Albert Gleizes The football players 1912-13
Απαγγέλλονται κατηγορίες στο Βρετανό μισθοφόρο Shawn Pinner από εκπρόσωπο της DPR.
Πηγή: https://t.co/tSGCIaLMhnΜαριουπολη #Ukraine️ #UkraineRussiaWar #LabourDay #ΠΟΛΕΜΟΣ_ΡΩΣΙΑΣ_ΟΥΚΡΑΝΙΑΣ#Ζελενσκι #πουτιν #azov #αζοφ pic.twitter.com/ufAcbEzSDe
— Καθίκι (@KYTKYTKYTKYTKYT) May 3, 2022
Eva K Bartlett: According to Western media, now copy-paste reporting the same claims, Russian forces apparently secretly buried *up to 9,000 Mariupol civilians* in “mass graves” in a town just west of the city.
“Not an inch of #NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”
—Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow, Feb 9 1990
“..using unfortunate citizens as expendable material while posing unshaved before cameras and talk nonsense with eyes shining from stimulators.”
Gonzalo Lira: “Remember, Medvedev is considered dovish and pro-Western—so imagine what the hawkish anti-Westerners in Moscow are like.”
• Medvedev Thinks That Zelensky Does Not Need ‘Any Peace Treaty’ (Tass)
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky does not need any peaceful settlement, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev asserted. “Zelensky does not need any peace treaty. For him, peace is the end,” he said on his Telegram channel. According to him, this end would be “either a quick one – from the Nazis who will hang him for a deal with Russians, or a slower one, from his competition who will attain his dismissal as the president who lost a war.” He pointed out that Zelensky’s retinue confirms this saying that “there will be no peace treaty.” “That is why Zelensky in the future will keep begging the West for money and weapons, trying to prove he is still in the game, that he is the hope of the liberal world, that he is the last stronghold of European democracy which a bear in a cotton-padded jacket wants to tear apart,” Medvedev said.
He added that at the same time, Zelensky would “imitate concern for Ukrainians, periodically positioning them as a human shield against the Bandera followers.” Additionally, according to the deputy chairman, the Ukrainian president will continue “to send hired killers to Russian journalists, positioning himself as a tough exterminator, spawn criminal fake news about Russia’s military operation using unfortunate citizens as expendable material while posing unshaved before cameras and talk nonsense with eyes shining from stimulators.” “There is no other way for Zelensky to remain in office. That is, if the office itself remains,” Medvedev concluded.
Delusional on all levels.
• Delegation Of Doom: Pelosi Visits Zelensky With Warhawk Dems (Celente)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat lawmakers arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit with President Volodymyr Zelensky and did just what the script said: they praised the comedian for his courage and promised more weapons to keep the killing going. It is not truly U.S. support unless it comes with a trigger. Pelosi, the highest-ranking U.S. official to make the journey to Kyiv for a photo-op, promised Zelensky that more weapons were coming and Washington would continue to fund its proxy war against Moscow. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., was part of the delegation that genuflected at the Altar of Zelensky, and told reporters afterwards that there were three areas of focus: “weapons, weapons, and weapons.” He also posted a photo on his Twitter page promising Kyiv that the U.S. “is in this to win in and we will stand with Ukraine until victory is won.”
He did not clarify exactly what the U.S. was “in,” but the Biden administration has not announced publicly that the country is at war with Russia. Pelosi’s freak-show – which included Rep. Adam Schiff – was there to send an “unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine.” “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we are on a frontier of freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone. And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” she said. Schiff, who looked like a school boy meeting his hero when waiting to shake Zelensky’s hand, also got the memo and, after the visit, said one thing is clear: “We must continue to give military aid to Ukraine, and humanitarian assistance to those seeking refuge at home and in neighboring countries like Poland.”
Schiff said he was in “awe of the courage of President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people. In the face of extreme Russian brutality, Zelenskyy has inspired his people, and freedom-loving individuals across the world.” U.S. officials have been bolder in recent weeks because the propaganda campaign has been so effective. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who once sat on Raytheon’s board, said at the news conference last week that the U.S. wants to see Russia “weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” He continued, “So it has already lost a lot of military capability. And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.” Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also told reporters that the U.S. wants “a free and independent Ukraine,” and “that is going to involve a weakened Russia, a strengthened NATO.”
