measures we took in line with the decision, Hagia Sophia became a mosque again, after 86 years, in the way Fatih the conqueror of Istanbul had wanted it to be,” Erdogan said in a national address.


In a telling of history at times critical of the Byzantine Empire and the modern republic’s founders, Erdogan said Turkey could now leave behind “the curse of Allah, profits and angels” that Fatih – the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II – said would be on anyone who converted it from a mosque. “Like all our mosques, the doors of Hagia Sophia will be open to all, locals and foreigners, Muslims and non-Muslims,” said Erdogan, who earlier on Friday signed off on the Religious Affairs Directorate managing the site.

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Jul 082020
 


Unknown Strictly no elephants 1939

 

Serious Brain Disorders In People With Mild Coronavirus Symptoms (G.)
Scientists Warn Of Potential Wave Of COVID-Linked Brain Damage (R.)
Dozens Of Florida Hospitals Out Of Available ICU Beds (R.)
Majority Testing Positive Have No Symptoms (BBC)
Stanford’ Ioannidis Says Greece Needs More Aggressive COVID Testing (GR)
Is Strzok Memo the Rosetta Stone of Obamagate? (RCP)
US Judge Says “Tentatively Inclined” To Reject Bayer’s Monsanto Settlement (ZH)
Purdue Pharma Made Political Contributions After Going Bankrupt (IC)
Apple Suddenly Catches TikTok Secretly Spying On Millions Of iPhone Users (F.)
Madness of Political Correctness (Pelerin)
Ghislaine Maxwell Arraignment Scheduled For July 14 (R.)
Ghislaine Maxwell ‘Has Secret Stash Of Epstein Sex Tapes’ (DM)

 

 

Not much good news on the COVID front. But the reported severe nerve- and brain damage is a new low. We still know very little about COVID19, though many people claim otherwise. Can’t be careful enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inflammation of nerves and brains. Psychosis, paralysis.

Serious Brain Disorders In People With Mild Coronavirus Symptoms (G.)

Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned. Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom. The cases, published in the journal Brain, revealed a rise in a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), as the first wave of infections swept through Britain. At UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Adem cases rose from one a month before the pandemic to two or three per week in April and May. One woman, who was 59, died of the complication.

A dozen patients had inflammation of the central nervous system, 10 had brain disease with delirium or psychosis, eight had strokes and a further eight had peripheral nerve problems, mostly diagnosed as Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune reaction that attacks the nerves and causes paralysis. It is fatal in 5% of cases. “We’re seeing things in the way Covid-19 affects the brain that we haven’t seen before with other viruses,” said Michael Zandi, a senior author on the study and a consultant at the institute and University College London Hospitals NHS foundation trust. “What we’ve seen with some of these Adem patients, and in other patients, is you can have severe neurology, you can be quite sick, but actually have trivial lung disease,” he added.

“Biologically, Adem has some similarities with multiple sclerosis, but it is more severe and usually happens as a one-off. Some patients are left with long-term disability, others can make a good recovery.” The cases add to concerns over the long-term health effects of Covid-19, which have left some patients breathless and fatigued long after they have cleared the virus, and others with numbness, weakness and memory problems. One coronavirus patient described in the paper, a 55-year-old woman with no history of psychiatric illness, began to behave oddly the day after she was discharged from hospital. She repeatedly put her coat on and took it off again and began to hallucinate, reporting that she saw monkeys and lions in her house. She was readmitted to hospital and gradually improved on antipsychotic medication.

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Same topic, different take.

Scientists Warn Of Potential Wave Of COVID-Linked Brain Damage (R.)

Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium. A study by researchers at University College London (UCL) described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects. The research adds to recent studies which also found the disease can damage the brain. “Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic – perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic – remains to be seen,” said Michael Zandi, from UCL’s Institute of Neurology, who co-led the study.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is largely a respiratory illness that affects the lungs, but neuroscientists and specialist brain doctors say emerging evidence of its impact on the brain is concerning. “My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year’s time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits … then that’s going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living,” Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University in Canada, told Reuters in an interview.

