Jul 192021
 


Giuseppe Leone Ragusa Sicily 1953

 

2nd Week in a Row: More Covid Vax Deaths than COVID-19 Deaths in the US (GP)
Four New Discoveries About Safety And Efficacy Of COVID Vaccines (DfCE)
Response to Dr. Bhakdi (VanDen Bossche)
Israel Bans Entry To Vaccinated Tourists (JPost)
2 More Texas Dems Who Fled State To Block GOP Voting Bill Test Positive (NYP)
Facebook Says 85% of US Users Are Pro-Vaccine (RT)
The Panic Pandemic (Tierney)
“Misinformation” Means Whatever The Censors Want It To Mean (Tracey)
Leak Uncovers Global Abuse Of Cyber-surveillance Weapon (G.)
The Controversial Prosecutor At The Heart Of The Julian Assange Case (IC)
Tribes Are Leading the Way to Remove Dams and Restore Ecosystems (Yes)

 

 

 

 

Heparin

 

 

 

 

We have a trend.

2nd Week in a Row: More Covid Vax Deaths than COVID-19 Deaths in the US (GP)

The VAERS website released its weekly numbers on Friday. There are now 11,140 reported deaths from the COVID vaccine in the United States. This is up from 9,125 reported deaths from the COVID-19 vaccinations total from last week. The number of deaths linked to vaccines this year has absolutely skyrocketed. According to the CDC’s own data. The VAERS database contains information on unverified reports of adverse events (illnesses, health problems and/or symptoms) following immunization with US-licensed vaccines. The CDC government website links to VAERS platform. Two weeks ago VAERS reported 6,985 deaths due to the COVID vaccines. Last week that number jumped to 9,048. That number is now at 11,140.

“The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database contains information on unverified reports of adverse events (illnesses, health problems and/or symptoms) following immunization with US-licensed vaccines. Reports are accepted from anyone and can be submitted electronically at www.vaers.hhs.gov.” There have been over 400,000 adverse reactions reported to the COVID vaccine. Last Week: there were 1,918 total COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Last Week: There were 2,092 deaths from the COVID Vaccines — According to the CDC-linked VAERS website. That means there were 174 more Covid vaccine deaths in the United States last week than Covid deaths in the United States last week. Why is this not making headlines?

45,000 have died within 3 days from the COVID Vax
https://twitter.com/i/status/1416947451056033795

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“Doctors for Covid Ethics has sent the following letter to tens of thousands of doctors in Europe, summarising four recent scientific findings critical to the COVID-19 vaccination program. The letter explains each finding as it relates to the biology of COVID-19 vaccines, including interactions with the immune system.

Taken together, the letter warns that these new pieces of evidence force all physicians administering COVID-19 vaccines to re-evaluate the merits of COVID-19 vaccination, in the interests of their own ethical standing, and their patients’ safety and health.”

Four New Discoveries About Safety And Efficacy Of COVID Vaccines (DfCE)

Discovery 1: SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Circulates Shortly After Vaccination. SARS-CoV-2 proteins were measured in longitudinal plasma samples collected from 13 participants who received two doses of Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine [1]. With 11 of the 13, the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was detected in the blood within only one day after the first vaccine injection. Significance. Spike protein molecules were produced within cells that are in contact with the bloodstream—mostly endothelial cells—and released into the circulation. This means that a) the immune system will attack those endothelial cells, and b) the circulating spike protein molecules will activate thrombocytes. Both effects will promote blood clotting. This explains the many clotting-related adverse events—stroke, heart attack, venous thrombosis—that are being reported after vaccination.

Discovery 2: Rapid, Memory-Type Antibody Response After VaccinationSeveral studies have demonstrated that circulating SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG and IgA antibodies became detectable within 1-2 weeks after application of mRNA vaccines [1–3]. Significance. bRapid production of IgG and IgA always indicates a secondary, memory-type response that is elicited through re-stimulation of pre-existing immune cells. Primary immune responses to novel antigens take longer to evolve and initially produce IgM antibodies, which is then followed by the isotype switch to IgG and IgA.bA certain amount of IgM was indeed detected alongside IgG and IgA in some studies [1,4]. Importantly, however, IgG rose faster than IgM [4], which confirms that the early IgG response was indeed of the memory type.

This memory response indicates pre-existing, cross-reactive immunity due to previous infection with ordinary respiratory human coronavirus strains. The delayed IgM response most likely represents a primary response to novel epitopes which are specific to SARS-CoV-2.bMemory-type responses have also been documented with respect to T-cell-mediated immunity [5–7]. Overall, these findings indicate that our immune system efficiently recognizes SARS-CoV-2 as “known” even on first contact. Severe cases of the disease thus cannot be ascribed to lacking immunity. Instead, severe cases might very well be caused or aggravated by pre-existing immunity through antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE, see below).

Discovery 3: SARS-CoV-2 Elicits Robust Adaptive Immune Responses Regardless Of Disease Severity Serum antibody profiles were reported for 203 individuals following SARS-CoV-2 infection [8]. 202 (>99%) of the participants exhibited SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies. With 193 individuals (95%), these antibodies prevented SARS-CoV-2 infection in cell culture and also inhibited binding of the spike protein to the ACE2 receptor. Furthermore, CD8+ T-cell responses specific for SARS-CoV-2 were clear and quantifiable in 95 of 106 (90%) HLA-A2-positive individuals. Significance. This study confirms the above assertion that the immune response to initial contact with SARS-CoV-2 is of the memory type.

In addition, it shows that this reaction occurs with almost all individuals, and particularly also with those who experience no manifest clinical symptoms. The goal of the vaccination is to stimulate production of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, but we now know that such antibodies can and will be rapidly generated by everyone upon the slightest viral challenge, even without vaccination. Severe lung infections always take many days to develop, which means that if the antibodies generated by the memory response are needed, they will arrive on time. Therefore, vaccination is unlikely to provide significant benefit with respect to the prevention of severe lung infection.

Discovery 4: Rapid Increase Of Spike Protein Antibodies After The Second Injection Of MRNA Vaccines IgG and IgA antibody titres were monitored before vaccination and after the first and the second injection of mRNA vaccines [3]. Antibody titres rose with some delay after the first injection, then plateaued, but rose again very shortly after the second injection. Significance. Even though the antibody response to the first injection is of the memory type, the small time lag after the injection may mitigate adverse reactions, because the abundance of spike protein on the cells in the blood vessel walls and in other tissues may have already passed its peak when the antibodies arrive.

The situation changes dramatically with the second injection. Then the spikes are produced and protrude into the bloodstream that is already swarming with both reactive lymphocytes and antibodies. The antibodies will cause the complement system [9,10] and also neutrophil granulocytes to attack the spike protein-bearing cells. The possible consequences of all-out self-attack by the immune system are frightening.

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The article above references a Dr. Bahkdi video VanDen Bossche has issues with. Could we have an actual scientific discussion? Where do the censors stand on this one?

Response to Dr. Bhakdi (VanDen Bossche)

I herewith wanted to react to a recent video posted by Dr. Bhakdi (https://evidencenotfear.com/proof-that-puts-an-end-to-the-sars-cov-2-narrative-professor-sucharit-bhakdi-oracle-films/). I was quite stunned about the statements he made and could not believe that this had allegedly been published. Hence, I consulted the publications Dr. Bhakdi has been referring to in his presentation (you’ll find them in the article that accompanies the video). My contribution attached explains why his viewpoint in regard of herd immunity and protection against variants is highly questionable. Given his background and credentials, I am very surprised at his conclusions. It’s certainly not that I cannot refrain from criticizing but if we’re not going to stick to the science, we’re going to lose our precious credibility.

I am sure many of you have seen Dr. Bhakdi’s presentation. As much as I’d like to confirm his position, I cannot agree with his interpretation. Dr. Bhakdi is basically claiming that because of previous exposure to common cold viruses we have immune memory cells that can be recalled upon exposure to Sars-CoV-2 and protect us! This is not true! While there is no doubt that there is some cross-reactivity between immune responses to some spike(S)-derived epitopes on beta coronaviruses (CoVs), these immune responses are not cross-PROTECTIVE. Dr. Bhakdi is confusing all along cross-reactivity (which basically means that antibodies (Abs) or T cells induced by one CoV can BIND similar [conserved] epitopes on some other CoVs) and cross-protection.

However, immune RECOGNITION does not equal immune PROTECTION. None of the publications Dr. Bhakdi is referring to has analyzed or claims cross-PROTECTION elicited by other CoVs. Again, Abs that bind to Sars-CoV-2 do not necessarily neutralize the virus and prevent it from entering the cell. Of course, many people will have a history of common cold infection and hence may rapidly recall some spike-directed Abs (i.e., towards epitopes that are shared with Sars-CoV-2) upon exposure to Sars-CoV-2 or after immunization with Sars-CoV-2-derived antigens. However, this doesn’t mean at all that these rapidly rising IgG and IgA Dr. Bhakdi is referring to will neutralize Sars-CoV-2 and protect you from Covid-19 disease!

In addition, Sars-CoV-2-induced Abs were only found to cross-react with 2 out of the 4 common cold CoVs (i.e., only for beta coronavirus HKU1 and OC43) and the cross-reactivity was ‘much lower than that observed for the remaining CoV epitopes’. Furthermore, his statement that people who have built immunity against CoV are automatically protected against all Sars-CoV-2 variants is not true either for exactly the same reasons (i.e., Abs that bind to variants do not necessarily neutralize them and could even be at risk of causing Ab-dependent enhancement of disease; ADE).

Read more …

Israel is a prime example alright; of how the vaccine hunger screws up a country.

Israel Bans Entry To Vaccinated Tourists (JPost)

Vaccinated tourists will not be allowed to enter Israel on August 1, as had been previously planned, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash said Sunday, also announcing that the authorities will discuss measures to restrict all travel. “We are postponing the date for the entry of tourists; it is not going to happen on August 1,” he said, adding that a new date has not been set. “Unfortunately, the current situation does not permit us to allow tourists to enter.” The director-general also warned the public that with the Delta variant raging around the world, this is not a time to fly abroad. He said the authorities are examining how to restrict travel, either by expanding the list of countries under the travel ban or severe travel warning, or by other means.


Channel 12 reported that health official are considering several options for a recommendation to bring before the cabinet, including shutting the airport for non essential traveling and requiring all travelers to enter isolation regardless of their immunization status and the country they fly from. However, according to the report, the most likely recommendation will be to significantly expand the list of countries under travel ban or travel warning – in both cases all returnees have to quarantine, for the first group Israelis are prohibited from visiting unless they obtain a permission from the devoted special governmental committee.

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Not arrested yet; they won’t return till August.

2 More Texas Dems Who Fled State To Block GOP Voting Bill Test Positive (NYP)

Two more Texas Democrats who traveled to Washington, DC, last week to prevent a vote on a Republican voting bill have tested positive for the coronavirus, a report said. The new cases, announced late Sunday by the Texas House Democratic Caucus, are in addition to the three other state Democratic lawmakers on the trip who have already tested positive for COVID-19, the Texas Tribune reported. The infected lawmakers are all fully vaccinated, the report said — and one is experiencing mild symptoms. Among the two newest members to test positive is state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, the lawmaker said. “Today, I received a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test result. I am fully vaccinated, and had tested negative on Friday and Saturday.


“I am quarantining until I test negative, and I am grateful to be only experiencing extremely mild symptoms,” he told the newspaper in a statement. The Lone Star State Democrats left the state House of Representatives last Monday and flew aboard two chartered flights to the nation’s capital to scuttle a Republican-backed election reform bill by depriving the chamber a quorum. While in Washington to wait out the special legislative session called by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the Democrats met with congressional lawmakers to press them to approve the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The state lawmakers have been slammed by Republicans for running away from their duties to represent their constituents, and Abbott has threatened to have them arrested when they return to Texas in August.

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Because our users are not terribly smart people…

Facebook Says 85% of US Users Are Pro-Vaccine (RT)

Facebook has patted itself on the back for encouraging vaccine acceptance among its US users, noting an increase of 10-15% since January, while firing back at President Joe Biden’s claim of subverting the rollout. “The data shows that 85% of Facebook users in the US have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Facebook VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said in a blog post on Saturday, rejecting Biden’s charge that social media was to blame for the lack of enthusiasm among Americans towards the Covid-19 jabs. On Friday, Biden tore into social media platforms such as Facebook, accusing them of “killing people” by not cracking down on non-conventional opinions about vaccination fervently enough.

“They’re killing people… Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” the US president said. Dismissing the allegation, Rosen accused Biden of essentially making Facebook a scapegoat for his administration’s failure to reach its self-imposed goal of having 70% Americans vaccinated by July 4. “President Biden’s goal was for 70% of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4. Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed,” Rosen said, arguing that figures “tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration.” Facebook, Rosen claimed, has seen a dramatic increase in confidence in Covid-19 vaccines among its American users in the last six months.

“Since January, vaccine acceptance on the part of Facebook users in the US has increased by 10-15 percentage points (70%->80-85%),” Rosen wrote, citing a recent survey by Carnegie Mellon University. He added that distrust of the jabs among racial and ethnic minorities has “shrunk considerably” as well. Facebook has deployed “unprecedented resources” in its fight against the pandemic, such as “pointing people to reliable information” and facilitating vaccine appointments, he noted. In addition to persuading people of the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines through pop-up labels under coronavirus-related posts, Facebook has been waging a war on information that does not align with the official stance of the World Health Organization (WHO) or local governments.

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” It was a dangerous experiment being conducted without knowing the answer to the most basic question: Just how lethal is this virus?”

The Panic Pandemic (Tierney)

The United States suffered through two lethal waves of contagion in the past year and a half. The first was a viral pandemic that killed about one in 500 Americans—typically, a person over 75 suffering from other serious conditions. The second, and far more catastrophic, was a moral panic that swept the nation’s guiding institutions. Instead of keeping calm and carrying on, the American elite flouted the norms of governance, journalism, academic freedom—and, worst of all, science. They misled the public about the origins of the virus and the true risk that it posed. Ignoring their own carefully prepared plans for a pandemic, they claimed unprecedented powers to impose untested strategies, with terrible collateral damage. As evidence of their mistakes mounted, they stifled debate by vilifying dissenters, censoring criticism, and suppressing scientific research.

If, as seems increasingly plausible, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 leaked out of a laboratory in Wuhan, it is the costliest blunder ever committed by scientists. Whatever the pandemic’s origin, the response to it is the worst mistake in the history of the public-health profession. We still have no convincing evidence that the lockdowns saved lives, but lots of evidence that they have already cost lives and will prove deadlier in the long run than the virus itself. One in three people worldwide lost a job or a business during the lockdowns, and half saw their earnings drop, according to a Gallup poll. Children, never at risk from the virus, in many places essentially lost a year of school. The economic and health consequences were felt most acutely among the less affluent in America and in the rest of the world, where the World Bank estimates that more than 100 million have been pushed into extreme poverty.

The leaders responsible for these disasters continue to pretend that their policies worked and assume that they can keep fooling the public. They’ve promised to deploy these strategies again in the future, and they might even succeed in doing so—unless we begin to understand what went wrong. The panic was started, as usual, by journalists. As the virus spread early last year, they highlighted the most alarming statistics and the scariest images: the estimates of a fatality rate ten to 50 times higher than the flu, the chaotic scenes at hospitals in Italy and New York City, the predictions that national health-care systems were about to collapse. The full-scale panic was set off by the release in March 2020 of a computer model at the Imperial College in London, which projected that—unless drastic measures were taken—intensive-care units would have 30 Covid patients for every available bed and that America would see 2.2 million deaths by the end of the summer.

The British researchers announced that the “only viable strategy” was to impose draconian restrictions on businesses, schools, and social gatherings until a vaccine arrived. This extraordinary project was swiftly declared the “consensus” among public-health officials, politicians, journalists, and academics. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, endorsed it and became the unassailable authority for those purporting to “follow the science.” What had originally been a limited lockdown—“15 days to slow the spread”—became long-term policy across much of the United States and the world. A few scientists and public-health experts objected, noting that an extended lockdown was a novel strategy of unknown effectiveness that had been rejected in previous plans for a pandemic. It was a dangerous experiment being conducted without knowing the answer to the most basic question: Just how lethal is this virus?

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Freedom of speech is dead, but not from the virus.

“Misinformation” Means Whatever The Censors Want It To Mean (Tracey)

Government officials and their lackeys in the media often speak of the term “misinformation” as though it has some sort of universally-accepted, politically neutral definition. That’s always been total BS, but generating the mirage of neutrality has been a necessary ingredient in popularizing the “misinformation” concept over the past five years. Those who reject the impositions of mainstream cultural and political elites must not be simply wrong, but maliciously brainwashed by “misinformation” that complicit entities such as the social media platforms allow to proliferate.

In 2018, when these entities engineered a simultaneous cross-platform purge of Alex Jones, there was an avalanche of media apologia for this hitherto unprecedented act of censorship. Jones had caused unique harm, the journalists cried, and the platforms were merely “Enforcing The Rules.” But of course what they were oblivious to was that “the rules,” such as they exist, are just a function of power. “Misinformation” and other alleged infractions of social media “rules” are determined at the whim of whoever happens to wield censorship and speech-regulation power at that moment. Journalists themselves, chronically oblivious to their own power, were exactly the ones who agitated for the expulsion of Jones, and their agitation succeeded.

Here is an article I wrote the day after this cross-platform purge: “Alex Jones’ lunacy is self-evident and needs no further comment. The only relevant question is whether we want a media landscape in which a tiny cadre of unelected private officials are empowered to decide, in secret and with no mechanisms for accountability, that the time has come to purge this lunatic from the public square. “Now, just around three years later, we receive a declaration from a spokesperson for the President that the Federal Government is seeking to coerce, mandate, or otherwise bring about routinized cross-platform purges. “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform, and not others, for providing misinformation out there,” press secretary Jen Psaki demanded, creepily calling on the social media giants to create “robust enforcement strategies that bridge their properties.”

So if you were under any illusion back in 2018 that this would ever stop with Jones — a figure believed to be sufficiently repulsive that any punishment doled out to him would not have broader implications for the average internet user — well, it didn’t take long for proof of just how wrong you were. Journalists and others with influential platforms, particularly those who spend all day everyday on the internet and rely on it for their livelihood, at least in theory have a duty to demonstrate some semblance of foresight. Meaning, to consider issues of public interest that go beyond their short-term desire for political vengeance.

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Big story yada yada, even Snowden says it, but it’s from the Guardian.

Leak Uncovers Global Abuse Of Cyber-surveillance Weapon (G.)

Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak. The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus, which the company insists is only intended for use against criminals and terrorists. Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones. The leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that, it is believed, have been identified as those of people of interest by clients of NSO since 2016.

Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based nonprofit media organisation, and Amnesty International initially had access to the leaked list and shared access with media partners as part of the Pegasus project, a reporting consortium. The presence of a phone number in the data does not reveal whether a device was infected with Pegasus or subject to an attempted hack. However, the consortium believes the data is indicative of the potential targets NSO’s government clients identified in advance of possible surveillance attempts. Forensics analysis of a small number of phones whose numbers appeared on the leaked list also showed more than half had traces of the Pegasus spyware. The Guardian and its media partners will be revealing the identities of people whose number appeared on the list in the coming days.

They include hundreds of business executives, religious figures, academics, NGO employees, union officials and government officials, including cabinet ministers, presidents and prime ministers. The list also contains the numbers of close family members of one country’s ruler, suggesting the ruler may have instructed their intelligence agencies to explore the possibility of monitoring their own relatives. The disclosures begin on Sunday, with the revelation that the numbers of more than 180 journalists are listed in the data, including reporters, editors and executives at the Financial Times, CNN, the New York Times, France 24, the Economist, Associated Press and Reuters.

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It’s personal.

The Controversial Prosecutor At The Heart Of The Julian Assange Case (IC)

The battle to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States is shaping up to be a legal case of paramount importance to the future of national security reporting. The U.S. continues to press the case even after a change of administration, with President Joe Biden keeping up efforts to bring Assange to a U.S. court on Espionage Act charges for his role in publishing classified government documents. One little-noted name in filings from extradition hearings in the U.K. keeps popping up as a key figure in the U.S. government’s case: a federal prosecutor named Gordon Kromberg. On the central questions of what assistance Assange provided to whistleblower Chelsea Manning and the ostensible harm his actions caused to U.S. national security, a U.K. court filing earlier this year cites Kromberg’s assertions verbatim.

“Mr. Kromberg’s evidence on this is clear,” the filing says. “He stated that stealing hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases was a multistep process.” The same document cites Kromberg again, claiming that “well over one hundred people were placed at risk from the disclosures and approximately fifty people sought and received assistance from the US” — references to purported U.S. intelligence assets outed by the documents WikiLeaks published. Kromberg, an assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, may be unknown to foreign and even many American observers. In U.S. legal circles, though, he has been a highly controversial figure for over two decades, dogged by accusations of bias and politicization in his prosecutions.

For years, civil rights activists and lawyers tried to draw attention to allegations of Kromberg’s abusive practices. Rather than being pushed into obscurity by these efforts, today he is serving as a key figure in one of the most important civil liberties cases in the world. In all, the January court documents from Assange’s extradition case mention Kromberg over 40 times to help make the legal argument for extraditing Assange. Many of his statements go to the heart of the Espionage Act case against the WikiLeaks publisher.

[..] In the years after the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks, Gordon Kromberg became the government’s point man on notorious terrorism cases involving allegations of torture and malicious prosecution. In the past, opposing counsels and civil rights groups accused him of engaging in racist behavior and using unethical tactics in pursuit of convictions. Legal experts said that the inclusion of a notoriously politicized and aggressive prosecutor on a high-profile extradition case like Assange’s is a sign of how strongly the government is motivated to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher and bring Espionage Act charges at all costs.

“A common factor in Kromberg’s career has been a willingness to take very provocative positions on behalf of the government and stay the course with them,” said Wadie Said, a professor of law at the University of South Carolina and author of “Crimes of Terror: The Legal and Political Implications of Federal Terrorism Prosecutions.” “He has also shown great willingness to take on highly political cases and to be a lightning rod himself for attention; he often makes himself part of the story with his own actions and statements.” Said added, “From my perspective, some of the things that Kromberg has said in the past and the positions that he has taken are quite tendentious and even vindictive in terms of his mindset toward the person that he is targeting.”

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Good.

Tribes Are Leading the Way to Remove Dams and Restore Ecosystems (Yes)

Cameron Macias bent down to examine a small pile of sawdust-filled scat on the floor of the former Lake Mills on the Elwha River in the northwest corner of Washington state in 2016. It was a sign that beavers were moving into the area after a 100+ year absence. “There’s very small dam-building activity in some of the side tributaries,” says Macias, who was working at the time as a wildlife technician for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, of which she is a member. “It’s kind of funny and ironic because of the dam removal,” Macias says with a laugh. The dams she’s referring to—the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams—were removed in 2011 and 2014 respectively, and together they are considered the world’s largest dam removal project to date.

Many other tribes have looked to the success of the Elwha River dam removals in bringing down fish-blocking dams in their lands as well, including along the Snake River and the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. Together, the country’s 2 million dams block access to more than 600,000 miles of river for fish. And by 2030, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that 80% of those dams will be beyond their 50-year lifespans. Given how obsolete and potentially dangerous this infrastructure will be, not to mention its negative effects on declining fish stocks, the best solution for many aging dams is to simply remove them. But bringing down a dam is a big job.

When the Elwha River dams fell, it was the culmination of many decades of successful partnerships among the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and dozens of other local and national organizations. Today, those partnerships continue to support the tribe in righting historic wrongs. The Elwha Dam was built in 1910 to provide electricity to attract new settlers, in flagrant violation of a Washington state law that said dams must allow for fish passage. At the time, no one consulted the Lower Elwha Klallam people, whose culture rests on the salmon that would be blocked by the dams. “We had a few of the elders that even stood in the areas of the lower dam where they were starting to build to protest,” says Frances Charles, the tribal chairwoman for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

But the dam construction proceeded, and afterward, hatcheries were put in as a sort of life support to keep salmon populations afloat. Every year, the fish born in the hatcheries would try to return to the spawning grounds of their ancestors, banging their heads on the dam in a desperate attempt to get upstream. “We ourselves felt like we were banging our heads against the concrete wall, no different than the salmon,” Charles says. Things changed in January 1986 when the tribe filed a motion to stop the relicensing of the dams, citing that the dam prevented them from exercising their treaty rights because it blocked fish passage. “The tribe and [Olympic National] Park and the environmental interests said, ‘You know, if you’re going to license these things, you’re going to provide fish passage,’” says Mike McHenry, the Tribe’s fisheries habitat manager. Studies showed that building fish passages wouldn’t effectively restore the salmon runs, so the decision was made to take down the dams. Still, it took an Act of Congress and $325 million to complete the job.

Read more …

 

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Jul 062021
 
 July 6, 2021  Posted by at 8:53 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  85 Responses »


Edourd Manet A Bar at the Folies-Bergère 1882

 

Israel Sees Plunge In Pfizer Vaccine Efficacy Rate Due To Delta Variant (BBG)
Lambda Covid-19 Variant From Peru May Be Resistant To Vaccines (NYP)
9 Reasons Not to Support, Mandate Investigational COVID19 Vaccines (McCullough)
The Chicken-and-Egg Problem (Which Came First?) (VanDen Bossche)
How the Moderna Covid-19 mRNA Vaccine Was Made So Quickly (CNBC)
Can Immune Responses Alone Reveal Which Covid-19 Vaccines Work Best? (Smag)
T Cells: Why Immunity Is About More Than Antibodies (CEBM)
Refusing To Be Vaccinated Against Covid A ’Sin’ – Russian Orthodox Church (RT)
Relaxing Of Covid Restrictions In England Sparks Social Media Meltdown (Clark)
HIV Vaccine Trial Launched At Oxford In Bid To End ‘40-Year Wait’ (RT)
The Dollar’s Declining Status as Dominant “Global Reserve Currency” (WS)
The Ice-Cream Flavor Next Time (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Suramin

 

 

VanDen Bossche?

Israel Sees Plunge In Pfizer Vaccine Efficacy Rate Due To Delta Variant (BBG)

Israel has recorded a steep drop in the efficacy rate of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in preventing coronavirus infections, due to the spread of the Delta variant and the easing of government restrictions, Ynet news website reported, citing Health Ministry data. At the same time, the decline in protection against serious cases and hospitalisation is considerably milder, the website said. The figures show that between May 2 and June 5, the vaccine had a 94.3 per cent efficacy rate. From June 6, five days after the government cancelled coronavirus restrictions, until early July, the rate plunged to 64 per cent. A similar decline was recorded in protection against coronavirus symptoms, the report said. At the same time, protection against hospitalisation and serious illness remained strong.