If we can ban a President, we certainly can censor a Pope…
• Pope Admits NATO Likely Provoked Putin’s Invasion (ZH)
Pope Francis has said that he’s ready to meet President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in hopes of brokering an end to the war in Ukraine, according to the Vatican news agencies. He said in an interview published Tuesday by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, “I am not going to Kyiv for now; I feel that I must not go. First I must go to Moscow. First I must meet Putin. But I am also a priest, what can I do? I do what I can. If Putin would only open the door…”. The Roman Catholic leader’s criticisms of Russia’s actions in Ukraine were made clear throughout the interview, but among the more interesting and surprising lines came when he addressed the roots of the invasion and war which started on Feb 24. He told the newspaper that “the barking of NATO at the gates of Russia” is likely what motivated Putin to attack Ukraine.
Below is the relevant section of the interview, according to a machine translation from the Italian: “Pope Francis’ concern is that Putin, for the moment, will not stop . He also tries to think about the roots of this behavior, about the reasons that push him to such a brutal war. Perhaps the “barking of NATO at Russia’s door” prompted the head of the Kremlin to react badly and unleash the conflict. “An anger that I don’t know if it was provoked – he wonders – but perhaps eased, yes”. Also interesting is that Francis came close to condemning the international weapons transfers now pouring into Ukraine, led by the US which has lately authorized an unprecedented billions in military aid to Ukraine’s government.
“And now those who care about peace are faced with the great question of the supply of weapons by Western nations to the Ukrainian resistance,” the Pope began with his thoughts on this question. He admitted the question is controversial even within the Catholic world. “I can’t answer, I’m too far away, to the question of whether it is right to supply the Ukrainians,” he said, before taking a swipe at the weapons industry. “The clear thing is that weapons are being tested in that land. The Russians now know that tanks are of little use and are thinking of other things. Wars are fought for this: to test the weapons we have produced.”
“This was the case in the Spanish Civil War before the Second World War. The arms trade is a scandal, few oppose it.” He then invoked the case of the years’-long Saudi-US war on Yemen, describing that “Two or three years ago a ship loaded with weapons arrived in Genoa which had to be transferred to a large freighter to transport them to Yemen. The port workers did not want to do it. They said: let’s think of the children of Yemen. It’s a small thing, but a nice gesture. There should be so many like that.”
Saker: “Yuri Podolyaka is an analyst who recently had his channel terminated on YouTube..”
“..They know how the Russian prisoners are treated in Ukraine – they are beaten, tortured, sometimes even killed. Ukrainians are surprised that they are not even beaten…”
• Good vs Evil (Yuri Podolyaka)
Ukraine is one of the fronts of the battle of Good against Evil, it is not the battle of countries or even ideas. Today is May 3rd and today I want to talk about what we’re all fighting against. It’s not even about what happens in Ukraine, but about what happens in the world in general. A Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, told us about how he was brought back to Russia
. He was being transferred in manacles and they were removed only after US representative made absolutely sure the US exchange prisoner was aboard the Russian plane. Before that, for almost 24 hours, Konstantin couldn’t even drink water properly because of the manacles – he physically couldn’t take a bottle of water, so he had to ask the guard to pour water into his mouth.
That’s how Americans treat the prisoner who was already pardoned and was to be exchanged. The American prisoner was treated entirely differently, in humane conditions. And here I remembered the first thing that amazes the Ukrainian prisoners when they are taken captive – they don’t expect the decent treatment they get. They know how the Russian prisoners are treated in Ukraine – they are beaten, tortured, sometimes even killed. Ukrainians are surprised that they are not even beaten. This is a huge difference that can’t be ignored. This goes for journalism as well – the Russian journalists, like me, get regular death threats and are in real danger. There is not a single case of someone threatening a Ukrainian journalist that takes official Kiev position.
If someone makes calls to do something about them, it is about lawful actions. On another level – social networks – the situation is similar. Take note at how hateful the messaging is from Kiev-aligned posters – they call to kill children and women etc, while there’s not a single call for such things from our side. There’s like a Satanist hatred coming from their side, with constant lies – how during the first couple of weeks they called on regular Ukrainian citizens to make phone calls to their friends in Russia and lie “for the sake of Ukrainian victory”. We can see this “lying for the greater good” on all levels.
“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion..”