In the UCL study, published in the journal Brain, nine patients who had brain inflammation were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) which is more usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections. The team said it would normally see about one adult patient with ADEM per month at their specialist London clinic, but this had risen to at least one a week during the study period, something they described as “a concerning increase”. “Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause,” said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.”

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10,000 new cases per day is a lot for one state.

Dozens Of Florida Hospitals Out Of Available ICU Beds (R.)

More than four dozen hospitals in Florida reported that their intensive care units (ICUs) have reached full capacity on Tuesday as COVID-19 cases surge in the state and throughout the country. Hospital ICUs were full at 54 hospitals across 25 of Florida’s 67 counties, according to data published on Tuesday morning by the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. More than 300 hospitals were included in the report, but not all had adult ICUs. Thirty hospitals reported that their ICUs were more than 90% full. Statewide, only 17% of the total 6,010 adult ICU beds were available on Tuesday, down from 20% three days ago, according to the agency’s website.


Florida’s coronavirus cases have soared in the last month, with the state’s daily count topping 10,000 three times in the last week. The death rate from COVID-19 rose nearly 19% in the last week from the week prior, bringing the state’s death toll to more than 3,800. All ICU beds are filled at the three hospitals in Clay County, where the population is around 220,000. Florida Governor Ron Desantis on Monday encouraged state residents to seek care at hospitals if needed, citing concerns that people with life-threatening conditions other than COVID-19 had avoided hospitals earlier in the pandemic to the detriment of their health.

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Different takes on asymptomatic cases emerging.

Majority Testing Positive Have No Symptoms (BBC)

Only 22% of people testing positive for coronavirus reported having symptoms on the day of their test, according to the Office for National Statistics. This hammers home the role of people who aren’t aware they’re carrying the virus in spreading it onwards. Health and social care staff appeared to be more likely to test positive. This comes as deaths from all causes in the UK fell to below the average for the second week in a row. Between the end of March and June, there were 59,000 more deaths than the five-year average. Meanwhile, the UK government’s daily figures released on Tuesday showed another 155 people have died after testing positive for the virus. This takes the total number of deaths to 44,391.


It comes after 16 new deaths were reported on Monday, but there are often reporting lags over the weekend. While the ONS survey includes relatively small numbers of positive swab tests (120 infections in all) making it hard to make any strong conclusions about who is most likely to be infected, there are some patterns coming through in the data: • Those in people-facing health or social care roles, and working outside their homes in general, were more likely to have a positive test. • People from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to have a positive antibody test, suggesting a past infection. • White people were the least likely proportionally to test positive for antibodies. • There was also some evidence that people living in larger households were more likely to test positive than those in smaller households.

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Looks like Greece may very soon have to choose between closing its borders or locking down its own people again.

Stanford’ Ioannidis Says Greece Needs More Aggressive COVID Testing (GR)

After Greece’s opening up to travelers from much of the rest of the world on July 1, the nation has seen a troubling trend in the increasing numbers of coronavirus infections. Currently, as of today, 27 new COVID cases were diagnosed in Greece in the past 24 hours — and 14 of these are tourists. Speaking to Greek Reporter, the noted medical professor Dr. John Ioannidis of Stanford University, an expert in the field of epidemiology, questions the somewhat lax attitude Greece has taken, with its use of an algorithm arrived at by answers on a questionnaire and random testing of arrivals.

“I think it would be useful to require more aggressive (perhaps universal) testing for tourists coming from countries that have low testing rates. Most of these countries make small contributions to the Greek tourism budget anyhow, so one is risking the emergence of an epidemic wave without much tangible financial benefit.” The epidemiologist states “I understand that Greece desperately needs tourism funds, since tourism is responsible for about 20% of the GDP. The Greek and the European COVID task forces include capable scientists and I trust they have put a lot of thought on how to reopen the country to tourism. It is not an easy situation.

“Determining which country is eligible for allowing tourists from is difficult and our knowledge base is incomplete. I just want to caution that it is potentially misleading to base this decision on the number of cases that continue being detected in each country. Countries that deal seriously with coronavirus do more testing and come up with more detected cases. Conversely, countries that do little testing will find few cases, but this does not mean that coronavirus does not exist there.”