From May 2 to June 5, the efficacy rate in preventing hospitalisation was 98.2 per cent, compared with 93 per cent from June 6 to July 3. A similar decline in the rate was recorded for the vaccine’s efficiency in preventing serious illness among people who had been inoculated. These figures are in line with ministry data that show many of the new cases are among people who have been vaccinated, while the number of serious cases is rising much more slowly, Ynet said. Last Friday, 55 per cent of the newly infected had been vaccinated, the website said. As at July 4, there were 35 serious cases of coronavirus in Israel, compared with 21 on June 19. [..] Israel had one of the world’s most effective coronavirus inoculation drives. Some 57 per cent of the general population is fully vaccinated, including 88 per cent of the population above the age of 50 – the group considered most at risk for serious cases.

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The more vaccinations, the higher the chance for more variants. The official narrative has this completely upside down, but it will take a lot for them to declare defeat. Booster shots sounds a lot better to them.

Lambda Covid-19 Variant From Peru May Be Resistant To Vaccines (NYP)

Scientists fear that a highly contagious new COVID-19 variant that is ravaging Peru may be resistant to vaccines. The Lambda mutation, or C.37, appears to have emerged in Peru last August — and is now being blamed for the country having the highest pandemic death rate in the world. The concerning strain has since spread to around 30 countries, mostly in Latin America — but also as far as the UK, which has recorded at least eight cases, according to government figures. There are no known cases of the Lambda strain in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Peru, Lambda has accounted for 81 percent of new infections tested for variants since April, according to the World Health Organization.

The South American nation currently has by far the highest mortality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. There, nearly 10 percent of those recorded as being infected end up dying — with the death rate of nearly 600 for every 100,000 citizens almost double that of the next nation, Hungary, the data shows. The US is 21st with just under 185 deaths per 100,000. Lambda was last month declared a Variant of Interest by the World Health Organization (WHO), which noted that it was “associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries.” “Lambda carries a number of mutations” that may have led to “potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies,” the WHO said.

Scientists in Chile — where Lambda is blamed for more than a third of the country’s infections — also warned in a recent study, published in a preprint last week, that it appears to evade vaccines better than other strains. “Our data show for the first time that mutations present in the spike protein of the Lambda variant confer escape to neutralizing antibodies and increased infectivity,” wrote the researchers from the University of Chile in Santiago. That could explain why it has been able to take hold despite Chile “undergoing a massive vaccination program,” the study warned.

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McCullough is clear and concise. Wonder how long LinkedIn will keep this up.

9 Reasons Not to Support, Mandate Investigational COVID19 Vaccines (McCullough)

1. COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary research. The COVID-19 public vaccination program operated by the CDC and the FDA is a clinical investigation and under no circumstance can any person receive pressure, coercion, or threat of reprisal on their free choice of participation. Violation of this principle of autonomy by any entity constitutes reckless endangerment with a reasonable expectation of causing personal injury resulting in damages.


2. COVID-19 vaccines do not work well enough. The current COVID-19 vaccines are not sufficiently protective against contracting COVID-19 to support its use beyond the current voluntary participation in the CDC sponsored program. A total of 10,262 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine breakthrough infections had been reported from 46 U.S. states and territories as of April 30, 2021. Among these cases, 6,446 (63%) occurred in females, and the median patient age was 58 years (interquartile range = 40–74 years). [..]

3. COVID-19 vaccines have a dangerous mechanism of action. The Pfizer, Moderna, and JNJ vaccines are considered “genetic vaccines” or vaccines produced from gene therapy molecular platforms.[i] [ii] They have a injurious mechanism of action in that they all cause the body to make an uncontrolled quantity of the pathogenic spike protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is unlike all other vaccines where there is a set amount of antigen or live-attenuated virus. This means for the Pfizer, Moderna, and JNJ vaccines it is not predictable among patients who will produce more or less of the spike protein. The spike protein itself has been demonstrated to injure vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, as well as damage blood vessels and directly cause blood clots. Additionally, because these vaccines infect cells within these organs, the generation of spike protein within heart and brain cells in particular, causes the body’s own immune system to attack these organs. [..]


7. People are dying and being hospitalized in record numbers in the days after COVID-19 vaccination. Based on VAERS as of June 25, 2021, there were 6,985 COVID-19 vaccine deaths reported and over 23,257 hospitalizations reported for the COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, JNJ). By comparison, from 1999, until December 31, 2019, VAERS received 3167 death reports (158 per year) adult death reports for all vaccines combined. Thus, the COVID-19 mass vaccination is associated with at least 39-fold increase annualized vaccine deaths reported to VAERS. COVID-19 vaccine adverse events account for 98% of all vaccine-related AEs from Dec 2020 through present in VAERS.

Bell’s palsy

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VanDen Bossche reacts to the CNN article I cited on July 4, Unvaccinated People Are “Variant Factories” – Infectious Diseases Expert.

“..not the non-vaccinated individuals but the vaccinees are now responsible for driving Sars-CoV-2 evolutionary dynamics..”

The Chicken-and-Egg Problem (Which Came First?) (VanDen Bossche)

As already mentioned on multiple occasions, molecular epidemiologists have shown that population-level S protein-directed immune pressure is now driving the propagation of variants that are increasingly evolving mutations enabling resistance to S-specific antibodies (as now massively induced by the ongoing vaccination campaigns). As more infectious variants bind to the cellular Ace-2 receptor with enhanced binding strength, the Ace-2 receptor more readily outcompetes S-specific antibodies for binding to these variants. Consequently, these variants gain a competitive advantage when replicating in individuals who exert strong S-directed immune pressure on the virus (i.e., in vaccinees!), especially upon incorporating additional mutations (within the RBD) that prevent direct binding of S-specific vaccinal antibodies.

Variants that are increasingly resistant to S-specific antibodies (e.g., delta and delta plus variant) can only adapt to the population provided the S-directed immune pressure is widespread in the population. This is, of course, the case if larger parts of the population get vaccinated and when vaccinees can easily transmit the variant due to relaxation of infection prevention measures. In principle, non-vaccinated individuals who are in good physical and mental health can deal with all variants, provided the infectious viral pressure does not exceed a certain threshold. This is because their innate antibodies have relatively lower affinity for the virus.

However, breeding of more infectious and more anti-S antibody-resistant variants in vaccinees will inevitably enhance viral replication and transmissibility in vaccinees, thereby raising the infectious pressure and increasing the likelihood for non-vaccinated subjects to become re-infected while their natural/ innate antibodies (Abs) are being suppressed by short-lived S-specific Abs (elicited as a result from previous asymptomatic infection). So, ‘yes’, some non-vaccinated people will become susceptible to the disease and then contribute to further propagation of these variants. It’s important to note, however, that this is a result and not the source of the enhanced evolution of the virus.

So, not the non-vaccinated individuals but the vaccinees are now responsible for driving Sars-CoV-2 evolutionary dynamics. It’s also important to note that non-vaccinated people will not contribute to natural selection as they will either eliminate the virus (thanks to their innate antibodies in synergy with natural killer cells) or become susceptible to Covid-19 disease due to suppression of their innate immune defense. Short-term shedding of low concentrations of viral variants by asymptomatically infected, non-vaccinated people is a direct consequence of shifting natural immune selection forces that are increasingly coming into play as a result of mass vaccination. This will ultimately put the vaccinees in much worse shape than the non-vaccinated as the latter will still be able to rely on their innate Abs.

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For 10 years, Moderna could get no approval for anything. Then it got one in weeks. Pfizer may have played a key role in that.

How the Moderna Covid-19 mRNA Vaccine Was Made So Quickly (CNBC)

Almost all people hospitalized for Covid-19 are not vaccinated — 99.9% as of May to be exact, according to a recent Associated Press report. Yet 13% of U.S. adults said they will “definitely not” get a COVID-19 vaccine as recently as late May, according to Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor. Another 12% wanted to “wait until it has been available for a while to see how it is working for other people.” Vaccinating the majority of the population is the best way to help avoid further surges from constantly evolving variants, like the current delta variant, which is quickly spreading in the U.S. and other countries. Still, Moderna co-founder Noubar Afeyan understands the hesitation to get a new vaccine.

“The vaccines came out in such a [short] timeframe that people assumed automatically, it can’t possibly be safe,” Afeyan said during a talk at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in May. “In fact, many, many people were on television espousing the view that — experts for that matter — that if it’s done in less than five years, it’s got to be unsafe, all of which is untrue. “Nevertheless, people get confused.” What people might not understand is that extensive research was being done on mRNA technology and other mRNA vaccines for years. That decade plus of experience and the innovation of mRNA technology itself is what allowed Moderna to produce its Covid mRNA vaccine so quickly as the pandemic struck. And it could also change the future of medicine.

Here’s what you need to know about how the Moderna Covid-19 mRNA vaccine was developed. It is true that Moderna’s mRNA vaccine was ready remarkably fast, as was Pfizer’s. Chinese scientists put the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus online on Jan. 11. Over the next two days, the NIH and Moderna used it to plot out a vaccine. Afeyan remembers getting a key call about the development of the Covid-19 vaccine. “January 21st, my daughter’s birthday…. I got a call from Davos [during The World Economic Forum] from the CEO of Moderna,” he says. Bancel had been approached by a number of public health groups at the conference “urging” him to work on a vaccine. “We literally Decided overnight…to try and do this,” Afeyan said at MIT.

Moderna delivered the first doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the NIH for testing on Feb. 24, 2020, and “the first Moderna shot went into a volunteer’s arm in Seattle on March 16, 2020,” according to Afeyan. After testing the Moderna vaccine on 30,000 volunteers, on Dec. 18, 2020, the FDA authorized it for emergency public use, and three days after that, the first Moderna vaccines were administered to front-line health workers, according to Afeyan. One of the reasons Moderna’s mRNA Covid vaccine development moved so quickly is because scientists had been working with mRNA for years. [..] And Moderna has been working with mRNA technology “since its inception in 2010 for myriad therapeutic areas,” including cancer therapies, Afeyan tells CNBC Make It (by way of a publicist), and with clinical development of mRNA-based antiviral vaccines since 2015.

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Science Mag sees testing protocols primarily as a nuisance because proven vaccines are now available. Proven before they were tested, that is. With a vague bit about T cells thrown in.

Can Immune Responses Alone Reveal Which Covid-19 Vaccines Work Best? (Smag)

Other than running a placebo-controlled, clinical trial lasting many months and involving tens of thousands of people, is there any way to be sure a COVID-19 vaccine will work? Many researchers contend that the success of several vaccines now widely in use offers a shortcut: Simply gauge a vaccine’s ability to elicit so-called neutralizing antibodies, which bind to the virus and prevent it from entering cells. But several recent studies, the latest published as a preprint on 24 June, point to other “correlates of protection”: “binding” antibodies—which latch on to the virus but don’t block entry—and another set of immune warriors called T cells.

Vaccine decisions may soon depend on a better understanding of these supporting actors. Several companies are developing updates of their COVID-19 vaccines tailored to protect against new viral variants, and they hope regulatory agencies won’t require that they show efficacy in big clinical trials, which are not only time-consuming and expensive, but also increasingly ethically fraught because some of the participants receive a placebo even though proven vaccines are now available. With an established correlate of protection, trials can give an updated vaccine to a much smaller group of participants and then check whether they produce the telltale immune responses. (That’s how the annual updates of flu vaccines are approved.) Health officials may also turn to correlates when they consider prioritizing existing COVID-19 vaccines, authorizing new “mix and match” combinations, or even when making decisions about entirely new vaccines.

But finding robust correlates has been challenging. During the megatrials that led to the authorization of COVID-19 vaccines, investigators monitored antibody responses and tried to correlate them with their odds of participants getting sick. Different trials, however, used different antibody assays and different definitions of mild COVID-19, the main endpoint in the trials. “It’s anarchy because it’s always been anarchy,” says John Moore, an immunologist at Weill Cornell Medicine. “You’re dealing with different academic labs and different companies, and companies tend not to talk to each other.” Many trials also lacked the statistical power to measure protection from hospitalization and death, arguably a COVID-19 vaccine’s most important task. And few trials even looked carefully at T cells, which are far more cumbersome to measure.

[..] Penny Moore and colleagues also found support for a role for T cells. In an 11 June preprint, they reported that 96% of participants in an efficacy trial of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) made antibodies that neutralized a viral strain from early in the pandemic but only 19% had antibodies that neutralized the Beta variant, which is widespread in South Africa and infamous for dodging neuts. Yet despite the variant, the vaccine remained protective against moderate and severe COVID-19. “I think it’s entirely plausible … that T cells are doing something really useful here,” Penny Moore says.

And you thought spike proteins were bad…
https://twitter.com/i/status/1412287378568384515

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I was reading this yesterday (twice), how the immune system fights off Covid.

T Cells: Why Immunity Is About More Than Antibodies (CEBM)

The CD4+ T cell response in COVID-19 Some studies have shown that in patients with severe COVID-19 there is evidence of impaired function of CD4+ T cells, including reduced IFN ɣ production [16], while others seem to suggest over-activation of these T cells [17]. Overall, the CD4+ T cell response in acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, whether impaired, over-activated, or inappropriate, and how this relates to disease outcomes, remains to be elucidated and is an important question. A particularly high frequency of CD4+ T cell responses specific to virus spike protein has been observed in patients who have recovered from COVID-19, which is similar to what has been reported for influenza virus infections [11]. In one small study of 14 patients, circulating virus-specific CD4+ T cells were identified in all of those who recovered from SARS- CoV-2, which also suggests the potential for developing T cell memory [18] and perhaps longer-term immunity.

The CD8+ T cell response in COVID-19 There appears to be heterogeneity in the immune response between patients. Some studies have reported that CD8+ T cells from patients with severe COVID-19 had reduced cytokine production following in vitro stimulation, and some have shown evidence of possibly exhausted T cells; in contrast, other studies have reported an overaggressive CD8+ T cell response or highly activated CD8+ T cells with increased cytotoxic response in patients with COVID-19 [14]. It is still unclear how the heterogeneity of the CD8+ T cell response relates to disease features, which could be driven by, for example, patient immunotypes [17,19] or the nature of the interaction between respiratory epithelial cells and cytotoxic T cells and the level of response.

Several chemokine receptor genes (including CCR9, CXCR6, and XCR1) and the locus controlling the ABO blood type have been identified as being associated with severe disease; however, whether these genes are directly or indirectly related to T cell responses in COVID-19 remains unknown [14]. A higher proportion of CD8+ T cell responses was observed in patients who only developed mild disease, suggesting a potential protective role of CD8+ T cell responses [11]. Most of the CD8+ T cell responses were specific to viral internal proteins, rather than spike proteins, which should be considered in vaccine development [4]. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells are present in about 70% of patients who have recovered [18], which is evidence of a virus-specific CD8+ T cell response and the presence of CD8+ T cell memory. However, the ability of these cells to protect from future infection remains to be determined.


Role of T cells in response to COVID-19 infection: adapted from The trinity of COVID-19: immunity, inflammation and intervention. Nat Rev Immunol. 2020 Jun;20(6):363-374. doi: 10.1038/s41577-020-0311-8.

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How clear is the bible on this?

Refusing To Be Vaccinated Against Covid A ’Sin’ – Russian Orthodox Church (RT)

Those who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 are committing a sin they will have to repent for the rest of their lives. That’s according to the Russian Orthodox Church, whose spokesman said rejecting a jab is selfish. Speaking to TV channel Russia 24, the head of the Russia Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, explained that his parishioners regularly repent to him for not being vaccinated. They feel guilty because they passed the virus on to someone else who eventually died, he claimed. “They come and say, ‘How am I supposed to live with this now?’ And it’s hard for even me to say how to live with it,” he explained. “All your life, you have to make up for the sin you committed.”


The sin is thinking about yourself instead of thinking about other people,” the metropolitan said. “We are responsible – each of us – not only for ourselves and not only for our loved ones, but also for all those who come into contact with us.” In recent months, the Church has been more vocal about its support for the government’s vaccination program. Metropolitan Hilarion has regularly spoken on TV about the need to follow the rules and take precautions to avoid infection. In June, the cleric revealed his “positive attitude” towards the government initiative to impose compulsory vaccination on those working in the service sector. “Of course, it is desirable to observe the principle of voluntariness in relation to vaccinations – the principle that was stated from the very beginning,” he explained. “But there is also the principle of people’s responsibility for the lives of other people.”

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Seen this a lot in the UK: people who say it’s criminal to expose kids to Covid, and therefore they should be injected. How do you get the world so wrong side up?

Relaxing Of Covid Restrictions In England Sparks Social Media Meltdown (Clark)

Boris Johnson has announced that masks and social distancing are likely to end on July 19, which has, predictably, been met with a hysterical, irrational response by those who don’t seem to want life ever to return to normal. Talk about being triggered. Boris Johnson’s press conference on Monday sent #wearamask Twitter into a hyperbolic meltdown of epic proportions. The PM announced that the public would have independence from burdensome domestic Covid restrictions- which were supposed to have lasted for only three weeks but instead have lasted for sixteen months- on 19 July 19, with confirmation of this coming on July 12. The relaxing of restrictions had been foreshadowed in an article in the Mail on Sunday by the new UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid, in which he said Britain would need to learn to live with Covid.

While we should all remain cynical about what the government may have planned for the autumn, Javid declared –rightly, in my view– that opening the country up would actually make us healthier, physically and mentally. Cue the most incredible Twitter meltdown ever seen. What the government was proposing was ‘genocide.’ “Why are the British people accepting this? We need to close borders, effective test and trace, social distancing (through bi-weekly remote and in person education) in schools, masks indoors, work from home and vacs until infections are really low. Then re-cover (sic), slowly” opined one Tweeter ironically with the moniker ‘Freedom.’ Citing Orwell (again, who said satire was dead?), the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr tweeted “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Health is the deliberate mass infection of an entire nation’s children with a novel & mutating virus with unknown long-term consequences.”

The hashtag #WearAMask was trending with a whole succession of self-righteous virtue signallers telling the world that they would continue to mask up after July 19, whatever the government announced. Repeat after Me: People who wear masks are Good People, People who don’t are Bad People (and probably supporters of Brexit and Donald Trump). “The thing about mask wearing is it protects others more than you” declared Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who piously informed us she’d continue to wear a mask indoors after July 19. As if we had to know. The Liberal Democrat-supporting author Emma Kennedy tweeted: “In a nutshell, post July 29 there will be people prepared to wear masks because they care about other people. And those who don’t. And that’s it, isn’t it.”

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If it doesn’t have any mRNA, we’re not interested.

HIV Vaccine Trial Launched At Oxford In Bid To End ‘40-Year Wait’ (RT)

Researchers at the UK’s University of Oxford have administered the first doses of a potential HIV vaccine to participants, as part of a Phase-One clinical trial launched on Monday. The trial, called HIV-CORE 0052, aims to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of the HIVconsvX vaccine, the University said. The project is part of the European Aids Vaccine Initiative, funded by the European Commission. The jab is known as a “mosaic,” meaning it can target a broad range of HIV-1 variants and potentially become a suitable vaccine for use around the world. Scientists will give two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart to 13 healthy, HIV-negative adults, aged between 18 and 65, who are not considered at risk of infection. “An effective HIV vaccine has been elusive for 40 years,” Tomas Hanke, the trial’s lead researcher and Professor of Vaccine Immunology at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, said in a statement.


“This trial is the first in a series of evaluations of this novel vaccine strategy in both HIV-negative individuals for prevention and in people living with HIV for cure.” The Oxford solution works by stimulating the body’s immune response via T cells which kill specific pathogens, unlike most other HIV vaccine candidates, which induce antibodies created by B-cells to fight the virus. HIV attacks the body’s immune system and can develop into life-threatening AIDS if left untreated. In 2014 the UN announced a ‘fast-track’ target of decreasing the number of people newly-infected with the virus to 500,000 by 2020. However, last year there were approximately 1.5 million new cases. The Oxford team expects to report its results by April next year. There are also plans to start similar trials in Europe, Africa and the US.

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Always amusing. But mostly led by what people wish for, not what is reality.

The Dollar’s Declining Status as Dominant “Global Reserve Currency” (WS)

Yes, the Fed is a drunken reckless money-printer, and the US government has been high for years on deficit spending, but other major central banks and governments do the same or worse. The long-term trends are clear, however. The global share of US-dollar-denominated exchange reserves ticked up to 59.5% in the first quarter of 2021, after having dropped to a 25-year low in Q4 2020, according to the IMF’s Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) data released at the end of June. Dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserves are Treasury securities, US corporate bonds, US mortgage-backed securities, US Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities, and other dollar-denominated financial assets held by foreign central banks. Q1 was a ripple in the long-term trajectory.

Since 2014, the dollar’s share has dropped 6.5 percentage points, from 66% to 59.5%, on average 1 percentage point per year. At this rate, the dollar’s share would fall below 50% over the next decade. Since 1999, when the euro arrived, the dollar’s share of foreign exchange reserves has dropped 11.5 percentage points, from 71% to 59.5% (year-end shares, except Q1 2021):

Exchange rates between the dollar and other currencies change the valuations expressed in dollars of non-dollar reserves, such as German government bonds. Yes, but… The Dollar Index (DXY) moved substantially since 1999, up and down, but it is now roughly back where it was in 1999. This means that nearly all of the decline in the share of the dollar as foreign exchange reserves since 1999 was due to central banks unloading dollar-denominated assets, and not due to exchange rates.

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“..decoding the foreign policy moves signified in “Joe Biden’s” ice-cream flavor choices. (Rocky Road means: Oh, let China have that….)”

The Ice-Cream Flavor Next Time (Kunstler)

A nation mesmerized by its own weakness wanly celebrated the long-ago and faraway memory of standing up for itself, while it passively endures the current orgy of tyrannical cancellation and suppression of anyone talking back to the present folks-in-charge. Over just a few years, this tyranny has grown like a toxic slime mold from such an unlikely place, the Internet social app ecology of Facebook, Twitter, and Google, as they took over the public arena — where the battle of ideas is supposed to live — and did the government’s dirty work, complete with adorable emojis. You’re fired! Who will stand up to Zuck, Jack, and Sundar Pichai? Who elected these megalomaniacs boss of the USA? What will it take to end their reign of terror? Some sort of… revolution? (Shhhh! That must be a dirty word, even considering we just celebrated the high point of the American Revolution: The Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776.)

Don’t look to “Joe Biden,” the nation’s putatively elected leader — about whose election back in November, 2020, you are liable to hear more about as the summer stickily unspools. Zuck, Jack, and Sundar managed to protect “Joe Biden” from the stupendous depredations of his offspring, Hunter Biden, recorded in explosive detail on a laptop the public was not allowed to hear about. Don’t look to the Department of Justice, supposedly “investigating” that horde of memos and emails detailing the Bidens ’influence-peddling to the CCP and others — they’re busy surveilling “white supremacists” on the apps run by Zuck, Jack, and Sundar. And for sure don’t look to the news media, that coalition of sell-outs and quislings, busy decoding the foreign policy moves signified in “Joe Biden’s” ice-cream flavor choices. (Rocky Road means: Oh, let China have that….)

Wondering who is actually running the “Joe Biden” government? Some of us out here are. (Do you think we’re allowed to say that?) For instance, have you tried googling the name Susan Rice lately? Remember her? Maybe not. “Joe Biden” appointed her Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. From the looks of things across the country, you’d think her plate would be heaped mighty high, what with “insurrection” and other white mischief threatening to take down the republic. Anyway, I googled “news” for her. Hardly a goshdarn thing came up that wasn’t from months ago, and most of that was sheer puffery about how accomplished she is, and what a fabulous person. Don’t you wonder what her phone log looks like? All those calls to the Obama residence, day after day, hour after hour?

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Jun 262021
 


John French Sloan South Beach Bathers 1908

 

Half Of New Israel Covid-19 Cases In Last Month Were Fully Vaccinated (INN)
Covid Success Stories Australia, Israel Impose New Curbs (Y!)
Long-lived Macrophage Reprogramming And Inflammasome Activation (Embo)
Canadian Group Calls for Off-Label Use of Early Treatment Drugs (CovExit)
Ivermectin: Can a Drug Be “Right-Wing”? (Taibbi)
Most Americans Believe Vaccinated Should Be Required To Wear Masks At Work (F.)
US Doesn’t Have the Data to Calculate Transmissibility Or ‘Herd Immunity’ (TSN)
Children Using Fruit Juice For ‘False Positive’ Covid Tests (LEcho)
Some GB Olympic Athletes Still Refusing To Have Covid Vaccine (G.)
Narrative Soup (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Mercola-Seneff

 

 

“..an additional 3,133 people contracted Covid-19 from those vaccinated individuals.”

Half Of New Israel Covid-19 Cases In Last Month Were Fully Vaccinated (INN)

Israel’s campaign to promote the coronavirus vaccine – now focusing on young teens – is going full steam ahead, in spite of statistics presented by government officials showing that half of those recently infected with Covid-19 were fully vaccinated, Behadrey Haredim reports. Head of Public Health Services, Dr. Sharon Alray-Price, revealed the disturbing facts at a media presentation on Wednesday. According to her data, of the 891 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the last month alone, half had received both doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine. According to a report on Channel 12, in the months since the vaccines were rolled out, 6,765 people who received both shots have contracted coronavirus, and epidemiological tracing has revealed that an additional 3,133 people contracted Covid-19 from those vaccinated individuals.

The 6,765 represent a little more than one percent of the total number of those vaccinated, which now stands at over 5,100,000. It is clear that officials were already aware that the vaccine does not provide sufficient protection, as quarantine regulations for those returning from abroad have recently been changed, requiring even those fully vaccinated to self-isolate upon return from certain countries. In addition, military intelligence has been warning of such a scenario at least since January, when a report was published that suggested a mass vaccination campaign would lead to vaccine-resistant strains of Covid-19 emerging. Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a panel of experts together with the heads of the various health service organizations in the country.

“Our aim at the present moment, first and foremost, is to protect Israeli citizens from the Delta strain that is running amok around the world,” Bennett said at the meeting. “As we do so, we will endeavor to limit the impact this has on daily life in Israel. Therefore, we have decided to take immediate action in order to avoid paying a heavier price at a later stage. It all depends on us. If we are meticulous in adhering to the guidelines and behaving responsibly, we will overcome this – together.”

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Success is relative.

Covid Success Stories Australia, Israel Impose New Curbs (Y!)

Australia and Israel, which had been successful in fending off Covid-19, reimposed restrictions on Friday as cases surged of the highly contagious Delta variant which also threatened Africa with a brutal third wave. The centre of Australia’s largest city Sydney entered lockdown, a shock for a population that had returned to relative normality after months of recording very few local cases, while vaccination success story Israel reimposed indoor mask-wearing less than two weeks after it lifted the measure. And in Fiji, another country that saw early successes against the virus, health authorities admitted for the first time that Covid transmission is widespread in the community.


While vaccination campaigns have helped bring down infections in numerous — mostly wealthy — countries, the rise of the Delta variant which first emerged in India has led to fears of new waves of a virus that has already killed nearly 3.9 million people. In Australia, which has been one of the most successful nations in containing the coronavirus after shutting its borders, around a million people in four eastern and central Sydney neighbourhoods were ordered to stay home for at least a week. Sixty-five infections have been reported in a flare-up linked to a limousine driver infected about two weeks ago when he transported an international flight crew from Sydney airport to a quarantine hotel. The premier of the state of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, called it the “scariest period” since the pandemic began.