What if Russia says no?
• EU Plans For Russian Oil Ban: ‘We Want Ukraine To Win This War’ (BBC)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been giving details to the European Parliament of a sixth package of sanctions targeting Russia’s economy, its military and propaganda. She said that Russia’s Vladimir Putin wanted to wipe Ukraine from the map and would not succeed and it was his own country that was sinking. “We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion,” she said. “So in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and at the same time be very careful that we minimise the impact on the global market.” Von der Leyen said crude oil imports would be phased out over six months and refined products by the end of 2022.
Although she made no mention of any exemptions, two countries that are most reliant on Russian oil, Slovakia and Hungary, are expected to be given longer to find alternative sources. “Thus we maximise pressure on Russia while at the same time we minimise the collateral damage on us and our partners around the globe. We have to ensure that our economy remains strong.” She went on to give details of a package of relief and reconstruction for Ukraine: “We want to Ukraine to win this war,” she said. Von der Leyen said Ukraine’s economic output was set to fall by 35%-50% in 2022 and it would need €5bn a month just to keep going. “We have to do our share too.”
German Minister Wolfgang Schmidt to Galina Yanchenko, a Ukrainian MP who blamed him for not cutting off Russian gas:
"Let's be blunt. Every day, Russian gas runs through Ukrainian pipelines. Every day, Russian gas is served to Ukraine. So Ukraine did also not switch off" pic.twitter.com/SVs78Lg3QK
— Arnaud Bertrand (@RnaudBertrand) May 3, 2022
From Azerbaijan press.
What does a Canadian general do in Azovstal? You know, this time of year…
• Russia Captures Commander of Canadian Army at Azovstal (APA)
General Trevor Cadieu (Trevor John Cadieu), captured by Russian troops while trying to escape from the cellars of Azovstal, was the commander of the Canadian Ground Forces, APA reports citing Mailbd. Seated in the catacombs under the Mariupol steel plant “Azovstal” nationalists staged a provocation, trying to hide the Canadian general’s attempt to escape. After the capture of a high-ranking foreign soldier by units of the RF Armed Forces, it became clear why so many efforts were made to save him.
A high-ranking mercenary tried to break out of the encirclement at Azovstal several times. It was for this that the West insisted on humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians: among them, foreign specialists had to leave the catacombs. According to media reports, the general’s name is Trevor Kadieu. Seven months ago, he was appointed to the post of commander of the Canadian Army, but before the inauguration, he was involved in a sex scandal. In the harassment that occurred back in 1994, he was accused by a former colleague. The general called the accusations false, but in April 2022 he retired from military service.
Hunter sure was busy. Did the crack keep him going?
• Russian Oligarch With Close Ties To Putin Met With Hunter Biden In Moscow (DM)
Hunter Biden flew to Moscow for a meeting with a now-sanctioned Russian oligarch with reportedly close ties to Vladimir Putin, laptop files reveal. Vladimir Yevtushenkov, 73, owned a company which reportedly supplied Putin’s forces with drones used for deadly bombing raids in Ukraine and until last year owned key Russian defense contractor RTI. But while he was added to the UK and Australian sanctions lists this month but remains one of a handful of oligarchs unsanctioned by the Biden administration. Hunter’s multiple meetings and apparent business deals with him are the latest in a troubling web of his connections to Putin-linked mega-rich individuals which has emerged from his abandoned laptop.
Emails show the president’s son and his business partners were courting Yevtushenkov for an investment in their real estate company in 2012 and 2013. Rosemont Realty was founded in 2008 by Hunter’s Yale schoolmates: Devon Archer and former secretary of state John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz. Hunter joined the firm’s advisory board in 2010 and was a part owner, earning him hundreds of thousands. Emails show that in 2011, his now-jailed business partner Archer was traveling to Russia, staying in luxury hotels and dining on bear meat, laying the foundations for future real estate deals that he believed could be lucrative for the firm. In November that year Archer wrote to an associate: ‘Moscow is going great… It does look like I will be back quite a bit based on our initial response to the real estate fund pitch.’