“Serbia is one example worth discussing, since 20 of the 36 tourist cases today were from there. In that country, the number of cases looked pretty low, but this was simply because relatively little testing was done. With only 11,000 cases detected in Serbia until the end of May, it is likely that the true number exceeded 200,000. Moreover, apparently there were substantial residual foci of epidemic activity. However, I think this is a problem that may be pertinent to Balkan countries in general. Testing in other Balkan countries is even less frequent than Serbia on a population basis.

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Keep your focus on Sidney Powell and Obama.

Is Strzok Memo the Rosetta Stone of Obamagate? (RCP)

It doesn’t seem to matter to the mainstream media that evidence has mounted into the stratosphere that Trump has been right all along about his campaign being illegally surveilled by the Obama administration. It doesn’t matter that Trump survived a two-plus year investigation by a special counsel and was cleared of any kind of collusion with the Russians. The Democrats and their agents in the Deep State know that whatever they do to harass Trump will be treated as noble and patriotic by the corrupt media, and that whenever evidence surfaces of their criminal behavior it will be promptly buried again.

Which brings us to the infamous handwritten notes by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok about a White House meeting that surfaced in a recent filing in the Flynn case. Strzok had already earned a prominent place in the “Wish I Hadn’t Done That” Hall of Fame for his serial confession via text message of not just marital infidelity but also constitutional perfidy. But the half-page of notes released by Flynn’s defense team rises to the level of a history-altering “Oops!” Indeed, it could well be the Rosetta stone that allows us to penetrate the secrets of the anti-Trump conspiracy that stretched from the FBI to the CIA, the Justice Department and the White House.

What we know about the provenance of the notes comes from Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell, who said they were written by Strzok about a meeting that took place on Jan. 4, 2017. The only problem is that the cast of characters in the memo duplicates those who were in attendance at the White House on Jan. 5, 2017, to discuss how the Obama administration should proceed in its dealings with Flynn, who was accused of playing footsie with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to assuming his official role as national security adviser. Attorney General William Barr has gone on the record (on the “Verdict With Ted Cruz” podcast) that the notes actually describe the Jan. 5 meeting.

If so, the notes strongly contradict Susan Rice’s CYA “memo to self” where the Obama national security adviser recounts the Jan. 5 meeting and stresses three times that President Obama and his team were handling the Flynn investigation “by the book.” Methinks the lady doth protest too much, especially now that we have Strzok’s contemporaneous notes to contradict her memo, which suspiciously was written in the final minutes of the Obama administration as Donald Trump was being sworn in at the Capitol.

From what we can tell, Strzok (unlike Rice) was not writing his memo to protect anyone. He seems to have merely jotted down some notes about what various participants in the meeting said, including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Rice, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Strzok’s boss — FBI Director James Comey. Chances are, at this point Strzok had no idea his dirty laundry was going to be aired or that his role as a master of the universe was going to be toppled.

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That settlement makes me think of the one Epstein got, one of those “everything included” deals that make you wonder how legal they can be.

US Judge Says “Tentatively Inclined” To Reject Bayer’s Monsanto Settlement (ZH)

As the EU’s antitrust regulator announces another round of sweeping antitrust investigations into the big US tech behemoths. an American judge is apparently making noises about throwing out a major settlement involving German multinational pharma conglomerate Bayer. According to the settlement, which we reported on a few weeks ago when it was first announced, Bayer had agreed to pay $10 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits brought against it over its purchase of Monsanto, the American agrichemical giant that’s best known for producing Roundup weed killer. The lawsuits stemmed from evidence that glyphosate, one of the primary ingredients of Monsanto’s Roundup, is actually carcinogenic.

Which means that by marketing Roundup into ubiquity, even pairing it with genetically modified crop seeds allowing farmers to spray the stuff then simply forget about it since it wouldn’t harm the crops. A landmark California Court ruling handed down in 2017 found Bayer liable for the plaintiffs’ cancers, since it now owned Monsanto. The mountain of litigation has weighed on Bayer’s share price ever since, making the Monsanto acquisition one of the biggest blunders in the history of the storied German firm. The two sides have been in negotiations virtually ever since, until two weeks ago, when a majority of the plaintiffs agreed to a $10 billion settlement.