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Walter M Chesnut @Parsifaler:

“A paper published on June 16, 2021 proves my hypothesis that the spike protein therapies are sensitizing recipients to the Spike Protein super-allergen of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The SARS-CoV-2 S-protein, a surface exposed viral receptor binding protein and important as vaccine antigen triggers NLRP3 inflammasome activation and cytokine secretion selectively in COVID-19 patient-derived macrophages. SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to reprogramming of human macrophages providing an intracellular landscape that allows for rapid inflammasome assembly.

The findings reveal that SARS-CoV-2 infection causes profound and long-lived reprogramming of macrophages resulting in augmented immunogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 S-protein, a major vaccine antigen and potent driver of adaptive and innate immune signaling. The implications are that when the virus reemerges in the fall (and perhaps even as soon as this summer, with new variants circulating) the host will have a devastating NLRP3 inflammasome activation, resulting, I believe, in the hospitilization and death of millions of individuals throughout the world. I urgently implore that the sensitization of the world population to the S-Protein be stopped immediately.”

Long-lived Macrophage Reprogramming And Inflammasome Activation (Embo)

Innate immunity triggers responsible for viral control or hyperinflammation in COVID-19 are largely unknown. Here we show that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S-protein) primes inflammasome formation and release of mature interleukin-β (IL-β) in macrophages derived from COVID-19 patients but not in macrophages from healthy SARS-CoV-2 naïve individuals. Furthermore, longitudinal analyses reveal robust S-protein-driven inflammasome activation in macrophages isolated from convalescent COVID-19 patients, which correlates with distinct epigenetic and gene expression signatures suggesting innate immune memory after recovery from COVID-19.


Importantly, we show that S-protein-driven IL-β secretion from patient-derived macrophages requires non-specific monocyte pre-activation in vivo to trigger NLRP3-inflammasome signaling. Our findings reveal that SARS-CoV-2 infection causes profound and long-lived reprogramming of macrophages resulting in augmented immunogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 S-protein, a major vaccine antigen and potent driver of adaptive and innate immune signaling.

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Common sense.

Canadian Group Calls for Off-Label Use of Early Treatment Drugs (CovExit)

A new Canadian group, the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, has issued an information package for doctors and patients, geared at facilitating the off-label prescription of early treatment drugs for COVID-19. This call is made despite guidelines, at the federal and provincial levels, recommending against most forms of early treatment of the disease. “Health Canada, and the provincial Colleges of Physicians, do not prohibit physicians from prescribing any medications that are “off-label”. Many physicians fear that prescribing ivermectin or any medication for COVID-19 is not permitted. We would like to assure you that this is not the case. Informed consent is the process by which physicians may prescribe any medication deemed appropriate. To assist you with that, we have provided a sample “Informed Consent” form that you may use or modify as per your discretion.”

After reviewing how Ivermectin can be used in early treatment protocols, the letter addressed to doctors comments on the question of drug availability and on safety. “Ivermectin can be obtained from some compounding pharmacies. The branded version of ivermectin (StromectolTM) is on long- term backorder in Canada. Thus, most pharmacies will not have supply. If you do not know of a local compounding pharmacy, contact the Canadian Covid Care Alliance (physicians@canadiancovidcarealliance.org) and we may be able to assist you. …” “Ivermectin has an exceptional safety profile, being used for approximately 40 years in billions of patients. It is on the list of essential medicines by the World Health Organization. Physicians who have been treating COVID-19 patients with early therapies can all attest to its efficacy and safety, with dramatic reductions in hospitalizations. We feel that all primary care physicians should feel comfortable treating their patients early. Recovered patients are grateful patients.”

There are two consent forms included, one for Ivermectin and one for Fluvoxamine. Both consent forms include the following introductory paragraphs: “In Canada, there are currently no recognized standard outpatient therapies for persons infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 disease. The current standard of outpatient care is supportive: i.e., stay home and isolate, drink fluids, take acetaminophen for fever. Should one’s condition progress with worsening symptoms such as difficulty breathing, then one should go to the hospital.” “There are numerous studies suggesting benefit with the use of certain medications that have been on the market for many years, but do not have an official indication for COVID-19 disease.”

After providing info on the drugs, including potential side effects, the proposed consent forms conclude: “Because use of ivermectin(/fluvoxamine) is “off-label”, meaning Health Canada does not officially recognize the use of this medication for the treatment of COVID-19, signed written consent is required before taking this medication. Your signed consent indicates that you understand you are taking the medication “off-label” for COVID-19, and that beneficial results are not guaranteed.”

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Has Taibbi read any of the scientific reports? Or is this just about politics?

Ivermectin: Can a Drug Be “Right-Wing”? (Taibbi)

Hospitals fought hard, hiring expensive law firms, at times going to extraordinary lengths to refuse treatment even with dying patients who’d exhausted all other options. At Edward-Elmhurst hospital in Chicago, a 68 year-old named Nurije Fype was admitted, put on a ventilator, and again, as all other treatments failed, her family got a judge to order the use of ivermectin. Lorigo claims the hospital initially refused to obey the court order, which led to the filing of a contempt motion, which in turn led to a pair of counter-motions and another confrontation before another befuddled Judge named James Orel. “Why wouldn’t this be tried if she’s not improving?” the Chicago Tribune quoted Orel as saying. “Why does the hospital object to providing this medication?”

“He basically said, ‘What do you have left?’” Lorigo recounts. “No one would administer the ivermectin. It’s as safe as aspirin, for Christ’s sake. It’s been given out 3.7 billion times. I couldn’t understand it.” Stories like these aren’t proof the drug works. They don’t even really rise to the level of evidence. People recover from diseases all the time, and it doesn’t mean any particular treatment was responsible. Short of the gold standard of randomized controlled trials, there’s no proof. However, anecdotes have a power all their own, and in the Internet age, ones like these spread quickly. Lorigo estimates he now gets “10, 15, 20” calls and emails a day. At this level, at the bedside of a single Covid-19 patient who’s already received the full official treatment protocol and is failing anyway, the decision to administer a drug like ivermectin, or fluvoxamine, or hydroxychloroquine, or any of a dozen other experimental treatments, seems like a no-brainer. Nothing else has worked, the patient is dying, why not?

Telescope out a little further, however, and the ivermectin debate becomes more complicated, reaching into a series of thorny controversies, some ridiculous, some quite serious. The ridiculous side involves the front end of Lorigo’s story, the same story detailed on this site last week: the censorship of ivermectin news that, no matter what one thinks about the evidence for or against, is clearly in the public interest. Anyone running a basic internet search on the topic will get a jumble of confusing results. YouTube’s policies are beyond uneven. It’s been aggressive in taking down videos containing interviews with people like Kory and doling out strikes to independent media figures like Bret Weinstein, but an interview with Lorigo on TrialSite News containing basically all of the same information is still up, as are clips from a just-taped episode of the Joe Rogan Experience that feature both Weinstein and Kory.

Moreover, all sorts of statements at least as provocative as Kory’s “miraculous” formulation in the Senate still litter the Internet, many in reputable research journals. Take, for instance, this passage from the March issue of the Japanese Journal of Antibiotics: “When the effectiveness of ivermectin for the COVID-19 pandemic is confirmed with the cooperation of researchers around the world and its clinical use is achieved on a global scale, it could prove to be of great benefit to humanity. It may even turn out to be comparable to the benefits achieved from the discovery of penicillin…” There clearly is not evidence that ivermectin is the next penicillin, at least as far as its effects on Covid-19. As is noted in nearly every mainstream story about the subject, the WHO has advised against its use pending further study, there have been randomized studies showing it to be ineffective in speeding recovery, and the drug’s original manufacturer, Merck, has said there’s no “meaningful evidence” of efficacy for Covid-19 patients.

However, it’s also patently untrue, as is frequently asserted, that there’s no evidence that the drug might be effective. This past week, for instance, Oxford University announced it was launching a large-scale clinical trial. The study has already recruited more than 5,000 volunteers, and its announcement says what little is known to be true: that “small pilot studies show that early administration with ivermectin can reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19,” that it’s “a well-known medicine with a good safety profile,” and “because of the early promising results in some studies, it is already being widely used to treat COVID-19 in several countries.”

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“..although 66% of Americans believe employees have a right to know if their co-workers have been vaccinated, 60% assert their vaccine status is “no one’s business but my own.”

Most Americans Believe Vaccinated Should Be Required To Wear Masks At Work (F.)

More than half of U.S. adults (57%) believe masks should be mandated for employees working at on-site locations, even if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to an American Staffing Association survey released Thursday. Compared to white Americans (50%), both Hispanics (64%) and Blacks (70%) are more likely to feel that face coverings should be required at the workplace. Younger adults and parents of children under 18 are also more supportive of mask requirements at on-site locations. The survey also discovered that although 66% of Americans believe employees have a right to know if their co-workers have been vaccinated, 60% assert their vaccine status is “no one’s business but my own.” The survey was conducted from June 10–14 by the Harris Poll among 2,066 U.S. adults.

“While government officials are rolling back Covid-19 requirements throughout the country, many workers aren’t ready to give up their masks just yet,” said Richard Wahlquist, president of the American Staffing Association. “As brick-and-mortar workplaces reopen, workers are anxious about being around their colleagues once again. Employers must clearly communicate what steps they are taking to make their workplaces safe for their employees as they reopen.” In mid-May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or socially distance in most cases.

At a White House briefing explaining the modified recommendations, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, cited a range of studies showing the vaccines are highly effective at stopping the spread of the virus and preventing severe illness. However, Thursday’s ASA survey reinforces the findings from a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday, which found 38% of Americans, including 41% of respondents who are already vaccinated, said their masking habits remain largely unchanged despite the updated guidance from the CDC advising it was safe to abandon masks in most places. [..] 0.8%. That’s the percentage of the Americans killed by the coronavirus last month who were fully vaccinated, according to an AP analysis of available government data.

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“..American society is driving to “Herd Immunity” collectively with each jab. But how can this be the case when the actual effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing transmission of the virus (transmissibility) isn’t actually known?”

US Doesn’t Have the Data to Calculate Transmissibility Or ‘Herd Immunity’ (TSN)

Again, the premise in the 70% POTUS directive: that American society is driving to “Herd Immunity” collectively with each jab. But how can this be the case when the actual effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing transmission of the virus (transmissibility) isn’t actually known? That’s right; at present, it’s not known just how effective the vaccines are at preventing transmission. If in fact transmissibility was known, that is to say that based on extensive study scientists could measure the COVID-19 vaccines’ were 50%, or 70% or 20% effective, then biostatistical calculations can be programmed into algorithms which will predict the segment of the populace that would need to have been inoculated to reach that milestone called herd immunity.


However, to actually achieve this goal necessitates granular data heretofore not known nor currently available. That is, what is the reduction in viral transmissibility rates for each vaccine? Scientists must be able to measure, quantitatively as well as aggregate mean calculations concerning just how effective each vaccine actually is in preventing person-to-person transmission. But presently, these data aren’t known. Moreover, these vital underlying data (transmissibility rates), a fundamental prerequisite to perform the calculations that could lead to the herd immunity target assessment, were not required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for neither clinical studies nor licensure. Rather, the FDA was concerned with disease prevention as an urgent endpoint, with an emphasis on hospitalization and death.

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The Science.

Children Using Fruit Juice For ‘False Positive’ Covid Tests (LEcho)

A school has sent a warning message to parents after children “discovered” using fruit juice created a false positive on coronavirus tests. Gateacre School in Belle Vale sent out an email to parents on Wednesday, June 24, warning them to be “vigilant” whilst their children are taking lateral flow Covid tests. The email was sent after it came to the attention of teachers, pupils had “discovered” placing droplets of orange juice or other fruit juice on a lateral flow test gave a false positive result. On Monday, June 21, Gateacre School told pupils in Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 not to attend school while staff carried out track and trace work after a number of students tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend. The school told the ECHO there is no evidence their pupils have been misusing the tests.


The email read: “Nationally, some school students have discovered that placing droplets of orange juice or other fruit juice on an LFD test gets a false ‘positive’ result. In light of this, can you be extra vigilant when your child is doing their LFD tests. Also, remind them that a positive LFD test must be followed by a confirmatory PCR test.” One parent said they received the email and a text message from Gateacre and were left concerned after knowing the school had “a few positive tests lately”. The parent added: “Makes you think, are some of the children doing this ?” Headteacher Gareth Jones insisted the message was sent after they were made aware of students in “other schools in the country” obtaining void or positive results by pouring orange juice onto Covid tests.

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Logic: human rights are not helpful.

“People have got the right to choose, and we have to respect that. But it’s not necessarily that helpful.”

Some GB Olympic Athletes Still Refusing To Have Covid Vaccine (G.)

The British Olympic Association is still trying to convince some athletes to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before the Tokyo Olympics next month, the BOA chief executive, Andy Anson, said. The BOA said this month that it was on track to ensure all athletes and staff were fully vaccinated before the Olympics. The Tokyo Games, delayed last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will begin on 23 July. “We’re trying to convince them it’s the right thing to do,” Anson told the BBC on Friday. “People have got the right to choose, and we have to respect that. But it’s not necessarily that helpful.” Japan has largely avoided the kind of Covid-19 outbreaks that have devastated other countries, but its vaccine rollout was initially slow and the medical system has been pushed to the brink in some places.


Many Japanese remain sceptical about the possibility of holding even a scaled-down Games safely during the pandemic. Organisers have excluded foreign spectators and limited the number of domestic ones for the event. Anson said the Athletes’ Village in Tokyo will be “probably the toughest environment in sports at this time”. “We are putting in place very strict protocols along with the organisers to make sure, to the fullest extent possible, we follow the rules of isolation, distancing, and just keeping in our own ‘semi bubbles,’” he said. On Wednesday, a second member of Uganda’s Olympic delegation, an athlete, tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Japan.

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“Joe Biden”

Narrative Soup (Kunstler)

In fact, there is one legal review of the 2020 balloting currently underway in Arizona, at the order of the Arizona State Senate, as it should be because, according to the US constitution, elections are a prerogative of the fifty states’ legislatures. It’s not “a narrative.” It’s as official as can be, and they have every right to do it, and there’s a fair chance that it will uncover both ballot fraud and voting machine fraud. I suppose all that seems “baseless” if you refuse to look. Also, this week a judge in Georgia approved a process to unseal roughly 145,000 mail-in ballots in Fulton County (the Atlanta metro region) to inspect them for fraud. The ruling stems from a lawsuit against the county that alleges evidence of fraudulent ballots and improper counting. “Joe Biden” won the state by a mere 12,000 votes.

Other states, notably Pennsylvania, are taking action toward their own 2020 vote audits, and through the proper legislative channels. The “incontrovertible evidence” of a fair and honest election is the fraud at issue. There are only assertions that it would be wrong to even look for it, and it’s hard to imagine a weaker argument. So, the politburo behind “Joe Biden” is running scared. The New York court’s action against Mr. Giuliani is just a peevish act of political desperation aimed at disabling a legal adversary. That and Attorney General Merrick Garland’s threat to shut down the Arizona audit on specious “civil rights” grounds are just attempts to create distractions for a regime that begins to apprehend it is whirling around the drain.

As “Joe Biden” fades altogether from the scene, the country will have to grapple with the real problems it faces, not hobgoblins of racism, misogyny, white supremacy but how to cope with a dwindling energy supply and a falling standard of living, and how to remain civilized. We’re doing a good job of destroying the institutions that make civilization possible, especially law and the courts.

Kamala

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Jun 242021
 


Edward Hopper Rooms by the sea 1951

 

The Jabs Must Be BANNED (Denninger)
Fully Vaccinated Israelis Exposed To “Delta” May Be Forced To Quarantine (ZH)
Israel Urges Parents To Vaccinate Kids Ages 12-15 (JPost)
WHO Official: Mask Mandates, Social Distancing Must Continue Indefinitely (SN)
Optimizing Decision-Making Processes in Times of COVID-19 (FIP)
More Than 2m Adults In England Have Had Long Covid For Over 12 Weeks (G.)
England Set to Drop Face Mask Rules After Huge Economic Impact Revealed (SN)
Pursuing Truth In Covid Drug Treatment Amid A Censored Media Landscape (Hecker)
Hillary Clinton Privately Warned France About Wuhan P4 Lab (HE)
Elephants’ 500km-Trek Across China Baffles Scientists (BBC)
High Court Delays as Assange Remains in Jail (Craig Murray)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If you coerced some young person to get the jab and they get hammered you should forfeit your own children’s lives as you are the reason they got ****ed.”

The Jabs Must Be BANNED (Denninger)

… in those under 18 and strongly discouraged in healthy adults under 50. Those who promoted them in people under the age of 30 in addition must face justice. There was never any science supporting it on a risk:benefit basis. The CDC documents about 35 total Covid-related deaths in people under the age of 18 years all the way back to March of 2020. This table is utterly gob-smacking damnable and is what we get for “Warp Speed” — a litany of serious harms, many of which will wind up as deaths — more deaths in those under 18 than Covid caused.

The experience .vs. expected rate is anywhere from ten to one hundred times higher than “random chance” in those under 24 years old, and form 3-30 times higher in those under 30. If we presume that one in ten of these cases will eventually kill the person involved, which is likely conservative (the usual expectation is that half of these cases in the population generally that result in hospitalization eventually progress to heart failure and either a transplant or death within five years) these “side effects” will kill more people in the under-25 group than Covid has all the way back to the start of the pandemic. The others, who are not killed, will wind up with monstrous medical bills they will have to pay and some amount of permanent damage to their cardiac health.

This is from one side effect alone. Only those over 50 have an incidence of this result that is inline with expectations; everyone younger is either at or beyond the upper boundary. In addition this data is almost-certainly incomplete as VAERS is a non-mandatory system and thus does not capture all events. The degree of under-reporting is not able to be accurately bracketed but that it occurs is an absolute fact. Therefore these reports are floors, not ceilings, and as such must be taken as a lower boundary only, yet even in that context they demonstrate utterly unacceptable risk that, in any ordinary civil proceeding would lead to strict liability.

THESE SHOTS MUST BE IMMEDIATELY STOPPED FOR ALL HEALTHY PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 30 and strongly recommended against up to the age of 50 years unless the person receiving them has a serious morbid condition and has been tested negative for prior exposure to the virus itself. That the CDC delayed this meeting for “Juneteenth” ought to get people imprisoned; this is an immediate emergency action item and to postpone it was utterly indefensible.

Any college administration that continues to hold forth a “requirement” for these shots in students should have their children put up as collateral to face the same outcome as any of the students who die as a result of these jabs, with said bond being good for the next ten years since myocarditis often leads to heart failure with the next five years in people it strikes. If you coerced some young person to get the jab and they get hammered you should forfeit your own children’s lives as you are the reason they got ****ed.

Administration of these shots to a previously-recovered person under 50 is, on the strength of this data, gross negligence and, if they get hit, attempted manslaughter or, if the person ultimately suffers heart failure, actual manslaughter. And no, gross negligence is not covered by the “immunity” that HHS gave the vaccine manufacturers and health professionals; any person or organization administering such a shot to someone who is healthy and under 30 should be immediately sued as their so-called “protection” is presumptively void.

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Geert VanDen Bossche: FAQ updated: May 25, 2021

[#13 ]How can it be explained that in Israel it seems that the massive vaccination has almost stopped the pandemic and no dramatic effects are being observed over people that have been vaccinated?

It’s just a matter of weeks for a surge in Israel to occur due to resistance of the virus to vaccinal antibodies in vaccinees. I expect this surge to occur before summer.

Fully Vaccinated Israelis Exposed To “Delta” May Be Forced To Quarantine (ZH)

As concerns about the threat posed by the “Delta” variant, a mutant strain of COVID-19 first discovered in India that’s believed to be much more dangerous than rival strains, intensify, Israeli health officials have just been given the authority to quarantine pretty much anybody who is exposed to “Delta”, even if the individual is already fully vaccinated, Reuters reports. The heavy-handed decision comes after a warning by new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday over new outbreaks caused by “Delta” . Bennett complained that daily infections have been rising again in Israel after weeks of a low plateau credited to the country’s record mass-vaccination drive.

Under the updated Health Ministry directive, vaccinated or formerly infected people can be ordered to self-isolate for up to 14 days if authorities suspect they may have passed in “close contact with a carrier of a dangerous virus variant.” This could include having been passengers on the same plane, the ministry said, a possible dampener on Israel’s gradual opening of its borders to vaccinated summer tourists. Addressing the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said fines of “thousands of shekels” might be levied against Israeli citizens or residents who travel to countries blacklisted as high COVID-19 risks.

On June 16, the Health Ministry listed Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia as off-limits to Israeli citizens or residents unless they receive special permission. Some 55% of Israel’s 9.3MM population have received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and a steep drop in cases had prompted most economic restrictions to be lifted. But just days earlier, Israel announced plans to start vaccinating teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15.

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There you go. Why bother about what the WHO says? What do they know anyway?

Israel Urges Parents To Vaccinate Kids Ages 12-15 (JPost)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and other relevant officials and experts, including transportation, interior and education ministers met Sunday night to decide on new measures to address the risk of increased morbidity following a number of coronavirus outbreaks at several Israeli schools. They agreed to task some additional 250 police officers to enforce isolation requirements for those returning from abroad, build a new testing complex at Ben-Gurion Airport and increase the number of testing stations, as well as carry out a communication campaign to foster awareness of the importance of respecting quarantine regulations among the public.


In addition, the authorities will investigate the gap between the number of violations of quarantine and the fines given, and will consider the position of parents whose unvaccinated children do not quarantine after returning from abroad. The ministers also confirmed that Israelis are not going to be allowed to fly to countries under travel ban – Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa, unless they obtain a special permission from the dedicated government committee. A further meeting to discuss the issues related to the coronavirus will be scheduled in the next few days.

Tucker WHO

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Sorry, bud, not going to happen.

WHO Official: Mask Mandates, Social Distancing Must Continue Indefinitely (SN)

A top WHO official says that mask mandates and social distancing should continue indefinitely in order to protect against new variants of COVID-19. The comments were made on Sky News by Special Envoy on Covid for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Dr David Nabarro. Nabarro suggested that there would be a long list of mutations of the Indian variant which would in some cases evade the protection offered by vaccines. “We will go from Delta to Lambda and then on to the other Greek letters, that’s inevitable, and some of these variants will be troublesome,” he said. “I’m basically saying variants are going to go on coming. That’s part of life, we need to pick them up fast, we need to move quickly if we see them in a certain location, we need to build the management of variants into what we call our Covid-ready strategy, which is going to be the pattern for the foreseeable future,” he added.


According to Nabarro, mask mandates and social distancing need to remain in place for the foreseeable future “as part of our defence” against COVID, particularly in regions which have high infection rates. As we highlighted earlier, England is set to drop all face mask rules on July 19 after it was revealed that they were having a massive negative impact on businesses and wiping billions off the economy. Several government advisers have called for coronavirus restrictions to continue forever, not just to defend against COVID, but also to fight influenza. Former Communist Party member and SAGE adviser Susan Michie said earlier this month that mask mandates and social distancing should continue “forever” and that people should adopt such behaviour just as they did with wearing seatbelts. It never ends.

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Referenced by Robert Malone.

Optimizing Decision-Making Processes in Times of COVID-19 (FIP)

The effectiveness of policymakers’ decision-making in times of crisis depends largely on their ability to integrate and make sense of information. The COVID-19 crisis confronts governments with the difficult task of making decisions in the interest of public health and safety. Essentially, policymakers have to react to a threat, of which the extent is unknown, and they are making decisions under time constraints in the midst of immense uncertainty. The stakes are high, the issues involved are complex and require the careful balancing of several interests, including (mental) health, the economy, and human rights. These circumstances render policymakers’ decision-making processes vulnerable to errors and biases in the processing of information, thereby increasing the chances of faulty decision-making processes with poor outcomes.

Prior research has identified three main information-processing failures that can distort group decision-making processes and can lead to negative outcomes: (1) failure to search for and share information, (2) failure to elaborate on and analyze information that is not in line with earlier information and (3) failure to revise and update conclusions and policies in the light of new information. To date, it has not yet been explored how errors and biases underlying these information-processing failures impact decision-making processes in times of crisis. In this narrative review, we outline how groupthink, a narrow focus on the problem of containing the virus, and escalation of commitment may pose real risks to decision-making processes in handling the COVID-19 crisis and may result in widespread societal damages.

Hence, it is vital that policymakers take steps to maximize the quality of the decision-making process and increase the chances of positive outcomes as the crisis goes forward. We propose group reflexivity—a deliberate process of discussing team goals, processes, or outcomes—as an antidote to these biases and errors in decision-making. Specifically, we recommend several evidence-based reflexivity tools that could easily be implemented to counter these information-processing errors and improve decision-making processes in uncertain times.

Tucker Robert Malone

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Hmmm. Not sure. Many healthy people also have “fatigue-related symptoms” due to lockdowns.

More Than 2m Adults In England Have Had Long Covid For Over 12 Weeks (G.)

More than 2 million adults in England have experienced coronavirus symptoms lasting over 12 weeks, government data suggests – double the previous estimate for long Covid. The study, one of the largest to date, found that people with ongoing symptoms tended to fall into two categories: those with respiratory symptoms, who often experienced more severe illness when they first got sick, and a second group with fatigue-related symptoms. Like previous studies, it found that women were more commonly affected and that the prevalence of ongoing symptoms increased with age. Researchers described the findings as “alarming”.

The React-2 study is a government-funded population surveillance study that uses finger-prick antibody tests from randomly selected adults in England to assess how far coronavirus has spread. Between September and February, 508,707 participants were also asked whether they thought they had had Covid and about the presence and duration of 29 different symptoms. The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that 37.7% of those who had symptomatic Covid experienced at least one symptom lasting 12 weeks or more – equivalent to 2 million people – while 14.8% experienced three or more persistent symptoms.

“The scale of the problem is quite alarming,” said Prof Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University. “The results can’t tell us clearly how serious those symptoms were in terms of their effects on the patients’ lives. Some may not be very serious, but some of them certainly are, and these results clearly point out how vital it is to understand them properly and to provide adequate treatment and support services for the people involved.”

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“The Science”.

England Set to Drop Face Mask Rules After Huge Economic Impact Revealed (SN)

England is set to drop all face mask rules on July 19th after it was revealed that keeping such restrictions in place is costing the economy billions and will force many businesses to close. “The requirement to wear facemasks on public transport and in shops will be replaced with guidance advising people to wear masks in certain circumstances, rather than compelling them,” reports the Times. The decision follows the findings of an internal economic impact assessment produced by the government’s Events Research Programme which detailed the massive impact social distancing measures are having on businesses. Politico Playbook reveals that, “keeping any measures would cost the economy billions and see many businesses close.”