Three months later Hunter got involved, scheduling a trip to the Russian capital for a dinner with Yevtushenkov at the headquarters of his company Sistema on February 16, 2012, according to emails and calendar entries on his laptop. Documents published this week by journalist Vicky Ward on her blog suggest the Russian billionaire then took a trip to the US for meetings with Hunter and his Rosemont Realty business partners. A Sistema itinerary translated from Russian, which Ward reported was leaked to her from a source close to Yevtushenkov’s company, lists a March 14, 2012 ‘breakfast with Hunter Biden’ at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.
“..Mac Isaac now has well-heeled backers at non-profit The America Project.. [retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn]..”
• Hunter Biden Laptop Repairman Sues Schiff, CNN, Politico, Daily Beast (NYP)
The Delaware computer repairman who blew the whistle on Hunter Biden’s laptop — filed a multi-million-dollar defamation suit Tuesday against Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, CNN, The Daily Beast and Politico, saying they falsely accused him of peddling Russian disinformation. The former shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, decided to fight back after losing his business and being harassed for 18 months by Big Tech, the media and Delaware locals in President Biden’s home state. “After fighting to reveal the truth, all I want now is for the rest of the country to know that there was a collective and orchestrated effort by social and mainstream media to block a real story with real consequences for the nation,” the 45-year-old Mac Isaac told The Post.
“This was collusion led by 51 former pillars in the intelligence community and backed by words and actions of a politically motivated DOJ and FBI,” he continued. “I want this lawsuit to reveal that collusion and more importantly, who gave the marching orders.” Mac Isaac came to legally own the laptop after Biden’s son Hunter dropped it off at his store for repairs in April 2019 and never came back. The material on the laptop has raised serious questions about what Biden knew of his son’s overseas business deals, during which he and the president’s brother, Jim Biden, often invoked his powerful name. After handing over a copy of the laptop’s hard drive to the FBI in December 2019, eight months later Mac Isaac alerted then-President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who provided a copy of the hard drive to The Post.
When The Post’s first story broke in October 2020 — just three weeks before the presidential election — Twitter and Facebook moved to censor it. Then Schiff and 51 former intelligence officials labeled the laptop Russian disinformation. In the aftermath, Mac Isaac says his business and reputation was ruined. “Twitter initially labeled my action hacking, so for the first day after my information was leaked, I was bombarded with hate mail and death threats revolving around the idea that I was a hacker, a thief and a criminal,” Mac Isaac said. Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, “has some explaining” to do, Mac Isaac insisted. “Without any intel, the head of the intel committee decided to share with CNN and its viewers a complete and utter lie,” Mac Isaac said. “A lie issued in the protection of a preferred presidential candidate.”
Mac Isaac said he’s since endured false accusations of being a Russian spy and a “stooge” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The fight to get to the bottom of who told everyone this was Russian disinformation is far more important for the nation than me clearing my name,” Mac Isaac said. In the suit, which was filed in Montgomery County, Md., Mac Isaac claims Schiff defamed him in an interview on CNN two days after The Post began publishing revelations from the laptop. In the interview with Wolf Blitzer, Schiff told the CNN host — without citing evidence — that he believed “the Kremlin” was behind a smear of Joe and Hunter Biden.
Mac Isaac tried unsuccessfully to sue Twitter for defamation last year and was lumbered with the tech giant’s legal bills — an amount he says is roughly $175,000. But Mac Isaac now has well-heeled backers at non-profit The America Project, which was founded by Trump loyalists retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, brother Joe Flynn and businessman Pat Byrne. “[We are] honored to sponsor John Paul Mac Isaac in his fight against the injustice that has been done to him when the political elite coordinated with the leftist news media claiming the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation – which was a blatant lie,” Flynn said.
“..the west and our allies, with our “infinite” fiat, under the tutelage of rocket surgeon Neel Kashkari..”
• Russia Is Returning To The Gold Standard And China Is Going To Be Next (QTR)
No sooner was it that I wrote an article talking about how Russia was going to back the ruble with gold than “one of the Russia’s most powerful security/intelligence officers and a close ally of Putin” has admitted the country’s intentions to do just that. And I’m predicting that no sooner will the gravity of this decision finally sink in with the West that China will follow closely in Russia’s footsteps and do the same. Russia backing its currency with gold represents one of the most drastic changes to the foreign currency market in decades. As of 2022, precisely zero countries still adhere to a gold standard, though many countries still hold gold in reserve.