BBG News: “U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria wrote in a court filing Monday that a proposed system for dealing with future lawsuits over the herbicide is problematic. Shares of Bayer, which inherited the weedkiller through its purchase of Monsanto, fell as much as 6.9% in Frankfurt, the most intraday since March 23. The judge’s misgivings center on a plan to create a class of future claims as part of the nearly $11 billion settlement. Any change to that portion of the proposal wouldn’t necessarily affect the rest of the deal, in which the company agreed to resolve about 125,000 existing lawsuits. About 30,000 claims, contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, are not yet subject to deals between plaintiffs and Bayer. Some U.S. plaintiffs’ lawyers are vowing to file another wave of new suits that could add tens of thousands to that total.“

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America at its ugliest.

Purdue Pharma Made Political Contributions After Going Bankrupt (IC)

Last september, Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy after several cities sued the company for its role in creating the opioid crisis. By going bankrupt, it was able to get all litigation stayed; family members of the over 500,000 victims of the opioid crisis are now just creditors in the bankruptcy. The Sackler family — including Jonathan Sackler, a co-owner of Purdue who died Monday — made off with over $10 billion in company funds. Meanwhile, in December, the Democratic Attorneys General Association accepted $25,000 in donations from the company, according to data collected by Political MoneyLine. Several members of the Association are leading the litigation against Purdue.

In January, the Democratic Governors Association, headed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, accepted $50,000 from Purdue Pharma, as did the Republican Governors Association, headed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Those donations come as states, including New Jersey, California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Tennessee, and Vermont, are considering excise taxes on prescription opioids — which would be approved and implemented by governors. While Purdue is not publicly traded and as a result does not have to disclose risk factors to investors, close allies of Purdue, including the Healthcare Distribution Alliance and the lobbying group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, have vocally opposed the taxes.

Fellow pharmaceutical companies Mallinckrodt and Endo International have raised concerns that the taxes could materially affect their bottom line in SEC disclosures. To date just five states — New York, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maine, and Delaware — have implemented an opioid tax or fee. Adam Levitin, a bankruptcy law professor at Georgetown University, called the donations “astonishing.” “Given the politics of the case, there’s something incredibly brazen about this, such that I’m shocked that Purdue didn’t seek court approval,” Levitin said of the DAGA donation. “That they would give to the Dem AGs, but not the GOP AGs is really problematic given that the most aggressive AGs have been Dems.”

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Simple solution: don’t use TikTok.

Apple Suddenly Catches TikTok Secretly Spying On Millions Of iPhone Users (F.)

As I reported on June 23, Apple has fixed a serious problem in iOS 14, due in the fall, where apps can secretly access the clipboard on users’ devices. Once the new OS is released, users will be warned whenever an app reads the last thing copied to the clipboard. As I warned earlier this year, this is more than a theoretical risk for users, with countless apps already caught abusing their privacy in this way. Worryingly, one of the apps caught snooping by security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk was China’s TikTok. Given other security concerns raised about the app, as well as broader worries given its Chinese origins, this became a headline issue. At the time, TikTok owner Bytedance told me the problem related to the use of an outdated Google advertising SDK that was being replaced.


Well, maybe not. With the release of the new clipboard warning in the beta version of iOS 14, now with developers, TikTok seems to have been caught abusing the clipboard in a quite extraordinary way. So it seems that TikTok didn’t stop this invasive practice back in April as promised after all. According to TikTok, the issue is now “triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior,” and has told me that it has “already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion.” In other words: We’ve been caught doing something we shouldn’t, we’ve rushed out a fix. TikTok also told me that the platform “is committed to protecting users’ privacy and being transparent about how our app works.” No comment on that one. TikTok added that it “looks forward to welcoming outside experts to our Transparency Center later this year.”

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All US sports teams need to be renamed.

Madness of Political Correctness (Pelerin)

The madness of political correctness is mocked in this e-mail sent to Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune after an article he published concerning a name change for the Washington Redskins. The author is unknown but perceptive, clever and sarcastic:. Dear Mr. Page: I agree with our Native American population. I am highly jilted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins. One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as fine warriors, but nay, nay. We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward. Let’s ditch the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians. If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns. The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60’s alive. Gone. It’s offensive to us white folk.