Specifically, indoor seated venues such as the arts, cinemas and business events would achieve just 59 per cent of their 2019 turnover if restrictions remain, costing them a whopping £4.88 billion over the next year. Even if the only remaining restriction kept in place is face masks, “The entire events industry would reach just 82 percent of its 2019 turnover. Indoor seated venues would get just 72 percent. Indoor non-seated just 65 percent. Outdoor non-seated venues would manage just 82 percent of their 2019 figure.” The events industry as a whole is bringing in only 60 per cent of normal revenue under the current restrictions, which will likely continue until July 19th.

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Gotta love her.

Pursuing Truth In Covid Drug Treatment Amid A Censored Media Landscape (Hecker)

Finally covering the story on COVID drug treatments that I wasn’t allowed to air on FOX. A look at why one Houston hospital has a dramatically lower COVID death rate than anywhere else and the ways the media skated around the facts at that hospital. [..] The death rate from COVID-19 is dramatically low at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, TX compared to other hospitals across the nation and the world. Despite Dr. Joseph Varon’s popularity on TV, news personalities avoid questions of why he’s having success treating his patients. As it turns out, he’s using drugs the WHO and CDC recommend against.

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Bioweapons.

Hillary Clinton Privately Warned France About Wuhan P4 Lab (HE)

In a leaked State Department cable from 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the Wuhan Institute of Virology could lead to “biological weapons proliferation concern.” The cable, obtained via Wikileaks, was sent from the State Department in June 2009 to all embassies in member nations ahead of the Australia Group plenary session in Paris, September 21-25, 2009. The Australia Group is an international export control forum organized to prevent the spread of technologies and research that could be used in chemical and biological weapons. All Five Eyes nations are members of the group, including the EU, India, Japan, and South Korea. China is not a member of the group.

The cable stated, “We believe it is important to focus on emerging chemical and biological technologies, trends in the trade of CBW-related goods and threats.” When it came to France, Secretary Clinton’s cable noted: “The U.S. believes participants would benefit from hearing about your experiences assisting China in setting up a Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology from the export control and intangible technology transfer perspectives. We are particularly interested to know how China plans to vet incoming foreign researchers from countries of biological weapons proliferation concern.”

More broadly on the question of China’s biological weapons program, Secretary Clinton’s cable noted: “The U.S. believes AG members would be interested in any information you can share related to China and North Korea, specifically information related to: • China’s Institutes of Biological Products (locations in Beijing and Wuhan), to include overhead imagery analysis, if possible. • Your perceptions of the CBW proliferation activities by Chinese entities. • Your perceptions of Chinese government efforts to enforce its export control rules.”

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Is the matriarch disoriented?

Elephants’ 500km-Trek Across China Baffles Scientists (BBC)

Elephants are by nature fiercely intelligent beasts and experts who study them day in day out already know a great deal about them. And yet a herd of endangered elephants in China has completely dumbfounded scientists globally, while captivating an entire nation in the process. It’s not unusual for elephants to move small distances. But this herd has been lumbering its way across China for more than a year now. The elephants have now strayed almost 500km (310 miles), a mammoth trek from their original habitat. It’s thought that they started their journey last spring from Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in the southwest of the country, near the border with Myanmar and Laos.

They began moving north and in the last few months, the elephants have popped up in a number of villages, towns and cities. They’ve been seen smashing down doors, raiding shops, “stealing” food, playing around in the mud, taking a bath in a canal and napping in the middle of a forest. They’ve also been spotted hoovering up crops in their wake and moseying into people’s houses – on one occasion, lining up in a courtyard to drink water, successfully turning on a tap with their trunks. It is thought they have started to move south again, and were last spotted in Shijie – a town near the city of Yuxi.

It’s unclear whether they are headed back, or why they even embarked on this journey in the first place – the farthest known movement by elephants in the country. Or what might come next. “The truth is, no-one knows. It is almost certainly related to the need for resources – food, water, shelter – and this would make sense given the fact that, in most locations where Asian elephants live in the wild, there is an increase in human disturbances leading to habitat fragmentation, loss and resource reduction,” Joshua Plotnik, assistant professor of elephant psychology at Hunter College, City University of New York, told the BBC.

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Treatment of Murray is scandalous too, but nothing like Assange. John McAfee’s death is worrisome in this regard.

High Court Delays as Assange Remains in Jail (Craig Murray)

Julian Assange remains in a maximum-security jail, despite never being sentenced for anything but a long ago served spell for bail-jumping, and despite the U.S. government’s request for extradition having been refused. It is approaching six months since I was in court to hear the decision rejecting Assange’s extradition, and it was in the same week that Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser ordered Assange be kept in jail pending a U.S. appeal. Since then, the U.S. has submitted its appeal, which is somewhat intemperate in its efforts to discredit a number of highly distinguished expert witnesses at the hearing. The defense has submitted its response, including notice of points, where Baraitser found for the U.S. that the defense intend to counter-appeal.

Then for over three months — nothing. The High Court has not only not set a date for the U.S. appeal, it has not even indicated if the U.S. appeal meets the bar to be heard. There is some thought that the appeal lacks any arguable points of law and may be simply rejected. But the seemingly leisurely approach of the High Court to look at the matter is entirely inappropriate given that, in the meantime, an innocent man is suffering the most extreme form of incarceration available in the U.K. Assange’s status is that his extradition has been rejected. He ought not to be in jail at all, let alone in such harsh conditions. By contrast, I am sitting in my study despite being sentenced to eight months in jail. I am at liberty while the U.K. Supreme Court decides whether to hear my appeal.

My lawyers believe, from their contact with the court administrators, that it is entirely possible that the Supreme Court will decide on whether to take my appeal, within the four-week suspension of my jail sentence granted by Judge Lady Dorrian. This is because otherwise I might be imprisoned. Why can the Supreme Court potentially decide whether to hear my appeal so quickly due to the threat of imprisonment, when the High Court is taking six times or more as long to decide whether to hear the U.S. appeal, when an innocent man is already imprisoned? It makes no sense. It is not due to complexity: while of course Julian’s case is more important, any points of law at issue in the U.S. appeal are notably less complex than in my own appeal. To me, the only possible explanation is the determination of the state to keep Julian imprisoned at all costs.

Read more …

 

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November 30, 2019.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, & loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
~Hunter S. Thompson

 

 

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May 182021
 
 May 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


Gustav Klimt The Park 1909

 

Texas Reports Zero COVID Deaths 2 Months After Biden Said ‘Neanderthals’ (NW)
42% Of Russians Do Not Want To Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19 (Tickle)
Learn From History – Or Repeat It (Denninger)
The False God (Jim Kunstler)
Dutch Municipalities Spy On Citizens On Social Media (VK)
Q&A With Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)
US Blocks New Draft UN Statement On Mideast Violence (MSN)
You Are Writing History With Your Bloody Hands -Erdogan to Biden (ZH)
Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality (Nate Hagens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riddle me this, Batman.

Texas Reports Zero COVID Deaths 2 Months After Biden Said ‘Neanderthals’ (NW)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott caught heat from Democratic lawmakers when he announced on March 2 this year he would fully reopen the state by the next week. Mississippi lawmakers declared a similar reopening plan about the same time. The idea was to get more people acclimated back to normal life, including businesses at full capacity and sports arenas full of fans again. For Texas, the governor wanted businesses back at 100 percent and placed filled up again, from school halls to dance halls. President Joe Biden called such reopening plans as “Neanderthals thinking.” “I hope everybody has realized by now these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way we are able to get vaccine in people’s arms,” Biden said in the White House on March 3.

“The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters. … It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science.” Texas blazed its own path and reopened for business, and the Texas Rangers had a ballpark full of cheering fans for its home opener last month. On Sunday, just a couple of hours after a major PGA event in Dallas and the NCAA FCS college football national championship in Frisco, Abbott reported that the state had no COVID-related deaths the previous 24 hours, and that the seven-day positivity rate was the lowest it’s been since records have been taken—which was March 2020.

Biden expressed disappointment in those states that had plans to fully reopen, saying the goal was for every American adult to receive vaccinations before starting big gatherings, with a target date of July 4 for families to get together and celebrate. “We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every American, to get every adult American to get a shot,” Biden said in March. Biden was 0-for-2 against Texas when, after the Rangers baseball organization said it planned to open at full capacity following Abbott’s executive order, the president called that decision a “mistake.” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels shrugged off that comment and said he still hoped for a full venue on opening day, which he got.

Read more …

Herd immunity.

42% Of Russians Do Not Want To Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19 (Tickle)

A Russian survey has revealed that more than two-fifths (42%) of citizens do not intend to be vaccinated against Covid-19 “under any circumstances,” a result that may explain the country’s poorly performing inoculation program. Conducted by recruitment company Superjob’s research center, the survey also revealed that one-in-five (20%) unvaccinated Russians would get jabbed if it meant they could travel abroad. The poll came after Greece’s announcement that they would be willing to accept tourists vaccinated with Sputnik V. The results found that 18% of Russians yet to be inoculated plan to get the shot even without any other incentive. Some 42% said they absolutely do not want to get vaccinated, even if it is the only option for a trip to another country, and 20% found it difficult to decide.


The results from this survey may go some way to explaining why the Russian vaccination campaign has gotten off to a slow start. In late April, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said more than 11.1 million people have received the first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 6.8 million fully inoculated. The country’s authorities do not regularly release data, but the latest aggregated figures on the unofficial website gogov suggests that the current figure of people to have received both jabs is now around 9.8 million. Russia has approved three domestic Covid-19 vaccines, with Sputnik V being the most well-known. The vaccine has now been registered in 66 countries, having most recently passed tests in Ecuador.

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“That sort of cult game is how you wind up turning a nation into Jonestown.”

Learn From History – Or Repeat It (Denninger)

Adults live in reality where facts are collected, hypotheses are formed, tests are made against said hypothesis and then the results are published. Then, reasoned adults make their own decisions for themselves and their families, weighing personal risk and benefit based on those published results. Children and psychotics live in a fantasy world where they believe you snap your fingers and get what you want. When you allow either of the latter two to ascend to positions of power and influence within government your entire nation is standing on a ledge believing you can fly. There are myriad examples of this, such as believing you can replace combustion fuels with batteries and solar cells or wind turbines; this is crazy-land nonsense as nobody has figured out how to violate the laws of physics, and you just saw a small version of it with the Colonial pipeline.

There’s a virus going around, I hear, that has a near-zero death rate in children but in fantasy-land we must stab them with a dangerous drug lest they get infected with something that they may have already had and won’t hurt them anyway. We refuse to adult and admit that roughly a third of the people who died were within six months to a year of their “use by” date, living in rest homes where half of those admitted die within six months and at least three quarters of the rest who succumbed had destroyed their bodies on purpose, making themselves vulnerable to what, in almost everyone else, is a case of the flu. Rather than deal with these facts, which were known almost immediately in 2020, we instead engaged in a mass-delusional episode akin to putting magic mushrooms in the nation’s water supply, and led the public to believe they’d all die unless they walked around with diapers on their face scared of non-existent snakes coming out of the roadway that were going to spit venom in their mouth.

Worse, when people got said flu we told them there were no treatments which was a knowing lie and let a bunch of ghouls chortle at the $30,000 they were going to get for a toe-tag in a few days while your grandmother choked to death on her own spit. We’re still doing the same damn thing not just here but in fact worldwide so we can scare people into being stabbed on a subscription basis for immense profit with an unknown risk of pulling the black ball and killing a huge percentage of the public. LSD is a hell of a drug and I don’t give a crap what you do with or to yourself but the effects of same, no matter how the crazy got in one’s head, have no place near or on the levers of power. That sort of cult game is how you wind up turning a nation into Jonestown.

For half a million Americans or so over the last year Jonestown has already arrived and now we’re playing the same game without about half the population while attempting to enlist children in drinking the KoolAid. It’s grape-flavored; go ahead and take a big slug. I promise it won’t hurt. Much.

CDC admits at least 94% of Deaths from Corona Virus were wrong.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1394417021333524484

Read more …

“..insufficiently tested exotic experiments desperately employed against something that looks more and more like a bio-weapon that the government itself was complicit in creating.”

The False God (Jim Kunstler)

[..] as the time-frame for inflation compresses, the people notice that their money won’t buy what they need, and they get restless, perhaps dangerously so. In the process, the government begins to look incompetent, on top of the usual perception that it is corrupt, and before you know it, legitimacy slips through the widening cracks of the floor. Until now, the authorities have been successful in pitting citizens against each other, and the ill-will unleashed has been spectacular. But the memes of “white supremacy” are so obviously dishonest that they’ve only succeeded in hugely pissing off the substantial demographic of white people who struggle desperately to remain employed, housed, mobile, and capable of raising children who are not being driven crazy.

The coronavirus situation is not so reassuring. We are one more serious up-wave of illness from tanking whatever remains of this vaporific economy. An emerging pattern suggests that higher vaccination rates might generate new-and-improved iterations of the disease more efficiently — just as the government tries more aggressively to sell vaccination to the public. The public is also noticing the alarming statistics, and many remain unconvinced that the vaccines are even vaccines in the usual sense, but rather insufficiently tested exotic experiments desperately employed against something that looks more and more like a bio-weapon that the government itself was complicit in creating.

My state of New York is supposedly “reopening” today. Who’s not longing to get back to “normal?” But who’s not a little anxious that mixing normally with other people won’t start the whole cycle all over again? And, anyway, who doesn’t wonder whether normal is really a thing of the past now, disappearing in the rear-view mirror? Just as the hopeful meme floats over the Internet that the storm is over, we fail to see that there’s a larger storm of history whirling around us that we’re only in the eye of.

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Google translate. Spied on by nincompoops.

Dutch Municipalities Spy On Citizens On Social Media (VK)

Dutch municipalities monitor citizens on social media on a large scale. They use fake accounts for this, a method that municipalities are not allowed to use. This has emerged from research by the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and the University of Groningen on behalf of the Police and Science research program. Municipalities keep an eye on Facebook groups, Twitter profiles and other social media to gain insight into possible disturbances such as riots and demonstrations. Municipal officials are often unaware that they are breaking the law, the investigation shows. More than half do not know which rules and protocols apply. The results are based on answers to a questionnaire of 156 of the 352 Dutch municipalities.

Almost one in six of the municipalities surveyed uses fake accounts, a method that only police and intelligence services are allowed to use under strict conditions. In some cases, city officials enter private Facebook groups under false names. For example, at the time of the refugee crisis, an official writes to have secretly joined private Facebook groups to see “what’s going on”. Municipalities search online for social assistance fraud by searching for extra earnings on Marktplaats. Social media is also used to check flight stories of asylum seekers. Searching online under fake names, storing personal data and entering private groups are a serious infringement of citizens’ rights, says Bart Custers, professor of Law and Data Science at Leiden University. “It is simply prohibited. Municipalities are not allowed to play for the police or intelligence service. ”

Arbitration and serious privacy violations lurk. Custers: “If the government goes online with a fake account, it is working under cover, for example, the police must ask the judge for permission. This is not the work of municipalities. “Moreover, there is a risk that personal data will leak. “There seems to be hardly any discussion within municipalities about what is and is not allowed,” says Willem Bantema, responsible researcher and sociologist of law at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. The research shows that in about one third of the municipalities no data protection officer is involved in online monitoring, although this is required by law. According to the researchers, small and medium-sized municipalities in particular do not comply with the rules. Large cities generally have better policy in order.

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“Do you realize if an artist went into producing their art, whatever it is, literary or nonfiction or whatever, and thought about the consequences, the art would be total shit?”

Q&A With Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)

After training generations of Americans to forego personal lives and work their brains to mush in service of bigger profits, corporate leaders are waking up to find their companies staffed by people so psychologically dependent upon validation from work that they’re a net minus from a production standpoint, forcing bosses to beg them to shut up, go home, and get lives. Not many modern Americans know how to do any of those things, however, as can be seen in cases like that of Garcia-Martinez, where 2,000 employees claimed to be literally incapable of sharing a vast corporate structure with someone who once wrote a book containing passages they might have disagreed with, if they’d actually read it.

“The thought of conflating your entire political, moral, social, family, and religious being with your professional persona,” Garcia-Martinez says, “I think is extraordinarily fraught and difficult.” Another irony: despite the progressive sheen of these campaigns, Slack agitation doesn’t represent a resurgence of labor. Unions used the strength of the whole workforce to protect the rights of the individual employee, among other things insisting that management not act without due process, evidence, etc. Slack, as has been seen in cases like Antonio’s, or the oustings at the New York Times of editor James Bennet and reporter Donald McNeil, often urges companies to bypass process and act in the heat of the moment. In any case, it’s a weird kind of liberalism that tries to override management to get employees fired, but that’s where we are in the modern American workplace.

I asked Antonio about these and other issues, from his perspective: TK: You’ve had multiple careers, and clearly took writing seriously. How will episodes like this affect people who might try to write or take creative detours in their careers? Antonio Garcia-Martinez: Kat Rosenfield was tweeting about this and I love her and it’s great that she’s defending me. Do you want art? People are saying, “Well, you should have realized the consequences… I feel like saying: “Do you realize if an artist went into producing their art, whatever it is, literary or nonfiction or whatever, and thought about the consequences, the art would be total shit?”

Looking at it bigger, there’s a lot of political ideologies like Nazism and communism that thought that art should be subservient to politics, and that art can only serve a political end. Those movements did not end well. I don’t think we want that in our liberal democratic society. I think that’s a bizarre ideological way of looking at the world, from the wokesters who treat this as a quasi-religion.

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3 times now.

US Blocks New Draft UN Statement On Mideast Violence (MSN)

The United States on Monday blocked — for the third time in a week — the adoption of a joint UN Security Council statement calling for a halt to Israeli-Palestinian violence, triggering a new emergency closed-door session set for Tuesday. The text drafted by China, Tunisia and Norway was submitted late Sunday for approval Monday by the council’s 15 members, as Israeli jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip and the death toll from a week of violence passed 200. The United States indicated that they “could not currently support an expression” by the Security Council, one diplomat told AFP. The Norwegian diplomatic mission to the UN announced that the Security Council would hold a new emergency closed-door meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Tuesday — its fourth since May 10.


“The situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. Innocent civilians continue being killed and injured. We repeat: stop the fire. End hostilities now,” the delegation said on Twitter. The Security Council has held three emergency meetings on the escalating violence in the past week, the latest on Sunday, without reaching a common position — with Israel’s main ally the United States accused of obstructionism. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric underlined the importance of taking a consolidated position on the conflict. “I would really restate the need for a very strong and unified voice from the Security Council, which we think will carry weight,” he told a press conference.

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Yeah, get Erdogan some support. Well played.

You Are Writing History With Your Bloody Hands -Erdogan to Biden (ZH)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday blasted the Joe Biden administration for standing idly by while the civilian body count piles up in Gaza after one week of unrelenting Israeli airstrikes. And even more than this Turkey is outraged over new reports that Biden approved a $735 million dollar weapons sale from the United States to Israel. “You are writing history with your bloody hands,” Erdogan said in remarks addressed to President Biden. The stinging rebuke came after a meeting with this cabinet over the continuing Gaza crisis. Turkey has long been a staunch supporter of Palestinian rights, though Erdogan’s rule has in recent years seen relations with Israel reach a low-point given the hardline Islamist leanings of his Justice and Development Party.

The Hill reports of the massive US weapons sale to Israel that “A majority of the possible sale is of Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions, equipment that can make unguided bombs dropped from aircraft into guided missiles, the aide confirmed.” “The window for Congress to block this sale is for all intents and purposes closed,” The Hill wrote, also noting outrage among a handful of Democrat progressives. Following a meeting with his Cabinet, Erdogan issued a rebuke to the U.S. president, saying: “Now, unfortunately, you (Biden) are writing history with your bloody hands with this event (in which) Gaza is being attacked with seriously disproportionate force causing the martyrdom of thousands of people. You have forced us to say this.”

And specifically on the new reports of Biden-approved weapons sales to the Jewish state, Erdogan scolded further: “Today we saw Biden’s signature on weapons sales to Israel,” Erdogan said in reference to US media reports of a new arms shipment approved by the Biden administration. “Palestinian territories are awash with persecution, suffering and blood, like many other territories that lost the peace with the end of the Ottomans. And you are supporting that,” Erdogan said. This apparently marks the end of previously reported attempts of Erdogan to reach out to the administration, following warmer (despite at times tense) personal relations with Trump, given that Monday’s comments mark the harshest words Erdogan has unleashed on Biden since his January arrival in the White House.

Read more …

Good friend Nate sent this. Really, Nate, 3 hours?

Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality (Nate Hagens)

This video is a condensation of 15+ years work exploring the human predicament. This talk outlines some core myths and stories in modern culture and contrasts them to our underlying biophysical (biological and physical) realities. There will be a web portal in near future going a bit deeper on these topics for use in education and outreach on societal interventions. Here is the chronological myth order and time stamp. They can be watched in any order, but this order makes the most sense (so we decided).

Read more …

 

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“Close up of a wolf spider.”

 

 

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May 152021
 


Wassily Kandinsky Contrasting Sounds 1924

 

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Reprograms Innate Immune Responses
Long Covid-19 Linked To Early Aging Of Immune System (CGTN)
Pandemic To Be ‘Far More Deadly’ This Year – WHO (Y!)
Delay Child Vaccinations And Share Jabs With Covax – WHO (BBC)
India Variant Could Seriously Disrupt Lifting Of UK Lockdown (G.)
Failed Biden Nominee Neera Tanden Hired As White House Senior Adviser (F.)
The Age of Fear (Whitehead)
On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)
Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird (Turley)
Carbon Pricing Isn’t Effective at Reducing CO2 Emissions (INET)
Escalation In Palestine – Hizbullah Is Ready To Join The Fight (MoA)
Israel, the Big Lie (Chris Hedges)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burr

 

 

This is the scary part. This is why we should not use untested substances on hundreds of millions of poorly educated people.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Reprograms Innate Immune Responses (MN)

Researchers in The Netherlands and Germany have warned that Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine induces complex reprogramming of innate immune responses that should be considered in the development and use of mRNA-based vaccines. Jorge Domínguez-Andrés and colleagues say that while the vaccine has been shown to be up to 95% effective in preventing infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and subsequent COVID-19, little is known about the broad effects the vaccine may have on the innate and adaptive immune responses.

In the current study (not peer-reviewed*), the research team from Radboud University Medical Center and Erasmus MC in the Netherlands, and the Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Hannover Medical School (MHH), and the University of Bonn, in Germany, confirmed the efficacy of BNT162b2 vaccination at inducing effective humoral and cellular immunity against several SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, they also showed that the vaccine altered the production of inflammatory cytokines by innate immune cells following stimulation with both specific (SARS-CoV-2) and non-specific (viral, fungal and bacterial) stimuli.

Following vaccination, innate immune cells had a reduced response to toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), TLR7 and TLR8 – all ligands that play an important role in the immune response to viral infection. Neta and colleagues also found that cytokine responses to fungi were increased following vaccination. The mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine induces complex functional reprogramming of innate immune responses, which should be considered in the development and use of this new class of vaccines,” writes the team.

Read more …

More immune system perils.

Long Covid-19 Linked To Early Aging Of Immune System (CGTN)

New studies show the effect of severe cases of the virus on the immune system and the premature aging of T-cells suggest a possible explanation for Long COVID-19. According to one publication, three months after patients have been discharged from hospital many showed signs of “premature immunosenescence” – the age-related decline in the body’s ability to form a defence against viruses and other illnesses. Researcher Niharika Duggal of the University of Birmingham said this included the loss of “naive” immune system cells (which have yet to be used in the body’s response), with an accumulation of “memory” B and T-cells, which circulate in the body holding the information to fight against a pathogen.


These symptoms are usually seen in people over 60 years old, but they were spotted in several COVID-19 survivors. It has been previously proved that traumatic injury and chronic disease can cause premature immune system aging, but this research is the first to argue a viral infection does the same. However, the research is still at an early stage and one researcher suggested it could be cause, rather than effect. Janet Lord of the University of Birmingham, explained: “Analysis of people in the UK … who developed COVID-19, showed they were biologically 10 to 14 years older.” She said it’s possible that patients who show prematurely aged immune systems may have caught the virus due to a weaker system – rather than the virus severely damaging the body’s immune response over a long period.

Read more …

Fear campaign?

Pandemic To Be ‘Far More Deadly’ This Year – WHO (Y!)

The World Health Organization issued a grim warning on Friday that the second year of Covid-19 was set to be “far more deadly”, as Japan extended a state of emergency amid growing calls for the Olympics to be scrapped. “We’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The mood also darkened in Japan where the coronavirus state of emergency took in another three regions just 10 weeks before the Olympics, while campaigners submitted a petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for the Games to be cancelled. With Tokyo and other areas already under emergency orders until the end of May, Hiroshima, Okayama and northern Hokkaido, which will host the Olympic marathon, will now join them.

Japanese public opinion is firmly opposed to holding the Games this summer. Swiss tennis great Roger Federer said Friday that “what the athletes need is a decision: is it happening or isn’t it?” “I would love to play in the Olympics… But if that doesn’t happen due to the situation, I would be the first to understand,” he added. The pandemic has killed at least 3,346,813 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in late 2019, according to an AFP tally of official data. India meanwhile started deploying Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the first foreign-made shot to be used in the country that has been reeling from an explosion in cases and deaths.

The first token batch of Sputnik vaccines — reportedly 150,000 doses — arrived on May 1 and a second delivery is expected in the next few days. A number of leading India-based drugmakers have agreements for local production of Sputnik V with the aim to produce over 850 million doses of the jab per year. India has been adding roughly as many new Covid cases daily as the rest of the world put together.

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Forget about herd immunity through vaccines. Not going to happen. Your immune system will have to do the job.

Delay Child Vaccinations And Share Jabs With Covax – WHO (BBC)

Wealthier nations should postpone plans to give children and teenagers Covid vaccines and instead donate supplies to low-income countries, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday urged countries to supply more vaccines to the global fair-access scheme Covax. The international distribution of Covid vaccines remains vastly uneven. Since the first vaccines were approved in December, wealthier countries have bought up most of the supply. Many are racing to vaccinate as much of their population as possible. Speaking at a virtual conference in Geneva on Friday, the WHO’s Dr Tedros said he understood why some countries wanted to vaccinate children and adolescents, but said “right now, I urge them to reconsider”.


“In low and lower-middle income countries, Covid-19 vaccine supply has not been enough to even immunise healthcare workers, and hospitals are being inundated with people that need lifesaving care urgently,” he said. Last week, US President Joe Biden laid out plans to begin coronavirus vaccine shots for 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as possible. He also said he hoped that 70% of US adults would receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by 4 July, when American families are expected to come together to mark Independence Day. Meanwhile, Canada has authorised the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15. The province of Alberta, which has the highest rate of the virus in the country, has already started offering the jabs to citizens over the age of 12. In Switzerland, some places began offering Covid vaccination appointments to 16-year-olds last week.

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Still makes me cringe: “..allowing people to meet in groups of six indoors ..”

India Variant Could Seriously Disrupt Lifting Of UK Lockdown (G.)