The new global monetary system is likely going to look like Russia, China, India, Saudi Arabia and other countries with commodity-backed, sound money on one side – and the west and our allies, with our “infinite” fiat, under the tutelage of rocket surgeon Neel Kashkari, on the other. Despite the enormity of the situation, the news hasn’t really been digested by global markets yet. The FX market has been relatively calm, but for the ruble strengthening, and gold prices have crashed so far this week, with front month futures falling nearly $50/oz. on Monday, back down to about $1,860/oz. Aside from the FX market, the news also hasn’t been digested by US politicians or financial “thought leaders” yet.
However, there are underground rumblings starting to catch the ears of those who are actively listening. Ronan Manly wrote for BullionStar.com last week: “On Tuesday 26 April in an interview with newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta (RG), the Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said that Russian experts are working on a project to back the Russian ruble with gold and other commodities.” Manly was kind enough to translate the interview with RG, which stated Russia’s intentions to back the ruble with gold in crystal clear fashion:
RG Question: And what do we need to do to ensure the ruble’s sovereignty? Nikolai Patrushev: “For any national financial system to be sovereignized, its means of payment must have intrinsic value and price stability, without being pegged to the dollar. Now experts are working on a project proposed by the scientific community to create a two-circuit monetary and financial system. In particular, it is proposed to determine the value of the ruble, which should be backed by both gold and a group of goods that are currency values, and to put the ruble exchange rate in line with the real purchasing power parity.” Manly concludes, matter-of-factly: “So there you have it. The Russian Government is actively working on creating a gold and commodity backed Russian ruble with intrinsic value which is outside the orbit of the US dollar.”
The ECB can’t hike or the euro is done
“..the culprit will have to make a decision today of whether to radically increase the potential costs of this act..”
• Leaked Draft Opinion Rocks the Court and Washington (Turley)
The leaking of a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has rocked the Court and Washington. The 98-page draft opinion is dated Feb. 10, 2022 and authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito. I have two columns (in USA Today and The Hill) today on the opinion and the disgraceful leak from within the Court. The opinion is joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. It declares that “Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The opinion can change but the damage done to the Court as an institution will likely be lasting. This shattered a long tradition of the Court of strict secrecy and integrity in the handling of drafts.
The leak is the greatest crisis faced by Chief Justice John Roberts and the greatest security breach in the history of the Court. While leaks have appeared periodically on internal strife or issues on the Court, I cannot recall anything of this scale. Roe itself was the subject of leaks. The Washington Post did run some leaks the court’s internal deliberations. Then there was a premature disclosure of information hours before the formal release of the opinions. A few hours before the release, word got out on the holding of the Court. However, that all pales in comparison to the release of a draft opinion months in advance of the expected release. Chief Justice Roberts has confirmed the legitimacy of the draft and the launching of an investigation. The question is how the Court will proceed in the investigation. Anyone taking this deeply unethical act is likely to have taken steps to hide their tracks.
I would be surprised if there were a paper trail or email record. However, anyone who would take such a reckless act may have been equally reckless in the means used to violate the Court’s rules. If the culprit is a lawyer, disbarment would seem a virtual certainty. This person may be a hero in the eyes of some, but will remain a pariah in the eyes of any ethical lawyer. Yet, disbarment could be the least of the problems. If a suspect lies to the FBI, there could be prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Thus, the culprit will have to make a decision today of whether to radically increase the potential costs of this act. There are a relatively small number of individuals with access to these drafts. It is likely that the culprit will be contacted quickly with others by investigators. That will prove a critical moment that could transform an unethical into a criminal act.
“Like the U.S. Constitution itself, the Court is designed to be an anti-majoritarian check against the excesses of majoritarian sentiment.”
• The Irrational, Misguided Discourse On SCOTUS Controversies (Greenwald)
Alito’s draft is written as a majority opinion, suggesting that at least five of the Court’s justices — a majority — voted after oral argument in Dobbs to overrule Roe on the ground that it was “egregiously wrong from the start” and “deeply damaging.” In an extremely rare event for the Court, an unknown person with unknown motives leaked the draft opinion to Politico, which justifiably published it. A subsequent leak to CNN on Monday night claimed that the five justices in favor of overruling Roe were Bush 43 appointee Alito, Bush 41 appointee Clarence Thomas, and three Trump appointees (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett), while Chief Justice Roberts, appointed by Bush 43, is prepared to uphold the constitutionality of Mississippi’s abortion law without overruling Roe.