The New York Yankees offend the Southern population. Do you see a team named for the Confederacy? No! There is no room for any reference to that tragic war that cost this country so many young men’s lives. I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our sports team names. Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres. Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged. We are talking about the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates! Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children. The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible fighting or even spending habits. Wrong message to our children.

The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity, a growing childhood epidemic. Wrong message to our children. The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates. Wrong message to our children. The Milwaukee Brewers. Well that goes without saying. Wrong message to our children. So, there you go. We need to support any legislation that comes out to rectify this travesty, because the government will likely become involved with this issue, as they should. Just the kind of thing the do-nothing Congress loves. As a die-hard Oregon State fan, my wife and I, with all of this in mind, suggest it might also make some sense to change the name of the Oregon State women’s athletic teams to something other than “the Beavers” (especially when they play Southern California). Do we really want the Trojans sticking it to the Beavers? I always love your articles and I generally agree with them. As for the Redskins name, I would suggest they change the name to the “Foreskins” to better represent their community, paying tribute to the dick heads in Washington DC.

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Apparently the prison in Brooklyn is a horror.

Ghislaine Maxwell Arraignment Scheduled For July 14 (R.)

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former associate of Jeffrey Epstein, will be arraigned on July 14 on charges of luring underage girls so that the financier, now dead, could abuse them, according to a court order issued Tuesday evening. Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan federal court said a bail hearing would be held at 1 pm EST that day via video conference. Maxwell, 58, arrived at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn on Monday. She was arrested on July 2 at a mansion in New Hampshire, where investigators said she had been lying low. Prosecutors said Maxwell groomed girls so Epstein abuse them at lavish homes in Palm Beach, Florida; New Mexico and Manhattan.


Epstein was awaiting trial on federal charges of trafficking minors between 2002 and 2005 when he was found hanged in a federal facility in Manhattan in August. Medical examiners concluded his death was a suicide. Nathan said on Tuesday that to optimize video quality, only the judge, Maxwell, her lawyer and a prosecutor would appear on video at the hearing. The judge said others could access audio of the hearing by telephone. Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison.

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It was always about blackmail. But how useful is that to her at this point?

Ghislaine Maxwell ‘Has Secret Stash Of Epstein Sex Tapes’ (DM)

Ghislaine Maxwell has a secret stash of Jeffrey Epstein’s twisted sex tapes and will use the footage as an insurance policy to save herself, a former friend exclusively revealed to DailyMail.com. Maxwell, 58, was arrested at her hideout in Bradford, New Hampshire last Thursday. She was charged with six federal crimes, including enticement of minors, sex trafficking and perjury. The British socialite was arguably Epstein’s closest friend and she is alleged to have acted as his madam, accused of securing underage girls for the multi-millionaire, who reportedly kept evidence of his perverted sex acts against the minors. When officials raided Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse after his arrest last July, they found thousands of graphic photos that included images of underage girls and a safe filled with compact discs labeled ‘nude girls’, according to authorities.

Maxwell’s former friend explained: ‘Ghislaine has always been as cunning as they come. She wasn’t going to be with Epstein all those years and not have some insurance. ‘The secret stash of sex tapes I believe Ghislaine has squirreled away could end up being her get out of jail card if the authorities are willing to trade. She has copies of everything Epstein had. They could implicate some twisted movers and shakers.’ They added: ‘If Ghislaine goes down, she’s going to take the whole damn lot of them with her.’ The former friend continued: ‘Not only did Epstein like to capture himself with underage girls on camera – he wanted to make sure he had something to hold over the rich and powerful men who took advantage of his sick largesse.’

‘I’ll bet anything that once it comes out that Ghislaine has those tapes these men will be quaking in their Italian leather boots. ‘Ghislaine made sure that she socked away thumb drives of it all. She knows where all the bodies are buried and she’ll use whatever she had to save her own a**.’ The day after Epstein’s suicide last August, the New York Times published an account by journalist James B. Stewart who had interviewed Epstein in August 2018. In the course of their conversation, Epstein told Stewart he had filed away dirt on his famous house guests, ‘some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use’. Maxwell’s next court appearance is on Friday in New York. She is currently being held without bail.

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