The final stage of the lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England could face “serious disruption” due to the India variant, the prime minister has warned, as he announced plans to accelerate the vaccine programme to curb its spread. Boris Johnson said the gap between the first and second Covid jab would be cut from 12 weeks to eight for all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable, admitting: “The race between our vaccine programme and the virus may be about to become a great deal tighter.” He announced that the army would be deployed to two variant hotspots – Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen – to help with vaccinations, and urged residents in those areas to “think twice” before taking advantages of the freedoms allowed again from Monday.


Johnson said plans to ease restrictions on 17 May – allowing people to meet in groups of six indoors – would go ahead, but that the variant “could make it more difficult” for the final stage of unlocking to proceed on 21 June. He said the India variant appeared to be “more transmissible” than the dominant strain in the UK, which originated in Kent, but that it was not yet clear by how much. If it is significantly more, then, he warned, “we’re likely to face some hard choices”. “I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step four in June,” Johnson said. Asked whether the lockdown easing would have to be paused during a press conference, he added: “The truth is, we cannot say for certain … The situation is very different from last year, we are in the throes of an incredible vaccine rollout … We just have to wait and see … We rule nothing out.”

Read more …

“Tanden’s new post will not require Senate confirmation.”

Failed Biden Nominee Neera Tanden Hired As White House Senior Adviser (F.)

Neera Tanden will have a place in the White House after all following the withdrawal of her nomination to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, with President Joe Biden on Friday hiring her as a senior adviser on Friday, according to a White House official. Tanden, the former president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, will be charged with handling the White House’s response to Republican lawsuits before the Supreme Court seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.


Tanden has also been tasked with reviewing the United States Digital Service, an Obama-era White House office that oversees federal websites and consults with federal agencies on technology. Tanden’s nomination was derailed when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a crucial vote for any Biden nominee in an evenly divided Senate, announced his opposition over her social media posts disparaging Republicans. Tanden failed to make up the votes on the Republican side, having previously slammed critical swing votes like Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in tweets. Tanden’s new post will not require Senate confirmation.

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“We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons..”

The Age of Fear (Whitehead)

Young people will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be threatened, intimidated and beaten by militarized police. They will be the subjects of a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies and government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment’s notice. As such, they will find themselves forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands that “we the people” be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences. It’s a dismal prospect, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, we failed to guard against such a future. Worse, we who should have known better neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to resist oppression and survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America. We brought them into homes fractured by divorce, distracted by mindless entertainment, and obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well—where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings. We have allowed them to be manipulated by a corporate culture that simply wants money and control. However, as Aldous Huxley warned: “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.”

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I know little about the situation, but I love Taibbi’s love of the man.

On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)

I’m biased, because I know Antonio Garcia-Martinez and something like the same thing once happened to me, but the decision by Apple to bend to a posse of internal complainers and fire him over a passage in a five-year-old book is ridiculous hypocrisy. Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses — about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem. Garcia-Martinez is a brilliant, funny, multi-talented Cuban-American whose confessional memoir Chaos Monkeys is to big tech what Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker was to finance.

A onetime high-level Facebook executive — he ran Facebook Ads — Antonio’s book shows the House of Zuckerberg to be a cult full of on-the-spectrum zealots who talked like justice activists while possessing the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler: Facebook is full of true believers who really, really, really are not doing it for the money, and really, really will not stop until every man, woman, and child on earth is staring into a blue-framed window with a Facebook logo. When I read Chaos Monkeys the first time I was annoyed, because this was Antonio’s third career at least — he’d also worked at Goldman, Sachs — and he tossed off a memorable bestseller like it was nothing. Nearly all autobiographies fail because the genre requires total honesty, and not only do few writers have the stomach for turning the razor on themselves, most still have one eye on future job offers or circles of friends, and so keep the bulk of their interesting thoughts sidelined — you’re usually reading a résumé, not a book.

Chaos Monkeys is not that. Garcia-Martinez is an immediately relatable narrator because in one breath he tells you exactly what he thinks of former colleagues (“A week before my last day, I had lunch with the only senior person at Goldman Sachs who was not an inveterate asshole”) and in the next explains, but does not excuse, the psychic quirks that have him chasing rings in some of the world’s most rapacious corporations. “Whenever membership in some exclusive club is up for grabs, I viciously fight to win it, even if only to reject membership when offered,” he wrote. “After all, echoing the eminent philosopher G. Marx: How good can a club be if it’s willing to have lowly me as a member?”

The irony is that if Garcia-Martinez has a failing as a writer, it’s that he’s too nice. Universally, the best writers are insane egomaniacs obsessed with staring at the great mirror that is the page. Garcia-Martinez, on the whole, would rather be sailing. I believe the reason he decided to go back to tech is that he preferred a quiet life of flying a desk to make mortgage payments to the never-ending regimen of self-salesmanship that the literary life requires (and which, again, is the easy part for most egocentric writers).

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And these people never happen to think of book burning?

Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird (Turley)

We have previously discussed efforts to ban classic books, including To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Lee’s book has been banned in states from Mississippi to California. The work, which exposed the deep-seated racism in our society, has been denounced as “violent and oppressive for black students.” I have opposed such efforts. Now, Loudoun County teacher Andrea Weiskopf has publicly called for the book to be banned in my neighboring county of Loudon. The reason? The character Attitus Finch is white and therefore the book is nothing but a “white savior” tale that traumatizes black students. The remarks reflects a harmful but growing movement to ban such books in public schools. The attack on this book in particular has left many of us dismayed. As Atticus himself said “remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”


Weiskopf told the board that not only is this classic work harming students but that, if any member does not accept that premise, they should not be making any decisions on book selections. ANDREA WEISKOPF: “It’s funny how they are so afraid of having their children seeing another view of sexuality, gender or religion…If you want to talk about books that are assigned, let’s read To Kill a Mockingbird together. If you aren’t able to consider the racial trauma this assigned book causes black children with its white saviorism, then you have no business discussing any books.” Her diatribe reminds me of the observation in the book that “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”

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Use less energy, only solution.

Carbon Pricing Isn’t Effective at Reducing CO2 Emissions (INET)

How does carbon pricing affect macroeconomic balance and ultimately CO2 emission? What about electric vehicles that are now being promoted by the Biden administration? Economists’ standard advice for controlling global warming is to impose a high price on emitting CO2, which is said to discourage carbon-intensive activities and induce carbon-saving technical change. In a recent review of the New Deal, William Janeway (2021) draws a distinction between efficient and effective policies. He comes close to economist-speak by describing efficiency as a low-cost means for moving toward a desired goal. Whether an efficient intervention will be effective in reaching the goal is another question altogether. In the short- to medium-run, raising carbon prices within a politically acceptable range may be efficient at inducing macroeconomically small changes in the structure of the economy and level of emission.

But the move will not be effective, because the changes will remain small for at least three reasons. Energy constitutes a relatively small proportion of economic activity. It is crucial for the functioning of the macro system, but usually is not the tail that wags the dog. Carbon pricing brings in the “little triangles” of economic welfare analysis applied by Arnold Harberger (1954, 1971), which are not significant in terms of GDP (James Tobin, 1977). The reason, as illustrated below, is that the percentage change in, say, gasoline demand in response to a higher tax is the product of a negative price elasticity of demand which is a fraction of the percentage change in price, typically less than 100%. The product of two fractions is smaller than both, meaning that the demand response is weak. Even if the magnitude of the long-run elasticity is bigger than the short-run value (say -0.4 < -0.2 or 0.4 > 0.2), the conclusion remains.

Finally, following Harberger and lurching into jargon, economists usually assume that the proceeds of a tax are passed in “lump sum” fashion back to consumers. This transfer produces an “income effect” stimulating demand for all goods including gasoline. The increase can partially offset the price-induced demand reduction due to “substitution” of other goods for lower purchases of gasoline. Substitution effects almost always dominate income effects, so that most of the transferred income gets spent on non-energy goods and services. Total gasoline consumption still declines.

Somewhat similar reasoning applies to electric vehicles (EVs). They have a great advantage in delivering around 70% of the energy they use for moving the vehicle as opposed to 25% for internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. But the electricity has to come from some source. As of now 60% of the energy going toward electricity generation in the USA comes from fossil fuels. Unless that share is substantially reduced, EVs will not shift energy accounting by very much. They are efficient in reducing end-use of petroleum in the transport sector, but not effective in controlling CO2. Details appear below.

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Moon of Alabama with an original take.

Escalation In Palestine – Hizbullah Is Ready To Join The Fight (MoA)

The current war the occupiers of Palestine wage on the indigenous population has some unusual features. While the conflict was, without doubt, started by the colonial occupiers the course of the recent escalation seems to be managed by the resistance side. It may well be part of a larger plan. The Israeli army had for some time planned a large scale 30-days long maneuver to rehearse an attack on Hezbullah in Lebanon. Last week Hizbullah reacted to that: “The Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization has announced it is on high alert following the IDF’s launching of its largest-ever military exercise. The IDF launched on Sunday its “Chariots of Fire” month-long exercise simulating war on several fronts, and primarily against Hezbollah in the north, including the massive firing of missiles and rockets from all arenas on the home front. This is the largest and most comprehensive IDF maneuver in its history…”

[..] With unrest in Jerusalem, pogroms in Israeli cities, a potential third intifada in the occupied West Bank and a ground invasion of Gaza the Israeli army will be very busy. If it comes to that during the next few days the time could be right for Hizbullah, already on full alarm, to step in and to attack the occupation on the grounds that it is holding. Nasrallah’s speech last week can be understood as an announcement of such a step: “My last message will be for the Israelis themselves. I tell them this: you know well, in your heart of hearts, whether it is based on your religious texts or doctrines, on your books or your prophecies, and also based on what some of your leaders and experts say, and also some of your religious authorities, you know (very well) that this entity (Israel) has no future, that it is on the verge of extinction and that it has little time left to live, very little time. Therefore, in this battle you are wasting your energy, and your young people are wasting their youth and their blood, in vain and to no avail.”

We believe in this near future (where Israel won’t exist anymore), we believe in it very firmly, and this faith is not based only on religious and ideological bases, but is based (above all) on the data, on the events which occur, especially on those of the last decades, the last years and on what will happen (soon) in this region.”

It is possible that Netanyahoo had planned the original escalation in Jerusalem to stay in office: After four elections Israel still has no new government. Prime Minister Netanyahoo is on trial for corruption. A larger war that can be spun into a victory could help him to avoid a judgment and gain votes for the likely soon coming next election. It that was his plan he has achieved a first step towards it: “Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett has taken “off the table” the option of forming a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, due to the ongoing military conflict with Gaza terrorists, a political source says. Bennett has renewed his negotiations with Likud due to the emergency situation, and teams from both parties met today, the source says on condition of anonymity.

But it is not Netanyahoo who can decide when the missiles from Gaza will stop flying. It is not Netanyahoo who can control the Palestinian youth. The escalation dominance is not in his hands but in the hands of the resistance. It is the resistance that decides when the conflict ends.

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Hedges has been there, done that.

Israel, the Big Lie (Chris Hedges)

I spent seven years in the Middle East as a correspondent, four of them as The New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief. I am an Arabic speaker. I lived for weeks at a time in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison where over two million Palestinians exist on the edge of starvation, struggle to find clean water and endure constant Israeli terror. I have been in Gaza when it was pounded with Israeli artillery and air strikes. I have watched mothers and fathers, wailing in grief, cradling the bloodied bodies of their sons and daughters. I know the crimes of the occupation—the food shortages caused by the Israeli blockade, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the near constant electrical outages due to the Israeli targeting of power plants, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. I have witnessed the carnage.

I also have listened from Gaza to the lies emanating from Jerusalem and Washington. Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill thousands of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war: It is state-sponsored terror. And, while I oppose the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel, as I oppose suicide bombings, seeing them also as war crimes, I am acutely aware of a huge disparity between the industrial violence carried out by Israel against innocent Palestinians and the minimal acts of violence capable of being waged by groups such as Hamas. The false equivalency between Israeli and Palestinian violence was echoed during the war I covered in Bosnia.

Those of us in the besieged city of Sarajevo were pounded daily with hundreds of heavy shells and rockets from the surrounding Serbs. We were targeted by sniper fire. The city suffered a few dozen dead and wounded each day. The government forces inside the city fired back with light mortars and small arms fire. Supporters of the Serbs seized on any casualties caused by Bosnian government forces to play the same dirty game, although well over 90 percent of the killings in Bosnia were the fault of the Serbs, as is also true regarding Israel. The second and perhaps most important parallel is that the Serbs, like the Israelis, were the principal violators of international law. Israel is in breach of more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime.

It is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war. Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel. It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” This is the truth. Any other starting point for the discussion of what is taking place between Israel and the Palestinians is a lie.

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May 142021
 


Pablo Picasso Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese) 1932 (sold yesterday for $103.4 million)

 

Predictions On Outcome Of Mass Vaccination During A Pandemic (VanDenBossche)
Don’t Mention Ivermectin; It’ll Upset The Vaccine Rollout (BizN)
CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Largely Stop Wearing Masks (F.)
8 Vaccinated Yanks Coaches, Staff Have Virus (AP)
More Than A Quarter Of EU Adults Reluctant To Get Covid Vaccine (RT)
Scientists Slam WHO For Dismissing Wuhan Lab Leak Theory (DM)
New Study Finds Delaying The Second Dose Of Vaccine Can Save Lives (Hill)
An Insider’s View Of The Tragedy Of The US Deep State (Escobar)
Debt Collectors: We Should Be Able to Break Your Legs (Sirota)
Why Has Netanyahu Allowed For A Palestinian Uprising? (RT)

 

 

There’s no such rule. If only because if there were, it would be illegal.

 

 

VanDenBossche will not be silenced.

Predictions On Outcome Of Mass Vaccination During A Pandemic (VanDenBossche)

Current single (S) and full (F) vaccination rates are shown next to the country name. In all cases, full vaccine resistance is expected to occur within the next few months, or even weeks. A number of smaller islands (e.g., Seychelles, Maldives, Bahrain) have managed high vaccine coverage rates within a relatively short period of time. Some of them had relaxed their infection prevention measures as their vaccine coverage rates were growing (e.g., Seychelles). This already explains why these islands have now begun to face a substantial wave of morbidity and mortality (more infectious variants), even in subjects who’ve been fully vaccinated (see fig. 3a, 3b).

Overall conclusion: Covid-19 vaccination campaigns that are rolled out in the heat of a pandemic will inevitably breed variants that are more infectious and ultimately become resistant to vaccines. The smaller the population and the faster mass vaccination campaigns are rolled out, the faster infection, morbidity and mortality rates will rise. Based on how the pandemic is currently evolving in a number of smaller countries/ islands (e.g., Seychelles, Maldives, Bahrain), it is reasonable to assume that over the next coming months, or weeks, several other countries are going to show a dramatic increase in these rates as well.

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“Only 19 deaths are known and side-affects are generally mild and short. As a comparison, approximately 450 US citizens die from paracetamol every year.”

Don’t Mention Ivermectin; It’ll Upset The Vaccine Rollout (BizN)

What if there was a cheap drug, so old its patent had expired, so safe that it’s on the WHO’s lists of Essential and Children’s Medicines, and used in mass drug administration rollouts? What if it can be taken at home with the first signs COVID symptoms, given to those in close contact, and significantly reduce COVID disease progression and cases, and far fewer few people would need hospitalisation? The international vaccine rollout under Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) would legally have to be halted. For an EUA to be legal, “there must be no adequate, approved and available alternative to the candidate product for diagnosing, preventing or treating the disease or condition.” The vaccines would only become legal once they passed level 4 trials and that certainly won’t happen in 2021.

This would present a major headache for the big public health agencies led by the WHO. The vaccine rollout, outside of trials, would become illegal. The vaccine manufactures, having spent hundreds of million dollars developing and testing vaccines during a pandemic, would not see the $100bn they were expecting in 2021. In a pandemic, and for the next one, we need big pharma to react quickly, and the best way to that, is to reward them financially. Allowing any existing drug, at this time, well into stage 3 trials, to challenge the legality of the EUA of vaccines, is not going to happen easily. On the 31st of March 2021, the WHO recommended against the use of Ivermectin for COVID treatment, citing safety and lack of large RCT proof.

[..] In January this year, the several months long, Ivermectin research, meta-analysis of Randomised Control Trials (RCT), commissioned by WHO was released. The paper showed that Ivermectin reduces death by 74% and is 85% effective as prophylaxis. [..] Ivermectin has been used in humans for 35 years and over 4 billion doses have been administered. Merck, the original patent holder, donated 3.7 billion doses to developing countries. 2015 the two individuals who developed Ivermectin were awarded a Nobel Prize for medicine. While known primarily as an anti-parasitic, Ivermectin has powerful anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Its safety is documented at doses twenty times the normal. Only 19 deaths are known and side-affects are generally mild and short. As a comparison, approximately 450 US citizens die from paracetamol every year.

Merck’s patent on Ivermectin expired in 1996 and they produce less than 5% of global supply. In 2020 they were asked to assist in Nigerian and Japanese trials but declined both. In 2021 Merck released a statement claiming that Ivermectin was not an effective treatment against Covid-19 and bizarrely claimed, “A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies” of the a drug they donated to be distributed in mass rollouts, by primary care workers, in mass campaigns, to millions in developing countries. The media reported the Merck statement as a blinding truth without looking at the conflict of interests when days later, Merck received $356m from the US government to develop an investigational therapeutic. The WHO even quoted Merck, as evidence, that it didn’t work, in their recommendation against the use of Ivermectin. It’s a dangerous world when corporate marketing determines public health policy. Global vaccine rollout, to everyone, is the policy.

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Having a robust immune system will save you from the virus, but not from the new religion.

CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Largely Stop Wearing Masks (F.)

Fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or socially distance in most cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday, a major loosening of Covid-19 advice as more Americans get vaccinated. The CDC’s new guidelines say it’s safe for vaccinated people to go maskless in most indoor and outdoor settings, and they can participate in large activities without physical distancing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing. Americans should still wear masks in healthcare facilities and other sensitive locations, and immunocompromised people should seek medical advice, Walensky said. Walensky cited a range of studies showing the vaccines are highly effective at stopping the spread of coronavirus and staving off serious illness, including most new variants.

Mask mandates are normally the domain of state and city governments, but the CDC releases advice for public officials and individuals, and the federal government mandates masks inside federal buildings and on interstate modes of transit. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky said. “We have all longed for this moment.” 35.4%. That’s the share of Americans who are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine. Some 46.4% have received at least one vaccine shot.

The CDC has gradually lifted its coronavirus guidelines in recent weeks. The agency now says it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to gather in small groups without masks, go maskless outdoors unless they’re in crowded areas, or travel domestically. But some health experts have urged the CDC to move faster, arguing vaccinated people face very little risk of contracting Covid-19 and looser rules would encourage hesitant people to take the vaccine. Many states have already loosened or dropped their mask mandates. Texas and Mississippi struck down virtually all of their coronavirus restrictions in March, some states like Massachusetts and New York have lifted outdoor mask-wearing rules but left indoor restrictions in place, and stricter places like California have promised to drop masking rules in the coming months.

Dr. Anthony Fauci — the federal government’s top infectious disease expert — has started encouraging vaccinated Americans to get used to going maskless outdoors, amid criticism President Joe Biden’s administration has been overly cautious in loosening coronavirus guidelines. “Put aside your mask. You don’t have to wear it,” Fauci told CBS News Thursday.

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Calling VanDenBossche. “All are fully vaccinated.”

8 Vaccinated Yanks Coaches, Staff Have Virus (AP)

New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres was kept out of Wednesday night’s starting lineup at Tampa Bay as a precaution as the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests among the team’s coaching and support staff reached seven. Manager Aaron Boone said MLB’s Joint COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee is waiting and reviewing a number of test results. The members of New York’s traveling party have been tested at least three times each since Tuesday. “I know everybody is going to read into that but hopefully it’s nothing, it’s more just getting all the information,” Boone said of Torres. Boone said the Yankees expect to receive an update about Torres on Wednesday night. He added that Torres tested positive for COVID-19 in December and has been vaccinated.


It was also confirmed by Boone that pitching coach Matt Blake has joined third base Phil Nevin and first base coach Reggie Willits as members of the coaching staff testing positive for the virus. A couple additional staff members had positive tests confirmed on Wednesday, bringing the total there to four. Six of the seven are asymptomatic. All are fully vaccinated. “We’re seeing the vaccinations also kind of blunt the effects of the virus,” Boone said. “We’re also learning as we go and getting informed as what we need to do exactly and just try to do as best we can to be able to make quick adjustments on the fly. Just doing the best we can with it all.” The Yankees on April 30 were able to relax MLB protocols after reaching an 85 percent vaccination rate among players and staff such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers.

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They’ll be shamed and restricted.

More Than A Quarter Of EU Adults Reluctant To Get Covid Vaccine (RT)

Vaccine hesitancy rates in the EU are raising alarms, after a survey found that 27% of adults across the bloc said they’d be unlikely to accept a Covid-19 jab, amid a “failure” to persuade people of its efficacy and safety. A Eurofound survey investigating vaccine take-up across EU member states flagged concerns about the success of messaging from health officials on Covid jabs, warning that the failure to fully convince the adult population to be inoculated could put the fight against the pandemic at risk. Some 27% of those surveyed across Europe, including half of French respondents and 67% of those in Bulgaria, said they would be very unlikely or rather unlikely to get a Covid vaccine.


There were big variations between states though, with people surveyed in Eastern European nations more likely to be more cautious about taking the jab. Hesitancy figures were above 30% in several states, including Croatia, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia. “Unfortunately, these findings reflect a failure to deliver persuasive and clear communication regarding the efficacy and safety of vaccines,” Daphne Ahrendt, senior research manager at Eurofound, said. Looking at the possible root causes of vaccine hesitancy, researchers found a link between people who said they were less likely to get a Covid jab and social media as a main source of information. Among those surveyed who said they primarily relied on social media

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‘The information, data, and samples for the study’s first phase were collected and summarized by the Chinese half of the team; the rest of the team built on this analysis..’

Scientists Slam WHO For Dismissing Wuhan Lab Leak Theory (DM)

Researchers at a number of top universities have penned a letter saying theories that COVID-19 escaped from a Wuhan lab ‘remain viable’ and called for further studies to investigate the origins of the virus. Stanford University microbiologist David Relman and the University of Washington virologist Jesse Bloom organized the letter published in the journal Science and signed by 18 prominent biologists from universities like Harvard and Cambridge. Claims that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have been laughed off as conspiracy theories – but the researchers suggest in the letter that the ‘hypotheses’ cannot be ruled out until there is more evidence. Relman told The Times of London that ‘many who signed this letter feel the same way’ that researchers ‘simply just don’t have enough information.’

‘Anyone who asserts a strong opinion one way or another can’t really be basing it on a whole lot of good data,’ he said. He added: ‘Let’s try to refrain from offering speculation where we really don’t have a basis for it, especially when we’re trying to maintain our credibility has purveyors of good science.’ The letter reads that ‘yet more investigation is still needed to determine the origin of the pandemic.’ ‘Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable. Knowing how COVID-19 emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks,’ the letter reads. The letter blasts the World Health Organization and China for their recent joint study investigating the origins of COVID-19, saying that the theory it came from the lab was ‘not given balanced consideration’ to the theory it came from natural spillover.

The report concluded that it was ‘likely to very likely’ that a bat had infected an intermediate host but said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ it was the result of a laboratory accident. ‘The information, data, and samples for the study’s first phase were collected and summarized by the Chinese half of the team; the rest of the team built on this analysis,’ the letter reads, suggesting China had a conflict of interest. The letter noted that ‘only 4 of the 313 pages of the report and its annexes addressed the possibility of a laboratory accident.’ ‘A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest,’ the letter reads.

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Now they’re just f*king with you.

“Results displayed up to 20 percent less mortality, namely for hypothetical countries ..”

New Study Finds Delaying The Second Dose Of Vaccine Can Save Lives (Hill)

Delaying the second dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine could result in a lower COVID-19 mortality rate, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. In the United States, the vaccination rate has been consistently increasing under President Biden’s ambitious inoculation goals. But other countries are experiencing more delay in vaccinating their residents. Public health experts have advised that Pfizer vaccines be given three weeks apart and Moderna vaccines be given four weeks apart for optimal efficacy. Now, new research suggests that waiting on the second dose may pose some public health benefits. A team of international scientists and researchers constructed a simulation examining the health outcomes associated with the standard interval between COVID-19 vaccinations versus those associated with a delayed second shot.

They found that the cumulative mortality rate tended to be lower in the simulation where participants delayed their second shot beyond the recommended 21 to 28 days after the first shot. Results displayed up to 20 percent less mortality, namely for hypothetical countries that have a lower vaccination rate at 0.1 or 0.3 percent. The report authors made a point to exclude people aged 65 years and older who tend to be more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infections. “A delayed second dose vaccination strategy, at least for people aged under 65, could result in reduced cumulative mortality under certain conditions,” the authors concluded. Notably, researchers found that the declining mortality rate was primarily associated with situations with a low vaccination rate and when the vaccine used in the simulation is above 70 percent effective at preventing infections.

“These results suggest that higher first dose efficacy estimates favor delaying the second dose and that for a first dose efficacy of 70% or below, no meaningful difference is apparent between the standard and delayed second dose strategy,” the report reads. This could have beneficial implications for countries struggling to secure enough vaccine doses to vaccinate their population and that, in certain situations, delaying a second dose could help lower deaths due to COVID-19.

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“The first point that we make is that it was not Kissinger who created policy for Nixon, but the Deep State. Kissinger was just a messenger boy. ”

An Insider’s View Of The Tragedy Of The US Deep State (Escobar)

Henry Kissinger, 97, Henry the K. for those he keeps close, is either a Delphic oracle-style strategic thinker or a certified war criminal for those kept not so close… He now seems to have been taking time off his usual Divide and Rule stock in trade – advising the combo behind POTUS, a.k.a. Crash Test Dummy – to emit some realpolitik pearls of wisdom. At a recent forum in Arizona, referring to the festering, larger than life Sino-American clash, Henry the K. said, “It’s the biggest problem for America; it’s the biggest problem for the world. Because if we can’t solve that, then the risk is that all over the world a kind of cold war will develop between China and the United States.” In realpolitik terms, this “kind of Cold War” is already on; across the Beltway, China is unanimously regarded as the premier U.S. national security threat.

Kissinger added U.S. policy toward China must be a mix of stressing U.S. “principles” to demand China’s respect and dialogue to find areas of cooperation: “I’m not saying that diplomacy will always lead to beneficial results…This is the complex task we have… Nobody has succeeded in doing it completely.” Henry the K. actually must have lost the – diplomatic – plot. What Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are now involved in, full time, is to demonstrate – mostly to the Global South – how the American-enforced “rules-based international order” has absolutely nothing to do with international law and the respect of national sovereignty. At first I had archived these Henry the K. platitudes out of sight. But then someone who used to hold a stellar position at the top of the U.S. Deep State showed he had been paying close attention.