Draft rulings and even justices’ votes sometimes change in the period between the initial vote after oral argument and the issuance of the final decision. Depending on whom you choose to believe, this leak is either the work of a liberal justice or clerk designed to engender political pressure on the justices so that at least one abandons their intention to overrule Roe, or it came from a conservative justice or clerk, designed to make it very difficult for one of the justices in the majority to switch sides. Whatever the leaker’s motives, a decision to overrule this 49-year-old precedent, one of the most controversial in the Court’s history, would be one of the most significant judicial decisions issued in decades. The reaction to this leak — like the reaction to the initial ruling in Roe back in 1973 — was intense and strident, and will likely only escalate once the ruling is formally issued.
Every time there is a controversy regarding a Supreme Court ruling, the same set of radical fallacies emerges regarding the role of the Court, the Constitution and how the American republic is designed to function. Each time the Court invalidates a democratically elected law on the ground that it violates a constitutional guarantee — as happened in Roe — those who favor the invalidated law proclaim that something “undemocratic” has transpired, that it is a form of “judicial tyranny” for “five unelected judges” to overturn the will of the majority. Conversely, when the Court refuses to invalidate a democratically elected law, those who regard that law as pernicious, as an attack on fundamental rights, accuse the Court of failing to protect vulnerable individuals.
This by-now-reflexive discourse about the Supreme Court ignores its core function. Like the U.S. Constitution itself, the Court is designed to be an anti-majoritarian check against the excesses of majoritarian sentiment. The Founders wanted to establish a democracy that empowered majorities of citizens to choose their leaders, but also feared that majorities would be inclined to coalesce around unjust laws that would deprive basic rights, and thus sought to impose limits on the power of majorities as well.
The point of leaking this opinion is to intimidate the conservative justices into reversing course. Mob justice. https://t.co/gHiM0KovLE pic.twitter.com/y2wUYIqLva
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) May 4, 2022
Not Bhattacharya’s best. There was never any reason to use untested vaccines, be they adenovector-based or mRNA.
• Study Into mRNA Vaccine Death Rates Sends ‘Danger Signals’ (Bhattacharya)
Do the covid vaccines save lives? That is the question on many people’s minds, that has led to heated discussions across the world. A bombshell new study by a distinguished team of Danish researchers led by Prof. Christine Stabell-Benn suggests a surprisingly nuanced answer. In the randomized trials of the covid vaccines, the adenovector-based vaccines, including the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, reduced all-cause mortality of study participants relative to people randomly assigned a placebo. Indeed, the reduction in mortality is larger than expected from the Covid effect and may suggest additional beneficial “non-specific effects” from those vaccines against other health threats.
On the other hand, Stabell-Benn and her colleagues found no statistically meaningful evidence in the trial data that the mRNA vaccines reduced all-cause mortality. The numbers of deaths from other causes including cardiovascular deaths appear to be increased in this group, compensating for the beneficial effect of the vaccines on Covid. Stabell-Benn is keen to stress that the sample is relatively small and is calling for further investigation, and also that the study took place during very low levels of Covid, so the relative advantage of protection against Covid would have been smaller at that time compared to at other points in the pandemic.
However, these preliminary results stand in sharp contrast to the unambiguous message from public health agencies and governments worldwide, which granted emergency authorization to the vaccines based on evidence from the trials that the vaccines reduce the likelihood of getting symptomatic covid. From a purely scientific perspective, preventing symptomatic covid is an interesting outcome to study. From a public health perspective, prevention of covid symptoms is not as important as prevention of death or disease transmission, which the randomized trials did not study. Dr. Stabell Benn and her colleagues have now looked at overall mortality for the first time.
At the very least, the plain implication (since both sets of vaccines are available) is that public health authorities should have recommended the cheaper adenovector vaccines over the mRNA vaccines all along for most patients. In other words, the international move to de-authorise the AstraZeneca vaccine across Europe and elsewhere looks like it may have been a mistake, and that AZ was actually a better option than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. It offers a potential contributory explanation for the better overall mortality outcomes in the UK (which overwhelmingly used the AZ vaccine) than much of continental Europe (which phased out the AZ vaccine) after the vaccine programme in the second half of 2021.
