Vincent van Gogh Bridge in the rain (after Hiroshige) 1887
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?
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.”
“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.”
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?
After the flood.
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.
There’s a stiff competition between long covid and vaccines for the number of symptoms.
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.”
They take one study and use it to discredit 80 others. The Guardian for you.
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.
Not sure what Trump did this time, but they want him again. Is it his lawsuit vs Big Tech?
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.
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.
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.
Why on earth react?
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.
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.
How about adults?
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.
“..not all the phones were subject to record preservation.”
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.”
Oh, how lovely.
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’.
J6 has turned them into a national force. But why exactly?
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.
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Highlights of journalism.
For #JulianAssange and for #truth. Call the #DOJ 202-514-1057 and request that they #DropTheCharges @StellaMoris1 @wikileaks @DefenseAssange #FreeAssangeNOW #FreeAssange #NoExtradition pic.twitter.com/vsIQNNaCWB
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