This personality – let’s call him Mr. S. – has been one of my invaluable, trustworthy sources since the early 2000s. Mutual confidence was always key. I asked him if I could publish selected passages of his analysis, not naming names. Consent was given – ruefully. So fasten your seat belts. Mr. S., in a quite intriguing fashion, seems to be expressing the collective views of a number of extremely qualified people. Right from the start, he points out how Henry the K.’s observations explain today’s Russia-China-Iran triangle. “The first point that we make is that it was not Kissinger who created policy for Nixon, but the Deep State. Kissinger was just a messenger boy. In the 1972 situation the Deep State wanted to get out of Vietnam, which policy was put in place as containment of communist China and Russia. We were there based on the domino theory.”

“The Deep State wanted to achieve a number of objectives in approaching Chairman Mao, who was antagonized by Russia. It wanted to ally in 1972 with China against Russia. That made Vietnam meaningless, for China would become the containing party of Russia and Vietnam no longer meant anything. We wanted to balance China against Russia. Now, China was not a major power in 1972 but it could drain Russia, forcing it to place 400,000 troops on their border. And our Deep State policy worked. We in the Deep State had thought it through, and not Kissinger. 400,000 troops on the Chinese border was a drain on their budget, as later Afghanistan became with over 100,000 troops, and the Warsaw Pact had another 600,000 troops.”

Read more …

Lobby.

Debt Collectors: We Should Be Able to Break Your Legs (Sirota)

Two months ago, debt collectors won a victory when congressional lawmakers allowed stimulus checks to be garnished by creditors and government agencies. Now, as the credit industry hits a jackpot during the pandemic, the leading lobby group for debt collectors has more than tripled the amount of cash it funnels to lawmakers as it campaigns to block upcoming Democratic legislation to protect millions of Americans from the repo man. At issue is a package of bills designed to restrict the $13 billion debt collection industry, as new Federal Reserve and Census Bureau reports show consumer and medical debt has skyrocketed during the pandemic. One measure would prohibit the collection of medical debt for the first two years after a medical payment is due.

Another would discharge student debt in the event of a debtor’s death. Other provisions aim to block lenders from forcing debtors to sign away their legal rights; outlaw threats of demotion that debt collectors reportedly aim at members of the military; and subject government-contracted debt collectors to the same restrictions as consumer debt collectors. “In the midst of the pandemic crisis, predatory debt collectors have made record profits while continuing with their abusive, harassing tactics while consumers struggle to make ends meet through no fault of their own,” said Democratic representative Maxine Waters, who led the successful effort to pass the bill through the House Financial Services Committee last month over the objections of GOP lawmakers.

As the legislation now moves to the House floor Thursday, ACA International — which bills itself as “the largest trade group for the debt collection industry” — has been running what it calls a “grassroots campaign” urging its 2,500 members to pressure lawmakers to vote down the legislation. “The accounts receivable management industry plays a key role in the process of attempting to recover outstanding payments, and as such, collection agencies are an extension of every community’s businesses,” says a form letter that ACA has asked debt collectors to send to lawmakers. “If creditors cannot collect, they will be forced to not lend, and consumers — who much of this legislation is supposedly aimed at protecting — will end up being harmed the most, particularly those with fewer options for credit.”

Read more …

Trying to stay out of jail.

Why Has Netanyahu Allowed For A Palestinian Uprising? (RT)

Lehava, the extremist settler group that organised the racist demonstration weeks ago, is headed by a man named Bentzi Gopstein. Although the group would previously have been allowed no legitimacy by the Israeli government, Gopstein’s lawyer, Itamar Ben-Gvir, is a member of the Knesset and a close ally of Israeli PM Netanyahu. Ben-Gvir heads the Jewish Power party (Otzma Yehudit), which falls under the Religious Zionism slate led by Bezalel Smotrich. It’s no surprise, then, that Lehava feels they have been accorded a sense of legitimacy, when they witness Israeli members of the Knesset and allies of the prime minister standing beside them in Jerusalem. Israel just had its fourth round of elections since 2019, in which Netanyahu’s Likud won the most seats of any party.

But Likud’s, combined with the seats of their natural allies, still fell short of the 61-seat threshold required to form a government. The Religious Zionism slate forms part of Netanyahu’s backbone when it comes to his political survival, so any decision by the Israeli premier to abandon them could hurt him politically. After Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government, the responsibility to do so was handed over to the opposition figure Yair Lapid, who was invited to form a coalition of anti-Netanyahu parties. At this point, Netanyahu is fighting not only to stay in government, but also to avoid potentially going to prison on charges of corruption. Conversely, if Yesh Atid party leader Lapid cannot form a coalition government either, Israel will then head to a fifth round of elections, which would keep Netanyahu in power and give him more time to prepare for a potential future victory at the polls.

Following the Israeli settler “death to Arabs” march, the leader of the Palestinian political party Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, warned that the next march, planned for Israel’s Jerusalem Day would not be tolerated and there would be a response. In fact, a barrage of about 30 rockets was fired the night following the original march, and claimed by the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in response to attacks on hundreds of Palestinians in Jerusalem. The issue of Israeli courts processing the orders for evicting Palestinians from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which threatens to render 550 people homeless, has also been another point of contention.

Instead of stepping in to de-escalate tensions, in accordance with calls from Israel’s close ally, the United States, Netanyahu has allowed his allies from the Religious Zionism slate to provoke Palestinians further. When last Friday’s attack on worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound occurred, the ‘Joint Operations Room’ of Palestinian armed factions, based in Gaza, vowed a response to Israel if it did not stop the settler march planned for Monday. Yet Netanyahu still stood idly by and refused to act, ignoring the threats, and, on Monday, allowed for another escalation, which led to the injuring of hundreds in Jerusalem.

Richard Medhurst
https://twitter.com/i/status/1392873946232639488

Read more …

 

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Feb 082021
 


Claude Monet Houses of Parliament, Sunset 1904

 

South Africa Halts AstraZeneca Vaccinations Over Variant Data (R.)
New Israeli Drug Cured 29 Of 30 Moderate/Serious Covid Cases In Days (ToI)
In Corzano 10% Of Population Positive For English Variant (ANSA)
Even ‘Scientist’ Models Now Forecast COVID Scourge Ending By Summer (ZH)
WaPo Says COVID Lab Accident “Plausible”, “Must Be Investigated” (ZH)
UK Vaccine Minister Says Gov’t Is Not Planning Covid Vaccine Passport (RT)
The World Welcomes Biden But Hedges Its Bets (Feffer)
US Moves To Rejoin UN Human Rights Council (AP)
The Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows (Greenwald)
The Coming “Monetary Hurricane” Is A White Swan (Bassman)
“This Is For You, Dad”: Interview With An Anonymous GameStop Investor (Taibbi)
Shark Deaths Have Left a ‘Gaping Hole’ in Ocean Life (SA)

 

 

NOTE: Don’t miss John Day MD’s guide for COVID prevention and treatment that I published earlier today: Treat Your Own COVID.

It could save your life.

 

 

What happens when you bet everythig on red under emergency authorizations.

..preliminary data showed efficacy dropped to 22% against the South African variant..

South Africa Halts AstraZeneca Vaccinations Over Variant Data (R.)

South Africa will put on hold use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot in its vaccination programme, after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday that the government would await advice from scientists on how best to proceed, after a trial showed the AstraZeneca vaccine did not significantly reduce the risk of mild or moderate COVID-19 from the 501Y.V2 variant that caused a second wave of infections starting late last year. Prior to widespread circulation of the more contagious variant, the vaccine was showing efficacy of around 75%, researchers said.

In a later analysis based mostly on infections by the new variant, there was only a 22% lower risk of developing mild-to-moderate COVID-19 versus those given a placebo. Although researchers said the figure was not statistically significant, due to trial design, it is well below the benchmark of at least 50% regulators have set for vaccines to be considered effective against the virus. The study did not assess whether the vaccine helped prevent severe COVID-19 because it involved mostly relatively young adults not considered to be at high risk for serious illness. AstraZeneca said on Saturday that it believed its vaccine could protect against severe disease and that it had already started adapting it against the 501Y.V2 variant.

Still, professor Shabir Madhi, lead investigator on the AstraZeneca trial in South Africa, said data on the vaccine were a reality check and that it was time to “recalibrate our expectations of COVID-19 vaccines”.

Read more …

EXO-CD24

New Israeli Drug Cured 29 Of 30 Moderate/Serious Covid Cases In Days (ToI)

A new coronavirus treatment being developed at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center has successfully completed phase 1 trials and appears to have helped numerous moderate-to-serious cases of COVID-19 quickly recover from the disease, the hospital said Friday. Hailing a “huge breakthrough,” the hospital said Prof. Nadir Arber’s EXO-CD24 substance had been administered to 30 patients whose conditions were moderate or worse, and all 30 recovered — 29 of them within three to five days. The medicine fights the cytokine storm — a potentially lethal immune overreaction to the coronavirus infection that is believed to be responsible for much of the deaths associated with the disease.

It uses exosomes — tiny carrier sacs that shuttle materials between cells — to deliver a protein called CD24 to the lungs, which Arber has spent decades researching. “This protein is located on the surface of cells and has a well known and important role in regulating the immune system,” said researcher Shiran Shapira of Arber’s lab. The protein helps calm down the immune system and curb the storm. “The preparation is inhaled once a day for a few minutes, for five days,” Arber said. “The preparation is directed straight to the heart of the storm — the lungs — so unlike other formulas… which selectively restrain a certain cytokine, or operate widely but cause many serious side effects, EXO-CD24 is administered locally, works broadly and without side effects.”

The medicine will now move on to further trial phases, but hospital officials were already hailing it as a possible game-changer in fighting serious COVID-19 illness. Ichilov director Roni Gamzu, the former coronavirus czar, said the research “is advanced and sophisticated and may save coronavirus patients. The results of the phase 1 trial are excellent and give us all confidence in the method [Arber] has been researching in his lab for many years.” He added: “I am proud that at Ichilov we are… possibly bringing a blue and white remedy to a terrible global pandemic.”

Read more …

Through Google Translate.

10% of the village of Corzano Flag of Italy has the #B117 variant—10% of all residents! 60% of cases are kids from kindergarten and primary school, other 40% are their parents.

In Corzano 10% Of Population Positive For English Variant (ANSA)

10% of the population of Corzano, a town of 1400 people in the province of Brescia, is positive for covid. “We have 140 positives and 60% are elementary and kindergarten students who in turn infected their families”, the mayor of the town Giovanni Benzoni, also positive, explained to ANSA. “Three out of four have covid at home,” he said. According to the analyzes of Ats Brescia, the population is infected by the English variant of Covid. The mayor has closed schools until February 8. “But the ordinance will be extended – he specified – because the recall swabs begin today and therefore we will have to wait for the results”. The authorities would be considering the possibility of closing the country in and out. “I didn’t know anything, but I can say that in the last few hours we have had only one more case. All the families are in solitary confinement and we expect the curve to go down again,” commented the mayor.

Read more …

How much of the good news is due to adjusting PCR testing cycles?

Even ‘Scientist’ Models Now Forecast COVID Scourge Ending By Summer (ZH)

The covid pandemic was front and center today in economic news, when its impact was felt throughout the January payrolls report (if not to the same extent as December payrolls), whose disappointing +49k reading could be easily explained by continued job losses in the Leisure & Hospitality sector due to COVID-19 outbreaks and associated lockdown measures and restrictions. However, as BofA’s Hans Mikkelsen writes, “given that the US COVID-19 situation is improving rapidly – for example the number of people hospitalized is down one-third over the past month – and restrictions are lifted in many large states like California, it is straightforward to expect much stronger payrolls going forward.” Indeed, the latest Covid data shows that absent any major shocks – such as a mutant strain that is fully immune to any existing vaccines – the pandemic should be a thing of the past relatively soon.


Here are the latest facts: the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US has declined dramatically to 88,668, or 43,806 – one-third – off the peak which occurred on January 5th (Figure 4) – a rapid turn in the crisis (Figure 5). The decrease is broad-based (48 states+DC, except for AK, MT and VT that saw minimal 1, 1 and 7 person increases over the past week, respectively).

The weekly percentage change in US COVID-19 hospitalized is consistent with the largest declines seen during the Coronavirus crisis (Figure 6). Moreover the 7-day test positivity rate has declined to 7.6% from the 13.6% peak on January 8th (Figure 7).

Since hospitalizations are lagged relative to time of infection the US Corona outbreaks peaked back in the second half of December. Finally, the vaccine rollout continues in the US at a rapid pace of around 1mn doses per day and a cumulative 35.2mn doses administered through February 2rd.

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And now we’ll never know.

WaPo Says COVID Lab Accident “Plausible”, “Must Be Investigated” (ZH)

Exactly one year ago today, Zero Hedge was ‘enjoying’ our suspension by Twitter after we pointed out that scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been experimenting on bat coronaviruses, and that investigators trying to determine the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak might want to have a word with them. We later reported that the same scientists had been using ‘gain-of-function’ research to make bat coronaviruses more transmissible to human beings – for which they were roundly criticized in 2015. Thus, it seemed only logical that the possibility of a lab escape at ‘ground zero’ was at least non-zero, and should be investigated alongside the ‘natural origin’ theory which posits that the virus jumped from bats to an intermediary species, which then infected a cluster of people at a Wuhan wet market.

According to a study published in The Lancet, 66% of patients admitted to Wuhan hospitals (27 out of 41) as of January 2nd, 2020 had been exposed to the Huanan seafood market. Since then, the lab leak hypothesis has gained traction – and has been elevated to let’s at least investigate status by legitimate bodies. Three weeks ago, the US State Department announced that while they haven’t determined whether the COVID-19 pandemic “began through contact with infected animals or was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China,” the US government “has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.”

And in late January, A World Health Organization (WHO) adviser who previously worked under President Clinton and then-Senator Joe Biden said that COVID-19 was most likely an accidental lab leak. Which brings us to the Washington Post, whose editorial board on Sunday suggested that the lab leak hypothesis was “plausible” and “must be investigated.” “Many scientists have speculated that the virus leaped from animals, such as bats, to humans, perhaps with an intermediate stop in another animal. This kind of zoonotic spillover has occurred before, such as in the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014. But there is another pathway, also plausible, that must be investigated. That is the possibility of a laboratory accident or leak. It could have involved a virus that was improperly disposed of or perhaps infected a laboratory worker who then passed it to others.”

Read more …

I would like to see them try, and then get stiffed in court.

UK Vaccine Minister Says Gov’t Is Not Planning Covid Vaccine Passport (RT)

Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi denied claims that the UK government is planning to introduce a “vaccine passport” detailing which Brits have been vaccinated and which haven’t, calling the idea “discriminatory.” Asked during an interview with Sky News on Sunday whether the government is looking at the possibility of creating a vaccine passport, as has been speculated, Zahawi said, “No we are not.” The minister explained that those who receive their first dose of the vaccine get “a card from the NHS with their name on it,” the date they received their first dose, and the date of the second dose, and that this is all the government is currently supporting.

Zahawi said the major reasons why the government is not planning a vaccine passport is because “we don’t know the impact of the vaccines on transmission,” with vaccinated Brits currently being warned that they could still carry the virus, and that the practice “would be discriminatory.” “I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward and be vaccinated because they want to, rather than it being made in some way mandatory through a passport. If other countries demand proof of vaccination for entry, he added, “then you can ask your GP, because your GP will hold the record.” Zahawi did acknowledge that technology companies have received funding from UK Research and Innovation to look at the creation of vaccine passport apps, but concluded, “We are not planning to have a passport in the UK.”

“I just want to repeat that because I’ve had a lot of it on my social media,” he explained, adding, “We are certainly not looking to introduce this as part of the vaccine deployment program.” A petition calling for the UK government to commit against rolling out a vaccine passport received nearly 60,000 signatures after reports indicated that it was looking at such a system to allow Brits to go abroad. The concept of a vaccine passport has become extremely controversial in the UK and elsewhere, with figures like former Prime Minister Tony Blair in support, but others arguing it would turn those who have not been vaccinated into ‘second-class’ citizens and essentially strongarm them into getting vaccinated against their wishes.

Read more …

Nothing changes. Other than the window dressing.

The World Welcomes Biden But Hedges Its Bets (Feffer)

The nightmare is over. The vanquished beast has crawled back to Mar-a-Lago to lick his wounds. The heroes are hard at work repairing the damage. As America returns to the international stage, the world heaves a collective sigh of relief. That, at least, is the story the incoming Biden administration is telling. “America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back,” as Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the administration’s nominee for U.N. ambassador, put it shortly after the election. According to this narrative of redemption, the globe’s Atlas shrugged off its burden during the four years of Donald Trump’s tenure but is now ready to reassume its global leadership responsibilities.

Don’t believe it, though. Much of the rest of the world seems visibly queasy at the prospect of sitting on America’s shoulders, since who’s to say that Atlas won’t shrug again? And perhaps Atlas wasn’t such a responsible fellow in the first place.

Over the last several decades, the United States has displayed all the hallmarks of a country suffering from a serious personality disorder characterized by mood swings of gargantuan proportions. From the compromised multilateralism of the Bill Clinton years, the United States pivoted to the aggressive armed unilateralism of George W. Bush. Then, after boomeranging back to the centrist (if still over-armed) internationalism of Barack Obama, it took the wildest of detours into MAGA-land with Donald Trump. In the latest case of foreign-policy whiplash, Joe Biden is now preparing to return the country to a “new and improved” version of Obama’s global liberalism (with a dash of anti-Chinese fervor thrown in). Americans are by now remarkably familiar with such side effects of twenty-first-century democracy. We’ve skimmed the fine print on the label more than once and become reasonably inured to the adverse consequences of our civic religion.

Much of the world, however, is not accustomed to such volatility. The Kim family has ruled North Korea from day one, while Paul Biya has run Cameroon since 1982. Over the last 30 years, China has settled into its predictable version of market Leninism. Putatively democratic countries like Russia and Turkey have had the same leadership for two decades, while a genuinely democratic country like Germany has had the same chancellor for 15 years. The rest of Western Europe has seen numerous changes in those who hold the reins of power, but oscillations in governance have generally stayed within a relatively narrow political spectrum. European Union policies have similarly remained on a remarkably even keel, despite disruptions like Brexit. These days, however, democrats and dictators alike are unsure, from one day to the next, whether the United States will be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

Read more …

“Neither Obama nor Trump were able to reform this fundamentally broken UN agency that institutionally legitimizes human rights abusers. Biden must not only confront the Council’s systemic antisemitism, but its complicity in China’s human rights abuses.”

US Moves To Rejoin UN Human Rights Council (AP)

The Biden administration is set to announce this week that it will reengage with the much-maligned U.N. Human Rights Council that former President Donald Trump withdrew from almost three years ago, U.S. officials said Sunday. The decision reverses another Trump-era move away from multilateral organizations and agreements. U..S. officials say Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a senior U.S. diplomat in Geneva will announce on Monday that Washington will return to the Geneva-based body as an observer with an eye toward seeking election as a full member. The decision is likely to draw criticism from conservative lawmakers and many in the pro-Israel community.

Trump pulled out of the world body’s main human rights agency in 2018 due to its disproportionate focus on Israel, which has received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any country, as well as the number of authoritarian countries among its members and because it failed to meet an extensive list of reforms demanded by then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. In addition to the council’s persistent focus on Israel, the Trump administration took issue with the body’s membership, which currently includes China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses.

One senior U.S. official said the Biden administration believed the council must still reform but that the best way to promote change is to “engage with it in a principled fashion.” The official said it can be “an important forum for those fighting tyranny and injustice around the world” and the U.S. presence intends to “ensure it can live up to that potential.”

Read more …

Cancel Culture.

The Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows (Greenwald)

A new and rapidly growing journalistic “beat” has arisen over the last several years that can best be described as an unholy mix of junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance. It is half adolescent and half malevolent. Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power. Though its epicenter is the largest corporate media outlets, it is the very antithesis of journalism.

I’ve written before about one particularly toxic strain of this authoritarian “reporting.” Teams of journalists at three of the most influential corporate media outlets — CNN’s “media reporters” (Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy), NBC’s “disinformation space unit” (Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny), and the tech reporters of The New York Times (Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel) — devote the bulk of their “journalism” to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated, flagging them, and then pleading that punitive action be taken (banning, censorship, content regulation, after-school detention). These hall-monitor reporters are a major factor explaining why tech monopolies, which (for reasons of self-interest and ideology) never wanted the responsibility to censor, now do so with abandon and seemingly arbitrary blunt force: they are shamed by the world’s loudest media companies when they do not.

Just as the NSA is obsessed with ensuring there be no place on earth where humans can communicate free of their spying eyes and ears, these journalistic hall monitors cannot abide the idea that there can be any place on the internet where people are free to speak in ways they do not approve. Like some creepy informant for a state security apparatus, they spend their days trolling the depths of chat rooms and 4Chan bulletin boards and sub-Reddit threads and private communications apps to find anyone — influential or obscure — who is saying something they believe should be forbidden, and then use the corporate megaphones they did not build and could not have built but have been handed in order to silence and destroy anyone who dissents from the orthodoxies of their corporate managers or challenges their information hegemony.

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Harley Bassman, creator of the MOVE index, aka the “VIX for bonds”.

The Coming “Monetary Hurricane” Is A White Swan (Bassman)

When one hears hoof beats, look for horses not zebras. There is no reason to ruminate over exotic possibilities when the problems we face are quite clear. Once again, ignore the merits of the public policy response – what is important is that there is wide support from both the Democrats and Republicans to offer significant Fiscal relief supported by massive Monetary expansion. Will this be inflationary – Yes; but it is unclear how soon. I made the case in my December 2, 2020 commentary, ”The Wages of Fear”, that demographics will set ablaze the dry kindling of printed money sometime between 2023 to 2025; and nothing has occurred to change that prediction. What is clear is that a financial bubble is being inflated, and there is risk on both sides of the distribution.

Ordinarily the bloviating pundits advise one to sell assets, or perhaps execute some sort of hedge such as buying puts or selling covered calls. They are looking in the wrong direction. While I am not a stomping bull, the approaching monetary hurricane could well make the “surprise” a further rally in equities. Printed money should elevate stocks; either via a continued flow into assets, or into the pockets of consumers who will spend it and thus increase corporate profits. (Yes, higher taxes could be an offset, but let’s save that for another Commentary.) As noted, inflation is an eventual certainty, so one should own real assets; and over the longest run stocks will hold their real value. Notwithstanding the Robinhood day traders, stock equity is an ownership right in a real company.

Weimar Germany is the nightmare scenario for inflation; but contrary to expectations, stockholders were protected. While the German Papiermark vs. USD exchange rate exploded (4.2 Trillion per USD), the German Stock Index, currency adjusted into USD, held its value. As such, when faced with nominal inflation – Do not sell call options.

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Great interview. Must read.

“This Is For You, Dad”: Interview With An Anonymous GameStop Investor (Taibbi)

Thursday, January 21st was a critical day in the story of the video game chain GameStop (ticker name: GME). Retail investors, including many subscribers to a Reddit forum called wallstreetbets, pushed the company’s stock from $6 to $43.03, but experts said playtime was over. It was time for the big shots to clean up. According to Citron Research, one of many funds that had bet on the brick-and-mortar store to fail, those investing in GME were “the suckers at this poker game,” and would soon be sorry when the stock went “back to $20 fast.” They were wrong. Instead of amateurs being shoved aside by hedge funds, it was the pros who had their backs broken, as GME soared to $65.05, beginning a steep ascent that would become an international news phenomenon.

It was the “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” moment for Wall Street. The pros had been sloppy. By late 2020, shares in GameStop were well over 100% short. A sudden rise in value would force shorts to pay exorbitant prices just to get out of the trade. By the afternoon of the 21st, all the “suckers” on Reddit had to do to beat them was nothing, and they did just that, behind the rallying cry “diamond hands,” signifying a determination to hold at all costs. Why hold? One of the millions of subscribers to wallstreetbets posted a note, explaining what the trade meant to him:

This is for you, Dad

I remember when the housing collapse sent a torpedo through my family. My father’s concrete company collapsed almost overnight. My father lost his home. My uncle lost his home. I remember my brother helping my father count pocket change on our kitchen table. That was all the money he had left in the world. While this was happening in my home, I saw hedge funders literally drinking champagne as they looked down on the Occupy Wall Street protesters. I will never forget that. My father never recovered from that blow. He fell deeper and deeper into alcoholism and exists now as a shell of his former self, waiting for death. This is all the money I have and I’d rather lose it all than give them what they need to destroy me. Taking money from me won’t hurt me, because I don’t value it at all. I’ll burn it down just to spite them. This is for you, Dad.

Read more …

Don’t count on them bouncing back.

Shark Deaths Have Left a ‘Gaping Hole’ in Ocean Life (SA)

Overfishing has wiped out over 70 percent of some shark and ray populations in the last half-century, leaving a “gaping, growing hole” in ocean life, according to a new study. Researchers found alarming declines in species ranging from hammerhead sharks to manta rays. Among the worst affected is the oceanic whitetip, a powerful shark often described as particularly dangerous to man, which now hovers on the edge of extinction because of human activity. Targeted for their fins, oceanic whitetips are caught up by indiscriminate fishing techniques. Their global population has dropped 98 percent in the last 60 years, said Nick Dulvy, the study’s senior author and a professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

“That’s a worse decline than most large terrestrial mammal populations, and getting up there or as bad as the blue whale decline,” he told AFP. Dulvy and a team of scientists spent years collecting and analysing information from scientific studies and fisheries data to build up a picture of the global state of 31 species of sharks and rays. They found three-quarters of the species examined were so depleted that they face extinction. These are “the most wide-ranging species in the largest, most remote habitats on the earth, which are often assumed to be protected from human influence”, the study’s lead author Nathan Pacoureau told AFP. “We knew the situation was bad in a lot of places but that information came from different studies and reports, so it was difficult to have an idea of the global situation,” added Pacoureau, a post-doctoral fellow at SFU’s department of biological science.

[..] For 18 species where more data was available, the researchers concluded global populations had fallen over 70 percent since 1970. Dulvy said the figure was likely to be similar, or even worse, for other oceanic sharks and rays, but gaps in data made it difficult to draw conclusions. The results were a shock even for experts, Pacoureau said, describing specialists at a meeting on shark conservation being “stunned into silence” when confronted with the figures.

Read more …

 

 

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Jan 252021
 


Amedeo Modigliani Jeanne Hebuterne 1919

 

Israel: 60% Drop In Hospitalizations For Age 60+ 3 Weeks After 1st Shot (ToI)
Nevada District To Partially Reopen Schools As Student Suicides Surge (Hill)
California Refuses To Disclose COVID19 Data Used To Drive Lockdowns (ZH)
Covid-19 Variant In California May Explain Sharp Rise In Cases (F.)
Tulsi Gabbard: Domestic-Terrorism Bill Targets Almost Half The Country (NR)
Biden 2020 Run Backed By $145 Million In ‘Dark Money’ (ZH)
Rubio: Trump Impeachment Trial Is ‘Stupid’ (Hill)
Impeachment Trial To Keep National Guard Troops At Capitol (Pol.)
UN Agency: China Surpassed US In Foreign Direct Investments In 2020 (Hill)
Boeing 737 Max Cleared To Fly Again ‘Too Early’ (BBC)
Australia Says ‘Inevitable’ That Facebook & Google Will Pay For Content (RT)
Facebook Feeds Private Messages of Its Users Directly to the FBI (TFTP)
Toxic Chemicals Threaten Humanity’s Ability To Reproduce (IC)

 

 

 

 

Build Back Better
https://twitter.com/i/status/1351507371386949639

 

 

Could be good news. But I’m a bit reluctant to attach too much meaning to 6 vs 18 infections among 50,777 people. Once you apply normal procedures like margin of error to this, then what are you left with? What would a bookmaker make of it?