“..the correlation between mask usage and deaths was positive and significant..”
• Face Mask Usage Correlates With Higher Death Rates (INN)
A new peer-reviewed study entitled: “Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe” has demonstrated that use of face masks, even widespread, did not correlate with better outcomes during the COVID epidemic, based on data from 35 European countries with populations of over one million people each, encompassing a total of 602 million people. The study noted that the average proportion of mask usage in the period investigated (October 2020 until March 2021) was 60.9% ± 19.9%. Governments and advisory bodies have recommended and often mandated the wearing of face masks in public spaces and in many areas mandates or recommendations remain in place, despite the fact, the study notes, that randomized controlled trials from prior to and during the epidemic have failed to show a benefit to the wearing of such masks with regard to COVID transmission.
“Positive correlation between mask usage and cases was not statistically significant,” the study also found, “while the correlation between mask usage and deaths was positive and significant (rho = 0.351, p = 0.039).” That is to say, more mask usage correlated with a higher death rate. The study used a variety of statistical methods to study correlation but “none of these tests provided negative correlations between mask usage and cases/deaths … Surprisingly, weak positive correlations were observed when mask compliance was plotted against morbidity (cases/million) or mortality (deaths/million) in each country.”
The study also noted that the public may have gained the impression that masks could be helpful due to the fact that mandates were usually implemented after the first peak of COVID cases had passed. However, it became evident that masks were not in fact helpful later that same year, when widespread mask usage does not appear to have mitigated the severity of the COVID wave of winter 2020. “Moreover,” the study concludes, “the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.”
Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …https://t.co/dBFsGjOMC8
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 3, 2022
• ‘Brands Should Force Twitter To Uphold Content Policies Under Musk’ (CNN)
Some of the nation’s biggest brands including Coca-Cola, Disney and Kraft are facing calls to boycott Twitter if the company’s soon-to-be owner, billionaire Elon Musk, rolls back content moderation policies limiting hate speech and election misinformation. In a letter sent to brands Tuesday ahead of the 2022 NewFronts digital advertising conference, more than two dozen civil society groups said marketers should secure commitments from Twitter to retain its most critical policies, including on civic integrity and hateful conduct, and threaten to withdraw funding if Twitter does not comply. “As top advertisers on Twitter, your brand risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists,” the letter said, adding: “Your ad dollars can either fund Musk’s vanity project or hold him to account.”
In an investor filing Monday, Twitter told advertisers “we have no planned changes to our commitment to brand safety” but that the company “cannot speculate on changes Elon Musk may make post closing.” The letter, first reported by CNN, urges advertisers to make their next ad deals with Twitter contingent on changes to platform policy under Musk. It offers the latest example of how some advocacy groups have leaned on the immense power of corporate speech — and specifically digital advertising, the lifeblood of many tech platforms — in attempts to shape tech companies’ behavior. It leverages years of growing realizations by the ad industry that brands can face reputational damage if their ads appear next to white supremacist content or other harmful material.
Tuesday’s initiative bears echoes of a far-reaching advertising boycott in 2020 that saw companies ranging from Adidas to Starbucks pulling their ads from Facebook over what they said were its failures to keep hate speech from spreading. But unlike that campaign, the groups behind Tuesday’s letter said advertisers have a chance to be more proactive and strategic this time, because Musk has already telegraphed what he plans to do with Twitter. (The Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder has pledged to restore “free speech” to the platform by, among other things, easing up on content removals and account bans. He also wants to “authenticate all real humans” on Twitter.)
As advertisers prepare to negotiate forward-looking contracts with Twitter this week during the NewFronts conference, they can preemptively protect themselves from any damage to their brands resulting from Musk’s eventual takeover, said Angelo Carusone, CEO of Media Matters for America, one of the organizations behind the letter. “If Elon Musk comes in and gets rid of all the brand safety protections, I think Coca-Cola should be able to cancel their contract,” Carusone said. “It would be very revealing if Twitter refuses to or does not sign or does not give those cancellation options.” Tuesday’s letter targeted other big-name advertisers, as well, including Apple, Best Buy and HBO — the last of which is owned by WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent.
More plain truth from Irish MEP @ClareDalyMEP on #NATO the #Ukraine️ and #Russia pic.twitter.com/81YEuQaUKW
— tim anderson (@timand2037) May 2, 2022
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