Israel: 60% Drop In Hospitalizations For Age 60+ 3 Weeks After 1st Shot (ToI)

Vaccines are quickly averting serious cases of COVID-19 among the most vulnerable members of society, an Israeli healthcare provider has indicated. The full effects of Pfizer’s vaccine are only slated to kick in around a month after the first shot, but data from Israel, home to the world’s fastest vaccination drive, has already shown that there is a stark drop in infections even before this point. Attracting widespread international interest by sharing early data, Maccabi Healthcare Services reported earlier this month that it has seen a 60 percent reduction in coronavirus infections three weeks after the first shot is administered. But it wasn’t clear if the benefits were being felt equally by those who have a propensity to mild infection and those who would be likely to take COVID-19 badly.

Now, Maccabi is starting to answer the question that hospitals and health ministers around the world are anxiously asking, amid fears of health service meltdowns: How quickly will COVID-19 wards start to see the benefits of vaccination? The decrease in hospital admissions is swift after vaccination, Maccabi suggests in its latest data, finding that hospitalizations start to fall sharply from Day 18 after people receive the first shot. Galia Rahav, head of infectious diseases at Israel’s largest hospital, Sheba Medical Center, described the data as “very important.” By Day 23, which is 2 days after the second shot, there is a 60% drop in hospitalizations among vaccinated people aged 60-plus, Maccabi revealed after monitoring 50,777 patients. It compared their hospitalization rate at that point with their hospitalization rate soon after receiving the vaccine, using 7-day moving averages.

“This is very important data,” Rahav, who is unconnected to the study, told The Times of Israel. “It has an impact because amid high infection rates and the spread of variants it’s hard to see from general figures how vaccination is influencing things. “By giving an insight into hospitalizations among just those elderly people who were vaccinated, this data is valuable.” However, she cautioned that some of the drop may be due to a tendency of newly vaccinated people to adhere to lockdown rules, which causes a drop in infection and hospitalization.The new data also supports Maccabi’s earlier claim of a 60% infection rate drop after three weeks, reporting that it saw the same drop with a new sample comprising only the 60-plus age group. Maccabi’s graph gives a real picture of infection in Israel, showing that until Day 13, vaccinated over-60s had similar infection rates as the overall 60-plus population. Then, a gap opens, and by Day 23, there were 18 daily infections among the 50,777 overall, but just six among the vaccinated.

Read more …

One dimension is not enough.

Nevada District To Partially Reopen Schools As Student Suicides Surge (Hill)

The Clark County School District in Nevada is moving to partially reopen schools in response to a surge of student suicides, The New York Times reports. Eighteen students in the county took their own lives in the final nine months of 2020, the Times reports, leading the Clark County school board to approve returning some elementary school grades and struggling classes back to in-person learning despite the continuing spread of the coronavirus. “When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the COVID numbers we need to look at anymore,” said Clark County superintendent Jesus Jara. “We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope.”

According to Jara, the 18 suicides in the nine months that schools have been closed is double the number of suicides recorded in the school district in the entire previous year. The youngest student to kill themselves was nine years old. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on students’ mental health, grades and attendance around the world and health and education experts have struggled with the best way to protect students – and the faculty, staff and family members who may be more vulnerable – while tending to their mental health and education. In Virginia’s largest school district, the number of F’s nearly doubled among middle school and high school students.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has called for schools to remain open if at all possible, saying there is a way for them to do so safely. The Times reports that Clark County, which includes the city of Las Vegas, invested in the GoGuardian Beacon alert system following the sixth student suicide. The system monitors student writing on iPads provided by the school district, looking for suicide risks. More than 31,000 alerts were made between the months of June and October.

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“..they won’t answer why indoor religious services are strictly forbidden while other venues where people gather are just fine..”

California Refuses To Disclose COVID19 Data Used To Drive Lockdowns (ZH)

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) promised months ago that the state’s COVID-19 policy decisions would be driven by transparent data that would be shared with the public. Now, his administration is refusing to disclose key information used to determine when lockdown orders are implemented or rescinded – and has denied a public records request filed with the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency on May 28 by the Center for American Liberty (CAL) seeking both the data and science behind the state’s lockdown decisions, according to Fox News. State health officials now say they rely on a ‘very complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead the public,’ AP reports.

In short, California says you’re too stupid to understand their rationale for mandating thousands of businesses into financial ruin through what appear to be arbitrary and unscientific decisions. To wit, at least two California judges have struck down the state’s draconian mandates over lack of scientific evidence to support lockdowns and restaurant restrictions. Not only that, according to SFGATE, there’s growing speculation that California’s ban on outdoor dining may have contributed to the state’s COVID-19 surge. Not the best of optics as as a GOP effort to recall Newsom continues to gain momentum. According to CAL executive director Mark Trammel, the Golden State won’t answer why, for example, they won’t answer why indoor religious services are strictly forbidden while other venues where people gather are just fine.

“If it’s safe enough to go to a marijuana dispensary or Macy’s or Costco that same standard should apply to parishioners in our congregation they should be able to sep in pews and wear a mask,” Trammel told Fox News in a recent interview. Dr. Lee Riley, chairman of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health infectious disease division thinks the state’s lack of transparency is troubling. “There is more uncertainty created by NOT releasing the data that only the state has access to,” he told the Associated Press in an email.

Read more …

Get your own variant!

Covid-19 Variant In California May Explain Sharp Rise In Cases (F.)

The post-Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s surge of Covid-19 cases has been felt in nearly all 50 states, but perhaps none more so than California. More specifically, Southern California, and even more specifically, Los Angeles County, have been experiencing daily case counts never before seen in the past 11 months. Hospitals have been in surge mode since the week before Christmas, with ICU capacity down to 0% in many facilities. Reminiscent of New York City back in April 2020, refrigerated trucks for deceased bodies of those who succumbed to complications due to Covid-19 infections were seen outside of many hospitals, where morgues became full in recent weeks. Some hospitals have been using tents, hallways, and even hospital gift shops as patient care areas. Some hospitals were operating at 200% capacity.

Most have canceled non-emergency surgeries, procedures, and admissions. Death rates of hospitalized patients have risen, in part due to stresses on personnel and equipment availability, and in part due to the fact that only the very sickest patients would be provided an inpatient hospital bed. Initial thoughts that the relatively cooler weather, even for Southern California, combined with pandemic fatigue and complacency, all in the midst of holiday gatherings and travel, would explain the remarkable uptick in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. By early January 2021, test positivity in Los Angeles County was in the 20% range, and one Angeleno was dying from Covid every six to eight minutes. But just as the U.K. has identified a more transmissible variant, termed B.1.1.7, South Africa has identified another highly transmissible variant, and a third variant has arisen in Japan and Brazil, California has found one of its own.

The California strain, known as Cal.20C, has been identified in 35-50% of recently diagnosed cases in Los Angeles. And as has been the case for the other variants across the world, all of which have crossed oceans and borders, the Cal.20C variant is more infectious than the prior forms of coronavirus, or SARS-CoV2. In addition, this and the previously identified variants are not necessarily more deadly, nor do they necessarily cause more significant illnesses. The variant, although named for the western-most state, has also been found in other states in the Southwest as well as the Northeast.

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“You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house..”

Tulsi Gabbard: Domestic-Terrorism Bill Targets Almost Half The Country (NR)

Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democratic representative from Hawaii, on Friday expressed concern that a proposed measure to combat domestic terrorism could be used to undermine civil liberties. Gabbard’s comments came during an appearance on Fox News Primetime when host Brian Kilmeade asked her if she was “surprised they’re pushing forward with this extra surveillance on would-be domestic terror.” “It’s so dangerous as you guys have been talking about, this is an issue that all Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians should be extremely concerned about, especially because we don’t have to guess about where this goes or how this ends,” Gabbard said. She continued:

“When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with or heard from appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements similar to the insurgencies they’ve seen overseas, that in his words, he says make up this unholy alliance of religious extremists, racists, bigots, he lists a few others and at the end, even libertarians.” She said her concern lies in how officials will define the characteristics they are searching for in potential threats.

“What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this?” Gabbard said. She said the proposed legislation could create “a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties, our freedoms in our Constitution, and a targeting of almost half of the country.” “You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally,” Gabbard said.

Tulsi Liberty
https://twitter.com/i/status/1353403241820635136

Read more …

We’ll never know how much. Would it be an idea to just stop this? So a billionaire gets one vote, just like a plumber?

Biden 2020 Run Backed By $145 Million In ‘Dark Money’ (ZH)

President Biden’s campaign received a record-breaking amount of anonymous donations to outside groups backing him, which means the public “will never have a full accounting of who helped him win the White House,” according to Bloomberg. In total, $145 million in so-called dark money donations, “a type of fundraising Democrats have decried for years,” backed the Biden campaign – and combined with his $1.5 billion record-breaking haul. Of note, Biden’s campaign called for banning certain types of nonprofits from spending money to influence elections, and that any organization spending over $10,000 to benefit a candidate register with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and disclose its donors. They didn’t specifically call on their own supporters to do so, however.

“That amount of dark money dwarfs the $28.4 million spent on behalf of his rival, former President Donald Trump. And it tops the previous record of $113 million in anonymous donations backing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. Democrats have said they want to ban dark money as uniquely corrupting, since it allows supporters to quietly back a candidate without scrutiny. Yet in their effort to defeat Trump in 2020, they embraced it.” -Bloomberg. One such dark money recipient, Priorities USA Action Fund designated by Biden as his preferred vehicle for outside spending, backed Biden with $26 million originally (and anonymously) donated to its nonprofit arm, Priorities USA.

Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil deflected when asked about the funds, saying in a statement “We weren’t going to unilaterally disarm against Trump and the right- wing forces that enabled him.” Another entity funneling dark money to benefit Biden was the Future Forward PAC, which spent $104 million backing Biden. While they received tens of millions from known sources, such as $46.9 million from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, $3 million from Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson, and $2.6 million from Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt – they received $61 million from Future Forward USA Action – none of which requires disclosure of sources.

Read more …

“I don’t own the Senate seat, it doesn’t belong to me,” he added. “If I want to be back in the U.S Senate, I have to earn that every six years.”

Rubio: Trump Impeachment Trial Is ‘Stupid’ (Hill)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Sunday that he would vote to dismiss the article of impeachment against former President Trump at the earliest opportunity, calling the upcoming Senate trial detrimental to national unity. “I think the trial is stupid,” Rubio said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We already have a flaming fire in this country,” he added, saying the trial would be “a bunch of gasoline.” “The first chance I get to vote to end this trial I’ll do it,” the Florida senator told Fox News’s Chris Wallace. Rubio went on to say that then-President Ford’s pardon of former President Nixon after his resignation was “in hindsight important” for “moving the country forward” despite widespread consensus that Nixon had committed criminal offenses. “I think [Trump is] entitled to due process,” Rubio added.


“The House doesn’t have much of a record of witnesses because they rammed it through very quickly … I think this is going to be very bad for the country.” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) earlier in the show pushed back on claims that convicting a former president was unconstitutional, saying the “preponderance of opinion” allowed for such a conviction. Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction in the president’s early 2020 impeachment trial. Wallace went on to ask Rubio, who is up for reelection in 2022, about rumors that former White House adviser Ivanka Trump is considering a primary challenge for the Senate seat. “I don’t really get into the parlor games of Washington,” Rubio said. “I don’t own the Senate seat, it doesn’t belong to me,” he added. “If I want to be back in the U.S Senate, I have to earn that every six years.”

Read more …

“Morale is low among the troops, who described having to stand guard for hours at a time in full gear with limited access to food and water..”

Impeachment Trial To Keep National Guard Troops At Capitol (Pol.)

Former President Donald Trump’s upcoming Senate impeachment trial poses a security concern that federal law enforcement officials told lawmakers last week requires as many as 5,000 National Guard troops to remain in Washington through mid-March, according to four people familiar with the matter. The contingency force will help protect the Capitol from what was described as “impeachment security concerns,” including the possibility of mass demonstrations coinciding with the Senate’s trial, which is slated to begin the week of Feb. 8. Despite the threat, the citizen soldiers on the ground say they have been given little information about the extension and wonder why they are being forced to endure combat-like conditions in the nation’s capital without a clear mission.

“Quite frankly this is not a ‘combat zone,’ so combat conditions shouldn’t apply,” said one Guard member on the ground in D.C. who has deployed twice to Afghanistan. Several National Guard units have seen their deployments extended involuntarily, though a majority of Guardsmen remaining in Washington will do so on a volunteer basis. Around 7,000 troops will continue to provide riot security through the beginning of February, with that number decreasing slightly to 5,000 by the time Trump’s impeachment trial begins. “We are not going to allow any surprises again,” said one Guard member, referring to the widespread lack of preparedness for the insurrection on Jan. 6. There is also some concern over potential unrest surrounding March 4, the date some QAnon conspiracy theorists believe Trump will be inaugurated for the second time.

[..] Now, thousands of Guard members will remain in Washington far longer than they initially expected when they packed their suitcases for what they believed to be a short-term mission on Jan. 6. The rank-and-file have so far been given no official justifications, threat reports or any explanation for the extended mission, said two Guard members — nor have they seen any violence thus far. “There is no defined situation, or mission statement. … This is very unusual for any military mission,” said one member, who has deployed twice to Afghanistan. “We are usually given a situation, with defined mission perimeters, and at least a tentative plan on how to execute those objectives.”

[..] Morale is low among the troops, who described having to stand guard for hours at a time in full gear with limited access to food and water, waiting for hours to be transported to and from their hotels, and very little sleep. Many are washing socks and cold-weather undergarments in hotel bathroom sinks because they do not have access to laundry facilities. Some have been forced to purchase their own food out of pocket to supplement the sparse meals they have been provided, which do not provide enough calories to sustain the long days. Even meals ready to eat are hard to come by due to logistical and transportation issues. “Even if they do arrive all on time, the calories are just not there for the amount of work we put in and time we’re spending on our feet, in the cold, in full gear,” one Guard member said.

Read more …

Western stimulus money being transferred out of originating countries because their interest rates are too low.

UN Agency: China Surpassed US In Foreign Direct Investments In 2020 (Hill)

A United Nations trade agency reported that China surpassed the U.S. as the largest recipient of foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2020. The UN Conference on Trade and Developments (UNCTAD) concluded that China became the largest FDI receiver last year over the U.S., with flows increasing by 4 percent to $163 billion, Bloomberg News reported. Most countries saw decreases due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the U.S., which saw its flow drop by 49 percent to $134 billion, according to UNCTAD’s Investment Trends Monitor. The U.S.’s decrease was seen in wholesale trade, financial services and manufacturing. China’s return to positive GDP growth and targeted investment facilitation program assisted in the country’s FDI levels, the agency noted in a release.


Globally, flows fell by 42 percent to $859 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, compared to $1.5 trillion in 2019. The global foreign direct investment reached its lowest level since the 1990s, including 30 percent lower than investments after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. North American flows dropped by 46 percent to $166 billion, but Europe saw declines of about 66 percent to negative $4 billion. The decreases were found to be concentrated in developed countries, where flows dropped 69 percent. Meanwhile, developing countries accounted for 72 percent of the global FDI, the highest percentage recorded.

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And there’s Sully.

Boeing 737 Max Cleared To Fly Again ‘Too Early’ (BBC)

A former senior manager at Boeing’s 737 plant in Seattle has raised new concerns over the safety of the company’s 737 Max. The aircraft, which was grounded after two accidents in which 346 people died, has already been cleared to resume flights in North America and Brazil, and is expected to gain approval in Europe this week. But in a new report, Ed Pierson claims that further investigation of electrical issues and production quality problems at the 737 factory is badly needed. Regulators in the US and Europe insist their reviews have been thorough, and that the 737 Max aircraft is now safe. In his report, Mr Pierson claims that regulators and investigators have largely ignored factors, which he believes, may have played a direct role in the accidents. He explicitly links them to conditions at the company’s factory in Renton, near Seattle at the time. Boeing says this is unfounded.

Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the sea off Indonesia in October 2018. Five months later, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 came down minutes after take-off from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Investigators believe both accidents were triggered by the failure of a single sensor. It sent inaccurate data to a piece of flight control software, called MCAS. This automated system then repeatedly forced the nose of the aircraft downwards, when the pilots were trying to gain height. Ultimately each aircraft was pushed into an unrecoverable dive. Efforts to make the 737 Max safe have focused on redesigning the MCAS software, and ensuring it can no longer be triggered by a single sensor failure.

For Ed Pierson, this does not go nearly far enough. A US Navy veteran, who had a senior role on the 737 production line from 2015-2018, he was a star witness during congressional hearings into the disasters involving the Max. He told lawmakers he had become so concerned about conditions at the factory, he had told his bosses that he was hesitant about taking his own family on a Boeing plane. [..] Mr Pierson’s concerns are supported by the celebrated aviation safety campaigner Captain Chesley Sullenberger. Best known as “Sully”, one of the pilots who safely ditched a crippled and engineless Airbus plane in the Hudson river off Manhattan in 2009, he too believes that modifications to the Max do not go far enough. He believes changes are needed to warning systems aboard the plane, which were carried over from a previous version of the 737 and are “not up to modern standards”.

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One member of the Five Eyes defies the others.

Australia Says ‘Inevitable’ That Facebook & Google Will Pay For Content (RT)

Australia’s treasurer has advised the tech giants to accept that their platforms will have to start paying for content, amid threats from Facebook and Google to limit services in the country if such a policy is enacted. Canberra is finalizing legislation that would require the internet behemoths to obtain licenses to use content created by Australian news outlets. Both companies have warned that they would retaliate over the revenue-sharing scheme, with Google saying last week that it would remove its search engine from Australia, and Facebook declaring that it would strip news from the feeds of all Australian users. On Sunday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg pushed back on the ultimatums, signaling that the Australian government wouldn’t reverse course.

“My view is that it is inevitable that the digital giants will be paying for original content,” he said, suggesting that Australia was leading the way in what would soon become a worldwide norm. He also admonished Facebook and Google for their hostility towards the proposed regulation, describing their threats to pull out of Australia as a “big disservice.” Google has been particularly unreceptive to the proposed legislation. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Silicon Valley giant has been experimenting with blacklisting some Australian news sites from its search results, apparently as a future strategy to avoid having to pay for hosting the content. The move shocked Australian media outlets, which accused Google of carrying out a flagrant show of force to stop the revenue-sharing code from becoming law.

A spokesman for Nine, the corporate owners of the Sydney Morning Herald, described the tech behemoth’s “experiment” as a “chilling illustration of their extraordinary market power.” The proposed law was drafted last July following an inquiry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The commission concluded that a large proportion of the country’s media are reliant on referrals from Google and Facebook, despite the fact that news outlets have little or no influence over the powerhouse corporations.

Read more …

They’re US intelligence pure and simple.

Facebook Feeds Private Messages of Its Users Directly to the FBI (TFTP)

Deferring all responsibility for the planning of the raid on the capitol, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg had stated shortly after the incident that the protests were largely organized off Facebook. However, she was not telling the truth, and likely knew that large portions of the pro-Trump protests were talked about and organized on Facebook. But was Facebook wiped off the internet like Parler? No, no it was not. Here’s why. This week, Facebook began furnishing the Federal Bureau of Investigation with data on Trump supporters who discussed the events at the capitol on their platform — up to and including their private messages. Through this action the social media giant is acting as a de facto intelligence collecting arm of the US government.

In contrast, when Syed Farook, otherwise known as the San Bernardino mass shooter, wouldn’t unlock his iPhone for the feds, Apple refused to create a backdoor for them to access it acting as an actual private company supporting the privacy rights of its customers. But Facebook is more than willing to open up its data mining services for their friends in the federal government — because, as we have stated numerous times, Facebook is not private. As TFTP reported in 2018, Facebook announced that it partnered with the arm of the government-funded Atlantic Council, known as the Digital Forensic Research Lab that was brought on to help the social media behemoth with “real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world.”

The Atlantic Council is the group that NATO uses to whitewash wars and foster hatred toward Russia, which in turn allows them to continue to justify themselves. It’s funded by arms manufacturers like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. It is also funded by billionaire oligarchs like the Ukraine’s Victor Pinchuk and Saudi billionaire Bahaa Hariri. The list goes on. The highly unethical HSBC group — who has been caught numerous times laundering money for cartels and terrorists — is listed as one of their top donors. They are also funded by the pharmaceutical industry, Google, Goldman Sachs and others. However, the funding that comes from the United States, the US Army, and the Airforce directly negates the “private” aspect of the partnership. The “think tank” Facebook partnered with to make decisions on who they censor is directly funded by multiple state actors — including the United States — which voids any and all claims that Facebook is a wholly “private actor.”

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It’s scary stuff, and it makes you wonder how it links to all the talk of erasing gender-specific words etc.

Toxic Chemicals Threaten Humanity’s Ability To Reproduce (IC)

Shanna Swan is the senior author of a 2017 study that documented a dramatic drop in sperm counts in Western countries over the past half-century. That meta-analysis of 185 studies involving 42,935 men found that total sperm count fell 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. Swan, a reproductive epidemiologist, pointed to the role of environmental chemicals in that trend. Now she has written “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race,” a book that ties industrial chemicals in everyday products to a wide range of changes taking place in recent years, including increasing numbers of babies being born with smaller penises; higher rates of erectile dysfunction; declining fertility; eroding sex differences in some animal species; and potentially even behaviors that are thought of as gender-typical.

Your study showed that baby boys who had been exposed to four different phthalates at the end of the first trimester in the womb had a shorter anogenital distance, or AGD. Can you explain what AGD is and why it’s important? Nobody is going to like that term, so you could use taint or gooch instead. But basically it’s the distance between the anus and the beginning of the genitals. And scientists have recognized its importance for a long time. I have a paper from 1912 that looks at AGD and showed that they were nearly 100 percent longer in males than in females. Our work has shown that chemicals, including the diethylhexyl phthalate, shorten the AGD in males.

You’ve also linked phthalate exposure to a lack of interest in sex. Yes, we found a relationship between women’s phthalate levels and their sexual satisfaction. And researchers in China found that workers with higher levels of bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, in their blood were more likely to have sexual problems, including decreased desire. Of course, phthalates, which are added to plastics, food, cosmetics, and other products, aren’t the only problem. You write about lots of chemicals that interfere with the hormonal system and reproduction, including the pesticide atrazine, which you’ve linked to lower sperm quality, and glyphosate, which you’ve recently shown decreases AGD in rats and perhaps also in humans.

It’s worth pointing out that all of these chemicals we’re talking about are still in use in the U.S., while some other countries have banned them. Anyway, tell me about the relationship between endocrine disrupting chemicals and how children play? Sexually dimorphic play is controversial. Some people say it’s all socially determined. And it undoubtedly does have social determinants, but it also has physiological determinants. And we showed that in two studies. We asked mothers of young children to tell us how their children play. It’s pretty simple: How often do they play with guns? Play with dolls? Play dress-up? Play with tea sets, etc. And it turns out that when boys are exposed to the same chemicals that affect AGD, they play in a less male-typical manner.

Read more …

 

 

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Jan 232021
 


Zao Wu-Ki Le soleil rouge 1950

 

Here Are the Superheroes To Come and Save Us (MPN)
Dems Demand Social Media Stop ‘Polluting Minds Of American People’ (RT)
New McCarthyism Will Prove An Orwellian Mistake – Hanson (K.)
Big Tech, Big Brother, & The End Of Free Speech (RCP)
The Echo Chamber Era (Matt Taibbi)
500,000 More British Kids Face Mental Health Issues (Wilson)
Israel Analysis Of COVID Vaccine Raises Questions About UK Strategy (Sky)
Are COVID Vaccination Programmes Working? (Nature)
One Dose Of Pfizer Vaccine Could Be Less Effective Than Expected (BMJ)
Hungary First EU Country To Get Russia’s Sputnik V Covid19 Vaccine (RT)
Overall Mortality Is Around Normal For This Time Of Year (RT)
How US CDC Missed Chances To Spot COVID’s Silent Spread (R.)
McConnell Lays Out Trump Impeachment Trial Timeline (ZH)
Rough Ridin’ with Biden (Kunstler)
Home Run King Hank Aaron Dead At 86 (F.)

 

 


Cavafy – Monotony

 

 

 

 

“The few who ventured near the Capitol were mostly somber, as if they were attending a vigil.” “It feels a little postapocalyptic..”

Here Are the Superheroes To Come and Save Us (MPN)

We rely on the media to hold the powerful to account. But in its first hours in office, the corporate press has celebrated, rather than challenged, the new Biden administration. It began immediately during the 78-year-old Delawarean’s inauguration, with senior figures in the media barely able to contain their emotions watching what they saw. “As Lady Gaga sang the national anthem, the sky opened up and sunlight reflected off of the Capitol, illuminating the flag,” wrote Olivia Nuzzi, the New Yorker’s Washington correspondent. The New York Times was in a similarly poetic mood. “Whether or not related to the former president’s absence, a bipartisan lightness seemed to prevail across the stage at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Snow flurries gave way to sun,” ran its subheadline.


If it were not clear enough that corporate media intends to spend the next four years propping up, rather than scrutinizing President Biden, then senior CNN figures spelled it out. “Trump—>Biden. Lies—>truth. Ignorance—>knowledge. Amorality—>decency. Cruelty—> empathy. Corruption—>public service” wrote CNN’s White House correspondent John J. Harwood on Twitter, attributing several extremely positive (and questionable) qualities to the incoming president. Meanwhile, the company’s head of strategic communications, Matt Dornic, was in an even more bombastic mood. Sharing a picture of fireworks exploding over the Washington Monument, he remarked that, “This team truly understands optics. These images will inspire our friends and shake our foes.”

Leaving aside why some colorful pyrotechnics would terrify Russia, China or any nation, Dornic’s rhetoric worried many who felt the nation’s top journalists should see themselves as the government’s adversaries, rather than their allies. “Note how this CNN imperial stenographer fearmongers about foreign bogeymen with his “foe” rhetoric. The real foe of average working-class Americans isn’t any foreign nation; it’s the parasitic capitalist oligarchs who control everything and their lackeys in politics and the media,” replied Ben Norton of The Grayzone. Perhaps the most adulatory coverage of the inauguration came from MSNBC, however, with analyst John Heilemann depicting the senior politicians present as almost mythical ubermensch. “What was to me so striking about today was that comforting sense,” he said.


“The sight of the Clintons and the Bushes and the Obamas — The Avengers, the Marvel superheroes back up there together all in one place with their friend Joe Biden.” He later went on to compare Biden’s speech to Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address of 1865 after the union victory in the American Civil War and claimed there was a deep sense of relief washing over the nation’s capital.. This sentiment was apparently not shared by ordinary people on the street. Even as it was praising Biden, the New York Times reported that “The few who ventured near the Capitol were mostly somber, as if they were attending a vigil.” “It feels a little postapocalyptic, to be honest,” one told them.

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How is this not the thought police?

”..algorithms and recommendations that breed extremism and undermine the sense of “objective reality.”

Dems Demand Social Media Stop ‘Polluting Minds Of American People’ (RT)

Democrats in the US Congress have urged major social media platforms to eliminate algorithms and recommendations that breed extremism and undermine the sense of “objective reality.” Representatives Anna Eshoo and Tom Malinowski wrote letters demanding change to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. A similar letter was sent to the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, and Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, which is owned by Google. “For years, social media companies have allowed harmful disinformation to spread through their platforms, polluting the minds of the American people,” Eshoo tweeted. The lawmakers argued that social media platforms allow content which reinforces “existing political biases, especially those rooted in anger, anxiety, and fear.”


They said the algorithms used by Big Tech “undermine our shared sense of objective reality” and “facilitate connections between extremist users,” which lead to violence in real life, like the storming of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6. Twitter was urged to “immediately make permanent changes to limit the spread of misinformation and other forms of harmful content.” Facebook and YouTube were similarly asked to tweak their recommendation systems in order not to promote “dangerous conspiracy theories” among users. The Democrats and many in the media accused former President Donald Trump of inciting the crowd of his supporters to seize the Capitol in hopes of overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election.

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“We are in a sort of left-wing version of the Corleone “Godfather” cinema family “taking care of business” all at once.”

New McCarthyism Will Prove An Orwellian Mistake – Hanson (K.)

The efforts of “Big Tech” to ban Trump and many of his supporters, while Apple, Google etc in concert made it almost impossible for a conservative site like Parler to exist, are reflections of a Salem Witch trial madness sparked by the trifecta of Trump’s loss, the Capitol violence, and the Republican loss of the Senate. Hysteria reigns as books by conservatives are now canceled, thousands kicked off social media, radio hosts fired etc. We are in a sort of left-wing version of the Corleone “Godfather” cinema family “taking care of business” all at once. Yet this new McCarthyism will prove an Orwellian mistake, and constitute one of the greatest political blunders in modern US history.

Think of the Ayatollah Khamenei calling for the destruction of Israel on Twitter with impunity or Antifa announcing planning sessions for their next riot, on Facebook with impunity – juxtaposed to social media banning those who merely showed up in Washington at a peaceful rally and did not join the violent splinter group who stormed the halls of Congress. In contrast, again, the current Vice President Harris earlier had called for the more protests this summer. Many were violent and occasionally lethal, resulting in mass looting, death and arson by Antifa and BLM. She worked to bail out those arrested for street violence. The public is tiring of such asymmetries. US publishers all the time publish books like “In Defense of Looting” – a manifesto supporting the mass theft from stores this summer. So there is no consistency in the current violations of free speech.

And the effort to remove Trump before his tenure not only failed, but showed his opponents as small-minded and vindictive and further divided a 50/50 divided country. The attempt to coordinate Big Tech to destroy the conservative opposition’s means of communicating with the public came by design on the eve of the most revolutionary moments in modern history to come: Very soon the Left plans to end the 180-year Senate filibuster, the 234-year Electoral College, the 60-year 50-state union (by adding Puerto Rico and Washington DC), and the 150-year-old nine-person Supreme Court – and now will have its critics de-platformed from social media or afraid to express objections in fear of being banned.

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“..When 13-year-olds are entrusted with cellphones and Snapchat accounts, they can use them to bring shame on innocent children and even destroy their lives. Often, this involves spreading false rumors about the person or discrediting them for something they espouse, like their religion, their political beliefs or their sexual identity. Tell me how this is different from what Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have done to Donald Trump..”

Big Tech, Big Brother, & The End Of Free Speech (RCP)

In George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” members of the Outer Party of Oceania engage in the Two Minutes Hate ritual against Emmanuel Goldstein, who is supposed to be the enemy of the people but may actually just be a fabricated symbol to distract the people from their real enemy — Big Brother. In Nancy Pelosi’s “Twenty Twenty-One,” members of the Democratic Party engage in the Two Hours Hate against Donald Trump, who is supposed to be the enemy of the people, but may actually just be a fabricated symbol to distract the people from their real enemy — Big Tech. Two hours of hate — er, debate — was held in the House of Representatives last Wednesday for the avowed purpose of removing a president of the United States. That’s all it took. Two hours. That should tell you everything you need to know about the state of democracy in our country.

[..] In a sense, Big Tech has taken cyberbullying to its logical conclusion. When 13-year-olds are entrusted with cellphones and Snapchat accounts, they can use them to bring shame on innocent children and even destroy their lives. Often, this involves spreading false rumors about the person or discrediting them for something they espouse, like their religion, their political beliefs or their sexual identity. Tell me how this is different from what Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have done to Donald Trump and, by extension, the more than 74 million people who voted for him. This group of post-pubescent cyberbullies in Silicon Valley doesn’t like Donald Trump. They feel justified in calling him names like white supremacist and Nazi and racist. They don’t care whether it hurts him or not. They don’t care whether it is true or not. They are strangely enlivened by what they perceive as their ability to hurt him, to weaken him.

Like the mob that they have attempted to link the president to, these bullies act in mindless concert, emboldened by each other to see who can strike the deeper blow, who can make the victim hurt more. And over what? Differences of opinion, for the most part. Strong border or no border? Mask or no mask? Globalism or Americanism? Carbon credits or fracking? Abortion or no abortion? And then the last straw — fair election or fraudulent election? These should be legitimate subjects for debate in a free society. But not anymore. Big Tech has banned debate about government policy on the coronavirus, and any discussion of election fraud is treated as if it were a crime. But wait? It’s only a crime to question the government in a totalitarian system, like that in communist China or Orwell’s fictional Oceania, right?

In America, we have the right and obligation to question our government, don’t we? Because, if we don’t have that right any longer, then what are they afraid of? What are they hiding? Bottom line: At some point in some election, the allegations of election fraud have to be real. It can’t always just be the figment of some right-wing president’s imagination. And if we aren’t allowed to have free speech, then how do we fight back? If Big Tech and Big Government have their way, we don’t. Just keep your head down and your nose clean — and never ever question what you are told.

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“..not a bad or even a terrible plan, but literally a “nonexistent” plan, despite the fact that 36 million vaccines had already been delivered..”

The Echo Chamber Era (Matt Taibbi)

Blue-state audiences didn’t ask for accounting for those official warnings for the same reason Trump voters never asked what happened to those three million undocumented votes Hillary Clinton supposedly won in 2016: audiences don’t demand explanations for puffed-up claims about other groups. People like Sullivan would have you believe that “balance” is a mandate to give voice to clearly illegitimate points of view, but it’s really about not falling so completely in love with your “values” that you stop caring to avoid mistakes about those who don’t share them, or even just mistakes generally. By any standard, the press had a terrible four years, from the mangling of dozens of Russiagate tales to scandals like the New York Times “Caliphate” disaster and the underappreciated Covington High School story fiasco.

Still, many in the business can’t see how bad it’s been, because they’ve walled themselves off so completely from potential critics. Coupled with the enhanced aggressiveness of Silicon Valley in removing dissenting accounts across the spectrum — Facebook is taking down six Socialist Workers Party accounts in Britain as I write this, a day after zapping a series of Antifa accounts — reporters at places like the Post, the Times, and CNN every day have less and less to worry about in terms of audience blowback, and they know it. Just in the first few days of the Biden administration, we’ve seen editorial decisions that would never have been attempted once upon a time. The Post just tried to remove seven paragraphs of their own archived article about Vice President Kamala Harris, which contained a cringeworthy scene of Harris and her sister joking about prisoners begging for water, only to restore it after an outcry.

CNN meanwhile ran a story that incoming Biden officials had to “build everything from scratch” with regard to Covid-19 policy because the Trump administration had no plan for vaccine distribution at all — not a bad or even a terrible plan, but literally a “nonexistent” plan, despite the fact that 36 million vaccines had already been delivered. In this rare case, rival media organizations cried foul, with reporters from both Politico and the Washington Post blasting the report as untrue and a “gambit to lower expectations” by the incoming administration. In an atmosphere where editors really feared discontent from outside demographics or rival party politicians, a story like that, with an over-the-top-to-impossible premise, would never even be tried.

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COVID is not a one-dimensional issue, but it keeps being treated as such. “500,000 children under 18 in England, with no previous problems, will need mental health care..”

500,000 More British Kids Face Mental Health Issues (Wilson)

The gloom is infectious, as a study out today from the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford confirmed. Formerly freewheeling, high-spirited online chats have morphed into muted complaints and low moods as the novelty of school in the kitchen wore off long ago. The wide, everchanging schoolyard social networks of our children have disappeared, replaced by social contact with whoever happens to be online at the same time they are. Boredom encourages bickering and the subtleties of personal relationships are forced to rely on broadband speed, What’s App chat emojis and access to a shared computer. It is not healthy in any way. We now risk destroying our children’s love of learning while creating a mental health crisis that has struck half a million previously healthy kids across the nation already, according to the Centre for Mental Health.

It says 500,000 children under 18 in England, with no previous problems, will need mental health care due to the devastating economic, health and family pressures caused by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. This has manifested itself in children as young as five reporting self-harm and suicidal thoughts to counsellors and a tripling in the number of eating disorders reported by adolescents. An Ofsted report in November discovered that more than two months of lost schooling last spring had resulted in children regressing in basic skills such as reading and writing. And –as always– it is the poor who suffer worst. It’s estimated 1.1m kids have no computer at home, making attending online lessons impossible. The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that, in the last lockdown, better-off children spent 30 per cent more time on remote learning than disadvantaged ones. The attainment gap between rich and poor pupils will grow markedly.

A survey by England’s Mental Health of Children and Young People survey found that more than a quarter of children aged five to 16 reported disrupted sleep, one in five did not have somewhere quiet to work, and girls had the highest prevalence (27.2 per cent) of probable mental health issues. This is all shocking news. Our children are facing serious problems with their mental health in numbers never seen before and yet with no end date in sight they are expected to sit in front of a screen five hours a day, five days a week. It’s not helping, and it is clear that keeping schools shut is doing immense and lasting damage to our children.

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We had a discussion in yesterday’s Debt Rattle thread about the first real-world analysis of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Which answers some questions, and leaves new ones. The 33% efficacy after two weeks raises alarms. Even if it rises afterwards.

I still have many questions about what exactly constitutes the efficacy. If all it does is keep people from getting more severely ill, that is fine, but at least be open about it.

Israel Analysis Of COVID Vaccine Raises Questions About UK Strategy (Sky)

The first real-world analysis of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine suggests it is matching its performance in clinical trials, but raises serious questions about the UK’s decision to delay the second dose. Scientists in Israel – which is leading the COVID-19 vaccination race – have told Sky News that they are “very hopeful” having studied preliminary data from 200,000 vaccinated people. But crucially they say their results do not show efficacy at a level close to that used by the UK to justify delaying the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech jab. Professor Ran Balicer is a physician, epidemiologist and chief innovation officer for Clalit, the largest health care provider in Israel. He is also an adviser to the WHO. “We compared 200,000 people above the age of 60 that were vaccinated. We took a comparison group of 200,000 people, same age, not vaccinated, that were matched to this group on various variables…” Prof Balicer said.

“Then we looked to see what is the daily positivity rate… And we saw that there was no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated until day 14 post-vaccination. “But on day 14 post-vaccination, a drop of 33% in positivity was witnessed in the vaccinated group and not in the unvaccinated… this is really good news.” However, UK scientists said in December that trial data had suggested it would be 89% effective after one dose. A document issued by the UK government’s vaccine advisers, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, to justify delaying the second dose for up to 12 weeks said: “Using data for those cases observed between day 15 and 21, efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 was estimated at 89%, suggesting that short term protection from dose 1 is very high from day 14 after vaccination.”

This is much more optimistic than the new real-world Israeli data suggests. Responding to the UK government strategy, Prof Balicer said: “The data and estimates I gave are what we have. “We could not see 89% reduction in the data we reported. Further data and analyses will be released in peer reviewer scientific format.” He added: “The practice in Israel is to provide the second vaccine at three weeks. “And so it is impossible for us to tell what would be the impact of not providing the second dose…” Israel is following Pfizer/BioNtech protocol in giving the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine three weeks after the first. It has a smaller population and a regular supply from Pfizer/BioNtech. In return it’s providing detailed data to Pfizer.

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And this is just incredibly weak: “If vaccines are effective at preventing infections, then their indirect benefit — protecting unvaccinated people — will be visible only once enough people have been immunized..”

Are COVID Vaccination Programmes Working? (Nature)

The results from Israel are among the first to report the impact of vaccines administered to people outside clinical trials. They provide an early indication that the two-dose RNA-based vaccine developed by Pfizer–BioNTech can prevent infection or limit its duration in some vaccinated people. In a preliminary analysis of 200,000 people older than 60 who received the vaccine, compared with a matched group of 200,000 who did not, researchers found that the chances of testing positive for the virus were 33% lower two weeks after the first injection. “We were happy to see this preliminary result that suggests a real-world impact in the approximate timing and direction we would have expected,” says Ran Balicer, an epidemiologist at Israel’s largest health-care provider, Clalit Health Services, in Tel Aviv.

He expects to get more conclusive results several weeks after people receive their second shot. Another analysis, by Maccabi Healthcare Services, found a similar trend, although neither study has been peer-reviewed. Clinical trials of the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine show it to be around 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, and the preliminary data suggest it can also provide some protection from infection. But it will take longer to establish whether vaccinated people no longer spread the virus to unvaccinated people, says Balicer. As more than 75% of older people in Israel have been vaccinated, Balicer says he expects to see a drop in hospitalizations among vaccinated older people over the coming weeks.

Most countries are prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for people who have a high risk of getting severe disease and dying. So, the first evidence that shots are working in those countries will probably be reductions in hospitalizations, and then in deaths, says Alexandra Hogan, an infectious-disease modeller at Imperial College London. If vaccines are effective at preventing infections, then their indirect benefit — protecting unvaccinated people — will be visible only once enough people have been immunized, says Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Israel will probably be the first country to see this kind of population-wide impact, say researchers. This is because it is using a high-efficacy vaccine and aiming for wide coverage with the explicit goal of achieving herd immunity, when enough people are immune to a virus for its spread to be controlled.

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Yeah, but effective at what? Not at protecting others, that much is clear now.

One Dose Of Pfizer Vaccine Could Be Less Effective Than Expected (BMJ)

Concerns have been raised over how much protection a single dose of the Pfizer BioNTech covid-19 vaccine provides, following reports from Israel that it is much lower than expected. Israel, which, like the UK, is currently in its third national lockdown, has so far vaccinated more than 75% of its older people with at least one dose. Early reports from the vaccine rollout have suggested that the first dose led to a 33% reduction in cases of coronavirus compared with efficacy of at least 52% reported in clinical trials. A preliminary report from the Clalit Research Institute compared the infection data of 200.000 people aged 60 and over who were not vaccinated with the infection data of 200.000 people of the same age group who received one vaccine dose and were monitored for at least 11 days from the date of vaccination.

On day 14 there was a significant decrease of about 33% in the rate of positive tests for the coronavirus among those who had been vaccinated. This decrease remained the same between days 15 and 17. The report has raised concerns, as published results have suggested that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine was 52.4% between the first and second dose (spaced 21 days apart), and data assessed by Public Health England indicated it could be as much as 89% protective from day 15 to 21. The Clalit Research Institute stressed, however, that its results included only people aged 60 and over whereas Pfizer trials also included younger people and that the findings have not yet been peer reviewed. Additionally, the Clalit study identified those infected according to laboratory tests of those who chose to be tested, while Pfizer’s studies only referred to the appearance of symptomatic disease.

In the UK, the vaccine policy prioritises getting as many at risk people vaccinated with one dose over ensuring people get two doses within the time specified in clinical trials. While there are data to suggest the chosen 12 week interval between the two doses is effective for the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, there are no data to support this interval for the Pfizer vaccine. As such, a leading statistician has written to UK health secretary Matt Hancock urging him to investigate the effects of the decision to extend the gap between the first and second dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

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“Unfortunately, the EU purchases vaccines very slowly, so Hungary continues negotiations with Israel, Russia, and China,” Orban said.”

Hungary First EU Country To Get Russia’s Sputnik V Covid19 Vaccine (RT)

Shortly after becoming the first EU country to approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Hungary has agreed on a three-stage supply deal with Moscow. Budapest will receive its first delivery of doses in February. The contract between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the government in Budapest was made on Friday, in a meeting between Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó. According to Murashko, Hungarian experts visited the Gamaleya Institute, where the formula was invented, and conducted a thorough examination of vaccine production sites. The scientists also had the opportunity to review clinical trial results. “Many countries today approve the use of the Russian Sputnik V, and we are actively cooperating with the World Health Organization,” Murashko told the press.


In response, Szijjártó called the announcement of the agreement “a great honor,” assuring Hungary’s citizens that experts from the country’s own National Institute of Pharmacology and Food Safety reviewed the entire process themselves. On Thursday, it was revealed that Budapest had approved Sputnik V for emergency use, despite it not yet being deemed safe by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). On January 8, Hungarian President Victor Orban complained that the European Union was being too slow to make any decisions, putting citizens’ lives at risk. “Unfortunately, the EU purchases vaccines very slowly, so Hungary continues negotiations with Israel, Russia, and China,” Orban said. Two weeks later, his country approved Sputnik V for use.

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Branch Covidians.

Overall Mortality Is Around Normal For This Time Of Year (RT)

Although the numbers of deaths attributed to the virus in the UK are higher than they’ve ever been, in total, not many more people are dying than in any other cold season. Is the mainstream media finally waking up to this?
A recent article in the Telegraph is one of the first in a mainstream outlet to even suggest a challenge to the official coronavirus narrative. These days, that narrative claims that the ‘second wave’ is actually deadlier than the first. (Recently, some Branch Covidians have been claiming a ‘third wave’, but there is not yet a united front on that.) The basic reasoning of the article is sound, even if it is long overdue. It laments how every day, the media solemnly reports the latest figures on Covid deaths. Presenting this figure in isolation results in graphs such as this one, which does indeed seem to show that we are at the height of a second, worse phase of a pandemic.

But, like any statistics, daily death numbers are meaningless without context, which the media rarely provides. They do not provide context because, if they did, the public might see a graph such as this one, from the Telegraph article.

It quite clearly shows the spring spike in overall mortality, which was caused by Covid (plus lockdowns). After that ends in summer, we see… nothing. Overall mortality ever since, even through this winter, hovers at around the five-year average. And overall mortality, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, is the only true way to know whether you are in a pandemic or not – all other figures can easily be fiddled. So, why are the excess death data and the Covid deaths data so out of whack? And why isn’t Covid killing lots and lots of people this winter, as it did in spring? Even if you ascribe all excess deaths to Covid and none to lockdown, there really does not seem to be anything out of the normal variation in total deaths from year to year. And surely, by now, the toll of unnecessary deaths caused by untreated cancer, heart disease, depression and so on, has at least begun to register.

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You mean it was’t all Trump’s fault?

How US CDC Missed Chances To Spot COVID’s Silent Spread (R.)

Critics have widely asserted that the CDC fumbled key decisions during the coronavirus scourge because then-President Donald Trump and his administration meddled in the agency’s operations and muzzled internal experts. The matter is now the subject of a congressional inquiry. Yet Reuters has found new evidence that the CDC’s response to the pandemic also was marred by actions – or inaction – by the agency’s career scientists and frontline staff. At a crucial moment in the pandemic when Americans were quarantined after possible exposure to the virus abroad, the agency declined or resisted potentially valuable opportunities to study whether the disease could be spread by those without symptoms, according to previously undisclosed internal emails, other documents and interviews with key players.

Soon after balking at testing the returnees from Wuhan, the agency delayed testing asymptomatic passengers among 318 evacuees from the Diamond Princess, a contaminated cruise ship in Japan. In addition, the agency failed at that time to make effective use of outside experts and appeared at times unprepared for the crisis on the ground, lacking adequate personal protective gear and ignoring established protocols, Reuters found. “Yes, they were interfered with politically,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, referring to alleged meddling by the Trump administration. “But that’s not the only reason CDC didn’t perform optimally during COVID-19. There are a lot of things that went wrong.”

Four top public health experts or ethicists told Reuters that the question of whether to test or engage in research on detained people has always been a sensitive topic. But all said the CDC should have proceeded given the fast-moving public health emergency. Moreover, the CDC finalized rules in 2017 providing that medical testing was expressly allowed in quarantine, as long as participants were given the opportunity to give “informed consent” or opt out. Informed consent means giving people adequate information to understand the risks and benefits of a test or procedure. Gostin said the CDC’s argument against testing was “unreasonable” under the circumstances. “You are asking for consent and not imposing any harm,” he said. “There is a good reason to do it.”

It’s difficult to know whether more aggressive early testing among asymptomatic people would have significantly altered the trajectory of the pandemic in the United States, which has infected 24 million people and killed more than 400,000. The CDC was not the only agency that struggled with this issue. Notably, an official with the World Health Organization called asymptomatic spread “very rare” in June, only to say a day later “we don’t actually have that answer yet.” In recent months, the WHO has said infected people without symptoms can be contagious, but “it is still not clear how frequently this occurs.”

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The circus is in town.

McConnell Lays Out Trump Impeachment Trial Timeline (ZH)

While the left is split between wanting to hammer the final nail in Trump’s coffin (through the Senate impeachment trial) and tending to its aggressive agenda of new laws, spending, and government control, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a statement today regarding his proposed timeline for the first phases of an impeachment trial of former president Trump. “I have sent a proposed timeline for the first phases of the upcoming impeachment trial to Leader Schumer and look forward to continuing to discuss it with him. “Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake.

“Given the unprecedented speed of the House’s process, our proposed timeline for the initial phases includes a modest and reasonable amount of additional time for both sides to assemble their arguments before the Senate would begin to hear them. “At this time of strong political passions, Senate Republicans believe it is absolutely imperative that we do not allow a half-baked process to short-circuit the due process that former President Trump deserves or damage the Senate or the presidency.” Specifically, Leader McConnell shared the following proposed pre-trial timeline with the Republican Conference today: “When the articles arrive, the House Managers would exhibit (read) the articles to the Senate, Senators would be sworn in the Members as the Court of Impeachment, and would issue a summons to former President Trump.

“While we do not know what day the Managers will choose, Leader McConnell has asked for this to occur on Thursday, January 28. Former President Trump would have one week from that day to answer the articles of impeachment (February 4). The House’s pre-trial brief would also be due then. The President would then have one week from the day he submits his answer to submit his pre-trial brief (February 11). That means former president Trump has fourteen total days from when we issue the summons to write his pre-trial brief. The House would also submit its replication on this date. The House would then have two days to submit their rebuttal pre-trial brief (February 13). This approach tracks the structure of the Clinton and Trump pre-trial processes. The periods between due dates are longer than in 1999 or 2020, but this is necessary because of the House’s unprecedented timeline.

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“Who will step forward in his absence? Probably someone we haven’t heard from yet. That’s how these things work.”

Rough Ridin’ with Biden (Kunstler)

As for Mr. Trump, he departed as he had arrived in 2016: stridently contemptuous toward the parasitical oligarchy that finally expelled him like a bladder-stone. The threatened impeachment trial will be a marvel of casuistry — a procedure for removing someone from office who is no longer in office — and also for the transparently flimsy charge of “inciting the insurrection” at the capitol. As if to underscore the absurdity of that, Antifa squads rioted in Portland and Seattle on inauguration night. Their banners expressed less-than-jubilant sentiment for the new regime. The Portland outfit broke windows and spray-painted the city’s Democratic headquarters, faking-out pols who had warned against an uprising of “white supremacists.”

Of course, all those arrested would be promptly released without charges — demonstrating just how serious the Wokester officials running those cities really are about criminal anarchy. The grannies swept into the capitol rotunda by Antifa incursionists January 6th won’t be so lucky. Neither did a much chattered-about military takeover happen during the tension-filled transition hours, though kibitzers on the web insist days later that it remains secretly underway. On his way out, Mr. Trump failed to pardon either Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, a disturbing failure, while he commuted the sentences of a couple of two-bit rap-stars, based on their contributions to advancing human dignity. And whatever Mr. Trump finally rooted out in the way of declassified FBI documents has already disappeared into the DC quicksand.

Much adored as he is for valiantly opposing everything swampish, it might be best now for Mr. Trump to just retire from the political scene and leave the battle to others. He made his point, colorfully and often bravely, considering the astounding bad faith of his adversaries, though he certainly could have articulated the stakes better and with more decorum. He leaves not merely a vacuum but a sucking chest wound of leadership opposing hysterical and tyrannical Wokery. Who will step forward in his absence? Probably someone we haven’t heard from yet. That’s how these things work.

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Muhammad Ali once called Aaron “The only man I idolize more than myself.”

Aaron received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Jan 5.

I don’t normally do eulogies for athletes, but this is about so much more. I was thinking about the hardship people like Aaron and Jackie Robinson went through in America’s great national pastime.

Only when Muhammad Ali arrived did that really change. And he paid a big price for that.

Home Run King Hank Aaron Dead At 86 (F.)

Aaron was born in Mobile, Ala., to Herbert Aaron, Sr. and Estella (Pritchett) Aaron in February of 1934. He and his seven siblings grew up poor, in a home without electricity or indoor bathrooms. Aaron didn’t have an opportunity to play organized baseball in high school because only white students had teams. He signed his first baseball contract, which paid him $10 a game, at the age of 17 with a local semi-pro team called the Mobile Black Bears. After a couple of seasons dominating the Negro Leagues, Aaron joined the Atlanta Braves in 1954. Over his incredible 22-year career, Hammerin’ Hank would tally 3,771 hits in 3,298 games played. Remarkably, Aaron still holds the all-time major league records for most RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477). Yet, Aaron was best known for the long ball.


Despite measuring only six feet and weighing in at around 180 pounds in his prime, Aaron would finish his epic career with 755 career home runs, a mark that survived until Barry Bonds (reportedly with the help of steroids) broke it in 2007. Aaron was a first-ballot inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. As he inched closer to passing Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs in the early 1970s, Aaron endured an avalanche of death threats from racists that did not want to see a Black man break Ruth’s revered record. In his 1991 autobiography, Aaron described how “when people finally realized I was climbing up Ruth’s back, the “Dear N——r” letters started showing up with alarming regularity. They told me no n——-r had any right to go where I was going.” In a 1992 interview with the Atlanta Journal, Aaron revealed he held onto all the hate letters he’d received. “I’m always going to keep them,” he said. “I don’t care what anybody says. It’s just like telling a Jewish family to forget about the Holocaust. If you’re not part of something, it’s easy to tell somebody to forget about it.”

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